"Hey Dave! Are you getting that or what man? You said today. Did ya' get it? Man, I wanna try this stuff."
"Fuck man! Relax. I'm pickin' it up later. Around two. Gesuz, are you a hyper-fuck or what?" David replied not wanting an answer, another question, or another word from Joey's mouth.
"I guess I'm just anxious Dave. I wanna party, I'm in Florida, ya know?"
"Yea," David replied in a low guttural tone resembling a cow chewing on a burrito that he just picked up at the convenience store and heated in the microwave, "it's ok. Just leave your money on the table and go to the post office for me. I need ya' to get my mail, here, here's the key, and buy some stamps too; the adhesive kind, then stop and get smokes and somethin' to drink; somethin' with Vitamin C in it. You got all that?"
"Yea, those adhesive stamps are cool."
"Take my keys, then when you get back we'll be ready to party!"
"Cool!," Joey said with a bright smile as if the world focused around pleasing David, driving his car and what he was going to do for him. "See ya in about a half an hour. What to drink again?"
"Somethin' with Vitamin C in it," David replied, irritated and despondent, "remember;" not paying attention to the enthusiasm in Joey's shaver barren face while he dialed the cordless telephone.
"Yea, what's up. Ok. Yea, he just took off. Stop by? Sure, but he'll only be gone half an hour or so, . . . Ok."
David hung up the phone, sat down, grabbed Joey's money from the table and began to count: "two hundred; two twenty; two thirty; two forty; two fifty, we will party tonight..."
It was 12:30, Friday morning, and David considered himself up early. It was not a normal day for him to be up before at least two or three. He split weekends though with his friend Andrew at the Cabeza - the restaurant where he worked, and this weekend his night is Saturday. He had eaten the burrito, but was glad his friend was bringing a pizza too. He thought he had better shower, shave, and eat before things got going. He knew he wouldn't feel like it later. David shaved while the bathroom filled steadily with steam. With his last few strokes, the mirror fogged over wet shades of gray. The light shone dimly through. David entered premeditated. He hadn't much time. The pizza was coming.
By 12:50 David had rinsed his hair and was turning off the water. He toweled dry without leaving the tub. "Guess I better tell him about water. Gesuz, stupid fuck," David spat while putting on his robe and walked out of the wet, steamy room. "Fuck, I'm hungry, where's that fucking pizza?," David cursed like camel's chunks of phlegm and mucous as he combed his hair in the clearing mirror.
The pizza arrived at 1:00 and David's friend walked in with a broad smile. "Pizza for everyone's taste my friend."
"Come on in. Bring that pizza over here. Do you got that shit sliced?"
"Yea, it's together. Check it out best pizzas you'll ever see."
David's friend opened the lid to the pizza and handed David five plastic balls underneath; three bigger ones and two littler, again, smiling broadly.
"So who is this guy again," David's friend asked, "your cousin?"
"Yea, from Chicago. Man these look good. The kid will be flyin' tonight. He's gonna have the time of his life! Check this out, you know the blonde chick from the club, Angela? Well, she's gonna meet `em later, then fuck his brains out back here," Danny said dangling one of the balls like a carrot. "Yea," he said laughing. "I know her. Call me later man, let me know what's up!"
"Ok man, see ya," David said closing the door. He went to the kitchen, grabbed two dishes off a shelf and put the five balls into his robe pocket. He had just started eating when Joey bounced through the door and startled him. "What the fuck Joey. . . ? Here, I got pizza."
"I gotta drive," he said looking at Joey seriously, "and I was fucking hungry. So shut up and eat some food. You won't be hungry later. What did ya' get ta drink?"
David grabbed a slice from the thin cardboard box and Joey grabbed his plate from the table and joined in the feast. Shoving pizza into his mouth and chewing ravenously, he forgotabout today, forgot about David sitting across from him. Heseemed astonished at himself for so easily gliding through the sicilian crust and David sat and watched Joey like some circus sideshow. Finally Joey noticed he was being watched and his over-zealousness ceased. He folded his hands over his lap. David rolled his eyes at Joey and Joey belched loud in David's face.
"Hey ya fuckin' punk, watch where your blowin' that nasty breath of yours." Joey just laughed louder, almost hysterically. He was losing himself. "You're fuckin' stoned on pizza. Ya freak..." and David grabbed his keys and left.
"Man, he's dickin' around. Fuck." Joey slammed on the stereo and started jerking around the room epilecticly. Oil well arms pumped to the rythym of hard thrash music razoring the background and enveloping Joey; surrounding him. The tape ended and the blanket melted away. Joey breathed deep through his nostrils and filled himself full of air. Silence covered him. For a few seconds he heard his heart beat, felt the blood in his veins, in his hands, and he levitated them as if defying gravity.
The door bell rang. It was David ramming on the door yelling wasted words. Joey let David in the door and said, "that was quick," as if he had been in the easy chair relaxing in front of the tube and David wasn't outside for ten minutes pounding.
"What the fuck man? You still stoned on pizza? Don't want nobody ta get your pizza man? Lockin' the door?! Huh?" And David slapped towards Joey's head, teasingly trying to show affection. Joey ducked out of and jabbed directly.
"Still making me wait man? You know," Joey chiseled at the back of David's head as they walked to the living room, "I can go somewhere else man!"
"Oh really," David replied, "and get this you mean,"displaying a sealed plastic ball of white the size of a small Vidalia.
David set the ball on the table and then walked to his bedroom. Joey picked up the package and what was round and smooth was now jagged and hard with small sparkles that seemed to slash at the plastic. He stared intently, licking his lips. He raised the chunks, his eyes caught the sparkles, exploring them. David walked into the room and Joey smiled broadly.
"You're not gonna do that hyena thing again are you?"
"No," Joey said easily and relaxed, "I'm gonna do this thing," lifting the ball higher to David's eyes. David snatched the ball from Joey's hand. Joey followed the ball, watching as David inspected the package he kept back from the others he no longer had.
"This is a lot of shit here man. And I'll tell ya' what man: this is one bitch you respect, understand," David retorted without lifting his eyes from his respected endeavor.
"Yea Dave, sure," Joey complied not knowing what the hell David meant. He watched David open the ball onto a mirror he took from his bedroom. The mica sheets glistened their jagged edges in layered conformity while Joey produced a razor blade, trance-like, and handed it to David without lifting his eyes; "here."
David looked up at Joey from the jewel he had selected for cutting with a solemn intensity that transcended words and which they both fully understood. Then David made the first cut. The gem split in halves like a fresh, under-cooked loaf of bread might tear apart in your hands. They both looked at the crumbs and the smell of the center hit them with a rush.
". . . This is good shit," David said, pronouncing the arrival of it's quality. "I'll cut us one out," and he began work on arranging two long, thin lines across the mirror. Joey rubbed his hands together and moved in closer to watch David.
The time had come. Joey's first step into the elicit was at hand. It rang in his ears like the emergency broadcast signal. David looked hard at Joey.
"Don't be too anxious to get into this shit kid," David cautioned knowing the intensity a cocaine high makes, "it can take control before you know it. . . Oh, and water melts it so watch your drinks sweating."
"Ok," Joey affirmed and produced a gold straw, smiling and said, "I bought it yesterday at the store."
"Humph," David muttered and took the straw from Joey's hand. He held it to his nose and then stopped. "Joey, it's your vacation, here!" Joey bent his head lower to the mirror. He shot-putted his face across and took all of one line in his nostril without seeing reflection. The effect hit quick and Joey lined up the straw, looked down and did the other one that was for David. Joey stood up, slightly sweating, and looked at the clock. "It's two-oh-five. You said two before. Dave, . . . that's pretty good timin'. When do you have to work? This taste wild!"
David was steadily chopping more of the glistening crystals and without stopping responded, "not till tomorrow," then closed his mouth and continued chopping on a small pile. David pursued his craft with the touch of an artisan and Joey looked eager, apprentice-like. Joey studied the blade in David's hand and how the crystals parted when David crushed into them, his body raced feverishly.
"Are you gonna do one Dave?" Joey asked apprehensive and unsure, not wanting to party alone.
"Yea, I just want to make a small pile for us first. Then, we won't have to chop later."
From the silver dollar pile nearly as deep as the razor, David took an extremely large pile onto the corner of his razor blade and held it to his nose. An anticipation he rarely felt swept across him, he shuddered from his head to his bowels, which loosened, and he felt the pizza moving through the digestive process.
He placed a finger over one nostril, glanced at Joey, and inhaled through the other. "Wow! This shit is killer. Umm," he said shaking his head a little to the snorted side and standing up, "even at quarter after two it's great timing with this. . . and you did two?!" Joey was already pacing the floor.
"Yea. This stuff is a trip. I feel, . . . everything... like when I'm working out. Except without the weights."
"Or being tired," David lazily injected,rewarding Joey.
"Yea!? Really?" Joey sat down next to David on the couch in the living room and started to grab for the mirror.
"Wait a minute," David bratted and cut a corner of the razor into the pile. Grabbing a hearty mound onto a corner, David lifted the blade to his nose. "Here, watch," David belayed educationally and began a slow draw of air through an uncovered nostril. Joey watched and there was a slow draining sound from David's nostril, then he held it closer and snorted. It rocked deep into David's neck and he gulped a drain clean and pure. He looked at Joey who focused sharp watching him, then he sat down the razor and rushed with the buzz. Joey reached for the mirror again and David's arm met his above it, "Wait, one more then, umm, we need to go to the store for shampoo and soap," to which Joey nodded his head in accord, then reached for the straw.
"This shit is cool Dave! How come nobody ever turned me on to this before? I mean they don't deal with it like this. Man," and Joey took control of the mirror, scooting it closer to him. David's face wrinkled over at Joey's blatant disregard. David went and got his things ready. "I'm just gonna do this one and were out of here, Ok?" Joey said as if he may have offended David. "You want one?"
From the bedroom, David replied that he would take "a small one for the road."
After a few short seconds David reappeared from the bedroom with a set of keys and his wallet. He looked from the dining room table at Joey who was leaning over the mirror getting ready to take another hit. Joey returned his stare. "Don't do my hit ya little fuckin' vacuum cleaner," David said, giving a small smile to himself. Joey smiled too and horned his hit, tilting his head back and playing the straw like a sax. "Gesuz, you got it down, huh? Gimme that."
"Here Dave," and Joey handed the instrument to David. "You're right, this is good shit."
David sat down on the couch, in front of the coffee table and grabbed the mirror, placing it in front of him. With the gold baton in his hand, David placed an experienced finger on his right nostril, at the fleshy part, and inserted the sax a little ways into his nose. Then, he tested it for air flow while Joey tasted the small end of David's line. David looked at Joey, then dove down for the line. A loud, sucking sound filled the room and Joey cracked a faint smile to himself, presumably knowing that David was experiencing the same feeling as he. "Cool man! Are ya ready?"
"Yea, but let's put this up somewhere while were gone." David grabbed the mirror to put it away on some shelf perhaps.
"Wait. I wanna do one more first," Joey said grabbing David's arm.
"Watch it man! You wanna spill all this shit? Then nobody will do it." "No, just one more," Joey replied.
"Fuck, here," and David sat the mirror down on the table. He grabbed the razor and lined a short one for Joey and another for himself. "Do this one." Joey picked up the straw, leaned into the mirror and snorted the line following the same ritual as David. "Cover your nose, it'll keep that shit from fallin' out all over the fuckin' place. See the floor already?" They both looked down and saw white crumbs juxtaposed against a dull, brown, wood floor. Joey held a finger over one nostril, on the fleshy part like David did.
David did the last line on the mirror and brushed the crumbs into a small pile which he rubbed on his gums. "Let's go," he pronounced. David put the platter on top of the buffet. They left the house.
It didn't take them long to realize that the drug was making them need to return, but they still managed to stay away for nearly an hour. It was almost four when they returned. Joey insisted that they watch T.V and do more lines.
"My favorite shows on, We gotta watch it," Joey said as David announced he didn't "give a shit" what Joey did because he was "taking a shit."
"Cool," Joey whispered to himself and turned on the T.V. with a remote, then went for the mirror on top of the buffet.
Returning to the living room, Joey placed it in the center of the coffee table. There was no hesitation to complete a healthy line before David finished in the bathroom. Remembering what David had showed him, he razored a thick, white line from the pile David had made and placed a finger over his nose. He snorted close to a quarter gram in his left nostril in one quick sweep of the tube. Joey was chopping at the pile when David returned.
"What the fuck, ya hound? Doin' it all or what?"
"No," Joey vibrated across his vocal chords, "I was waitin' for you to finish in there man. Here." Joey scraped David a large pile across the mirror into a long thin line, "that's as long as your arm."
"Well, I'm splittin' this fuckin' thing up man. You're crazy!" David replied indicating Joey had gone overboard in his doling out of the goods. He sat down on the couch.
"I'll split it with you," Joey replied pseudo-apologetically and leaving control with his older cohort added, "if you want."
"Yea, sure kid. That's cool! Here, you do the first half," David replied without condescension. Joey hovered nervously looking at David wanting him to move from where he was to get a better position at the tray. Joey leaned over the table and snorted the long line. He felt the slight burn of the powder in his nose and stopped, raising his head a little. A few small chunks fell from his nose onto the mirror in retreat. He picked them up with his finger and tasted them; rubbing it on his gums. The sensation was dull and nearly ineffectual but the taste was still there and the numbing effect tightened his gums against his teeth.
They sat around endless hours talking, constantly, and neither of them remembered any subject except one: the chop chop of the razor on the mirror. It kept them there listening to each other babble in a merry-go-round serenade that they both only faintly heard behind the masques of their heartbeats and the din of the television. David was the first to notice the time. He seemed preoccupied with the time.
"Hey man, it's quarter after eleven! Let's go to the club and have some drinks. Really celebrate." David hurriedly pushed at Joey. "But what about. . .?"
"Don't worry, we'll take some with us," David said easing Joey's conscience. "But you need a shower man! Get your ass in there and clean up. "Ok Dave," Joey said as he sat there not moving, but looking at the tray. "How about one more first?"
"Yea man, but we need to hurry alright."
Joey took the razor in his hand and started chopping away at a small pile he had pulled closer to him earlier. He gazed at the tray half intent on what he was doing. Joey seemed as if he were in another world, biting and chewing on his lip. He pulled a small line from the pile he was working on and looked up. "Yea, I do need a shower," then he took the line in forcefully. Joey stood upright, peered over the table and walked directly into the bathroom. Joey turned the controls and adjusted the shower to a luke warm temperature. He seemed anticipatory of an awkward sensation. He remembered what David had said about the water. Joey was staring at himself in the mirror when David's voice filtered in. "Hurry up Joey. It's gettin' late. We don't have much time."
"OK," Joey shouted through the mist that had settled in the bathroom and finished unrobing.
The shower hit Joey's legs and the moist air filled his nostrils and coated the membranes with soothing vapors. Joey slowly moved more of his body into the water, his arms folded over his chest. He gradually worked his head under the stream and raised his hands as if to protect himself from the water. David once again yelled for Joey to hurry. He stumbled as he rinsed his head, nearly falling, grabbing the shower rod for support.
Meanwhile David was in the living room filling a small brown vial with the crystals from the tray. He shook, his hands trembled, yet still managed to fill the vial. When he finished, David chopped himself a healthy line and did it quickly. He consumed another as Joey walked out of the shower dripping wet with a towel around him.
"Got one of those for me man?" Joey, nearly demanding, asked David. Walking into the living room dripping water from his hair, he said, "hey man! Got one of those for me?" leaning towards David.
"What the fuck man? Get the fuck outta here Joey, you're dripping wet!" David said and resumed his work at the tray. He did another one and scraped what was left to a corner of the mirror. From another corner, he rolled a small chunk to the center of the mirror. It sparkled crystally and David rolled it around with the razor used to chop the cocaine. Then, he cut into the center of the small unfolding rose bud and time seemed to slow down. Yet the clock on the wall kept ticking. After a few moments spent lost admiring the prettiness of the crystal formation, David noticed it was shortly past midnight. "Fuck, I wish he'd hurry up," David said as he turned the crystals to powder.
David transformed the jagged, glistening chunk into a fine powder which he used to fill the other vial he had in his pocket. He was going to give this one to Joey, after instructing him on how to behave in a bar. Joey returned dressed and ready to go out.
"That's much better kid. Look at the fucking time," David said not looking up from the tray. Joey looked at the clock: a quarter after twelve. David kept breaking down the strands of what was left over from the vial filling operation into an even finer powder and Joey watched anxiously over top. "Here Joey," David spoke, and moved over for Joey to sit down. Joey filled the vacancy quickly.
Without wasting time, he produced the straw to his nose and consumed the entire line in one fell swoop. David sat watching anxious, wanting to do another his hands shaking slightly. He grabbed the tray and quickly started laying out more lines from the leftovers of his endeavors while Joey showered.
"We'll do two more then take off. The club doesn't close until four so we should be okay there," David said without looking up from the tray. "What time is it, Joey?"
"Quarter till one," Joey replied to the side of David's head. "Alright, here man. Do these two and I'll do those, then we'll take off. Can you drive?"
"Great," David said pulling his keys from a hook on his belt, "you drive to the club."
He hurriedly took the keys, did the lines and headed for the door. The two left the house under babbles of David cautioning Joey on how to drive.
The pair returned shortly past four in the morning and with them an entourage they had acquired from the bar followed them. David went for the stereo and started the music going while Joey, now fully understanding the necessity for party supplies, started passing out beers on his way to stock the fridge.
There had amassed in the dining room six or seven people and they were talking and laughing loudly. Some spoke of the band that had played, and others were discussing everything else; totalled, there were nearly six conversations in between slurps of canned beer. As David checked everyone for stocked hands, he made his way to the tray that he had hidden on the way out. It was time to start passing out lines to the friends they accumulated.
Joey, having finished in the kitchen and broke out the vial that David had given him to take to the club. As he was dumping a pile into the cap, Angela walked in and smiled at him. Joey looked at her beautiful curves and motioned her with his arms to do the cap. But instead of grabbing the cap, she held his hands and pulled them down along her waist. Joey looked worried the stuff might spill. She kissed him on the lips.
Just then, David, peering around the corner unnoticed, called for Joey in his normal, delicate way: "Hey Joey! Hurry the fuck up in there, you're next!"
"Uh, Ok Dave," Joey said stunned, "hold on," then Joey looked back to the girl and handed her the lid, and said, "here, do this." Angela followed him into the next room.
There was all the people standing around the dining room table waiting and David was sitting at one end. The chair next to him was empty and he grinned wide to Joey who was racing inside; the alcohol having no effect on the cocaine.
"How `bout that bitch? She'll do you all night," David smirked to Joey as the kid slid in next to him. Joey looked over his shoulder at the girl, surprised she was still behind him, and managed a forced smile to David. Joey anticipated another line. He looked steady at the mirror. David wanted to make an announcement first; a formal introduction of his nephew from up north. He insisted everyone make Joey feel right at home this first weekend of his "Spring Break." Joey turned his head, seeing the girl he had met at the club flowering a wide smile at him. Then turned his head back to David.
"So here Joey, first line of the party for you," David pronounced officially and everyone cheered and raised their beers to toast the occasion. Angela leaned over and kissed Joey lightly on the cheek. He pulled the straw to his nose and did the extremely large line David prepared.
"Hell yea!" Joey said, bucking up from the seat, "that's what I need." He grabbed the beer he brought with him and took a big chug. Then he saddled the chair and started chopping out lines.
"Hurry up," David said looking at his watch, "other people are hear you know!"
"Dave," Joey declared, "I thought I should return the favor. Here ya' go," and slid the mirror over to his cousin who had three huge lines to select from.
"Damn, which one first?," David asked in jest, then did the middle one quickly. David looked at Joey, waiting for the next move when Joey grabbed Angela's hand, stood up, pulled her next to him and sat her down. It was obvious that she was next. Joey followed her and finished the last one, again playing the straw in his nose like a saxophone, then slid the mirror over to David, motioning him to take control.
The girl followed him into the living room, but motioned towards the back of the house with a tilt of her head. Then, without either of them saying a word, they passed by unnoticed, almost invisible, slipping into the back bedroom quietly. Joey tagged along rather than led the excursion. There was an unsure look in his eyes, hesitant. Whether it was the abundance of cocaine racing in him, or the pretty girl whom he had just met that made him nervous, Joey's fear was calmed when she closed the door behind them. Joey found something to chop lines on and the girl found something for snorting. As soon as Joey had finished making them a small pile which he had intended for himself mainly, the girl grabbed his arms back and began undressing; undressing without moving her eyes from Joey's face. She watched Joey in awe of her body. He was numb and she naked.
"Do you have to be anywhere, at anytime?" Joey asked not realizing, just noticing the clock display on the stereo showing a little after five.
"Sure," Angela answered. "Sometime; somewhere; whenever, not now though," she added, hoping to ease Joey's mind. Is twenty questions over yet?" . . . . And obviously it was.
Joey, now sweating, extremely short winded and feeling his heart beating almost too fast was preoccupied as he pushed Angela aside to start chopping at the tray. If he were a writer, the keyboard would smoke and the page would smoulder.
After they had done many lines and fooled around, she asked "Have ya' ever smoked it?"
Joey looked up, still trying to catch his breath, "what?"
"Yea," she said, "smoked it!"
Joey would have never thought to smoke it, until now and the expression in his face told Angela he didn't have to answer. Angela as she jumped up off the bed and said, "I'll be right back." With Joey watching her, she turned her head and tagged on, "lover."
The party had ended and David, nearly passed out in a rocking chair from the valium he took earlier, barely noticed Angela slip through naked to the kitchen to get the smoking utensils. On her way back she walked into the living room where a few boys were snoring lying on the floor and couch. She giggled and tip-toed back to Joey and David barely smiled as she went into the bedroom.
"Jooooo-ey," Angela sang as she quietly closed the door behind her, "I got everything. Are you doin' another one?" Angela asked when she saw Joey draped across the bed with his head lying towards the night stand. She gently rubbed his legs, moved up his back, and straddled him. "Giddy-up," Angela teased, smacking him on the ass, his body bouncing under her. But he didn't move. "Hey Joey," she leaned in his ear and seeing his mouth in the mirror sucking air like a tired fish began to gasp, "Oh my god! Oh my god!" as she jumped off his back, gathered her stuff and kept repeating, "Oh my god!, Oh my god!" in heavy, thick breaths.
David fought the valium trance he was in trying to determine whether what he heard was real or some dream. He pushed himself up and out of the chair, held his head in his hands. The swirling room spun more sounds from the bedroom. David staggered through the dining room as Angela bust out of the bedroom door.
"You better check out your friend man," Angela said gravely and scared, "I'm outta here!"
David bolted into the bedroom, bouncing off the walls and doors. He saw Joey lying face down, naked on the bed and rushed to him, rolled him over, yelled "Joey" over and over. David pounded on his chest, listened for his heart. Joey's eyes were wide and rolled back. The white powder was in rocky chunks around his nose, foam around his mouth. David continued to beat and listen, beat and listen. He had no idea what to do. David stopped calling for Joey by name. He rose up from the floor and straightened Joey's body on the bed, covered it, then walked stunned out of the room. He wasn't staggering anymore. His thoughts weren't clear, but he noticed a postcard on the buffet which he picked up and read:
"Hi Honey, Dave is cool. We're gonna party hard this weekend. He's gettin' supplies now, so I'm not sure what we're doin', but I'll try anything once.