I have been to the crack houses of New Orleans and I have smoked crack with the crackheads there. I have sat with the Native Americans in the mysterious deserts of Sedona, Arizona and I smoked crack with them too. In Colorado I met a Yaqui Indian named Wahako. He shared with me his great tribal wisdom while downing pint after pint of Takka Vodka and, after telling me for the fiftieth time that his name was Wahako and that he was a Yaqui Indian, he pulled out his peace pipe and we smoked to our new friendship. Did I say “peace pipe”? I meant “crack pipe”. I've smoked a lot of crack my friends, and if there's one thing I've learned, it's that crack is expensive. Except when you find it on the ground.
Like this one time when I was living in a flop-house in the Garden District of New Orleans. As I was climbing up the stairs to my rat-hole room I looked down and happened to notice a small leather pouch sitting at the base of the stairs. I snagged it up, put it in my pocket and rushed on up. When I opened the pouch and emptied it on the the table a torrent of crack rocks came cascading out into an off-white pile. Individually wrapped, twenty dollar rocks and forty dollar rocks, all told five hundred dollars worth. There was also everything you need to smoke crack. Crack pipes, fresh Chore Boy, and a piece of wire hanger to push the Chore Boy from one side of the pipe to the other thus collecting all the crack oil residue in the pipe. This is called the “push” and is often the best hit of all.
My friend Ray was there and we were both completely astonished. I, and I'm sure he, had never seen so much crack before. Now that I think about it I had, on one other occasion, but this time it was mine. I said to him, “OK look, we're going to smoke a couple of rocks and then tomorrow I'm going to sell the rest to this crackhead I know.”
“Whatever you say.”
Twelve hours, and several hundred hits later, Ray finally drove home after having sworn universal brotherly love to me at least twenty or thirty times. I then went on a journey of deep, soul crushing despair that lasted the rest of the day. As I sat there grinding my teeth and cursing my stupidity, I reflected on how unhappy the person who had lost that leather pouch must have been. Losing five hundred dollars worth of crack is the kind of thing that can get you shot.
Several months ago I found a crack pipe hidden in a bush on 6th Street and got a good rip off it, so I feel it has been recent enough to warrant a review.
Fun Factor---10: There is a reason people smoke crack, my friends, despite it's being perhaps the most stigmatized drug in America. Have you ever been on The Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney Land? Have you ever sledded down freshly fallen snow? Have you ever played with a puppy? Have you ever had sex with someone you were completely smitten with? Crack is more fun than all of that combined. It's like your brain takes a trip to Disney Land and rides Pirates of the Caribbean all by itself. The problem is the ride only lasts ten minutes.
Fear Factor--- 0 or 10: This one is hard to judge because, although I personally have never gotten paranoid on crack, I have seen people go from completely relaxed to completely certain the police were on to us after one hit. The paranoia it causes appears to be more pronounced in those that smoke it regularly and does not seem to deter them in any way. Maybe it's part of the appeal. It is a bit of a bummer to hang out with someone in that state however because they want you to join in their fantasy and be just as paranoid as they are.
Come-Down---1: This is by far the worst part about doing crack. Like I said, the high only lasts ten minutes and after that you have two choices: suffer mental anguish or smoke more crack. This is the factor that drives many crackheads to violent crime as, when you are in the middle of it, it feels like you would be justified in doing anything to prolong the experience. It's ability to quickly turn an otherwise rational person into a raving animal is what makes crack one of the scariest drugs on the market. It is wise to have some tranquilizers on hand to take the edge off the landing.
Value of Psychedelic Insights Obtained---2: It's hard to imagine a drug being more conducive to total bullshit than crack. It will make you think you are having valuable insights but, in reality, you are having delusional fantasies, often of grandeur. If a pattern is not really there, crack is certain to make you see it clearly. It will also make you prone to misguided sentimentality, such as telling someone you barely know that you love them. The only reason I give it a score of two is that one time when I was smoking crack I had a revelation that my girlfriend and I were incompatible, which was true, but it must be noted that I was on heroin also which may well have compromised the experiment.
Makes You Do Weird Shit Factor---10: Crack makes you do weird shit. The night I found that pouch I ended up climbing to my neighbor's balcony and taking hits up there for several hours. I had no ill intentions toward my neighbor at all, I just wanted to sit on a balcony and didn't see why I shouldn't. Try explaining that to the police. I knew one guy who would dress up in girl costumes and dance around to House music every time he smoked. I say “girl costumes” as opposed to “woman’s clothing” because I have never seen a real woman dressed in such a way. He had a sense of humor about it though which, how could you not? Still, it could be kind of awkward when I had company over. So common is bizarre behavior on crack that the term “crackhead” has become synonymous with it and, from what I've seen, the reputation is deserved.
Now, I wouldn't want to give you the impression that I'm a frequent crack smoker. I'll usually only do it with crackheads as a “When in Rome...” kind of thing. Like, when I'm in Asheville I eat vegan food and go on nature hikes and when I'm in New Orleans I drink King Cobra and smoke crack. Also, I have a hard and fast rule which is to never smoke crack when you are in a good mood. Just one hit can completely ruin your day if you were feeling good already so only do it if you are down in the dumps and presumably have nothing to lose.
It's worth pointing out that most of what I've said about crack also applies to powder cocaine, but to a slightly less degree. I'll never forget the time I was partying with this defense contractor in Houston. He usually snorted cocaine but for some reason he couldn't score and ended up buying a bunch of crack from a friend of mine. “I think I really like this stuff.”, he kept saying over and over again. By the end of the night all he could say was, “I'm never smoking crack again!” And he did.