Published On: Tue, Oct 9th, 2012

The Hard-Copy Guide to Heroin – What Happened When We Tried To Buy It.

We’ve called a meet to plan out an article on heroin. Small problem; most of our ‘meets’ normally take place at Brewdog and “planning” has become synonymous with getting hammered.

The situation quickly develops into an ego race – “I’m pretty sure I could pick some up within the hour’, ‘I bet I could buy some in the Library’. Our attempt at some hard-hitting journalism has quickly turned into a pissing contest, first one to buy some smack wins. I’m starting to wish I’d applied for a safer job, at The Skinny perhaps.

It’s go time, the stopwatch is lit. And they’re off, my editor is actually heading to the Mitchell Library, I’d be happy to forfeit this, just to watch him being arrested in the cookery section but I’ve got an ace up my sleeve. You see, I doubt very much that dealers sell on the street to people who are dressed in the style of somebody who is pretending to be a journalist, so in my opinion, it’s all about how we frame this to the dealers. I used to know a Big Issue seller who told me that when <insert>smack head indie bands<insert> were in town they’d send out runners to bag some ‘ingredients’, the runners would find fixers. The fixers would be left a wad of cash and instructions to get the ‘ingredients’, if they did then they’d get a cut but also another wad of cash.

My plan is simple – crash the canopy circus at Central Station and do my best Pete Doherty. I’m off the subway and about 5 minutes walk from the needle, I get my phone out, put it to my ear and have a fake conversation with my brains imaginary drug dealer, he’s essentially Fagan but with the mannerisms and the vocabulary of Jesse Pinkman – this guy is going to give me some mad nightmares, yo. After my conversation with Jesse I’ve realised that I need a cover. I now work for a band called ‘Razorblades’. I don’t know what the weegie for heroin is so I’m just going to ask ‘have you got any black?’.

Normally, when I realise I’m about to be asked for change or to give to charity I think about Durex’s JLS condom range and wonder what sort of person would buy that.  The look that comes over my face is enough to put the chugger off. On approach I end up pulling the JLS face and I do a fly past, I circle back, straighten up and pull up close to my intended target. I turn the JLS face off and, as if by magic, I’m being asked for some change. The Razorblades story automatically prolapses.

Hard-Copy: Can I have a chat mate?

Stevie: Whit?

Hard-Copy: Can I have a chat?

Stevie: Whit?

Hard-Copy: I’m a journalist, pint?

Stevie: Whit fir?

Hard-Copy: Just a chat, 10 minutes pal?

We head to the crystal palace and I now begin, what is possibly the worst date in history and most definitely the worst day of my life. I tell Stevie the truth, I’m doing a piece on heroin and would appreciate some insights.

Stevie is a N.E.D. from the old school, he’s wearing the classic Ayr Crew Kappa cap, Diadora jacket and a pretty dicty pair of pearly-white Reeboks. The left side of his face has a disgusting scar running from ear to jaw, he talks at a slant to keep it hidden. He keeps his teeth clenched together but his lips hang off the gums like bits of bacon from a Scooby snack.

We get a table and before I ask what he’s having he’s said ‘Tennent’s aye?’ and has made for the bar. Win win, I get some smack, bragging rights in the office and a free pint. I message the others to let them know I’ve won and that they should join us.

Stevie, it transpires, has just inherited a huge sum of money from his recently deceased mother and is really trying to get himself sorted out. 30 minutes fly by and I’m joined by Chris a fellow Hard-Copier. For the next hour and a half, we are treated to some 9 pints by our generous host and without a doubt the most horrendous stories I have ever heard.

Stevie’s 3 worst stories:

1) The day Stevie got oot of the jail he bought some celebratory smack.  Unfortunately, Stevie ploughed through the same volume as he was used to before incarceration and his tolerance levels had altered dramatically.  Respiratory arrest followed, cardiac arrest followed that and, after a successful resuscitation, he’s suffered a smidgen of hypoxic brain damage.

2) One of Stevies cousins died, a drug related incident.  He had to wait around the hospital for a day because he was too smashed and unable to identify the body

3) The constipation story - Apparently constipation is a major problem for addicts, if it gets really bad you have to manually evacuate your own bowels with your hands.

I’m now drunk and I want to escape this horrible situation, it’s time to leave.

Hard-Copy: We need to make tracks pal.

Stevie looks at us straight on, bringing the scar into show.

Stevie: Where the fuck are you going, you owe me 9 pints!

Hard-Copy: …#Shitsthemselves

We buy him a pint.

Chris gives me that look, you know the one, the Christ-we’ve-entered-a-drinking-competition-with-a-recovering-heroin-addict-look. We could probably just leg it, but Stevie is right, we owe him drinks, I’m also too intimidated to attempt a walkout.

Four pints down.

Stevie: Do you guys wantae meet the Duchess? Its not a question.

No not K-Midy, he’s talking about Diane, his ‘girlfriend’. Chris and I are now taken on a tour of city centre pubs from which he is barred (he puts this down to his fondness of ‘boxing’ with fellow drinkers) and we’re aiming for O’Neills on Sauchiehall, where ‘the Duchess’ will meet us.

Hard-Copy: so how, how, how’d you meet her?

By this point Stevie is becoming a bit difficult to understand, he’s getting a bit emotional and I’m under the impression by his word choice that Diane is actually paid to be his girlfriend, he keeps insisting that they are in love and that she’ll prove it by meeting tonight.

At this point I start to feel like a passenger on a doomed roller-coaster, strapped in as we rocket straight into a wall of alcohol. We arrive, no sign of the girl, oh and yes, Stevie is barred from this pub. Being barred doesn’t stop him from trying to confirm his sobriety by demonstrating his prowess at hand-stands though. The bouncers look at Chris and I, possibly trying to figure out why we are on a pub crawl with this guy. I’m trying my hardest to convey with my eyes that I’m a hostage but I think this is mistaken for drug use, we move on.

Stevie recommends that we head to the Griffin. Once there, he proceeds to have a breakdown, Chris gets up and just walks out the door. I stay stuck to my chair, I should do the same thing but I’m paralysed by politeness, I still owe him a pint.

Hard-Copy: I have to head off mate.

Stevie: No you don’t.

The crying begins again.

Hard-Copy: Tennents aye?

And I’m out the front door, running. I run all the way home, with tears streaming down my face, I’m not really sure why.

The next day I wake to a text from Chris. ‘Mate! What a night!’. Yeah, unforgettable.

 

Image by Steve Bowbrick


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