Thursday, February 9, 2017

The car chase

I was in a car chase once.

A bona-fide, side-swiping, corner screeching, rearview mirror looking, heart pounding, trying to get away, seat of my pants car chase. I just now remembered it. I can't believe I forgot about it... I must have repressed it. It was when I was out of my mind on morphine every day, back in 2005.

What triggered the memory was that movie Ted, about the teddy bear that comes to life. The one with Marky Mark, and that 70's chick who played his girlfriend, and that scene where the suit and tie guy from Avatar stole Ted and then the car chase ensued. I was watching that movie tonight. I dunno why it was that particular car chase that triggered the memory of my very own car chase. Maybe because that whole movie is on drugs? Anyway. Here's what happened:

Firstly, it's important to note that although I was a genuine opiate addict, never ever did I ever obtain opiates from a drug dealer. Oh, no... I was a special kind of drug seeker. I explored and researched legal ways to obtain my substances, because my addiction was private. The only people who might have even suspected it were the checkout clerks at the grocery stores and hobby supply shops that stocked what I needed. I'm talking about bulk poppy seeds at grocery stores, and dried decorative poppy pods at the arts and crafts stores. Oh. And eBay.

The thing was though, I would frequently buy out all of the available stock from every local store within a 25 mile radius, so I was always riding the ragged edge of disaster because withdrawals were always, ALWAYS just right around the corner if I couldn't get my legal opiate fix. Like I said before, seeking out a drug dealer was just out of the question, because I wasn't that kind of junkie... I was still a junkie though, to be sure. So, with withdrawals always lurking around the corner, I was constantly searching for another store that was relatively close by where I could score my poppy seeds or my poppy pods. My main drug dealers at that time were Central Market, World Market, Fiesta, Joanne's Arts and Crafts, and Michael's. And occasionally eBay, but eBay involved a long wait for delivery, and junkies are seriously not about long waits when withdrawals are knocking on your door like Jehovah's Witnesses.

So, about the car chase... that's what all of this is really about, you know.

What happened with the car chase is, one morning I woke up from what I knew was my last binge of poppy seeds. I'd been all over DFW to every one of my usual places the day before, and nobody had anything in stock. I was getting very, extremely desperate, so I got online and expanded my radius of range by another twenty miles and discovered an untapped Fiesta Mart just 40 miles away, in Mesquite. Fiestas always stocked the two pound bags of poppy seeds (unless I'd completely liquidated their inventory), and I'd never been to this particular Fiesta before... so it stood to reason that if I hauled ass over to Mesquite and to that as yet unplundered Fiesta Mart, that I'd be able to score the poppy seeds which would stave off my imminent withdrawals. I calculated that I had just enough gas to get there and back again, so with withdrawals just nip nip nipping at my nose and ready to take a big bite, I got into my car that morning and tore ass to Mesquite.

Now the thing is, during this miniature road trip, I was just about almost exactly on the edge of some full blown opiate withdrawals... and unless you've ever had to experience it, you'll never understand the fear of anticipation. Calling opiate withdrawals flu-like with diarrhea is like calling radiation poisoning flu-like with diarrhea. Can I just say it's awfuller than anything you're likely to have ever experienced before, unless you've had your own bones crushed before your eyes? It was the fear of imminent withdrawals that was driving me to Mesquite like a lunatic, to get to my drug dealer/grocery store so that I could purchase the magic cure for dope-sickness. Oh yeah... I think it's important to note that I'd long since gone way beyond drug seeking for the simple purpose of getting high. Now it was simply a cure seeking ritual. Catch here a glimpse of the living, repeating hell of the life of an addict.

Ok ok, to the car chase, already!

I was almost there, and sitting at a stop light. There were two lanes for turning left, and I was in the right one, waiting for the left arrow to turn green. It was taking forever, as stoplights are wont to do, and when it finally turned green, the car directly ahead of me was just sitting there, doing Jack and blocking my left turn. Finally the light turned yellow, and the car blocking my turn hadn't turned yet, so I gunned it and sideswiped that car and hauled ass to the left, just making the light, but tearing the hell out of the front of that car as I forced my way past it. I saw in my mirror that the front bumper of that car had been wrenched loose and was hanging down by about six inches, and that the front right quarter panel was just scraped all to shit. Well, that sure as hell woke 'em up from whatever passed for Tweeting in '05, and they ran that red light like a bat out of hell and came hauling ass after me.

After that, it was like all rules of traffic dissolved and just didn't matter anymore. I didn't stop at red lights, I didn't stop at stop signs, I didn't signal, and I didn't slow down unless I was screeching into a turn. It was exactly like a car chase in a movie. Every few seconds I'd check my rearview and catch a glimpse of my pursuer, and then I'd either gun the hell out of it, or I'd brake like a maniac in order to go tearing around the next corner. This happened repeatedly - this checking of the rearview, glimpsing the pursuit, and reacting accordingly, like a lunatic straight out of the Dukes of Hazard - until finally, after an interminable period of cat and mouse with cars, I realized I'd lost them. I was the winner. I'd won the chase, and I'd gotten away with it.

I was lost by then, so I carefully found my way back to whatever road I'd been on and continued to the Fiesta Mart. When I got there, they had about twenty feet of shelf space filled with those 2 pound bags of poppy seeds. It was an overdose of relief, if there is such a thing, and that flood of relief suddenly evaporated all of the adrenaline from the car chase that'd been holding me up until that moment, and I just started to boo-boo. Very quietly and discreetly, mind you, but genuine sobs, nonetheless. I couldn't believe that any of what had just happened had really happened. I couldn't reconcile my own identity with the person that had just done all of... that.

I still can't.

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