*Features adult language and themes.*
The smell woke her.
It was tangy and acrid, it made her want to be sick. She opened her eyes. That’s ironic. She was laying next to a puddle of vomit. I really hope that’s mine.
Daisy lifted her head from the sofa cushion. A bolt of pain sliced through her temple. She strained for half a second before giving in and letting her face fall back into the pool of sick. Why does the sight and smell of it make me want to throw up? Daisy decided to conserve her energy and survey the situation from the vantage point she found herself in.
It was a little difficult to see past the sick.
This poor sofa. I dread to think of the volume of bodily fluids that’ve soaked into it. I’m surprised anyone sits on it. Come to think of it, I shouldn’t really sleep on it. I might mutate or something. I could wake up one morning with extra toes or gills.
The view didn’t improve much once she saw beyond the vomit. The entire room had a similar hue and feeling about it. The walls were beige and empty, the carpet brown, frayed and stained. It was furnished sparsely; because they were poor. It wasn’t an attempt at modern minimalism. The room only contained the sofa, a TV on top of a few stacked beer crates, a pile of magazines and newspapers that Daisy couldn’t recall anyone touching and some clothes that where scattered over the floor.
It’s like the worst dentist’s waiting room ever, if you took away the clothes. Actually if I had to wait for a dentist appointment in a room like this I wouldn’t mind getting into the chair.
Daisy often found herself thinking about the dentist. She knew what meth did to her teeth. She’d seen plenty of other girls with gaps in their mouths. It was one of the many doubts about her lifestyle that plagued her but she managed to get rid of them all with each hit.
She tried lifting her head again, the pain wasn’t as debilitating so she tried to get her arms under her to lift her higher. Her throat constricted and she thought she was going to be sick again. She swallowed it back down, the bile in her mouth was bitter and abrasive. As she swung her legs around to sit up they hit something that moaned. Daisy drew her legs up to her chest and peered over her knees down to the floor.
All she could see was a pair of bare legs sticking out from a blanket that looked dirtier than the carpet if that were possible. They were slim, shapely and hairless. The toes had chipped blue nail polish on them.
Waking up next to a woman. Result.
Memories of the night before came back to her slowly. The fog and pain in her head kept distracting her. So did the smell coming from the sofa. The girl on the floor was a stranger. They’d only met the day before. Daisy thought she was a friend of her flatmate, Julie. She couldn’t remember the girl’s name. Daisy thought the she had come around to celebrate something. Julie had to go out and work, but the girl had stayed anyway. She was a user, but new to it, so she was silly enough to share her stash with Daisy. A Rookie mistake. Daisy reached over and peeked under the blanket. The girl was naked. That explained why Daisy only recognised half of the clothes spread around the room. Daisy herself had managed to keep her knickers. With this realisation she began to feel cold.
Wonder if we did anything I should regret?
The idea of having sex with another woman didn’t particularly bother Daisy. For her an orgasm was all about the destination, not the journey, vehicle or travelling companion.
She grabbed the blanket and tugged it gently so it slid away from the naked girl on the floor who moaned and gurgled again, but it didn’t look as though she’d be waking up any time soon. The blanket was caught under the girl’s arm so Daisy gave another hard pull and it came away.
Something that had been in the folds of the blanket flew into the air and drifted down to the floor.
Wrapping the blanket around her she went over and picked it up. A small plastic bag. It was empty.
She padded over to the window. The curtains were thin and worn so they didn’t stop the light seeping in. Going by the view of the street outside it could have been any time of day. She guessed it must be early afternoon. They’d taken the drugs late morning of the day before, so it would have been usual to go to sleep until the early hours of the morning. As bad as she felt she knew that in some respects she was still coming down. Things would only get worse if she didn’t find another hit by the end of the day.
Daisy collected her clothes went to the bathroom and washed her face. She dressed in the same clothes she’d worn the day before. She didn’t have an extensive wardrobe. The reason her clothes didn’t fit was that she constantly ‘borrowed’ from her friends. Julie didn’t seem to notice or care.
Unfortunately, Julie was a lot bigger than her. Daisy had a loose circle of friends made up of users and dealers. In any given week she would wake up in any of five or six different places depending on who she was using with or buying from. It made it easy to snag a t-shirt here or a pair of trousers there. Everybody was so out of it they assumed they lost a lot of stuff.
Daisy had become a modern-day nomad. She travelled from place to place around the town depending on her needs. When she needed drugs she had a few dealers she trusted, or could at least ask for an occasional freebie. When she needed money she had places that would give her a nights work for rates of pay a slave would sneer at. When she needed somewhere to sleep she had a few friends that would give her a bed for sharing either her drugs or her body.
I’m bringing back the barter system. Everything has its price, and there’s always someone willing to trade.
She felt a bit better once she was dressed. Before she left the flat she went into Julie’s bedroom.
She hadn’t come back from work the night before.
Probably hooked up with another drunken loser.
Being as gentle as possible Daisy searched the room for any discarded or hidden money. Julie’s bedroom was easily the nicest in the flat. She’d tried hard to make it comfortable. The bed was large, the sheets clean. The walls had been painted, the curtains actually blocked out some of the light and the carpet didn’t squelch or ooze anything when it was walked upon.
No cash lying around. Damn.
She began scanning the room for things that wouldn’t be easily missed. She might be able steal something to sell on for a bit of cash. Julie had a TV and DVD player with a pile of DVD’s. A few books and CD’s, a Stereo and a laptop. All of them were too big to risk. She went over to the wardrobe. There were a few boxes on top of it that she’d never searched before, but there was also a smaller box inside at the bottom where she knew Julie kept her stash. Julie wasn’t a hardcore user, but she liked to keep a bit of weed on hand. It would be better than nothing in a pinch.
Bugger. She’s either used it all or taken it with her.
Daisy gave the clothes a quick look to see if there was anything that took her fancy, but decided to stick with what she had. She moved over to Julie’s dressing table. It was littered with half-used make up bottles and applicators. A small mirror was propped up on the wall next to a little wooden box. She’d never looked in the box before. Inside were a few pieces of jewellery. Nothing too special or expensive looking. Daisy couldn’t remember Julie wearing any jewellery before. There were some thin rings with semi-precious stones set in them, a bracelet with different coloured beads and a necklace. The necklace looked different to the other stuff, older somehow. It was a chain with interlocking links; thin and delicate. She rubbed at the metal removing a layer of dirt and dust. A yellow/brown colour shone dully back at her.
Gold. Hmmmm, that might be a good shout. Will she miss it though?
It was a risk.
She picked up the necklace, put it in her pocket, replacing the lid of the box, trying to leave it as she’d found it. She scanned around a last time to make sure her presence wasn’t too obvious before making her escape.
With one more glance at the naked girl on the floor, Daisy left.
* * *
“Where did you get this from?”
“Why do you need to know that? It’s mine, I can do whatever I want with it.”
“I’m sorry young lady, we can’t deal with stolen goods?”
“You what? You calling me a thief?” Daisy looked at the woman behind the jewellers’ counter. She was very smartly dressed and smelled of a sickly sweet perfume. The look on her face was obstinate, but she insisted on smiling. The smile had a slightly deranged lilt about it.
“I can call the police and you can discuss it with them if you’d like?”
“Fuck off, lady. You just lost out on a fat profit. You offered me crap money anyway.” Before the woman had a chance to say anything Daisy was gone. As she got back out onto the street she shot a glance back through the window. The woman was still looking at her and speaking into a phone.
Shit. She’s got a decent description of me, I reckon. I need to get rid of this today. I suppose I could always put it back in Julie’s room?
That had been the fourth Jewellery shop she’d tried. Considering how many empty shops there were in Ipswich Daisy was surprised by how many jewellers there were. The trouble was, she need a disreputable one. One that wasn’t going to ask any questions.
In the end she decided to go to a Pawn Brokers. It was her last resort. She knew they wouldn’t give her a good price because they’d only give her scrap value, not try to sell it on as a piece of jewellery. She had no idea of the gold’s quality, so she had to trust the judgement of the person that was going to pay her for it. This made her uncomfortable. Even through she was desperate for any amount of money, she didn’t want to get ripped off.
Stealing had become a habit. She’d hated doing it to begin with. She’d felt guilty about what she’d taken and who she’d stolen from. Over time the guilt had faded. The hard truth was simple. She either stole from others to make sure she could buy the drugs she needed or she would have to go without. Going without wasn’t an option. It was simply what needed to be done.
It was getting dark by the time she got over to the pawn shop. She was asked to fill out a form, which she completed using Julie’s details, but other than that no questions were asked. She walked out with £150 in her pocket.
Judging by the gleam in the guy’s eye it was worth a lot more. It didn’t matter. £150 was more money than Daisy could remember having in her pocket.
She didn’t have the nerve to go back to Julie’s. She would have to leave it a few weeks before venturing back to test the air between them. Her absence would be an obvious sign of guilt if she missed the necklace, but she wasn’t worried about it. She was in control and was beholden to a higher power. Her high.
She stopped off at a public toilet and broke up the cash, distributing around her body. She put some in her socks, hid a little in her underwear and in each item of her clothing. If she lost her hoodie, for example, it wouldn’t be a complete disaster.
She headed toward the opposite side of town from Julie’s place. She knew a dealer that lived on the outskirts of town.
* * *
She tapped on the door. Footsteps approached and it opened a crack. A chain bridged it along with a glaring eye. “Who is it?”
The door opened wider, the rest of the face appeared and it was smiling. “Daze. Haven’t seem you in a while, babe. Where you been?”
“Around, Moe, around. No point coming to see my dealer empty handed is it?”
If it was possible Moe’s smile got wider. “Well, come in then, girl. Come in.” Moe was a small guy, but still taller than Daisy. He had light brown skin, short jet black hair and his face was wide but lean. He had a strange twitch where he’d clench his jaw constantly making his checks bounce.
“You come into some money then, Daze?” He closed the door, securing a load of locks behind him.
Daisy could hear loud drum & bass music coming from the living room and a suggestion of a light show. “You having a party?”
“Yeah. Everyday’s a party.”
“Many people here?”
“Just me. I don’t need anyone else to party, Daze. But it’s nice to have company sometimes.”
They went into the living room, the music thumped and the lights streamed and flashed around the walls. The room was a strange hybrid. Desolate in construction and decoration, but stuffed with expensive toys and gadgets. Daisy made herself comfortable on the sleek leather couch.
“How much you after then, Daze?”
“I’ll take a gram if you’ve got it.”
“A gram. Damn you are flush. £30.”
“Come on Moe, I know you sold a gram to Sharon for £20.”
“Yeah well that was a special rate.”
“What made it so special?”
“She gave me something else to make up the other tenner.”
Daisy got up and walked towards him. She let her hoodie drop off her shoulder exposing a bit of skin. She got really close to him and put her lips to his ear. His arms snaked around her waist.
“Well, maybe we can come to some arrangement, hmmm?” She lightly kissed and nibbled at his ear.
“Yeah, maybe.” Moe muttered, exploring a bit further with his hands.
“If you give me a taster for free I’ll leave here tomorrow morning with 2 grams and I’ll have paid in full. I promise.”
“You’re on.” Moe reached into a back pocket and gave Daisy a small plastic bag with a few grains of ice in it.
Daisy pinched the bag from him with two fingers. “You got a spare pipe?” He handed one over from a drawer in his coffee table. Daisy got a glimpse of more gear and felt a surge of excitement.
“I’ll test it alone if you don’t mind, then we’ll really get the party started.”
She went into his bathroom and locked the door. The first thing she did was collect all her money together. If she was going to have sex with Moe, she risked losing a load as she undressed. Maybe I won’t go all the way? She stuffed all the money into her knickers.
Carefully, Daisy poured the meth into the pipe. It was a clear glass straw with a round bubble on the end. She got a lighter out of her bag, held the pipe in one and and struck the light with the other. She made sure not to let the flame touch the glass bubble. The meth heated up gradually. It had to be a gentle heat or it would cook too fast and release all of its wondrous white smoke at once.
The crystals began to slowly melt to liquid, she took the flame away, and the first few wisps of smoke began to rise. She covered the end of the pipe so the smoke didn’t escape. The meth cooled and formed crystals again. This helped to burn off anything nasty that might spoil the hit. She put the heat back under the bulb again. This time when it liquified it made more smoke, she took the heat away.
Daisy hungrily sucked the coils of smoke up through the pipe. She held the smoke in for about 3 seconds then exhaled. Any longer and she knew the smoke would begin to re-crystallise in her lungs.
Suddenly she was alive.
It was like flicking a switch; releasing energy to flow into her body. She could feel her blood pumping. Her breathing got faster. As the dopamine flooded her brain it gave her an overpowering sense that everything was good. This was how life was supposed to be.
Her aches, pains, guilt and problems were still in her somewhere, but all of a sudden they were good things. Feelings she enjoyed. Her energy overwhelmed everything. She could do anything she wanted. Nobody could stop her even if they wanted to. She was better than them.
A few hits later the bulb of the pipe was empty, all that was left was a dirty residue. The smoke had dissipated and she was left in the bathroom. It was a small room, too small to contain her. She unlocked the door and went back into the living room. She didn’t know what she wanted to do, but anything was possible.
She felt the music beating through her body, its pulse syncing up with hers. Her eyes noticed and appreciated every movement of the lights as they flashed back and forth. Everything was perfectly clear. All her sense were heightened. It felt like a party, she wanted to dance. She could’ve danced forever.
Moe was leaning over a pipe of his own as she came in. He looked up, his eyes wide, his jaw jittering. “Good stuff, yeah?”
“Yeah. Really good.”
“Well worth £30 a gram.”
“Yeah.” They sidled closed to one another, both swaying to the music.”
“Well, I reckon you’ve had your free sample, I need mine. Then we can figure out what you owe.”
He placed his hands on Daisy’s shoulders and gently pushed her down to her knees.
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