Fiction Friday – Crack House

I was a crack house.

Unlike a meth house, the crack isn’t all that toxic to walls and floors. The freebasing steps are fairly ordinary and no one needs to strip down a battery to make the rock. Most of the work is done before the stuff even enters the country.

All I know for sure is that the stuff turns a fair and steady income for someone. I also know the smell, the worst of it, comes in on the people who drop in and hang out.

The high from crack hits faster and must really be something to experience because people come back again and again trying to recapture that first high like a middle aged guy in a sports car tries to regain his unspent youth.

My rooms are littered with garbage, human feces, condoms, pipes made of glass, clotted, filthy, smelling like burned plastic all the time.

The smell I have heard goes away. I once heard the worst human decomp smell even goes away if you spend enough time around it.

Don’t let them kid you, though. The smell clings to their hair, their clothes, their very souls. I wonder if they have to cut their hair in rehab, I am sure it grows out of their scalps with the plastic smell already in there.

I know about decomp. Some guy died right over there by where the board is coming off that window. He laid there in his own filth and everyone else’s’ for nearly a week before someone finally had enough of him and shoved him out back.

If anyone came to claim him or took a report, they certainly didn’t bother coming inside to ask any questions.

Some of the women, well, wait, now, all of the women who came in and stayed any length of time were pretty skanky. No one really ran the place. People just came in and stayed. They bought the stuff somewhere else. Then they’d get into a squabble with someone else and move on or the supply chain would be disrupted and I’d empty out for a while. The folks would find another place to hang out.

Sometimes a lower form would come in, these kind used heroine a whole different kind of beast. The crack users thought themselves above the heroine users and two the two never mixed for long.

There was a guy who used to come in once in awhile, he had a Bible and a prayer book. He never got here soon enough to reach them. They came here for one reason and it wasn’t for a prayer.

The worst part was how I affected the other houses that surrounded me. Crime, burglary, mugging, petty theft, vandalism, prostitution and rape follow these people who come to shelter here. The decent folks don’t hang around. I am like a black hole at the center of a neighborhood that is collapsing into me.

Businesses don’t open here, who wants dinner with the family here where no family exhisists? Anything nice is bound to be robbed. People can’t even get car insurance on my streets. The rent goes down in despair, only the folks unfortunate and unemployed move into the houses and apartment buildings and they are prime feasting for the suppliers who take advantage of the poor.

Most of them out of pure giving up give into the dream. They put down some money, just enough, they buy that first high and then they begin to sink into a trap they won’t get out of. They already have nothing to lose when they move in.

I’ve been boarded up, tape and notes of condemnation have clung to my doors, windows and warnings have been posted.

People get rousted out and only the most depraved venture in for a week or two. Then, they all come back, new faces but old needs. Needs as old as time itself.

It is like high tide and low tide depending on who got rousted, the supplier where ever he is and the user. There is a relative nearness and farness to consider, too. If the supplier is too far away, this place pretty much falls off the radar while a newer ramshackle house opens up. When a supplier comes back within range I fill up again.

Someday, some slum lord will make a small investment, they’ll come out, haul away my crap and condoms and broken glass. They will paint and window and put a regular family here, but the neighborhood will not respond. A reputation is hard to live down. The family will not like the neighborhood, the stray addicts will un nerve them and they’ll move one night without a word and probably a few months owing on the rent.

For now, I smell like an out house where plastic milk jugs have been set fire to down in the hole.

__A Crack House

By Sally

Sally Franklin Christie Blogger and Author of If I Should Die and Milk Carton People.

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