Spinning into a heroin oblivion

2014-10-15 14:01

Tuesday morning. I’m standing on the corner of Stephen Dlamini and St Thomas roads. I’m watching one of the whoonga heads sheltering from the sun in the lee of an electricity box trying to revive his smacked-up bra. They’re both battling.

The smack head slumped against the box is moving in and out of consciousness. His face is covered in puke and spit.

The bra has taken his shirt off and is fanning his face and shaking him at the same time.

He’s trying to stop him from passing out completely. He knows he might never wake up again.

He’s in a deadly place. His heart feels like it’s about to burst from the rush. He’s spewed and shat himself.

There’s nothing except sweat, spinning and that desire to pass into oblivion.

The third man in their team isn’t much help. Half his head is flattened, it looks like by a car wheel.

He’s lolling against the Durban High School fence, waiting for them to finish so one of them will haul him into the road and use him to hustle a couple of rands from motorists waiting for the robots to change.

At the robots the Musgrave mommies are staring ahead in their SUVs. The car guards across the robot are busy hustling them into parking lots outside La Bella restaurant.

The school kids coming out of the gate walk past as if the junkies are meant to be breathing their last breaths on the corner. There’s a construction crew busy finishing off the gaudy yellow tyre dealership at the intersection.

Nobody even notices that a human being is looking about ready to die right there on the corner.

I would be lying if I claimed to have been a Just Say No kinda guy for most of my life. But smack is something else. It’s scary, life-taking sh*t. This city has survived many drug epidemics.

From buttons in the 80s through ecstasy, cocaine and rocks – they all destroyed lives as South Africa unavoidably caught up with the rest of the planet.

But the heroin tidal wave that followed, whether you call it sugars, whoonga, smack, or whatever, is drowning the city.

That’s what heroin does. And what it’s doing to Durban.

The puke covered head opens his eyes. His bra wipes his mouth with the shirt.

I walk off to go meet the Croc.

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