My First Plug | Dennis Cockerham

My First Plug

My First Plug

I don’t know if most people can look back on their life
And see with clarity
Exactly when that defining moment happened

I had recently been released
From one juvenile detention or another

This time
I was released to the custody of my mother
In Norfolk, Nebraska

There was always an unsettled air in this arrangement

My mother harbored the idea that
I blamed her for leaving me to be raised by my grandparents

I was 13 years old
Not capable of deciphering such psychological dysfunction

That did not stop the brainstorm of self-guilt
Nor from making our living conditions uncomfortable

I hit the streets

By now
I am adept at knowing where to look
Who to talk to

What to say in order to be a part of most street crowds
After just a couple of days
I find him

Only a few houses down the street from where my mother lived

His name was Gill
And he became
What I would call today
As my first plug
Hook up
Main man

Gill did not pedal heroin
Meth or weed
He was too broken
Just like me

But he was creative

Gill introduced me to huffing gasoline

He had me sneak over to my mother’s house
And grab her gas can for the lawnmower
It was one of those tall metal cans
It had the metal adjustable nozzle
As well as the yellow air breather cap on top

You would rip that open
So the gas would flow more freely
Mine ended up being set up a little differently
A rag wrapped around the nozzle
And I ripped that little yellow cap clean off

I would inhale the fumes
While my fingers covered the breather hole
Until the can was indenting

When I could not get any more air to come through
I would release my finger

The first gasoline bong
Choke included

A couple rips off that baby
All other feelings faded away
The world became a better place
I didn’t go anywhere without my gas can
Main Street
The parks
In the stores

As you can imagine
This did not go unnoticed in the town

My mother was forced to take some sort of action

Knowing that direct communication with me
Would probably not be successful

She found Gill

As the story goes
Gill found me

He sat me down
He told me that I needed to listen to him

You have to understand
In my world

I listened

He told me
I needed to stop huffing gas
He explained
I could possibly die
That there was even a chance that
I could get lead poisoning

I heard what Gill told me
I took his information
Very seriously

As soon as I left Gill
I went to my mother’s house
Found 15 cents

I took that and my gas can up the street to the corner convenience store
I rinsed out that can with a nickel
Then I filled it up with
10 cents of unleaded

That’s right
I had thought it through
Dying was one thing

Walking around with lead poisoning
That was completely different

Run Away | Dennis Cockerham

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