The morning started off on the wrong foot, most especially as it wasn't morning, but about 9 at night. I'd been sick (thought it was mono, turned into pneumonia) and sleeping all the time, on my camping pad in the room I shared with the Pox. We'd moved out of the House of Good Names into an apartment in Bed-Stuy that went horribly wrong, so moved back into the same building as HOGN but upstairs, with Nicole and Mackenzie. We had to share a room so split it down the middle with a barrier of suitcases, discarded the queen-sized bed, and used the camping pads pilfered from Bed-Stuy. Not conducive to restful sleep, let alone properly propping myself up to keep the liquid sloshing in my lungs from sloshing up my airway.
Mackenzie was sweet; Nicole was a coke fiend. A coke fiend with a penchant for cooking (but not cleaning) and on-point personal accounting, at least as far as shared bills went. We hadn't bonded much, I guess, so N&M decided it was roommate-bonding time. We were to attend a party not far away, at the Chicken Coop. I knew a few of the guys at the Chicken Coop; I was interning at a museum, and they were art handlers with the company contracted to, well, handle our art.
Despite my protestations, I wasn't much for standing up for myself, and it would be an opportunity to hang with these cute art handlers outside of work parameters, so I gave in to Nicole's demands that I take some of Mackenzie's ADHD meds to perk myself up and handed over approximately $2 in change so Nicole could buy us beer. (Note that I also have ADHD, so the meds weren't amazing helpful, but I took them anyway.) The Pox and I were both pretty broke, so gave firm instructions to get us a 40 ouncer of Ballantine's each. Nicole came back with a half-rack of Corona and a bag of limes, informing us that we each owed her for the beer, despite her going against our express instructions. We piled into her car, she handed me a kitchen knife, and roared off down the street. I proceeded to cut the limes, handing them to the Pox who stuffed them into the Coronas and handed them out on the drive, desperately trying not to poke myself - or anybody - in the eye in the process.
When we arrived, we were first harangued by a man in a wheelchair guarding the door. "Are you 12? You're too young to party!" Etc. etc. etc. Not sure of the etiquette (was there an entrance fee? Should Nicole fight him? He's in a wheelchair
, she can't fight him), we mumbled and shuffled and sipped our Coronas until he finally stood up and walked away, to our relief and surprise.
Up the stairs to a dimly lit empty loft space, dance music pumping, about 3 dirty punks flailing away. Nobody familiar. Into the next room, a repeat of the first, so up the stairs to the second floor. The door to the living quarters was locked, nobody answered our knock. Back down the stairs to the second loft space where we milled ourselves into a line of confusion, still politely sipping our Coronas, trying to act casual. Off to our right was a knot of bike messengers, clustered around someone, but we couldn't see who, so we stood there, sipping... finally a guy walked up to my left and stood in line with us, sipping his thematically appropriate 40 of whatever, then finally said, "yeah, that's him."
"Who?" I asked, as I still couldn't see past the knot of bike messengers.
"Puck. That's Puck," he replied, "The guy from the Real World? All the bike messengers are pretty pumped."
I nodded, not caring, not caring to fake looking like I cared, and sipped my Corona more.
A second passed, and this guy whipped out a little baggie and asked if I'd like to do some coke. I figured nothing could make this night worse, so nodded and slipped behind a small partition with him, snorting out of the palm of his hand, while we chatted a bit. After slipping back out, Nicole caught my eye and gestured frantically - "Were you doing coke? Is that guy holding? Get me some."
I couldn't quite resist the force of her personality so wandered around finding the guy (oddly difficult in a room with so few people, until I realized there was an open window to the roof where a few more were hanging out). He happily agreed to share his cocaine, so the rest of the party involved him taking us, singly or in clumps, behind a partition and snorting his coke. This didn't last too long, but long enough, until the party was finally obviously dispersing. By this point, Nicole and Mackenzie had run across some acquaintances, the Alabama brothers. I didn't know their names then and don't know them now, they were always referred to as the Alabama brothers. They were to come home with us, and after a furious whispered discussion with Coke Guy, he was as well.
We all piled into the car, sans Coke Guy who was on his bike, and endured another terrifying ride home, one of the Alabama brother's erection poking me in the hip the whole way, as I had to sit on his lap, but going 50 through Brooklyn, it wasn't a long ride. Soon after we all reconvened, Coke Guy showed up and slapped down another baggie. We all did a few snorts, then Nicole and Mackenzie retired to their lairs with an Alabama brother each, leaving the Pox, myself, and Coke Guy all staring at each other.
So he flipped out another baggie... and another and another. I'd never seen so much coke in my life. He'd forget one was on the table and bring out another, and another. He asked for beer, but we had none, so we just kept snorting the coke until dawn broke. In a daze, neither the Pox nor myself had figured out how to get rid of him. He seemed perfectly at ease, himself, and there was also this tiny idea that we had to politely chat to say thanks for the coke, but then he'd flip out another baggie and it just kept going.
Finally - FINALLY - one of us said we have to go to bed, and if he could please leave, or he could crash on the couch, but preferably leave... He looked up sharply at this, looked at us both, and said, "I thought I'd be getting more than beer out of this." We stared at him, befuddled, coked beyond words, and he sadly started packing up his coke. However, he couldn't get it back into the baggies. He asked for a MetroCard, which I didn't have, and the Pox shook her head vehemently, thinking he wanted to borrow it to get on the subway and she'd never see it again. It took a lot of thinking - the hamsters turning the wheels in our brains having died of a coke overdose hours prior - to realize he just needed it to scoop the coke back into the baggies.
Another painstaking process took place, getting every last crumb and trail back into the bag, then he left. Relief. Such relief. Except we couldn't sleep, at all. As the day got brighter, I sat on the couch trying to play solitaire on the Pox's laptop, blocking out the sounds of /smack-smack-moan-smack-moan/ coming from Mackenzie's room, just letting my brain rest and my heart recover. I don't know when it was, that day, a few days later, a week... Nicole asked how it went with Coke Guy, a sly smirk on her face, and I told her he left at daybreak, all innocence.
I've never seen an expression like that before - I can't describe the anger, horror, panic that flashed across her face. She yelled, "But I promised him! We couldn't pay for the coke, and I promised him!"
It took awhile to get out what the promise was - but Nicole had guaranteed, for a fresh supply of cocaine for herself all night, and us too because she's not totally selfish, that if he came back to our place he'd get laid. She'd assumed it would be me, since I'd talked to him the most, but the Pox was there as backup, and we hadn't come through with our end of the deal at all. She was absolutely terrified that this coke dealer would come for her, that she owed him something she was never going to pay for herself, and it was all my fault for not putting out.
Lesson learned? Don't drink Corona with lime. In the end, it can only result in getting traded to a drug dealer for sexual favors, and that's a situation nobody wants to be in.
Also: Don't do cocaine.( bonus picture )