Night from hell.

I told Sim before, "We need nights like this occasionally to remind us that our lives aren't ordinary, that they aren't just like other people's lives but with gabo thrown in. They remind us we've ended up in a way of life, whether by choice or circumstance, that is bordering on hellish, and only regular application of gabo keeps us from seeing it. Nights like tonight reveal it for a moment."

Well the day starts, badly. You're wide awake before 6am, and you were up until after midnight, seeing the new Harry Potter and wandering deserted lots where a house you once lived in was.

You're seven days into a reduction of your metro from 22.5 to 20. Doesn't sound like much, does it. 2.5mg. But it's over a 10 percent decline, and a body finely attuned to every milligram of opiates tends to notice that sort of thing. I chose the word decline carefully.

The reduction started on the first, but the logarithmic nature of daily dosing and 24 hour half-lives means it's not until about a week after that that you're body really notices the shortfall.

I've been waking early the last few days, each day wider awake a little earlier. And that's the only benefit I can see at this stage, a little clarity has returned to my life. The opiated haze has lifted a little and I can see what's going on. Only what's going on isn't something you really want to look too closely at, and it's ten times worse when it's your life at the centre of it. So you wake early, watch some Voyager then drive your lass to work, and arrive early at yours.

The day passes slowly, and you cling to that hopeless junkie life-preserver, the knowledge that it's Sim's payday today, and you can score tonight.

You get off a bit before five, and for some reason you don't make your regular call to your dealer as you walk to the car. It's S's turn to score, and so you leave the call to her. Childishness, for which you will soon suffer.

When you pick her up in the city, she rings R at Mt Gravatt, and then tells you "His phone's off". Not good, he only turns off when he's run out, and when he runs out he doesn't turn on again till the next day.

You try Nads. Her runner answers, and you get the usual "Call me back in 15, I should be sorted out by then.".

You ring Sly, it rings out. You turn off the freeway and start heading in his direction, but after three ringouts you pullover and have one of those depressing chats with Sim where you re-hash info and make suggestions, all underlined by a monotone of despair. You ring dq, who says he'd just left Sly and he'd maybe just run out too.

You begin to get an inkling that tonight may well be cursed. You start to feel quite ill, Sim sneezes and is hot and cold. It's been years since either of you have been fully sick, but the horror show memories of those times rams back into your mind vivid and looming.

"Go round to Slys" prompts Sim. You are not eager to. Phones off or unanswered are usually that way for a reason, and gatecrashing rarely helps. And really, things between you and Sly have never been good. In fact, you would really much rather have nothing to do with him but you need him for his dope. Scoring off him is a painful exercise. Unlike Rich, your regular man, it's not just a business transaction. Sly needs ego stroking, and has very peculiar idiosyncrasies. He trusts noone, not even his supposed current girlfriend. Last week he panicked when he realised he'd left her in a room with his gear while he walked and talked with me. He ran back into the room like it was on fire.

I pin my hopes on Nads' runner coming through and we head back to Sims. We start watching a Sopranos episode and I keep hammering Sly. Still all calls ring out. 25 minutes after calling Nads I ring her again and I'm told "It's not good, I need an hour or two."

Depressed, you text an old associate to see if he knows anyone other than Nads.

He doesn't understand your cryptic text, and you ring him. The reception is horrendous, but you eventually establish that he'd seen her just an hour ago. He uses the call to remind you again that he wants to lodge his tax return. It is the fourth time he has arranged to lodge his tax at yours, and it will be the fourth time he will not follow through with the arrangement. But you affirm and make an arrangement, pretending to write it down. Charades.

Q had seen Sly an hour ago, it starts to seem you rang everyone just minutes too late.

You and Sim try to focus on the Sopranos, but it isn't easy. You fire Sim a valium and she gets a little sleep. An hour passes, Sim is pushing for a visit to Slys and you've caved. DQ rings and agrees that you should go there. But he is trying to contact Sly also, and failing, and wants someone to pass on a personal message.

A minute later you ring Sly and he answers. You manage to make out that he says to come around, but he sounds like he's just woken and he doesn't really promise that he has gear.

But why would he say come around if he's empty handed?

Fifteen minutes later and it's been three hours since you left work. You're walking into Slys with $120, most of Sim's pay that's left after rent and metro.

Sly is exceedingly stoned and in no hurry to dish out gear. I sense he's not in a good mood. He's that kind of incredibly stoned where the only aware part of him is the cunning hindbrain reptilian part. He talks in riddles, but eventually Sim plonks down the 120 in front of him and he tell his girlfriend 'business first' - she's keen for a line and it seems he's keen to make her wait.

He starts slowly weighing up a packet. Mumbling all the while that he doesn't know if he can do 120. Sim and I both know he can, but we're both sick. Eventually I stupidly say "Look, I'd rather have 100 now than 120 in a while.". I mean it just as it says, but he is offended. His ego is like that old Operation game, you have to walk very very carefully around it.

He scrapes a small portion into a streetspoon and tells Sim "Oh that's 100. Flex said he wanted that now instead of 120."

We have the shot, there's a rush but not much else. Twenty minutes later he's complaining that we're organising dinner just for ourselves, that we don't organise him dinner. I start to feel suffocated. Even though I am male and therefore expected to have a massive ego, the size of Sly's and his throwing about of it is wounding me.

He tells me how he can flip out ten or twenty-thousand dollars in front of this other dealer.
He tells me in detail of all the great tricks he performs chemically manufacturing the gabo we just spent his wages on.
He tells me that it's terrible how it takes all our money this gabo shit. Earlier he tells me how his gear is 100% profit seeing as it's home made. So why is it so expensive? So he can make money? I cannot point this out - ego issues.

Eventually he is extremely stoned and starts to needle me about the events of 2003, back at MCU. I took $1000 from one of his accounts after giving up trying to collect it from him as a debt repayment over a couple of years. I had a scrap of paper promising me a windsurfer as security on a 2000 loan I made him. When I tried to collect the windsurfer he told me it wasn't his.

Now tonight as he doles out the gabo he tells me that I steal from my employers. He asks me if I managed to pay back the monies I stole. He apologises immediately after the first statement, pauses to draw breath and then makes the second. Apologies that are followed by a repetition of the offence don't really mean much to me. I stay silent and try to eye signal Sim to get out. My back stiffens, adrenaline floods and the last traces of the rubbish gear are washed away. Before I've left the room I shot up in.

As we are walking on the footpath he is still talking to me from the verandah. I am unaware if he knows I have left the room.

Later, at Sim's I track a cigarette butt into the house, it has stuck to my boot as I grabbed her her dirties from my car. This is never good.

Also, the last pull-on tab of my Doc Martens rips off tonight. I really hadn't wanted it to come off. Those Docs are the last thing I have from my dodgy days.

A knock comes at Sim's back door. A drunken neighbour-gal, who to me sitting out of sight sounds like a retarded boy, tries to explain to Sim why she has to wash her clothes directly under Sims bedroom at midnight. Sim explains why that's not acceptable, and why she should wash any time other than 10pm-6am. The landlord had been called a fortnight before in response to weeks of midnight washes beneath Sim's bedroom.

Nothing is resolved and eventually Sim asks the girl to return when she is not drunk. She has to repeat the time, 7pm, twice, in the space of a minute The girl goes downstairs and starts her washing.

During the day, my mortgage debit bounced as I'd transferred the beans out to buy gear yesterday.

It is a day in hell, and maybe only to me, but the worst thing is this. know that I will return to Sly and allow all this to happen again. For I need that gabo. And endure any boorish pigs who derive their power and sense of self from control of its supply. Not unlike myself a decade ago. I've moved on, but only sort of.


Listening to Sunset Rubdown, some Interpol, and believe it or not Jay-Z's Empire State of Mind.

Reading Stross' Atrocity Archives