Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We've Got Spirit, Yes We Do

So it was June 2006. I was heavily abusing amphetamines in the form of Adderall and Adderall XR. At this time I had a secure source for the 30mg for a mere $5, a real steal. My contact, Marquette, was a real gem. She and I had met in 2004 while I was taking summer session courses. We would pop addies and stay up all night studying. I was quite the efficient student in these times. My other connection, Frank, had a Rx for Provigil. Provigil is used by pilots. It eliminates the need for sleep, but in the prescribed doses is not supposed to have the effect on the dopmaine system that standard amphetamines have. It is only supposed to elevate the nor-epinephrine levels in the brain causing an alert state of wakefulness, increased productivity, and an ease in the flow of thought. Keep in mind, however, that dopamine is transported along the nor-epinephrine pathways. Open those babies up enough and you're high as a kite. Combine Provigil with Adderall, and you're good to go for 48 hours. I was popping Addies and Provigil, I would stay awake for several days, then when I would start to crash, my body would begin to give out, and I felt that I could no longer efficiently function due to overwhelming paranoia and my body telling me, "Fuck you asshole, feed me!", I would pop 4mg of Xanax and somewhere between 30 to 60mg of hydrocodone. Seeing as how Jack was steadily selling the downers, I was set. I was the workhorse Hilton wanted. I could analyze spreadsheets, find trends, and basically do my bosses job and mine with ease. Life was grand.

The use, overuse, and expenditure of all of my Adderall eventually led to my using methamphetamine. A-Boy and I had the use of meth down to a science. You see, amphetamines are sensitive to Ph. If you take them with acids, they enter the blood stream faster but the bio-availability is lowered. This means less dope, and less time staying awake tweaking. We could have none of that, so we would take lots of alkaseltzer 15 minutes before we would dose. Then we would snort a tenth of a gram of glass. Time seemed to fly by, we were blissful at the peaks, and the valleys were filled with nightmarish depression and self-loathing. He used his school work as an excuse to stay awake. Me, personally, I liked tweaking out, staying awake for days on end. I had friends to hang out with and we could always find things to do. I would wrench on the motorcycle for hours, wrench on the truck, take computers apart and put them back together with the cables neatly wrapped, all the dust removed, and with more efficient cooling systems. We would tear down our operating systems and rebuild them for optimum performance. I can't count the hours I spent compiling Linux kernels. Our paranoia grew to the point where we would only use AIM across gAIM with gaim-encryption enabled. This meant our conversations were behind 1024 bit encryption, practically impossible to break. A-Boy got so paranoid about being "watched by the feds", that he stopped using a wireless keyboard because he swore they could hone in on the signal and figure out his side of the conversation. My weapon and ammunition collection grew as did the amount of time I spent on my motorcycle and the time I spent fucking Martina. Motorcycles, guns, and fucking, these are the things a tweaker holds most dear.

As she and I became much closer, Martina and A-Boy drifted apart. She invited me to go to Jackson, MS with her and her best friend who was in town from LA. Gretchen knew all about the affair, did not care for A-Boy, and did not judge either Martina or myself for our transgressions. This was a huge relief for me. I followed them down I-55 all the way to Jackson. We stopped once for gas and insufflated large amounts of glass in the bathroom on our way. We arrived at her parent's house to a very warm welcome. Her father really liked me and knew that there was something between us. She and I slept together in her old room; they had no objection. Although, we didn't exactly sleep. We stayed awake all night fucking and talking in our down time. The next day we hung out in Jackson and in the afternoon I returned back to Memphis. At this point I had been awake for some 72+ hours. I returned and hung out with A-boy as if nothing had happened. I was such a dick, oh well. He and I stayed up tweaking well into the next day. We went bike riding all over midtown, drank a few bottles of wine, and before I knew it, I had to be at work. I arrived at Hilton geeked out of my mind, full of paranoia, and immediately went to my seat. I had no desire to talk to everyone, I felt as if all eyes in the room were on me, and I was sick to my stomach from having drank so much wine the night and morning prior. I'm sure I looked like death. Later, Ole Sarge told me that he could tell I had not slept for some time. My hands were trembling and when I stood I was dizzy. Periodically I would see the "shadow people" from the corners of my vision and the occasional sparkling star patterns would envelop my vision and I felt like I would blackout.

Just as I was beginning to feel settled and at ease with the situation, you know, really in the groove of my work day, the manager came around and told everyone to go into break. The manager, whose name I do not recall, was a fat black woman. She hated me. She knew that I got along with all the supervisors, and they respected me. She had a horrible attitude and would like nothing more than to fire me. She made me last person to go into break and I had just answered the phone. I did not notice that the roar of talking around me had ceased. I saw everyone around me stand up and walk away. I remember finishing the call in 6min 30sec. I finished, stood up, turned around, and saw a sea of people who were all staring at me, there was a video camera, and the VP of Corporate communications. Everyone was clapping and I had no idea what was going on. There was cake, streamers, and balloons everywhere. Not knowing what the fuck was going on, I began walking down the aisle and nervously clapping. My heart was thumping, my head spinning, and my throat was in a battle with my stomach to keep the wine down. Then the VP said my name out loud and started congratulating me on being awarded the highest honor available to Hilton employees, "The Spirit of Hilton Award". I almost shit myself. Here I was, wasted on cheap red wine, I'm sure my lips were stained purple, and I hadn't slept in some four days and I was practically hallucinating from lack of sleep and I was winning an award. If only they knew how dependent I had become on "job performance enhancing drugs" they surely would have rushed me off to some kind of rehab where I would have been administered electroshock therapy and forced to talk about my feelings of hopelessness and why I felt I needed to use.

She went into a ramble about how I had gotten it for impressing the area president of Europe and Africa while Hilton Hotels Corporation was purchasing Hilton International. Whatever, I didn't care. All I could think about was how everyone in the room was staring at me, my clothes were disheveled, and I didn't know how to stand correctly without feeling out of place. Then she asked me to give a speech about my time at Hilton. I could barely think, I couldn't focus, and I do not remember at all what I said, but apparently I did a decent job and didn't give myself away. The VP then made me take a slice of cake and eat it. I could not stand to look at it, let alone taste it. I could only think of how sugary and disgusting the cake was. The icing, lard and sugar, in my mouth, my teeth, blue and yellow, and how my throat was so dry I could barely choke it down. If hell on earth could exist, this was certainly very close to it. I think my anxiety about the situation could have only been increased if I were standing naked in front of everyone after having taken a dip in a cold pool.

After rubbing elbows with people and thanking the people who "got me where I am today", I sat back down and continued working. I would do anything to make this situation stop. I then took a break, went to the bathroom, and swallowed several hydrocodone tablets. I could feel my heart slow, my breathing ease, and the anxiety melt away like cotton candy. I sat back, rode the wave of apathy, and awaited the end of my shift. I would only be employed at Hilton for six weeks after. Sarge would later tell me that I had received the "Hilton medal of Honor" and that I could never be fired. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Foray into Stupidity, 2C-T-2

My great uncle was an amazing man. When I get older, I want people to compare me to him. If this happens I know I've lived a long and prosperous life. My Uncle Rodney is by far the kindest man I have ever known. He died from mesothelioma. He was an electrician and when he was younger he had been exposed to asbestos. My grandmother called me from Chicago University Hospital and told me that he would not make it through the night. At this point I freaked out. I wanted so badly to be able to go to Chicago and see him and tell him how much I thought of him before he passed, but there was no way I would make it in time. I felt trapped in my cubicle at work and wanted nothing more than to be able to get away. I felt anxiety and panic building in my stomach. I was nauseated, terrified, and I wanted to remove myself from the situation. I reached into my desk drawer and took 6mg of Xanax. An hour later it felt as if I had took nothing. I burst into tears, called my manager, Terri, and she told me to go home. I went back home and was calling my grandmother every 30 minutes for status updates. Uncle Rodney wasn't even conscious enough for me to speak with him on the phone. I was so upset by this that I walked down to Joe's, bought a fifth of gin, and started pounding gin and tonics. After I was halfway through the bottle I couldn't stand to be at home any more. I left, went to my friend Adrian and Cammy's and they were very supportive and really helped me get through the night. I got word in the morning that the visitation would be on March 4th, 2007 and the funeral on the following day.

While I am a very strong person and have always been one to keep my head through some intense experiences, dealing with death is not one of my strong suits. It's the helplessness of seeing so many upset people and not being able to do anything to improve their condition that I have a problem with. I hate feeling helpless or useless. I decided to go to the visitation completely sober. My mother, her boyfriend, and I all rode together. We went into Immaculate Conception. I walked in and was overwhelmed by both the beauty and tacky gaudiness of Catholicism. That night I did very well in holding myself together, said some kind words to my aunt and cousin, and then left. Once we got into the car I cried until we reached the bar. I drank three pitchers of beer and then returned home. Martina and A-Boy were waiting on my return. At this point Martina and I hadn't begun a romantic relationship and the three of us were great friends. She saw my headlights as I came up the driveway and ran outside to give me a hug.

"Payne-cakes! How are you doing?" I could smell her perfume. I still remember it hitting me in the face every time she would hug me. She smelled like honey suckles.

"I hate funerals. It was nice. My cousin seemed to be coping well. His wife looked good. Aunt Melinda seemed to be handling everything really well. I guess that they had been expecting this for a long time."

"Why don't you come up to our apartment so that you're not alone. Unless of course you want to be alone which I completely understand, but if you want friends, we're here for you. If you hang out with us though, at midnight it's A's birthday, so you have to be in a good mood. I'm sure we have something that can help you with that. Oh, and you have to wear a party hat."

"Okay, let me change out of these clothes and I'll be up. I need to put on something more comfortable." She gave me another hug and I went into my apartment and changed into my flannel pajama pants and a white t-shirt. I went barefoot up stairs to their apartment. A-boy was at the computer when I walked in. Their apartment was very warm and I could smell the heater was on full blast, which was very nice because it was a dreary and rainy day. A-boy walked up and gave me a hug, asked if I was okay, and then pardoned himself while he finished his school work. He finished up early and then we all sat in a circle and smoked a joint. We exchanged tales of various funerals and what not, and I felt much better. They were very empathetic and really understood what I was going through. They were great friends. A-boy and I walked into the secondary bedroom and examined the mushrooms. They were growing up pretty well. We took out various flasks and beakers and the conversation geared towards producing methacathinone. He told me how he had done it once, left the apartment with the equipment on high, and when he returned the heat had make the flask explode and the red hot Pyrex had left burn marks all over the floor. We both thought it was funny. I can't accurately describe his mannerisms, but when A-boy got worked up, he was a real hoot.

"It must be that time!" yelled Martina. She walked in wearing a birthday hat and threw confetti everywhere. "It's time for someone's birthday par-tay, you boys are right on schedule."

I wished him a happy birthday. "So what party favors would you like Payne-ee-cous?" Martina h had several variations on my name. Lots of them I don't remember. My room mate detested her. I'm sure they're burned into Floyd's memory forever. She opened up a cardboard jewellery box that was in the shape of a top hat. Around the bottom of it, it had a piece of notebook paper pasted to it that said, "Do you like my hat? Why yes I do! Thank you very much!" Yes it was silly, but it was appropriate. This was the dope hat and it is where the stash of only God knows what was kept. I said, "It's A's birthday and the birthday boy always gets the first piece of cake. Let him decide what he wants first." A-boy reached in pulled out several capsules with white to off-greyish powder in them and a triangular shaped orange tablet that had 3 holes in it. He put the capsules in one hand and the tablet in the other, raising one and then the other as if to represent scales.

"Hrm... I think I'll go with this one." He quickly popped one of the capsules into his mouth. Then looked at me all bright eyed with his "I'm very satisfied with myself" smile that I had seen all too often. Martina took the ecstasy tablet and I asked what was in the capsules after he dropped one in my hand.

"It's 2C-T-2. It's not as visually stimulating as 2C-I or 2C-T-7, but it's fun to trip on." I asked him for the who's and what's of the chemical trusting him 100%. There are not many people I would trust when it came to drugs. I have met very few people who's knowledge of them could rival my own. A-boy's far surpassed mine. He assured me that each of them was weighed out to 35mg +/-2mg. I took it, rolled another joint, and we all sat in a circle telling ridiculous stories, coloring, and drawing. We listened to upbeat music, trance, happy hardcore, and MSI. Martina was the first to feel her drugs, ours would take over an hour before we felt anything. She and I were on the couch laughing, and A-boy sat on the coffee table and we all had a good time.

Before the T2 set in, the first thing I felt was nausea. It felt as if I had swallowed a ball of cement and it was growing inside my stomach. It ached a little, but that soon passed. The nausea soon gave way to a light feeling. I felt a little stimulated, conversation seemed to flow easier, at least I was more talkative, and the lights began to get brighter. Minutes after the initial onset, my vision went to complete shit. Everything was very blurry and I was happy and giddy. My problems were miles behind me and I began laughing at the most simple things. I found that conversation was harder to follow and I couldn't help but smile. The muscle in my face seemed to be non-responsive. It felt like there were invisible strings attached to my face that were controlling the muscles and contorting my face into this stupid grin. I wondered if this was how Jack Nicholson's character would have felt in Batman after the bad plastic surgery job. My mind began to make farther and father reaching comparisons. I tried to talk, to comment on Martina's story.

"I know what you mean..." My dialogue was interrupted by my own fits of laughter. I was trying to hold it back, trying to convey what was going through my head, but nothing intelligible would come out. I was rocking back and forth trying to fight back the laughter at what I was about to say, but it wouldn't come out. I think we were talking about Vasquez, something about Johnny the Homicidal Maniac or Invader Zim. It was probably Invader Zim, because what then came out was, "Squirrel... hehehe... LIKE THIS!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA" I fell to the ground. Everyone was laughing. I don't know if they were laughing at me or what I said, but I was rolling on the ground in laughter, completely unable to communicate all of the random thoughts that were going through my brain. It was as if I had been reduced to a six year-old serotogenic schizophrenic.

After hours of this going on, I realized it was very late and I had to go to bed. The funeral was about 4 hours away. My muscles ached and I was physically exhausted. A-boy gave me some Seroquel tablets so that I could sleep and so that I would be emotionally numb for the funeral. I hugged them both, thanked them for such a wonderful evening, and told them how happy I was that they were my friends. While there are many details about this night and what was said that I will not be able to remember, it was the night that I became very close to both of them.