poppy day

Posted on June 8, 2009
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opium-poppy

Amazing druggie story from the Tuscon Weekly

Columbus Day almost killed me.

I woke up avalanched under a junkyard of pain, my body a trap of torn nerves and trashed organs. An oily rash of sweat had soaked through my pillow and into the mattress. I was coughing, confused and crazy with anger. A throbbing, deep-pink chemical sunburn covered my face; my bowels were spitting hot mercury. I slid out of bed and dropped to the floor, the weight of a snarling mountain gorilla bearing down on me. I saw myself in the mirror as I fell. I looked puffy.

Outside, the sun was terrifying, while the hiss from a neighbor’s dancing sprinkler got in my head and pissed me off so much, it felt as though my blood had become flammable and would ignite at the next insult.

I made it to the car and somehow drove one block down to the mailbox, expecting the Priority Mail package from my eBay dealer to save me.

Nothing.

I hobbled into the car and drove back to the house, used the bathroom and looked on the computer. The U.S. Postal Service Web site tracker verified that my box of poppies had been delivered to Reno at exactly 10:32 a.m. Well, where the hell was it? I typed a threatening e-mail to my supplier but didn’t send it.

Then I got back into the car, reeling and jumpy, went back and opened the mailbox.

Nothing.

I closed it. Locked it. Waited a second and then stuck the key in and opened it back up.

Still not there.

I got back in the car and decided to wait it out. My head whirled with psychic errata–miscalculations in the synapses. As though faced with gravity for the very first time, I struggled to hold the horizon line, like an infant with an iron skull. I wanted to ram my head straight into the dashboard but feared the airbag might blow and deliver the knockout punch. Or, worse, I’d miss and hit the damn horn.

Everything hurt, but the pain came in slow motion and actually seemed to stop to register with each and every nerve. My pulse rattled, and my heart seemed to sizzle.

Maybe my package had been intercepted by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Good, I thought. Maybe they’ll be able to get me off this stupid homemade junk.

I sat there for less than a minute. Maybe I sat there for an hour; I don’t know. But something had to be done. I stuck some Klonopin under my tongue and drove to the post office, expecting to turn myself in. Give up. Take the 15 years, if they would just give me the fix. But the door was stuck. I pushed, pulled. It wouldn’t budge. No, it was locked. Closed for Columbus Day.

Columbus Day. No wonder everyone hated him. That tabard-wearing bastard had been dead for 500 years and was still causing trouble.

I took a dozen allergy pills to make me drowsy but couldn’t sleep. I lay awake in bed for the next two days before the shipment finally arrived. The postman had decided to make a long weekend out of the cheap-ass holiday.

I should’ve stayed in bed and ridden it out. I had put a price on my head in the form of a box-a-day addiction but already had endured the worst part of the withdrawal: the first 48 hours. But then the box arrived, and I was a helpless slave. I ripped it open by its pull string and dumped a dozen poppy pods onto the bed, trying to eat one whole. I then made a quick, crude tea, drank it and started to feel a rabid glow of health return in seconds.

What had all the fuss been about?

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