IT IS 07:13 in the morning. I didn't score yesterday until the evening when the urge for Chinese food possessed me like that naughty goblin who killed my hammies, nibbled through my computer cable, lost me my broadband dingle-dongle once and pulled out and scarpered off with the SIM-chip one other time.
So possessed was I by this naughty goblin who used to say to my best hammy "Hammy, ramble!" and he'd prance on his enormous 12" diameter rat-wheel and scuttle away from dusk till dawn every single night, that zombie-like I wandered in a trance to the Mongolian-Chinese takeaway.
Poor Hammy, my very best hammy lived to three-and-a-half ~ that's past 100 in hamster years. Early one morn when I had insomnia but Hammy was wideawake and healthily pinging like billy-o on his enormous wheel, I hid him in my pocket, took him out for a ramble amongst the dandelions in the unmown lawn of our old back garden. The dandelion-and-clover exotica was as tall as Hammy himself and his poppy panda-eyes were wide with amazement as he rambled carefully through the dense jungle foliage of our lawn. When the time came for him to go back to his nest he was most displeased. Back in his tank, he angrily shuffled his nest back and forth for three hours as if to say "I don't want to live in this cracked old aquarium any longer. I want to live in the garden, like natural hammies do in Turkey." What Hammy didn't understand of course was that in Syria and Turkey, where golden hamsters originate from, the tubby rodents are predated by owls and foxes and wild cats and other birds of prey and are endangered species.
There are many more golden hammies of the species mesocricetus auratus in captivity than anywhere in the wild. As long as they have a nice BIG home (not a tiny one more suited to dwarf hamsters that many are lumbered with) and a proper big wheel that is NOT selfishly stopped up at night to stop the irritating rattling and squeaking, a hammy will be quite happy. Female hammies are apt to escape as they come on heat every four days. In golden hamsters, it's the female of the species who goes on the trek for a mate, hence the tendency of females, who are slightly bigger than the males to be exceedingly good escape artists, despite their tubby appearance and outwardly docile manner. Hamsters are extremely persistent at "worrying" the bars in their useless cages. Any structural weakness will be located and worked upon until escape is achieved. Another method that works wonderfully on the type of cage where bars are clipped over a plastic base is to angrily nibble at the bars all night ~ which they only do when bored for lack of toys of a selfishly stopped up wheel. Eventually their nibbling pays dividends when the accumulated vibrations cause the entire top of the cage suddenly to ping off, and the intelligent tubby wastes no time in pinging to freedom,often to construct a burrow at the top of the stairs in one of your favourite houseplants.
Squeaky or rattly hamster wheels can easily be remedied with a drop of cooking oil. Not only does this silence the irritating night-long commotion, it also makes the wheel run far more smoothly, giving you a happy pet who's less likely to escape, burrow in your bonsai pots or set up a nice nest at the back of your sofa, the swines! A hamster should never be deprived of a wheel, except under veterinary advice where, for instance, running on one might aggravate an acute injury preventing healing. Young mothers sometimes run on their wheels to the neglect of their pups. Hammies love wheels!
How I got onto hamsters I've no idea, except that they ARE my favourite small animals. I relate to hammies as we share many characteristics. We both like our sleep and are bleary at best, enraged at worst, to be prematurely woken. Hamsters appear to be docile but ask any vet which small animal they dislike treating most and "hamsters" crop up time and again. Hamsters are NOT docile. When they lose their rag they do bite, but not normally without warning. When I used to wake up Hammy during the day with tasty titbits of Safeways chicken pie with petits pois, Hammy would gnash his teeth ~ literally chattering them as we might do when very cold ~ had I been stupid enough to try and touch him in his nest he no doubt would have bitten me HARD. A golden hamster can bite through a stick of chalk with ease. Occasionally when I woke him up he struck out poisonous-snake style, leaping at the shadow of my hand. For all he knew I was a hawk come to gobble him up for breakfast. Hammy didn't have a hammy-house; he had an enormous nest of print-free newspaper strips cut from the sides. These he would chew to his own satisfaction constructing the most enormous bed I've ever seen for an animal so tiny. Another characteristic Hammy and I shared. I have at least five or six quilts and about seven pillows and another five or so cushions. Ideally, when I'm organized, I construct an Arabian-nights-style nest with all this bedding on the go at once. Just like a giant hamster. If anyone dares knock on the door during a daytime snooze of mine fair enough I don't bite them, but I am very offhand indeed and my landlord's henchmen are usually intimidated into coming back later.
Now what got me onto Hammy bar the excuse to post up lots of hammy photos with this post?... O yeah ~ that naughty goblin's back, causing havoc in my life once more.
I didn't score any heroin at all yesterday, would you believe it! Out I went in search of the best Chinese takeaway I knew. This one also does Mongolian food and I was really in the mood for a mysterious Mongolian chicken curry. Guess what? That evil goblin had seen to it that the Mongolians had shut up shop! I was so furious I rang my heroin dealer without a moment's thought. Some idiot answered, the dealer's "cousin" as they like to call their partners in grime. Who am I? Where did I last meet him? Just round the corner yesterday and the day before you idiot (of course I never call my dealers idiots. Idiotic people tell me I should. This is all well and good if you want no dealers left. The particular person who keeps telling me to do this has multiple tales of being ripped off, whereas I don't. So who's doing something right, who's doing something wrong? I don't think it's me in the wrong. When you talk to dealers you have to be direct, to the point and not take any crap off them. Give those bastards an inch and they'll take a mile next time. You don't have to be rude and you certainly never tell one to **** off (at least I never do) no matter how bad you think you've been treated. Heroin is an addictive drug. You never know when you might need that particular dealer again in an emergency. Compared to the way certain individuals I knew got treated ~ one was sold an empty wrapper as crack, yet came back a second time to score! ~ I was always treated fairly and reasonably. I always paid the full price when I had money. It's people who think they're being clever, routinely handing £7.50 for a £10 bag who complain the service they receive is terrible and the bags tiny. You get what you pay for. When the bags were generous I always paid the full asking price (though you get discount: e.g. perhaps 2x£10 for £15 or 3 for £25. Again you're tending to get what you pay for, the 3 bags for £25 will tend to be more generous. The stingiest dealers will do 2x£20 or 4x£10 for £35. They should also do 5x£10 or 2x£20B+£10 crack for £40. 3x£20s are £50 in drugs mathematics. 4x£20s are £70 or £65 if you're lucky. 5x£20s should always be £80. 6x£20s should always be £100. You don't negotiate these prices, they're bog standard. Anyone charging more should be "shotting" genuinely enormous bags weighing 0.6, 0.7g and you should still get three of these for £55. I only had problems with dealers in the end when I wasn't such a good customer and the number of kids, who didn't know their trade had multiplied. Many were transparently out to get as much as they could as quick as they could, not comprehending that heroin is a longterm business. That's why it's such a good business to be in as a dealer. To be a good dealer you need to treat your customers with respect. Making less profit on bigger bags of good gear will make you more in the longer term as your punters will keep on and on coming back. The "alphabet" of Bs, Cs, Ds, Hs, Js and Ts ~ horrible little kids (19 year olds probably with no qualifications, no college, no job. They don't even know the job of heroin dealing. Say "China White" and they think you're stupid. "Coke comes from South America" one informed me. I rolled my eyes in despair and skulked off. When someone's that stupid I don't bother putting them right. Let them go on being ignorant. If they don't know their trade they have no respect from me. More than half the dealers I know I do not deal with as they fall into that Fast Buck Ignoramus category. It wasn't like this a few years ago. The handful of dealers I kept on my shortlist were with a single exception people I'd known for 5 to 10 years. It always amazes me that someone will whizz past on a mountain bike offering "candy". He can't even specify what type of "candy" is on offer, he wants me to say first so he can say "o yeah I go that" ... as if I don't know a ripoff when I see one. I never ever deal with an unknown (somebody none of my friends can vouch for) without a free sample bag up front. But even when these aren't ripoff merchants they're too stingy to make an investment that costs them a mere £5, which is what a £10 bag costs the dealer. If you treat a good B-punter well you can make hundreds of pounds a month not just from them but from all their friends as well. It was this deteriorating business culture, not to mention the Great Heroin Drought of 2010/2011, not to mention that I was truly and utterly FED UP of the entire thing that finally made me stop. How on earth I was idiot to start again I cannot explain.
As I said, I didn't score yesterday. I did ring the dealer in fury when I realized the Mongolian Chinese was shut, but the "cousin" who answered either didn't know me or affected not to. He wanted me to come ten minutes out of my way, which I did. But he unwittingly did me a huge favour. The road he specified had a Chinese takeaway I had yet to sample. I pinged indoors, grabbing a menu then phoning back saying where I was. He said "Come to the far end of the road." This I did. But then he started asking who I was again. He also claimed not to have the same B which had been good as gear goes these days, but that the new one was "better". Such words would inspire confidence ~ from a dealer I could trust ~ but this snottynosed-sounding kid inspired no such confidence. I pulled the takeaway menu out of my pocket. I had £20 in one hand ~ heroin costs £20 a shot these days. I used to hit up between £6.66 worth (yes highly symbolic, that's a third of £20) and £10. Now it has to be the entire £20 bag in one, else I'm wasting veins on something I can barely feel anyhow. And this guy's gear was described by Mr Public School as "nine out of ten". If that's a nine, I dread to think what a six or a seven might be!
Anyway I glanced over this menu, slavering at the thought of Chicken Curry Mix Vegetable Fry Rice and made a snap decision I'd never in my life done before. I switched off my phone and pinged up the road back to the Chinese where £6.20 bought me something I realized I was craving far more than any heroin. Then I trotted off back home and had a lovely meal with home-made tropical alcopops to boot.
My drinking's slowly reducing itself too, but I'm NOT obsessively counting cans, bottles, units. OK I know I'm drinking generally 3xhalf-litre cans of white cyder at 7.5% ABV. This is more than I ought to be drinking but with drugs out of the picture what's left. As I said before, and I wasn't pulling a "poor me" I was merely being factual. Heroin always held me together into one coherent person. Before heroin I was being told by my counsellor and my GP that I "needed more help than they could give me" that is the help of a psychiatrist. My previous experiences with psychiatrists had been disastrous. When he prescribed Haloperidol I was told the pills "might cause some muscle stiffness". Next morning as I was ambling up the road to my counselling appointment I suddenly became unable to walk. I made it across the road to a pharmacy where I explained what I'd been prescribed. The pharmacist rang an ambulance at once. I was carted into Accident and Emergency writhing in agony with "a severe dystonic reaction" (in other words, parkinsonian symptoms) and given intavenous procyclidine, an anti-parkinson's drug and a stern note to the psychiatrist reprehending him never again to prescribe such noxious substances. The psychiatrist addressed me with a blank look (no apology) and wrote out a script for something with fewer "extrapyramidal side-effects". For a long while before the opiate habit got me, I realized I felt like a jigsaw puzzle with a piece missing. Sometimes the missing piece reappeared only for another to go astray. I could never put my finger on what was happening. This seemed to be a problem; because of it, I was never able to get my life together.
Without heroin I become incoherent once more. Regular readers will remember my posting on this topic some days ago. I got a comment from an Anonymous suggesting (as I saw it) that a little too much self-pitying navel-gazing was going on. But this is to miss my very point. There's little if any point in the kind of solipsistic self-analysis of which I felt accused if "you", whoever "you" are, will never add up as a complete person. I don't mind this. It doesn't hurt as such. But it does cause a lot of issues coping with life on life's terms. What an irony that heroin, widely labelled the most destructive of all drugs, actually kept me together so well that in my long and involved psych assessment with the nurse I barely mentioned this, believing it had been a youthful phase I'd simply grown out of. How wrong I was!
If you want to criticize me, you want to read my actual words. Where do I once claim unhappiness or suffering? What I'm saying is that without gear I'm fractured. I don't add up. I feel like a jigsaw with different pieces missing every day. I don't feel terrible, except when I'm depressed and I've been depressed for a few days but mildly enough to act my way out of the blank meaninglessness of it all. If that sounds self-dramatizing then you don't know depression. Figures vary but it's believed only one person in twenty ever becomes clinically depressed to a moderate or severe degree, so if you're one of the 95% who never experience this please don't judge me, you have no idea how it feels to be so incapacitated you can barely move your body, let alone think clearly, make rational decisions or lead any kind of meaningful life. I've been lucky, these severe spells have been mercifully brief. And I'm grateful to them for removing the desire to use, the desire to commit suicide (nearly all depressed people feel suicidal, and those who don't tend to obsess about death). Depression is a dreadful state to be in. I'm not claiming to be at the extremes. My principal problem as I see it now is one of ongoing heroin addiction.
Yes I did score. At 4:30am I telephoned my best three dealers in descending order of preference. Mr Idiot man ignored my call. Mr Orange Juice Gear With Black Bits On Top was fast asleep, Mr formerly the most generous dealer on the block, knocking out 0.6, 0.7, 0.8g for £20 pre-drought met me at 5am at the bottom of his road.
£15 changed hands for 0.4g of brown. I cooked the entire lot up and fixed it all at once, miraculously locating an active vein in my right arm. So I've used yet again, but I'm still wide awake. All the way there I was obsessing about whether or not to ask for "one and one" that is one gear, one crack because I used to love crack so very much and as I say if I can destabilize my mind I know from experience I won't want heroin any more. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Just thinking over what I put makes me feel very sad. That I'd be willing to jeapordize my sanity. Sanity, which is something to be prized. Just for the sake of escaping this terrible addiction that has eaten me alive all these years. So yeah, maybe I am self-pitying. But if I don't pity myself, who else will. If I don't pity myself, don't respect myself, don't love myself enough, I'll never break free of this destructive cycle that has become the only way of life I know. Only I can help myself. And that's the problem. I just don't know how to do that.
If anyone has any ideas, please let me know. Meanwhile it's 8:58. I've been tapping this for an hour and three quarters. I hope I'm making sense. Please no judgemental comments I'm not up to handling them today.
I need constructive advice. I want to know what I can do. Can anybody help me help myself. Yes I know it's all down to me that's what's so frightening. My life is like a truck ride with a three year old child at the wheels.
But I'm a 38 year old man. In not too long I'll be 39. That 3-year-old is only an aspect of me. An "avatar" as they might like to say these days. It's up to me to take back control, to do what I have to do. That's what I've longed for, for such a long time.
To be able to know that for once in my life I am Doing The Right Thing. So there you have it. That's what I want. I just wish I knew how to get it...
Illustrated: Mongolian lady outside her yurt; pet tubby Syrian hamster; highly social, pingponball-sized roborovski hamsters rambling together on wheel; Syrian hamster in "wild" (ie probably somebody's back garden!); getting caned in Malaysia doesn't mean taking loads of really good gear it means being beaten on the bum with a soggy broom handle ~ they should bring this to the UK for dealers who sell rubbishy heroin; yummy Chinese food; mobile phone; depression ~ in in the eye of the sufferer; toking on a crack bottle (exactly the same type I used to use); prison ~ way out required.
AUSTEN POWERS: HARD KNOCK LIFE
Anthem to my existence in all its absurdity...
Staying at the Palace - Most of my holidays were spent in a caravan in Port Eynon on Gower. It belonged to a friend of my mum's who let us use it for a week a year. [image: Regent...
17 hours ago