The Fairytale of a Modern Day Pen-Pusher

.
When my manager sidled over to the director and muttered “...and he’s wearing a bra!” I knew I had lost my job. Bare-chested and smeared with blood I reclined in my office chair staring at my inbox as emails filtered through about despatch errors. On my desk besides me was a blackened spoon and a needle...a bra was hanging off my arm which I had used as a tourniquet. In pulling on a classic Burlington sock over a stabbed and needle marked foot I made a small attempt of gaining a modicum of self-respect. For some reason sitting there with only one sock on and a dirty foot was humiliating. GG entered the office with his director, both standing and looking down on me like the twin towers on the verge of collapse.

“We’ll need the keys, please Shane.”
“..and his phone,” said the director, no longer looking at me but out the window at a pile of  rotting broken pallets. “We’ll contact you... Oh, and there’s also huge discrepancies in the accounts.”
“Yeah, I see where this is going,” I said, buttoning closed my shirt, “as long as I’m paid I don’t give a fuck. I’m suspended yeah? That’s the procedure, suspended on full pay?”
“Well, yes.. until you hear from us.”
“I’ll be contesting ANY decision, so just as long as I’m paid it’s no problem.”
“You’ll be paid. Now get dressed and leave before we call the police.” Then GG whispered something to the other tower who just shook his head and closed his eyes as if he just wanted that plane to hit him.
“Can I make one call before I leave?” I asked “It’s to my solicitor... I think I’ll be needing him.”
“Yes, but be quick,” GG said bluntly “You shouldn’t be here!”
Of course I had no solicitor, but I needed someone to bail me out and so I dialled one of the 20 or so eleven digit numbers I had relegated to memory.
“Trooper it’s me... are you about? I’ll be around soon... I want 3 and 3*.”
“Um's good. Phone me when you at Allieds. Laters”
“Ok, Laters T!”

And with that I half-slipped into my shoes and left as quickly as possible terrified that I might miss my meet. Well, that meeting with my most ancient heroin dealer led to a separate spate of bizarre happenings, but here I will stick to the former and how on Tuesday 25th January 2005 at 13h36 I was busted shooting heroin in my mothers bra. For that I need to take you back to the start...

The Start: November 2003

“Hmm, LEVENE, so you’re Jewish....one of The Tribe? Hmm. Well I’m not promising anything... I can’t you understand? It’s really not down to me, but I’ve a pretty hefty pull in such things, hmm.” GG said shaking my hand in both of his. “Oh, and could I borrow this?” he asked, holding up a copy of Tony Benn’s latest memoirs.

“Yeah, take it. If you’ll only excuse the cigarette burns in the cover.” I replied, glad he’d seen it as I’d left it laying around specifically for his piggish eyes. Flicking through it at home he’d also discover a book mark from some North London Synagogue or other. Not that I’m Jewish; I’m not. I’m less Jewish than Saddam Hussein, but I needed the job, especially on £30,000 per year, company car and bonus. I escorted GG downstairs and watched him waddle over to his car. He strapped himself in, gave me a wide thin grin and then pulled away the car wobbling off the premises in the same manner as his large fat arse.

One week later, sufficiently doped up and with my sidelocks twisted into ringlets, I signed my new contract in front of GG and his director Mr. West.
“Well Shane, we’ve decided to take a chance and trust you. However, we do have one major reservation: you’ve never been in control of a budget before. So for the first 6 months all expenditure will be passed through GG. He will “Ok” them, and sign off all the invoices before sending them to accounts. But no, erhm yes, I think we’ve put a good man at the helm,” said Mr West, looking at GG for reassurance. And with that and one last “hmm” from GG I left with my new contract, 2 vans, the keys to a London warehouse and an annual budget of £750,000. In effect, I left with a huge amount of trouble. They might as well have given me the keys to the prison... It would have saved time.

I first officially opened the warehouse as manager two days later. I travelled in early and read through the company mails detailing my position, the role I was to play and the expectations they had of me. At 7am my colleagues/staff arrived. At 9 the phone was constantly ringing, and by lunchtime I’d received two enquiries about pay increases, had one boy go down with an epileptic fit, had a worker pull a knife on another, and felt the tremors when a 40ft lorry backed into the warehouse knocking all the downstairs windows through. And it never stopped... not for one moment. Whatever force had blown me into the managers chair was also wafting its curse all over the place. It was a strange mix of atrocious bad luck, bizarre occurrences, comical tragedy and shambolic paperwork. But I never lost direction, and my main agenda was to lessen peoples hours and physical exertions while simultaneously cutting costs and reorganising working procedures. “It will be like no other warehouse in the country,” I promised Samir. Then I gave him permission to have each Friday afternoon off to visit the mosque and he realised that I was quite unlike any kind of manager he had ever known.

And Samir wasn’t the only one to benefit; we all would. To most I gave free holidays, another the company car I couldn’t drive, another the van to use as he liked. Iuriy (recently evicted from his home) was given the warehouse keys and so lived there, and I also cut an hour off every working day and extended the breaks. Having stopped the need for most overtime we kept that to ourselves and I still marked down the workers with 20 or 30 supplementary hours per month. I raised as many salaries as I could. But it was all fine, offset by the savings that I made. In the first six months warehouse costs had been cut by £60,000. Everyone was delighted, not least my directors, who celebrated me and started inviting me down to board room meetings and business lunches. I was handed control of the budget and total freedom to negotiate all contracts and employment concerning the warehouse. Other warehouse managers from around the country were sent down to see what I was doing, and though at first slightly dumbfounded because of my appearance and attitude, they all left with a feeling that I was really treading new ground and taking management onto a new level with fresh ideas. I was, and it was a fresh idea that would be the start of the end. An idea that would involve me employing two non-existent South Africans, hiring my AWOL girlfriend as secretary and setting up a company that I subcontracted the toilet cleaning and lightbulb changing out to. It was an idea that at first was to get me through a hard month, and then as I got more and more used to the extra money something which I couldn’t stop and eventually relied upon. And not just me. The money was also keeping my mother and stepfather in a healthy supply of crack cocaine, and when the pyramid of cards eventually fell, my family would split into three.

Of course during this period I was right in the midst of a huge heroin and crack cocaine addiction myself. It had been that way for almost 3 years. I had joined the company as a box-packer after being paid off from my previous company when they found syringes in my bag. It wasn’t easy at first, the days were long and come finishing time I’d be snivelling and in the early stages of withdrawal. But as I gained more responsibility, and with it more freedom, it arrived that I could find reason to disappear for 15 or 20 minutes and slink off to the toilets and fix up. There was no suspicion. I was clean, happy, always first in and last out. I was never absent and always clear minded. I learnt every aspect of the business and took on extra responsibility unpaid. But it wasn’t for fun that I done those things, it was for the freedom. After a year I was promoted to supervisor which gave me the liberty to disappear at will. Being made manager just made life as a working addict even easier. I had the sole key to the spare toilet and would turn off the phones and lock myself in there for 30 minutes at a time, stripped naked and jabbing for working veins in the cubicle. As time passed and my veins began to seriously collapse, fixing became horrendously difficult. By the time I eventually left London it was taking on average two full hours to hit a vein. I would start in the toilets and after 45 mins reallocate to my office where I’d hang a “Do not disturb” sign on the door. Being unsuccessful I’d turn the phones on for five minutes, answer any urgent mails, and show my face in the warehouse. Then it was back to the toilet/office... toilet/office, until I finally managed to hit a vein. Once whilst cooking up a hit in the toilet one of the temporary staff entered shouting my name: “I’ll be with you in a minute!” I cursed.
“Yeah,OK!” He huffed. Two weeks later and after days of him coming in to work at any hour he pleased (if at all) he tried to blackmail me. I had called him upstairs to discipline him with a warning and it was just what he had been waiting for:

“Are you sure you want to give me that?” he asked, throwing the warning letter on the floor. “You was cooking up heroin in the toilets the other week!”
“Heroin? Are you crazy? Heroin??? What are you talking about!”
“I know! I know the smell. I’m not stupid. The other day when i came in the toilets I smelled heroin, you was in there cooking up. My brother does the same! Not only do I not want the warning I want a full-time job, AND be made supervisor. If not, well...”

Well, I was knocked off balance for a moment and in one instance I considered admiting it all and trying to come to some arrangement, but I knew it wasn’t possible. I had someone in front of me with a huge chip on his shoulder and who had already tried to use this to get his own way. And so rather than give in I stood tough and bluffed it out to the hilt. I went into managerial mode.

“What you’re saying is very, very serious and if you believe what you say to be true then you have a duty to report that to my superiors. I will give you my managers name and details and also the main directors and you can put an official complaint down. Though the dilemma is this: if you do decide to do that I’ll have no choice but to ask the agency to replace you as we cannot work together with disciplinary action between us. Now what’s it to be?”
“You can’t suspend my contract! It’s illegal... I’ve rights!”
“Yes, you’ve rights with your agency but not here. You’ve no contract with us and I can end your presence here without notice or justification. It is then up to your agency to find you other work.”
“Give me your fucking manager's name and details... I’m telling!I’m not taking this shit!” And with that he left, but not before making a tour of the warehouse screaming: “Shane’s a junkie! I caught him shooting up in the toilets!” Of course it was so unbelievable that no-one took any notice, though it did stick in peoples minds and a year or so later when I was finally booted out it all made a little more sense.

A complaint was duly filed and I responded with utter amazement refuting the accusations and almost laughing with my director as he read it out to me. After I told my director the lorry driver had also been accused of trafficking drugs in from Bulgaria, my director waved him off as some kind of confused and fantastic nut, dreaming up stories of drug traffic and usage. My refutation was passed back to Jamel, and we never heard anything else. But it was out. My life was overflowing into my work and for anyone with a sharp eye towards drug abuse it was evident.

“Where are all the fucking spoons!” I’d here the workers cry at tea-break, “They’ve all gone again!” or “Shane, I think the lorry drivers a junkie... there’s an empty syringe packet out here!”
“Fuck,” I’d say, “keep a good eye on him boys and don’t let him in the warehouse alone!” One evening I left at 6pm and laying in my bed at midnight I suddenly thought: “Did I clear my box of needles away after my ‘leaving fix’?” This was serious. The cleaner came in every morning at 5am and my office was one of the rooms she was contracted to clean. After an hours dilemma I decided I couldn’t risk it and took a 1am taxi ride into work. Lucky I did, as opening my office door the box was sitting opened on my chair with over 200 used and dirty needles poking from and through it. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!” It was all getting very lapse, very open and very hot.

More often than not when my colleagues came to see me they’d have to nudge me awake. “Shane, are you ok???”
“Oh, just tired... was burning the midnight oil. We’re very busy at the moment”But no matter what I seemed to do noone ever thought of drugs. Meanwhile the warehouse was still running extremely efficiently and my name was more celebrated than ever.

What were once 45 minute imaginary meetings now escalated into two hour long conferences. I’d open the phone lines so they rung engaged, hang the “Do NOT disturb sign” on the office door and then strip down naked in my office probing for veins. Occasionally, if my director mailed, I’d answer that, just to show I was still there and still alive. But my colleagues were becoming frustrated. They had work to do, and very often they needed my advise. I would hear their footsteps come halfway up the stairs and then hear them descend and blowing to the waiting crowd, “No, he’s still in conference!” Once, my supervisor ignored all warnings and burst in the office anyhow. On two scores I was lucky. Firstly my pants were still on and the syringe was in a small vein in my wrist, and secondly he tried to enter by the locked door first, giving me just enough time to gather my wits and hatch an impulsive plan. .

“Yes, it was confirmed today,” I said tearily into the phone, “Mum’s got bowel cancer.” I lookd up at Marius and when he made to leave I lowered the phone against my chest and said, “There’s no need. What do you want?” He pointed to an old pile of despatch notes on my desk and I nodded him permission to take them. As he walked around to get them I could feel the syringe dangling perilously from my wrist and just prayed that it wouldn’t slide out and fall on the floor. With Marius gone I finished up and then reopened the business. In future I’d have to be more careful, I thought... much more careful.

The trouble is that once you acquire the confidence of getting away with something you eventually forget you are getting away with anything. And no matter how hard you try, you become more cocksure and ever more lax. And each time you bluff it out, it just makes you think how easy it is... how stupid people are, and that makes you go even further. And like many an idiot before me that is what I done. I thought I was invincible and at the point where I should have quit and left with my winnings I stayed and tripled the stakes.

I was now 10 months into my job and apart from a few minor hiccups was still flying high. The third quarterly budget showed savings in excess of £80,000, overtime had been cut by two thirds and morale was high. However, there was one concern: the burgeoning petrol costs for the vans. This I explained away by saying we had begun running our own deliveries and pick-ups rather than using expensive courier services. We had, but it was not account books or exam results that the vans were picking up and delivering: it was heroin and crack cocaine. In order to get gear into work I had friends and family score for me and when they phoned to say “all’s good” I’d send one of the drivers down to collect it. In a book sized box would be heroin and crack, clean needles and vitamin C. It would carry some phoney address and ‘IMPORTANT’ scrawled across it. Sometimes both drivers would be off at the same time collecting these boxes and then jumping red lights to be back in the warehouse before the post left. Very often when friends had trouble scoring I’d have to leave work and go to buy myself. In these instances I’d have a driver take me to Shepherds Bush and then park up while I disappeared. If they were suspicious they kept it to themselves, but I sincerely do not think they were suspicious... it was a world too far, yet so close to their existence for them to ever entertain such an idea.

It was immediately after the 2004 audit that I first got a whiff that certain persons in the company were beginning to scrutinize warehouse operations. The audit was all in order, but the final quarterly budget, although confirming huge savings also showed up some abnormal expenditure and rising costs... especially in “temporary staff”. According to the books I had employed three agency staff for 11 months solid. That wasn’t the problem though, the question first raised was: “Why employ three agency staff for a year when you could have employed five permanent staff for the same amount?” Still, I talked my way out of that one and was just relieved that no-one asked to actually see these “temps” as only one existed, and she was in France, suicidal and not talking to me. That was January and as I faxed the time sheets through to the agency I promised myself: “This is the LAST time... it really has to stop.”

I remember the day well. It had been snowing and the 15 minute walk from the underground to the warehouse was an arduous journey. London whistled out a barrier of wind that froze through the cold and penetrated the bones. The gale was so ferocious that walking up hill it was almost impossible to breath and one had to turn around to catch ones breath. The freeze stung the face and ears and then ran cold out the eyes. Though the weather records don’t support this, it was the coldest day there had ever been. My fingers were so frozen that I had trouble opening the padlock to the large galvanized security gate and even more trouble fingring the code for the alarm. After warming myself up I turned on the computer, opened my mail and began running orders off the printer. One email was from the director of accounts and was red-flagged with importance.

From: Accounts@xxx.com
To: Shanelevene@xxx.com
Subject: Budget Analysis/Query

Shane,
There are some abnormalities with certain warehouse expenditure and we would like to meet and clear this matter up as soon as possible. Therefore we request your attendance in a fourway meeting to discuss this. Besides myself, GG & Mr Pennington will be in attendance. Please confirm that you are available and will be attending.

Kind Regards

Rachel Simmons

“Fuck, that sounds serious!” I thought. And though a thousand things crossed my mind, and though I knew I had been busted, I convinced myself otherwise, reckoning: “no, if it was that they’d sack me immediately... they certainly wouldn’t warn me and leave me still sitting in charge of operations”. One other final thing that convinced me otherwise was a second mail that I opened from the main shareholder of the business. It was a company wide mail raving on about the wonderful work I had been doing and how I should serve as an inspiration to all. That mail would be one of his last, as in response to the stupidity he felt when I was finally revealed he had no option but to swallow the cum and resign.

January was always a traditionally slow period for the company so we were working lates. At 9 am staff arrived as usual. Iuriy, our main driver came straight to the office and closed the door behind him. This was the same Iuriy who I had let live in the warehouse for three months and had also illegally employed his son for a small period when he had first moved to England from Bulgaria.

“Shane... there was yesterday a big meeting talking about the warehouse. Did you know about that? GG asked me some questions yesterday afternoon and asked me not to let you know, but what to do? What to do??? I’m telling you... don’t forget that.”

“A meeting???” I repeated agape, “no, I didn’t know. Thanks for telling me. I won’t forget, you know that. Oh, and here...” I sat down at my computer and quickly typed of a letter giving Iuriy a £1000 annual payrise. “And you, don’t forget that,” I said, signing and giving him the letter. As Iuriy skipped down the stairs his keys jangling and whistling, I looked around the office and cried. The place had became corrupted, and the saddest song in the world was drifting up the stairs.

It was during lunchtime that I closed my office door, unwrapped my dope and cooked up a fix in my office draw. Outside the winds had calmed but the snow was still petalling down and staring out for long enough it seemed almost like an hallucination. Sucking up a needle full of smack I rolled up my trouser legs, removed my shoes and sock and started jabbing for veins. With no luck I took off my jumper and shirt, feeling softly all over my arms for any springy tissue that often means a concealed vein. As the time passed and as each attempt proved fruitless I became bloodier and bloodier. I would try wiping it away but it just smeared and bled more and so I just left it. At some point I went into my bag and removed my tourniquet. It was actually one of my mother's old bras which she had given me because she was tired of me using her scarfs and tights and towels. The bra with it’s elasticated band worked pretty well and I strapped it around my left bicep and began tensing and flexing my hand in an attempt to raise the dead.

I did not hear the car pull into the forecourt, nor the footsteps coming up the stairs. I do not remember what vein I eventually hit, but I did hit one as when the door opened I was in heroin slumber with the very top of my head almost flush on top of my keyboard. At first I saw just a pair of polished shoes and black trousers and thought it was the police, but as I jolted to a start and reclined back into full vision it was the cold rubberish face of GG that I saw. He was peering in at me like a doctor announcing the time of death.

“Err Gabriel...” I said. That’s all I said... nothing else would come and I suppose there was really nothing more to say. Sometimes the situation says it all. Caught in the toilets with a porn mag and your dick in your hand... what more can words explain? And when the eye sees the truth, not even a conniving junkie can wriggle his way free. And that was my situation.... worse, because although being caught wanking is very embarrassing it does not amount to gross misconduct and so theoretically once you’ve pulled your pants up you can go back to work. That option wasn’t available to me... or was it??? Ok, I’d been caught half naked and fixing up heroin, but this was Gabriel, ...alone. Fellow Jew... always supported me... gave me the job and wouldn’t want this embarrassment leaking out??? Hmm, my thoughts started to clear. That’s when Mr Pennington stepped in holding my ‘Do NOT disturb sign’ up to GG before balling and dropping it into the bin. “A word please Gabriel... outside.” was all he said.

Sitting alone I was mortified. And though a million thoughts and worries should have been passing through my head they didn’t, I was almost completely blank. Instead I laid back in my chair and stared at my inbox withholding a sad impulse to open and respond to my new mails: ‘Despatch error 069875’... ‘Despatch error 102875... Despatch error...

And that as it, and I knew it. There was no escape, no worming my way out. These were serious people with serious glares and even if sometimes their hardness crumpled in the face of historic blood ties, they didn’t get to be driving Mercedes and wearing solid gold watches for nothing. Their hearts cannot be melted with doe eyes or sob stories... they cannot be penetrated by everyday emotions. They only card I had left to play was of no use. And it was in that thought that I looked down at my bare and stabbed and dirty foot and felt myself shrinking in humiliation. Not only was I only half their size sitting in my chair, but I was totally exposed. Because that foot, the marks and the tracks down it’s inner and across it’s upper. The jammy dirt that covered and blackened my sole, the picked and cut skin on the heel, and the weeks old blood dry and flaky on my ankle, it revealed another soul.... gave away the secrets of a life that I was covering with clean ironed shirts and sleek Burlington socks.

Of course, that humiliation didn’t last long, something more pressing entered the agenda: my need to score, and how to arrange that with no phone and two ‘would-be’ policemen towering above me. Well, once again addiction has no shame or face and when desperation stakes are low you fall with it and abandon yourself to that level. And so I made some pleading excuse to get the company phone in my hands and with no care if GG or Mr. Pennington understood what I was really doing or not I openly arranged to score. Then I felt better and looking up from the wreckage I suddenly saw the light and had my own good reason to leave. “Well if we’re done here I’ll be going?” I motioned.

And like many a junkie before me I left hurriedly dressing on the move. I was still trying to tuck my shirt in and fit into my shoes as I hit the air and snow and was buttoning up my jacket and pulling the collar around my neck as I walked at double pace out the industrial estate and towards the underground station. And every twenty strides or so, or when the vile winds let up enough I’d slip my wrist an inch out my pocket and eye my watch. “Fuck, I'll never make it!” I cursed “unless the tube is straight there and then I get a bus immediately. Yeah, that could work... or a cab. Could be... could very well be. Straight down the A40 and I’m there ...20 mins max. Just hope the snow hasn’t blocked the route!” And I passed the walk like that, making rash and improbable calculations on how I could possibly get back home to score quicker than was physically possible.

And as the cab pulled out and cut across three lanes of beeping traffic and then passed through one red light then another, I knew I had the correct driver... that hell was postponed for at least another day. And as I gave him a 20 pound note for a £12 fare I made my way hurriedly down the road and of to the phone box across from Allieds. And as I dialled the number and waited anxiously through each ring I looked up at the falling snow and started reciting the Junkies Prayer: “Answer the phone T... just please, please, PLEASE answer the fucking phone! ”
 
 
Take Care Everyone & I hope you enjoyed...
 
Until next time, All My Best Thoughts...
 
Shane. x

27 comments :

Wildernesschic said...

Hilarious! Great post, really made me laugh.
I can just imagine their faces. I have good veins, apparently, if you ever need to borrow one :)
I cannot imagine how frustrating it must be, looking for one to work, whilst needing a fix. I loved the way you described how you felt exposed and betrayed by your bare foot. We all have a public face and a private soul.. you are not alone, its just the secrets that differ.
I have just spent the afternoon, covered with clean white, ironed sheets as I felt so ill, from demolishing most of a bottle of Raspberry vodka yesterday afternoon... I am now at my Aga preparing the meal, for my gorgeous boys, who are none the wiser.. needless to say I will not be repeating the Vodka too soon. I think I am getting too old to feel this way.. I don't like it and it doesn't like me anymore.
Lovely to have you back .. for now
Love Ruth xx

Heather said...

Hello, my dear, I liked this post, your writing is so good and it really shows in this post...It's wonderful to have you back
XOXO
Heather

dusty rose said...

it was really nice to read something new from you.
it's almost unbelievable how well you made the house of cards stand
for so long.
when i was working
and using
they always thought i was high, most often on the days when i was coming down
because i hadn't been using.

i would just be so sluggish
and irritable
and blurry
that inevitably i would have to go
to the back and talk to the
"concerned manager"
who thought i might be on something
and would send me home for the day.

take care,
--d.

kim said...

Shane,

I wanna see a book by you. I really do. You suck me into your world.

Amazing that the straight world is so damn straight ...

XXX, Kim

Anonymous said...

Shite! What part of that could I not relate to!?! My pal been called to question on abnormally high courier usage to weird places ( he works n knightsbridge & I worked in stratford). Unfortunately the more impossible & tenuous it gets the more u want it where most people wld walk away. The resilience, resourcefullness & tenacity of a junkie is something else.

My junkie prayer didn't get answered 2nite. My excuse, I'm a year older tmrw & not much wiser. I'll try again tomorrow. Once decided it's impossibble to call it quits.

U take care. xxKxx

ps. Let me know ur reply about brand project.

Put The Lotion In The Basket said...

Shane
Another great story, I loved the way it picked up pace as your well ordered office world started to imploded onto you.
And HA.HA comparing 'senior types' to the twin towers is just so funny.
You know it but I loved this and the rest of your work and of course you too.
Take Care
Love as Ever
Nick X

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Worth the wait, Shane. Wow man, the things you have gotten away with. If you would quit the drugs, you could probably be Prime Minister. Of course, who'd want that job?

Love,

SB

Anonymous said...

The other thing forgot to say is sometimes u 4get heroin is not normal to a vast majority of the population, it's become ur hinge on normality & stability & that's when u get slack & blaze. The carelessness is partly due to a particularly good gouch too. It's just not the world we live in, 4get they're all petrified of that. Of course in my world, don't care what u do as long as u do job right & can function but real world much more prescriptive & intrusive than that.

Thanx for given me go ahead on ID design. Please don't b so defensive, it's a good design exercise fore. If any good comes from it then use it. It's paintings/artist persona I'm more interested in - won't touch ur memoires - ever!

A good designer represents their client - doesn't do speaking for them. Challenge is that we both work in visual medium but what I do has to be less about me. That's difference between design & art.

Got some b 2nite but was so shite, had it in one sitting (in smac donalds toilet) so could sub next day (after required 12 hours). Still, my dealer wished me happy birthday which was a surprise (no pressie, unless I pay for it) gave my pal
Al £30 to sort himself out (he still won't go on subs). Then gave black lady last fiver cos her purse wad stolen & no way home. That's the kind of girl I am: either stupid or soft or both!

U take care. Glad ur back. I do understand u've had a lot to sort, do what u gotta do.

Wishin u all the very very best from bottom of my heart (which is gigantic).
Blu (Fat Mikes UK cousin) says meow!

Mmmmmm... Mushy peas!!!
Is there any British food u miss over there?

xxKxx

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hiya Ruth,
Thanks as ever for reading! Sometimes when I'm on the bus or metro I sit there looking at people's hands and arms, jealous of their veins. So yeah, if you ever put a few of yours up for sale on ebay mail me first and I'll buy them outright. But seriously, the only time I have really entertained the idea of quiting was due to the time it was taking to use. And when I finally left London it was a huge relief not to have to go through that everyday. It's not so bad now, but that's because I'm not using all the time... but one or two months using properly and it'd be the same/worse.

I know what you mean about age. Where once you'd run around full of energy and shake off hangovers or comedowns now they seem to rob you of too much strength to continue. But in my illogical mind I see that as a good reason not to stop! lol

Love and Wishes to You & Family

All My Thoughts, Shane. x

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hiya Heather,

Wonderful to see you've not abandoned me... If In was a reader of this blog I would have given up months ago! ;)

Love & Thoughts, Shane. x

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hiya Dusty,

Like the WHOLE world I owe you a mail... so excuse me for that, and thanks so much for continuing to read here. It means a lot.

What I found Dusty is that the life of an addict shows when it's out of control. It's all the illness and stress and mayhem of getting sorte that shows under the eyes. If you can really stabilize your habit it's almost undetectable. Take terminally ill patients on huge doses of diamorphine. They don't turn into the living dead or take on junkie characteristics. Same as many addicts with the funds to support their addiction properly... or ex-addicts on substitution programs. It's the lifestyle or diseases that gives it up, not the fact of being an addict.

I showed all the classical behaviours of a heroin addict but never the physical signs and so no-one ever related the two. If they thought of drugs they'd probably hav thought I was on valium or some other prescribed tranquiliser. Because of the stereotype of the heroin addict, once you work full-time, that fact alone is almost enough to remove you from suspicion... people just don't imagine addicts CAN work and be reliable.

Anyway, thanks again for reading and commenting and we'll speak more soon..

Thoughts & Wishes, Shane.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

I've got a book Kim... I just need to write something in it! That's the hard part and writing really exhausts me... it's not a pleasure. But soon... hopefully soon..

My Best Wishes, Shane. x

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Kelly,

That's it. Once your minds set nothing but giving in to temptation can scratch the itch. Wilde said: "I can resist everything but temptation" (or something like that.)

XXX

Ps: there's another comment of yours to reply to, so I'm not finished yet...

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

NICK!!! Thank you so much!

There's a few people that really make the effort of writing thisblog worthwhile and you're one of them. I don't feel words are wasted in your ears.

All My Love Returned... Shane. XXX

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

SB,

Got away with it??? I didn't, but that's another story and still has yet to reach a conclusion.

So no, my time will come...

XXX

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Kelly,

I remember when I first ever bought heroin, sneaking back home with my heart racing and feeling the little balls of danger that were in my pocket. Then chasing it and scrutinizing my face in the mirror saying: "I'm on heroin... this is the face of a heroin user!" It was so dangerous and subversive then... it was a fantasy. Now, god... I don't even see it as a drug. It's more like a sweet. I walk around with it in my pocket or sock thinking: "it's only a gram... it's nothing! who's gonna care about that?"

I've lived around it so long and been so open about it that it doesn't even register as something illegal anymore... it's wrapped up in my well-being. I think being an addict changes things slightly... even in th eyes of the law. They undrstand you are not caught with heroin because you are a criminal, but because you are an addict and need it to function. It's why for the most part users are left untroubld by the police. Lets face it, if the police wanted to they could round up and arrest every junkie in London in the same morning. With a spare £500 they could also get the names and numbers of EVERY smalltime dealer. But yeah, we certainly forget just how horrific heroin seems to the majority. Not just users, dealers as well.

When I first meet a new dealer they are so paranoid (and actually make the handover even hotter). After a few weeks they are balling bags across the road and playing football with them. Counting the money out in full view and spitting bags out their mouths like a goldfish spits bubbles... it makes me laugh. Only a few weeks previous they had threatened never to meet you again because you fumbled the handover! lol

I'm not on the efensive about the design thing, just letting you know that whatever ever comesof that we musn't ever let it be a problem. I'm open to it and really interested to see how someone else see's what I do. If I could pay I would... but I can't even pay my rent, so if we use it I'll send you a painting or something??? ;)

That's the problem with chasing you very often do smoke it all in one sitting... gone even before you can gouch. I was one of the frustrations that led to me injecting. In the neede you rarely get 'shit' gear... it always lasts. I remember when I was smoking and phoning my dealer saying: "This is shit.. it's not even gear!" He's be surprised saying "What! people have been od'ing on that! The injectors like it." I didn't understand... i thought if it was good it would be the samefor all, but its not. That's not an advertisement to inject, beause injecting though it saves money and H, you DO NOT escape scot free. You either end up diseased or full of complications from missed fixes and collapsed veins. When an addict stops smoking he/she can resume a normal full life. The injecting addict no. Once that needle has been put in the body so many times your life expectancy cannot realistically be more than the age of 55 (and thats me being generous... and hopeful! lol)

Ok, it's a long comment that one and I'll end here...

All My Love to You also...

Shane. xxx

JoeM said...

This must be the most upbeat post yet - but when you consider the denouement…Let’s just say in comparison with everything else you’ve told us about it seemed like a jolly diversion, sort of Tarantino directs Ealing comedy. Actually it made me think of Joe Orton, Loot maybe, with the Twin Towers as Inspector Truscott:

They might as well have given me the keys to the prison... It would have saved time

is Ortonesque. Have you ever tried screenplays? Apart from the horror one I’ve already suggested, you could do a great black comedy, possibly even based on this. Two great reasons - 1) They take less time than a novel - 2) they pay better.

Funnily enough when you first mentioned a manager and director I thought this was fiction and you were writing about making a film.

It does seem incongruous - working in an office and shooting up at the desk - demi-nu! (Talk about The Naked Civil Servant) But then Irvine Welsh worked for the council and went on to become a property baron. All that ingenuity you need to survive as an addict comes in handy. And the thing is - you were cutting costs and doing a great job even with spending so much time dealing with the H. I mean if you were allowed to use and could get cheap H at a chemist you would probably have been a great asset to the company - and the workers you helped. I think that people should be allowed to use what it takes to get them functioning best - even alcohol if they can work with it. Look at all the prescription drugs workers are on. Philip Larkin was a head librarian for decades very successfully, and couldn’t have done it without his bottles of vodka in the desk drawers.

I agree that this was one of the funniest lines:

Sitting there with only one sock on and a dirty foot was humiliating

(ignoring the needle, the blood, the nakedness…)

Also:

“Where are all the fucking spoons!”


The fact that you could just type up a £1000 pay rise in seconds, as well as all the other cons, just shows how easy it is to get away with stuff when you get to a certain level - look at the politicians and their expenses scams - which 99% of them got away with scott free.

In Glasgow the leader of our council - the biggest big shot - has disappeared after admitting drink and drug use for years (the rent boy rumours haven’t reached the press yet) - he would regularly cancel Mondays etc. I mean we hear about Gordon Brown and prescription drugs. Anything could be going on. Like you say, the more you get away with the bolder you get (now known as The Tiger Woods Syndrome).

Love the Wilde quote - ALL Wilde quotes. He’s so 21st century. Morrissey would be proud of this (said as Wilde guzzled champagne on his French death bed):

I’m dying beyond my means

(To which Morrissey would add:

But oh God bring it on bring it on bring it on…)


Look forward to the next one…

(Oh: surely Keith Richards is older than 55!)

Laura said...

This was a master piece shane and haunted me before bedtime. Cannot get vision of you behind your desk nodding off and wearing a bra

Caelia Rayne said...

I've been scanning through your blog and I just have to say you have a mesmeric and anapestic way of writing; I relate, respect and hope even through all the hardships you suffer, that you find peace, if you've already not found it.

sanjeet said...

I liked this post, your writing is so good and it really shows in this post...It's wonderful to have you back
data entry work from home

dolly said...

i love the way you tell your story.go write a book.it WILL be a bestseller!!!

fallen said...

Your style of writing and stories that you have written have had me engrosed all day,like a good book that you can 't put down.Your honesty about your life is so refreshing.You tell it as it is and although I am a fellow user I'm sure everyone can relate or learn from your story.My boyfriend had a similar experience with his alcoholic mother who,after several attempts, commited suicide when he was twelve.I know it sounds cheesy but you probably help more people than you realise and smash that stereotypical "junkie"image, people have ,to smithereens.I like you.xx

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hiya Fallen & thank you for coming across. I'm just glad that you enjoyed it so much.

Ye, mny people seem to relate to my words and I'm not quite sure why??? As you say I try to give it as it is...just to be truthful to that which I've experienced.

I hope you continue reading and hopefully we'll speak again soon.

All My Very Best Wishes, Shane. x

Kissa said...

Shane this is some of the craziest shit I've ever read! There are so many things that I think to myself have been crazy about your life, but this was incredible. I'm glad you write. I'm glad you found me. It is an utter privilege to read your work, as always. There is a book here, for certain. I send love and brilliance your way. Keep writing! I know I'm not the only one addicted. ;)

Giorgio Curcetti said...

This was so mortally close to my own circumstances, I was shitting it throughout every line. I got sacked from 4 jobs four in a row for gross misconduct, each and single time involving drugs (heroin, of course, but also, as shown by the piss tests I was forced to take time and time again following the inevitable disciplinary hearing, crack cocaine, methadone, benzodiazepines, and the humble cannabis. By the time you got canned at your job I was scarpering from the 4th one, this time having done the only possibly decent thing and "resigned", walking out before they made me run, rather than go through all the bullshit of paperwork and Human Resources managers and disciplinaries all over again. It is not fun being a functional addict, and make no mistake.....

Eyelick said...

It's always crazy and amusing to me when no one thinks of drugs, to me it seems so fucking blatant, especially after mentioning certain aspects like illness... But it's all so foreign to anyone who hasn't been involved themselves or close to someone else who is.

It sounds like England has a much better setup far as employment and being fired goes, where you're still being paid or get paid off. They don't have that here, or at least the 2 States where companies have employed me. There is just the unemployment payments through the state that companies (believe it's individuals as well) pay into... That ends up being a fraction of your paycheck and paid for a # of weeks or months determined by the state. In some states, the process of signing on is so convoluted that you may not get paid by them at all- that happened to me twice in one state. It isn't too hard in Nevada or at least Las Vegas, their Job Connect office, where you can use the computer and fax machine to apply for jobs, as well as get pre screened forjobs listed on their board, they have a direct phone line to Unemployment where you get started, and one more phone interview later gets it done. My previous state involves going to their office, where you get put on a computer for a long process that ends in a job search, but it certainly never got me paid! It's possible that it changed with the market crash, but my move here coincided with that. Then again, our "bootstraps" culture involves a lot of blame and guilt.

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