The first real job in my life.
…The next job the patrons had in store for me put things into real perspective. It gave me a heads up on the shit-storm coming my way. This point was one of those tipping moments where life just escalates uncontrollably fast—no matter if you hit the brakes or not… (Read the prequel!)
Crossing a state border has never looked so traumatic like at that moment. On a bright November morning, I imminently trapped myself on no-man’s-land between Austria and Slovenia. Stuck—nowhere to hide. “If I pass now, there is almost a 100% chance I will make it.” Lucky for me, the “sniff” of cocaine I inhaled right before the border crossing calmed my nerves. The officers had no reason to pull me over.
All it took was a just enough dimmed checkpoint-ceiling light to camouflage my black, enlarged pupils. The celebration officially fired-up with a nice, fat joint as I was pulling to the first gas station past the border. The crappy rent-a-car I was driving down the local freeways-geared with 2 kilograms of skunk and a thousand pills of motherfuc*in ecstasy-was probably the most prized, and deciding ride in my life.
“ON A CLEAR NOVEMBER MORNING, I IMMINENTLY TRAPPED MYSELF ON NO-MAN’S-LAND BETWEEN AUSTRIA AND SLOVENIA.”
Let’s rewind for a minute. Winter was approaching, and it was business as usual. I’ve gotten many friends over the past two years – a lot of addicts, and a lot of the “clean” ones-drug-dealers. The ones I liked the most were from Italy. They had the money; they were the biggest buyers, they were good with the top dogs-as a result, they-the bosses-liked me. My whole attitude and “talent” for the business finally paid off. They rewarded me with something no man can’t buy—no matter how rich he is—respect.
Somewhere in mid-November, I get a proposal. “Drive to Holland to pick up a load.” At last, a real job! It was an offer I just couldn’t afford to refuse. Reminiscing upon the decision, it wasn’t really a decision. It was a cause of past decisions—when I still had a choice. Now, it was just another step I had to take treading the dusty path. Quitting school, partying till the crack of dawn while my classmates were having a good night sleep, resting for an exam the next day; leaving my father’s bakery—this whole trajectory led me here. Cause and effect.
"Reminiscing upon the decision, it wasn’t really a decision. It was a cause of past decisions—when I still had a choice. Now, it was just another step I had to take."
It was all arranged for me. The only thing I had to do was to deliver the money to the Dutchmen and drive the car back home. That’s a 14-hour trip we are talking about—you can be sure I had some “painkillers” on me. A $100 worth of cocaine in my nostrils later, I arrived to welcome a foggy, early morning’s Rotterdam’s sky. Checked-in at the already paid hotel; crashed, and woke up to a sturdy series of knocks on my room-doors, way past the sun-down. Three guys stood right in front of me.
A set of greying, dark, two-day beards, shadows under their eyes and a semi-paranoid look confirmed they couldn’t be other than my guys. I welcomed the colleagues in and served them some leftover white-powder. When the cocaine and the conversation, fuelled by broken English started to run on fumes, they became jumpy. “See you!” I tossed the keys to the other side of the table, fearing what the second rendezvous might bring.
My nerves were slowly starting to follow me, wear me down wherever I went. Even to the “coffee-shops” (one can buy and smoke weed there!) where the thick, legalised veggie fumes filled up the ceiling, causing the lights to dim more and more. Almost like an overture for the incoming life on “auto-pilot.”
There was no time for breakfast. I had to pick up the car god knows where—in some Gastarbeiter, second-class district on the outskirts of the city. I felt like I was in a movie scene where the “good” and the “bad” guys stood on each side of the road with rolling tumbleweed cutting in between the flared-up crossfire. The fellas surely must have known I was a complete rookie, but even so, they decided not to exploit this fact. For that, I’m still thankful. We shook hands; they gave me the keys, everything went smoothly. I even got a gram for the road.
"We shook hands, they gave me the keys, everything went smoothly. I even got a gram for the road."
Right at the time when my 20-year old brother was taking over dad’s bakery business-entrusted with running all the family’s fortune-I was shaking with cold-sweats about to start an international border incident. Ironically, cold sweats are the body’s response in a “fight-or-flight” situation. The body still hadn’t figured out it was trapped in a mind with no decisions left. Right at the time when my 20-year old brother was taking over dad’s bakery business—entrusted with running all the family’s fortune—I was shaking with cold-sweats about to enter into an international border incident.
Ironically, cold sweats are the body’s response in a “fight-or-flight” situation. Yet, the mind trapped the body in its cage of bad decisions with no chance for "flight". You’ve probably heard the saying: “The road to success is paved with failure.” In my case, failure was paving its own road. One brick at a time. And there were many more bricks to come.