Pawn Takes King Part 17

The first withdrawal was bad. Donnie had been in Iowa City only a week when the Oxy ran out. The next day after snorting his last pill, the comedown began. Donny had been riding high for a long time, and now he was plummeting. He couldn't eat. Anything he tried to digest came back up. At least he didn't have to worry about food, for the time being. His hunger was now for opiates.
Agony replaced his euphoria. A cold sweat coated his body in unending shivers. He discovered that laundromats were good places to crash. They were open 24 hours, and usually no management was around. It was a small comfort to him as his body cried out for drugs. He could not go cold turkey. Death held even more allure for Donny now.
    Donny wished he had never tried opiates. No, that wasn't quite true. He didn't regret the immense satisfaction the drugs provided. There was a reason people did drugs, after all.
    Donny wished opiates didn't feel so fucking good. There. That seemed more in keeping with Donny's true feelings.
    The laundromat chair was uncomfortable. It was not meant to be a leisure spot. You were supposed to sit your ass down, wash your shit, fold it, and get the hell out. Gus came in. He was Donny's only real friend in this 'berg. It took much effort for Donny to rise to his feet, but he does so shakily.
    "Let's head out to your truck," Donny says tiredly. They smoked a joint in the parking lot. Gus caught wind of Donny's predicament, and offered some relief in the form of marijuana. The good old standby drug, and the good old pal, Gus Landry. He was always a grand man to have when in a pinch. Donny would come to learn this in-depth as the two traversed the streets together.
    "You're in bad shape, Donny my man," Gus says, extinguishing the remaining roach.
    "what else is new?" Donny says in a beleaguered voice. The pot settled some of the pain, but the core of his need was still strong. His body was physically sick from lack of Oxy. Minutes might as well be hours in the timetable of an ill junkie.
    "I hear they have clinics," Gus says, placing the roach amongst others in his ashtray, "Methadone clinics. For recovery."
    "It ain't free, though," Donny says remorsefully, "I'm an 18 year old, able-bodied male. They ain't gonna comp shit for me. They'll just ask why i don't have a job."
    "You don't know that for sure," Gus says in disagreement.
    "I do know it," Donny says, "I had an appointment with them. What I just told you is how it went down."
    "Oh," Gus says dumbly. His aged mind searches for more alternatives, but the joint has him bombed to oblivion.
    "I wish I was dead, Gus," Donny says, bursting into tears. He wails for a life that is lost. Donny had no more free will. His actions were dictated by a narcotic. There was no hope for success. It was either dredge through with this monkey on his back, or go through hell to beat it. Donny was not brave. If he had money, he would find some Oxy-Contin. Since he didn't have that cash, he would do terrible things to get what he desperately needed.
    Gus is not some supreme comforter. He uncomfortably sits in the drivers seat, but does not feel in control. Gus wishes he could tell Donny it well get better. False hope is not something Gus can muster. Gus is in a better position than Donny. But they are both precariously close to ruin. Gus knows that Donny is smart. It's a book-smart kind of knowledge, but the kid is still sharp. Donny has thought it out. His road was a dead-end. Gus finally decides he should say something.
    "Life's an ordeal," Gus says, looking vacantly at the pale blue sky, "I pray to God everyday that I won't wake up in the morning. I like to think it's all coming to a close. Maybe it'll end, and we'll all be judged. That would be a mercy to me. You're in a bad way, Donny. You know the scoop."
    That is all he speaks. There is a sternness to what Gus says, but at least it is not empty words. Gus means what he says. He yearns to die, just like Donny. In that, they are not alone.
    Donny apologizes but says he can't hang out. He is too enfeebled. Gus is not torqued off, because he knows Donny's situation. Asking one last favor, Donny requests to be dropped off at the pedestrian mall. IT's no problem to Gus. He pulls away in the blazer, with Donny stewing in torment in the passenger seat. The walk from Gus' vehicle to the peed mall is strenuous to the weakened Donny, even though it is only about 30 feet. By the time he gets back to an empty park bench, exhaustion drapes upon him like a wet blanket.
    He cannot sleep. Instead, he lingers between waking and his subconscious. It appears his mind cannot wander past the borders of his mind while his body is afflicted so. Donny listens to the chatter of the bums. If there is dope to be found, this is the place.
    Donny opens his heavy eyes and sees a bum rolling a joint in broad daylight. It takes a lot of testicular fortitude to be so bold. The bum is a black man wearing a sweat-stained wife beater and track suit pants. He is cleaning the weed on a cd cover of a Soundgarden album. The man meets Donny's eyes as he is licking the adhesive on the rolling paper. The black man pauses, with his tongue hanging out like a canine. Perhaps the dude is studying Donny for hints of being a narc. Bums know their own however. Donny is no cop. The black guy lights up the marijuana cigarette and mosies over to sit beside Donny.
    The black bum hits the joint deeply, while inhaling sharply. He offers it to Donny. If only the Oxy flowed as smoothly as weed did among the bums.
    "you look like you could use some herbal supplements," the guy says. Donny smiles tiredly and accepts the joint.
    "I like you guys," Donny says sluggishly, "you all know how to cure what ails ya."
    "You look sick," the guy says, "I might have a better remedy for you. Understand?"
    Donny perks up at this.
    "OC?" Donny asks quietly in the abbreviated form of Oxy Contin.
    The man doesn't reply, but merely nods. "You interested?"
    "Yes," Donny says emphatically.
    "My names Tanner," he says.
    "YOu gonna be here awhile, Donny?"
    "yeah, I'm not going anywhere. I'm sick, remember?"
    As if to accentuate the point, Donny coughs, hawks, and spits a thick wad of phlegm. Tanner puts out the J and tucks it into a plastic bag, where it seems a family of fellow roaches dwell.
    "Wait here," Tanner says, "I'll make a call."
    Donny felt exhilarated. Although he had no way of paying for the drugs, at least there was someone with it readily available. The way Donny felt, he might consider committing another robbery. That was, if his shaky bones would carry him. Donny breathed in deeply of the autumn air. His lungs are slimy with mucus, and rattle noisily when inhaling or exhaling. He would be well soon enough, if things came to pass.
    Tanner returned with a stranger. The guy was tall and thin, wearing a sheepskin-collared leather jacket. His blonde hair looks recently cut, but it might've been done with a razorblade, because it is so stringy and patchy.
    "This is Jessie Baxter," Tanner says, motioning to him. Jessie gives a smile that is meant to be friendly, however, it is anything but.


Uploaded 10/26/2012
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