Settle

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
A weekend trip with a class A junkie

Submitted: February 28, 2012

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Submitted: February 28, 2012

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SETTLE

Settle is a little town on the border of the Lake District. It is a place I have visited on a regular basis. It boasts two campsites and, during the summer, is full of Middle England, old people and the disabled. A fine collection.

In August 2004, I decided to pay it another visit. I had recently met a new friend called Genie. She was from South Africa and mad as a box of frogs but we got on so it didn’t matter.

Most of my friends were barmy like me anyway.

Genie had many problems in her life, the main one was drugs, she couldn’t get enough, and this got her in a lot of shit.

We were going to Settle on Saturday at 2.30pm as I had to work in the morning. Genie was supposed to sort out the stuff we had to take but she forgot. Welcome to smack land. We were now running late. By four o’clock we had left the flat. Genie was fully charged up with all classes of drugs, A, B, and C. She was ready for the world.

The journey was to be done in three stages, the first to pick up drugs –one and one is the term used. I have noticed in the land of smack, time doesn’t stand still it just doesn’t exist and we were about to spend the next two hours in sunny Moss Side waiting for some dealer called Coco, Raster or maybe Cookie, depending on who she hadn’t pissed off this time.

Forty five minutes later he arrived and Genies face lit up.

“I have just creamed my knickers”, she informed me. I nearly choked on the cig I had just lit. Apparently when the dealer arrives she gets the same feeling as an orgasm.

Seemed strange to me but that’s the way it is.

I had promised to pay for the drugs earlier so I handed Genie £30.

She was off like a rocket and back like a gust of wind mumbling to herself.

“This is a small one; they’re always trying to rip me off!” I just shrugged and started the van. Stage two of the journey was fuel up and stage three pick the tent up from my brother.

These passed without incident although Genie was running low on B she had already topped up on A so we had to stop at an off licence for a can of lager. With her can in her hand and contentment on her face we set off again.

“Do you want a joint?” she asked me.

“You know I don’t smoke weed and drive” I replied.

“I’m only asking!” she snapped back at me. Genie was in and out of happy and sad mood brought on by drugs and her boyfriend Wayne.

Wayne is one of those special people, I call them predators, he likes to control people, and he tends to bully. Genie had just had a batch and it had knocked her for six, so Settle was meant to be a break. Genie made the joint and within ten minutes of passive smoking I was stoned and driving was becoming a task. I was now paranoid and had to find my way to Settle. No easy task with Genie doing her double act beside me.

As always, under the influence of weed, my navigation skills go out the door and I was now going the long way round.

By the time we arrived in Settle, Genie had put sad back in its bottle and was now smiling.

When she is sad she slouches and draws herself in, this tends to darken her aura.

When she is happy she brightens up and everyone can see it, you can’t help liking her.

The first stop in Settle was the local Spar for supplies. This would be fun. Shopping with Genie can be eventful depending on how many pockets she has got.

We entered the shop and, due to our appearance, me with my bleached spiked hair and Genie wired to fuck, we got the special treatment. In small town shops it’s always the best. The shop assistants have a certain look on their faces - their eyes give it away. They’re an open door to the brain. It starts with a smile, their eyes kind of flicker and then the brain kicks in asking questions, (What the fuck, they’re going to want serving, how do I cope) You would think we were from mars.

Genie went round the shop as if she was out of her bottle. It was as though there were three of us. She can bat out all sorts of information about the food, the prices and every now and then sexual innuendoes about the fruit or other items. This time it was about the size of the cucumbers. She never does anything by halves.

The items we purchased consisted of lager, a must, biscuits, bananas, coleslaw and ham. Fruit juice was on the list but ever indecisive Genie couldn’t decide whether or not to pay the silly price, and condemned the shop as a rip-off and cheats. What she really meant was her pockets were full and she had no way of hiding it. We didn’t have a big budget and a crack stone was on top of her list as always.

Milk shakes were now on the agenda. There were two types and neither of them was priced. She marched up to the counter. By now, the girl behind the counter had calmed down. Genie hit the girl with both barrels.

“These aren’t priced, how much are they?” Poor thing, by the time she had answered Genie was in control. The point of a finger rejected the dearest, “we don’t want that one”.

Genie picked it up and placed it on the left hand side of the till.

At this point I think she was going to palm it but it was too big and no pockets remember. Maybe I am wrong. I will have to ask her.

We left the shop and the girl in disarray, we spent ten pounds in cash, Genie had liberated about £8’s worth of stock, and I hadn’t seen anything. She was good.

The time in the shop had taken its toll on Genie. By the time we were back in the van Mrs Angry was back

“Wayne was a bastard. No that’s too good for him. His whore was high or a low whore”

God knows what she was going on about because I didn’t.

It was time to go to the campsite we had picked. This was easy, the same campsite I always went to. Not that easy. Still slightly stoned I missed my turn off and was now once again going the wrong way. Genie was too. Her fingers battering hell out of her mobile phone her words and feelings battering hell out of her head. It took me three attempts to get back on the right road and we finally arrived at the campsite. Genie is now drinking a can of beer and getting out of the van. I told her to stay and she replied “Oh yes” and got back in the van mumbling to herself.

Because we were in smack time reception was closed and negotiations were done over an intercom. They broke down straight away. Intercoms when you are straight are hard enough but when you are stoned… you are like a kid with a new Fisher price toy you just cant fucking grasp it. All I understood was the campsite was on the other side of the river, no name, town or directions. They must have had a camera somewhere and had seen us coming. There was definitely no room at the inn. I was on my own

I tried four different villages on the other side of the river to no avail.

The decision was made just to find a field, any field, I was getting very pissed off. I had spotted a lay-by earlier on manoeuvres, a kind of get out of jail card. Draw does make me observant, a bit too much at times. (Sorry. I’m wandering)

We pulled into the lay-by: it was furnished with a row of trees between it and the road. It also dipped down lower so we couldn’t be seen. It was perfect.

Genie was still ranting so I made a joint. My first non-passive. It was nice.

I opened a can of beer and passed Genie the rest of the joint hoping it would stabilize her. It did, thank fuck, within ten minutes she was sitting there grinning and not a word.

By the time she had come back to earth she was apologizing about her mood swings.

She was being very humble.

“Let’s set the tent up” I suggested. It was like flicking an invisible switch.

“What? Here? But I want a field, trees and a river... Not a fucking ditch beside a road. (Angry back again)

“It’s too late to start looking for your perfect field now Genie” She got out of the van and started jumping up and down. “It’s fucking tarmac! We can’t set a tent up on this fucking shit.” She did have a point but I wasn’t letting her get away with it.

“If you weren’t in smack land we would be on a nice campsite now, with trees, a river and a fucking toilet to piss in but we’re not so grin and bear it and shut the fuck up” She took this really well considering and things calmed down. By the time I got out of the van she had perched herself on a mound of white stone chippings which were placed to the right of the ‘ditch’ as Genie called it.

“You look like the Queen of Stones up there Genie. Bet you wish they were real”

“I wouldn’t have to move again in my life” she replied, “It would be heaven”

“Do you want another beer?”

“Of course I do. Why do you ask stupid questions?” This went straight over my head, I was used to it by now. She followed me back to the van and I passed her a beer.

“I need a hit”, she said and disappeared into the back of the van. I went for a walk. Why not? It was a beautiful summer’s night and I did feel uncomfortable around syringes smack and foil.

When I got back, she was sitting back on her mound. She stood up and raced down the mound towards me. When she reached me, she threw her arms around me and with a hug and kiss greeted me. You would think I had been gone for years….

Genie showing affection put me on red alert. She was wired. Anything could happen.

She handed me half a bag of smack, half a crack stone.

“Keep these till tomorrow.”

I wish she hadn’t done that. It always causes trouble.

Did you find us a field to sleep in?”

“No I wasn’t looking; we can sleep in the van”

“Ok” she said, “I’ll sort everything out”

The van was a pickup open back with a tarpaulin cover. A kind of mobile double bed. We would be warm and dry and if it got too warm we could always take the cover off. No rain was forecast.

Genie was sorting out sleeping arrangements@ there was piles of stuff all over the place. Bedding, clothing, food and about ten pairs of shoes all originally in four bags but now everywhere. And a needle and cotton to do some sewing in case she got round to it…. No chance of that.

“We need to have a wash now”. Here we go, Genie in mothering mode. This is a strange one. She just pushes her personalities on you, a kind of bullying, but mother bullying.

Organising, taking control. There has to be at least five or six different people in her head. Thank fuck they come out one at a time. But you can hear the others arguing for space or to be heard. Anyway, washing consisted of a handful of water and a babywipe. Genie informs me she is going to wash her face, then her arse then my face. I found this a tad annoying. Needless to say it didn’t happen. She was bored by now and went back to sorting out the piles she had built, folding and unfolding, always busy doing nothing.

I was in the front of the van drinking more beer. What the hell. We weren’t going anywhere.

Three lads appeared in the lay-by, they were pissed up There was no way they were going to get past Genie without her noticing.

“All right lads?” she said. They completely blanked her. To which she added, “Miserable fuckers” This reached them by the e time they were passing me.

“What the fuck was that?” one of them asked. I put my head out of the van window.

“That’s Genie” I replied. They hadn’t spotted me. I must have spooked them.

As pissed as they were, they didn’t hang about. Genie was still shouting abuse at them.

Beer and drugs were flowing for me but Genie was struggling. Not much left apart from what she had entrusted to me. I was hoping she wouldn’t ask>

Saved by the bell, my phone rang, it was for her thank fuck.

Her manner and her stance completely changed. I had not seen this one before. She was coy and gentle, which isn’t very often.

Midge was on the phone. Midge was her ex boyfriend. She worshipped him.

I carried on drinking and smoking draw. Genie was on the phone for about half an hour. When she had finished she asked me if I knew who it was. I said “Yes, it wasn’t rocket science”

“How come?”

It was someone important to her and there wasn’t a big list.

Her head was completely fucked by now and she forgot she needed a hit. She was in bits and kept falling asleep. This is called gouging, something I had never seen her do. She must have been low. She fell asleep on the top of her mound and I tried to wake her up. The only response I got was a grunt and “I must text Midge”. The green light on her phone shone on her face for about 30 seconds and died. So did she.

This happened about five times. On the fifth time I shouted at her. This got her attention. She looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car.

\"I need a piss” she said and disappeared behind the van.

All of a sudden she let out an incredible scream. She had just parked her arse on some nettles. I was no help, I just fell about laughing. The language was unbelievable.

At least she had forgotten about the contraband she had left with me. She struggled into the front of the van and found solace in re-burning the foil from earlier.

Like her, I had forgotten as well. My problem was, I couldn’t remember where I had hidden her drugs. Fuckit, it was late so I went to bed. Genie climbed into the back of the van about twenty minutes later. Still mumbling, she never shut up.

I lit a cigarette and passed it to her. This shut her up and she fell asleep within seconds. I never saw that cig again.

It was now my turn to try to get some sleep, but first, I had to try and close the tailgate of the van. After a bit of pushing and shoving and swearing, I managed it and finally settled down to sleep. Sealed in by the heavy tarpaulin cover it wasn’t long before it was warm and snug and I drifted away contentedly.

I wasn’t asleep long when I was woken by a tapping on the side of my head. My first reaction was to blame Genie, but she was fast asleep. So I moved about a bit, trying to get comfy and tried to get back to sleep. Then it happened again. This time on my face. It was cold, it was wet, and it was fucking water,

Our body heat was creating a nice little environment, more Genie’s than mine.

By the time the sun came up, the back of the van was steaming like a swamp.

I pushed open the tailgate, crawled out of the van and sat down beside it. Damp and cold I fell asleep. I woke up to a bright summers day, dry but knackered. You can’t have everything. Genie was still asleep, steaming. I’m surprised she wasn’t cooked.

Her feet were hanging out the back of the van. She looked like a dead body. It’s a good job no one came past. Anyway I left her there. At least she was quiet.

My first problem of the day (and I knew there would be more), find Genie’s drugs.

My head was so fucked from the draw, for the life of me I couldn’t remember.

My time was running out. There was movement in the back of the van.

I have seen Genie kick off like a spoilt child after losing a bag of drugs but that was in Manchester where it wasn’t a problem to get more.

This was a different kettle of fish.

Then, like a bolt of lightning hitting me, my memory came back. Not sure if it was the devil or god, but one of them told me. At least now I could relax for a bit.

Genie emerged from the back of the van in the same condition as I had earlier.

Piss wet through and steaming, she was timid but agitated. She needed a fix.

She kept complaining about her arse, it was sore. Most of last night had gone astray, as did most of her days lately.

I was looking forward to a coffee (my fix). This meant we had to go into town.

I gave Genie her drugs and set about the task of breaking camp.

I had just sealed the back of the van up, Genie reappeared, and yes, she dismantled everything I had achieved. One and a half hours later we were back on track.

We reached Settle and it was buzzing. It was as mad as fuck

Originally known as one of the oldest market towns in England, it really preferred to be called a village. The centre of Settle was its market square and it was full of motorbikes.

Worst case scenario. Hells Angels. Not so lucky. At least that would mean some kind of fun.

Remember I mentioned Middle England… Well this was it. Motorbikes worth more than most peoples yearly wage. Vanity at its highest. It would take a full cow just to make the leathers for just one of these fuckers. Just listening to these people would piss you off.

Genie loved motorbikes, she had one as a child in South Africa, and so made a beeline straight into the middle of them. It wasn’t long before there was trouble. She had got on one of the bikes. It wasn’t as though she was going to nick it. She came back over to the van, telling them they shouldn’t be so far up their own holes and she hoped they all crashed and burnt in hell. Her final quote was that she would see them there. To be honest, I was quietly proud of her.

The day was turning into a roaster and we both left the van heading for the tearoom, it was packed. I don’t do queuing very well, I get ratty. Genie was queue hopping now and doing everyone’s head in. I sent her outside.

Twenty minutes of queuing in monkey land and I finally got served. Two cappuccinos and two bacon butties were ordered. I took them outside. It didn’t take long to find Genie, she was terrorising an old couple and their dog. As I sat down Genie was in deep conversation with them about South Africa, her grandma, all sorts of things. It was a one way topic, she didn’t stop for breath until she spotted me sitting there. She introduced me to them. They looked scared to death.

The smell of bacon lured the dog over. It sat down in begging mode, a Yorkshire terrier that looked like a little rat.

“That’s supposed to be a dog you know” Genie said, passing it some of her sandwich. After wolfing it down, the dog turned to me. “No chance” I told it (I was starving). The couple were giving us looks of disgust anyway, but Genie had not spotted this. She informed the dog it was greedy and passed it some more of her bacon.

\"We don’t feed our dog from the table” the old lady piped up.

“What?” Genie asked and scowled over at her. Her husband decided he was brave enough to take Genie on.

“We don’t feed our dog from the table and would be obliged if you didn’t”

“It’s not your food and it’s not your table. It’s a bench and it’s my food” she responded, passing the dog more bacon.

This went down like a lead weight and the dog was summoned back by the couple. As all dogs will when getting attention and food, it stayed. The husband now had to retrieve it. As he approached, Genie looked up. His face was a picture as she let go of the dog and flicked its nose. It yelped and shot up into his arms.

\"You want locking up!” he informed her.

“You need to get a real dog, not a half starved rat! We would eat that in South Africa!\" she replied.

The couple gathered their stuff and left us to it.

With the bench to ourselves, Genie decided to spread out and empty the contents of her handbag. There was all sorts of crap, from nails and screws to half eaten pie. It was like a skip. Nobody came near us.

“Do you know what the problem is with you English” Genie asked me.

“Apart from the fact that I am Irish” I replied. (Not strictly true as I was born in England ) “Please tell me.”

“You don’t shag enough.”

“You what?”

“It’s true, every country I have been to they all shag. You have to get rid of your body fluids or you get al bunged up, and all English are bunged up.”

“Out of idle curiosity, what has that got to do with your intimidation of the couple that just left?”

“I didn’t intimidate them. Can I have another coffee and a cake?”

Genie was good at this. If you didn’t agree with what she believed, she would blank it and change the subject. I decided to let this one go and gave her three pounds foe two coffees and a cake. She got up and disappeared into the tearoom.

I gathered up all her belongings, avoiding her pins (syringes) and settled down to fifteen minutes of bliss. It didn’t last long. She came running back.

“Quick! We’ve got to go,” she said, pushing something into my hand.

For about point five of a second I thought Wayne had turned up. Then, looking over her shoulder, I saw one of the assistants from the tearoom come outside

Self preservation made me put her crap back in her bag so we could run straight away.

My heart didn’t stop pounding until we were back in the van.

When we had both calmed down, I asked her what she had done. Four cakes and two chocolate teddy bears. The bears were still in my hand, melted. They were for Anna, her daughter, who liked teddy bears. Their injuries during liberation were blamed on me. The fact it was a red hot day and we had to flee for our lives didn’t come into it. It was more disapproval than a bollocking so it didn’t matter.

The cakes were a different matter, she didn’t like any of them.

“These will do for Wayne as a present,” she said as we set off.

Genie needed charging up on a regular basis and she couldn’t do it where we were so we were looking for somewhere we wouldn’t be disturbed. She still wanted to be near a river. I knew just the place. An old cart crossing. The only people who would pass us there would be ramblers and our looks would keep them at bay. It was perfect, Genie could shoot up and I could chill.

We sat down beside the river armed with a picnic but nothing to drink. The last of the beer was flattened on the way. Guess who…

The food was spilt onto the grass and dissected into three portions. More presents for Wayne. By the time I was eating. Genie was fixing things to look good. I made a joint and starting writing this. Genie was texting away on her mobile. Ten minutes passed and she was in disarray.

“The bastards won’t go,” She said

“Who?”

“The text message.”

“Have you got a signal?”

“Don’t know. Have I?”

She passed me the phone, I looked. “That will be a no then.”

Enquiries were made into the status of my phone. Mine had a signal but no credit. She wasn’t impressed.

“If I go up higher, will that work?”

“I don’t know, try it.”

She did. Next time I saw her she was on top of a dry stonewall.

What I should have said was put your sim card in my phone but I had been climbing the walls with her for the past day and a half. Call me selfish if you want. I don’t care. I needed some peace.

An hour went past. The only communication between me and Genie was me asking how to spell a word.

I was getting restless. My writing was coming to a halt.

I asked her if she fancied a drink,

“Does a bear piss in the forest?” was her response

I took this as a yes and started packing our stuff away in the bag. Genie took this back to the van and returned with my camera. I had forgotten I had brought it.

It had a black and white film in it anyway, that was my preference.

Genie loved to pose and, if she could get naked, she was in her element.

She had been a lap dance in some foreign country, not sure which.

Anyway, she passed me the camera and started getting undressed.

“What are you doing?”

“I want you to have a nice sexy picture of me, and with my olive skin and those lovely yellow flowers it will be perfect!”

She never listens to me and I had to remind her it was a black and white film

“Oh yes, I must remember that” she said. She took the camera off me and went down to the river and started taking pictures of the water, still half dressed.

It took quite a while to get her back to the van. The introduction of the word drink did it.

Arriving at the pub, I received the usual from the locals. I was asked if I was an electrician, (very original!) They had not spotted Genie, she had fucked off to the other side of the bar and once again emptied her bag onto the table. I wish she wouldn’t do that. Two pints of beer were ordered and the landlord informed me there was a beer garden out the back if the locals were annoying us.

“Can you tell?” I asked. He just winked.

So I shouted Genie and we moved outside. I thought I was getting grief. When they saw her they went wild. She just called them a bunch of wankers and something in African. We sat down outside but it wasn’t long before the locals were gathering at the door for another look.

Do you remember that half eaten pie of Genies? She lobbed it right at them “Fuck off you wankers”

They disappeared like rats off a sinking ship.

“Now you know why I carry crap around with me. It comes in handy.” She said

Genie takes drink the way she takes most drugs, by the balls, squeezing them dry.

I have seen her take smack, speed, stone and shitloads of it. All topped off with alcohol. She was a bit confused but still standing.

I decided to let her read what I had written up to now. To hear her giggle, meant I hadn’t offended her, though she did call me a cheeky fucker when she had read it.

Our time in Settle was coming to an end, we had time for one more drink and Genie offered to go to the bar. What the hell, we hadn’t been barred yet and I knew she could hold her own ground. I gave her ten pounds. She returned with two pints and ten packs of crisps but no change. She was squirreling money needed for drugs back home.

I said nothing. I had a budget of eighty pounds for the trip and so far it had cost me sixty. As far as I was concerned, I was up.

When we got back to the van, Genie took her last needle in the leg, the only place she had veins left to hit. It must have been a weak hit because she was asleep by the time we hit the motorway.

Arriving back at my flat… Guess what… Wayne was waiting. He had been there all day. No time concept. He had a tenner and, with what Genie had squirreled from me, the drug train was rolling again. I didn’t see her for another two days. My experience in Settle with Genie was good. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Settle was coming to an end, we had time for one more drink and Genie offered to go to the bar. What the hell, we hadn’t been barred yet and I knew she could hold her own ground. I gave her ten pounds. She returned with two pints and ten packs of crisps but no change. She was squirreling money needed for drugs back home. I said nothing. I had a budget of eighty pounds for the trip and so far it had cost me sixty. As far as I was concerned, I was up. When we got back to the van, Genie took her last needle in the leg, the only place she had veins left to hit. It must have been a weak hit because she was asleep by the time we hit the motorway. Arriving back at my flat… Guess what… Wayne was waiting. He had been there all day. No time concept. He had a tenner and, with what Genie had squirreled from me, the drug train was rolling again. I didn’t see her for another two days. My experience in Settle with Genie was good. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.


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