So this is the start of Chapter 4 – the part I found out that all of them – the two vampires, the goat faced boy prostitute and big girl keeper were all junkies. I guess I should have called it chapter 4, part 1, but I’m going to get into the habit of putting labels on these things. It was just after the big feast that they told me about it. Back then, I had never dealt with heroin in a real way, so I didn’t know what it meant. My friends did some hard stuff and I smoked bunch of herb, so in my head I don’t think I judged them. I tossed it all in the same pile.
“See, he was cool about it,” Florence said, putting her arm around Carolina (I hate that name – I must think of new ones for them – for all of them really. If anyone out there has names that they think should be used, please feel free to get at me and let me know). “I’m glad we told you. Roommates shouldn’t hide anything from each other.”
They cleaned up the dishes. What can you say after you’ve told your roommates that you’re a junkie? There’s really no follow up to that.
The next few weeks were strange. I was working at night for the Chimney sweeper and stacking my cash. All of my clothes were vanishing. It became clear to me that they were either stealing them or selling them. I wanted to run away, but without enough money there was nowhere to go. This has been a theme ever since – wanting to stack up enough cash to go somewhere perfect. Is there such a place? I kept dreaming of living in upstate New York with a pick up truck and a wife and a kid and driving that kid to Little league games. Those visions would get me through the mornings.
One morning I woke up and walked into the ballroom and saw this naked stripped passed out on the futon frame in the corner. That sounds pretty great, but if you’re living it, that stripper is going to be skinny, have shaved head with a giant tattoo on her hear and those earrings that widen the lobes. Her legs were spread pretty wide open, revealing the piercings on her vagina lips. Good morning to me.
She noticed me and rolled over, rubbing her eyes awake like a John Hughes movie.
“Hey,” she said. “Guess I passed out. Florence said it was cool to crash here. That okay?”
“You want a T-shirt,” I asked, but didn’t wait for an answer. I went back into my room and got the closest thing I had to a bed wearing shirt and tossed it to her. I don’t like looking at pierced nipples.
“My name is Star,” she said after putting on the shirt. “Thanks!”
Her eyes were the only part of her that didn’t look like life had turned her into a demented cartoon. She couldn’t have been much older than I was, not in years anyway. I made some coffee and brought it up to her. Figured the morning spent with someone new is going to be interesting no matter who it is. We started talking about random things for a minute, but pretty soon she started spilling her story about where she was from and how she ended up from there to the floor of our house.
Everyone you meet has a timeline that connects them to you – you are intersecting with their life – how long you stay and how much of it you get to experience is unfolded right there in that meeting. For her, I’m sure my floor was just one of many that she ended up on. I’m sure that at some point, she was laying in front of a tv on a saturday morning watching the very same cartoons as me at some random place in America when something went wrong for her.
“Have you read any of Florence’s writing?” she asked. “You totally should. She’s kind of amazing.”
When Star lifted the coffee cup to her face the mug nearly covered her, but the tattoo on her head kept reveling her past.
These moments were becoming a little to much of the norm for me. I really needed to get out of that place.