Why you should care

A transcontinental travelogue featuring felons, drugs, drugging and attempted murder? All in a week’s work for Lydia Lunch.

A low-brow dirt bike racer from Topanga Canyon who was hell-bent on a cross-country creepy crawl pulled up, swept me off my feet, threw me into the front seat of his dilapidated pickup truck and headed West at full speed, until we hit that “Slum by the Sea.” Venice, California.

He had been sent East by a mutual friend concerned for my safety after hearing stories about hospital stays. Late-night 911 calls. Great: The sociopath abducts the schizophrenic out from under the psychopath in a late-night snatch and grab.

Something had to give. The alcoholic, pill-popping Irish construction worker who I’d been holed up with for the past few months was getting mean.

Jealous. Cruel. Beautiful. An irresistible combination of mania and machismo. By day he’d play iron man. Up at the crack of 6, filling a thermos with Irish whiskey, happy to be alive as he kissed me goodbye and disappeared out the door. Everything hunky-dory until the sun went down, the knives came out, and he stumbled back from the bar half plastered.

And that is where the trouble came in. Loverboy loved his booze more than he loved me and in return, the booze hated my fucking guts. If Brando did the Badlands while stoned on barbiturates and booze … well, you get the picture. I needed to get the fuck out. I spiked his drink, packed a bag and climbed into the front seat of the grease monkey’s pickup truck.

In the same way that a shark can smell blood, a junkie’s sixth sense alerts them to any possible, random opportunity that may arise in which they can move in …

Four days later we hit ”Ghost Town.” A grungy biker and his nubile bride, a bitchy witch dressed in black.

Some people are afraid of ghosts. What lurks in the dark. Terrified of the unseen violators sneaking around within its murky shadows. But true evil is arrogant by nature. Doesn’t always bother to hide its intentions under the cloak of night.

Los Angeles stretched like an ever-expanding virus of sick contagion. The promise of an endless summer shattered by gunshots, sirens, helicopters and hospital beds.

New York City may have been bankrupt, decrepit and suffering from the final stages of rigor mortis, but the “California Dream” was a waking nightmare of dead-end streets ripe with bloated corpses where bad Beat poets, dope-sick singers, cracked actors and petty criminals were all praying to a burned-out star on the sidewalk.

Everything was fucking hunky-dory for the first six months of matrimonial bliss until the lunatic who rescued me from the maniac took a spill on the Pacific Coast Highway, ended up in a coma with two charges of vehicular manslaughter on his rap sheet and a letter at the side of his bed that threatened eviction from our Venice crash pad. I went home. Started to pack.

In the same way that a shark can smell blood, a junkie’s sixth sense alerts them to any possible, random opportunity that may arise in which they can move in on an ex-girlfriend’s first night alone in a near empty house. It was 5:45 a.m. on a Sunday. The doorbell blasted and shattered what was left of my nerves.

Impeccable timing. The bastard always had it. The Irish construction worker: 193 days later, a distance of almost 3,000 miles, meant nothing to the madman who showed up convinced he could walk right in and simply steal me back. Don’t laugh. I let him in.

“I’m off the sauce,” he grinned, one hand pulling out a small packet of what I assumed was coke from the pocket of his leather jacket.

“And on the skids …” I pulled away.

“Don’t walk away from me. Not again. I’ll leave. Let’s do a little line and I’ll go. Promise. I just want to look at you.”

He backed away pulling me with him, easing me onto the couch as he got down on one knee, like a lovestruck delinquent. “Damn … you are a luscious little bitch …” He opened the packet, spilled out some white powder.

“I need coffee,” I lied. I really needed to split. I suggested he chop out a few fatties. I planned on spiking his drink again. I’d grab a bag, write a note and leave both the psychopath and the sociopath who rescued me from him where they both belonged. In a fucking coma.

I could hear the methodical rhythm of razor on glass. A deep, snotty inhalation. He cleared his throat. A quick snort. A soft chuckle. Why the hell was that motherfucker chuckling?

I poured the coffee, emptied the red devils into the muddy brew and gave him the cup. He swigged the coffee like he was chugging beer. I snorted a fat blast and immediately fell over, hitting my head on the edge of the table. It knocked me out.

I woke up bloody.

Puking. All over his dope.

Thick, rich fists of sour phlegm cascading in golden arcs. I pissed myself. Laughed. The bastard tried to kill me. I had never done heroin. He knew that. It wasn’t my trip. I wasn’t looking for nirvana. I dug the shit that jacked up the irritation level. I wanted to keep the edges rough, like the one I just hit my head against. The one that had finally banged a bit of sense into my thick nugget.

Never, under any circumstances, will I ever again answer the door at 5:45 a.m. on a Sunday.

OZYTrue Story

Good stories from around the globe. Essays and immersion, into the harrowing, the sweet, the surprising — the human.