“I just want to go home. Can I just go home Mike?”
“Nobody calls me a crack head, you motherfucker!”
“I’m sorry man, it was a joke, just a stupid fucking joke. Dude, please I’m scared, Mike.”
“Shut the fuck up and go sit on the couch!”
Don’t ever let your supplier meet your buyer. I was so excited to have my 8 balls but let me just tell you how fucking stupid I was. Alright, when you want to set up shop at any level there are going to be some costs involved. You need some baggies, some cut, and a scale. I used some type of vitamin shit that they sold at the head shop for the cut when I bought the baggies, but here is one of the major ways that I fucked up. I bought the cheapest scale possible. It wasn’t that metal cheap-ass old-school weed scale with the key-chain ring looking thing or clip on the end and it wasn’t a triple beam miracle dream one either. It sure the fuck wasn’t digital. It was one of those janky-ass little “beam” scale with a tiny weight and a removable tiny plastic bowl to put coke in. It wasn’t nearly accurate enough and cocaine is one of those things that you really have to know your inventory and there needs to be a good level of product uniformity.
So, purple Camaro guy from my real estate office shows up to buy some coke and he’s not there for 5 minutes and I hear Mike pull up. I’m standing there not saying a word, but I’m fuming inside. Why am I mad? I was talking to Mike about 30 minutes before and he knew my guy was coming by. He knew I was about to sell some coke to this guy and he just showed up out of nowhere. Mike was there for 5 minutes before he looked at my guest and asked him “Hey, you cool? Do you guys want to do some lines?” I’m just standing there trying to figure out what is happening because I really needed to sell the blow that I had, but this new shit Mike had was just out of this world, great coke the “where did my face go?”, type of shit and of course now my buddy wants some of Mike’s blow instead of the lesser quality coke that Mike had sold to me. Mike hung out a while and they eventually exchanged phone numbers. Fuck.
*(next time at Mikes)
“Dude, what the fuck is that?”
“Oh, shit don’t use that pipe!”
“We were using it to smoke heroin.”
There was a weird state of cognitive dissonance occurring in my brain while I was screaming at the other addicts in the room, that were also sitting around the coffee table that night at Mike’s Enfield Drug House. I couldn’t believe that they were so rude as to not inform a crack head that the crack pipe on the table had also been used for heroin. The nerve. I was mad as hell, but we settled out of court for a different crack pipe filled with crack, well freebase. Mike’s choice of pipe was weird, and I’ve never seen that be someone’s preferred choice of crack pipe before. Oh, you didn’t know that there are different types of crack pipes? Oh, yeah. I’ve seen of course the traditional, glass crack pipe like in the movies, but that’s the movies playa. I’ve only seen those around a few places. I’ve seen a lot of the metal stems from the older type bongs, you know the metal stem and the metal, threaded bowl. Those make great crack pipes; you just have to use a bunch of screens in it as well. That way when the crack melts down it gets in those screens and you can then do screen hits in those final hours of a crack binge. I’ve seen those plastic bongs without water used, but Mike loved using a tire gauge. He would disassemble a tire gauge and then bend it at the end. The freebase would get trapped in there and smoke for a long time.
I had been over at Mike’s place and we had been going for over a day. Mike’s cooking up more magical beaker, lava lamp, freebase and we’re all just chilling on the couch. I wanted to do a hit, but I didn’t ask if I could have a hit, I was broke, and I just took one off of the crack platter. It was the last rock on the platter. I just wasn’t thinking about it because Mike was cooking more up, but that set him off. Mike is yelling about me be disrespectful, I had just done my first couple of comedy open mics and it slipped. “Mike, why are you acting like such a fucking crack-head?”
I said that and I turned around and started walking away. I was kind of getting ready to giggle out loud, and I might have been beginning to smile, as I saw the other guys backing up fast as if the running of the bulls had just begun and they were all there front and center wearing red berets. I’m just knocked the fuck out. Cold. I’m coming to hearing screaming and I was just out for a bit I think, but I’m just so disoriented. I’m by the pool table, Mike has a gun to my head, and I just start asking Mike’s permission to leave. He tells me to shut up. I shut the fuck up.
Mike thinks for a bit, just holding the gun in one hand and tells me to go sit on the couch. He then gets the other guys to sit down with us on the couches to smoke freebase around the coffee table. He gives me hit after hit, excluding the others. I keep saying I’m good, but Mike yells ‘You wanted the last hit so bad why don’t you just smoke all of the crack! I’m a fucking crack head, right? That’s what you fucking called me!” “Well, Steven I got news for you, you’re a crack head too and you’re always going to be one!” We all smoked crack for probably 4 or 6 hours. Mike was calling it crack with every hit.
The next time that I went over there I was really scared. I was terrified, but I owed Mike money again. He opened the door as if nothing happened. I kept waiting for that moment in a mob movie where the guy gets killed just as everyone is being really cool and nice to him. Then one of the other coffee table crack heads looked at me and whispered, “Hey dude, the other day, don’t worry about that. Mike’s ok. Just don’t do it again and don’t mention it.” I never did until now. I tried staying away from Mike’s, but I just couldn’t. It had become my second home.
And you already know what Mike was doing the last time that I saw him, so I won’t be redundant. Mike was busted shortly after that driving with a large amount of raw materials for his small, independent business. I have a lot more to say about Mike, but that will have to wait.
I’m 26 years old and I’ve been fired from my job again. I moved into a new apartment in order to get paid. Wait what? Yeah, it’s a little scam we used to do in apartment leasing, but you have to move in order to do it. I’ve also tried standup comedy in order to “conquer my anxiety”. All it does is facilitate my alcoholism and anxiety, but it’s a weird new high.
When someone tells me that they are or were an addict, one of the first things that I look at are their arms. I’m not looking for track marks, I’m looking for tattoos. Do they have tattoos, because how the fuck could you afford those nice tattoos if you were an addict? Were you blowing the tattoo artist? It’s really one of the first things that I look for.
I had a new job at the biggest apartment locater service in Austin and the first thing that I did was take advantage of it. I moved into a new apartment and made some cash. How? Well, when you are an apartment locater you get a commission when someone leases an apartment because of you, even if it is you. That’s right, I would show myself the apartment and then get the commission. Everybody did it and it was straight up cool with all parties involved. I found a place before the old place knew that `I was gone. Ha ha. That’s right, I had one of my patented two in the morning move-outs, because I was behind on rent. I knew that I was fucking up my rental history, but I didn’t care. I’d be dead within a few years, I kept telling myself and I was actually looking forward to it. My relationships with women were lasting as long as it took for those girls to figure out that they were missing a few compact discs or when they just grew tired of my excuses for why I was such a loser.
I’m doing stand-up comedy, but I’m not good and I don’t fit in. Of course, I fall on my standby and end up trying too hard to impress people. I am living by myself and I’m not freebasing, but I am doing a lot of powder and my drinking is up to a six pack a night, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but I’m not a big dude and I was already throwing up pretty much daily at this point. I am really struggling to pay my rent and so I decide to find a roommate.
I find one guy, but then he just doesn’t work out. My next roommate ended up being a really good guy until he met me. We met doing comedy and ended up having a lot of fun. You know though, it’s the weirdest fucking thing. This guy is a white dude that looks like Mac Dre. You know, that one rapper from the bay area? Yeah, he looked like that guy, but kind of dorky and white. That guy is John Rabon and he is still a stand-up comic working in Austin. I was good friends with John, but I fucked that up too. We’re good now, but I really fucked him over. John witnessed a lot of my destructive behavior and I’m sure that may be a little confusing. I mean let’s take inventory really quick. I’m not in touch with Mike, I’m not freebasing anymore, just an alcoholic drinking, smoking, and taking Vicodin. No biggie.
Well, John and I are doing decent in the one apartment as roommates. I quit real estate though and I started working with John at a lawn care provider. We are both doing ok, but we want a larger place in the same apartment complex. It’s moving day and we are packing up and moving our stuff to the new apartment. During one of our last trips with boxes for our new place I’m walking up the stairs and on the same floor as my apartment I see someone that I had worked with and I knew that he did blow. He was there to see a friend of his, one of my new neighbors. It was nice to see him, and I told him where I was living, just two doors down the hall.
John and I are unpacking, and I hear a knock at the door. It’s my buddy and my new neighbor. They came inside, we were having a few beers and my buddy pulls out some coke and asks if I have a plate. We all do some lines (not John) and then my friend and new neighbor decide to leave. On the way out, my new neighbor turns to me and says, “welcome to the neighborhood.” He hands me about a gram of really nice coke, not Mike quality, but really good. Oh, fuck. My new neighbor is a coke dealer.
I’m 26 and I’m not going to sleep very well for a while.
I suffer from Survivor’s Guilt. Actually, a lot of us do regarding something or some event, but I notice mine when I drive by a bus stop and I see somebody all fucked up, cracked out, or nodding off on the bench. I sit in my car and I know that if my parents hadn’t saved my ass, I would have been right there with them. Plain and simple, end of story. It makes me feel so wasteful and worthless knowing how many opportunities I’ve fucked up, that I just felt entitled to, as someone is suffering who might have never had the same opportunities. It just makes me so sad.
I tip the fuck out of those guys. By that I mean I give them money when I hit a red light. “But they are going to spend it on drugs.” Good. They need it. They need the drugs until they don’t. If I’m giving them money they are high. They are walking to their spot, not breaking into your car. You’re welcome. I know that I share more in common with that person than most people, but it’s so hard for me not to just sit at the light and cry. I just feel so fucking guilty that I made it out.
There is a homeless dude around U.H that took a pay reduction when I graduated. I gave him at least $3 a day, sometimes more. I missed paying him one time and I felt so bad. The homeless crack head could tell that I felt bad and he told me not to worry. He then tapped his pocket and said, “I’ve had a good day.” I just feel so fucking guilty that I made it out of that mess and with some college degrees on the wall. Well, they’re not on my walls. All of my degrees hang on the walls at my parent’s house. Thanks Mom and Dad.
Stand-up comedy was a lifesaver for me. It helped my depression get below the “fuck it” level that it was on. I was still depressed, and my anxiety was still prevalent, but I was laughing a lot. Not at my jokes, my jokes were just absolutely awful, and I knew that they were bad, but I knew that I could get better. I was laughing so much because some of the comics that were in Austin at that time were just amazing. It also kind of looked like some of them were trying to impersonate drug-addicts.
It was kind of weird, but at the time there seemed to be a correlation with how funny you were and how many holes were in your jeans. These funny motherfuckers looked like they just didn’t give a shit. I admired that and most of all I had a place to go where I wasn’t going to be tempted to use cocaine. From what I understand now the Austin comedy scene is booming, but that is a contradiction to what it was when both John and I started doing comedy.
There was really only one regular comedy open mic in Austin at the time and it was The Velveeta Room on 6th Street. It was so difficult for me to walk into that building due to its size and my anxiety. I could almost feel the walls closing in on me every time that I’ve ever entered that club. It was just awful. I want to stress again, that I wasn’t just sitting around moping, no I was laughing, drinking, and having fun, but I was still depressed.
I was still going to laugh at jokes if they were funny while I’m depressed. Here’s the thing, if someone tells a funny joke in jail, the inmates still laugh even though they are in jail. You just adapt, even if you are really scared. And I was scared most of the time that I was in that building. My anxiety just hit through the roof, but not after about 6 beers, and some weed. I didn’t smoke a lot of weed before I started doing comedy. I smoked some, but not much. I ramped it the fuck up after about two weeks into comedy. I was just so fucking tired of taking Xanax and some other pill that I had been prescribed. I just started smoking a fuck-ton of weed on the suggestion of a friend. That 3rd-party recommendation is powerful. Any MBA/Psych man knows that, and I even knew it about 20 years ago as this was occurring. If someone had a suggestion to help with my anxiety, I was all for it.
I took the advice and I started smoking joints after I had smoked every third or fourth cigarette during the evening. Boom. There you go. I wasn’t cured at all and I still had anxiety, but my anxiety wasn’t as strong as it had been, and the frequency of my anxiety attacks were reduced significantly. So, smoking weed helped? Probably, but I don’t think that it was the only contributing factor. I had been so worried about being successful after I had flunked out of college, but now that I was an aspiring crack-head, coke snorting, binge drinking comedian. I wasn’t worried about trying to find a good job. Fuck that shit. I was looking forward to having a life of disposable jobs that didn’t require a drug test so that I could have time to do my comedy gigs.
I had a rule about jobs. “Never get a job that you’re not ready to quit.” A good job can kill a comic. Howard Beecher told me that. Howard was one of those bad ass comics. He wasn’t the absolute funniest or most consistent, but he could fuck you up viciously with this conversation technique that is almost like he is personally heckling you as he talks.
“Hey, I really liked your set tonight Steven.”
“I haven’t gone up yet Howard,”
Damn. Yeah, he’s actually a really nice guy, but don’t get into a battle with him. Not when he’s hot or on a roll. Most of the comics at the Velveeta were nice people outside of the Velveeta Room, but inside there it could be motherfucking brutal. Was it brutal like getting a beatdown in a really nice crack-house in Tarrytown? No. It wasn’t as brutal as that, but if you caught a night where Howard Kremer was using the back mic to heckle the comic onstage, as if he was this booming voice of God, telling the open mic comic that they sucked and should quit. Damn. Yep, that was a regular occurrence. I was depressed, but I was laughing so much every time that I went there on a Thursday night.
Before I jump too far into this let’s just back up one tiny bit. John and I had a damn good time. I’ll get to the bad part of it soon enough, but not yet because the fun that I had with John meant the world to me. Before we moved into the new apartment we worked together at a lawn-care place, where we drove around during the day to look at lawns and we would listen to cassette recordings of our comedy, but it wasn’t from an actual show. We would practice stand-up comedy in our dining area, while recording our comedy routines on a cassette recorder. We would then drive around listening to those as we worked our lawn-care jobs. We were so driven, but not really focused or even knowing what to do. The lawn-care job was fun at first, but my cocaine addiction was still sputtering along, fueled by powder and my growing dependency on alcohol. I was really focused on keeping my coke consumption to a tolerated amount, but I was really not even worried that my drinking was getting so out of control. I say that it was just getting out of control, but honestly, I’ve always had my black-out drinking moments. They have always been present since I was in my late-teens, it’s just that the frequency of them was becoming much greater. I was now drinking until I got drunk almost every night.
I’m 27, but I’m backing away from the cliff.