Terrence is midway up the drug dealer’s food chain and he’s explaining all things medical to Justin. Justin is a bottom feeder dealer. He scrapes by supporting his heroin habit by selling dime bag deals and Terrence, in his Elizabeth Bay one bedroom apartment, is about to tell Justin a little of the history of heroin, then he’ll get to the health risks and also tell him how much money he needs to bring back to Terrence or dire consequences will occur. Here goes:
“Now, Justin (as he puts down twenty small foil packages in front of him) did I tell you about where heroin comes from, how all this started. Well, have you heard of the Opium Poppy?”
“Yeah, I heard about it, a little not much. Can I shoot up first?”
He asks breaking out in a terrible yellow sweat.
“Off you go, Justin and don’t nod off, not yet.”
Justin hops it to the bathroom, takes off his thin leather belt, rips the filter out of a cigarette and gets his spoon, heats the touch of water with a purple lighter, stirs the heroin in with the orange plastic end of his syringe, takes up the heroin through the filter into the syringe and blasts it into his arm and he’s done. Not wobbly, just right, and then, whoops, throws up in the toilet but he’s right as rein after that. Comes back to the lounge room and Terrence continues,
“As I was saying heroin comes from the Opium poppy and that’s twenty deals in front of you for sixty dollars a deal. Take ten now and come back for the other ten. That’s sixty dollars a half and that makes $600 (and Justin nods).
“Most commonly the Opium Poppy is harvested in Asia and the Middle East and sent to all parts of the world so scumbags like your good self can get addicted. Opium can also be used as a legit medicine but you don’t care about that. Now take the ten foil packets and put them in your lumber jacket pocket and just go to your usual friends.”
Justin keeps nodding, smiling.
“The immediate effects of heroin are, and you know this Justin, (Justin picks up ten foil deals), are that it causes a rush of intense pleasure and well being, some pain relief perhaps if you’ve been hanging out and…”
“Can I go now?” Justin asks.
“In a minute. I’m going to tell you where you may end up. Your breathing, blood pressure and pulse become slower, eyes dilute, the mouth dries out and you get a little sleepy, perhaps. And when things get serious and you take higher doses (Justin just wants to leave and sell the deals sold so he can go home and veg). Please listen, Justin.”
Terrence stands up and kicks him playfully and Justin feigns interest like a punch drunk boxer feigns a right cross, badly…. But Terrence continues,
“The effects I mentioned before increase, but last not as long, more hits are needed. The ability to concentrate is impaired, breathing becomes shallow, you go ‘on the nod’ sleepy, have more nausea and vomiting, with sweating, itching of your balls and of the scabs left by the needles and increased urinary output also. And now, just a little longer, Justin. Overdose: A high dose of heroin can kill. The signs are bad. Breathing becomes very slow, body temperature drops and your heartbeat will become irregular. (Justin sits and sweats). And that’s your future my friend, off you go. $600 or I’ll cut your balls off.”
And Terrence thinks he let him off easy because he didn’t mention HIV, Hepatitis and impure heroin. But heroin is non-toxic to the body causing little or no damage to body tissue or organs, so that’s good for young, Justin. Incredibly addictive though and he’s already putting higher and higher doses into his body. But Justin will get or he already has constipation and loss of sex drive. Loss of sex drive in one so young is awful but he can still get it up, at least that’s what he told Terrence. And then comes the time when he can no longer deliver the goods for Terrence and he goes out on his own getting the bad heroin mixed with sugar or caffeine or the too strong dose that kills him on the spot. Not much of a career choice Terrence thinks, but fuck that, he has work to do and more bottom feeders to supply.
Sean O’Leary has published two short story collections, ‘My Town’ and ‘Walking’. His novella ‘Drifting’ was the winner of the ‘Great Novella Search 2016’ and published in September 2017. He has published over thirty individual short stories and been shortlisted for the Booranga Fiction Prize twice. His short story ‘Fremantle’ was shortlisted for the Daylesford ‘Word in Winter Award’ in 2019. His crime novella ‘The Heat’ was published in August 2019. ‘Crime Double Feature Neo Noir’ featuring his novella ‘Preston Noir’ was published in January 2021. ‘Wonderland,’ his collection of short crime stories was published in the UK though Close to the Bone Publishers on May 28th, 2021. All books are on Amazon. His interviews with crime fiction writers are on the Crime Time website. He has schizophrenia, likes to walk a lot, travel and write like a demon.