(Attention: This story contains profanity, violence, and graphic drug use, and is intended for mature readers only.)
Friday, June 25, 1999 – 7:35 pm
After the fight with Lily, Cody stormed off to NorCal’s Pub. On the way, he called Huey and Jamil to meet him there.
“I’m calling an emergency meeting. Get down there now!”
Neither Huey nor Jam questioned or protested the sudden call to arms; they knew that Cody was on the edge, and that he needed them.
Cody, strung-out and spun-out on a three day binge of heroin and cocaine—the same binge that sent Lily away and started the fight—drove recklessly down the narrow streets of Midtown Sacramento before pulling to the curb just outside the pub. He stormed in, put two twenty dollar bills on the bar, demanded a full bottle of Cuervo 1800 and three Heinekens, and found his usual booth in the darkest corner of the bar.
I can’t believe that bitch! How dare she? After all that I have given her! How dare she judge me? I should have thrown her out the upstairs window. Two stories up, and a long way down!
Cody could no more lay a hand on Lily than he could ever throw her out of his house, or his life. They were bonded beyond space and time, and no temporal crises could ever destroy that. He knew they would have to work it out.
But not tonight!
Tonight was a night for nurturing anger, spite, contempt, hostility, insecurities, and, most importantly, self-pity. Tonight, he would continue the binge, and add some much needed alcohol to the mix.
Huey and Jamil walked into the bar, found Cody in their usual spot, and asked the bartender for three glasses. Cody was already drinking the tequila straight from the bottle.
“Alright, Code”, started Huey, “what’s on the agenda for this evening?”
“Fucking bitch!” Cody could barely get the words out. He hated to admit any weakness, and admitting a fault in his perfect marriage to Lily was the toughest thing to speak aloud. “Fucking bitch cheated on me.”
“What?” Jam was incredulous. “No way.”
“Yeah, “ continued Cody. “Ran off with Kung Fu Charlie, and then came home and blamed me for making her do it.”
Cody retold the story of how Lily had found Cody in the basement, half passed-out with his freebasing rig still in his hand, a fog of smoke and the smell of sulfur and ozone hanging in the air. She had screamed at him, punched him a few times, and when she was sure that he was not overdosing, she ran off, slamming every door on her way to the car. Cody barely remembered, being in an opiate haze, just as he barely felt her blows. It was as if the entire incident was a dream. But he was very lucid twelve hours later when Lily returned home. He knew where she had gone, and a battle royale ensued the second she walked into the house.
They sparred verbally against each other while Lily delivered several swift kicks and punches to the head. Cody could never bring himself to hit her, even though they had practiced Kung Fu together for years. No, he could never hit her, but he did catch a few of her punches and pushed her down to the floor.
All the violence in their fight brought out five years of unspoken angst. Suddenly, Cody and Lily faced the reality that their perfect love story was not so perfect after all. Cody was a drug-addled workaholic trying to prove his worth to everyone, and Lily was a philanderer; possibly a habitual one at that.
Cody needed the comfort and solace of his best friends.
“Well, I’d kill her, if I were you”, scoffed Huey. “Fuck her! If you aren’t good enough for her, then let her go.” Jamil snickered. “You guys have a famously perfect love affair, Huey continued, “no one would suspect a thing. How good is your acting?” Jamil practically snorted his tequila out his nose from laughing. Huey was being flippant because he knew that Cody would rather have them all laughing than stewing in his anger.
“Not exactly what I wanted to hear, Hue.” Cody cracked a wan smile.
“She broke the ultimate sin—betrayal—and that is not okay, Code”, Jam chimed in with all seriousness. “I can see in your eyes that you desperately want to forget that the whole thing happened, but you know you can’t. Even if you find it in your heart to forgive her, you know that you never really can, right?”
Jam’s got a point, Cody thought to himself while pouring and cutting an ample amount of cocaine onto their table. The three of them all dipped their heads to the tabletop and took a hit off the Peruvian Gold.
With only a few months of fame to their credit, the members of Dutch Oven had carte blanche in NorCal’s, and the bartenders and owners turned a blind eye to their illegal habits. And why not? Cody, Huey, and Jamil were regulars whenever they were in town, and they brought a lot of business to the establishment even when they were out on tour. Besides, their booth was dimly lit and in a discreet corner where prying eyes would not make out the actions of its denizens.
Yeah, Jam’s got a point, but then, he’s never had anyone like Lily. He has yet to meet his soulmate.
“I’m not here to solve the problem tonight, you guys”, Cody declared. “I’m here to blow off some steam. Whaddaya say we just get shitty drunk and curse the world for all of it’s shitty problems?”
They drank their tequila and beers, and stared off at the television. The baseball game was on, and the three of them were content with watching in silence.
Cody’s cell phone rang. He knew it was Lily, but there was no way he would talk to her anymore tonight. He didn’t even care if she ran off to her Kung Fu hero’s fuck palace again, he was done with the issue for now.
Cody was exhausted from the drug-fueled binge that landed him to this place, but the drug-fueled binge was a product of having just come off a five-month tour around the world. The heroin was meant to calm his nerves and bring him back to a place of normality. He usually only imbibed on the road between gigs. He needed the cocaine to keep going, and the heroin helped him to sleep. This habit started two years ago when his first side band, MGHB, started touring, and he never brought the drugs home with him before.
At least until this year, with the explosion of Dutch Ove,n and their first album, “Me & Whoever.” The demands piled higher, and the road extended further than he had ever anticipated. At first, Dutch Oven played shorter sets as opening acts for larger bands, but they soon graduated to headlining tours and two-and-a-half hour shows. Then, there were interviews, and autograph sessions, and radio promotions, and record store appearances, and more dates added to their already full schedule. The drugs became necessary.
Cody did not really notice the increased drug use. He, Huey, Jamil, Randy, and Butch all participated heavily and openly. It was as regular as making music–a sort of sacred ritual. It was a Sacramento thing, for Cody, and one that would never occur in New Britain with the Manatee and their strict “no hard drugs” policy, at least, until about a year ago when Cody actually started to use the drugs regularly in both bands. He hid it from the Manatee, and felt ashamed for bringing the forbidden substances into that inner circle.
For the first time ever, Cody realized that he might have a problem. Sitting with Huey and Jamil, openly snorting cocaine off a table in a public bar, and recently having been caught red-handed freebasing heroin by his wife, Cody realized that the drugs were no longer just for medicinal purposes.
“In a way”, Cody started, “I sort of feel like I betrayed her first.”
Huey almost wanted to slap him. “What?”
“Well, I’ve been hiding this shit from her,” he pointed at the cocaine, “and getting more and more into the work. Think about it: what do we do besides play music? What are we doing right now? What the fuck, guys? All we do is get high and play music, and I think that the music is playing second chair to the getting high.”
Jam nodded. Huey looked nonplussed.
“I mean”, Cody continued, “why are we working so hard right now? We just released an album, did a huge tour, and now we are rehearsing new material for another album. Why? Why so soon? So we can get together and party, that’s why. And I have to go back to New Britain next week for the Manatee’s summer tour. It never ends.”
“Dude”, Huey looked confused, but knew that Cody had a point. “Do we really get high that much?”
“When was the last time we weren’t high?”
Jamil chimed in. “I don’t know about you two, but I am not always high.”
“But you are every time we get together and play. On tour, you do the same thing as the rest of us; get up for the show, and go down for sleep and travel. And…AND…”, Cody emphasized, “what were you doing the past few days at practice? The same as the rest of us.” Cody took another shot of tequila, and fought the urge to sneak off to the bathroom to freebase some smack. He felt cornered and vulnerable, and it was all his own doing.
Have the drugs really come between Lily and me? Is the music driving a wedge between us? Or, was there always a problem between us that we only now see?
Now that he has laid all of his faults on the table, he thought hard about Lily’s? What else has she been hiding from him? And did he drive her away, or did she drive him to this haze of drugs and constant work?