Content he then takes out 3 or 4 pill jars of B plus vitamin and proceeds to break the shells and divides the white powder onto one side of the plate. He then takes a portion of Cinderella which he assures me is the real thing because of how well it glides between his fingers (cocaine being a derivative of a plant – the more pure, the greasier the feel), rubs it against the inside of his lips and then begins to proceed a portion of Cinderella with her seven dwarfs the B plus vitamin girl.
He then makes five giant lines and without thinking twice takes a giant whack before he then shoves what must be a wallop on the plate in my direction.
“I’m sorry, I nearly forgot to offer you some.”
I look for a while, rub it between my fingers, the inside of my mouth, before asking him if I could have some champagne instead.
In the background Beethoven classic ‘Sinfonia number 5’ is playing, a Tv show extolling the virtues of some new health care regiment, a full pot of fresh jasmine Green tea , with accompanying hand painted china tea cups, the sound of a berate cell phone and the draw of black curtains that Andrew forever keeps drawn.
Satisfied Andrew then looks at me, the Mickey mouse figure in his head and the cigarette he is now beginning to light up.
“See the thing with Salvador Dali,” he starts “he was one of the world’s most original pioneers of art. He brought consciousness and sub consciousness into the open. Of course the funny thing is people used to think he was a freak too before people eventually caught on.”
I sit there nodding my head, reach over to light myself a cigarette and find myself openly wondering what exactly he means by ‘freak.’ It’s at this point I suddenly realize he is wearing a gold tie with a picture of a rag tag girl sucking on a banana on the inside.
“You like my tie? It’s Dolce Gabanna. Pure silk. Unbelievable. The girls go crazy over them.”
He then excuses himself for a minute before returning with fifteen ties and asking me which one I’d like to keep. I just stand there, my cigarette slowly sizzling while I try to digest what is happening around me.
“See Christopher,” the next pile taking him closer to Kansas, “people have this misconception that drugs are bad for you. And in a way they are right. But everything you touch, consume can be potentially be bad for you. Whether it’s work, food, drink, cigarettes, love, sex –in many ways it’s like a drug. From cigarettes, diet pills, head ache pills, alcohol. And the thing is if you do it in moderation it’s fine. So you tell me what’s really bad?”
If anyone has ever watched Scarface the movie the idea that the joint is cased with roaming gangsters, sleazy vermin and the howling of estranged dogs is furthest from the truth. Instead of roaming gangsters, I am in terrace house in a well to do part of lower Manhattan, with designer boutiques and four dollar lattes down the road.
The irony of course hits me. The people who one would suspect are societies most well sought after, vanquished and supposedly content are in fact the very people who have taken to abusing Cinderella (okay, let’s just say using the way one uses an asprin for a headache, but swap headache for existential angst). There we are in what is suppose to be heaven looking for another form of heaven.
It’s at this point the door buzzer goes off again, and I make to go in the other room when Andrew motions me that’s it’s fine if I stay in the boudoir. At this moment a girl wearing snake skin pants, a Moschino jacket and wrap around glasses walks in, with an unlit cigarette perched on her lip.
It’s at this point Nancy(the girl whose phone call Andrew had refused to answer) walks up to Andrew and starts to plead with him.
“Look, I know I owe you money but you know I’m good for it.”
“Nancy,” Andrew starts “what do you want me to do. It’s not like I don’t look out for you. But you owe me a pretty penny.”
“Listen honey,” finally taking off her glasses to reveal blood shot eyes. “Shit anyone got a light here?” I proceed to light her smoke while Andrew sighs deeply. “You know I’m good for it. Always. Dad’s going to be sending me some money this Monday.”
“So just come back when the money hits.”
“C’mon sweety. You wouldn’t deprive a girl of her candy?”
It’s at this point Andrew cuts a giant line for Nancy and motions for her to help herself.
I stand there, curious, concerned, intrigued, wondering what it’s all about and where this is all going to end. Grabbing the champagne Nancy pours herself a glass while Andrew takes out a little plastic bag, the type that you can buy for a quarter anywhere in the diamond district and packs her a little treat.
“Will this hold you?”
“You can’t make it one more?”
At this point I make to excuse myself before Andrew finally returns with the bloodshot Nancy now finally exiting.
“Don’t you feel a moral culpability with someone like Nancy?”
“You tell me? Does the pharmacist feel a moral culpability when he feels your prescription for Xanyx? Look, if it’s not me, she’ll find someone else.”
It’s at this moment I realize that these are some of the unsavory aspects of dealing with addiction. Yet like most things in life, one is eventually forced to find their own center of universe and whether Andrew or someone else facilitates someone like Nancy’s need- ultimately it’s just a business deal which despite how close Andrew may become with his clientele he is forced as he tells me to keep it strictly business.
“Look Christopher, I have enough to worry about. You think it’s my job to be these people’s mother? You think the US government doesn’t know when it’s selling bombs and weapons to other countries that it’s been sold with the eventual purpose of being used to kill people.
“Or defend.” I reiterate.
It’s at this point Andrew receives a phone call telling me that the car will be coming by shortly and if I’m still game I can sit with him as he makes this evening’s rounds.
“Is Saturday night you’re heaviest night?” I ask.
“Actually you’d be surprised, but Monday is. I guess people just don’t like Mondays. Or maybe he stops to consider, they like it too much.”
By now Andrew has packed a consortium of packets, all precisely weighed on his scale, placed some of them in various envelopes (the reasoning here goes in the off chance if he ever got caught – which he has never been caught after thirteen years- he would only be arrested for a minor violation. He makes sure to never have more than what is necessary on him and when he needs more he sends someone to pick some up).
It’s precisely seven in the evening and Andrew’s driver has just pulled up down below and in within the next few hours he will be canvassing some of the hottest clubs, patrons, restaurants that society knows. Patronizing them, with me in the backseat.
As we descend into the car I feel a weird sense of thrill and exhilaration and as much as I am morally ambiguous (at best) I am one part petrified, two parts curious and three parts gung ho to see how a segment of society lives.
Part two to follow in subsequent issues….