After my morning shot that Saturday, I walked around the Treme. The sun was bright, but the clouds hustled in. The air felt ominous and eerie, while the brightness contrasted with the grayness in a way that made my heart feel a little excited, or maybe nervous. My friends would still be asleep for another hour before they woke up full of need and nausea. I always enjoyed a small amount of time to myself, which was a rare thing when sharing a tiny apartment with other often-desperate junkies. The streets were clamoring with activity, and it seemed everyone was bustling around headed somewhere.
I wandered through the Treme, talking to people that I knew. People were boarding up windows. People were packing their cars. Some people were shopping, carrying their groceries home from the corner store or the A&P in plastic bags. Some people were just drinking, as usual. A lot of people were not planning on leaving the Treme, and instead they just stocked up on supplies. I thought I had just stocked up on most of the supplies I would need. After all, I thought I only needed a pocket full of dope to survive.
When I got back to the apartment, I woke the boys up. A junky never minds being stirred awake if you have a bag of dope in your hand. I waited patiently while Liam and Jim took their morning shot, but I didn’t dare wake Jim’s mother because we all knew she was meaner than a mountain lion if you did. The boys would not hear a word I said if their heads were still full of grogginess and their bodies straining from lack of dope.
“Did you guys know there is a storm coming? A lot of people are evacuating,” I told them. We did not have control of the television, and I cannot remember the last time Jim’s mother watched the news anyway. I was met with two blank faces just looking at me because they had no idea what I was talking about.
Between Liam and me, there was no discussion about evacuating. We did discuss how much dope we had and that it was barely enough to hold us off until the following morning. Liam, fresh out of rehab, had already succumbed to the heroin beast, and his need was slightly more than recreational. My need, on the other hand, was monumental, moving mountains and making the world go wrought with madness as the Sickness set in.
The mission for the rest of the day was to make money and procure as much dope as possible before this hurricane struck. Previous storms, we faced withdrawal for a day or two because most of the dealers had left town. The junkies all stayed put because we had no where to go that we could cop dope, and most of us did not have enough money to get very far from the city. We knew we could not evacuate to some strange place where we had no chance of copping any dope, so leaving the city was never even discussed. We never left before.