The “Boom Boom party room” at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas seems to be swaying back and forth. The Sugar Hill Gang hit, “Rapper’s Delight”, is blasting. I grab the edge of the bar for balance. There is no bartender. Only hands moving in and out of my booze-clouded field of vision. Grabbing half-empty bottles of Grey Goose and Jack Daniels.
I dig into the right pocket of my coal-black Z- Cav’s. Looking for the elixir my outgoing, mask of confidence depends on. My cocaine stash, hidden beneath un-folded wads of cash and casino chips. A needle in a haystack of unsteadiness and confusion. Unable to focus on even the smallest task, panic sets in. Where is the damn blow! Frustration overpowers caution. A spastic, shovel-like movement into my pocket. I yank the contents out with the imprecision of a construction backhoe pulling tons of dirt out of a ditch. Along with dollar bills, the cocaine baggie flutters to the floor. I can do nothing but watch as it floats towards my feet like a wintertime snowflake.
A tap on the shoulder. I was not the only one watching its free-fall.
“Any to share?” He hands me a bottle of Jack Daniels. “Do you want any mixer”?
“Nah, give me the bottle,” I said,
Taking a swig from the bottle, my foot stomps on the floor in escalating frustration. It is unable to land on top of the baggie.
“I’m not feeling well, where is the bathroom,” I said.
“I will show you, and we can do a bump. I will trade you”
I drop to all fours to pick up the baggie. He grabs me from under my right arm and yanks me upright.
” I will pick it up. Let’s go.”
He begins to move toward the back of the room. I grab on to his arm to steady myself and not lose him in the crowd.
“I’m not your date, stay behind me.”
He is no longer moving. I am. Propelling him into someone else.
“What the fuck Brian,” he said.
“Sorry, whats the slowdown.”
“There’s a line to get in. “
“So what’s the trade,” I asked.
“I have something that will rock your world,” He responded.
“Have you ever taken “GHB“?
“The date rape drug? No. Why would I?”
“It’s also a great party drug. It’s incredible. A thimble for three lines. Is that cool”?
“That doesn’t’ sound like much,” I said.
“Believe me, it’s all you need. I promise.”
I don’t remember moving, but we are in the bathroom. Yanking the last of the toilet paper off the cardboard cylinder, he wipes down the commode.
“Who knows what nasty crap people have been snorting off this,” he says. You’re up, handing me a rolled up twenty-dollar bill.”
As the cocaine fights its way through inflamed nasal passages, I think about a thimble.
He pulls a travel size shampoo bottle out of his pocket. He unscrews the cap and pours a clear white liquid into it.
“That’s not even a thimble,” I said
“This is your first time, and this is enough. Believe me. Here you go. Chug it. You will feel it pretty quick.”
“I’ll take your word for it. You already did my blow.”
I chug. “How long does it take”?
“You should feel it pretty quick.”, he said.
We make our way back to the bar. Seconds pass. Minutes. I’ve been scammed. I hear a voice.
“Brian.. Brian.. you ok…? I am fifteen years old. My brother coming to save me. The echo of my childhood becomes subsumed into the all-consuming self-love.
I’ve .. never.. felt.. this .. wonderful…
The late-afternoon sun penetrates the hotel-room window like a laser beam aimed directly at my eyes and forehead. The innermost reaches of my throat is stinging as if I have swallowed a beehive. My tissue membranes explode in agony with my first breath. The passage of air blocked by nasal passages filled with cocaine residue. My legs and arms begin to thrash as if I am underwater, trying to hold on my last gasp of oxygen. I roll off the bed, onto all fours as my throat erupts in pain. I gasp for air, then forcing it out with a massive exhale through my nasal passage.
The content of my stomach begins its climb to my throat and into my mouth. One hand and one leg in front of the other to the toilet. One knee in front of the other. No time to stand up. I don’t make it.
My walk to the elevator is unsteady and confused. Where my wallet? A trip to the gift shop for aspirin and Pepto Bismol in order. The elevator might as well be in free fall. The slow descent is pulling on what’s left in my stomach as if I am on an amusement park roller coaster.
Focusing on calming my insides distracts my brain from a confused search for my past. There are flashes of a room with a pole. Echoes of Rapper’s Delight. Concentrate! Processing… Processing… Nothing there… Take it back further in time. A few drinks and a quick hand to hand exchange with my dealer at the casino bar the previous afternoon. Two black, one hundred dollar chips for an eight-ball of cocaine. About three hours at the tables. Won three hundred dollars. More drinks. Hooked up with a couple of friends. Back to my room. Party for a couple of hours. Told about the party at the Boom Boom Room! Yes, I was there. Showered, changed clothes. More cocaine in the room. Back to the casino.
A voice from the gaming area interrupts my cognitive gymnastics
Turning towards the voice. A guy at the blackjack table. I know him. From where. Processing… Processing…
“Good to see you up and about. You were a mess last night.” He said.
“Good to see you as well. I’m sorry, forgot your name.”
“I don’t doubt it. You were on fire last night. An absolute riot. It’s Dave.”
My intestines twist and churn with the fear of what will come next. I don’t want to know. I want to remember on my own.
“Yea, wild night. Lost my wallet and room key.“
“I have your wallet. You left it in the bathroom.”
“I remember being in several bathrooms. Which one?”
“Now I remember. You gave me that shit to drink.”
“You didn’t object. You looked like you were having a much better time after you drank it. You were pole dancing and trying to take your clothes off. It was hilarious.”
“Other than the pole dance, you were bouncing around the room, telling anyone who would listen you are Mark Cuban’s brother. I lost track of you.”
“Great, so I was an asshole. Thanks. I need to get some aspirin and Rolaids. I feel like shit.“
“No doubt,” he said. “See you later.”
Moving through the casino. The pumped-in oxygen is not helping me remember. After a good night’s sleep, it will come to me. Walking into the gift shop, another voice from the gaming area. A loud, sarcastic yell.
“Hey…, Mark Cuban’s brother. You were a real idiot last night!
Brian Cuban (@bcuban) is The Addicted Lawyer. Brian is the author of the Amazon best-selling book, The Addicted Lawyer: Tales Of The Bar, Booze, Blow & Redemption (affiliate link). A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, he somehow made it through as an alcoholic then added cocaine to his résumé as a practicing attorney. He went into recovery on April 8, 2007. He left the practice of law and now writes and speaks on recovery topics, not only for the legal profession but on recovery in general. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.