Fear and Loathing


Lavi Smoe and Head Shop, by Bootleg Photo, Reno, NV


We’ve got junkies just outside our bedroom window. They come at night at 10:00. So far they’ve never missed. Every night a car pulls into our little parking lot and they wait for their customers. Usually, they’re pretty quite, but when they pull up, their headlights light up our bedroom through the blinds.

The other night, we sort of watched as this girl traded sex for drugs. She got screwed by both guys in the front seat, while the guy she came with stood with his back to the car, the glow of a cigarette coming out of his hoodie.

Someone shoulda told him it’s legal to shoot and kill hoodie wearers in America now. Guess he doesn’t watch the news.

In the morning, we went out and cleaned up. There were lots of cigarette butts, orange peals, peanut shells, three used needles and a used condom. Only one condom, that was curious. Did those guys share that condom? Probably not. One guy probably didn’t use one.

You know, Vesta put up that sign that says, “Please don’t shoot up here. Go somewhere else.” Maybe they can’t read. Or maybe they thought it was funny.

Later on the next day, these two guys were in our parking lot, smoking and talking. I went up to them, motioned for them to roll down their windows. They did. We traded names and I told them I appreciated them parking there, cuz we get drug dealers here at night. I told them about what had happened and what we’d cleaned up, so if they wanted to leave their car there overnight, it would be cool, cuz then the druggies would have to go somewhere else.

“No!” this guy said. “That’s awful.”

When we finished our conversation and they left, Vesta wondered if I’d even given any consideration to the fact that those guys coulda been the drug dealers.

“They seemed pretty nice.”

“Mussolini probably seemed pretty nice to some people.”

“These guys are none threatening,” I said. However, later that night I got a good look at our smack peddlers and sure ‘nuff, they were the same guys. I’d actually given my blessing to a pair of not very bright dope sellers to sell heroine on my property.

And I mean “not very bright dope sellers,” cuz now I know who they are and where they live. Yep, they don’t live very far away. I guess they think by parking in the corner of our lot, by this tree, that no one can see them and when they leave and go straight home, which is about thirty seconds away, by foot.

They don’t stay so long anymore. In and out. And now, after talking to me, they’re not so messy. And today, they drove down the alley as I was coming back from a walk and the driver rolled down his window and said hi and I said it back to him.

And you know, if they’d’ve been a little considerate and cleaned up after themselves, we wouldn’t’ve ever noticed they’d been back there. We’ll, if they’d been a little smarter too. Now that they know we know about them, they turn their lights off when they come at night and back in under that tree real quite like, so quite they don’t disturb us. Then the idiot driver keeps his foot on the brakes and his brake lights turn the inside of our bedroom whorehouse red.

It’s not my job to judge people. To quote Dolly Parton, “I’m not God.” Besides, like many in America, Vesta and I have had our trials and tribulations with drugs. Using and quitting is a journey many of us have experienced. Sadly, a few people we cared deeply about quit the hard way.

They died.

And we’ve seen first hand how drugs ravage some, turn them into walking zombies who patrol the streets after dark.

But heck, they really get a party going.

Okay, okay, maybe I shouldn’t’ve said that.

Still, and I feel a bit bad about this, I’ve decided they have to go. My friend Mike is gonna park his trailer back there and then they’ll have to find another secret place within a couple hundred feet from where they live to ply their trade.

I know, it’s not very neighborly of me, but heck, we get up at 5:00 in the AM, so we go to bed at 10:00 and we can’t have screwing and peanut eating and orange eating and condom throwing and drug selling and drug taking and syringe throwing right outside our bedroom window, no matter how nice those guys are.

We gotta get our beauty sleep, after all.

PS: As for the photo, it’s a head shop on Virginia in Midtown. I know, it doesn’t have much to do with my story, but it was the best I could do. I suppose I coulda set up my tripod and taken a photo of the screwing in the front seat, they had the lights on, but that wouldn’t’ve been very nice.

And Vesta and me, we’re nice people and we’re alive in Midtown, which is a wonderful place.

Ken Douglas Wedding and Portrait Photography, 1250 Ralston Street, Reno, NV 89503 
Phone: 775 393-9529