My problems became overt on a warm Friday evening in April, when absolutely stoned, I interfaced with a bouncer who tried to stop me from entering an after hours club in downtown San Diego called La Escuela Golpes. I tried to shove him out of the way screaming, “Don’t be ridiculous, I’m the Messenger,” but that didn’t work.
This guy was six inches taller than me and had a weight advantage of at least 100 pounds. I must’ve sensed this even in my dazed condition, because to equalize the physical differences in height and weight, I grabbed a broken beer bottle lying on the ground and tried to hit him in the balls shouting, “out of my way, motherf----r.” I think that’s when he broke my hand.
Next thing I knew, a couple of his bouncer buddies pounced and proceeded to knock the shit out of me, kicking me in the ribs with their black boots and stomping on my arms and legs. For some reason, they never hit me in the face, probably afraid to draw blood. Now I know what La Escuela Golpes means—School of Hard Knocks.
I ended up in the University of San Diego hospital for three days scrounging doubles of painkillers from any nurse I could lay my hands on. “Honey, I’m in such pain, look what they’ve done to me. They broke my hand and my ribs. Can you help me out? I won’t forget you. Do you want to come back to my fraternity for a party when they let me out of here?”
I finally wound up in the University rehab program for two weeks when my withdrawal symptoms became overt. This is a dreadful sanatorium-style hospital wing with mesh screen wiring on the locked door entrance. High-pitched, hysterical screaming coming from some of the inmates in other padded cells punctured the silence. They tied me down in a straight jacket for my own safety and protection for the first twenty-four hours, while withdrawal symptoms really hit me hard. I started sweating, joining the chorus of screaming junkies and vomiting all over the place. It’s a wonder I didn’t choke to death on my own vomit, but I guess the attendants in their little green uniforms kept close tabs on me through the see thru mirrored glass on the wall.
“Let me out, let me out of this hell hole. I want to go home. I’ll be good. I promise. Let me out of here you bastards. Arrgh, I can’t take this. Help me. I’ll do anything.”
The doctors at the sanatorium decided to try an experimental operation that involved changing my blood completely to get rid of the chemical agents they thought were causing the addiction. How stupid, addictions come from the brain. Too bad they couldn’t have transplanted my own brain while they were operating. Parental approval for the operation was required because I was under eighteen and so zonked out I wasn’t capable of making an informed decision according to the doctors.
I’m twitching, my eyes are blinking rapid fire and my hands are shaking. What’s wrong with my eyes?
I imagine the conversation between my mother and father. Mom stares at my Dad and says, “This is what we sent him to college for, to become a drug addict. First he tries to commit suicide at Harvard and now he’s a drug addict at SCSD. We crossed from the east coast to the west coast to prove that our son is a bum, a drug addict and a mentally imbalanced idiot.”
Dad hangs his head and without meeting her gaze says, “We have to help him if we can. The boy is sick.” And then he signs the permission form and faxes it back to the hospital. Now everyone is off the hook liability-wise except for me. I’ve unlimited liability for my own actions. It’s my life. I’m a total screw up. I wish I could stop shaking. I’m so cold.
Two masked goons in white gowns rushed into my padded cell, hauled me half asleep, up onto a hospital gurney, strapped me down, and wheeled me into some kind of operating room that smelled of anesthetic. The walls were blue tile and the ceiling had three large florescent lights with the center one blinking menacingly at me. “Help, they’re trying to kill me. Stop that. Leave me alone. What are you doing?”
One of these masked murderers stuck a needle in my left arm and another goon stuck one in my right arm as they attached me to a grey metal pumping machine with a long metal arm that kept going slowly around a stainless steel cylinder. The equipment had one plastic bag strung from a hook on the left sleeve of the pumping platform to siphon my blood out through the needle inserted in my left arm, and another bag full of blood to pump the new blood into me hooked up to the right sleeve of the pumping equipment, attached to the needle in my right arm. I wonder if they knew whether I was a leftie, or right handed, or if that matters. How they kept the flow coursing evenly through my body, I don’t know.
A clear plastic cup descended on my nose and mouth. I tried not to breath. The last thing I heard before they put me under was a giant sucking sound. I could feel my heart growing larger and about to burst. Something was burning. Maybe it was me, or maybe it was the electrical wiring on that damn machine.
I woke several hours later from a nightmare. A vampire in white face paint, dressed in a green clown suit, was sucking my blood through two long needle like teeth from the carotid artery in my neck, and laughing at me at the same time from the other side of his foot long mouth, shaped like a frankfurter, which was gushing reddish blue blood. Thrashing against my restraints, I shouted, “Don’t suck my blood, you mother humping blood sucker.”
They discontinued this particular experimental operation several months later after some kid came down with HIV. They couldn’t decide whether the blood transfusions or the kids sexual or drug exploits had caused the illness. Someone conveniently lost the hospital records on the blood they used. Boy, am I lucky I lived through this whole procedure.I left the clinic a new man, committed to living life without drugs, except for the occasional joint of marijuana, which I inhale mostly for medicinal purposes. My bones are taking a long time to heal.