eNewsChannels BOOK SERIAL: “Secret Sex, A Book Alive Online,” written and lived by John Scott G: Chapter 41 – “Perfectly Poetic Poisons.”

Everybody uses drugs. You don’t agree? Aspirin is a drug. So is caffeine. So are vitamin supplements, nicotine, codeine, alcohol, tranquilizers, diet pills, birth control pills, artificial sweeteners, mood enhancers, antacids, pump inhibitors, and food preservatives, not to mention tetracycline and other antibiotics.

How about salt? That could be called a drug, don’t you think? And god knows that some of us consider television a drug. We haven’t even gotten to recreational and illicit substances, and that could be another good-sized list. Or so I have been told.

{Digression #1: When I shared the opening of this chapter with a couple I know, the woman said, “I’m not sure that alcohol is a drug, but it certainly is recreational.” To which her husband replied, “Don’t call it ‘recreational,’ that makes it sound frivolous. Drinking is serious!”}

The point is: everybody is into perfectly poetic poisons in some form. And the pharmaceutical firms are certainly doing their part to keep it that way:

“Can’t get it up because you are a normal over-fifty-year-old man who is not attracted to women your own age? Have we got a pill for you!” Online versions of this one may also offer a link to the good folks over at the Real Doll organization.

“Feeling stressed or hyper? Whoa, slow down, pardner. Just relax, take a few deep breaths, and then try Calmazone90. That’s right, just two time-release capsules of Calmazone90 will take the cares of the world and send them somewhere else. Like Canada, where there aren’t enough people to notice any cares, or to certain parts of Africa, where they really know about the cares of the world and yours will seem small by comparison!”

“Occasional allergies got you sniffling and sneezing? You can fight back by using Stuffbegone, now fortified with extra-strength Megasnotinhibitor IV. Just four or five little pills every other hour and you can breathe easy!”

“Feeling depressed, dull, logy, mopey, and moving like a snail that was tossed onto the ice during a hockey game? Try new N-R-GEEE! It’s like drinking a case of Rock Star or Red Bull but, you know, without the Ecstasy. By prescription only, so tell your doctor you want N-R-GEEE, now!”

What accompanies these offers is a litany of potential side effects that seem to indicate that you may soon die, and in the meantime you are certainly going to suffer from more symptoms than any illness you’ve ever had. And then you discover that Big Pharma is happy to peddle more drugs to counteract some of the symptoms of the drugs they just pushed on you for other symptoms.

The whole thing makes you want to stay with slightly more natural remedies. Like, well, just for example, might I suggest . . .


Let me put in a word about cannabis sativa. ItIsGoodStuffAndShouldBeLegal. Had to slip that past the censors. Look, marijuana is better for you than alcohol in many ways, not the least of which is its lack of calories.

“Yeah, but it gives you the munchies, so you still gain weight,” is the typical remark at this point. Wrong-o, Marylou. Marijuana lets you emphasize that which you may have been suppressing. If you want to chew on some fudge, getting high is just a good excuse. “The weed made me crave it,” some might say, but it’s not so. If you put your mind to appreciating the taste of vegetables while high, then that’s what you would eat and you’d probably lose weight. And there’d be that other benefit, um, let me see, oh I know: better health. My recommendation is that you use grass, water, and breath control plus the synapses in your noggin to focus on something great. You may not actually achieve greatness but it’s virtually guaranteed that you’ll be closer to it than before.

In other words, it is very true that “It’s all in the mind, you know.”

{Digression #2: Pop quiz. Tell me who said “It’s all in the mind, you know.” Five points if you said George Harrison. You get ten points if you said Terence Alan Patrick Sean Milligan. Well, just Spike Milligan is enough. Not a household name in the USA but well-lauded in Great Britain as a musician, writer (including “The Goon Show”), radio and TV performer, and one hell of a funny guy. Eight points if you said, Lee Minoff, Al Brodax, Jack Mendelsohn, Erich Segal, and/or Roger McGough. Wait, who? They were the screenwriters of Yellow Submarine, in which George Harrison spoke a variation of Spike Milligan’s line.}

{Digression #3: “I think that these digressions are drug-related.” Yeah, well, shut up. And pass the bong.}

Mind Under Matter

If you decide to use marijuana while you are focusing on something, you have perhaps a fifty-fifty chance of staying with that topic (which is a better percentage than without drugs for most of us). Quite a lot of subjects can be contemplated — or activities indulged in — while under the influence, including: food, exercise, sex, listening to music, viewing art, seeing a movie, bird watching, or any of a hundred other things. In a great many instances, the drug will not get in your way and it may even help in your enjoyment of the event.

On the other hand, do not attempt to write something coherent! Writing while stoned result mixed-up will sentences sometimes in slightly. So I do not recommend that at all.

There are drawbacks to weed besides making writing impossible and the whole “now it’s legal/now it’s illegal” situation. The communal nature of the marijuana sector of drug culture has been a problem for more than a few people. It just doesn’t seem that healthy to take a rolled paper tube that was sealed by someone else’s saliva, stick it in your mouth and suck on it.

“I feel like I’m smoking part of an envelope that somebody just licked shut,” said one friend of mine. Yeah, good point, although it’s making me paranoid so I’ve got to go into the den and play some Eric Satie to, you know, chill out, man.


In the spirit of true confession, I once tried mescaline. That is a psychoactive substance which I believe is derived from the peyote cactus. “What do it do?” I hear you ask. It produces visual hallucinations while raising your heart rate and dilating your pupils.

In other words, it was pretty cool. No need to do it again because the effects can be recalled whenever needed, which is something that can be very bothersome to people who don’t want these alterations to follow them throughout the rest of their lives.

It’s not scary, just different. Artistic, even. Here’s the deal: See a lovely landscape? Okay, now think about it with different colors. Green sunlight and red clouds, for example. Seeing something like that is no problem on mescaline and not very difficult after having used it, to tell the truth. Want the image to morph from one color to another? Sure thing. Want it to stop? You can return your seat-back to the full upright and uncomfortable position whenever you want. Almost. Sometimes when I’m very tired there are prismatic colors around the edges of everything, but that’s been happening for so many years now I just take it as a signal to stop reading and take a nap.

Ever get frightened by a tree? Nope, that doesn’t happen to me. Never! Well, not very often, anyway. Although Sherry, the girl I was with on what we called “the night of the mescal high,” was completely and totally and utterly freaked out by a tree she saw through the window of the house we were in at the time. Perhaps she was naturally inclined toward frightening hallucinations. Perhaps the fact that she was also using weight loss pills had something to do with it. Perhaps the fact that we were playing an album by The Who at rather monstrous volume had something to do with it. (Aside: “Live at Leeds” is awesome!)

Up in the Air

In the spirit of true confession, I once tried lysergic acid diethylamide (that’s LSD, as if you didn’t know). This is a psychoactive substance (C-sixteen H-sixteen N-two O-two; just thought I’d toss that in for you chem majors) that I believe is derived from the fungus called ergot, although it can be artificially created. LSD induces hallucinations and altered sensory experiences. It’s prohibited now but was once legal and used by the U.S. government (see my review of Acid Christ by Mark Christensen). Powerful stuff. (Cary Grant was a heavy user; just thought I’d toss that in for you TCM fans.)

Anyway, the visions were pretty nifty-keen. Repeat most of the above from the mescaline adventure, including the distaff reaction. Patty, the girl I was with on what we called “the acid bath experience,” had some issues with the effects of the drug. Perhaps the best illustration of this was when we went outside the condominium and strolled on the fourth story walkway that connected one building to the next.

“Let’s climb up on the railing and jump in the pool!” she said to me eagerly.

I glanced down at the courtyard far below us. Then swiveled my line-of-sight over to the swimming pool and calculated that it was probably fifty feet from the walkway where we stood. The only way we could have reached it was with a catapult.

“Let’s see how many stars we can count,” I suggested. Luckily, that took her mind off the leap to sudden death or at least sudden maiming. After we counted eleventy-eight bazillion stars, we went back in the condo and put on some Betty Boop cartoons. They freaked her out so we switched to a Doris Day comedy, but that freaked me out, and so we tried “Witness for the Prosecution,” the Billy Wilder movie of the Agatha Christie play. That seemed to calm us both down. As in putting her to sleep. (Too bad because that story has the most amazing twist on top of a twist on top of a twist ending. At least I think it does.)

Watching the Go-Down

You don’t hear about cocaine very much these days. Well, you do, but not the word itself. Mostly, you hear about crack. A less-expensive and more powerful chemicalized version of coke, crack is responsible for a lot of pain and suffering, only some of which we will delve into here. You know, the funny and poignant pain and suffering.

Cocaine is a powerful and potentially deadly substance whether you use it in powder form or in the heat-it-up-with-baking-soda-and-water method. (Oops, did I just reveal a dark secret? Hold on while I check the Internet . . . Nope, that seems to be common knowledge.)

There are people who are into the stuff in a big way. Desire it, demand it, devour it. In fact, they’ll lie, cheat, beg, borrow, steal, and even kill for it. The ones who think they’re smart become small-time dealers just to ensure that they always have a steady supply. My friend Gary was one of these folks. Or perhaps I should say my late friend Gary.

You can assess the wisdom of becoming a coke dealer just by considering how many of them you know who have made it past middle-age. I’m sure there are a few but mostly the business of cocaine distribution is a good way to get old and dead before your time.

Fortunately for me, I always thought it was a very over-rated drug and far too expensive for the high it provides. On the other hand, I never tried crack. One look at people who use it regularly was all it took to convince me to avoid it. I may have some problems (“may”?), but crack users are Seriously Fucked-Up. My self-awareness admits to my often being FU but my goal is to avoid becoming SFU.

Coke is insidious for some people because it makes them think they can do anything. In a sense, this fantasy is self-fulfilling: people who use coke often find themselves doing the darnedest things. They’ll snort it up their nasal passages, spread it on their gums, apply it to their genitals and anus, experiment with a water-and-coke mixture to use as eyedrops, mainline it into a vein, and freebase it (that’s the crack we spoke of earlier, as if you didn’t know).

There are intense life changes for the coke addict. Gary began using coke in a casual way. Tried it once at a party, liked the effect, and began hanging out with new sets of acquaintances to get invited to the types of parties that would have cocaine available.

Next came purchasing just a small amount of coke from someone who was making a real, full-sized buy. A little use here, a little more use there, and he quickly got to the point where he was procuring the stuff on a regular basis.

Fantasy Interlude

A phone number is dialed. One ring, and the connection is made.

“Drug Hotline.”

“Hi. Or rather, not high. And that’s the problem.”

“We can help you.”

“Great! Can you tell me your prices for cocaine?”

“It depends on your insurance.”

“Insurance? For coke?”

“Yes sir. Who is your carrier?”

“Big Al, usually, but I think he’s in Peru right now and there’s some trouble with his boats or planes or something, so he won’t be back for a while.”

“Excuse me?”

“That’s why I want to know what you guys are charging. I’ll bet you’ve got really pure stuff, being affiliated with a hospital.”

“Sir, we are a clinic for the treatment and detoxification of drug abusers.”

“Wait, isn’t this the drug hotline?”

“Yes, sir. We are specialists in the treatment of victims of drug abuse.”

“Victims? Man, calling yourself the Drug Hotline is like, false advertising.”

“Good day, sir.”

“Only if I score.”

{Sound effect: drum beats and cymbal crash.}

Okay, Where Were We?

Oh right, Gary. So, he’s buying cocaine at a pretty good clip and the only way to afford it is to buy more and sell some of it. Inevitably, he became a small distributor. That’s correct, he was running one of those famed Small Businesses the GOP is always trumpeting about. He joined a group of buyers who were all working in the motion picture industry. The Movie Connection, they called it.

The Movie Connection began casually. One member of the studio coke crowd had a conversation with a man who was going to be scouting locations for a film that was set in South America. A promising beginning. And then there was an amazing breakthrough when they discovered that it was not that difficult to get their shipments into the country via diplomatic pouch. One of the guys would meet with the guy who knew the guy who was in the diplomatic corps, money was exchanged for product, and then the entire troupe of Hollywood trash would meet up for The Great Divide. After which, each of them would shut themselves in their offices for some discreet phone calls to the casual users who were kinda-sorta funding the whole enterprise.

Time Keeps on Slippin’

One bright Tuesday morning, Gary went to work as usual. Everybody asked him how he was feeling, but not in the good way. They did so while speaking in a very concerned tone of voice, which didn’t make Gary feel very well. Kind of spooks ya when you hear “Are you okay?” instead of “Good morning” and they keep asking you over and over again. (Try it: everybody in the office ask the boss if he’s feeling okay and in a few hours, he won’t be.)

Anyway, Gary was nettled and he called me.


“Jay Ess, it’s me.”

“Hey! How ya doin’, Gary?”

“Yeah, uh, listen, I don’t, uh, I’m okay. I think. Listen, did things go all right this weekend?”

“Sure, fine,” I told him. “It was good stuff. You were a little, well, ‘out there,’ if you know what I mean.”

“I know, I know.”

“Right, but other than that, it was swell. Not sure how you were able to make it home. What time did you leave the beach house?”

“Um,” he said, “I don’t remember. Actually, I don’t even remember going home. Didn’t I go with you guys?”

“Nope,” I told him. “We asked if you wanted a ride and you said, ‘No, this ride’s fine.’ Everybody cracked up, and then we left.”

“Oh,” he said. “Man, I was wasted. I must have come straight from the beach to work.”

“What about last night?”

“What do you mean? We were at the beach house last night.”

“No,” I said, “we were at the beach house on Sunday night.”

“Wait,” he said. “What are you saying? This is Monday.”

“Uh, no Gary, today is Tuesday.”

There was a long pause.

“Oh shit.”

“Gary, did you lose track of a whole day?”

“Uh, listen, I gotta go. Talk to ya later.”


Weekend, Weak Out

Gary had lost Monday. Kaput. Vanished. Lord knows what the hell he did during the hours from Sunday night ’til Tuesday morning. I spoke with him a couple weeks afterwards and he still had not been able to piece it all together. “I remember something about an oxygen mask and some people with a lot of feathers,” he told me, “but that’s about it.” Wish he remembered more because that sounded quite interesting.

He decided to “go easy” on the coke. Which didn’t really last long according to my observations and the reports of several people in the mob. Oops, I mean several independent witnesses. Gary would purchase or obtain a couple grams to get through the week. And then a couple grams to get through the weekend. And then a couple more. And so on in a mad rush of craving and need and dependence and cerebral unmooring, all accompanied by behavior not unlike that of the characters described in the lyrics of “White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)” by Grandmaster & Melle Mel. Which is a monster track with a killer bass line that makes you move whether you’re on drugs or not. I’m just saying.

Cutting In

One night, Gary went out with several of his closest, sweetest, nicest, dearest, and kindest best friends (read “bunch of hangers-on who hoped to score a taste”). The leader of the evening’s merry band was a guy who had been dealing for a while, a man who that night was celebrating his leap into the Big Time. Before this, he had never quite made scores that were up there with the elite dealers in the county. Another couple of distributors were the holders of the franchise, so to speak. But now, finally, this guy thought he had made the right connections and he was feeling like he was The Man.

The celebration was to be suitably outlandish: limousines, hookers, champagne, plenty of white powder, a posse, and a couple of low-rent bodyguards. They were all at a big table on a riser overlooking the dance floor of a nightclub with enough flashing lights to be seen from outer space.

Turns out that the guy should have paid more for the bodyguards because he got a five-inch knife sunk handle-deep into his back, right between the shoulder blades. One minute he’s laughing it up on the dance floor with an exceedingly well-built redhead who said her name was Princess Whipmistress Kyla and the next minute there’s blood all over the place. Screams. Shouts. Confusion. Frantic calls for the paramedics, for the cops, for someone to mop up some of that blood. The redhead had excellent crime scene evasion skills: she just sort of melted into the crowd and was not seen again.

Here’s the weird part. Nobody at the table screamed. Nobody spoke up about being with the guy. Nobody did anything. In truth, they all just seemed a bit annoyed at the interruption. The scary thing is, they really didn’t care. Someone they knew was stabbed to death practically in front of them, and it was, like, whatever.

Gary was now one of these jaded people. True, he also died a year or so later, but in the normal drug overdose method, not by murder. But at that moment he was very much alive to witness the dance floor of death. The true “blood on the dance floor” scene. As for the lack of reaction to the slaughter of that man, here’s how Gary explained it to me: “Hey, the guy was a dealer. He knew the chances he was taking. So, you goin’ to the beach house with us tomorrow night?”

As I said, I recommend hemp. And a different set of friends.


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“Secret Sex, A Book Alive Online,” written and lived by John Scott G, is Copr. © 2011-2012 by JSG, all rights reserved under U.S. and international copyright conventions. Commercial use in any form is forbidden without express written permission of the author. Originally published on with permission. Credits: Book cover design: Phil Hatten.