Lines in the Street
Along the dark streets of the square mile, I lay in a battered urine soaked sleeping bag. Trying to sleep with one eye open, cold and hungry for a cigarette, a smoke, for anything. A dirty cap is next to my head, containing only a couple of copper coins, showing the charity of the financial district of London.
The temperature was starting to drop, and I shiver both from the cold and the shakings of an addict. My ripped jeans, now fashionable amongst those with money, pretending that they have none, are encrusted with dirt. A hoodie so soiled that the original colour is now a mystery. These are the main things that I wear each day. These streets man, they use to be my streets. I would strut across to the various courts and win cases, with a baggie of a gram of coke hidden in my boxers. Now all that is a distant memory.
People were walking past, coming from a nearby pub, so I call out:
“Any change please, do you have a cigarette?” Some city boy chucked a packet of smokes at me, whist his friends started kicking my legs, chucking change; aiming for my head. The money was nothing to them, I was nothing to them, I was nothing to anyone. The city boys had chucked me a packet of twenty cigarettes, but no bloody lighter.
Gathering up the change into my cap, it find it comes to a couple of pounds. It may get me a cheap coffee and a lighter. It won’t get me any cocaine though. I’m still craving it even though my addiction has got to the point where one line could kill me. I do not care though, the need for a hit is too strong. I no longer cared about the risk of death. There was always the second option of robbing a pharmacy, even if it meant potentially getting caught; it would still be good. A bed, hot meal and a roof over my head for the night, maybe even longer. If I went to prison, then I could get all the drugs I needed there. I decided that either way the plan could not go wrong.
I scrambled together my change and limited possessions and headed down to the late-night shop. As I walked towards the shop I had an unlit cigarette in my mouth, I asked people for a light just as they crossed the road away from me. One gentleman in a black suit and briefcase stopped and handed me his lighter. I lit and inhaled deeply into my lungs, the nicotine hitting the back of my throat was a rush. I handed the lighter back to the gentleman, moving close to him as I walked away, swiftly taking his wallet as I walked.
Entering the shop off the corner of Holborn underground station, I’d already taken the money out of the gentleman’s wallet before tossing it in the bin. The wallet had contained one hundred pounds and some change, enough for some larger, a bottle of vodka and a lighter; the Dutch courage that I needed for robbing a pharmacy.
With my vodka and change from the hundred pounds in my pocket and wondered around London looking for a working payphone. I eventually found one, busted up but working, behind one of the big department stores; and called my dealer. I knew that I didn’t have enough for any coke, but I could get some weed, to keep myself calm for robbing the pharmacy. Hitting the numbers on the payphone and waited for it to pick up:
“Yo, who’s this?” a hard-hitting voice answered.
“Hey, it’s me, you holding any green?”
“Oh, it’s you, yeah, meet me in half an hour, you know where.”
I hung up the phone. Half an hour, fuck. I don’t even know what the time is now. Either way I started to walk.
I walked, swigging from the bottle of vodka hidden in the plastic bag, I walked back near to the area where I usually sleep. Behind me the law courts. I joke to myself that we deal in plain sight and yet the government believe that they are winning the war on drugs. I hid in the shadows of the architecture and waited. The street was deserted as I hid. I did not have to wait long before another person joined me in the shadows next to me. A slight hand shake and then I was alone again. I hugged the shadows of the building until I hit the main road, then I would come into the light. Feeling the bag in my pocket I could tell one was pre-rolled. No dealer would do this, but I’d got him off numerous drug charges in the past. The previous life that I use to have.
I walked towards Hyde park, sparking the spliff as I walked, everyone too pre-occupied in their own lives to notice the smell. As I walked I noted the all-night pharmacy with little security on the door; an easy hit. The weed was spreading through my body. I pulled on the spliff rapidly, in between swigs from the vodka bottle, the combination was starting to make me see double.
I slumped on the bench near the entrance of Hyde park. I could feel my heart pounding harder every time I take a drag off the spliff, not realising that breathing was getting harder. I smoked the spliff down to the roach and finished off the bottle of vodka. As I stood up to drop the roach on the ground and stub it out, the world started to spin. I fell back onto the hard bench; dropping the bottle. Not hearing it smash.
The only other people in the park were other rough sleepers, asleep on the benches. I tried standing up again, grabbing the neck of the bottle. The world was still spinning as I stumbled across the ground.
As I fell, the jagged edge sliced through my wrist cutting through the skin, veins, tendons, and eventually it sliced through the artery.
All in a split second.
On the ground I found that the world was still spinning, but it felt great as I fell asleep… And all the time I had no idea that I was bleeding out and going cold.