Tag Archives: drugs

Fraser’s Surrender

20 Sep

It was 10:21 in the morning, Hollywood, May 11, 1996. The heat of the spring sun was building all over the city and shone down through eucalyptus branches on the pitiful face of Solomon Fraser, who lay strewn like a dead body, just off of the sidewalk. His visage was pale and lifeless. His jeans were falling down around his hips and he was wearing only athletic socks and a T-shirt otherwise on his sinewy body.

Sol is about six foot tall and “prettier” than a man should be, with thick, dark auburn hair, fair skin and hazel eyes, one of which is just slight bit more lazy than the other, giving his mug unique, strong character. Even as he sleeps this frontage is in a constant state of expression, ever-shifting through a panoply of masks.

His taught frame has an athletic look. His hands bear the scars of one who reaches without caution too often. On this day he appeared to wear something between a smirk and a smile, covering the desolate sadness of his spirit, always covering. At the time, he looked about twenty-three years old but was actually twenty-nine. He has always looked younger than his age, significantly.

There were no visible traces of ancient pedigree, aristocracy, finer education, intellectualism, heirlooms, old Alban wealth, Salons D’arts, Waterford, Minton, Royal crown Derby, Locharron Tweeds, 17th century silver hallmarks, coats of arms, or the “haut monde” backweave of his life beyond the Hollywood affectation and costume, unless one could look more deeply. Beyond the shameless childishness of his deep spirit, a spirit nurtured and armored by mother’s beliefs. He’d always played in a private game of disguising his beginnings. He acted in the conservative Scots tradition in which the appearance of having or process of making money was fraught with shame, not to be spoken of, “declasser” en francais, if one did.

“You can do anything Sol, you can be anything you want to, if you want to badly enough, if you believe you can. You are a Fraser… and as such, can conquer all.” But, at a glance, there was nothing beyond the demoralized sot, a toff down the skaup, stoney street. In completion, any idea of his potential, all belief in himself vanished, powerless.

His head lay hanging partly off of the curb. His eyes began to open, no more than slits, to try to fight the brightness of the sun and suddenly to see the front right wheel of an oncoming bread truck approaching quickly. The driver honked the horn as he and his partner laughed at Sol, whom they thought a pathetic street-urchin to torment. Sol quickly realized he was not in his bed, or anywhere near it. He rolled out of the way immediately, but sat up slowly, with much effort.

His body ached. It felt as though he had been badly beaten. He searched for his wallet, which was gone when he saw that his boots had been stolen from his feet, as was his denim jacket from his body. He found none of the emblems of his life in his pockets; no keys, no money, nor any explanation  in his mind. He did a balancing act to get to his feet and began to walk home.

He was somewhere between Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard, on Las Palmas Avenue, in the heart of the seedier backroutes. Stripped of his ruffian image, He scuffed his feet along looking weak, headed to his apartment, vulnerable and not out of place. He kept thinking to look for clues or find someone he might ask as to how he got there, what happened, maybe someone had seen it, but he couldn’t muster the social skills to ask any of those hanging around.

By the time he had walked a hundred yards he could not tell how far it had been, or from where he had awakened and walked mere minutes before. Feelings of desperation were beginning to build inside him. As he crossed Hollywood Boulevard he started to sweat and panic. The noises of the city and the urgency of the cars and pedestrians were making him sick. The world was spinning around him, waiting for him to drop out of its way. He felt alone and lost. He started to search his mind for pieces to the puzzle. How had this happened?

He had gone out to the street last night, like so many nights before in search of drugs. Nothing weird about that. He did that five or six times on an average night, looking for cocaine, processed to a rock form that was smoked, he refused to refer to as “crack” but in a joking manner… He had done it for about five years; too many times to count. He always made it home with a handful of the little pebbles.

Why should last night have been any different, aside from the ridiculous level of drunkenness he had achieved? It didn’t make sense, but reality was starting to take effect. He stumbled along as his mind found it’s way to the grips of his mother complex and all she’d ever shaped in him about his life’s possibilities, how much faith she had bestowed in him. To the father he now resembled and emulated rebelliously as answer to that, and the family and all the hope they had for his great rise to world renown, to one day continue in the family tradition of bringing great honor on the family name, as all feats his father had been unable to perform. The great tree, like an unwavering oak, from which he had sprung and fallen. So far from it’s “entitled”, indomitable roots. These were the thoughts that always came with his present brand of remorse. The ones with which he could really tear himself down. That had been the central game in constant production.

His mother had begun telling him in his teen years that if he stayed on his path of carelessness and irresponsibility, drinking too much and thinking too little, he would end up just like his father. He would have nothing more than a bright and promising life flushed down the toilet. She told him that he might have a genetic predisposition that put him at risk, which sounded so enticing at the time. Whatever and wherever dad was, it’s got to be better than being here, or he wouldn’t do it, right. She had been correct, as was the usual case too often lately.

He wallowed in thoughts of all that he had become and not become. Suddenly, the urge to vomit overtook him, pulling him to his knees just near the corner of Franklin Avenue and Las Palmas, dry heaving and retching, producing nothing but bile. He hadn’t eaten much of anything in days.

As the relentless sun bore down upon him he began to weep and sob. His cries grew louder and more violent as he tilted his head aloft to God, the universe, or whatever power would hear him. Screams tore through his throat. The far away and broken screams of a young man who had burned his life to the ground and knelt, whimpering like a baby, in the smoldering wreckage and grimy soot. “Whyyy???…Hooowww????… Goooooooooddd, tell me Hooowww.” He cried. He knew he was far away from God. But God wasn’t the one who had taken the distance.

He stumbled to his feet again, feeling little stones through his socks, now worn through to the skin at the heels and toes. He teetered home trying to appear to be anything other than the wretched soul that he was, climbing clumsily over the security gate and up the stairs to his unlocked apartment. He crumpled to the floor like a waif in the corner, to sleep without dreams for the next eighteen hours. The recent three-day run had reached its pitiful, incomprehensible and demoralizing end and the sight of him curled like an animal in the grand spaciousness of the top floor loft apartment he owned, looked more as if he were a drug driven criminal who had passed out on the job.

Upon waking, his mind would not relent in its search for what psychological corners he had turned, specifically, that led him to his eventual demise. Was it too late to save anything from the wreckage? He had pondered this thought many mornings before, but this day was different.

Then came a moment of frightening clarity. He remembered, regretfully, that this had, sadly, been his plan, and that everything had gone according to it. He was having a hard time now remembering what was so romantic about the path he had chosen. His problems were of his own making. He thought that being aware of it, being the conscious chooser gave him impunity. There was no one, nothing outside of himself to blame, it had all been, and still was, up to him.

Sol had always stressed an acquired theory that the course of life, well his life anyway, was dictated in part by its long series of defining moments. As he grew older and made more decisions for himself the truth of this statement became fact. For the choices he would make, he told himself, he would gladly accept the full consequences, but those choices were an effort to create himself to be something that was so against his true nature that they destroyed his character. He had not planned for that. He knelt and prayed, again, and again, feeling the guilt of foxhole prayers, not leaving his home for days. Inspiration came.

He came to the thought, through all of his self-pity, that his trials were, in actuality, small, compared to what his ancestors had endured. That he had lived ungratefully in the fruits of all of their labors, biting the hands that fed him. He began to feel as if all of their efforts would have been in vain if he were to give up the grail quest now. All of the power, real or imagined, of the Scottish Highland tales he had been taught, welled up in him as a driving force.

He would not give in, he decided. He would root out the problem or die trying, just as his forefathers would have done. It was the only option. For a moment his cynicism had him laughing internally at himself and the “help me now, Jesus” nature of his thoughts, but what else was there? He prayed to God for help to do right by those who had brought him here, and to honor what they had sacrificed to do so.

Sol chose a standard Judeo-Christian concept of God: the old man, gray beard, omniscient, omnipotent idea of the Holy Father that comforted him. He enjoyed it. He was not interested in spending time inventing an image that would work for everybody else, mainly because that’s a fruitless effort. This God would guide him, if sought, he was told and did believe it.

He holed up in his apartment, poring over his past for what his life’s defining moments had been, he found that there were many more than just a few, more than one, or two per year. The fact was, that since his ability to be honest with himself had not been completely lost or forgotten in the mess of his life, he, eventually, was able to see that; in essence, when it came down to it, every moment had been a defining moment.

Sol began to see that the tools for living he had learned to view as a safety or a comfort were exactly the opposite. His world became an unlivable place not because of what it was, but because of what he perceived it to be and how he behaved behind that perception. His mother had always said, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” His life had to become about getting a whole new set of tools. One can imagine the difficulties involved. Sol is a constant reminder to many that there are no advantages, no amount of money, privilege, intelligence, charm or good looks that will necessarily save one from one’s own mental obsession, character defects, allergy of the body and spiritual dis-ease, or malady. That his entire story has been the revelation of Spirit, by Spirit, for the benefit of Spirit, to give back to Spirit, is a belief that came after much careful consideration, by the grace of the same named. No one is not expected to adopt that as his or her own belief. The broken young man who knelt and prayed would not have believed it either.

©2014 Stratherrick Publishers/Brent David Fraser, all rights reserved


Dope Never Helped Anybody…

21 Mar

“Dope never helped anybody sing better or play music better or do anything better. All dope can do for you is kill you – and kill you the long, slow, hard way.” -Billie Holiday

Cheap Disguise

31 Dec

Why such a blue expression?
This cover by this careless hand?
A hundred faces, all are me
Some are scared of darkness, some are magical and grand,
They all conceal a part of me

And each one has a name, excels at his own game,
And waits for God to move the world along…

Hey am I okay? what should I say?
That all the day I just go dreaming on?
Hey am I alright? I cry at night
And I laugh to hide my eyes,
Because I thought I was so wise,
And my tears are just another cheap disguise

Why such a cold confusion?
A sly perversion brings this pain
No truth is ever brought to light,
No moral courage in me can change what all my sins be
No guiding principle can make me clean tonight

So I pray and play til dawn, and curse this trip I’m on
With leaky faucet eyes that need to run…

Hey am I okay? what should I say?
That all the day I just go dreaming on?
Hey am I alright? I cry at night
And I laugh to hide my eyes,
Because I thought I was so wise,
And my tears are just another cheap disguise

©2005 Brent David Fraser, all rights reserved


31 Dec

Considering the new, the old, the in between, I go
To take a look at where I’ve been and where I’ve come to now
Another masquerade has ended and I’m off to run again
Invent a new one I’ll turn hope into again

I’m on this great divide, watching ships go by
Passing back and forth, I stiffen up and stay the course

I have no big surprises, just quiet compromises
I have as much as I would need, oh everybody knows
You’ve watched with puzzled glances, how I had all my chances
I never seemed to get there, but the ride has sure been sweet

In this game where I don’t know how to compete
And this history I seemed destined to repeat
Is this story I just can’t seem to complete

I’ve pondered every angle, every moment that defined me
I’ve introspected till I could turn in no more
Another made up personality would be the way to go
But I’ve forgotten now which one was me and what was show

And in this great divide, I’ve flagged down every ride
Missing every time the one that would be most sublime

© 2010 brent david fraser, all rights reserved


31 Dec

i turn around to see the moon, it’s dripping in the sound, like a warm cookie trickles tea,
i butter up my heart and bundle up my hands with holy socks that stunt the gesture of my plea,
along 5th avenue the monorail’s a snake through the wet snow that won’t hide my trails of tears,
my body’s tired like the breath of 20 slaves, and my dead man steps are colder than my fears,
but, maybe i’ll run….maybe i’ll run….

i start to drag, the pace is slower than the pulsing of my blood, like washing waves of wasted youth,
of all the corners and the crossroads of the world, mine is littered up with haunted graves of truth,
along 5th avenue the monorail’s a rope and i hang, while the cutting wind whips me around,
my body’s shoveled all it’s fire for me tonight, sweet libation’s liberation can’t be found,
but, maybe i’ll run….maybe i’ll run

a cruiser rolls, a bum extolls, a hooker polls potential takers, as the night throws down its cape,
i hum a funeral dirge for both parts of my soul, as the angel half is eaten by the ape,
along 5th avenue, the monorail’s asleep, like a grand ship that moors in ports of sin,
my body’s groping foor the mending of my sails, and i’m praying for my real life…to begin…
but, maybe i’ll run….maybe i’ll run

copyright 2010, brent david fraser, all rights reserved

My Artful Shame

30 May

It’s 11:11 PM, July 2, 2002, Hollywood. It’s a bright light. I wince, I rub my wet face, and shield from the glow that spills onto me from the source where brick wall meets brick wall. A truck horn honks. My knees hurt. I’m wearing my kilt, revealing bloody scrapes. I hear the distant rumble of cars. I feel the festive emanations from around the corner of this dark littered-alleyway-pit in the back of The Power House bar, on Highland Avenue, where the strains of Merle Haggard sing out, “I’ve got swinging doors, a jukebox, and a barstool” trickle through the back door, ajar.
I’m coming to consciousness in a blackout, near Highland Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, and I have QUESTIONS. I see that I’m with my guitar player, Derek, who looks like a pasty scarecrow with a crooked Dracula smile. From what I can gather so far, I’m sure we’ve come to Hollywood for drugs, no mystery there. I know it’s the middle of the driest year since 1877, and I wonder how long I’ve been standing in this rain. I’m pretty soaked, but it’s refreshing. I’m happy about the downpour.
I’m starting to get a feel for the gig. I recall, we’ve been on about a 3 day run, so I’m unaware of exactly where I’ve been and most of what I’ve been doing for the last day and a half or so. I glance at my watch, to see bloody hands pointing a gun, not a pistol, a rifle. The hands looks like mine. They are mine. What the fuck are my hands doing with a gun pointed at anyone? I hear yelling and crying.
Derek’s shouting at a teenage Mexican boy, who’s crying on his knees with his arms up, his tears seem pretty forced, but what the hell am I doing with this rifle? I’ve never aimed a gun at anyone in my whole life, that I know of, I don’t even know if it’s loaded. I hope it is, considering my situation.
I struggle to get a feel for the game and what play I might be running now. I remember now, I left the Fraser Clan gathering at the family ranch east of San Juan Capistrano a couple of days or so ago, with my little white poodle, Bela. We’d spent last weekend as a family, with members of The Clan Fraser Association For California. I was turning this very anticipated imminent scene over and over in the back of my mind through catch up conversations about the weather, the environment, etc. I sped up here from the Ortega Hills in full Highland dress, in record time, kilt and all, and couldn’t waste time changing clothes before coming out here on this conquest. I’m sticking out like a misplaced time traveler and paranoid about it, as i haven’t changed since.
The hunger spawned plan comes back to me. I brought my ranch rifle to town, and met Derek. I recall that our design was to rob a drug dealer of his drugs, a crime we could easily get away with, because what dealer would report that? I think Bela must be waiting in the car, so if anything happens to me here, she’s fucked.
The kid’s telling me the rest of his drugs are in the drainpipe of the building and Derek goes to get them, telling the kid to just be careful, don’t move, he won’t get hurt and he shouldn’t have tried to rip us off. I hear that and now I’m pissed. I don’t even know what happened, or if Derek’s just making it up, but if someone tried to rip us off I’m angry about it. I don’t care if I did just get here. I start screaming, “You motherfucker, you stupid fucker, stupido, peligro de muerte, you could die, nobody tries to fuck me!!!”
There’s a wad of money painted with blood on the ground next to my heeled black logger boot. We take the drugs, about a half ounce of rock cocaine, pick up the money and split to the car, Derek knows where it is. Bela is there jumping and wiggling around, happy to see me. I could throw up. I’m shit. It makes me gurgle a sad laugh.
We hit the freeway, and the pipe, and I page Jose, my regular dealer, on our way downtown to trade some of the stolen crack for heroin, for Derek. We did it, we won. I have to laugh the whole time, I have to or cry and top myself, through replaying the insanity of the scene that is not lost on me. I cover my horror. It’s an adrenaline riot. I pull off the freeway and we try to compose ourselves as we pull up near MacArthur Park.
I think we’re fucking crazy going downtown for drugs, I hate it down there. Derek went down there all the time for heroin, but I rarely went downtown, it’s way too fucking nuts down there. I would when I had to. We’re hanging around MacArthur Park waiting for Jose to meet us. He lives near the park and when he was not already up in Hollywood, he would only meet down there.
I see Jose’s car, full of his homies, pull up to let him out, he’s kind of looking around nervously and walking a fast pace, chubbing and jiggling. I’m pretty sketchy as it is and we ready the drugs for trade and start our looking-the-other-way-wander up to him. I glimpse the confusion regarding my appearance on his face turn into a sort of sneer as he hangs under the dripping streetlamp, looking disinterested and innocent. I am aware that I must look pretty peculiar in my Highland getup, but one of the great things in this underworld is that is no one needs an explanation.
“Ain’ you cold in a thkirt, man?” he asks with his thick Mexican lisp.
I show him how much I’m holding for the deal and say, “It’s a kilt not a skirt” to a face with no recognition. I hand the crack, he spits a number of heroin balloons out of his mouth, and he drops them into Derek’s hand, telling me to put the rest of my crack in my mouth. I hate that, because it’s probably been in some dealer’s mouth at one point, just like the heroin. Then with his usual, “Jou page me when jou wan more, Alastdare.” Out here I’m “Alastdare” and they always know the good customers.
Another car comes over the hill, lights off, cruising slower than it should be. It looks bad. Jose turns to see the slow cruiser approaching as his homies duck in their vehicle, and he motions and yells to Derek and me to dive behind an ivy bush that’s draped covering a brick wall. As shots ring out, hitting the wall and sidewalk nearby, the lowrider peels off with shouts in Spanish, warning death. They’re such a cliché. I can’t figure out if the attempt has anything to do with our stick up job in Hollywood just about an hour earlier, or not, but either way we have to get the fuck out of here.
I ask “what the fuck was that?”, like I could not know, and Jose laughs saying, “Jou just been in a drive by, man, jou can tell all jou friends.” his lisp impeded by a wry smile. I have to admit I’m a little self satisfied, but at the same time disappointed that we can’t really brag about this adventure to anyone who matters.
Derek decides to shoot up right there behind the wall and has his rig and a bottle of Evian with him to do just that. I’m sweating and wired with adrenaline. I love it. I love the fact that SOME THINGS are happening. Things out of the ordinary in the shit that rolls by, day in, day out.
I hop back over the wall and I’m about to head back to the car to wait for Derek and get smoke, as Jose rounds the corner out of sight, when a fucking police cruiser rolls up. Derek stays behind the wall and I figure since he nearly overdoses every time he shoots up, this must be the time he’s finally killed himself and I’m about to be stuck with that mess. It’s one of the only times I took Jose’s warning to put the plastic wrapped cocaine pebbles in my mouth, for just this reason.
I swallow the rocks, hoping we don’t get so hung up with the cops that it keeps us beyond the time I can throw them back up. The police come up to question me. Two officers. Crew cuts, muscled like gay guys. “We heard gunshots come from around here. You seen anything?” I know they know I have and just want to see if I’ll walk into a trap.
“I thought I heard it. Didn’t see nothin’.”
“What’s a white boy in a skirt doin’ out here at this hour? You buying drugs down here?”
“It’s not a skirt, it’s a kilt. I’m uh, homeless, looking for a place to sleep.”
“Come over here and put your hands on the vehicle, please.” It’s always a “vehicle” with cops. It’s never just a car.
I comply with the hands on vehicle drill, and the cop from the passenger side starts to search me. I’m thinking I’m going down when he finds my car keys, but they are no longer in my pants’ pocket. He looks at my ID for an address. It’s my old license.
“Bel Air. Fancy neighborhood, Mr. Fraser”, he says, sounding like as big a backward dumbshit as anyone does who uses the word fancy that way. I explain that I haven’t lived there since my ex and I broke up and I’ve ended up downtown through a bad chain of shitty-luck events. It’s such a predictably full of bull story, but they can’t find squat.
The driver cop tells his partner I must have swallowed my drugs. I’m thinking, “So what if I did? Too late now.”
“Is that right?”, he asks me, “Did you swallow the drugs?”
“No way, you guys are crazy. I don’t do drugs.” Yeah.
“Don’t wise-ass me. We’ll take you downtown.”
“We are downtown” flies out of my mouth before I can suck it back in.
“Look Mr. Fraser, unless you can throw up and prove you don’t have drugs in your stomach, you’re going down. You better start puking”, says the Village People reject.
“Oh man. I don’t believe this. You really want me to stick my fingers down my throat and chuck?”, I ask to their already nodding heads.
I hunch over and start the process. I’m moving my fingers all around and twisting them and pushing them farther down, over acting it. Nothing’s happening and I fear that if I don’t produce some puke, I’m locked up, if drugs come up, I’m locked up.
Finally, some spew comes up and triggers a little more on its way. I can feel some pieces of crack in it and I think I’m successfully disguising choking them back down, I don’t look at the cops. All I can think as the driver cop starts to inspect the vomit is how hard it’s going to be when I really want to get the stuff up and out of me. He pushes through my yak with his shoe and finds nothing. They both say I didn’t try hard enough through my solemn oath that I have swallowed no drugs.
“Don’t sleep here, go to a shelter. Get off the street. You could get killed out here.” They get in the cruiser and drive off as I thank them, wanting to assure them I would have no idea how to find a shelter, even if I wanted to, but I zip it.
I turn like I’m leaving until they round the corner, then I double back and hop over the ivy wall to see if Derek is still breathing, he’s laying down and looks up at me with a peaceful grin. I’m feeling around, wait, I think, got them. My car keys. I hustle back to the car for my flashlight, then hustle back over the ivy wall. I chug down the rest of the Evian water. Now the tough part. I get down on hands and knees and revisit the gag technique, going rougher, no acting, burying my fingers deeper than I did for the cops until I’ve thrown up everything in me. Derek starts to get a sort of contact urge to vomit.
It’s like a workout. I’m dripping now, dizzy, most of all disgusted at my third eye view what I’m doing. I start to cry, picking all the pieces out of the watery vomit and dirt while Derek tries to comfort me. We hustle back to the car to huddle and smoke, and laugh at my tears. Relief. Glad the pipe and bloody money were in the ashtray, not my sporran (satchel), or I’d be in the clink. The caboose. The tank. The cooler.
We start peering 360 degrees, around the outside of the car, checking for those cops. Suddenly the idea of crouching on the car’s floor seems ridiculous. I see something and begin to ask Derek what seems like a coherent question, “What is that crawling around under the seat, a coffee bean? No, a coffee bean couldn’t crawl, I know that, but there it is crawling around like a beetle. . . which turns to. . . Four score and seven. . . to the flag of the. . . pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon. . . Scotch Buy, it’s not fancy, but it sure is good. . . da do ron ron. . . fuckin’ can’t say that to me, I’m the fuckin’ president of this star ship. . . oh God, how could you, how could you. . . looka him, he’s bleedin up-ova-ere-ma. . . er fuckin’ said that, nev. . . we’ll be busted for sure.
We decide it’s best to hit a motel, and know just the place. We have enough shit to carry us for the night. We head back to Hollywood and get a room in a shit hole near Sunset and Highland, and like flies to dung the dwellers there start knocking on our door not 10 minutes after we settle in. My mood has shifted. I want out of this whole fucking scene. Out for good.
While traversing between to be or not to be, but without the personal moxy that a glorious suicide requires, a sickly 134 pound shell of me sits cluster fucked in the dark corner of our cracked-out-Sunset-Boulevard-trashy-hovel-motel sucking on a glass pipe in complete languor over sweet lie exchanges with our lower-companion-shot-out-low-rate-lipstick-smeared hookers and their amateur-played-out-no-game pimps, depressing needle plungers into bruised arms, vomiting out the bathroom window into the alleyway, all of us clammy and blissfully near death, or on the nod, Derek, in the corner opposite to mine, fluttering between flat line and vegetable and, which is worse, all while my tiny teacup, Bela, shivers nervously, waiting in the car for me to drive us home to the family ranch. We do that until just before dawn, then crash on pills, for about an hour and fifteen. I wake up pretty early no matter what, usually. I shake Derek to awaken him and tell him we have to go. We gather shit and split, leaving stragglers from the night’s doings.

– excerpt from “A Highland Heart” ©2010 brent david fraser, all rights reserved

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