A Syllabus of Deceit

The first post of the Into the Mind season of writing here at Memoires of a Heroinhead. This is the first part of a mammoth post concerning the study of the deceitful practices of a young addict who turned up here at the end of summer on a foreign students language course.

A Syllabus of Deceit
- part 1

Spread thin. He admitted to that. Trey, a young junkie over from Massachusetts, a foreign student with a yellowish, rubbery, bloated looking face, like he had water retention or chronic diabetes. In fact, his entire body was like that, still a little popped out from youth, pumped full of blood from his early years spent working out prior to falling foul of the needle. His biceps were what got to me the most. They ripped out the arms of his t-shirt and just looked wrong on him, looked wrong on a junkie. More than any other part of him it were those biceps which stayed in my mind and repulsed me long after his vile little presence had shot town.

“Man, I can't believe I'm in the company of the HEROINHEAD!

You think you could shoot me up man? It's cool if not. WOW, I've been shot up by the Heroinhead... What an honour, I swear. Man, that was intense!!! ”

He'd constantly say ridiculous stuff like that, prattle on about how great my writing was, tell me he was my biggest fan and that he not only wanted a book of mine but needed one. It was all bollocks of course, the initial wave of deceit to try and stand him in good stead for getting what he really wanted. But the truth was, like so many junkies become, Trey had no compassion within him, not for man, beast nor tree. His had become a motivated character, everything he said or expressed was calculated against some kind of favourable return. He had desperate needs and very little means, save for youth, a fresh tight arse, and a heart full of sob stories. He was at that early stage of addiction where one suddenly finds oneself in too deep,needing heroin to either function physically or psychologically, all choice in the matter gone. All one can do, anyone, is adapt and try to survive off what you've got. The easiest way for Trey to supplement the drugs he could harvest himself was to have a support group of people around who empathised with him and would help him out whenever he was in dire straits. His entire personality was a projection of that, a projection of someone who wanted to inspire empathy in others. And if ever he appeared to have human emotions, it was only an appearance, each tear or smile or compliment given for a desired response – then or later. That's the game he played. In the company of other addicts he would talk of the illness and what hell it is just getting up. Around homosexuals he'd whittle on about his inner torment over his sexuality and how it had left him isolated and troubled and talk of the different façades he was obliged to keep up with different people. If he was near a veterinary surgeon he'd no doubt talk of his love for animals and how he could only relate to beasts. He said all the right things to everyone, tapping the community around him, gradually extracting money and favours from people or worming his way into a position of trust where his light fingers would sneakily start getting to work. One by one, each person who had done him a good turn would realize they had been used and pull back. With the well drilled dry Trey would move on to new pastures where the process would start over again. I understood that about him immediately; that he used people as a conduit to get what he wanted. I warned him to be straight with me, told him I saw through every trick and lie in the book, could predict to an uncanny exactitude what addicts and dealers were up to from the smallest behaviours or words.

“I pitch a straight ball” he said, unaware he wasn't even pitching straight right then.

“They all do,” I said. He shot me a queer look.

“Come on, it's this way," I said, "We're walking.” And so Trey followed, always a step or two behind, probably thinking he was safe back there where I could not see what he was up to. I didn't need to see; I already knew. In the three months that Trey traipsed behind me, often sulking like a admonished puppy dog, he would go through a whole range of petty junkie tricks and behaviours: a perfect study for a willing host.

It almost began at the start. He had mailed me saying he was in Lyon and wanted to score. He mentioned my writing and said what a fan he was. In the event that that didn't sell it he dropped in mention of a full student loan he had and wanted to blow out on heroin.

"I want to get the Heroinhead high!" were his words in that first mail. It was a short message but it told me a lot. It told me that Trey did not have a physical dependency on heroin just then. If he did he would never have gotten on an aeroplane and have flown halfway across the world, knowing that he'd crawl off the plane the other end and be bedridden and deathly ill for the next two weeks in foreign climes. It also told me that he was either a real fan and a false addict or vice versa. If it were more me he was interested in, then he should be quite calm but excited, almost passive where the drugs were concerned. However, if indeed he was an addict, if heroin were the foremost thing in his mind, I knew it would be a jumpy little fuck who showed up, terrified of being robbed.

I met Trey outside the Croix Rousse metro station. It was an afternoon at the end of summer and the public square was crowded. Trey was late and nervous. I spied a jittery dishonesty within him immediately. I didn't like his voice or the way his eyes flitted about as if he had someone a little way off watching out for him. He was too small and too broad to be any friend of mine. He gave me his hand. I tried to calm any fears he had but it was evident he was scared of being robbed. It was heroin that brought him here. I let go of Trey's hand. It was sweaty, slimy. He was in a mauve t-shirt with a scuffed black rucksack on his back like a parachute. I eyed his arms but couldn't detect a single injection mark. He saw me looking.

“Man, I know I don't have any marks but I'm straight up.”

I didn't reply. I decided there and then that he would have to take a shot in front of me. If he refused on any count, no matter how valid, he'd get no gear and I'd have no more to do with him.

“OK man, so how much to get us high?”

When I told him the price I saw his silly little brain doing somersaults in his head, making the same shapes like fingers stretching about in a pocket.

“50 euros a gram?” he repeated aghast, the first honest expression he had shown.

“It's not cheap here... as you must've read? And the minimum you can buy is three...”

“Three! Man, I didn't figure it'd be that much. And what you ripping for yourself?”

“I'm not ripping anything. You called me out, said you'd get me high.”

“150 bucks, damn! Uhmm... er....could I get two? Just to try?”


I was bored already. Whenever this game isn't easy it's terribly fucking hard. I could already see this boy would be nothing but hassle, that the heroin here was priced beyond his means but that it wouldn't stop him.

“What about this student grant you have and want to blow?” I asked sarcastically, now onto him. He gave some excuse about it being fed through in dribs and drabs. As he spoke I could see his mind working overtime, calculating, debating as to whether he should score or pull out. It's rare the junkie will pull out when the heroin is so close at hand. Still, just to put the pressure on, I warned him: “You better not have called me out for fuck all!”

“No, man... it's cool. I just didn't figure on it being so goddamn expensive, jeesh! You know if there's an ATM around here?”

“Just across the road,” I said. I saw him looking over, eyeing the surroundings, the distance. I had a feeling that if I let him out my sight that he would sneak off, make an anxious walk around town, deliberating with himself over the cash before either sloping off home or calling me and saying he had gotten lost. I followed close behind. At the ATM machine he withdrew one hundred euros, cautiously guarding his pin details with his popped out little body, looking around nervously as if expecting me to try and rip the cash from out his hands. It meant he'd turned up with only 50bucks. That was really gonna get the heroinhead high. During the ten minute walk to the dealers Trey became noticeably agitated, no doubt imagining all the scenarios whereby I get his money and he gets no smack. It was now obvious: Trey was almost as poor as me.

That was the first meeting. Trey was a nervous wreck until he had the gear in his hands and a shot in his system. I made him inject in front of me. He shot a speedball and instantly changed into another person. He begrudging gave me my cut for scoring and then on the coke wearing off and him coming to his senses he inspected his deal and queried the fairness of the divide. Then he retracted his words and said it didn't matter.

I observed so much to dislike in Trey that night. Sat there watching him I saw something so vile and selfish in him, something undefinable, some kind of pathetic psychosis which manifested itself not in any interesting or dangerous way but as a vile, emotionless, self-centredness. Not even 25 and he had a face that was already influenced by sulking and self-pity.

After that evening I did not see nor hear from Trey for four days. That would be his cycle. It was just another behaviour which gave his real game away. He wasn't interested in friendship, nor the writing: his only interest was self-motivated and that was junk. Every four days he'd text or mail. “Could you call your man?":). Even in the smileys he sent I spied something pathetically false and dishonest. But then, on that second call, Trey was still in the dock house: I had no real feelings towards him one way or another. I called my man and then called Trey.

“An hour? Fuck, bummer, man! Will he be around this evening?”

"No. Why? What's the problem?"

"Man, my money's being wired into my account but it'll not be there until this afternoon when banks open in US. Bummer."

"So you've phoned me asking if my man's on, had me ring and arrange a meet and you knew you had no cash?"

"Yeah man, sorry about that dude. Dint know he'd be there right now. I guess it's a dead duck then?"

"Well if you've no cash, then obviously it is."

"Hang on, man. Not sure if you'll be down with this, if not it's totally cool: could you weigh me in with the cash until my bank opens? I'll leave my phone with you or my wallet with my ID and licence. Is it workable?"

All though we were on the phone I moved my eyes across as if studying him down the line, concentrating on the silence where his words had been. He could be genuine, but it was a big doubt. I weighed him up as I listened. He didn't have a physical addiction and couldn't score without me. The chances were that even if he didn't repay me today he would in the next days, certainly before he had to score again. But make no mistake about it, he'd only pay back because he'd be more fucked if he didn't. I wasn't banking on his honesty but on his greed to reimburse me.

"OK," I said. "But I don't want any guarantee, just your word."

"Oh, man.... that's real fucking appreciated, bro. Just for a few hours, man... promise."

I met Trey three quarters of an hour later. He said "real fucking appreciated" and then "man, I can't wait for your book.... I gotta get that book... never been so fucking hyped for a book"

As we walked along together I gave him a hellishly curious look. Even as I was eyeing his total dishonesty, he repeated, almost punching the air in front of him, “Man, I gotta have that book of yours!” His false admiration was already too much. His first bridge was burnt. I despised that falseness so much. I didn't want him as a reader and if I could, I would have removed my words from out his head.

We scored two grams. By the time we got to Trey's, divided it up and got high four hours had passed. The longer I stayed the more Trey was on edge. When I said I was leaving he sat there silent with a frozen look of panic and fake innocence on his face, hoping I'd not have realised about the time and mention that the money should be in the bank by then. As he walked me out and through the driveway to the electric security gate he did his utmost to deflect any mention of the money, suddenly unleashing a barrage of words and praise about my writing, not letting up for a minute in the hope that any thought of the money would get forgotten it in his hype.

"Oh yeah man, because I just loved that one about … God what was his name (flicking his fingers as if trying desperately to remember), that guy up in the loft? The Black House man. God … What an incredible piece of writing... LITERATURE. I'll never forget that one, man. That was with your mum right? Yeah, man, that was intense. WOW! And all that shit really happened? Fuck, what am I saying "did it really happen!" This is the fucking Heroinhead right here. Man, you kick arse, I gotta tell ya! I can't wait for your book. You gotta get me a copy soon. I swear. Man, in my eyes you're like the greatest livin...... “

“The money, Trey... how you gonna sort that?” I said cutting right through his bullshit.

“The cash? Yeah dude, no probs. As I said the cash will be in tomorrow and I'll give you a bell, man. First thing. I can be around like before ten. But that was sooooo appreciated what you did there today. Straight up. Fuck, there's not many like us about who'd do that."

Us? Another lame junkie play. Whenever they come across anyone half decent or generous they suddenly buddy up, inserting themselves into the other man's honesty. Trey wouldn't lend someone as little as 50 cents if they were dying. And he didn't appreciate it at all. As I left and watched Trey disappear behind the closing electronic gates I already knew he would try to skip out on repaying me. I wasn't too concerned. He had made the mistake of taking me to where he was staying, put up by a wealthy bourgeois woman who took in foreign students each summer. If he did try skipping out on repayment I'd turn up there and make a scene, at least threaten to. Trey would soon find my money or an arrangement. The afternoon was coming down on the city. These were the last days of summer. Feeling drowsy I made my way back towards the metro, drunk on the floral scents and noises of high Lyon.


They never call you first, no matter how much leeway you give them nor how much you pray and hope that for once someone will be genuinely straight up. On the fourth day of receiving no news from Trey I text him three question marks. He replied to that text.

"Man, I got your cash. Just going to college. Will be with you after classes."

Whenever there is an event separating you from the cash it means that event is going to be the reason why you do not get paid. Trey could always be with me immediately when he had to score, but when it was time to give up suddenly his classes were all important. I eyed his text message and wondered what would be his next move. An hour later it came, via Facebook messenger.

"Man, just contacting you here to say I've lost my fucking phone! Still be with you. Gotta go lame internet connection."

It was all set up lovely. He had set up a fake intention of paying me and now was scheming to concoct a reason why he couldn't arrange to get around after class. He had already laid the groundwork for having no phone and now he had set up his later excuse as to why he couldn't mail or message. His story would be one of desperately wanting to pay me back but we were just undone by technology – the same technology which never fails when we need heroin.

As soon as the text came through I knew it was the start of a much longer piece of bullshit. To show Trey that I was onto him I decided that I'd surprise him in his foreign students class. I didn't expect to get the money, but having this little cunt squirming in front of me would be some reward in itself. Not knowing exactly where Trey's classes were I made it down to the university for lunch time and hung about in a strategic place where the percentage of students would have to pass. It was over an hour I was stood there when I turned around and there was Trey coming out the university with a phone in his hands. He saw me and I could see his face lose tone immediately. He could hardly talk through shock.

“See you've found your phone?”

"Huh? No, man, it isn't what it looks like. This is a different phone."I saw the panic in his eyes as he imagined me ringing the number to test him. Suddenly he was mumbling and spluttering, talking absolute nonsense as he played furiously with his phone to knock the volume out.

"So if I ring the phone it won't sound? Well it 's a bit fucking strange you suddenly lose your phone right on the point of having to pay me back. I never believe in coincidences... especially from a junkie."

"Man, I knew you'd think that! Fuck!" He said that quite boldly, obviously having successfully killed his phone.

"That's because it's true"

"No, bro... not this time! I swear to you. I had your cash and was all set to repay you when this fucking class fee came up and had to be settled. If not I can't continue my course and if I'm not enrolled my grant will be stopped and there'll be no heroin for either of us."

"So you haven't paid me back to help me? Trey, you better have the fucking money and I'm not fucking about!"

"Man, I just paid 250 dollars to keep me in the course. I thought I had more grant money in my bank."

"Trey, I'll tell you once more: I want the fucking money!!!"

He saw I was getting angry, maybe on the point of violence.

"Man, calm down. Course I got your money... some of it. I've er... a hundred... a hundred and ten. I'll give you the rest in a couple of days."

I could tell by the coins and crumpled notes that it was his very last beans, that he was absolutely potless in paying me back. For a moment I felt sorry for him. He probably now didn't even have enough left to get a coffee from the canteen with his classmates. I was on the verge of giving him a note or two back and then I saw his face and it disgusted me. A face like it was comprised of every low dirty addict I've ever known, all manifest in this single kid. I put the cash in my pocket.

"Man, if I didn't have the cash or was trying to avoid you I'd have backed away when I saw you from behind."

That was true. Only he couldn't have as it was indeed his deadline to pay for his courses and by pure luck I was lingering around right outside the descent to the basement where course enrolments were taken. That was why he called me. If he could have snuck past he would have. But no matter how much of a little snake Trey was not even he could slither past me from there.

"I thought you had already paid the enrolment?"

"erhm, er.. kinda, bro, yeah. I mean it's in my account and I'll pay it now?"

"So you have all my cash but would rather pay the the enrolment fee?”

“No, it's not like that. Man, I knew you'd think this!”

I left it. There was no point. I had three quarters of my cash and now knew not only where he lived but where he studied too. He was cornered and so did the only thing he could do.

Barely had all this passed, he had almost incurred my wrath, than he started off on his next ploy. Standing with him in the queue to pay for his course he suddenly asked matter-of-factly:

"Do you think your man will be on?"

"It wouldn't matter if he is, you're broke."

"Hmm mm, maybe not. I think there could be cash in my bank. Give him a call."

I could already see what he was up to. He knew that once I had called and arranged a meet that I would have to respect that. He was hoping I'd call before he checked his account, arrange a meeting, only to find he had no cash in his bank and I'd have to re-lend him the money he had just returned so as he could make good on the deal. For him it was a sure fire thing. He gets his gear. I get my cut, get high and am still owed the money. Sounds like a good deal. Only I've been around too long and know when that starts it never ends. By then I knew how Trey's student loan worked and how much he received each week and it was clear that he'd never have enough to repay me and still have money to score after. So each time he had to repay he'd be in the same predicament as now.

"Check your bank first and then I'll phone," I told him.

It was now raining. Trey knew he had no cash but he'd started off on this latest scheme and he could either flop down in the wet and admit it was all a ploy or he could walk us both to the ATM machine in the rain, knowing he hadn't a penny, get us soaking wet and then stare at me like a lost child pleading for me to help when it came to light he hadn't a dime. Junkies never flop down when there's a chance of getting a payout, and anyway, there was more than just one scheme going. Trey, knowing that I was an addict too, was wagering on watering my mouth with all this talk of heroin and scoring. His hope was that regardless of what happened at the ATM machine that I would then want heroin as much as him and out of pure selfishness and greed re-lend him the money regardless. Without umbrella, and Trey with a black hooded top, we braved the rain and headed of down the Rue Marseille.

We walk fast. Junkies always walk fast. I can tell two junkies on the score from the way they speed walk. Trey and I were junkie speed walking through the rain. I was watching this vile little fuck of a thing, could see him 15 years down the line all jaundiced and wasted, a HIV case for sure – the ghost of it was already in him. I didn't despise him at this point, but whenever I look at anyone like I looked at Trey on that walk it does not bode well for any friendship. At the cash point he withdrew his wallet and took a big gulp of air. The imbecile! He knew he was penniless and yet here he was hoping a miracle had occurred and money had miraculously fallen into his account.

He put his card in the ATM, dried his hands (sweat not rain) and punched in his pin code. He half closed his eyes, not wanting to see "INSUFFICIENT FUNDS" flash up on the screen. It didn't. To his shock he was asked how much cash he wanted to withdraw. He almost had a fit, lost between excitement and disbelief. Before drawing his cash he started screaming, “Yes! There's fucking bucks! How? Fuck, my mother must have put more through. YES!!!”Then he turned to me, shaking and confused with excitement. “How much should I draw man? How much?"

"Whatever you want cause it's not gonna pay out. It always makes a whirring noise when there's a possibility of a transaction. That won't pay.”

He wasn't listening. He was high out his mind on surprise.

“One hundred and fifty? You gonna go in with me? I'll take one fifty. Yes!!! Come on.. come on...Please...."

He pressed to withdraw 150 euros. I watched the machine. Trey got his hand ready to snatch the cash just in case the machine realised it had made a mistake and tried to swallow it back up before he got his greedy little hands on it. The machine made no sound. It wasn't gonna pay. Trey stood before it, kinda half stooped, his eyes glaring and his mouth hung open like it had some kind of a hypnotic hold over him. His hand was ready to pounce, and then the screen flicked to red:


Trey's legs almost gave out. He spun around in the street, jumped down hard in the rain through a release of pure adrenalin rage and screamed “FUUUUCK!!!!” Then he grabbed his card and stood there looking at me, lost, all hope gone. He looked as drained as the sky. Where for an instant he had convinced himself the machine would spit out money he didn't have, now he wasn't able to accept the reality of his pitiful condition. I'd seen this before. I'd done this before. Trey needed a slow ride back down to the reality of a drab dopeless day.

"Hang on, man,” he said, after a moment, “that thing was just about set to pay. Let's try one hundred. I'm sure there must be a hundred in there."

Each time Trey tried a smaller and smaller amount and each time it was refused ,but each time he became a little calmer. He needed to be disappointed in stages, gradually let down from his high of thinking a miracle had occurred. By the time he tapped in 10€ I stood staring at him in disgust. Even if it did pay out, what fucking good would ten euros be? He needed one hundred minimum, and even that would be my man doing me a small deal as a favour. When ten euros was refused Trey retrieved his card and calmly said “bummer!”
It was bad, but it wasn't over. In Trey, in the pouring rain, there was still a glimmer of hope: ME.I was standing next to him with my pocket full of the money he had repaid me. His hope now was that he had lured the smack monster out in me and desperate to get fixed up myself I'd start scheming,would lend him back the money so as I could get high. Together we walked back up towards the university. Trey was sullen, like a sulky child, wanting me too take pity on him. He purposely let the rain drench him so as he could sit in a wet heap looking awful.

We took shelter at a tram stop. To keep me there, to keep hope alive,Trey began talking about literature and writing and pretending he had a real interest in that. Whether he did or not wouldn't have mattered as the last thing I ever want to do is stand around in the wet discussing books. And so we waited under the tram stop, me standing and Trey crunched down into himself, hands in his pockets, his hood on, dripping wet and looking sadly out at the world. Surely on another day his ploy would have worked, but on that day I had writing to be done, had just a day left of a deadline and would not score for all the world. That it also meant this fucker would suffer just a little for his ways made it even easier. Trey made a concerted effort to keep me alongside him. I understood. Being his last hope he felt a little less down while I was there and there was still a possibility of junk. He talked continuously but it was obvious they were blank words and secretly he was just waiting for me to propose lending him the cash. Whenever I spoke he would come alive for seconds at a time only to be disappointed and mooch back down into a wet sulk. When I finally said I was going, Trey just nodded and looking sad and estranged from life, said, “Yeah, me too. Fuck university. I'm gonna go home and just go to bed.” It was a way of saying he didn't want to do anything without smack, that right now he didn't want to live and that somehow it was my fault and could I not do something to make him not want to curl up and cry and want to die. There was nothing I could do. I couldn't help him. I could only postpone the hours until he had to eventually spend some straight time alone, but I could not indefinitely put off tomorrow. Back in the rain we walked down towards the Metro. Our pace was slow. We had nowhere quick to go. A wet European city soaking through our lives.

Part 2 - The Bigger Half to follow soon.... X
- - -
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_Black_Acrylic said...

I enjoyed the hell of that, and I cannot wait for part 2! Hope you're good, Shane x

_Black_Acrylic said...

*the hell out of that, but you know what I mean, right?

Esmé said...

I am confused why you decided to meet up with this arse at all. I mean, what was ever in it for you? You could always score without him, but at first not vise versa, right? So what was your original draw to this loser? Confused,

Shane Levene said...

Hey Ya Ben... X

I'm not bad thanks... could be worse. Oh, I understood ya clearly first time. The book The Void Ratio should be back from the printers tomorrow... I think Karolina said the 16th for the official release date. I'll be all over FB so no doubt you'll catch it there. Speak soon My Friend... Shane. X

Shane Levene said...

Hey Esmé....

Well, I didn't know he was such a dishonest little creep at first, but more importantly he was buying the gear. So for the sake of an hour or so in his company each time I was getting free heroin. Also, I write and I never turn down any offer that will lead to mayhem or debauchery. That doesn't mean that I partake in it... not always... but I watch and observe. It's through such things as meeting up with strangers and hanging around such people that life blows in and suddenly things hors de norme are happening. I follow things... let life lead me to where I'd maybe not go myself. Also once I realized what Trey was then I was consciously studying him and so each meeting, no matter how annoying, was always worthwhile for that reason. X

Anonymous said...

I love character studies (Wow, I have hung around some really shady characters in the pursuit of smack & speed. Thanks for reminding me Haha) That was a great read - I enjoyed it thoroughly!

James A.

JoeM said...

Oh you left us on a cliff-hanger!

Hope part 2 is ready soon.Really interested to see how this turns out.

I presume he chose a college in Lyon because you were there. Maybe he really did have a fantasy idea of a junkie lifestyle with The Heroinhead. It would be like me going to New York in the 60s to hang out with Warhol. Maybe he'd burned all his bridges abroad and could fool his parents from Europe. Probably a bit of both (from what we know in Part 1).

I felt sorry for him at first. - for some reason I kept thinking of the young guy in Strangers on a Train who wanted to hire the older guy to murder for him. So needy.Clearly has psychological problems.

But sympathy vanished after the first lie. As soon as 'a few hours' changed to 'tomorrow' I knew what he was. God I hate liars. Especially those who choose to believe that everyone they blatantly lie to has alzheimer's and will forget everything they've promised – concrete details become a mushy story they can manipulate to suit themselves – to the point that they believe the lie themselves – as at the cash machine. Yes I've met that type!

If he was near a veterinary surgeon he'd no doubt talk of his love for animals and how he could only relate to beasts.


A little Zelig with Heroin (and ice) in his veins.

I presume he's still alive so wonder what he'll make of this when he reads it.

Great to have you back on blog again – it seems like ages. (I've had to remind myself how to italicise on blogger!)

Shane Levene said...

Hey Joe... Yeah, that he chose Lyon as his place of study was surely because I was here and he knew he could score. But make no mistake about it, if I was here and couldn't score, he wouldn't have come. It was the heroin. As soon as he had it he disappeared alone and you was as good as dead to him. But that's his business... that doesn't bother me. It was all the lies and tricks. He never stole, not of me... but only because he never had the chance. He would have and back home he had done all sorts to get his drugs. He had a boyfriend back there... I think he had almost ruined that with his drug taking and lies and thieving. I know they weren't getting along and weren't having sex anymore... which is serious at that young age.

That you felt sorry for him at first... that's exactly how you feel towards people like him in life. That's what his whole personality is geared to make you feel because sympathy can so easily turn to the odd ten or twenty or fifty dollars for drugs... and that's exactly what they play on. I'm not against that... I understand it. The theft and lies as well. What annoyed me was that there was no need for it. Not with me. So every lie he told i kinda punished him for it, wanting to teach him it's best just to be truthful around me. But he would never learn. You'll see some real message exchanges in the later posts where i make him deconstruct his behaviour and explain it before i will score for him. He admits to everything... it cost him 2 days with no gear, where i wouldn't reply to him. And then almost straight away after he went straight back and did it again. It's a habit he's gotten into, which normally works well around family and friends (people not on heroin), and it just seemed it had become so second nature to him that he had stopped relating to each person on an individual basis and no matter what the consequences just couldn't help being deceitful. Even after he saw I could see through every trick... he jusy couldn't stop.These transparent tricks i've seen all my life and can predict from the smallest of things and it comes as a real insult someone bumming you off with such bullshit... especially when they know you know the truth. There were so many really selfish things he did... I didn't despise him in the end, but I was glad he left. Probably he was too as scoring became so frustrating for him and must have felt like a nightmare. He was reliant upon me and so that's always a frustrating position to be in. And of course, when he began all his nonsense I used the power i had over him and wouldn't answer his calls or left him for hours or days before scoring. He must have wanted to murder me for that. But it was his fault. Because of his lies (you'll see later turning up without enough money (meaning I had to pay the rest)) finally to score he had to go through all these checks and in the end he even had to photograph his money so as i could see he wasn't light before i met him.

Shane Levene said...

And he had read a few very blatant junk posts of mine, but he was not this HUGE admirer which he made out. I even caught him out in that lie. One day he seemed surprised I painted and made music. But I knew if he'd been around my site like he made out he couldn't have missed that. On my site I can see who visits. I don't usually use it, but for him i did. Because he knew it had come out that I doubted just how much he really even knew my work, each time before scoring I'd see him visit my site and skim read a different text. Of course, during our meeting he'd drop in reference about the text i had seen him visit earlier but making out he knew all my stuff off by heart. Then the truth came out. Two years ago in Barcelona (when he first friended me on facebook) he was there with no heroin and so began living vicariously through writing, films etc. It was then he found my site and literally only read the very blatant heroin posts (and you know how i feel towards people who are only interested in that). After Barcelona I'm sure he never visited nor read a word of anything I had written... so that really was all bollocks. If you'd have heard how fake his admiration was you'd have known instantly. He was just dishonest in every way. He had so many horrible little habits as well. One, that I despised the most, was that every time he took a shot, he would have to have his phone out and on the side playing these depressing grungy heroinesque songs. To the music he would shoot up and then stand swaying as this druggy, melancholic music played. It seems a little thing but it was a great insight into him, into his selfishness and how once he had his heroin he then only cared about himself and would slink off back to his own company, everyone else relegated to that of the very least importance possible.

I think in a way I wrote this hoping he'll see it. There's nothing in there which I didn't say to his face. I doubt he'll be pissed off. If anything he'll probably get off on being in one of the posts. Still, he'll no doubt still be adamant that he really lost his phone, really lost his money that day... really was a huge fan... really didn't try not paying me back... really did think there was cash in his bank account... That's what junkies like him do. They will go to their graves denying everything, going on the fact that there is never absolute proof and if he denies it long enough he'll end up being believed, or at least make the other person doubt the accusation. He's supposed to return soon for the second part of his course, but I'm absolutely sure I'll not see him again.


JoeM said...

He's American, right? I bet he'll get off junk when his parents stop funding him - and then become a cop! Or a lawyer - both of whom specialise in barefaced lies and a juvenile sense of entitlement.

Unknown said...

Hey Shane, Alex/Seneca here; I emailed about your book.

A couple things strike me about this excellent post (insightful narratives about the day-to-days of gear and the characters it attracts are my favourite): 50 euros a gram isn't that expensive. Over here in London that's 10 bags. For ten bags I'd pay £60-70. Admittedly having to buy 3 is a lot, but I wonder what he was expecting!

Also, your tolerance must be crazy! It wouldn't be massively generous, but splitting one gram with someone, the equivalent of me buying 5 bags myself: it'd certainly get me high! (You comment sarcastically on his intent to cut you in to one gram only). 5 bags would last me the best part of the daylight hours. You are a beast!

Anyways keep it up :)

Unknown said...

Oh and also, it's interesting you mention his use of the pronoun 'us'. I remember reading Gavin de Becker's book The Gift Of Fear about his experiences as a security expert.

In a chapter advising women on how to notice/handle stalkers, he points out that they'll do a similar thing - like if a guy is helping a woman with her groceries, he'll say, 'Boy, these sure are heavy. But we'll make it, won't we?'

De Becker calls this 'forced teaming'.

Unknown said...

Sorry to ramble, but in fact a lot of the stuff de Becker writes about as a precursor to a guy trying to basically stalk/attack a women is a mirror image of techniques wheedling Trey uses!

Wikipedia list here:


(take a look at Pre-Incident Indicators)

Shane Levene said...

Thank You James.... Then you should enjoy the following parts as Trey gets completely taken to pieces (and not put back together!) X

Shane Levene said...

Hey Alex... the price thing is a little misleading. If it were a gram of UK stuff that'd be not so expensive, but the stuff here is five times weaker than our gear and usually you must buy in 'balls' of 5 grams. So where we can score two ten pound bags to get for a little run out back home, to get a taste here is 250€... my man will do me 3 but no less (unless a real emergency). There's a reason why the market has evolved to that over here. Supply is not daily. If you were an addict relying on scoring daily here you'd be sick every other day adn often for three or four days at a time. Dealers come on here, you buy a few days or a weeks worth at a time, and then when you're a few days from running out you start calling again to catch him when he next picks up and comes on. How weak the gear is here: average quantity of heroin in grams for a junkie is 7 grams a day!!! I remember years ago arguing with a french addict who told me that his habit was once so high he was taking 5 grams a day. I told him it was impossible but he was adamant. Now I know he was telling the truth, but what he didn't say was that the heroin herte was 5 - 10 times weaker. You can get this other stuff here (which for years i was forced to buy) which is 10€ a gram and you buy 5 grams in a 'ball' for 50€. But it is something like 3-5% heroin... god knows what damage shooting that shit has done to me (all of us here). But teh stuff i was scoring for trey wasn't too bad but was 50 - 80€ a gram (you had a choice if you wanted to buy it cut once or twice! (and that's not a joke)). So again, my habit isn't high, but i wouldn't score for a stranger for less than a gram as i'd rather not use than have a small taste that winds you up more than anything else. Heroin gets very expensive out here... the quality rather than the price of the weights.

I've never read nor heard of De Becker's book, but you're right we seem to have both remarked very similar things and as you'll see in the next posts there's even more similarities. I googled the book a little earlier and will try to pick a copy up as it sounds a nice read. I found the opening chapter free online which I enjoyed. X

jutt said...

hello shane. i cant wait until part 2. he reminds me of some of the horrible sad excuses for humans i have met over the years.....is'nt it strange how the stuff is so weak in france. in spain it is blinding(moving to my finca there in next few months), tip top in holland and germany and 20 euros per gram in serbia for proper good stuff. in the uk i get 3.5g in london for £90, it is nice to smoke but not the strongest. i prefer the stuff from luton off the asians, its £70 for 1.5/1.7g but it makes you nod!

jutt said...

sorry for posting again shane. you do know you can get 4grams sent from italy on the dark web for £80 including shipping. you have to pay in bit coins, but it is tip top and takes about 4 days to arrive. there are also vendors from france and their stuff must compare to sellers from other eu countries as they would sell nothing if its weak. they have feedback ratings like on ebay..

Anonymous said...

Come to the usa man where the gear black tar is about 70 prevent pure. You will save lots of money. I can't imagine spending 5 or 10 x as much money.

Unknown said...

Hey Shane - thanks for the replies; interesting as ever.

I remember reading in some of your other posts/comments that French gear was a bit crap, but *wow* that sounds awful! I guess the whole rhythm of doing gear is different then, as you can't score daily - the 24-hour London cycle of graft/steal/beg to get the funds you need, use more than you intended to, score more with not quite enough money, do your utmost to save a hit for the morning, wake up, repeat...phewph, it's exhausting just writing it! But that whole rhythm must be different.

I also remember you writing that crack is unheard of in France...what's Trey putting in his speedballs ans is he picking it up through your man too? Powder coke I assume? I've often wondered about the lack of speedballing on your part. I have a friend who likes smoking the odd bit of white, and does plenty of powder, yet never shoots up the rock, and will actively turn down a pin unless it's just H. What are your thoughts on this? I'm intrigued as I never get the high I want unless it's both in the pin...

All the best to you man!

Unknown said...

Wow! a very fascinating/fun character study. What pissed me off the most about him, while I was reading, was how he seemed to take you for an absolute idiot.

But then, I thought maybe he just didn't have the intelligence to realize that some people are smarter that he is, therefore can easily see through his bullshit and petty tricks.

But THEN, I saw your comment to JoeM about how it's just a habit he's gotten himself into, and I think you might be just right!

However, it was beautifully written, as always (it's my first comment here but I've been lurking for a little while)!

Hope all is well,
Pat B. xx

P.S.: I'm not the kind of person that gets into stereotypes but the fact that he's American makes it that much funnier ... (;

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Patrick and welcome to the comment section... this is where you meet me as a person and not a writer and get to see just how immoral i really am!

This saga isn't finished. There's so much more to write but even writing about that little shit disgusted me so much that I needed a long break and multiple showers to get rid of him.

I think there are two things which are important:

1) Junkies who need cash don't really care if they're story is credible, nor how you think of them. Their only concern is that on the night they need cash, or the moment they are 5 dollars short, that their bullshit works in that moment. If you turn up at theirs half an hour later, threatening to kill them and telling them move for move what trickery they just pulled, they'll just deny it and say "beat me up if it'll make you feel better but you got it all wrong!" So their only concern is that they get away with whatever scam it is they are pulling at the moment they are pulling it. It's like a junkie won't steal your jewellery and try and cover his tracks because covering tracks takes time and the junkie needs the cash and his fix then. So, even if he's the only person in your house, he'll take the jewellery and he knows when he's doing it that in an hour when you notice it'll come down on him, but he also knows he'll have pawned it by then and have his gear and that no matter what hell you create you can't undo his actions. And no matter how obvious it is that it could only have been him, he will deny it until he has no words left in his head. He will go to his death bed denying it. The junkie always goes on the fact that you never actually saw him do it, and so while you never saw the crime then you can never be a thousand percent sure... even if it couldn't have been anyone else. Then, to almost justify his theft, as if he had a right to do it, he will turn your rightful accusation into an issue of mistrust, telling himself: even though i did it, he doesn't know that for sure and yet he distrusts me so much that he reaklly is so sure it was me! Fuck him! Anyone who distrusts a friend like that deserves to have his shit stolen... and he shouldn't have fucking left it laying around anyway!

2) The junkie often commits such petty thefts and hustles that most people, even if they know what he has done, just don't say anything. Because of this the junkie doesn't even consider that you know his every move and just let it go, but that he's actually fooling everyone. And even if you hint that you know what he is up to, he won't care as long as you only hint and he can still do it next time. I think that in a way, the way you must live as a junkie when your habit is out of control, that you lose so much pride that you don't even feel ashamed when you're caught out in the most blatant of lies. And because they have so little pride they don't really care if they are caught out or not or how unbelievable their stories are.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...


Going back to the first point (and this is equally true of what happened with Trey) I once had a contact called sonia. She wasn't a dealer but was the only person who knew the main guy and so we all had to give her our cash and she would buy the bulk deal and then divide it up. Each time she did this something happened. Each time I would go through with her what trick she has played, why she said such and such a thing and what purpose it served, explain to her why that day she chared me 5 euros extra gram... or why she suddenly didn't want me going with her to score, etc. Each time I was absolutely spot on and she knew it... I was deconstructing her behaviour and telling it back to her and detailing why she said what, what purpose it served and how she gained from it. Any sober person, if you could analyse someones behaviour that accurately, would say: "Fuck me... how the fuck does he know all that from so little? I better just stop and be straight with him as he knows what i'm doing before i do!
But a junkie would never think like that. You could predict to a smile every behaviour they made and explain it back to them and still next time they will turn up and do the same thing. The only time they will stop and change the scam is when it doesn't work and they didn't even get away with it for the five minutes needed to score and make their gain. The notion of "losing face" just doesn't exist to the majority of junkies. And i'm no exception. I only know a lot of this stuff and can predict it because i've either done or at least thought of similar things. When you're in a hole and you need twenty quid within the next half an hour the last thing you care about is if your story is credible... all that you care about is if it will work.

Back to Trey: the little fuck knocked around here out the blue a few months back. Just that was funny in itself for the first thing which happened (I may say in a further comment tomorrow). That same week he reappeared he pulled the dirtiest trick of all and not only ensured that he could never contact me again but also ensured that the only dealer he knew in Lyon (my dealer) would never serve him again. He actually fled town and back home because of what happened. Not so much in fear of his life but in fear of his drug habit as he knew he could no longer score here (no matter how much he paid). And that really was the last time i saw him.. though i've no doubt the little shit will show up on this site at some time or another, apologizing and saying, "Man, I just NEED your book... Bro, I gotta have your BOOK!" X

Unknown said...

Ha! thank you so much for giving me a complete reply!

It really is a talent you have. I too always analyze people, but I can't exactly grasp my ideas and put it in words, as you do so accurately. It is essential in order to be a writer, a spoken word artist (think Henry Rollins) or even a good stand-up comedian (think George Carlin). You are one incredibly skilled writer/poet/storyteller, and I respect you for it.

It's really interesting how the dynamics of the junk scene are so different in Europe from here (I live in Montreal). Put aside some things that will never change, There is a lot of things that work differently and I'm always amused to notice the differences when I'm reading your stories relating to heroin!

Keep on doing what you love, and I wish you all the best in the world.

Love, Respect, Pat B ... xx, bro dude man no homo G slice ... (;

Kate from Sunny Swansea said...

Well. That Trey is a tit.

Unknown said...

Really peculiar how the sale of gear works in France. Minimum 3 pieces or a 5 ball, I mean what??? We tend to forget how spoilt we are in London, even with all its faults and even with the impossibility of finding no longer proper good stuff. I can easily believe that the quality in France is dreadful. In Italy is exactjy the same. For a start you cannot find any brown, only white, which tends to come from Thailand/Laos/Cambodia. The deals are reasonable, you can buy single bags, either 30 or 50 Euros (depends from the dealer), but no discount at all, not even for the habituee, and the smack is so obscenely weak that you must get at least 4 bags to get a proper nod. And then it gets expensive. When I was in Italy for a while, I did something unthinkable: I cleaned up, for a simple reason: I was fed up to throw good money after bad, enriching those scumbags in order to buy stuff that in London would get you killed, had you the temerity to try to sell it. I just thought "no more". Of course, back in London, with all the Afghan brown, it was business as usual. So the moral of the story is: if you are in Italy, don't fucking bother. There are better ways to chuck your money down the pisser than giving it to those cunts who sell you basically bags of mannitol with the slightest trace of heroin in it. In the three years I was there, only once I stumbled into some brown (they call it "Syrian" over there). And fuck me insensible, it wasn't bad either!!! What a freak occurrence!!! This post, and the sequel, are amongst my favourites of all your writings, Shane. The portrayal of this Trey geezer is so masterful, the spite dripping from every sentence like the most corrosive diarrhea. I crack up every time I read it. And I read it slowly as though I was breakfasting on cappuccino and croissants, savouring every word. There is something I didn't quite get: "he was too small and too broad to be any friend of mine". Have you got a bit of an antypathy towards small people? I am asking because I am 5' 6", haha!

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey Giorgio and thanks for your words and all you've said in previous comments which I caught but either was too flattered to reply to or didn't find the time. I'm a junkie so it's probably more of the latter!

Yeah, the heroin market is weird over here and an absolute fucking nightmare. Everything in France is a nightmare and illegal drugs just reflect that. From published heroin seizures around the country (regardless of city) heroin purity here is between 2 and 10% (which is fucking dire). Fortunately my man at the moment, for the last few years, sells uncut stuff which matches any stuff I've ever had in the UK. But he's not always on, is over an hour away and the price is 80 - 90 euros a gram (which is fucking expensive).

Yeah, Trey was a conniving little fuck but probably not quite as bad as I portrayed him. He turned up at a bad time and seemed to make everything worse. All I saw in him was an utter selfishness and a stupidity which I've seen in so many others over the years. There' are at least two more posts I must write to conclude his time over here, but just these two posts, remembering him and who he was left such a vile taste in my mouth that I abandoned the other texts.

No, I've nothing against small people. I know you was only pulling me leg, but that line was written with quite a bit of humour and vanity. It was referring to my build against Trey's. I'm tallish and thin, not well built or with any muscles at all and he was a short, squat thing with biceps bursting out his t-shirt and terribly rounded shoulders (looked kinda like a small weightlifter). So I used a physical description as a way to show just how different we were and that there wasn't even a natural kinda physical rapport which helped me feel not too bad with him alongsides me. It's quite similar to another line I wrote, about my teenage best friend called Alan and wrote that he was "the wrong shape for glam rock". Just a bit of fun. Though having said that, of all I wrote about Trey, it were my physical descriptions of him which hit him the hardest and upset him. I know because he turned u one day after the texts and with his miserable bottom lip tturned over like a sea-shell he said "nor very flattering, bro."
"The truthe never is," I replied. And then I watched him leave for the penultimate time and a month later would never see him again. X

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