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Squatting & Gear
Lost and Found in New Orleans
Ian Murphy-Mitchard (aka Raindog Murphy), Mar 06, 2006

I was supposed to meet up with Sean in N.O. on Halloween, but he was nowhere to be found. It turns out he was in jail, but the day after I found the next best thing, his girl. I was walking back from the Eighth ward when we met, and I fucked her all the way to Texas.

I�d finally scored dope, but was not especially impressed with the results. Needle in a fucking haystack, that�s what trying to both cop and find works in a new city is like, and unable to find a pharmacy to serve me, I found a rig in an empty lot. It was a mess. Now, I know what you�re gonna think. That�s some kinda fuckin� cesspool of disease. I beg to disagree, H.I.V. dies real quick, and Hepatitis C lives only for a couple weeks. This thing was way older than that. This is probably a great way to get endocarnitis (R.I.P. S.F. Gail�see memorial on or any other number of deadly infections, though. Not that I really cared, one way or the other.

I hit a bathroom in a ghetto-ass chicken joint and pulled out my gravity knife. �Scalpel, please�, I said aloud as I prepared for surgery. The back of the plunger broke off immediately; the plastic was so old and aged. I cut the barrel in half and carefully pulled the fucker out so the black tip didn�t come apart. I stuck it in my ear, twisting it back and forth to pick up my earwax. Earwax is an excellent natural lubricant, and this is the oldest junky trick in the book to fix an old rig. The needle was bent, so I straightened it out as best I could. I pulled the half a plunger back in and ripped the can in my pocket apart. I fixed up my shot and tied off with my belt so my veins would come out to play. She was about as sharp as a fucking harpoon, so I gritted my teeth, closed my eyes and jammed it in as hard as I could. I had to dig around for a second, as I sure as hell wasn�t going to stick that fucker in twice. �The blood shot up the dropper�s neck�, alright, but I sure as fuck wasn�t �closing in on death� though. I wish, but the quality was negligible. Not that I didn�t feel it after a week off the shit. I was rushin� nice, if not hard. A small rash raised where a few drops missed and I rubbed my throbbing arm. Putting the orange cap back on, I slammed it against the sink and popped it off, needle inside. I wrapped it all inside a paper towel and threw it in the trash.

Throwing on my pack, I kicked the bathroom open and quickly walked towards the front door. �Sir! Sir!, are you going to buy something?�, the cashier yelled. My promise to eat was the only reason that bitch had let me use the john, but I just laughed and said �Yeah. Yeah,...that�s the ticket.� as I walked out to finally face the day. I looked around for a second to get my bearings, and headed back to the French Quarter with a spring in my step. When I was almost there, she walked up.

We both stopped and looked each other up and down. She wore a denim vest, patched up from a couple years on the streets, an old T-shirt, crusty black jeans and worn out tennis shoes. What I was really checking out was her long dirty-blond dreads. �Ian�, I said. �Abby� she replied, �Scabby Abby�, as we shook hands. She was planning on stopping by the youth drop-in center too, but it was closed. We talked and walked towards Jackson square. I thoroughly discussed her with my story about the rig, and we cracked up. She only had one, and had named it �Old Rusty�. The laws about syringes are fucking criminal, and they are killing people every day with a slow death I would wish only upon my worst enemy. On this we agreed, and discussed our hatred of the establishment and our violent plans of revolution. Plans we both know will go unfulfilled, that our lives will end more likely face down in the gutter or worse, behind a locked door. Maybe, just maybe, we�ll go out as planned, in a blaze of glory, taking a few pigs down on the way.

I told her I was supposed to meet my boy Sean for Devils Night, but he was nowhere to be found. �He�s in O.P.P.�, she said. Small world, eh? She�d done a good bit of traveling with him, across Canada at least. It wasn�t hard to figure out that she was in love with him, but I had a feeling that he didn�t feel the same. I told her about the disappearance of Wrong-way and we decided it didn�t take a genius to figure out where he ended up.

We decided not to go to Jackson square right away and hung a right towards Canal to spange for a decent issue of dope. Times were tough though, and two hours later we didn�t have five bucks between us. Onto plan B. We grabbed a couple of 40�s of O.E. on the way to the square and sat on a bench in front of St Whatever�s church where all the kids were gathering. We�d barely had time to fill the cups we picked out of the trash when a fight broke out. Mix booze and gutter punks and someone�s gonna end up in the hospital, mark my words. One guy was out cold by the time it got broken up. Everyone split off into ones and twos and scattered in every direction. We didn�t go far, just to the other side of the square, and started slamming back the malt liquor and watched the ambulance scrape him up and haul him away.

By the time we drained both 40s we�d decided that if we started walking now, hopped on the city bus towards Avondale (where the train yard is), and headed west, we�d be in Austin, and high, before we would in this fucking city. And so we did. She had a bus card with a fiver on it, so we just spanged for another beer on the way back to Canal. We picked up another 40 and sat down the street from the bus stop and had a drink. It was dark by then and there was probably a dozen people waiting. When the bottle was done I chucked it over my shoulder, and it shattered on the pavement with a crash. I didn�t give a fuck at this point, at least till the huge black guy walked up behind me and told me I should apologize to his girl for almost hitting her. Which I did, profusely I might add. When he walked away, Abby busted up laughing. �You are a fucking idiot!�, she said. �What the hell am I supposed to do with you?� We smiled at each other and hopped on the bus.

I pulled the crew-change guide out of my backpack. The crew-change is THE guide for hopping trains, passed around and copied along the underground network of crusties and hobos. It tells you as best it can where the crew change point is and directions to every yard in Mexico, Canada, and the states. That�s when a freight train stops to refuel and change crews. Much preferable to hopping on the fly. Not as exciting, for sure, but you�re guaranteed to keep both legs so long as you don�t fall off later. There�s a north, south, east, and westbound crew change point. If it can, it tells you where the nearest grocery and liquor stores are, vantage points to hide and drink, and other random shit to get you on your way. Sometimes it has all of this, and sometimes it has none. We talked about the inaccuracies of the guide and had another good laugh. I ran my hand through her locks and an hour later we hit the end of the line.

NEW ORLEANS Area�Note: Many RR�s operate run-thru trains in and out of other RR�s YDs (BNSF*) Uses ex-SP line to Houston using ex-SP Old YD in suburb of Avondale, SW of DT, across the Huey Long bridge. Take bus from DT to Gretna bus terminal at Oakwood. Then get �West Bank Expressway� bus to West Bank Expressway & Drake Ave. Take �Avondale� bus on 30 min. ride to point on River Road (a.k.a. LA HWY 18) directly opposite big YD. Another approach to Avondale YD with less security is reportedly a �back door� entrance (I need to confirm whether this still works):�Cross Huey Long Bridge and go to where HWY 18 divides/merges(?). You might have to walk a little ways back from here. I think you are in �Jefferson City� here. There is a small access road with �BNSF� sign but you can access both yards. Go down this about .5M to tracks staying along the woods here WBD departures (UP too?)are on first 2-3 tracks on the S side there� GM �NWOBEL� is daily to Belen N.M., daily ( X FX)(99). DS �P-NWOLACI� goes all the way to Los Angeles

First things first though, we sure as fuck weren�t going to get on no freight train without food, booze, and most importantly, water. We asked directions to the nearest Kwik-E-Mart and set off walking. It was late, so we set up camp in an empty lot behind some old semis and I set the mac on full attack, if you will. First I suggested that we share blankets, and she shot that down real quick. Then I ran my hands through her hair and leaned in to kiss her. She pushed me off and informed me that she would not, ever, ever, fuck me. Let�s travel, let�s be friends, I�m having a great time, etc. etc., but it ain�t happening. Well, I�ve heard that before. I didn�t push the subject though, rolled over and tried to get some sleep.

Eventually I pulled a few hours shut-eye and woke up with the dawn. I looked down at Abby, who was still fast asleep. I figured, rightfully so, that she�d sleep till 9 or 10 o�clock if she could. Well, I�ve been through periods where I can sleep for days, but other times I wake up at dawn, if I sleep at all. So it�s a little tradition with me to take care of the wake-ups for my roaddawgz, just like Redbone did for me so many years ago.

I dumped all the heavy shit out of my backpack and threw it on as a spanging prop. I walked across the street and got right to work. �Hey, could you share any change? I�m travelin� through town�, I said to the man at the first pump. �Lemme see when I get out. I don�t know�, he said. I sat down on my pack just out of sight of the cashier. I got three licks in a row before he even got back. Almost two dollars already. Hell yeah. He had a plastic bag in one hand and two dollars and change in the other. I looked in the bag, smiled and thanked him sincerely. �Take care of yourself, kid�, he said. I cringed when I saw the bottled water in there. �Waters free! That�s beer money, motherfucker!� I screamed�inside, that is. I�m way too polite for that bullshit, and I was stoked. We needed water, and there were two big ass deli sandwiches in there. Most importantly I had money for coffee. First things first I always say. I grabbed a big cup of mud for myself and a 40oz for Abby.

When I got back to camp she was still asleep. I sat on my blanket and leaned up against my pack. I put her 40 next to her head so it would be the first thing she saw when she woke up. Picking up an old paperback and my walkman from my pile of stuff, I threw on the Ramones �Adios Amigos�, glad to have some time to myself. Cup a coffee, hot bitch sleeping next to me, and a good book, yeah. A joint would�ve been nice, and I was a little dopesick, but life was good, life was good. I was falling for her, I knew, but I put those thoughts aside and lost myself in the novel.

A couple of hours later she sat up, rubbing her eyes. �Not a morning person, I see�, I said. �Uh Uh�, she grunted, picking up the beer. �A wake up? Fuck yeah. You rock, Ian�, she mumbled. She took a big swig and spun it my way. �No thanks�, I said. �I�m only on my third cup of coffee, I�ll catch up later�, I said, raising my cup in a toast. We hung out for an hour or so, ate, then headed across the road to make some money. We got booted real quick and started hitchin� down the road to another store. An hour later we got there, and before we were halfway across the parking lot a lady pulled up in an old Oldsmobile and handed me a twenty. We didn�t have to ask anyone! �Aren�t you glad we left?�, I said. �You have no idea kid, I was there for fucking weeks� she answered.

We threw our packs by the ice machine and went in to stock up on supplies. The guy was in back so I started pocketing cans of tuna and cheese-crackers. He came out and we exchanged pleasantries while we bought some canned goods, a pack of Top tobacco for her and another cup of coffee for me. The liquor store was a half mile down the road so Abby rolled a smoke and we headed on. We made a few more bucks there and loaded up on Night Train, the cheapest drunk for your buck, and a couple 40s for good measure. Since I got carded, Abby slipped out the door. When I got out she was out back talking to two guys, one white, one black. They lived right down the street, and Abby said, �Come on�. I said �O.K.�, all casual, but I didn�t feel comfortable at all. I assumed, correctly that they were crackheads. I do not like crack one bit, it�s some low rent shit, in my humble opinion. I love a few crackheads, but I don�t like them. My own dear Uncle Jack is one, and has robbed everyone in our family, stolen every piece of jewelry his father (R.I.P. Gramps) gave his mother, burglarized my aunts, uncles and mama, you name it. I live by a very different code, and the shit�s quality is all over the place, not worth the trouble in my opinion. Crack is a horrible, horrible thing to do to good cocaine.

We stepped into the dilapidated shotgun shack and sat around a kitchen table in the dreary little room. The black guy rolled a joint of schwag while I stepped in the tiny filthy bathroom and emptied my bowels in a fit of the sickness. I wiped my brow and looked in the mirror fingering my St. Christopher, praying for strength. When I got back out everyone had poured themselves a drink and the white guy was burning a brillo for a broken, blackened strait shooter. Big surprise. I smiled as the black guy passed me the joint. We were the only ones who smoked so we puffed half and put the other in the ashtray for later. Whitey took a hit and passed the pipe to Abby while he panted and his hands shook. Abby took a tiny piece from the table and melted it on the chore, held it up to her mouth and sucked the glass dick. Her eyes were wide and she motioned to me and asked white boy if her �boyfriend� could have a hit. I did a double take when she referred to me as �the boyfriend�, but I knew it was just a precaution, a common one on the streets. He said yes, and loaded me a decent hit. I held it in as long as I could, till it felt like I was about to have a stroke. I got a good rush, but the quality was fair to middlin�, and having shot so much coke and crank in the past decade it was, as usual, disappointing. Shooting coke is the most intense high you can imagine, a near death experience every time, which is one of the reasons I do it so rarely these days. Burroughs once described it as �white explosions in your head� But I don�t know that anyone who hasn�t done it, (or only snorted it), could realize how literally he meant that and the true extent of the rush and aural hallucinations. Crack never (hardly ever) takes me where I want to go. And it left me feeling like shit of course, doubly so because of my day off dope. My habit was nothing at this point, but I was drained of energy even with all the coffee. Abby was about pissed at this point and I wasn�t about to dip into our head stash of five fifths of wine for these fuckers. The longer we stayed the less I liked them, but I think I faked it pretty good. I started hinting at taking off, but Abby wasn�t having it, stuck on stupid after a few hits of crack. I was to, I suppose, and paranoia was creeping up on me. Whitey said he was going to go pick up a six pack and I offered to go for him. He gave me three bucks and I got up to go, happy to get out of this fucking hellhole. When I got a few steps across the dying lawn, I began to have second thoughts. I glanced back and began to worry about Abby�s safety. Picking up the pace I hopped across a ditch and was back in just a few minutes. I knocked on the door with a sixer under my arm and got no answer. They were, in retrospect, probably just shoving the dope in a drawer and peeking out the window, but my head swam with visions of a rape in progress. I immediately threw down the beer, palmed my blade behind my back and reared back to kick down the door. I was fully prepared to gut the nigger and cut whiteys fucking throat if she was in trouble. Just then black boy opened the door and I slipped the knife in my back pocket, picking up the beer and muttering something about being drunk and dropping the beer. Abby was fine, but a few minutes later she was ready to go. �Thank god, bitch�, I thought, �it took you long enough�. Grabbing my pack I backed out the door and said goodbye as I took a couple more tokes of weed. �Fucking assholes�, she said when we got outside. She never told me exactly what happened, but I can imagine the proposition that took place, and was just thankful she had the sense to decline. It was almost time to hit the trainyard�just one more stop to go��NEXT INSTALLMENT!!!!!!(WHEN IN ROME ptII)�..HARD LOVE�HARD DRUGS�FREIGHT TRAINS�FRIED CHICKEN....A CRIPPLE�AND WE LEARN A LESSON�NEVER SLEEP NAKED IN LOUISIANA�.ALL IN ONE DAY!!!!STAY TUNED! Part 2 next week

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