Drugs and Lies by Marty McCahill
Drugs and Lies
My summer after my sophomore year I get a job offer downtown. I take it and say fuck school. Who needs school if you can land a job this easily? The job isn’t hard. Running to court a couple times a day to make some filings. In-between runs, soak up the pulse of Chicago. Feel the beat of the traffic. Hear the noise of the masses. Catch an inning of the White Sox at Stocks and Blondes, slam two pints, come back to work and invite the girls out for a drink. Stay till’ close, bike home to the apartment, split a case of beer with the roommates, pass out and wake up with 30 minutes to get to work. Skip the shower, bike like a madman, weave between busses and cars, 10 minutes to get to work, nearly hit a pedestrian, give the finger, wipe the sweat from my forehead, pull into the alley of my work’s building, lock up my bike, 2 minutes to get to the 20th floor, buy two diet red bulls from Hazeem at the Service Store in the lobby, take the elevator up, smell my sweat and last nights drinks, look at the other people in the elevator, they are not like me, slam the first red bull in two gulps, finish as the doors open to the 20th floor, wipe the excess sweat and red bull away with sleave. 30 seconds early. Make an appearance, grab my court work, and head back to the street.
Things were awesome.
Two years later, I’m starting to feel the pinch to make more money. It’s hard to do with out a college degree. I don’t regret my actions but still hope for that big something to finally happen that would take care of me for the rest of my life. I stick it out with work for a couple of more months but I get the itch for a change of scenery. I contact a friend in LA and ask if its ok if I live with him for a couple months. He said it would be fine so I gather up everything I owned, sell half of it and leave for LA in the summer of 2005. I had enough cash to live luxuriously for 6 months. The first month was a non-stop party. I couldn’t believe how many attractive girls lived here. It was like there was no end to them. Everything was perfect. I finally formed the band that I had been meaning to form my whole life. We were playing shows every weekends at friends houses and eventually the houses got to be too small for us so we started to play the bars. My friend had contacts with Warner Brothers and they started to make us an offer. Things were all happening so fast I needed some time to think it over. I retreated with my friend for a weekend camping trip out in the hills. We scored some mushrooms on our way there to enjoy on the campsite. We get to the campsite and eat the shrooms with a couple of crackers. Shrooms take a while to set in so we go for a walk. My friend throws up and curses his bad luck. Twenty bucks wasted, he said. I encouraged him to live vicariously through me. He laughed and obliged. Something was wrong though. Half hour down and nothing. I usually feel a little acknowledgement wave after ten minutes. I wonder whether or not we got a bad batch. I think about calling the dealer and calling him a scam artist. Then it hits me. Hard. It’s not psychedelic goodness that hits me but pain. I hit a brick wall, so to speak. I stop and tell my friend that something is wrong. He tells me that it will pass. I know better. I shove my finger down my throat to try and throw it up but I only dry heave. The pain is like nothing I ever felt before. I fall to my knees holding my stomach. My friend freaks out and says he is going to go get help. I start trying to make my way back to the campsite. I try walking but its too hard. I’m moving by inching my way forward like a handicapped snake on the ground. My stomach goes into convulsions turning itself over and over inside of itself. My vision starts to blur and everything turns a shade of blue. I fall to my back and twist my body into different positions trying to ease the pain. The pain seems to know what I’m doing though and stays one step ahead of me. My head starts pounding from all of the strain. I think I’m crying but it could just be the blanket of sweat that’s formed on my skin. Breathing hurts so I try and limit it as much as I can. I lay on my back looking up into the forest. My whole body is going through some type of turmoil. I try counting to keep my mind from anything other than what it’s going through. One, two, three, think nothing of what’s wrong with me, four, five, six, this will get better, you’re too young for this, seven, eight, nine, the pain subsides, but I’m losing time. Ten, eleven, twelve, deep inhale, where’s my friend? Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, eyes close and thoughts stop.
Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen…..nothing….. Nineteen, twenty, twenty-one………nothing.
In the end there’s just this awful darkness. Empty and stretching forever. Twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four….nothing, nothing nothing. Twenty five, twenty six, twenty seven, my eyes slowly open and I’m in a hospital. Twenty eight, twenty nine, thirty…..saline iv and a charcoal cocktail. Thirty one, thirty two, thirty three…. A doctor looks grim and shakes his head at me…. Thirty four, thirty five, thirty six….my mom is there holding my hand….my father by the window looking so sad….they speak and I hear an echo of what they’re saying. They tell me to stay strong and maybe we can beat this. I try counting backwards, I try and reverse time. Nineteen, eighteen, seventeen…”he’s not getting better, we’ll have to move him……sixteen, fifteen, fourteen……I close my eyes again as I feel my body moving… thirteen, twelve, eleven…..there’s beeping and shouting, my iv got ripped out. I see the blood but I feel nothing. I feel I cannot connect my mind with this body. Ten, nine, eight. This time the voice is sounding other worldly. It lets me know that the choice is now up to me. I can count down to zero and roll over and die, or stop my bad habits and wake up and be alive. Seven, six, five, four three, two one…..inhale deep and open my selfish eyes.