Hunger Gone to Pot (Or Heroin as it Were)

Monday, June 8, 2009

The hand was shoved suddenly into the cabin of the pickup truck and there, sitting in a sad little raggedy ball on the palm of his dirty, yellowed hand that was rutted with age was a pathetic wad of pot. 

"You wanna buy 'dis weed?" said the owner of the hand and the pot. "Two dollars."

BF and I were stunned into silence. An event that does not often occur in my overly verbose life.

Now, understand, my experience with pot is minimal. The two times I did try it I coughed so hard I actually vomited - the first time in the street, the second in a friend's bedroom trash can. Sexy, no? I did get a second-hand giggly fit later that night, but nothing so awesome as to risk horfing out my rib cage in a violent coughing fit in attempting another drag.

Generally, however, I don't care if others do it. Just not in my house. Cigarettes and weed, you smoke it outside. Legalize it for all I care, it'll raise some good revenue and God and Schwarzenegger know that California is hurting financially and a legitimate pot industry backed with crazy taxes would be a nice shot in the arm. Sell it in a locked cabinet near the Virginia slims at the grocery store.

Yet, I draw the line when a creepy old man who I might normally walk off the sidewalk to avoid were he coming my direction reaches into the car I'm sitting in and tries to peddle it out. Call me a prude, I guess. It's just bad manners if not anything else.

"I don't need it. I prefer hard stuff."

"Oh... uh... I see. Well we're okay," I stumbeled. I was thanking God that BF was in the driver's seat and I didn't have closer contact to the face that had more lines than a Boston roadmap. I tried not to look into his shallow eyes, pink and watery that echoed to years of abuse and hard times. I would have been sucked into the sadness had I not been so unnerved. This was not meth or pot abuse which I could recognize and had seen before.

"I prefer heroin."

It was heroin abuse.

"That's pretty hardcore," replied BF. He seemed to be keeping his cool whereas I was just at a loss for words.

"I prefer heroin." The man slurred the word out as "harrowen". "So you wanna buy this?" It was a harrowen' scene indeed. It was then we heard a loud and audible roar, like a sad cry from any number of beasts in the forest. It was his stomach. He did not seem to notice.

This man needed a sandwich. Not to mention drug counseling, invasive dental surgery, a shower, and to get his arm and pot out of the fucking car. Still a thought crossed my mind; much like the oil slick of a man meth addict I encountered not so long ago this dude was not eating. After hearing his stomach rumble that audibly we knew he was hungry, yet instead of looking for food to nourish himself here he was hawking crumpled bits of pot in order to score a bit of smack.

It made me think of a few people I know and still care about. I hope that they are okay.

"We're good dude. Good luck finding a buyer." BF turned the key and rolled up the window forcing the man to pull back his arm. We drove off to dinner in silence for a bit. We still had to take in the strangeness and horror of it all, it's not everyday that a raw shot of human suffering and harsh reality come to you curb side like a drive-in diner waitress.

After a while I broke the silence. "You sure we didn't need any harr-O-win?" I asked.

We laughed. Not because it was particularly funny, but because we weren't sure what else to do. Here's hoping he doesn't find a buyer, and instead finds his way to the Food Bank or rehab.


  1. Vivid writing. Addiction is heart breaking.

  2. Wow. Well-written, saddening, and terrifying, too. I am not sure I could describe the panic I would feel if someone thrust their arm through my car window in a failed attempt to hawk drugs. The desperation, the need -- it's almost unfathomable. So fortunate you are both OK.

  3. maybe you should have just offered to buy him a sandwhich instead of rolling up the window and driving away.

  4. Fantastic story. What a unique experience.

  5. Oh anonymous, it's easy to say that when you aren't there, kinda freaked and scared. Do you think the money would have been used for a sandwich?

  6. I have been known to give half a sandwich to homeless guys but I have never had anybody stick their hand in my car. That would be unnerving even though I know that I am not responsible for anyone elses' life. Great writing. I could almost smell the guy.

  7. Wow. There are a lot of addicts in this town, but I've never had anything close to that kind of encounter with them.

    But it does remind me of an encounter we had a few weeks ago. Hubby & I were sleeping at a roadside rest area (in our VW Westfalia) and this woman came knocking on our door at 3:44 AM, asking for money. She had some story about a 7yo daughter or something.

    Hubby got out of the van to deal with her (I waited inside, ready to dial 911)--gave her $10 and took a look at the car that was her "lift" and inwardly shuddered. He said the darkness of the vehicle wasn't just an absence of streetlight. And then a couple days later, he heard a story on the radio, and that little voice told him to go look it up online. He's fairly certain that the body of the woman they found was the same woman who knocked on our window.


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