A Story For Josh

I recently lost my friend Josh. The story I’m told is that Josh was recently incarcerated and during his time behind bars developed a sinus infection. He was released on a Tuesday and died on a Friday. The infection spread to his brain and took him before he made it to a doctor. We met when we were 15 or 16 and ours was one of the many friendships that seemed to dissipate once I started my radio career in New York City. A Manhattan work week killed my tolerance for road trips on the weekends which is when I would hang out with Josh and that crowd who lived in the burbs of Philly. I also feel my perpetual exhaustion is to blame which my doctor attributes to my depression. When a weekend rolls around I just want to sit on the couch and catch my breath. Absolutely nothing like my weekends if you go a few years back.

I gave Josh the nickname Sensei because around the time the rest of the group and I got our hands on some new drugs we would do them at his house under his supervision. Josh had a little bit more knowledge than us. He was also thin and had long brown hair which he usually wore in a pony tail. He looked the part of a Sensei.

He told me a story once about how he sold weed when he was young. One day his dealer gave him a sheet of acid and told him to sell it for $6 a hit. Josh wanted to be familiar with his product before selling it so right when he got home he popped a hit. With his only previous drug experience being weed he expected the effects to hit immediately. This isn’t the case with acid. It can take up to 90 minutes to kick in depending on the person. Josh decided to take another hit to see if it was just weak acid. Still not getting a response Josh continued to eat the entire sheet of acid. This was perfectly fine acid. He tripped for a week straight.

Josh was with me the night I did the most drugs I’ve ever done in my life. Naturally my memory of this night is spotty at best but I remember most of the important details. With Josh gone I wanted to put this story in print before any more details dissolve into the dark fog of my subconscious.

One night when I was around 18 or 19 Josh and I took a trip to Philadelphia for a party we had heard about. Before heading there we had to stop to pick up Josh’s friend. I didn’t mind because she was a girl and if she was a girl than maybe I could have sex with her. We pulled up outside of the house and I turned my headlights off and waited like Josh said. The house we were in front of had all its lights off. A window on the second story opened and a dark figure fell to the ground. The figure ran up to my car and climbed into the back seat. She was a cute little brunette whose name I can’t remember. I never saw her before and I never saw her again.

This wasn’t a great neighborhood. Even though my car was a piece of shit I was still uneasy leaving it parked in the lot. The building was made entirely of brick and the night sky behind it looked dark red and milky. Big red amorphous globs of glowing clouds indicated it would snow. Like a red neon light fighting its way through thick cotton. The cold air smelled like snow. We approached the entrance to the building stepping over the tiny empty cocaine vials littering the ground.

I don’t remember the exact floor this party was on but it was high up. We walked through the door of the tiny one bedroom apartment and there was no one their. Our host looked almost like a demented Jesus. Thin wavy brown hair to his shoulders and a beard that was less of a fashion statement and more of a lack of motivation to shave. I don’t remember his name either. And it doesn’t really matter because our female traveler was immediately drawn to him and they disappeared into his room for the rest of the night. Myself and Josh sat on the couch and I pulled out my laptop so we could watch a movie and smoke some weed. I’m pretty sure it was Road Trip.

Two girls walked in and joined us. They had some cocaine and they were more than willing to share. Josh and I loaded up on as much as they would part with because we only had a little bit of cash between the two of us. In the middle of this free cocaine buffet a few more people joined this bizarre excuse for a party. Two insignificant shapes from my memory that went straight to the back of the apartment to smoke on the balcony and a short stocky guy who was a perfect representation of Porky Pig in human form. Porky had a lot of energy and was very outgoing. When he saw what we were into he shoved his way into the trough of white powder and sniffed a small mountain of cocaine up his perfectly upturned pig nose.

We all sat on the couch in front of my laptop which was still playing Road trip and the girls told us they were going out on a drug run. We popped some beers and asked what was on the menu. They said they could get anything we wanted. I had never done crystal meth so I gave them $50 for a bag. They also said they could get acid which Josh and I both agreed was called for. Two hits each. The girls cut us all one final line and went on their merry way.

Almost as soon as the girls left, two more people joined our gathering and they had treats as well. In the form of ecstasy and ketamine. They had what’s called a “lick”; a sealed vial of liquid ketamine used to anesthetize small animals. When dumped onto a plate and microwaved it turns into a powder that when snorted acts as a hallucinogen. Warm, just out of the microwave ketamine is even more potent. We all took turns snorting short warm dashes of freshly prepared special K and sunk down into the couch.

Once all the ketamine was finished our new friends vanished and left myself, Josh and Porky Pig to ourselves once again. And once again they were immediately replaced by new temporary friends with new free drugs for us. This time it was ecstasy. A pill for each of us. Even Porky Pig was getting freebies. I can’t figure out why people were being so generous that night. Pumping us full of mind altering substances and disappearing into the night. Fracturing off into their own drug stories.

As our ecstasy friends left, our cocaine friends came back with the drugs we had purchased. I remember the bag of crystal meth barely had anything in it despite the $50 price tag. Looked like there was enough for one big healthy line. If we had gotten ripped off neither of us knew it. We had no previous experiences with meth and didn’t know how much your dollar was supposed to get you. Looking back on it now maybe it wasn’t even meth. Regardless, Josh and I split the line up and up our noses it went. I remember it burned. Bad. Porky Pig didn’t get any. I had wondered what happened to the people he came with. With all those drugs floating around I don’t think he gave two shits.

Our returning friends also had our acid. We each got a sugar cube with two hits per cube. I loved hallucinating. I hadn’t had a bad trip at this point in my life. I felt the ecstasy start to kick in making me even more excited. The girls also cut us out a couple more complimentary lines of coke.

After this I sat on the couch and my laptop was just repeating the movie Road Trip now. I watched as the actors faces began to swell and breathe. Everything began to look digital. Almost like I was looking too closely at things and the poor resolution of life couldn’t hold up to such scrutiny. I felt myself melt into the leather of the couch. I felt my brain move straight up and phase itself through my skull. I felt my brain stretch and tie itself into a knot. There were at least 7 mind altering substances in my body all screaming for my attention. We were young and we were immortal. Time was frozen and the rest of the world would have to wait until our drugs wore off. Or until we allowed time to resume its normal pace.

Josh suggested stepping out onto the balcony for a cigarette. I asked my limbs for permission to move which they granted and Porky Pig followed behind us like a lost child with a head full of drugs. It was snowing outside and the clouds still looked like glowing cinders. We were definitely high up. I looked out into Philadelphia and all the surfaces were grey as the snow was just starting to stick. We lit our smokes and Porky Pig looked up at the falling flakes. As the white specks landed in his open eyes he twitched and flinched as he said, “Snowflakes. What’s up guys?”

When we got back in the apartment there was a girl sitting on the couch. Had she been there the whole time? She seemed to be on as many drugs as we were. Josh was big into electronic music. I went to raves in those days but I really just liked the drugs and being around drug people. This girl was also into the rave scene and told us about a rave going on in California in a few days. She planted the bug of us taking a road trip. She said we could do it in 3 days if we took shifts and small breaks. I was always fascinated by California. Los Angeles specifically. I didn’t need much prodding to be convinced to go there. I suggested we all pile into my car and start driving to California now. That was the ecstasy talking. Thank God we didn’t follow through with it. Drugs wearing off can be a shitty feeling. I can only imagine how much worse it would feel hitting 6 hours into a three day asinine road trip.

Porky had been bumming our smokes all night so Josh and I were both out. And despite all the speed we had consumed, our bodies all remembered at the same time that food and drink are still necessities. The apartment was completely empty as far as food was concerned. Our host was still barricaded in his room with the cute brunette we brought with us which left us to fend for our own. And of course I was the only person with a car.

We took some time to plan our attack. The only place open at this hour would be a gas station The snow was dumping down in grapefruit sized flakes and piling up at an alarming rate. Josh and I pooled together the little money we hadn’t spent on drugs and discussed what would get us the most food for the smallest cost. No brand names and quantity over quality. However, no penny was spared on cigarettes. I was getting my Marlboro’s and Josh was getting his Camel’s.

By the time I made it to my car there was a decent amount of snow on the ground. The sun was barely coming up. The sky was completely grey but there was something comforting about it. Almost like this little section of the world had a blanket around it. There were no other footprints than mine. The snow covered streets were completely intact. Pristine. I would be the one to ruin the perfection. I was not familiar with this part of Philly and had no idea where I was going. My plan was to navigate the one-way grid of streets until I spotted a gas station. I’m thankful one showed up quickly because I was still very fucked up. When I pulled into the gas station a homeless man approached my car. I decided not to test luck and to give him a dollar so he would go away. As I started fishing through my wallet I saw figures appear around me through the wall of falling snow. I was a drop of blood in shark infested waters. As the homeless close in on me, another poor soul has his hands out to me. Before he can finish asking me for my spare change the first homeless man yells for him to beat it since he was there first. I gave the man my dollar and rushed into the tiny food mart.

I made it back safely with the bounty but after coming in from the cold and realizing I could drive, Josh and I figured it would be best to leave the city and go back to his place. It’s always nice to end a night of partying somewhere familiar. Let the drugs wear off and if you’re lucky get some sleep in.

I felt closer to Josh after we survived that night together. We liked looking back and trying to remember things that happened that the other person had forgotten. We were indestructible that night. I hope this story doesn’t give the wrong impression of Josh. He was a thoughtful guy that loved women, music and partying. Can’t say I can fault him for any of those. Josh was a great friend that I’m going to miss terribly. The Sensei.

Twitter: @KevinKraftSucks – Instagram: @KevinKraft

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One thought on “A Story For Josh

  1. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. It’s good that you were able to get these memories down so you can remember some of your times with him. RIP Josh.


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