So back when I first moved to Seattle I was basically living on the streets. I’d sleep wherever, abandoned buildings, parking garages, strangers’ couches. Sometimes I’d just take a nap on the sidewalk in front of the 7-11 store on Broadway, then wake up and start spanging for beer money or get to work hustling hits of acid to the suburban kids who’d come to Capitol hill to score. I was like sixteen, seventeen years old, and as far as I could be concerned I was living the life. This was back around 88 and 89. Eventually I migrated to the University District, and things got a bit heavier, but my first point of gutterpunk residence was basically right there on the corner of Broadway and Republican in front of the 7-11 mini mart next to the infamous Rehar apartments.
Of course, me curling up on the sidewalk to nap was really only possible because there was a whole pack of us who used to call that street corner our living room.They were some of the best friends I’ve ever had, many of them dead now or in prison unfortunately. Actually, Bash might have paroled by now. He was eligible after serving twenty years on a murder beef that started back in 92. Hadn’t seen him in a few years then ran into him in the Thurston County jail back then after I’d been busted for trying to destroy a yacht in Olympia. He told me he was with some guys who boot partied a kid to death, and he got charged up as an accessory. All of that is really a longer story I’ll have to properly tell some other time.
But yeah, I ran with a pack of other urchins. We all basically supported ourselves off panhandling and selling hallucinogens and/or speed. The guy who usually sported us our “work” for the week, was this dude Gonz. He’d front out a bunch of acid or MDA or crystal, and we’d sell it for him. Nobody was getting rich exactly, but it kept us in beer and smokes and clothes and food. Well, food between the nightly free grub sessions at the teen soup kitchens around the area.
And plus, it pretty much gave us a steady supply of free, or at least semi-free drugs. Cause you could just move enough right off the bat to pay Gonz what you owed, and then the rest was just there. For the taking, and we took a lot of that shit regularly. Everybody always had extras to dose away or snort up, and I was easily full tilt batshit insane twelve times over within the first two weeks I was up there. Plus, right down the street on the lawns of Seattle Central Community College, Baeocystis mushrooms grew wild. We’d literally just go fill up a Super Big Gulp cup with shrooms and walk down the street munching on them. Seattle was a trip back then.
So yeah. One night it was me, Bash and Laura his girlfriend, Blond John, this other John, Dred John I’ll call him because he sported white people dreds (I believe they’re properly termed “matlocks” cause it’s just matted hair, I dunno I had them a couple of times and they just start smelling funny and attract bugs), and Jerry The Hippie who never said much. We had a bunch of extra blotter acid to do, plus there was some retro sugar cube hits that Blond John had come across…and we just decided to eat all of it then go walk to this “secret” park on Queen Anne hill that apparently gave the best view of the entire city. It is an real park, I did go there a few times when high out of my mind, but like the actual Sound Garden out there ( the strange giant organ pipe permantent art installation sort of thing in a way off industrial park type section of the city-it is where the band Soundgarden got their name) I was at once when off my face on Ecstasy, I couldn’t hope to find the place when sober. But the view from that park is by far the best view of Seattle. It’s like looking at it through the back door, it’s an uncommon way of seeing the city because Queen Anne hill happens to be situated kind of “behind” the typical skyline view.
At any rate, we all dosed up. Back then it wasn’t uncommon to just eat four or five hits of acid to get a jump on things. It wasn’t like the shit was weak, I mean one hit was plenty really, but you know you have so much of it you might as well eat five hits and really “expand your mind.” To the point of popping, hopefully. But this was really still early on. I mean within a couple of years I’d just eat a ten strip right off a fresh sheet to get going, or just swig off a bottle of liquid. Then I’d invariably listen to the Butthole Surfers’ Hairway to Steven album and completely Lose. My. Shit.
However, that night I think I probably only ate three or four hits. Everyone else took about the same, I mean it was kind of this thing with us that we all tried to inhabit the same general orbit of headfuckery. Nobody really wanted to be fucking way more gone than anybody else. It was a sort of communistic approach to irreparable brain and personality warpage by way of LSD over-ingestion, I suppose.
So we’re all high as fuck about an hour or so after dropping the acid and still walking around Capitol Hill. Kind of detourning, I guess, to use the situationist term. There’s a couple of parks around there, a few really, and we come by one. Seemed like a good place to sit and trip out for a bit. I can’t clearly remember which park it was, it was down the hill from Broadway, I remember that. It wasn’t Tashkent park, where we founded The First Church of The Holy Dose when tripping balls and had our one and only “revival”, which was a level of craziness and hilarity I have yet to experience anything even remotely close to in the ensuing years. We just started giving away hits of acid to people as “holy sacrament” and ranting with tongue firmly planted in cheek about how “God wants you to dose!” I swear we had every wino on the hill tripping for two days after that.
But anyway, we’re at this park down the hill. Everybody is sitting on benches except for Jerry. He’s walking around in big circles muttering to himself. Jerry had recently hit town from San Francisco, he had long dirty blond hair and basically dressed like someone who just moved from Haight-Ashbury. Which he did. He was a real bad intravenous speed freak, but it was supposed to be a secret. Cause if Gonz knew he was fucking with needles he’d be cut off. Obviously Jerrys habit of wearing long sleeved paisley thrift store button ups in the dead of summer wasn’t enough to tip him off. But everybody kept shit from Gonz anyway, he was the employer when it all came down to it. But nobody really knew, like a lot about Jerry. He was just around, kind of quiet and he’d go move his product where ever, then put his profits in his arm, and come hang out on the corner with the rest of us. But while everybody else would be getting higher than the Sears Tower and having weighty discussions about their lives, past, present, and if there was a future…Jerry just kept to himself a lot. He was never unstable or anything before, even when on a speed run that had him awake for eight days straight. He was just Jerry. The Hippie from SF.
So it was kind of weird seeing him bug out and walk in circles talking to himself. Everybody looked at each other, there were shrugs, and then Bash nudged Laura. She asked, “Whats wrong Jerry?” He stops. Looks at all of us. And starts crying. Big choking sobs, his breath hitching. It was like a dam broke.
Everybody is stunned, but not half as much as when he says between tears and sobbing, “I did it. I killed her. It was me. I did it but she asked me to. I didn’t mean…”
Me and Blond John get up and start walking over to him. Dred John freaks out and bolts. He never hung out much after that night. He was a part timer anyways, had a place to live, played guitar in some band. Laura and Bash stay on the bench, she’s huddled up and he’s got his arms around her.
Blond John says to Jerry, “It’s ok. You can talk about it.” Kid probably grew up to be a therapist or something. He was always the one anybody could talk to. Some people are like that, natural helpers I guess you could call them. I’m standing a little off and behind Blond John. I can’t think of anything to say or do. I remember just feeling like I shouldn’t just sit there though. I mean, it seemed really important to not just sit there.
Then Jerry tells us.
It turns out he was originally from Spokane, the same small city in Eastern Washington where I grew up. He tells us this. He tells us he was in Spokane on the streets at fourteen years old and he got his twelve-year-old girlfriend pregnant. They couldn’t tell her parents. They didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t get an abortion without her parents finding out, at least not an abortion by way of a doctor. A couple of months pass, and she feels she has no options.
What happens is she asks Jerry to do it. They’re children, they don’t know. Jerry described to us how he got a hatpin (He just called it a “big long pin, I guess they used them for hats before”) and stuck it up inside her birth canal. “Until, I felt something hard, and I thought it was the … then I pushed…I didn’t know, I didn’t knnnow..” He breaks down again. I finally say something, “Jerry, it’s alright man. Really, we’re all here with you, it’s ok.”
He starts talking again. It turns out he perforated his girlfriends cervix with the hatpin. She wound up in the hospital. A few days later she died. Jerry fled town. That was three years past from the night he told us, and he’d been on the road bouncing from place to place ever since. He said he never told no one before.
I don’t remember much from that night after that. I know none of us talked much. I know we didn’t make it to Queen Anne that night. I remember Laura crying. I remember all of us being misty eyed. But we were with Jerry the rest of the night. We were there with him. Wasn’t much else anybody could do. Sometimes that’s about the best anybody can do.
That night was the most I ever heard Jerry talk. He was still around a lot after that. What he had told us didn’t change the way we treated him or anything. He was still our friend. Nobody really talked about it, but we all understood that night.
I remember the cops were following Jerry one night and he had me hold about a quarter ounce of crystal meth. He handed it to me, nodded, and walked over to the cops and asked them if they were looking for him. Pigs didn’t have nothing to hold him on really, they shook him down, ran his name-or more like the name he gave them-and had to let him go. All the while I’m across the parking lot with a big fucking bag of speed down my pants watching the entire thing. After the cops left and I walked back to the 7-11 Jery came over, thanked me, and I handed him his shit back.
That was the last night I saw him. He apparently split town. I heard he went to Portland, but nobody really knew. After all he didn’t say much. Except for that once.
Ever since that night I have firmly believed that medical abortion procedures should not be outlawed. Pregnancys have been being terminated since the dawn of time by various means, safe or reasonably safe, and otherwise. If safe methods are available less people will die. Thats all it comes down to. It is not a moral/religious argument.
This is officially the longest post I have ever written. If it’s “tl;dr” let me know.
The concept of LSD as religious sacrament was nothing new by the time we jokingly “founded” The First Church of The Holy Dose. But it was new to us. Thinking back on it it may have come from Jerry, since there’s that whole psychedelic drug church in SF-or so I’ve heard. I don’t want to give the impression that he was like some Silent Bob character who just never spoke. He did talk, I mean I still recall him telling me one day that speed was referred to as “Water” on the Haight. It’s just he never said much.
I’m trying to coincide my 200th post with the start of my vacation from work. I was going to do something special for #200, but it looks like I pretty much busted my nut with this long post, so I don’t know whats going to be left for the big deuce aught aught.