Jesus! Answer the fuckin-
"Hey girl! Pick up! Yo, yo, yo-"
From bed, I can hear Iona yelling into our answering machine. I sit up and look at the clock. 2:44pm. Time to get up.
"What?!" demands Kym into the phone. "Really? Wow. Ok. Thanks sis..."
I listen to them chatter in a mixture of sister gibberish, English and other languages while yawning and looking for clothes. Whenever Kym stops speaking English, she's either emotionally disturbed or plotting something. I push the thought out of my mind and select clothes from the mostly clean pile. Through the open curtains, I can see a slice of marble gray sky between buildings. The glass pane rattles from the winter wind. Kym materializes in the doorway wearing nothing but a Bauhaus t-shirt. It looks like a tiny, black witch dress. Her pixie blond hair is wild like a dandelion dancing on the wind.
"Morning" I smile pulling on a random t-shirt that smells ok.
"Hey" she responds crossing her arms and hugging herself. "I made some toast."
Behind Kym's blank face, I can feel her wheels spinning. Plans are forming behind blue eyes. She stares at me like a sorceress from ages long gone.
"Was that Iona?" I ask.
"What'd she want?"
"Nothing. How much oxy is left?" asks Kym.
"I don't know" I respond pulling on my jeans. "It's on the dresser."
But of course I know. There are seven 30mg pills in the bottle. And four stashed in my jacket. Kym walks over to open the bottle. She works tonight and oxy is her drug of choice for coffee customer service. Lately, I have been using oxy at school to stay alert and socially engaged. But in reality, oxy is just a buffer. Kym and I are shameless heroin addicts.
"That's it?" she frowns. "Can you get more? I need like three tonight and want some tomorrow."
This is why I hide pills in my jacket and heroin in my boot lining. I know Kym's animal well.
"I'll ask Ari. We have lab on Monday."
"Did Jase leave anything?" she asks. She means heroin. Kym unconsciously reaches up and slips her hand into her hairdo. I look at the trail of holes in the crook of her arm as she smoothes her spiky, platinum blond locks.
"Besides the coke you borrowed?" I ask casually.
"Oh jeez! We're all good! I got him that fucking espresso machine he wanted. Do you know how much those things cost? Trust me, he's ok with me taking a little taste" she sniffs.
"Any left? I need a Good Morning line."
"No" she responds staring pointedly at me. Our eyes are like car headlights driving right at each other. A game of chicken. I look away as she twirls her hair and says, "We finished it last night."
Kym is getting riled up. We are talking around rude, unspoken truths. This annoys her because everyone has their own versions of reality. I get one line of coke for every three lines she snorts. We both know this. But switch uppers for downers, and you got me hoarding pills or shooting up in a bathroom alone. Another path in the maze that defines our souls.
"Ok" I say looking for socks. I find a red one and a brown one. Close enough.
"Is Rondo around?" asks Kym.
"No. Him and Cammy went to Aspen to snowboard at his parent's lodge. Remember they asked us if we could go?"
"Yeah, whatever" says Kym who does not snowboard. "We gotta go to Dean's."
We did the last of the shitty black tar last night. Nasty stuff. You can't snort it. It barely gets us high when we smoke it,so we are forced to inject it into our blood. But this is an advanced capitalistic society. Needles are free every Thursday. The needle van trundles down the Van Ness and stops at all the convenient junkie streets. But Dean? Fuck. I hate this part.
Dean is a dopefiend that lives in the Tenderloin with his dopefiend wife Jenny. He is old. Like older than 30. Maybe even in his 40's, I don't know. He's old. Skinny dude with a bandana on his head like a TV wrestler. He dresses like a heavy metal stoner and has a creepy crawly vibe. He will always say something vaguely inappropriate when he sees Kym.
Last time it was, "Wow. Girls only get a body like that from like, 14 to maybe 21. Am I right?"
You can't call Dean. No phone. You walk down the street he lives on and hope you see him on his stoop or down the block. The stoop is vacant. On the stairs is a shivering, old black man who needs a winter coat. Kym and I watch him pace to stay warm. But a coat wouldn't warm that man's bones. This makes me feel ill. I hold Kym's hand. Time passes. We are about to give up when the door opens and two biker guys leave. Dean stands there, surveying his spot. The black guy rushes up. But Dean spots us and walks past him.
"What's up Kym? What's up S- Hey!" yells Dean as the black man grabs his arm.
"I just need a half! I been waiting for-"
"Get the fuck off me, Wendell!" yells Dean shoving the old man who bounces off the stair railing and collapses to the ground. Dean looks at us and smiles. "Guys! Come up!"
Kym steps over the old black guy groveling on the stoop like this is totally normal. Jesus. How did my life end up with moments like this? I can hear the old man sobbing as I step over him.
"So what can I do for you two?" asks Dean magnanimously as he slams the door. His house smells like cat shit and wine vomit.
"Two grams" I answer.
"How about three?" corrects Kym.
Dean stares at Kym. People always stare at Kym. Tall, long limbed but curvy like a pagan, fertility idol. I should be used to this. Kym is used to it. But sometimes it is so very awkward. Like now as Dean unconsciously fondles himself in front of us. Kym ignores his old man leer and pretends to study the collection of framed, Def Leppard posters. Dean's claim to fame, besides peddling shitty heroin, is he once was a roadie for a North American Def Leppard tour.
"Three?" muses Dean seriously like we just asked him who should lead the free world. "Ok. Wait here."
We stand awkwardly near his filthy couch as he disappears down the hall. Kym's face, since arrival, has been a mask. It does not irritate, it does not provoke. It's more like a prop to look at and admire. It's the same mask she wears in bars. An irritated cough comes from the gloom. Jenny always coughs, yet she smokes cloves. Kym lights a cigarette. We listen to Dean and Jenny bicker.
"Goddamnit Dean, no cigarettes inside!" coughs Jenny.
"Just shut up and hand me the damn bag!" growls Dean.
I look at Kym who shrugs. Then she takes another drag and blows it down the hall. Kym and Jenny never liked each other. I want a smoke too but feel guilty taking a puff. I think Jenny is just a crazy bitch based on her past behavior but who knows? I'd feel shitty if she has asthma. Kym holds the smoke to my lips and I look at her and shake my head. She winks.
I take a drag.
"It's just the heater" whispers Kym. "They leave it on all the time. Dries the sinuses."
"Sure" I exhale as Dean walks back into the room.
"Here you go" says Dean handing Kym three yellow balloons tied into tiny, yellow knots.
I pay him. Kym takes the balloons, bends over and slips them in her purse.
"Are you wearing panties?" asks Dean.
Kym pops straight up as if electrocuted.
"Yes I am, Dean" she says flicking her ashes on his carpet.
"Sorry, but you have no lines. And those are some tight, fucking jeans" he grins appreciatively.
"Thanks you" Kym answers.
"You are so exotic" continues Dean as if I am not here.
I always wonder what am I supposed to do in these situations? Mock him? Agree? Punch him?
"Well, we gotta go" says Kym who never needs my help. "I have to go to work."
"Ok" answers Dean. "What are you guys doing later? Wanna hangout?"
I envision stabbing myself in the eye with a plastic fork VS hanging out with Dean. Kym shakes her head.
"Maybe next week?"
"Sure" smiles Dean. "Anytime. Did you know Jenny is bi? Did I tell you that?"
"Yup. Well, we gotta go" says Kym walking out the door.
Dean follows us out while counting the cash. Kym keeps walking and slips into her car as I make the awkward good bye exit with Dean.
"Come by anytime" says Dean giving me an odd look. "And I'm serious. Jenny is down."
"Ok" I say letting go of his greasy hand.
Buying drugs is always awkward because you have to talk to people. Weird fucking people.
I climb into Kym's car. She is wincing, snorting and rubbing her eye. Hm. Before I can say anything stupid, she pops in her Pharcyde tape making conversation impossible. As Kym drives us back to the Mission, I stare out the window and quietly pull the three balloons of heroin out of her purse. I almost feel bad but Kym is making odd facial expressions like icicles are piercing her brain. Cocaine icicles. When we hit a column of traffic, she lowers the insane volume of her car stereo that vibrate my bones and looks at me.
"I hate going there, babe" she sighs. "I can't wait until Jase and Autumn come back from LA."
"Mmhmm" I agree studying her right nostril that looks like a powdered donut. I use my thumbnail to carve out hunks of black Mexican tar. I catch her sideways glance but pretend I do not.
"We're going to Maui next week" says Kym casually.
This makes me pause the operation, but my animal takes over as I look over at Kym. Pinch tar, wipe in cigarette pack. Pinch tar, wipe in cigarette pack.
"Maui?" I ask as my hands do their thing and Kym drives us through traffic.
"Yeah. Iona got us free airfare. Love my big sis" snorts Kym lighting a cigarette. "We need a break, babe. We look like shit. But I can't ship another package. Kimo won't accept it. He knew we were sending drugs last time and kinda tripped out. So we gotta go clean."
Kimo is the nice old guy that does property management for the Amiri's Maui condo.
"Clean?" I ask. "Like clean clean?"
"No coke or H?"
"Nope" shrugs Kym. "Kimo was very clear. I mean we could take some on the plane but I got a bad feeling about that. Nothing more than pills. So get extra oxy from Ari."
"Ok" I say as she hands me the smoke. I look at her but she stares into rainy day city traffic. "So we're gonna withdrawal? H and coke?"
"Yeah" Kym sighs. "Gotta this week. Taper. I think it's a good thing. Don't you?"
I think about this. The vicious cycle is back. We have been injecting for four days straight. Kym has four holes in her arm and I have seven. I am ready for number eight. I can taste the shot in the back of my throat as I caress my bruised arm. We stop at a traffic light. Kym sniffs again. I look over and see a thin line of blood dripping from her nose.
"Yes" I nod stashing the cigarette pack with hunks of pinched tar in my jacket, "this is a wise decision."