~ Please keep in mind all names are changed in memoir excerpts and these are events as only I am able to recall them. ~
They liked to duck and dodge.
(Smart little fuckers.)
I think I used the vein on my wrist then.
This was before I had to resort to Maverick hitting my neck.
When you are out there, time only matters if it means that money is coming.
Whether it is the coming of the holiday season, rush hour, the lunch break kick downs* or the monthly government assistance we abuse by cashing in food stamps at the L- spot.
Which typically consisted of three to four shots a day.
It all depended on how good the shit was, what it was cut* with and how long the legs* were.
I walked in a shroud of apathy that only became thinner and thinner between injections.
All the while the pressing need to replenish my body’s invading life force, commanded me to move.
I was taught early on in the game that your habit is as big as your wallet.
I lived my life by the junk* code then.
Always making sure my habit was taken care of.
It wasn’t only my first priority.
It was the only one I had then.
Danny is no longer alive today.
Maverick began vomiting on the platform’s tracks.
He was leaning on a pillar, too weak to support his own weight.
I suppose I must have loved him.
I saw him suffering and I felt compassion and empathy.
I stroked his back and told him to breathe, and told him that he would be well soon.
“Soon” is never soon enough when you’re dope sick.
All I wanted to do was get on the Brooklyn-bound L train and go ‘home’ to the Warehouse.
Some rode the rails*, crust punk squatters but most were N.Y.C street kids*.
Also known as home bums* fixtures of N.Y.C.
The Dirty Kids.
As one of my friends calls it, a "Door Nail".
- That’s my team. -
Hustling wasn’t easy for me, I always made sure I had what I needed, that doesn't mean it is easy.
I managed to make it look as casual as a civilian swiping a metro card at the turnstile. For me, my hustle was just another way my unfortunate knack for disassociation came in handy. I looked right through civilians without them noticing the vacancy. I had to, in order get the job done as gracefully as I could. My mouth moved as I spoke lies convincingly. My hand went out with the palm up and the cash fell right in. Then into my pocket, then the dealer’s wallet.
Then through the epidermis barrier. Forcing and fishing through muscle tissue into my arm, neck, wrist, ankle, foot, wherever I had to. Anywhere veins were to be found I discovered them and destroyed them with no thought of later consequences.
By the time I had squeezed through the upturned corner of back gate of the property, on my way towards the entrance we all used I wanted to check the hell out.
I wanted to fuck, to express my love him. often these were hand in hand acts I couldn't differentiate.
To fuck until neither of us could think.
I loved the way we fucked, he had a way with a G-spot.
I was insatiable.
He always made me cum, usually more than once.
He would never allow himself to orgasm before me.
Some nights, down in that basement, candles lit around the bed we shared, (which consisted of stacked Sheetrock with a ground scored* mattress on top) I would usually cum two or three times.
There was a running joke in the warehouse then, “What’s that noise yo?"
"OH, that’s just Maverick and Mary fucking again.”
Laughter would commence. It would be said nonchalantly and matter of fact, but it was humorous to them, slightly embarrassing for me and I could detect conceit in Maverick.
As If he were the sole reason for such uproarious copulation.
I do think some were envious of our sex life and I know that many of the males were baffled by it.
I digress within all this remembrance.
After sex, he kissed me, played with my hair and told me how beautiful I was...
He swore he would never steal from me again. He put particular emphasis on how grateful he was for what I had done for him that day. He told me just how much he loves me after I offered him two of bags from my own wake up so that he wouldn’t wake up in the same position again tomorrow.
Post-orgasm, after a proper amount of time, Maverick walks away.
I’d assumed, if anything, to take a piss in the Gallon jug we have in the far corner.
I start rummaging through my backpack for my pack of cigarettes and lit one up and put one on the side for him.
That he wanted someone to take care of his habit for him.
I wish I saw his warped idea of his role in our relationship.
A kind of codependent junkie Oedipus complex.
Maverick was a boy child in an adult man's body.
Who I dare say, was even more of a coward then I was.
That was something I just could not allow myself to see. I simply could not handle it.
I chose to see what I was able to and blinded myself to a great many things.
All to protect whatever sense of safety I had imagined was there. whenever I had moments of clarity such as that,
I did have them often but they were so fleeting.
I would immediately set out to silence thoughts and emotions.
Numb and go, cop* and go. Wake up, to tune out. Guzzle down the booze till you pass out.
Swallow the brave pill or push the plunger down!
On and on we went. That’s what I did. That’s what he did.
That is what everyone I surrounded myself with did.
All of us were but looming shadows of our lost and former selves.
Now in one big, abandoned, concrete warehouse in the middle of Brooklyn.
I had taken it out of my pants pocket out of fear it might get lost in the blankets.
I see that it isn’t where I had left it.
My heart started pounding.
I search my bags. I looked in my Jeans pocket again. I thought perhaps I was mistaken.
Perhaps I hadn’t taken it out and put it behind me so I could give my body to him, no.
It wasn’t there Of course, it wasn’t.
Now only a rush of ferocious emotions.
Shock, fury, and betrayal but beneath that; fear.
I try my best not to sound too angry. He is like a dog that way. "Come here boy, come on!" then, after you put their nose near the piss or shit, you express your displeasure.
I had hoped he hadn't shot it yet.
Maybe, just maybe, there may be a chance I could stop him before he does something he surely will regret.
No answer, only the echo of my own voice.
I put down the candle, pull my tee shirt over my body.
I pick the candle back up and I locate his boots and stuff my bare feet into them.
I begin to squint into the dark where I saw him walk over to Where we keep that piss gallon, by the window.
I already have bad eyesight.
I take a candle with me and carefully but quickly stomp towards the corner.
I am hardly breathing, my eyes are wide open and my adrenaline is climbing.
I walk around to face him.
I see his eyes are slits, pupils pinned to the back of skull and knees buckling beneath him.
I try to breathe.
“Why didn’t you answer me?
I called you like five times…"
“ I can’t find my wake up.
Will you please help me look for it?”
A mumble; “Oh shit yo’… For real?”
He attempts to open his eyes and they seem to assess my expression.
I suppose he must have seen how artificial my gentle tone was by the look on my face.
“Yeah, um, just give me a second babe.”
Babe.I knew what he had done.
then with a pseudo curiosity,
“What were you doing back here?”
He sways on his feet while fighting to keep his eyelids open.
“Oh, I uh, had to take a shit, that’s all babe”
He reaches out to stroke my back and I recoil.
Okay. Fair enough, what is MY problem? Let us ponder this a moment.
Let alone keep his eyes open or formulate coherent sentences.
My wake up must be over there somewhere where I undoubtedly have misplaced it.
Yes, of course! Because I can be so careless with my sole need, my sustenance, my everything!
Now he is going to help me find it!
Everything is perfectly fine...
Fury takes me.
I smack him across the face as hard as I could.
He hardly flinches and mumbles something like “Crazy bitch.”
This began to make me panic even further for a couple of reasons.
I did not have any allies inside the warehouse.
Most of the people in the squat did not know me very well, if at all.
I relied on Maverick in that regard. Though I did not need a squat to stay in.
I had survived two winters including a blizzard on the street by myself already.
Maverick wanted me to stay there with him and I liked it just fine.
No cop's. A good amount of privacy.
I kept to myself when I was there and when I wasn’t, I was out hustling*.
I didn’t exactly consider making 'friends' with other street kids or anyone for that matter.
Heroin took precedence in nearly every aspect of my life at that point.
I never was much of a social scene kind of girl anyway.
At this moment I wished I had been less icy towards them (in time I did).
At this point all I know is that he has taken what I needed.
What was mine and more than he even required! In addition to all I had done for him on this day.
I knew I was utterly fucked. I was afraid at first, then only enraged.
I knew I had to leave immediately.
I had to go and hustle up more money so I wouldn’t be sick in the morning all over again.
I got dressed in my own clothes and put my backpack on.
A volcanic flood took me down and it sounded something like this:
I am a goddamn doormat he wipes his feet upon.
How could I let this happen?
How did I become this?! That’s what he must think.
I stayed with him and now he thinks he can treat me this way.
NO. NO. NO. NO. NO!!”
I am about to leave until I saw our bed. I turn back around and look at the bed we shared together. The bed we shared on which many lies were told to me.
The bed where I had just given myself to him again, in more ways than one.
In more ways then I had intended to give any man ever in all of my life!
I picked up one of the candles and put the tiny flickering flame against the sleeping bag.
I wanted to burn everything I had known of him to ash.
Sure... but madness to act upon.
I suppose that I was indeed quite mad.
I didn’t think it would grow so fast.
I had never set anything on fire before this, except things like a letter or a picture.
This was huge!
My adrenaline was blazing as well.
I was not done yet.
I ran over and grabbed the nearly full gallon of piss and poured every drop inside of his pack.
Then I threw it with all my strength against the wall.
I then snatched up his carelessly discarded needle I spotted, a visual aid for the betrayal, and I stabbed, repeatedly, his stupid “GOD BLESS ANYTHING HELPS ” cardboard sign.
Then I left the needle sticking straight up in the center of his sign, still boiling over with fury.
I wanted to stab him, cut him up. Dump the piss in his crooked nosed mother fucking face!
Burn him alive! Anything at all to make him suffer the way I was suffering.
The only thing that stopped me was remembering that he has hit me before.
So he will surely do it again.*
The room was beginning to fill with smoke.
On my way out, I had a brief moment of coherent thought.
When I reached the stairwell, which was next to the exit. I called up as loud as I could “FIRE!”
I only heard a few mumbles.
I could only make out “What the fuck is her problem?”
So I called out again, “FIRE!” louder this time and it was met with “Shut the fuck up bitch.”
Smoke billowing in the wake of my rage.
My heart hammered, that was enough for me. Out of the building, through the yard.
I crawled out from underneath the back gate. I walked quickly with thoughts racing.
I remember I kept looking back. A combination of fear and bewilderment at my own actions and his.
What if they didn't hear me say "Fire". “What if I was wrong?” I thought,
“That fire grew so quickly!” I couldn’t just leave them, so I returned.*
Perhaps seven or eight of them were all standing outside of the building.
I could hear them yelling. I kept walking towards them anyway.
I wanted to ask, “Is everyone alright?” I wanted to explain what had happened and why.
I did not get the opportunity, no such thing occurred.
I was about halfway through the yard when I heard his voice.
His vile betraying voice above all the others. Maverick said; “There she is right there.”
As if someone were just finding a missing a sock or something equally inane.
I was shocked breathless. Hearing his voice say that was a boulder thrown at my chest.
Everything went silent. I could hear my own heart pounding.
I did not stop my pace, I kept nearing. One foot in front of the other, I told myself.
I held my head up and looked them in the eye. Maverick was not among them.
The coward had fled and left me to the wolves. They began to spread out.
I did not know half of them at all, and they certainly didn’t seem too keen on knowing me.
“Do you know what happened to my friends in New Orleans last year you stupid fucking bitch?”*
Someone behind me had pulled a sleeping bag over my head and knocked me to the ground.
I get the wind knocked out of me as one makes direct contact to my rib cage.
I cannot see anything so I am defenseless. I cannot move.
All I can hear is my own pleas and screams.
Some muffled sounds of kicks and stomps through the thin barrier.
The last thing I heard was my own shrill voice as I screamed as loud as I could,
“You’re going to fuckin’ KILL ME!” Enunciating every syllable as clearly as I could.
I was not under the influence of any chemical other then the adrenaline that my body was naturally producing. It was imperative to me that I was understood. This had to stop.
I had never endured such violence. They pulled the blanket off of me and I looked up at them.
They were hovering above me so angry.
I saw one boy’s nostrils flare and his chest rise and fall.
I was the scapegoat for every street kid and squatter in that warehouse.
All the misguided, harbored hatred and rage within them fell upon my back this night.
I had been Boot Stomped. I scrambled to my feet and dared a glance back as I said,
“This is a misunderstanding, I didn’t even mean to…”
“Get the fuck out of here before we really give you something to scream about!!”
I walked away, not ran but walked.
I now know that this was part of my initiation process of being one of the streets. This was the one of the first acts of violence I endured personally that taught me, that we, street kids, we of the street.
My feet carried me south to Saint Marks Place. I knew all the sleep spots in that area, and I felt confident I would run into someone that would let me crash with them*.
Hidden beneath an awning and behind a short fence, out of the sight of cops and most pedestrians.
Scott asked me Where Maverick was. He asked what happened and I told him everything, including what I had done, why, and what I endured as punishment. He listened and shook his head in between hits and said I could sleep next to him and Lana. Poor Lana... his sweet and gentle pit-bull.
When I woke up the next day and the day after, I checked my body for bruises.
I never developed one scratch or bruise from that encounter. I found that to be very odd as well.
In Particular for Ann, she went on to throw piss on me twice and attempted to smash my skull with her skateboard. Maverick blocked the board with his arm, gripped it and wrestled it away. That was one of the few times in our five year relationship he defended me physically. I think, or would like to think, that he did feel remorse. Not for stealing my wake up but for allowing me to be persecuted so harshly and for so long. All the while knowing what he had done to me, that I never intended to burn anything other than our bed. That I wouldn’t have done that if he hadn’t stolen from me and hurt me to the point of such lunacy.
I gained a new understanding of the way thing's are handled on the street.
Four more years to corrupt my soul my harden my frailty.
*Cop- Verb- The act of buying heroin in this case, but it can be used for any drug.
*Squat – Noun- an abandoned building that street kids and/or traveling kids use as a home base sometimes it legal but typically hidden.
*When Maverick said he was "taking a shit"- Opiate addicts suffer from constipation. It is common knowledge. It slows the body's function down in many ways.
People were scared because of the smoke and acted accordingly.
He did so intermittently until the unofficial end of our relationship in November 2014.
* This is how I know the approximate date of the events.
Mary Catherine, Cowardice Queen