The Medellín Diaries (Part 4 of 5)


Karl came into my room while I was working on my laptop. “Hey I’m about to call my drug dealer. You want anything?”

“Yeah a joint, a small one though,” I said. “What are you getting?”

“Some benzos. I have anxiety lately.”

“The shakes?”

“I don’t know what it is, but I’m trying to get off my Ambien addiction and it’s harder than I thought.”

“You can be addicted to Ambien?”

“Ooph yeah. Just one pill and it gives you a better high than cocaine—you feel light and happy. I started taking one a day to help me sleep, but after a month I was taking seven a day. The girl at the pharmacy knew me and had my Ambien ready when I came in because here you don’t need a recipe.”

“You mean prescription?”

“Yeah prescription. I got the Dutch guy hooked on it too.” He gave one of his deep laughs and then took a swig of beer. “I asked him if he wanted one to help him sleep and a month later he’s taking five a day. That’s why you’re only supposed to use it for a couple weeks, because more than that and you get addicted. I’m trying to wean myself off it and I’m down to two a day, but I was sitting in bed with the shakes and knew I needed something else.”

“So to fight your addiction to one drug, you use another drug?”

“Yeah it’s like using methadone to quit heroin. Soon you’ll be off both.”

“Yeah I’m sure this will work.” I let out a snort.

“It was getting so bad with the Ambien that I was using it during the day as an upper after a night of partying. I’d get up feeling miserable from alcohol and coke and just pop one. It’s great for hangovers.”

“It didn’t put you to sleep?”

“No not when I’m hungover. It makes me feel… normal.”

I wondered how many people Karl has gotten hooked on drugs. Possibly dozens. He’s convincing without being pushy, along the lines of “Just try it once and if you don’t like it then you don’t have to try it again, no worries.” But of course you’ll like it. I swore never to take any pills or coke from him.

One hour later we were in front of the patio waiting for his dealer.

“He’s a taxi driver but doesn’t make shit so he sells drugs on the side,” Karl said.

“How much does he make a day driving the taxi?”

“About 20,000 pesos.”

“That’s nothing!” It was about $300 a month, which would barely cover my food and coffee shop expenses.

“Yeah because he doesn’t own the car. If you don’t own your taxi it’s hard to make a lot of money.”

The taxi came and Karl went to the window to get his benzos. He then told me to pay 10,000 for the weed. I asked the taxi driver for his name to get on a friendly basis with him just in case. The driver slipped me something half the size of a cigarette pack and I immediately put it in my jean pocket. Back in the room I took it out and placed it on the table.

“Ooph look how much weed that is!” Karl said, laughing. It was a lot of weed, packed tightly inside a baggie wider than it was long.

“There’s at least fifteen joints of weed in there,” I said. “I just wanted one joint! What am I going to do with all this shit?!”

“Smoke it! Do some right now and make sure it’s good.”

Karl gave me a cigarette and showed me how to take out the filter, empty the tobacco, insert a roach on the filter end with a rolled up piece of business card, and then stuff the weed through the other end with a thin pen cartridge. The final step had to be done slowly to not tear the cigarette paper, which became very fragile after removing the tobacco. It was a laborious process that I’d repeat quite a few times because I couldn’t find a goddamn place that sold rolling paper anywhere in the city.

“Why is it so sticky? I don’t remember weed being like this,” I said.

Karl rubbed a clump between his fingers. “I’m not sure. Maybe because it’s organic, not like that hydro stuff you have in America.”

The joint was ready and I smoked it while Karl was hitting a high on his happy pills. I collapsed on the bed with a big grin on my face while Karl sat at my desk drinking a beer.

“Look at you, you’re high!” he yelled.


“Huh?” Karl mimicked me. “Your mouth is about to fall off. Feels good?”

“Yeah it’s pretty good. I haven’t smoked in a while.”

“And look at the bag it’s like you barely touched it.”


“Hey did I tell you about when I owned a bar on an island in Greece?”


“We had a closet that we’d rent for sex, fifteen minutes at a time. It was on the menu, right underneath the martini drinks.”

“Did people use it?”

“Every night. Hey you mind if I roll a joint for myself?”

“Go ‘head.”

“But yeah the closet was so small you could only do doggy style. Me and my friends would target the out-of-town girls by giving them free drinks all night and then inviting them to the closet. I fucked a lot of girls like that. It was so great.”

I laughed for what seemed like forever.


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