RIP America: A Story of Us

By: Ernie Hurt

Within the last couple months or so, I’ve learned more about myself than I could have ever imagined. I rediscovered talents that id long given up on. I’ve come to terms with who I am and also where I want to go with my life. At this point of my life, I believe I have had sufficient time to reflect on myself and as well as my peers.

Throughout adult hood, I seem to have gone down a much different path that most sane, normal people would have avoided with all their might. The way I see it, since 18 or 19 years of age, I have walked the fringes of society. Not quite an outlaw and no less than a citizen. I tell myself that I’ve stayed in the grey area of life, mingling with good American apple-pie eating folks as well as drug dealers and users, while not falling into either sect. As we all know the best stories are always left untold and there are places that we could never fathom.

The people I’ve met from one chat to another have been varied and unique in their own way. But be warned, as the stories I write are true from my day to day. Of course I’ve changed names to protect the guilty, and to cover my ass in the rare scenario that they should read this…
In the course of my yesterday, I was confronted with the daunting task of finding some cannabis.

As I live in a state that has merely decriminalized small gifts of Marijuana, and strictly prohibits the sale I will tell you I was going to “acquire” some reefer. I know a few people to handle this situation but all were busy with their holiday goings on, so I decided to stop by a trailer park on a balmy evening. The couple I was to see was almost middle aged, and over all decent people. They had two boys and a couple dogs to round out the little family unit. They were also full time drug dealers. I only use that term because they indeed sold various actual drugs, not just weed.

When I pulled into their parking lot I noticed their car wasn’t there, but I decided to stop anyways, as I did need some bud. I parked The Great White (My 1997 Monte Carlo) and knocked on the door. A young lady about 17 or 18 answered and I asked if Jack was home. She said he would be back anytime, and that he was picking up Jill from work. She works at a dollar store so they have a paper trail.

I sat patiently petting one of their dogs for about 10 minutes before they pulled in. They were both distraught when they came through the door. Jack proceeded to keep it all business, asking what I needed. While he weighed out my gift, he proclaimed he was headed to rehab and was proudly out of the dope game, as he referred to it. Instead of following the rabbit hole and asking this mad man why, I just relaxed and packed a bowl as a gratuity for my gift. He claimed he was packed and ready to go. He only needed to get high.
With the smoke session concluded I decide to hang out for a minute if only to study these crazed beast in their own environment. With Jill pacing the house yelling profanity’s and Jack checking his rehab bag for a tooth brush I felt that I couldn’t find better entertainment on a major cable channel. Jack had left and Jill settled in to her usual night of drug use and self-loathing. Her son had put on some movie and I was casually watching it, trying not to cut and run just when the tension had reached its peak. She began telling me news that a mutual friend was to become a father.

Ironically the same person she was talking about showed up not 15 minutes later. Much to our surprise he was there to see some pills. Now this guy is the most wound up individual I know, possibly in part to the copious amounts of drugs he does. He began telling us how excited he was about becoming a father and he was going to be a great father. He then went into how he acquired the pills he had for sale. Apparently, his girlfriend’s sister had swindled the local emergency room and didn’t know where to get rid of them. Jill bought them to add to her own personal stash. Not 30 seconds of selling them he was out the door with a flash, leaving us dazed and confused. After smoking another bowl, he returned with pinned pupils and an itchy face. With the opiate flooding his veins, he came to terms with the fact he had just spent money that wasn’t his. With a lie and a frown he was able to borrow money from his enabling grandmother.

 

From the looks of her sarcastic nods I could tell it was not the first time she had bailed him out. They finally left to pay his debt and I figured it was time I should be leaving. Every time I prepared to leave another customer would walk in and I would just watch the daily goings on for a small time drug dealer. I find people like this to be fascinating. It’s like Betty Crocker meets Breaking Bad with a twisted, dull never changing plot.
In my mind, the stories of nobodies from Appalachian Ohio can be as romantic as well a written novel if viewed with the right set of eyes. Most of America doesn’t know the despair of small town U.S.A. Sure a few news headlines may have brought us to think that all tiny, low income towns were the same. I can tell you this is not true. I believe people from all parts of our country should read this and expand their sense of place. Poverty has driven somewhat functioning people to the point where life really doesn’t matter.

Every Village or hick town from coast to coast has a seedy underbelly, rife with a secluded drug culture. Their story is as intriguing as any National Geographic television program on Chicago’s ghettos. A  40 year old mother who openly uses and sells drugs in front of her kids like its nothing. A 19 year old junkie proclaiming love of his 4 week pregnant girlfriend that he’s only known for 4 months. Sad tales of lost souls that no one will ever know about. Their deaths from age or overdose will only be an obituary in a paper that only 30 people will read.

I plan to write more stories about these same type people, in an attempt to make sense of a world I view on a regular basis.