Excerpts from Memoirs of a Drugged-Up, Sex-Crazed Yippie
Tales from the 1970s counter-culture: Drugs, sex, politics and rock and roll By Steve Otto
I was sitting on the brown felt couch in the front room of Frieda’s small white house, in the summer of 1979, when I heard a knock at the door.
“Is George here?” said a young black man, about my height, with short hair.
“I haven’t seen him all day,” I answered.
I let him in the front, green, wooden screen door. The house had a front room, two small bedrooms and a really small kitchen, with the bathroom attached. The front room was cluttered with Frieda’s hats, cloth chairs, beads and other decorations.
“Would you like some yellow coke?” the young man asked.
“Yellow?” I asked.
“Yah! It comes as little yellow flakes. No one will buy it because it’s yellow. No one wants yellow coke.”
“What the heck! I’ll take some.”
He just gave me a little flake. I didn’t expect much to come of it. I thought it was barely worth doing, it was such as small amount. I figured I could mix it with something. I walked back to the kitchen and reached up on a high wooden shelf for a cardboard shoebox that had all my drugs and paraphernalia in it. As it turned out, I found one last Talwin tab that I had overlooked. I rarely overlooked drugs, but I had overlooked this one. Normally one 50-milligram Talwin tab would not do much by itself. Talwin, or pentazocine, is a synthetic narcotic that usually lasts no more than two hours. But I figured that mixing it with that flake of cocaine would give me a slight buzz.
I put the box on the small, brown, wooden table that was crammed between the stove and the kitchen sink.
There was barely any room to walk past the table to the back door of the house. The kitchen had brown walls and the stove was mostly black. I pulled two large spoons out of the silverware drawer and took a three cubic centimeter syringe out of the box. I put nearly 2ccs of hot water on the tablet of Talwin. The pill mushroomed into a cloud of tan milky looking liquid. I strained it through a piece of cotton from a Q-tip then injected the now clear, but tan tinted water in a second spoon which had the yellow coke. The coke instantly dissolved. I strained the whole mixture again, through a piece of cotton and hooked on a 25-gauge needle that was kept separate from the syringe.
I stuck in the needle and began the process of shooting up. As the drugs went in I could taste ether in my breath. That always happened when shooting coke or Talwin. The rush came immediately after. It was a really intense rush that had the pins and needles effect of cocaine, a tingle similar but not as intense, as MDA, and the feeling of a surge of energy. It also had the Talwin rush, like a warm blanket overwhelming me. I couldn’t believe I’d get that high from such a small speck of cocaine. This was called speed balling, using cocaine with a narcotic. Heroin was more commonly used when it was available. The mixture allows the more intense cocaine rush to prevail, but the narcotic high kicks in and prevents the crash when the coke suddenly wears off.
A few weeks later I bought a High Times magazine in The Town Crier bookstore. After I walked home and sat on the couch, an article caught my eye. Peruvian flake cocaine was the new rage. It was flaky, yellow, and about the purest cocaine to ever hit the market. The stuff was hard to come by here in the Mid-west. I don’t know if George’s friend ever sold anymore of his yellow coke before people realized what it was. If he had any left, I’m sure he didn’t have any trouble selling it once the word got out. I kind of felt sorry for him. He was like a man with a gold coin who thought he had a brass one.