He told me it wouldn’t hurt, not one single bit. He told me I wouldn’t feel a thing, a quick in and out, and that’d be it. Simple. Easy-peasy lemon squeezy. No big deal, he said. Plus, I could make a quick buck, a fast fifty. I needed the money, God knows. I was fresh out of CDs to hock, and my folks had changed their locks again. What the hell? I said sure, I mean, when you’re at the bottom, what’ve ya got to lose? I asked all the needed questions, ya know. Can I take a shower? How ‘bout somethin’ to eat? Fresh clothes? How ‘bout some shoes? Got any tampons? Ya givin’ out condoms? How ‘bout clean needles? I mean, fifty bucks is great, but it wasn’t gonna score me a smacker AND clean shit. Jesus, I wasn’t stupid. Still ain’t. I could’ve hit 3rd street that night and walked away with at least SIXTY bucks in under 40 minutes. That was a last resort, but still, they didn’t know that. Anyway, he agreed to my terms, so why wouldn’t I have gone? He said it wouldn’t hurt. No pain is always a bonus in my book. Plus, he said I’d get a new tote bag. What a fuckin’ liar. Look, I’ve done some fucked up shit in my life, kid, and I’ve fucked over a LOT of people, but I’ve never lied to any of ‘em. Ever. That’s where I draw the line. I mean, even when my mom asked if I’d taken her pearls, I told her the truth. Of course I took her pearls. I took her diamonds, too. Smack’s never free, and it’s never grow’d on trees. Jesus. Well, I showed up. I didn’t think a few hours would matter to these people. Maybe I was wrong? I don’t know. I’ll probably never know. I had shit to do. I didn’t have money for the bus, so I had to hoof it. Shit. Walkin’ clear ‘cross downtown, then up and over to the hillside takes time. That place looked like a pole barn. There weren’t no signs outside or anything. I’d walked past it three times, lookin’ for the address before I knew. Smart folks, I guess. I mean, it wasn’t much of a building. It looked more like a machine shop. A chop shop. Heh. Go figure. I remember draggin’ my ass up to the side door, pressin’ a button and praying they had something to drink. My mouth was drier than a sunburnt cornflake, I remember that! Some big ass lady wearing pink and purple scrubs opened the door and let me in. Yeah, her nametag read “Connie” but she looked more like a Bertha to me. Maybe a Georgina. I remember thinkin’ she looked like a God damned Easter egg in those scrubs. That’s prolly sacrilegious or somethin’. Whatever, I’m sure I’m burnin’ in hell anyway. She wasn’t friendly, prolly on account of her serious spread of facial hair, and she made me fill out a gaggle of papers. I had to sign my name in so many places, I almost walked out, but I needed that fifty bucks. I guess I should’ve read those papers I signed. I don’t know what to say about that. I was thirsty, and in a bad way, kid. Sometimes life gets that way. Sometimes people do the damnedest things for a few bucks. I’m not the only one, ya know. Now I never really cared much what those folks were studyin’. That doctor guy I met, Dr. SoAndSo, he mentioned something about the effects of smack on the female reproductive system. Whatever, I didn’t care cause I wasn’t plannin’ on havin’ no babies. I wasn’t livin’ in a kind way for babies, kid. Dr. SoAndSo said all I’d need to do was let ‘em draw some blood, take an ultrasound, and I’d be on my way with my tote bag of stuff, and fifty cash. Well, Dr. SoAndSo was a lyin’ sack. Anyway, Nurse Connie, aka Bertha Georgina escorted me to the shower, handed me a plastic trash can, ya know, the kind ya see under desks, and told me to throw my shit in the skuzz bucket. That overgrown twat said I had five minutes to get my shit done. FIVE MINUTES?? Well, she may’ve been the only honest soul in the place, cause the hot water was gone in two! I might as well’d taken a whore bath in a water fountain. Jesus. The shower closet was tiny. Like one ass capacity small. Ya couldn’t bend over without hittin’ your head, or your ass, or both. It felt good to finally wash my hair, though. I remember that. They didn’t give me any razors to shave my yeti legs. I should’ve asked for some, but it wouldn’t uh mattered. I could barely wash my ass in that stall, let alone try to finagle shavin’. Oh well. I didn’t think about it then. I was just thinkin’ about that money, and gettin’ my next fix. That’s what happens, kid. I tried to dry off after washin’ myself, but that’s hard to do with a hand towel. Bertha Georgina apparently didn’t have a good grasp on wet body to towel size ratios. I bet she has a good grasp on that shit when she’s at home drying off her own girth! Jesus. I ‘member reachin’ for my dirty clothes to finish dryin’ off, and that fat bitch mustuh came in and took em, cause they was gone! I mean, gone! So I started hollerin’ for Nurse Connie to bring me another towel, and boy, maybe that just sent her over the edge, cause the next thing I know, that door flung open and that fat bitch grabbed me by my hair and started draggin’ my naked ass down the hall! I was kickin’ and screamin’ and punchin’ that bitch in her flab all the way down that hall, let me tell ya! I’ve never been one to go down without a fight, kid. I don’t know what room she threw me in, it was hard to tell with my head all yanked downward, but Bertha Georgina was wearin’ shit colored crocs. Yeah, I remember those damn crocs. The room was lit up like the Vegas strip, like super bright, and I remember seeing some table legs, and feelin’ a jab in my ass, then that was it. Lights out, kid. Lights out. When I came to, I was layin’ between a couple uh dumpsters in the 4th street alley. I was still wearin’ my grungy clothes I had showed up in, and the damn pain in my gut was awful. I remember barfin’ like crazy cause of the pain. It wasn’t till I tried to stand up that I noticed the blood. I’d been hacked, kid. Chopped up, er . . . into, I guess. I could show you the scar. It’s God damned ugly, and it caused me lots of downtime. So, I don’t know what more I can tell ya, kid. I ain’t yer momma. I’m nobody’s momma, and ya wouldn’t want me anyway, would ya? I mean, you may’ve been baked in my goods, but they done ripped those goods right outta me! I tried to go to the law, but the law never believe smackers, kid. Never. Hell, maybe you don’t believe me none, either. But, like I said, I never lie ‘bout nothin’! Whatever them folk did to me that day, and as much as it hurt, I should prolly thank ‘em. I haven’t craved a fix since. And that’s the truth.