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Head's up

Updated on February 17, 2016

A view to a pill

With new drugs coming on the market on a regular basis, we hope they will invent something that is miraculous, stimulating, and a cure-all for what ails you. Sounds like some old Western huckster touting Dr. Sloan's magical elixir, a mix of popular drugs that combined to take the dreary out of dreariness, or the despair out of desperation. Perhaps, one day in the future, that magic pill will exist...until then, do what you can, use what you can, and be all you can. The following adventures are in the book "Drugstore Cowboys," available at the triple w's before the first word.

Life in the blue zone

An abstract acrylic from my
An abstract acrylic from my | Source

A life in the day

Back in the day, we were invincible. Untouchable. Selfish and sure of ourselves, we ignored the law, saw loopholes, and learned how to get and not be gotten. There was nothing we would not try to do. We had morals, so some violent crimes were out-of-the-question, but commercial property theft didn't leave victims, and insurance paid for our misdeeds. Afraid of nothing, searching for something, we experimented with everything...ignoring lessons of the past because we were the vanguard of a new era...expanding the wisdom of history with the science and technologies of the future. We sought new frontiers of the mind, smashing boundaries with drugs, new ideas and artificial bravado. From our point of view, we were legends in our own minds.

It might have been the drugs, but I doubt it; we were all balls-to-the-walls risk takers before even smoking a joint. Once we learned what wonderful pills the local pharmacy kept locked up, we were on a crusade to liberate them, by whatever means available. We would con doctors into giving us what we wanted, but that was always up to the Doctor and not a sure thing. At one point in my pharmaceutical addiction, I had over 130 doctors; doctors that were tried and true, doctors that didn’t care what they gave you, or doctors that genuinely thought you needed what you asked for.

The trick was to appear like a clean-cut, law abiding citizen...the student look always worked for me. After chatting to the doctor about philosophy, he'd be helpful and friendly, giving you enough to get you nicely buzzed, sometimes for several days. Knowing you wanted cough syrup, he'd double the usual 4-ounce dose, giving you a whopping 8-ounce bottle of narcotic ambrosia. Quite often, if you had friends with you, hilarious arguments could occur after scoring, especially when you only managed a measly 4-ounces. Four ounces can only be split in half, and if more than two people are there, fights break out to get a sip. Since I was the one with the prescription, I’d take my indisputable 2-ounces while in the pharmacy, and then let the ravenous wolves fight over what remained. One time me, Cruise, Stevie and his little brother tried to sort out 4-ounces.

Needless to say, the math didn't work; I downed my two ounces, and almost tossed the bottle in the air. Stevie grabbed it, downed most of it, and gave the rest to Cruise. Half an ounce didn't make him happy, and when Cruise wasn't happy, anything could happen. He marched down to the corner drugstore, and came running out with an 80-ouncer of juice and a 1,000 bottle of Percodans; my car was around the corner, so we all bailed, and I blew out of there so fast I almost knocked down a few pedestrians. Actually, the pedestrian pile-up saved our bacon, as the melee over the street blocked the view of anyone pursuing us...happily blocking my license plate.

Since he liked percs over juice, he gave me the 80-ouncer and kept the percs. Since I was the getaway driver, I successfully got dibs on the bottle, and later poured 20-ounces into a pop bottle for Stevie. I got 60 and Stevie got 20; good deal for Stevie, as he didn't do anything but run with the pack. I grabbed the 80 from Cruise, so legally, I was part of the heist, and the driver. Thanks to Cruise, I had no choice but become a getaway driver...but at least I earned my share of the cough syrup. Stevie's brother got a couple of ounces from his share, as he did nothing except follow us along. Cruise later said he walked behind the prescription counter, told the guy to stand away from the counter and that he only wanted two bottles; the narcotics cabinet was open, so he looked inside, saw the wrapped full bottles, and slid them in his tucked in shirt ...he almost dropped the juice while opening the door, but desperation and perspiration helped him get things together until I took the big bottle of syrup off his hands. I almost dropped it while looking for my keys, so it's amazing we made it out of there with an unbroken glass bottle. Sometimes the craziest scores work without a hitch, while the planned out heists go to hell in a hand basket. After mixing into normal traffic, the previous juice I drank kicked in, so everything turned out well.

One time I got four ounces from a Doctor my friend told me about. He also happened to show up while I had an appointment, and waited for me outside. I had my friend Jim with me, someone Trick didn't like to begin with. Anyway, he decided not to push the doctor and we just went to fill my script. I guzzled my half inside the pharmacy, and met them outside. Trick grabbed the bottle, drank most, and gave Jim a sip. An argument broke out, but I didn't care: I told everyone to cool it, and promised Jim I'd get him something. When I promised someone I'd come through, I usually did...people knew I had many tricks and scams, and if I promised something, I always managed to score.

Personally, I had enough for a buzz, and that's what mattered. I agreed Trick deserved the juice, as he was a musician and needed it to get through a boring evening...on a private note, he turned me on to this doctor in the first place, so it was his source. He owes me for that script, but that cash is long gone. Trick and I are pretty tight, having met and worked together while teenagers, so he was a little higher on my best-friend scale. I went to school with Jim, but he hooked up with the speeder crowd, and deep-fried too many brain cells. Luckily, a fortuitous meeting on a bus changed his whole life; I knew every shot of that home-made speed blew your ears off, hence the speeder rush. I'm also certain every shot, each brain-buzzing needle-full jabbed in your arm was overloaded with garden chemicals that nuked brain cells...not to mention the damage it did to livers, kidneys, and other important organs that kept your body in one piece. I remember over 20 people who are no longer with us because their bodies just shut down...most died before 27, and were total burn-outs at 22.

Paradoxically, by turning him on to opiates, I helped him retain what mental matter was still operating; in a bizarre twist of fate, I bumped into him on a bus while working at a place that made morphine sulfate, and I had a hospital-sized, 300 ml bottle in my pocket, plus brand-new rigs. We jumped off to grab a beer, and I convinced him to check it out. Incredibly, he was more worried about what kind of rush he would get...typical speeder outlook. I measured a good shot, something that would make his back teeth rattle. I made sure it had a strong bite. He came back from the can with a huge smile...he loved it. I gave a quick lecture on the benefits of narcotics versus the shake 'n bake speed he was killing himself with, and he actually agreed.

At least he wasn't as far gone as some of the guys he hung with. The morphine helped his was the 10 mg per milliliter strong stuff, so it was an easy sell; he bought a few shots from me, and began phoning me to find out how he could get more. I told him about Hydrocodone cough syrup and doctors, and he never looked back. He hooked up with syrup-addict girl, and they managed to both score and keep themselves in juice. After I taught him how to break into pharmacies, he was a drug store cowboy before he even had a horse.

I didn't mind him, but the girl he found drove me around the bend. She was always hiding juice for herself, trying to secretly get what she could from me, and had a bad habit of burning out doctors that were good sources for juice. I mean no one shows up every week for cough syrup...I refused to share doctors with her after one guy that was really nice, friendly, and free with the prescription pad, screamed at me for being an addict, and only wanting the syrup to get high. I was really sick at the time, so he took pity on me and gave me two dozen Percodans for my sore throat. Idiots all around: her for burning him out, me for giving her his name, and him for not realizing people occasionally needed that cough syrup for bad coughs.

The scene outside the doctor's office showed how far up the narcotic ladder he'd climbed; ironically, most of the guys he used to run with are all dead from the bathtub speed they shot, but after Jim switched to pharmaceuticals, it was better for his health and allowed him to keep whatever brain debris he didn't fry with that speed. In a way, turning him onto prescription drugs saved his life; you'd never hear a doctor agree, but we all know pharmaceuticals are a lot safer and easier on the body than illicit crap cooked up by illegal chemists. If that's not proof for legalizing heroin, I got a dozen other stories that emphasis the same benefits; what really pisses me off is all narcotics were legal less than 100 years ago...until 1918 and then 1924. The moral majority got dope canned, and got booze prohibited until common sense, beer lovers, and politicians buying their single-malt scotch out the back door irritated their sense of fair play, and booze made a full comeback...unfortunately, narcotics didn't get re-approved, and only a doctor's script makes them legal.

Anyway, after listening to Jim whine about his measly sip, I barged into a random pharmacy, looked over the filled prescriptions waiting to get picked up, and got the name and address of a script for Congestex D.C., a potent, pure narcotic. With the right name and address, anyone could pick up a script...give them the right address, and the pharmacy was convinced it's your script. It was for six ounces, so Jim lucked out; it was better cough syrup, and 3-ounces was better than two. I saved the remaining 3-ounces for a morning eye-opener; happy, happy, happy. I wondered what the real owner of the script would say when they said, "Oh, it's already picked up and paid for." I almost had that backfire on me, as the second guy behind me was there for his script, and I could hear him complaining while I booted it out a side door. If stealing someone else's script, always keep your voice low and your head down, as you never know...he might be the guy behind you. The pharmacist's aide would yell out, "Stop that guy," but by this time, you'd better be out the door. I was once short four bucks on a script for Tussionex tabs...I didn't want to do it, but I was on a pass from jail, and I needed those pills; fortunately, they handed me the bag, and expected me to pay at the front counter. I browsed around, taking my time, edging towards the door...suddenly, I bolted out the door, leaving mayhem in my wake. I passed my girlfriend on the street, and told her to meet me at a coffee shop near the next bus station. No one was chasing me, as I'm pretty fast and had a good head start. I was mad that I had to burn the pharmacist.

Those guys are worth more than a dozen doctors...the doctors give you the script, but the pharmacist is the one who actually gives you the drugs. One guy mixed syrup of ipecac in with my cough syrup...just enough to get you sick if you took a few ounces, exactly what I did on the way out of the store. I had another guy who remembered me over some 'incident' I forgot about, called the doctor, and got the doctor to cancel the script. I think that backfired on the pharmacist: a few nights later, I made a late evening call, found all his hidden narcotics, and made a mess of his filing system. I hope he suspected me...payback's a bitch.

Then there's the guys who love it...when filling out insurance forms, 1's become 10's or 7's, 3's become 8's, and empty bottles are full. I even had a deal with a guy that left the alarm off: I'd go in, take all his narcotics, and he'd claim cameras, watches, and other expensive stuff that earned him a sizable insurance check. Perhaps he had a fence that took all the extra product that was never stolen. They say Diogenes searched the world over for an honest man with a lamp...some say he's still looking.

Bending the rules

If something is needed, or necessary to promote the happy in happiness, it would seem logical to want that ambrosia, even if it were only made for the Gods...even King David, in his uplifting book of psalms, wrote, "I said ye were Gods." Do what you can to help others, and remember there are certain discoveries that push us beyond our physical limitations. Be aware, be nice, and don't overdo what works in limited doses. The Epicureans believed: "Everything in moderation, but nothing in excess." We should have that right to choose, for most of what is now labeled illegal was legal less than 100-years ago. Evolve with grace, not devolve because some bureaucrat listened to the moral majority. Remember prohibition, and how that worked out...time for common sense, not common and hence; allow choice, or there will remain a war of all against all, as Burke stated in the 17th century.


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