Yesterday, we learned about the perils of going out to a shitty bar in Brooklyn, doing coke all night and trying to keep a day job. It’s like Sesame Street that game, One of These Things Is Not Like the Other.
Well, today we are going to delve into the dumber side of the drug—i.e. dumb things—or people—you would never imagine doing if it weren’t for the fact that you are completely out of your fucking mind.
This story starts at the races.
“Do you want to go to the races?”
“What? What races?” I say, still half asleep. I roll over. It’s 8 a.m. on a Saturday.
“The Belmont Stakes.”
“That’s in New York?” I had no idea that buried in Queens somewhere is the track that is home to one of our nation’s most beloved sporting events—and easily the sleaziest prong in the Triple Crown.
A half hour later, I’m on the curb, the June sun blaring down on me, holding a bag of bagels and a very large coffee. A tan, busted-up Chrysler minivan roars up, piloted by a crazy rock singer and his two derelict cousins—one who’s called simply “Uncle Joe”—and my friend. Uncle Joe just moved back from L.A., where he’d been mostly unemployed and “accidentally” ingesting crystal meth.
“I didn’t go out for a week,” he says, wiping his nose on his shirt sleeve. “My friend told me it was the best coke. They get it, and I’m in my apartment doing it, and I’m like, ‘Shit, this doesn’t look the same…’ ”
“Of course it doesn’t look the same,” I say. “It’s crystal-y, a la ‘crystal’ meth, you moron. Can’t you tell the difference?”
“Uh?” Uncle Joe says. “Uh, I don’t know. It’s all white to me. Anyway, I was stuck in my apartment for a week. I couldn’t go out, eat, anything. I think I even shit my pants.”
We finally arrive at the track, and there amid Nassau County’s finest, the unwashed masses, the chain-smokers and their wee whipper-snappers running around their legs, getting ashed on, it becomes obvious that Belmont is not the garden-hat, mind-julep affair those bastards at the Kentucky Derby would have you believe horse-racing embodies.
Betting on ponies is fun for approximately 32 minutes, but a person can’t watch horses running by them all day and not bet. So out of boredom and that part of my DNA that lets me believe that I’ll actually hit the Mega Millions every time I buy a ticket, I bet. And then I bet again. And wait in line for beer. And hit the ATM. And try to find a porta potty that isn’t close to overflowing.
Uncle Joe walks around all day in his filthy, holey jeans, going up to women at the track and saying, “Nice tits.” Then he comments about how he has to take a dump and tells us about his next job, running a website that sells skin-care products. “These moisturizers are really great,” he tells me. “Not that you have bad skin, but this shit will make it amazing…you won’t age. Seriously. Here, let me write down the website for you on this napkin.”
I don’t win a thing at the track that day. We head back to NYC and sit in the rock star’s piss-soaked apartment building in Williamsburg waiting for him to get his shit together for his show later that night. Uncle Joe is running his mouth, “Spanky downstairs is my buddy now,” he says. “He said he could get me whatever I wanted.”
Blame it on day drinking in the sun. Blame it on losing at the ponies. Blame it on Spanky being home, but we stupidly scratched together about $60 to buy some coke. Fifteen minutes later, we are in the van, doing key bumps on the BQE in daylight.
This continues throughout the night, handing the baggie back and forth, going into the bathrooms, ingesting easily some of the shittiest drugs I’ve ever had in my life. Around 4 a.m., somehow a guy named Richard Pryor Jr. from Indiana and some other gay dude who is trying to hit on the rock star have joined our group, and I entertain the idea of taking Uncle Joe home with me—I am turned on and absolutely revolted by him at the same time—and if you’ve never experienced this emotion, I don’t recommend it.
Then I have a moment of clarity—I imagine him in my room, in my bed, the next morning, farting and belching and being disgusting and smelly, asking me to make him breakfast and coffee and trying to sell me skin cream.
And I hail a cab to go home alone.