Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jack's Pharmie Connection

Jack Handey: I was fresh out of high school when I started running drugs for Frank. My job was simple, I found contacts, dealers who pushed pharmaceuticals, I delivered the drugs, Frank and I split the cash, they never knew his name. They only knew I had a supplier who I had to check-in with for the prices because I wasn't allowed to make those decisions alone and he and I never talked on the phone. All decisions were made between the two of us, face to face, without anyone else in the room. I only communicated to the distributors via pay phones and they contacted me through my pager. Cell phones weren't in yet and I wouldn't have one for another few years. I was free from most any obligation. This is just how I liked it. I could discuss the street prices with Frank, tell him we should cut the price by a third, then I could turn around and only cut them a quarter to the distributors. Frank didn't know; fuck, I made him so much money he didn't care. Before I started raising my own profits like that we were each brining in $900 a week, tax free. How could we not? We had no overhead, the product was good, and the clients knew it.

Frank the Wop was a manager at a veterinary supply warehouse. You wouldn't believe the shit they give your pets. We had a variety of pharmaceuticals at our disposal. We had 500mg vials of injectable Dilaudid. We had Dilaudid in pill form (2, 4, and 8mg). We had all three strengths of Valium. Xanax we could only get in the lower two strengths. We had Halothane, which is used to anaesthetize animals along with Ketamine. The Halothane was Frank's favorite. I've seen that fat bastard huff up three bottles in a day. He was always giving me "samples", bottles he had opened and dipped out of; 60 Xanax here, 20 Dilaudids there. They didn't sell as fast as the Valiums. He'd give me 200 of the peach Valiums at a time; they didn't sell like the blues. It was the perfect time to be 18. The rave scene was dying off, but the drug culture was becoming mainstream. Everyone was taking something. What's a few Adderall to study? Some Valium to celebrate after the exams. Party too hard all night at Headliners, no problem, here's some Dorcium, some Rohyphynol, Nitrazepam, Phenobarbital, Xanax... we had pills for days. I don't really remember much of my early college days, but I knew I wouldn't make this kind of money doing IT work. The saddest part was I knew it wouldn't last for long.

My girlfriends, no matter their religious convictions, never seemed to mind. It was amazing how surprise flowers at work with a note saying, "We're going out tonight, wear something nice" with a gift card attached to Macy's, it was really amazing how quickly you can make people forget you were doing anything wrong. It was easy to make them forget that you were one dark tail light away from being a convicted felon. They came and went. Most of them hardly making a ripple in the pond. Friends, girlfriends, acquaintances, dealers, junkies, buyers, customers, whatever you want to call them, people just became controllable objects, movable pieces in a game I no longer found any pleasure in playing. Nobody was real. After a point of binging on Dilaudid and Xanax to forget your troubles, nothing seems real.

One day I'm in class and my pager starts blowing up. It's Frank, he's putting "911" at end of his messages. He never does that. He also never pages me during class. He knew I could get kicked out of a class if it was audible. Hell, the man had my class schedule posted beside his phone. Class let out and I used a payphone in the UC to call him. He was frantic. He told me he had to talk to me immediately. He said I had to take all the bottles, contact everybody, and make sure there were no lot numbers left on any of them. He told me he had gotten caught at work and had destroyed all the evidence. To recap exactly what that means, Frank had crushed and destroyed a case of 10mg Valium, a case of peach Xanax, and 35 vials of beautiful, beautiful IV Dilaudid. The junkie in me was sobbing, the businessman was throwing up, and the "good person" knew how close he was to prison. Apparently, Frank didn't do his job. He had been checking in Diazepam as Diazenol. Diazenol was something veterinary specific, only used in animals, and it wasn't controlled. It was much more expensive than Valium, so even though the numbers wouldn't add up exactly, 24 damaged cases of Diazenol was acceptable, 112 cases of "lost" Diazenol was not. He had forgotten to remove them from the system and his boss questioned him about the missing cases. Frank simply left work, keys on the desk, and faxed his letter of resignation from Kinkos. It was never reported to the DEA because the company would have lost their license to carry scheduled substances.

Had we really sold that many? Let's do the math on that... 112 cases x 24 bottles per case x $120 / bottle... $322,560 !?!??! Sweet mother of God! Had each of us really split that and blown it in the last 18 months. That was just the Valium. I think at this point my opulent lifestyle had grown out of control. All those nights of binging on cocaine and ecstasy with the nameless, faceless strangers. Meeting washed up professional athletes: wrestlers, tennis players, football and basketball players, it had never been enough, but was so much at the same time. I had watched a former professional wrestler shave down three 80mg Oxycontin with his pocket knife, mix them in with a gram of blow, and snort it all in a matter of seconds. How had I come to this? Why was it just now bothering me? All good things must come to an end. I wouldn't talk to Frank for over a year until we knew we were clear.

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