Cocaine has a different affect on everyone who uses it. Since its birth of popularity in the early 1980’s, cocaine is responsible for the complete destruction of entire neighborhoods scattered across the country. Both the obsessive chase for its affects and the certain financial promise of its sale devour the lives of most who enter its realm. Its luring deception has filled American penitentiaries with people seeking its benefits without prejudice. I was fully aware of its power, in theory, since I was a teenager. However, my twenty two year old ego, fueled by Military machismo, erroneously convinced my conscious that I was stronger than the drug.
Just like novacaine had numbed my teeth and gums during the dental procedures of my youth, cocaine had numbed my painful thoughts and slowed my rapid fire thinking to the pace of a snails crawl. Plain and simple: cocaine worked for me. Red, my beautiful yet severely flawed guide into the world of numbness, was a patient teacher of street rules and expectations. As I withdrew into my newfound numbness that first night, she spoke of a potential partnership she now wished to include me in. Her proposal seemed both enticing and adventurous in my narcotic fueled state. Whenever I was off duty and not in the field training, she wanted my physical presence with her serving as her security. She offered a steady supply of cocaine as my compensation. Without hesitation I accepted her offer.
That first night we spent together ended without any negative consequences. I made it back to my barracks with enough time to shower before morning P.T. formation. Over time, I continued traveling to VD Drive in search of Red so i could report to my “second job”. Our relationship was nothing more than a business deal. I assured her safety while she fed me enough cocaine to keep my demons locked in a cage.
She would dance naked for drunk soldiers in the the strip clubs on the Drive, enticing them for their dollars, while I sat stage side. I understood their reactions to her. I watched men fall in love immediately once they laid their eyes on her. After club hours, she invited particular club patrons back to her hotel room while I stood in the parking lot and timed them. Aware of my presence, none of her customers ever presented a problem. In the beginning, as our nights or weekends came to its conclusion, she made sure I caught a cab back to Ft. Benning and paid the fare.
As time went on, she became more and more hesitant of letting me leave. Offering me full time employment became a daily occurrence. I began to keep my own cab money for the ride home, in my sock, to insure being able to do so. She didn’t care about the consequences of my desertion from military service. Cocaine had her in its clutches like the bite of a shark tearing into the flesh of its prey. She believed my companionship guaranteed smooth transactions and dissolved any potential drama. I believed the cocaine and pills she abused was beginning to deteriorate her thought process.
After a few months, she began to test my loyalty by sabotaging her “dates” in the hotels. Swooping in to stop potential disasters became a frequent job hazard for me. Ignited by a physical altercation with an old black man claiming to have received no service for his money, we were beginning to get banned from hotels for the volume of our drama.
In spite of her obvious deterioration and my better judgement to stop looking for her on my days off, I continued to follow the obsession for cocaine.
What I failed to see was my own mental deterioration.