Dan Tracy

I Remember Mama

Tucked away in the most impoverished slums of every city you’ll find a dope dealing Mama. Typically, she’ll be an old black woman, old and gray haired with a doo-rag around her head. We bartered shopping bags full of groceries and fresh meats for heroin with her.

Mama lived in the Beardsley Terrace Projects high on the sixth floor. Her kids, adults actually, lived in the apartment next door to her. Her ‘crew’ as she liked to call them.
Mama didn’t worry about getting ripped off. Her children were her enforcers. No one fucked with Mama or her kids. They carried big guns. Definitely no one to fuck around with.

After a days boosting Mike and I scored about a 100 bucks worth of high-end steaks and a few boxes of shrimp and crabmeat. We headed for Mamas, knocked on her door.

“Hello chillin come on in. My my you chillin’s sure look thin. Have you eaten today?”

Mama didn’t wait for an answer. She grabbed our hands as if we were school kids, hurried us into her living room and deposited us on her sofa.

“Let me get you boys a sandwich.”

Mama comes back from her kitchen with a couple of salami and cheese sandwiches as two of her grandkids unload the groceries onto her kitchen table, tallied up the prices and yelled out, “124 dollars!” Our share came to 62, half price, the going rate for meat.

“What you want?” Mama asks.

“Six dimes,” I answered.

“That be 60 dollars. You need an outfit?” Mama asks.

We nod, yes.

“That be four more.”

Mike hands her the four bucks. Mama pulls a set of works from her housecoat pocket, hands them to me. Mama went into another room, came back with six-dime bags and handed all six to me. I gave Mike three.

I unrolled the gimmicks. They were wrapped up in a washcloth; metal bottle cap, spike and a tiny cotton ball filter complete with bloodstains from previous users.
The spike definitely needed a cleaning.

“Mama, do you have any alcohol? The works are a bit raunchy.”

“Sure child, JERRY!” Mama yells out to one of her grand kids,
“Get these chillin some rubbin alcohol out the medicine cabinet.”

Jerry comes to the living room, hands me the alcohol. I suck up a few cc’s inside the spike and squirt it out into an ashtray a couple of times, tossed the blood stained cotton ball filter into the ashtray then pulled a thread from Mike’s shirt, rolled it up in a ball,
placed it in the cooker and passed the setup to Mike.

“These feets of mine be hurtin all day. I’m gonna lay down. When you chillin’s finish leave the outfit on the coffee table.”

Mike empties his three dime bags into the cooker, sucks a few cc’s of water into the spike, squirts it over the smack and holds a lit match under the cooker. It bubbles as it heats up dissolving the smack. He gently pushes the needle tip on the thread ball, sucks up the heroin solution. He grips the loaded spike between his teeth then straps his belt around his left bicep.

Finding a decent vein was no easy task. More than 15 years of mainlining left him with severely collapsed veins, not to mention the abscesses all along his arms. After trying various veins, he finally found one on the back of his forearm. Gently he tapped the spike home, waited for the blood to back up inside the spike then squeezed half of the heroin solution in, released the bulb letting blood backup again or booting it. One more complete squeeze injected all of the heroin.

Almost instantly, Mike went into a deep nod, his head bobbing up and down between his legs—Sucking ones dick as they say. I took the spike, cleaned it out. I cooked up half a dime. I had just gotten out of the county jail from a six month bit. I knew I couldn’t handle a full dime bag, yet.
Moreover, this was some good shit since Mike was in a deep nod even though his tolerance to H was fairly high; he’d been on the streets chasing the bag for ten consecutive months.

I found a vein, slid the spike in and waited for the blood to backup—nothing. I figured I missed the vein and tried another—again, nothing.

“What the fuck?!” I pulled the spike out, squeezed the bulb a little—nothing. It was clogged.

Mama heard me bitchin about the clogged spike and came into the living room.

“Child,” she says, “let me show you a trick.”

She plucks a hair from her nappy head and proceeds to slip it up inside the needle, moves the hair back and forth unclogging it.

“Black folks knows their shit,” she chuckles, her flip-flops flapping on the linoleum floor as she heads back towards her bedroom.

“Damn, your good, Mama.”

“Years of experience,” she says, “years of experience,” giggling as she flip-flops away.

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