Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bittersweet Symphony (The Verve)

Today I had a run in with an old friend whom I will call Mike. I hadn't seen him in some time. Years ago, my life took a turn for the worse and Mike was one of my friends during that rough period. The son of a well respected judge, Mike had fallen into drugs real bad. His DOC was crack cocaine. Yes, he hit the pipe like Mike Tyson hits an opponent or spouse. He worked as a lawyer sometimes, and would blow all his money at the nearest strip club. However, Mikey always made me laugh and was a good friend.

Mike made several attempts to kick drugs, some more successful than others. Sometimes he was drug free for long periods of time and would practice law. Other times he would relapse and again, be walled up with a bunch of hos. In order to ensure he didn't blow thousands of dollars in a night, Mike's parents managed his money. Drugged up or sober, Mike was kind of nuts. While he had a long time girlfriend who had once been employed at Show World back in the day, Mike lamented that he missed her hooker days. His words, "Now she wants to talk about her feelings after sex. I miss the days when we could just have threesomes."

Today I saw Mike at the Dollar Store. It is a venue run by a Korean Family. Nice people, they are always efficient. Mike was on the phone when I got in. He looked like he lost a bunch of weight and his life was a mess. He waved at me and I asked how he was. Mike told the person on the other end of the phone that he would call them back. Then he told me he wasn't doing so good. Mike smelled like he had just taken a bath in Jack Daniels. I knew this meant one thing.

"How are you doing?" I asked taking another wiff of him.

"Not so good." Mike replied. He began to kind of fidget while hiding that he couldn't control his nerves at the same time.

"Have you been drinking?" I asked, leaning closer and whispering as not to let the strangers hear us. Mostly they were women who spoke Spanish as a first language. Still, if my friend was in fact drunk and high he was going to be unpredictable.

"More than that." Mike said with a half snicker. My suspicions were correct. He had been smoking crack. I remember being in situations where it was being smoked around me a handfull of times. Pot smells sweet and pungent. This just smells like pure horror, hell, and death. It's the devil's drug.

"Okay. Are you safe?" I asked. Now I was concerned. The last time we had spoken his girlfriend had been sick of him.

"Yeah." He said. "Can I call you?" I wanted to tell him no. No, he couldn't call me. I didn't want his drugged out crackhead drama near me. But he was a friend. Maybe he needed to talk. Finally, I lied. I was busy. He could text me.

Mike went to leave the store. The Korean man behind the counter said, "Sir, your card was declined."

"What! My card was not declined!" Mike said turning back and yelling.

The Korean man looked at him and said, "Yes it was."

"It says operation aborted. You aborted my operation!" Mike yelled.

"No, your card was declined." The Korean store owner explained with a poker face.

"Try it again. You are doing that just to mess with me." Mike insisted.

"Fine." The store owner said. Everyone exchanged glances. I looked down ashamed they had seen me speaking to him only minutes earlier. My friend was acting like a jerkoff. I felt like apologizing, explaining he had a drug habit. That he was sick. That it was the alcohol and crack talking. This is why he was being a colossal fuckwad.

Mike leaned towards me, "I know my card works. I blew $120 at Fast Eddies. Then I continued on to get some other goodies." I said nothing. I didn't want to know anymore.

"I have to go." A woman behind us said. She had been standing there for some time holding two pregnancy tests. This might mean a future trip to Planned Parenthood or a Happy Dance. I was leaning towards the first.

The store owner tried it again. Declined. "Your machine is fucked up!" Mike screamed and shoved a crumpled dollar bill at the clerk.

"Let me see if your ATM has the same conspiracy!" Mike said as he stalked out of the store. We all glanced at each other. Glad he was gone.

"I was here before you." The woman with the pregnancy tests said and shoved them the clerk's way. Yeah, she was. I didn't care. Maybe she feared her convicted felon boyfriend with no job and a one way ticket to Day Top knocked her up and now she had to ease her mind. Or maybe she was an obnoxious slut. Either way, I didn't feel like fighting.

A minute later Mike popped back in. "Your ATM machine works. Mission aborted!" Mike said as she began to wave around bills.

"Have a good day." The Korean store owner said totally killing this impromptu scene of crackhead street theatre. I felt embarrassed, sick, and almost apologized. It had been years since one of my so called friends caused a scene like that. I had not kept company that negative in a very long time.

I ordered the balloons I needed for the delivery. As I did this, I began to think on that part of my life. Yes, the one that had the psychotic former fiance and ended with me getting a different mailing address so he couldn't find me. I remember that somehow, God or something higher flew in and got me to fly right. While I was walking down the wrong path, I changed direction. After shifting gears, my focus became on pursuing my ventriloquism and writing.

While I have shown up for a long time with little or no results, recently the tide has been changing. I am Netflix famous. It is cool, I just wish my bank account knew. My problem today is my DVD taping, what material to use, and how to fill the seats. It's not longer having lovers, friends, or a lifestyle that could get me killed. Things are only getting better. It's because I got off the dark path that was leading me only to worse and worse pain.

I hope my friend realizes that the answers he craves are not at the end of his crack pipe or in the whore house that he has probably been hanging out at. Rather, they are inside his soul. Until that time, he will be torturing store owners, and potentially calling the cops because he swears to God the FBI has broken into his house.

Or maybe he could amuse us all and do a crackhead dance. Either way, it could have been me if I kept going that way with my life. I am glad I got out and continue to try to get it right. Maybe someday he can too. Either way, I am fortunate I escaped when I did. Some people aren't so lucky.

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl

Come see me for my DVD taping
April 22nd at 7pm
Metropolitan Room
34 w. 22nd st

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