Pawn Takes King Part 5

Donnie felt great. Now that he had weed, everything was just dandy. His moods were swinging wildly lately. Donnie began to wonder if all that Oxy-Contin he took over the years had fried his emotional capabilities. It was a possible culprit. It could also be that the street was finally getting to Donnie. He was not stone, nor steel. He was flesh and bone, and mended bone at that. More and more, he found himself compensating for his damaged femur by transferring weight to this other leg. This brought about pain in his hip. He felt like a fucking old geezer, and he was only 25 years old. Donnie supposed the grave was too close for comfort.
    On the walk back to Rutherford Park, Donnie located a lone popcan, and used it for a makeshift pot pipe. Taking out his rusty pocket knife, Donnie laid the can on it's side, and flattened one edge of the can by pressing it down with his hand. Then, he carefully poked several small holes through the flat side. He even added a carb on the side, making a simple hole with a flick of the blade. Donnie had constructed many a pop can pipe in his time. he found it actually prolonged the length of a bowl, because the weed wasn't clumped together while it burned.
    Donnie sprinkled weed onto the flat side of the container, making sure the holes in the can didn't swallow any flakes of green. Tilting the can sideways, Donnie tipped the tabbed hole to his mouth, where you would normally drink, Donnie held the carb hole with a thumb and fired it up. The weed was nice and tasty. Not so nice was the slurp of leftover soda in the can, which he inhaled by accident. Donnie coughs harshly, but makes sure to turn his head away from the can, to prevent blowing the bowl onto the ground, and shooting embers in his lap.
    Once he regained his breath, Donnie released the carb and sucked in all the smoke that had built up. Donnie's friend in college had taken physics, and was also a huge pothead. He told Donnie that the reason the smoke built up was because he created something like a vacuum space in the enclosed can. It was only when ventilation was given that the smoke could escape, which is the purpose the carb provided. Donnie's own life was something of a vacuum, too. There was only emptiness for poor Donald Grieves. Everynight he went to sleep alone. No girl, no family, nothing. How could Donnie vent his vacuum? How could he change his life? The weed made him mellow enough to contemplate his current issues.
    Donnie was a drug addict. He had made that distinction some time ago, but now it seemed like the focal point to his problems. The drugs brought him to the street, and they would also be the thing to carry him out, in a body bag. He had to get a grip, there wasn't much more room to slip anymore.
    Donnie hated himself, and his miserable life. He could understand that now, once the Tetrahydrocannabinol kicked into his system, boosting his dopamine and other chemicals. It was like he was floating above his usual dark, hopeless self. There most certainly was an imbalance in Donnie.  Hell, didn't he think of suicide just yesterday?
    Donnie thought about killing himself a lot. Too much. Donnie's mother had always told him that if you committed suicide, you went straight to hell, no ifs ands or buts about it. Donnie was no longer convinced there was a God. But the prospect of eternal agony made him to at least stop and consider it. How cruel. Must Donnie continue to suffer because of a possibility? If there were irrefutable proof that no heaven or hell was below him, Donnie would off himself immediately. He had enough of life.
    There were other ways to get out of this. There had to be. Donnie had heard about the methadone clinics in Cedar Rapids. Supposedly, if you drank what they gave you everyday, it would kick the urges for opiates. And there were certainly urges within Donnie. Even with the weed, Donnie was picturing ways to score more Oxy. Eugene had hooked him up with this mammoth bag. Donnie hadn't even paid enough for a dime bag, but got what looked like an eighth of an ounce. Donnie could sell a couple of dime bags, and score some Oxy easily. Very Easily.
    The Oxy wasn't like heroin. It didn't need much of any preparation, besides sucking off the time-release coating on the pills with his mouth. No boiling, or injecting was necessary. One could inject if they really wanted to, (which Donnie had done before) but they could also just swallow, or snort it. Also, a buyer didn't need to worry about quality. The pills were pharmaceutical grade, guaranteed to be top-notch. Unlike heroine, Donnie didn't have to worry about a poor opiate crop, or the fact that the drug might've been in a condom up someone's ass either. Most of the dealers Donnie knew got the pills directly from the prescription pad of a doctor.     Donnie knew an old black man who was living off of disability because of a work injury. His nickname was Smokey and he worked for the railroad. One day, while he was working on the coupling between two train cars, another engineer hauled a spare car in the line. It collided like billiard balls, and Smokey was caught between the car's coupling. The accident crushed his pelvis, and therefore he got huge doses of Oxy every month. Smokey hadn't started out as an addict. He found himself retired earlier than he had planned, without interests or hobbies. His wife had passed, and he had no children.
    Perhaps it was the boredom of it all that made Smokey take more and more Oxy. Eventually Smokey got the nods, and would pass out for hours at a stretch. Smokey shopped around at the bars and liquor stores, looking for uppers. He was old and didn't have a lot of time left. He didn't want to spend his waning years passed out in a lousy armchair. He preferred crack, and would sell most of his supply to feed the need. Donnie was more than willing to buy them during that time.
    The acquaintance with Smokey started out much like the one with Eugene, although it was weed with Eugene, mostly. They saw each other sparingly, then it became more and more frequent. Donnie started hanging around, buying bigger bags of dope. Donnie even smoked crack with Smokey once. On a rare occasion, Smokey had been out of Oxy pills, having just sold his supply to load up on the ether-laced rocks. Smokey had offered him a rock all to himself.
    Donnie remembers holding the small butane torch lighter under the pipe, and thinking to himself about how crackheads started out. It was clear-tasting, and strange. An aftertaste of chemicals and a slight tang of lighter fluid made him grimace. He handed it back to Smokey without taking any further hits. But that one long drag on the crack pipe affected Donnie. He suddenly found himself close to bursting with energy. He couldn't sit down. Everything was frantic and revealing. He spoke at length about the most mundane topics as if they were scripture. Within about 30 minutes, Donnie was back to his usual boring self. But it tired him out, and all the fast beating of his pulse made his heart hurt. Donnie didn't even like drinking an energy drink too fast because it gave him chest pains. Donnie would definitely stick to opiates. It melded with his personality better.
    Even when the cash evaporated, Donnie was still hungry for more. Things got bad then. Donnie had never experienced withdrawal before, and it hit him hard. Being doubled over with pain, sweating bullets, and unable to move, can quickly motivate a drug addict to get his cure. At that period, he was still living with Eugene and began selling some of his possessions to supply his habit. But then Donnie came back from work one day and found the front door kicked in. At first he thought it was the cops, but there was no squad cars, or police tape. It all became apparent, as Donnie looked at the buckled door that was to his bedroom. The crude padlock he installed was not enough to stop the crackheads, or methheads, or whoever it was.
    Donnie decide right then he had enough of that scene. He would reconnoiter elsewhere, but first he had to stock up on his medicine. Donnie visited his job one more time, to grab his work computer. He still feels the shame now, as his boss Benjamin looked sadly at him. Benjamin had just stood there stroking his brown mustache and looking as though his dog just died. Well, Donnie wasn't a canine, but the thought was appreciated nonetheless. He left his job without a second thought. The wages wouldn't support his habit, so Donnie had to find other means. His only plan now was to stop that dreaded withdrawal. The computer brought enough to keep Donnie supplied for about a week. In that time, Donnie could've made some kind of break-through, could've gotten some semblance of help. But instead, he just crashed on Eugene's couch in a stupor, letting the disease of addiction take over.
    Like cancer, the need spread. It occupied his thoughts, his manners, his health. Mental torture combined with the physical. Having pawned all he had left, Donnie resorted to even more desperate solutions.
    Donnie broke into the apartment of Smokey. He stole all the amber prescription bottles he could get his hands on. With calculating rationale, Donnie reasoned that the break-in to Eugene's house had been undeserved. With this robbery, he was merely balancing things out.
 Donnie knew Smokey kept his spare key in a magnetic container attached to his truck. Smokey told Donnie about the spare key one night when the old man got drunk and lost his keys. Smokey called Donnie, who became the designated driver.  Smokey had his apartment key on the same ring as his ignition key, and that's how donnie learned how to break in to Donny's. Weeks ago, Donnie had sneaked off with the house key and made a copy.
    Donnie had been in a cold sweat, as he opened the deadbolt to Smokey's door. It was part fear, part dope-sickness. He would pause every so often and listen with his head cocked, trying to determine if someone was coming. But the black man lived in the rough side of CR, where nobody called the cops. Donnie scrambled through the apartment, going straight to where the pills were stashed. Donnie saw pictures of smokey and his wife staring at him, silent witnesses to his crime.
    Donnie doubted the old man himself could do much to injure or maim. With that many pills coming to him each month, though, he could find someone to deal with the likes of Donnie. Donnie kept telling himself that he was the least likely suspect. smokey would never deduce it was Donnie, until maybe the time when Donnie stopped coming over. But then again, who else would've known exactly where to look to find the drugs in the first place??? Guilty and damned, Donnie still stole the pills. And instantly, he was better. No more diarrhea, no more cramps or discomfort. It was all ended by a snort from Donnie's schnoz.
    As Donnie became well, he rationalized again. Smokey had more than enough money coming to him every month to replenish his supply of dope. Donnie had no such deal worked out. Smokey would be okay. Nevermind that he just lost a good friend. It was all about the drugs. Donnie had crossed the line, becoming a person of ill repute. Granted, he had not physically hurt anybody. But he had burgled a friends apartment, someone who was struggling with loss, just like Donnie.
    Scared and addicted, Donnie had fled Cedar Rapids to Iowa City. It was roughly a 30 mile trip, and Donnie hitch-hiked the entire way. Donnie knew he couldn't ask his mother for help, or even for transportation. Their bridges were charred and ruined between them. Just one person gave him a ride: an old farmer hauling hay bales, and he only let Donnie ride on the back of the flatbed, next to the stack. Donny huddled from the clawing wind inside his Tool hood. The huge collection of hay looked massive.    
    Donnie wished he was dead.
    As he rode down the highway, the wind biting at his ears, Donnie briefly daydreamed that one of those huge bales would fall on him, crushing him like the bug he was. But he made the trip without injury, and the farmer dropped him off at the on-ramp to highway 1, which led into Iowa City.


Uploaded 09/25/2012
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