Frankenstein in Central Square, Part One

They call me The Troll. I’m sitting here in the 1369 Coffee House on Mass Ave in Central Square. My guts feel a bit ropey. I ran out of junk a few hours ago and sent Moshe Dean out to find Ar Lain Ta. I’m so down that I’m contemplating rolling across the street and going into the Cantab Lounge for a drink.

That’s real depression. I hate the alcohol buzz so much that when I think of drinking, what it really means is that I am suicidal in the dark.

When the dark comes, it can come so quick that it takes your breath away. Which is the whole objective around what comes next. When it comes like that I really want to get some good dope — very good dope. Maybe some junk will kick in the dreaming dark.

Overdose. If I’m lucky, but how many junkies are really lucky, over the news there will be a warning, a public announcement of sorts. It will say, “In South Boston today four heroin addicts were found dead, the needle was still inserted in their arms. Nineteen other heroin addicts were treated at various local hospitals for overdose. Reports are still coming in. All addicts are warned not to buy or shoot the bag stamped with the name “Butter” due to the lethal nature of its contents. It is estimated to be close to 90 percent pure.”

Which translates, to any serious junkie (and what junkie isn’t), go get it boys and girls, it’s the best shit in town.

And we do.

Like grease on a mission we slither out of the crash pads, the suburban candy-lands where we live with our denial-coated parents who sit glued to the TV (maybe they’re both at aerobics class), from the luxury apartments paid for by trust funds or our dotty.com companies. Maybe we leave our wives, husbands, boyfriends or girlfriends to sell the coke or weed that pays for our dope habits. We creep out of our SRO’s, those cockroach-laden hideaways made possible by twinkle-toothed slumlords, the wet and dry shelters, the Salvation Army (maybe we need a fix just to get through their God-awful religion classes that they jam down our bile-coated throats as the price of a cot and a hot), and all the other castle-keeps we stay in — and like a skulk of foxes we skitter into South Boston looking for the final fix.

The overdose can come gentle, just a greying around the edges of the picture frame of reality, a closing circle of grey just like the cheap fade-out of a grade-D celluloid made for the loops in a hand job saloon disguised with the name – Smitty’s Adult Movies, Books, and Toys XXXX.

Maybe you press the plunger down on the overused disposable (instead we are the throwaways, the unwanted children, the homeless, PTSD-Schizo-Bipolar-ADD-Sad beyond depression-Can’t fit in anywhere-Can fit in but who wants to-you fit the category, we’ll fill it), we were pressing the plunger down — the barrel of the syringe is filled with the killer dope and you (we) feel the hoof of a powerful horse thump you (us) in the chest and then – the lights go out.

Maybe the scenario is like this: you (we) feel so good, the rush is coming on right now. We pull a cigarette out of the pack, put a flame to the end of it and think – as you suck the smoke in to your blackened lungs – wow. For a change, I got a decent bag, maybe my luck (hard luck junkie) is changing, you say to yourself (no one else is listening anyway). You, I mean you, take a drag and as we (all together now) slip the belt off our arm, our knees begin to bend, then buckle and we fall to the floor like a boned bag of water. The cigarette is still burning. It is still between the fingers. If we were still conscious we (you) might feel it blistering the skin.

On the floor now, shallow breathing, maybe our eyes are open (no lights on). A short time ago we scored a burger from McDonald’s and now we aspirate it into our mouths, take another shallow breath and suck the burger (McDonald’s finest) into our windpipe.

Maybe things aren’t going this well for you. For a junkie there are always glitches. Like maybe someone called 911 and they are shooting you up with Narcan. Instant withdrawal. Ugh.

I don’t want to even think about that. Let’s chat about something pleasant. Oh, here comes Reverend Love. “Want a coffee? Cream, no sugar, right?”

He sits down. I ask him, “What’s up?”

He says, “Get a camera.” Then he picks up his coffee, rises from the seat, and walks away with a smile on his face.

Suddenly the back door opens and Moshe Dean slips in. He hands me two packets stamped “Butter.” Then he says, “That’s all for now. Ar Lain Ta is coming here with the rest.”

I wonder why Ar Lain Ta is coming as I roll into the ladies room to shoot up. As I close the door I see Moshe Dean enter the men’s room. Little did I know that I was soon to meet one of the most misunderstood men of all time.

At the same moment the needle chased my fleeing vein to a showdown on the Erie railroad running down my forearm, the monster was crossing the Charles River on a train.

Not  one of us, me, Moshe Dean, Ar Lain Ta nor the monster knew what was in store for us on this fateful day. But the Rogue – ah, but we’ll get to that, won’t we?

 

Marc D. Goldfinger is a member of the board of directors of the Homeless Empowerment Project, which publishes Spare Change news. Formerly homeless, he serves as the paper's poetry editor.

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