Outside the rain came down in hissing sheets. It was the middle of the night - yellow glares of lamplight flared through the rain that splashed upon empty, gloomy streets. No cars, no people out this night.
Huddled in between two vacant warehouses - as if trying to shield itself from the downpour - squat the Rialto Theater - one of the last adult cinemas in downtown San Diego.
In 1970’s pimp font, Rialto Theater hummed in a blue neon glow. The marquee - rusted from years outdoors and ringed with burnt, sad, ambiguous bulbs - buzzed loudly in the muted hissing of the rainy night; barely lighting the red-brick building of the degenerate cinema.
Inside the theater, sat a yellow mop bucket, coated on the outside with putrid green and brown slime, contained, to the brim, coffee-colored water that rapidly dripped from the leaking ceiling.
The dark, rose-colored halls vibrated with the gasps and grunts of random, broken lust from the video being projected onto the huge movie screen that illuminated the fifty theater seats in a pornographic, strobing glow.
Like burnt out, sallow-eyed zombies, the ten or so patrons stared transfixed at the blonde cooze that screeched in a crack-induced frenzy as a tired middle-aged jock pumped her million dollar snatch in weary apathy.
Every few seconds, nestled down in the dim blue of the audience seats, there would be a flick of a lighter and then the red glow of a glass pipe from over half of the attending patrons. The large cinema was hazy-gray with the wafting vapors of exhaled crack or methamphetamine smoke - mixed with the random cough and slurps of sordid, decadent activities.
At the cinema’s entrance, I sat in a small, oblong office and listened to the whispers of the rain outside trying to drown the moaning crackling over the speakers from the theater.
Slumped in a ratty, stained old office chair, my feet propped up with a spiral notebook on my lap, I put pen to paper and attempted to knock out a hack-eyed science fiction story that mixed Buck Rogers with Chinese Kung Fu movies.
Colt Corrigan across the Galactic Lens was the title I had thought up. Wiping sweaty grime from the nose piece of my black, horned-rim glasses, I also thought how unpalatable the title was.
I readjusted my glasses and my eyes focused onto my scuffed, black, thin-soled shoes which stuck out from dirty jeans that I hadn’t washed in weeks. The stained tank top t-shirt (Used to be white, now a grungy yellow) was covered by a cracked, black leather jacket - my father, a fag hating, wife beater in his own right - called my usual attire, “The uniform of the obvious homosexual.”
With the calming hiss of the rain outside, I contemplated on how I had been employed at this filthy, foul-smelling theater for the past six months. On how, working the box-office graveyard shift in a rundown porno theater could really ebb away the old ego and on how much inwardly I completely loathed it.
What the fuck was I thinking when I took this stupid ass job? Summed up my dismay.
However, the job did have its perks. Like, conning some junkie creep who would approach the window and after dramatically recoiling at the forking over of those bills, would then happily pay with a bump of meth to enter them pearly gates.
This would happen a few times during my shift and I usually spent the rest of the evening lit off of my ass from free dope.
The manager, I believed, was wise to my shenanigans, but was either dumb to the fact or simply turned a blind eye.
I recalled a few mornings before, far after the sun had come up, around 7am - my manager Bob, an obscenely obese, bearded queer - made a surprise visit and took over the morning shift.
I stood there and counted out the register - me a clicking, clacking mess, beads of sweat pouring down my face - teeth grinding loudly. I had been smoking dope all night and not rightly in the mood for any of his shit.
“What’s the matter with you?” He asked in that whining way fags had when asking the obvious - laced with condescending, sneering imperialism.
I straightened up, eyeballs ping-ponging around my head. Lips dry and twitching.
I sputtered, “Nothing, Bob - tired. Too much coffee - just a night full of crazies, you know?”
He stood and stared at my vibrating form, let out a dramatic sigh like only queens can that had honed the act over the years, and then shuffled bitchily across the office - waves of acrid sweat assaulted my nostrils.
He poured his massive buttocks into the office chair, it groaned and creaked in protest, “Well, do not forget - I have my spies here at night keeping an eye on you. So, you best be doing your job and not spending the whole night fucking around.”
I returned to the register, I hate you.
Then, there were the other patrons - the regulars that came up to the snack window - the ones that were usually vending their goodies. My sweet Dark Angels that rescued me from this horrid purgatory that I had stuck myself into.
To win in my good favor, these sallow, pale Angels - after committing acts in the theater that would had made Caligula turn away in disgust – stood in front of me all smiles, smelling of farts and dried semen, with fists out ready to cop a paper into my trembling paw for leverage later or whatever favors they needed for that moment. Either, it being to acquire the office to smoke and/or shoot from prying eyes of the dope pigeons, or more than often, quick sexual relief.
“Don’t worry, man.” They’d hiss through chapped, gunk lined lips. “I won’t tell the boss.”
All of them were worthless, untrustworthy shits.
I smiled and thought how little the vice squad visited the place - knowing full well that it was a simmering den of junkies and sexual perverts. The junkies knew this, too. All night - every night - nary a cock went unsucked or a line of speed unsorted.
One of those aforementioned regulars was my old pal, Mario from Tijuana. Who stood in the dank opening of the concessions window. Dark, sparkling eyes glared under black bangs at me. He smiled.
“Hey, white boy - howzitgoin’?”
I turned and the jolt of meth addiction quivered up my back. Mario was always holding.
“Hey, man - I thought you’d be here. Come in.”
The short Mexican swung open the closed, bottom half of the door and entered the office. He plopped onto the tattered, overstuffed, midnight-blue lazy chair placed in front of the television that played the movies projected up on the screen in the theater.
I grabbed a soda from the mini fridge by the cash register, handed it to Mario, “How long you been in the theater?”
“Since ‘bout one or two this afternoon.” He placed the can on the dirty, tiled floor, sat up and dug in the front pocket of his filthy jeans. He pulled out a small plastic bag with a zip seal to it. He held it up, black grime under the fingernails. “I got something for ya.”
I grabbed the baggy, examined the white crystals that flaked inside.
Mario eyed me and grinned, “Wanna get high?”
He sing-sang it.
“You gotta ask?”
He removed from the folds of his musty clothes, a small blowtorch lighter and a glass pipe - blackened and charred from far too much use.
Retrieving a good size rock from the plastic bag, Mario dropped it in the end of the pipe that was bulbous with a tiny opening for the dope. He placed the tube end to his chapped lips - flick - and inhaled the gray, resinous smoke into his quivering form.
Grabbing the pipe from his smudged hand, I placed the tip to my mouth and while Mario held the torch, I rotated the pipe left and right, watching the drug in its liquid state ooze back and forth in the bulb - greedily inhaling the gray smoke.
As I passed the pipe back to Mario, the shit hit good - that 200 watt jolt started from the mid-back - tingled up my spine to the nape of the neck, prickling hairs to the forehead like a rush of Orgasmic Death.
I sank into the creaking office chair next to Mario - our teeth ground, tongues clicked on roofs of dry mouths. Hit after hit after hit.
I mechanically looked over to Mario - he sat in trembling vibrations, eyes wide and furious and intense, staring at a black woman who deep throated some old guy’s cock that flashed across the monitor.
Mario unzipped his dirty, black jeans - white and yellow crusted around the crotch - pulled out a long floppy, uncircumcised penis. He slid the skin back - revealing a glistening head.
“Wanna suck my cock?” He breathed; not taking his eyes off of the porn.
I stood up - placed a BACK IN 10 MINUTES sign on the concession door - and closed it. Without a word, I kneeled in front of Mario and slid my lips up and down his stiffening organ. Within minutes - squirt! I leaned over the wastebasket - spit!
As I sat back in the office chair, Mario fumbled with his zipper and then handed me the pipe. I sucked on that, too. The acrid metallic taste filled my lungs - my eyes darted all over the office. The credits began rolling on the porn - I plugged another tape in the video machine. Mario popped up out of the chair.
“Okay, man - gotta jet.” His hand brushed his crotch, grinning, “Thanks for everything, man.”
His face mocked concern as he glanced at the wastebasket. “Why’d you spit it out - thought you liked how I taste?”
“Can never be sure these days, right?” I answered, lighting a cigarette. I handed one to Mario. “You leavin’ or gonna hang in the theater for a while?”
“I gotta meet with this bitch up on 5th. I’ll be back tomorrow.” He opened the concession door, grinning over his shoulder. “Don’t do so much dope, man - that shit’ll kill ya.”
“Hey, Mario.” I called before he got to the theater exit. “Let me get a bag offa ya.”
He turned back to the office, reached into his jean jacket pocket. “I thought you might need some more to get you through the night.”
He smacked a small packet into my palm - I slapped crumpled bills into his. We both said laterz and Mario cut out of the theater into the wet night.
There are many ways that crystal meth can be used.
Meth can be swallowed by placing it into an empty gelatin capsule, mixed with water, or added to coffee. It can be chopped into a fine powder and snorted into the nose with a straw. You can smoke it in a glass pipe, light bulb, or on aluminum foil.
For more hardcore addicts, meth can be injected into a vein with a hypodermic syringe - the effects are faster and more intense - or mixed with water and inserted anally using a syringe without the needle, commonly known in the gay community as getting booty-bumped.
I had done them all.
I preferred smoking it in a pipe. Downside to that was - carry that around and getting stopped by the cops? Well, that could just ruin your whole day - and hiding it at work from sniffing brown-nosers was too risky. There were far too much time to waste with my fellow employees and I am sure they spent more than half their shift just sifting through random shit looking for contraband. I know, I did.
I closed the bottom half of the concession door that led to the theater hall. Rummaging through the shelves that held cleaning supplies, I grabbed a roll of aluminum foil, walked back to the office chair and sat.
I ripped off a slip of aluminum paper about seven inches long by two inches wide. On the counter, I folded the strip long ways and created a groove down the middle. I took a pinch of white, crystallized powder from the plastic bag and sprinkled the stuff carefully onto the groove. I then grabbed a filthy ink pen - just the outer casing was left, I removed the ink tube days ago – now, it was a charred, filthy, warped mess. I positioned the plastic tube in my mouth, lined the far end of the straw up over the groove.
Underneath the aluminum strip, I flicked my lighter and with a steady flame; slowly heated the length of the strip.
The meth liquefied over the heat - evaporating into a gray, resinous smoke which I inhaled through the straw. I slowly heated the dope along the groove, patiently tilting the strip and followed the gray ooze, that chemical death, and drew the smoke into my charred lungs.
My tongue slithered and curled in my mouth - sucking more smoke - teeth clenched, jaw chewed at nothing - sucked more smoke - the tingle spread all along my body, fingers, back, forehead - the porno wavered, the bitches moaned and screamed, “Fuck yeah! Oh fuck me! Yeah!” - sucked more smoke - the gray liquid slid down the groove and I followed like a champ - I sat in the chair fidgeting, squirming - eyes ping-ponging around the small, dirty office - the florescent lights fluttered - the rain hissed - sucked more smoke - the wall clock clicked ominously, insidiously loud - my skin felt clammy - I pinched more into the groove - flick!whoosh!whee! - sticky tongue licked dry lips - taste of aluminum on the back of tongue, throat seared - sucked more smoke - I sat there hyperventilating, twitching in spastic jerks.
My mind raced through a long-winded seminar at an NA meeting that I had attended once concerning the history of methamphetamine.
In a brightly lit hall, amid wafting cigarette smoke and polite coughs, I sat on an iron-folding chair surrounded with five other fiending and bored junkies as an old, pot-bellied man dressed like a retired cop marched to the podium at the front of the stark room and began his rant.
From what the old fart droned on about, Amphetamine was principally synthesized in Germany in 1887, and was considered “a drug in search of a disease” for several years.
Amphetamines came to Japan in 1919, initially marketed as a recreational drug, that was until, its unusual side effects were discovered.
Irritability, aggressive behavior, anxiety, excitement, auditory hallucinations, and paranoia mixed with delusions and psychosis.
I have to admit, meth abusers do tend to be violent and crazy sons of bitches.
Nothing was actually done with this new goldmine until the 1920’s, when experiments were conducted with the hopes that it could treat everything from depression to decongestion.
In the 1930’s, Amphetamine was marketed as Benzedrine and sold in over the counter inhalers to remedy nasal congestion; quite popular with the hip beat writer crowd of the late 40’s - popping them Bennies for a solid kick, pops.
During World War II, meth was used to keep the soldiers fighting. The Allied Forces used a pharmaceutical grade of Amphetamine that was manufactured in chemistry labs.
The Axis Forces consumed meth concocted through a method that the Nazis themselves discovered and manufactured in make-shift labs. Hitler himself was an alleged meth addict and the Japanese Kamikaze pilots used meth before almost every flight because it made them more alert and they could fly for longer periods of time.
In Japan, after World War II, intravenous meth abuse reached epidemic proportions - due to the fact that the Japanese military had large amounts of meth stock-piled and after the war, made it available to the public. The United States Military had used Amphetamine in every war since World War II.
In the Vietnam War, American Soldiers consumed more Amphetamine than the rest of the world did during World War II.
Of course, the United States government categorically denies this and, as usual, judged the narcotic dangerous and handled the situation accordingly by banning sales and deeming it illegal.
During the 1970’s and the 1980’s, biker gangs such as the Hell’s Angels, were responsible for 90% of the methamphetamine produced in the United States.
With biker gangs, meth earned the slang name crank. This was due to the fact that, when the bikers needed to transport meth a long distance, they would hide it in the crank cases of their motorcycles. This worked great for a while, because it was virtually undetectable and the motorcycles functioned perfectly, even with the meth hidden inside.
This monopoly the bikers held had shifted in the late 1980’s - with Mexican gangs/cartels manufacturing meth in Mexico and smuggling it into the U.S. The biker gangs then began purchasing meth from the Mexicans because it was cheaper and easier than manufacturing their own.
Mexico-based traffickers controlled the market for imported meth in the United States. While domestic meth was available, the majority of it seized had originated in Mexico and smuggled into the States via California, Arizona and Texas.
Okay, enough of the history lesson. I’m going to give it to you straight and country simple on how one gets hooked so easily: Meth is a drug that has a distinct characteristic of acting directly on the central nervous system. Meth triggers certain regions of the brain to release dopamine.
When dopamine is released, the user feels a sudden rush of pleasure. This is an artificially induced pleasure sensation, but it does persist and makes the user feel quite consumed with it. The main thing is that the high is felt almost immediately after the user takes the narcotic.
However, the effect doesn’t last long and the person craves more and more of the substance.
The brain will eventually stop the secretion of dopamine as it becomes immunized to the effect of the drug. We all know where this leads - the user will begin consuming more, increasing the habit to a greater level - attempting desperately to achieve that great rush from the first high. That is the hook.
Plain and simple – I had found myself doing the same – consuming more and more and more at all costs to get that first fantastic, orgasmic rush – and which you never will achieve.
This is how the body becomes addicted to meth. Got it?
I do have to admit, meth offers great aphrodisiac properties. When the addict uses the substance, it can and does, cause the addict to have a ravenous craving for sexual releases.
Since meth is mostly used in group settings, such as nightclubs or the occasional adult theater, there always is the chance that the person will indulge in unsafe sexual practices.
This can give rise to insidiously, hazardous complications - such as an increased risk of HIV infection, among other nefarious dilemmas.
However, if you are a hardcore tweeker, you generally didn’t give a fuck. I know, I didn’t.
My mind popped back into what I was doing.
Okay, enough, I thought.
I smiled inward took another hit, Goddamn! This is some good shit!