Drugs Bedroom Block (text and audio), by Karl Parkinson

Speed and E’s were the drugs I fell in love with next. 

A wrap of speed swallowed or snorted and you’re at it for hours.
7:30 am and still up. Drinkin’ the last of the duty free cans of Fosters we bought six for a fiver from Tony around the next block. Smokin’ the last joint to bring us down. Sweatin’ in the dawn. Hoarse from the singin’. Then the E’s came in and we were hooked, every weekend we would get a few pills each and a bag of cans and a lump of hash between us. Georgie, Jimmy, Rooner, Tommy and his brother Stewie and me all in the small bedroom:
The radio playin’ The doors, The Stone roses, The Verve, REM. No tops on, dancin’ in a ring in the small space, smoke all around, huggin’ and cheek kissin’. Deepest conversations you ever had in your life and right then in the middle of the most profound moment bang you forget what you were on about and it’s gone and you don’t care, you just spark up another spliff and heavens in the room. The world outside doesn’t matter, wars don’t matter, poverty don’t matter, sex don’t matter, only this room and these people and this music matters. The come down is a slump in a chair and unmatched stillness. Silence like the bottom of the Universe. Sleep comes up from within you, into your limbs and through your eyes and wraps you in its embrace. No dreams. No movement. No Blocks.


The smoke is thick, three joints are burnin’ and been passed around. Cans of Dutch Gold are scattered about: The bookshelf, the floor, the chest of drawers, Tommy Doyle is drinkin’ from one and sittin’ on one of the green armchairs. Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues blasts loud through the air, I’m singin’
“Johnny’s in the basement mixin’ up the medicine, I’m on the pavement thinkin’ ’bout the government” as I throw a dart at the board it hits the rim of the bullseye bounces back and lands beside Georgie’s foot, “Wooahhh! That nearly stuck in me foot again!” Rooner’s playin’ guitar along to Dylan’s song, his face intensely concentrated like a gladiator about to deliver a death blow to a fallin’ opponent, speed runnin’ through his body like Red Rum at the Grand National. Liam’s round face is red and makes his head look like a big hairy cherry with a joint comin’ out of it, he smiles drunkenly.
The door opens slowly, the small head of a five-year-old boy with blonde almost white hair and blue eyes pops in “I’m comin’ in, let us in Kenny” he walks in wearin’ spiderman pyjamas and his belly showin’ “Alright Charlo!” say Georgie and Rooner. “Smokin’ the hash are yis?”
“Yeah we are, now get out, ya can’t be in here,”
“No Kenny let me stay for five minutes,”
“Only five minutes, go and sit on the bed, up the top where Rooner is.”
Charlo runs and jumps on the bed, sits down and grabs a lighter that’s lyin’ on it.
“Give me that ya crazy little fucker,” Rooner snatches the lighter from him.
“Messin’ all ready, that’s it out, OUT!”
Charlo grabs at the head board as I take him by the waist.
Charlo kicks, twists, grabs shouts “NO! NO! NO!” struggles with me like an unwanted cat about to be drowned by its owner. He hangs there and sees Georgie’s head upside down sayin’ “See ya later Charlo.”

A knock on the window brings Georgie to his feet and he goes to answer it, an enormous cloud of smoke floats out of the open door in to the hall. I walk back into the room drinkin’ from a just opened can of Dutch Gold, followed by Georgie and his cousin Shaun who sways into the room and says
“Gis a blow a one a dem joints will yiz?”
Everyone starts to laugh and holler and yeahhhhearrhhh!
“Sit down there Shaun, de yea wanna can?”
“No, I’m a bollix, I wis down in The Furry Glen, had about nine pints, just came up te say hello and get a blow of a joint, before I go up and go te bed for work in de mornin’.”

“Here make one and light it up” Rooner says as he hands Shaun the hash box.
I stand over the radio for ten seconds thinkin’ what to put on next, press the eject button then change the CD , the disk spins and the first drumbeat of Oasis’s ‘Live Forever’ comes through the speakers, heads lift, fingers twitch and are placed on imaginary guitar strings, throats are cleared, and everyone sings
“Mayyyyyyyybbbbbbeeeeeeeeee I don’t really wanna know how yer garden grows, cause I just wanna fly…

First Drug is an extract from The Blocks by Karl Parkinson, forthcoming from New Binary Press.