August 05, 2010


By Paul McGuire © 2010

Within thirty minutes the initial effects start to take hold. It feels like I'm walking around on an invisible bubble, more like one of those maroon rubber balls that we used at recess and gym class for dodge ball or kick ball. I'm about six to seven inches off the ground with each bouncy step. That's the best way to describe the feeling, like the astronauts doing the slo-mo kangaroo hop on the moon. Floating. Bouncing. Sedated. Happily sedated, I should add. Demons quelled. Anxieties locked away.

I'm rolling along through L.A. with an impenetrable armor. The slings and arrows of scorn and negatively from the putrid citizens bounce right off. No pain. I'm a floating tank. Floating. Bouncing. No longer attached to terra forma. I could care less about everything else in the world. I'm completely detached. That's the best way to deal with the hopelessness around me. Anomie.

The filter through which I see the City of Angels does not have rough or sharp edges. Sort of like seeing the world through an underwater lens. The focus sort of drops off around the edges. I can only see what's immediately in front of me. Everything else is... blurry.

The self-absorbed souls around me are too distracted to notice my constant state of inebriation. Floating by, obviously, floating by. Yet, we're ignorant to one another. I smoothly navigate my way through daily life. Bouncing with my invisible armor. The secret pills. The more that I eat, the longer I will remain invincible and invisible.

If no one can find me, then no one can hurt me? Especially me. I won't be able to torture myself with my own thoughts. Even the mind floats on by. Each thought is a musical note strung together in a dream-like symphony. I groove along with the internal melodies. I sing to myself a lot. Sometimes I forget and I'm lost in my own karaoke world harmonizing with the Doobie Brothers. The check-out girl at 7/11 must think I'm insane. But I'm not. I'm happily floating.

I wouldn't know what to do if I had to stay straight for more than a day or so. If I'm in a positive space and sync up in a smooth writing rhythm for a few days, then I'm getting off on the tremendous waves in that creative tidal wave. When I'm in the writing zone, I lack the desire for the warm fuzzies. I can go up to a week even when I hit that groove, but the moment that I have to step outside and spend time in the real world, I quickly reach for the shaving kit.

I probably hadn't shaved in two months, but I keep my stash in the shaving kit. A dozen bottles and other assorted containers. Each bottle contains a different group of drug, but the individual pills may vary. I keep the Hydrocodone and Adderall in the fat bottles. The Oxycodone and Xanax are stored in the sleek bottles. The Oxycontin is hidden inside a bottle of Tums.

Friends of mine often sell, trade, or gift me their extra pills. A junkie could not as for a better assortment of friends. And most of them don't steal from me. At least the straight ones don't. I deal with a couple of shysters from time to time, out of necessity, but I would never give then an opportunity to rob me blind.

Lester threw out his back last summer and gave me fifty extra generic Somas in exchange for an 1/8th of Kush. I'm not a muscle relaxer kinda guy, but I had so much weed that I didn't know what to do with it. I was looking to trade it for anything, but the Somas never gave me the buzz I wanted. I like to keep a few around when my back flares up,so I took them off of Lester's hands. I soon discovered that I could trade the Somas with Drake, a grad student who lived around the corner. He said that the Somas made him sleep better and we'd swap two Somas for one 10 ng time-released Adderall.

Most recently, my friend Carly had wrist surgery and the doctor gave her three bottles of Vicodin. She hate Vidoin because it makes her queasy and she pukes uncontrollably. Me? That might be my opiate of choice because it gets me the most fucked up but still allows me to function properly. It's the drug of choice when I have to get work done or have an important social function to attend. Carly didn't use the first bottle, and was kind enough to get two more refills before she gave me 90 pills in exchange for a big ass bottle of Skyy vodka and a six pack of Fat Tire.

My buddy Fredo is a drug fiend and has been so for twenty years. During his high school years in San Diego, he used to deal weed right out of his parent's driveway. In college, he sold sheets of acid and cocaine to all the frat boys and hippies at Arizona State. After a nasty car accident, he was constantly prescribed different pain medication including Roxicodone, which is instant released Oxycontin. He also had more Xanax and Percosett lying around than most pharmacies, which he sold to me at wholesale prices. I also swapped hash and pot brownies for Fredo's extra pharmies. He was also too lazy to drive to LA, so I always had to figure out a way to get down to San Diego. I managed at least one trip a month. On the off chance that supplies were low, I'd make two trips a month.

My buddy Colby, a professional poker player who lived in Santa Monica, introduced me to a crooked doctor in Venice Beach. The doctor was on the verge of wife #3 and he had a shitload of alimony to pay to two ex-wives, so he sold illegal prescriptions on the side to cover his monthly nut. He hooked me up with Oxycontin but with one catch -- the prescriptions were for one bottle only Just 45 pills. That greedy fucker purposely made me set an appointment to see him. Shit, I had to drop $200 just to get the scrip.

You have to protect your stash like Fort Knox. The biggest enemy is yourself. You have to resist the urge to keep pushing the high and raising the bar higher and higher and all of a sudden, you can't even get out of bed without popping 30 mg of Oxys. I remember the days when I'd barely eat 3mg and I'd be fucked up for 24 hours. Now, 30 mgs barely takes the edge off.

You never want the floating to stop. Never. That's why you do everything possible to maintain that bouncy feeling. The moment that it stops, you're body crashes hard to the ground. You might as well be dead because that's all you can think about when faced with any option other than inebriation. Death before sobriety. Isn't that the name of a Swedish heavy metal band?

Paul McGuire is the author of Lost Vegas.

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