The guitar played in the background. The three were sitting in the middle of palm trees on a warm summer night. The air was damp and the light subdued...in front of Methy John's trailer. Just to set the scene, we three were hanging out on the porch of John's trailer, which was actually quite serene. There were herbs as well as this fauna ;). Basically, we were high and settling in for what I would find out was one of the more entertaining episodes of recent life. Homeless Dave was harshing the mellow a little bit. "Is that coffee ready yet?"
"Oh yeah. The coffee. Let me go check." I checked. I didn't start the coffee yet. I came back to the circle and told Dave.
He was bitter. He wanted his coffee. I was curious. "Hey Dave, is coffee to a meth guy like vicodin to a heroin guy? Is that what's going on here?"
Methy John chimed in, "yeah man. It's kinda like that. If you can't hook up, you get some caffeine going. That's why you see guys at 7 -eleven with 64 ounce cups for coffee refills." It occurred to me that that's something I would do even though I've never even seen Meth, but I just agreeably nodded and said something like 'far out man'.
"You know, it seems like a lot of people around here are on that shit." I don't know when it became common enough knowledge that these guys were on this stuff to just readily talk about it, but I made the assumption and was right.
"Lotta that going on around here, like if you go to a store at night, a guy will ask, 'hey man, are you all right? Do you know Christine?'"
"Christine? Ahhh. I see what you did there."
"Is that coffee ready yet?"
"Oh for fuck's sake Dave. You're harshing my mellow man. I'll go check." The coffee was indeed ready. And me being the excess kinda guy I am made it up to methy standards.
After sweetening and attempting to lighten my coffee, John settled in. He settled in with the soothing monologue that has become one for the ages. He began...
|I pictured a Miami Vice like scene|
"But he got up and went to the bathroom. When he came back to the bar a few minutes later, he set a book of matches down on the bar and said, 'that'll be thirty'. I gave him his thirty and left.
"I got back to the hotel room and emptied out the match book on this glass table. It wasn't coke. It was crank. The only crank I'd done before was really yellowed and brownish. This stuff wasn't. But I could tell it was crank and I cut up a couple lines. I snorted the first one and it was the worst tasting thing I could imagine, just burned the shit out of my nose (insert heavy metal power chord here). Then I snorted the other line." John was looking down as he said this and paused for a beat. He looked at me and declared, "And then I was up." I bet you were John.
"And then I drove. So I take the company van-I was in LA for a sales meeting, training thing-and just started driving around. You know, I was driving around Los Angeles looking for some hookers, scoping the scene, trying to find the party. Anyway I had to put gas in the van cause I was driving around all night. I had no idea where I was or where I was going, but the sun started to come up and I thought shit! I gotta get back to the hotel. I drove around a little longer and figured out I was in west Hollywood.
"I somehow made my way back to the hotel and knew I wasn't gonna make the sales meeting."
I asked, and believe me-I was hanging on every word, fascinated, "So what did you do?"
All blase and ho hum, he said, "I told them I got food poisoning at dinner the night before".
"Was that it? How'd the job go? What the fuck man? This is priceless!"
"I went to the rest of the meetings and worked for them for a couple years after that."
I started playing my guitar again, just feeling the mellow and marveling at the destructive forces before me. After a few bars of some progression, I stopped. "Hey John. You know how to party man. You have got to tell me more stories". I slowly began strumming again as John smiled with what was left of his teeth. I could tell something was gonna come out of his underbitten and lopsided grin.
"You mean like the time I woke up in my car to the sounds of waves slapping against my passenger door?"
"Yes John! Just like that!"
"Well we were getting loaded on the beach sometime after high school. I lived on Pismo Beach. Anyway, I was here with this nice young lady friend I had and we were listening to the stereo in my 72 Dodge Dart. I guess we got away from everyone and went down to the beach, you know so we could look at the stars while listening to The Doors and maybe get some action. Well high tide came in in the morning. I was dreaming about a helicopter or something and all of the sudden I'm awake and hear the whoosh of waves slapping my car door..."
And on it went. If you aren't into it, that's fine. But this really is a person and this happened. I see an independent film here, just you know, that's more of a story of redemption. You know if the musical montages were thrown in when he was driving around and hit the club that would have been sweet. I didn't even get started on homeless Dave. His story is a bit simpler, I believe. I'm sure the tale about him just beaching his $50K boat and walking away from it has some merit, but he doesn't have the artistry of John's delivery. Dave basically pulled a Tyrone Biggums and had a $300K meth party with his inheritance and couldn't shake the habit once the money was gone. That's just simple arithmetic...
"Hey, you got any more coffee? John, what are we doing tomorrow? Are you gonna pick me up and then we'll go to that site? I gotta feed Priscilla. What'd you do with that crescent wrench? Can I ride this bike to go get my bin..."
"Come on Dave! We're sitting here talking about coke in the eighties and seafaring Dodge Darts! And you're on scrap metal? Harshing my mellow man..."