On my street, most of the apartment dwellers sold drugs. I remained unaware of this until I transferred to public school. Oh, I knew that a few people sold drugs; and I knew that everyone owned a gun or two. But I didn't realize how readily available drugs were on my block.
That all changed when I invited my friend (the one who died in the previous story) over to my house. He told me his mom wouldn't let him. So I asked him why not? And he said, "Because of the dealers, of course."
"What dealers?" I asked.
Yeah, my street was so notorious, it even had a nickname. They called it Drug Alley. And no, it doesn't make sense. California Avenue is not an alley. Not only did my little stretch of land between Sidney and Lynch have the distinction of sheltering the California Bum, it was also the place where most of my friends' parents bought their drugs. Wow.
Of course, "drugs" back then are not the same as "drugs" you hear about on the news now. In my neighborhood, everyone smoked pot and most adults bought painkillers on occasion. LSD and mushrooms were taken exclusively indoors; and only with close friends. Really, the only daily drug was beer. Everybody drank beer. (except my mom, who hated beer. But mom never fit in with the neighbors anyway.)
Hard-core drugs were for junkies and yuppies. We couldn't afford cocaine, the rich man's drug. Nobody was stupid enough, or desperate enough to try heroin. Meth meant a kind of moonshine.
It was an eye-opener for me; realizing that the stuff everybody did classified as scary dangerous drugs. My neighbors weren't drug addicts! They were Hoosiers! They fought and drank and got stoned. So what? Didn't everybody? Who the hell gets to decide that my street is worse than any other, anyway?
... And I promptly got to know who sold what, and at which times. I had no use for drugs while in the 7th grade, but I knew I'd buy them eventually. Everyone did. It was just another rite of passage. You get a job, you buy drugs.
My freshman year of high school, I did buy a drug. I went to an apartment with the 9 year old prostitute and bought a pair of pink and blue pills. One for me, one for her. It was a surreal experience. I told the dealer that this was my first time buying speed. I let her know that I'd been getting high for a while now, and wanted to try something different. I told the dealer that I didn't want to try anything too strong, and she suggested "speckled eggs". My friend the prostitute said, "Oooh, those are fun. They're kinda wimpy, but I think you'll like them."
(note: "Getting high for a while now" translates to 3 occasions over 5 months. Oh, yeah; I was so experienced.)
I bought the speckled eggs for 50 cents a piece, and we downed them the minute we walked out the door.
And nothing happened.
So I waited.
Pills need time to dissolve, right?
Now, I don't know what I was expecting. Maybe bright colors and hippy-trippy music. What I got was a caffeine rush of the worst magnitude.
I got jumpy, and being jumpy made me mad. It built to a barely controllable rage. I. Don't. Like. Being out of control.
I told my friend what was going on in my body, thinking, "She has more experience. She'll know what to do."
She said, "You need to get in a fight. That'll help."
Yeah. A fight. I'd like to beat someone up. My fist smashing into someone's helpless face would be just the ticket. Yeah.
I spent the next eternity looking for someone to beat the snot out of. I was on a quest. It didn't matter that I'd never started a fight before in my life. It didn't matter that I held no grudges against anyone at the moment. The only thing that mattered was that there was no one out on the street. I mean nobody. We tried the park, the school, everywhere; and there was not a soul to be seen.
I took to pounding my fist into my other hand, while my friend skipped alongside with her eyes twinkling. She was enjoying seeing me be violent. Eventually it sunk in that I wasn't going to find anyone to beat up. So I went home.
When the singular speckled egg wore off, I went to bed. I was so tired. I had a flu-like exhaustion. All I wanted was to sleep. I told my mom that I didn't feel well, and that I wouldn't be eating dinner. I was just going to sleep. Mom gave me a worried look, and I knew that she knew I'd taken something.
When I got up later, all she said was, "I hope you're feeling better. And I hope you won't ever feel that bad again." Yes, she knew.
I never did feel that bad again. I felt worse when I drank so much that I threw up. And I felt even worse than that when I drank so much that I couldn't throw up. But that's another story.
This story is about the one and only time I bought drugs for my personal use. It was a waste of money, and a waste of time. I wonder, If I'd had a pleasant experience, would I be a druggie now? Probably. If you didn't do drugs, you were harassed by your peers. They would hunt you in packs and beat you up for thinking you were superior. It was far easier to smoke a little pot and drink a little beer, even if you didn't like it. At least you fit in, and you didn't have to be afraid to go out of the house. I never did a lot of drugs, just enough to get by.