Judge Santiago Burdon

Don’t Call Me Thunder Slut

After three hours of shaking every proverbial tree, checking bars, searching alleys and breezeways for my dealer I had to settle on scoring my wake-up hit from the Chinos. I am not comfortable in their barrio especially when I’m jonesing. I’m not familiar with the territory and I risk getting ripped off. Their “heir-on” is always top shelf but they charge more and their papers are small. You gotta do what you gotta do to feed the monkey. My man is M.I.A. and I owe him twelve dollars from the shit he gave me on the arm last night. Saves me from the humiliation of having to beg. As if I had any pride left in my pathetic character. Scraped away like the  charred part on a piece of burnt  toast.

I head back toward my digs at a quick pace so I won’t be sidetracked by anyone. The strategy proves ineffective and I’m confronted by every Junkie in the  neighborhood. It’s as though every dope fiend I’ve ever been associated with is on the look, all asking me the same questions. “Where’s the Dope Man? Can ya spare a bump, I’m Jonesin’ bad. Getting sick, man help me out.”

I answer in a desperate an apologetic voice.  “I couldn’t find the man. No hay, got nothing, I’m looking. I don’t have any cash, trying to get a front.”

They know I’m lieing but don’t challenge my integrity.  Integrity, what a laugh, another moral standard of ethical behavior I seem to have pissed away. Did I choose this addiction or did the addiction choose me? I planned on just experimenting with Heroin but somewhere the

procedure went horribly wrong. It’s the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. High syndrome. Intended to only pawn my soul but the pawn ticket was lost and my time ran out. I don’t give a shit about these addicts . These are the streets, the rule here is to cover your own ass. It’s not my job to coddle these junkies. I’m not responsible for their habit.

I’m holding and still have seven dollars left to buy a tall boy and some “loosies.”

The entrance to my pad is littered with crackheads pushing their pipes made from stolen aluminum car antennas. Their tecolote (owl) eyes stare at images only visible to them, sweating profusely in the morning chill. They move aside letting me pass, trying to speak but the words come out garbled.

I start the frantic search for my key to unlock the door. In desperation I  turn the door knob and the door opens.

Son of a bitch I didn’t lock the door? I mentally interrogate myself  only mouthing the words.

Surely I ‘ve been robbed and in this neighborhood they steal everything. Forks, spoons, soap, toothbrushes down to the light bulbs.

Inside I investigate and I’m relieved to discover that nothing has gone missing.

Jessica who calls herself my girlfriend is sleeping on the mattress on the living room floor. She slowly rolls over, stretches , smiles  and then farts.

“Morning baby did you score?” She asks

Now I can’t lie to her not

about that, other subjects sure, not this she’ll know if I get high.

“Yes Thunder Slut I certainly did just that. Jenk was a ghost I had to score from the Chinos. So I want you to know there’s not much because their papers are smaller”

“Why didn’t you get two? I want to get high shithead.

It’s always about you. You don’t give a shit about me. I’m selling my ass around town to drunks and perverted sons of bitches for twenty here thirty there all night long. And what do I do? Come home to you and give you my money while you sit around on your lazy ass the whole night getting high or drunk or something. I don’t know?

And don’t call me Thunder Slut! You know I don’t like it!”

She delivers a poignant  soliloquy with a Marisa Tomei sexiness. I don’t need to hear this bullshit first thing in the morning.

Then sometimes I think maybe I do. Jessica may be a prostitute and I know there’s some of you that have a derogatory view of her and others working in the world’s oldest profession. Let me take a moment to comment on the subject.

Jessica as well as those now and in the past provide a fundamental service in every society. They are what most men secretly desire and almost everyman wishes his wife was in the bedroom.

They have performed more charitable acts than Mother Teresa. They don’t ask for your respect or understanding, only that you shove your snide comments and puritan opinions up your ass. And speaking for all the Angels of the Night, “Go Fuck Yourself.”

Now Jessica is a prostitute but she is defined by so much more.  She’s not comfortable with her beauty which makes her all the more beautiful. She’s the most compassionate, sincere, emotional amazing, evil, vengeful,  psychotic creature you could ever love. So yes she’s a prostitute but she is my prostitute! Now back to damage control for a situation that I have no responsibility for causing.

“All I said was it’s small. I’m gonna share. It’ll be enough to numb the withdrawals and subdue the Jones. Also where am I going to get the coin to buy two? We can figure out how to score more this afternoon. How come the door was unlocked?”

“I must of forgot to lock it after I let the cat out. She was driving me crazy, meowing.”

“What fucking cat? We don’t have a damn cat!” Are you high?”

“See that’s what I mean. You don’t pay any attention to me or this relationship. You gave me a cat two weeks ago for my birthday you shithead. Thank you for remembering and my birthday isn’t for another month. Must have me mixed up with one of your other girlfriends, Santihole.”

What the hell has happened here. I risk my life in the dangerous jungle of the city “dragging myself through the negro streets a dawn looking for an angry fix.”

I know that’s Ginsberg the master of bohemian genius. Just seemed so fitting. Ok back to the story…

There I am foraging through the neighborhood for dope to get me feeling almost normal. The sickness waits in hiding ready to bushwhack me at any moment and she is giving be misery for something I haven’t done. Of course I was going to do the whole paper myself but now I had to share. God Damn it!!

There’s something amiss with me today. I’m unable to focus on any particular issue and my mind wanders finding cognizant thoughts to ponder. Could it be possible that I’m sober. Is this what it’s like?

“Danger Will Robinson” most of the poor decisions I have made in my life were made while I was sober.

Listen to her still going on and on with her relentless tirade. I know where the switch is to shut her off.

“Here Diosa you take the Dope. I would rather you have it. I’m sorry that I’m so insensitive and selfish. You’re right once again, I need to exhibit more  appreciation for your sacrifices. You know how I feel about you. I’m sorry mi amor. Please forgive my callousness.”

“Oh Santiago you softie. You know how to get straight to my heart. You just made up for all your stupid ass screw ups. And we do have a cat.”

“Don’t refer to me as softie again. It’s not a particularly enduring description if ya know what I mean.”

She takes possession of the dope and heads off to the bathroom to do a hit. Her ass exposed wearing my  Barcelona Soccer jersey which I don’t appreciate but I don’t dare to mention.

Then there’s a knock at the door. Let me share a piece of wisdom. Opportunity doesn’t knock, in most instances it’s Jehovah Witnesses. Opportunity has been on vacation and hitting on your lover while you’re at home anticipating its arrival.

“Who is it?”

“Barry the manager. Everything ok in there?” he asks.

I open the door to interact to keep him from calling the cops.

“Hey Jerry what’s going on? How you been doing?”

“My name’s not Jerry.”

“Okay not Jerry. What can I do for you this morning?”

“Santiago why do we have to go through this game every time we talk?”

“Sorry Larry, I’m not good with names. There’s been times when I couldn’t remember my own name. What’s the scoop?”

“The people in the next apartment said they heard yelling and screaming coming from your place. I have to investigate and make sure everything is okay. I’ve had to come up here so many times. Can you two please stop fighting all the time? I’m getting tired of your bullshit. Next time I’m going to have to take legal action and call the police. And your rent is two weeks late again. I need the money by tomorrow afternoon or there’s gonna be a problem with the owner. Do you understand?”

“Only two weeks late? That’s good to know. I’ll see what I can do to rectify the problem. How did my neighbors tell you there was a problem? They don’t speak English and I know you don’t speak Spanish.

Terry are you fibbing? It wasn’t my neighbors. Are you spying on Jessica again? If you don’t stop your peeping activities I’m going to have a talk with the owner. And the money you’ve been pocketing from overcharging the undocumented residents to support that voracious cocaine habit of yours… we don’t want anyone to mention those activities to Mr. Landlord do we?

So Harry I think we have a mutual understanding of how we’ll be addressing problems in the future. Entiendas gringo?”

“Please Santiago don’t rat me out. I’m trying to warn you about what’s going on. See if you can get me the rent by next week. Is Jessica around I wanna say hello.”

“She’s in the bathroom right now. I’ll tell her for you Gary. You have a wonderful day.”

“My God Damn name is Barry. Will you please just call me by my right name?”

“Ciao” I whisper as I close the door.

“Hey Santiago is this your cat at the door? You know there’s a strict policy against pets in your apartment!” he screams.

“Please don’t yell. Keep it down. You don’t want to upset the neighbors. We don’t have a cat.”

“Who you hollering at through the door? And I told you that we do have a cat, you son of a bitch!”

I put my finger to my lips giving the shush sign.

“It’s your boyfriend Perry, he wants the rent and said we aren’t suppose to have a cat.”

“Okay, here, take this,” she whispers “I saved it for you. Do you have cigarettes?”

She hands me a syringe loaded and ready to fire. Self loathing is in most cases along with confessing your imperfections are a catalyst to favorably end a disagreement. They have a saying in Colombia. When a man and woman are in an argument. The man always has the last words.

They are “si mi amor.” Yes my love.

I accept her gift and place a tender kiss on her lips. She giggles and gives me a hug. This is the woman I’m accustomed to. When she’s high she’s so much more concerning.

“So baby do you have a cigarette? Si o si?”

“No JJ but I’ll make a run right after I do this hit. Get dressed and come with me. Before you head off to work.”

“I’m not going to hook for a couple of days because I got my regla,(period) and I’m not into giving blow jobs for five or ten dollars a cum. It’s ok with you baby?”

 “Ya, it’s just fine now get dressed.”

I head off to the bathroom to do my fix. Surprisingly, it gets me perfectly numb. Not nodding out or nose scratching high but enough to subdue the monkey.

“Hey baby it’s chilly outside so wear a jacket. Where’s my suit jacket the black one ? I haven’t seen it for a while. Have you seen it baby?”

“Have you looked in the closet? That’s where civilized people put their clothes. Not on the floor or slung over a lamp. I put it on a hanger.”

“Thanks smart ass I found it. Do you know where the key is? I misplaced…”

She dangles the key in front of my face before I can finish my sentence.

We exit the apartment and she puts her arm in mine, then places her head on my shoulder as we walk.

I put my hands in my pockets and touch what feels like a pack of cigarettes. I pull it out and it’s an almost full pack. And there’s a balled up piece of plastic shoved in the cellophane of the cigarette pack. I immediately tear at it and discover it’s a large amount of heroin that I have forgotten about. I check the inside breast pocket and retrieve seventy three dollars from inside. Jessica begins to scream with excitement from the find.

“Santiago you didn’t know you had all that? Where did it come from?”

“The last time I wore this jacket was when we went to the casino to celebrate your birthday, which I  now  understand is the wrong date,” I say, handing her the cigarettes. “You didn’t say anything about it at the time. I was winning at the blackjack table. Then we left came home and got so fucking high we didn’t remember. Here, happy birthday mi corazon.”

She stops and puts a hand on her hip, holding out the other hand palm up and tapping her foot impatiently.

“Well, and the money?”

It wasn’t really your birthday and you played me. Okay, here.”

I place the cash in her hand but not before peeling off a twenty.

Suddenly the cat cozies up to Jessica meowing.

“I know let’s put her in the apartment before we go. Hey what did you name her? “

“Thunder Slut seemed like the perfect name. Now hurry up put her inside. You know you’re taking me to breakfast don’t you? It is after all my birthday.”

She says spilling laughter all over the morning.

I recall a proverb from the Furry Freak Brothers.

“Dope gets you through times of no money better than money gets you through times of no dope.”

And so that’s that.

“Ok breakfast, but no pancakes!”

3 thoughts on “Judge Santiago Burdon

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