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The Golden Days
The days before heroin were the golden days. All I did was chill, walk, go to school, and get stoned. It was nice, but it was empty. I had no idea what drugs were back then. Well I did know, but I didn’t know what it was like to be high, or to crave them. My earliest memory of my cousin consists of him strapping me into his mother’s beat up car and picking up a bag. I remember the dealer said “Best s*** around. You got the money this time, right?” then he saw me, and he waved and smiled. And that’s how I knew that the junkies we made fun of and jumped were actually people who had made bad decisions. And sometimes, could we really blame them? When the drugs were offered to me, a few times from my uncle, even more times from my friends, I said No thanks. I didn’t need drugs and their ugly results. People used drugs to feel good and have fun, but I didn’t need them. I could have fun by myself. That was until the pill was handed to me by my best friend from my new school. My only two friends in that school that my mother had sent me to in the middle of nowhere a half hour from the city and far away from the neighborhood I had grown up in. They proceeded to crush theirs up and snort it. It wasn’t a needle, not like all the junkies used. It was from a doctor, unlike heroin. So it seemed safe. I snorted the small white pill with my friends, hidden in the large stall of the boy’s bathroom. And then we went back to class. I felt nothing, neither did my friends. Mike had only stolen it from his dad because his older sister did. And she said he could have some to if he didn’t tell. It was our first time ever doing drugs, and I’ll never know why we chose to start with oxy. Ten minutes later, in the middle of math, it hit us. Everything slipped, right out from under us, and we were floating in a drug induced limbo. I turned to Pete, and his eyes were glassy and relaxed. He finally lost his tense jaw. I’m sure I wasn’t restlessly tapping my feet or drumming my fingers on my desk like usual. “Dude... what the f***?” I asked him, hoping he could explain what was going on. But then I knew I was really high. And everything continued slipping. When everything is slipping in and out, that’s when people are afraid. They see things like they never have before, and then it scares them. I’m used to it. It doesn’t scare me. Now I am content to lay down and listen to my mind wandering everywhere, looking around without seeing anything, but knowing everything at the same time. I understand why they give you oxy for pain, because there is no more pain in the entire world after only one pill. I am quiet, others are loud, but I know how to enjoy it. It’s funny how the only reason I was invited to this party is because I can get drugs. He told us his parents left and that he has the house to himself. And he told us to come around nine. We showed up at nine, Mike and Pete and me, having just snorted a bag and wandered around the woods of Billerica, watching the sunset and the moonrise. We were the first ones there. This was the first party I had ever been to, no one liked us, me specifically. But I’ll admit I understand why. I am eccentric, I don’t joke, but the things I say seem crazy. Well guess what, I am crazy. I’ve seen and accepted to much to act like a teenager, I know how we look to the world, and I don’t like it one bit. So I’m not invited to parties, but I didn’t mind, I still had my drugs.
“What you got?” Our gracious host asks us the second we’re inside. We show him the bottle of pills, and he smiles. He tells us we can watch TV, he still needs to get ready. So we turn on Jack Ass and laugh at their exploits. The only reason we like Jack Ass is because the cast treat each other like we do. Only we do crazier things, and we don’t even have a budget. Mike rolls a joint, and him and Pete pass it back and forth until there’s only a thin strip of paper burning their fingers and the air is hazy and thick. I didn’t smoke at this point, I was only twelve, and kids shouldn’t do drugs. I just wish someone had told me that prescription pills counted as drugs. Mike and Pete were only twelve to, but I’ve never seen anyone smoke so fast. They kept hitting everything until it was gone, and they coughed until tears were brought to their eyes. But they couldn’t smoke any other way. They had to do it fast for reasons I’ll never understand. By the time our host is back, he’s angry. He says we can’t be making his house smell like “dank”, but I know he’s only pissed that we didn’t invite him.
“We didn’t know you’d want any.” Mike says, “I’ll roll another if you’d like.” And then it’s history. People show up, girls shy in their black eyeliner and boys feeling bad ass with their water bottles filled with their parent’s vodka. We laugh, we laugh for the longest time. People laugh with us, because they think we’re all stoned. What they don’t realize is that we’re laughing at them, and they are the most ridiculous sight in the world other then those crack heads that hang out by the train tracks. People start to ask us for s***, s*** we don’t care to get. Like beer, and shrooms, and LSD, and Ecstasy, and they don’t stop until we hand out a few pills of OxyContin. We ask what they got, and if they want to trade, but all they have is straight vodka and a few cigarettes.
“No thanks.” I say. We wait for everyone to settle in before we start to drink. We thought that the purpose of teenage parties was to drink, so we got a little beer just to fit in. We are the only Irish people in the whole world who don’t like being drunk. We sip our cheap beer from cheap cans, and we continue watching Jack Ass, no one changed it. Then people notice, they ask us what else we have. Nothing, only oxy and weed. But that interests them to much, and next thing we know, Mike is smoking up half of our grade using one joint. They all cough until they cry, but it goes unnoticed, Mike and pete do the same thing. And despite the good twenty people that started, Mike and Pete finish it by themselves, everyone else is to baked.
“I’m bored.” I finally say. “Parties suck.” Mike and Pete agree. We leave without saying anything to finish our beer in peace. And we walk through the woods of Billerica, playing would you rather, and laughing.
“Let’s visit the crack heads.” Pete says, and we skip along the train tracks narrowly dodging the metal monsters that charge by. There were three crack heads, but we considered them the same person. They were all addicted to crack, and crack makes people all the same. Their hair sticks on end, snarled and dull, their eyes are wide and their skin is flawed with those sores. They weren’t a nice sight, but they were interesting. They were in the middle of an intense game of go fish, and we waited until they were done. Otherwise they wouldn’t have even noticed us.
“Hey kids, ya know we got that praaaaduct!” Ally says eagerly, holding up a bag of weed. Awesome Ally. No matter what, when I talked to him I saw a crack head, and that’s why I couldn’t respect him. He wasn’t Ally, he was a crack head in every way. He stole, he made promises he couldn’t keep, and he had the voice of an addict. The only one who didn’t seem like a crack head to me was Molly, but she was a weird goth chick so it didn’t matter.
“A bunch of kids just tried to rip us off.” We told them, before going into a drugged out rendition of the night’s events, stuttering and pausing often. They laugh and tell us we’re smart, and that parties aren’t worth it.
“Kids in school treated us the same way, so we started going to high school and college parties instead where everyone was more our speed.” Keith told us. And then we realized why they were crack heads, they were kids who grew up to fast. And they were exposed to things that they weren’t actually mature enough to handle. And then they were crack heads who hung out by the train tracks and talked to middle school kids about the meaning of life and what type of blunt wrap tastes the best. So we walked away. Mike left the bottle of oxy on a tree stump, and we went back to his shed to sleep it off.
The next morning we got up and dragged ourselves to Mike’s house where his ignorant mother made us pancakes and asked us what we did last night. She chattered and we were silent, responding with one word sentences. But she still was ignorant, so she didn’t mind. I went home to the city, and Pete went home to Lowell, and we didn’t even know until Monday morning.
Our host had died. He overdosed on OxyContin.
“Good thing you left the pills in the woods.” Pete tried to reassure us, but we knew the kids would tell. They would have no problem telling, we were unpopular junkies. Then again, there was no proof, other then Mike’s dad being prescribed oxy, but what did that mean? Nothing. Not in this day and age where everyone who has enough money is given pills to make their problems go away.
So we attended the assembly in his memory, forcing ourselves to hold down our lunch as we saw the phony tears of his friends.
“Poor kid had to die for him to know he had no friends.” Pete whispered into my ear, and I agreed. Before we were shushed by our overweight, miserable dean of discipline.
“Hey shut up, ginger!” I found myself screaming. The whole room was silent, but they weren’t looking at me. They knew it was me, they didn’t have to check. I was the only one who had no problem with getting in trouble, at all. It wasn’t because I felt cool or anything either, it was because I honestly wouldn’t put up with s***. From anyone, even our principal. I was taught in church never to tell a lie, and my father enforced this by punching me in the face anytime that I did. So I called our dean of discipline a worthless heifer with the heart of the devil, and she didn’t know what to say. At first, I thought it was because she understood I was being honest. So I turned around and watched the front of the room where the dead boy’s friends were reading cheesy little speeches they wrote. But she gave me s***.
“Office.” She said, her nostrils flaring.
“F*** you.” I responded, and Pete laughed. She gave him an icy look and took me by the wrist.
“F*** off,” I said, not one for violence, but she was persistent. So I did the only logical thing and punched her in the nose. I was small, but for my size I could pack a punch and she drew back right away. I didn’t know what to do, should I run or stay in my seat. Pete decided for me by reaching into my pocket and taking the pills he knew I had left there. And then Mike pushed me forward, and the three of us ran out, all eyes on us. We ran out through the front doors and felt the rush of cool air on our faces. It was nice despite the situation. We ran through the trees and were soon back to our drug addled lurking, we crept through the bushes and shadows of the forest, taking in everything around us and throwing leaves and flowers at each other. Then we saw the train tracks. And before we knew it, we were walking to the crack head’s favorite spot out of habit.
“Hellllooooo.” Ally said cheerfully, slipping the glass pipe back into his pocket. They hated smoking in front of us. “What’s crackin’?” The others laughed at his unintentional pun, and we shrugged our shoulders.
“We killed someone and ran away from school after Lizzie punched out this fat b****.” Mike said. And the crack heads laughed for a straight five minutes.
“Hope you understand you’re expelled.” Ally told me.
“I understand, and I really don’t mind.” I said. So he told us good luck, and we left them to smoke crack.
“We’re screwed.” Pete said, shaking his head.
“Yeah, but we still have these,” Mike exclaimed, picking the abandoned bottle of pills off the tree stump.
“Awesome.” We all agree, and then in a matter of minutes we’re to messed up to think about anything.