I think back on one of the many days I was dope-sick. I was still with my wife and the kids. It was near sunrise. I drove from the farmhouse in Pelham, New Hampshire squeezing my sphincter muscles until the urge to fart left me. If I could only hold out until the white liquid hit my heart—I wouldn’t shit myself.
Adams Street was naked except for a grotesquely thin Puerto Rican kid in his early 20s. He had a teardrop tattoo under his left eye. He was Nieta—an extremely dangerous Puerto Rican jailhouse gang. Of course, I was driving a Mercedes Benz and was built like a jock. He thought I was a cop.
I was “jonesing,” and I couldn’t care less what he thought of me. I was a fucking warrior. Only my agenda mattered. First, don’t give him the money and let him out of my sight. Second, bite the bag—make sure it’s heroin. Third, get safely to the Burger King bathroom on Chelmsford Street to cook the heroin and stick the needle into my vein.
I motioned him into the car. He directed me to a house off Middlesex Street with hand commands. It was a predominantly Cambodian neighborhood. We didn’t speak. I had a 9-inch screwdriver in the driver’s side compartment of the lower door. My left hand never left the yellow handle. If he went for me, I would have driven it right through his left eyeball without even thinking about it.
He left the car, expecting me to follow. One knock and it opened. The place was a shooting gallery. Wall to wall junkies sleeping on the floor. I followed him to the bathroom. The mold smell made me gag. He cooked a bag in an aluminum beer-bottle cap, shot it, and handed me a needle and a fresh bag of heroin. His eyes were pitch-black—emotionless. His purple-crimson blood was clearly visible in the bottom of the syringe—maybe a centimeter thick between the end of the needle and the black rubber stop on the stick-push.
I carefully poured the tiny bag of heroin into his cooker. Grabbed a cigarette butt out of the ashtray on the…