By Jae Bireley
Franklin cuts down a line of white cocaine with a credit card in his Honda. The time passes slowly, it’s a little after midnight and Franklin can’t sleep, he rambles incoherent white-powdered conspiracies about himself and others.
“An old girlfriend introduced me to coke ….”
We puff on cheap 7/11 cigarettes in his car as he snorts his line of coke before offering me a hit. I pass. I don’t snort or shoot up. He rolls down the window and throws the butt of his cigarette out, and spits onto the concrete. Time feels like it doesn’t exist, we’re in another era and reality. One that’s melted away.
Death is the first thought that enters my mind as he buries away his coke in a bag. The narco traffickers from Latin America that maimed, raped and slaughtered innocent. The officials from the American and Mexican side, bribed along the way. The car that passed along the border from Tijuana into San Ysidro, making its way up North to the streets of beautiful southern California, finding its way into Franklin’s nose.
Somehow, he has managed to hold steady employment. It’s only at a BBQ joint, but it pays the bills. Franklin also enjoys his booze, ganja, and opioids. He often cruises the streets of San Diego intoxicated and blacked out. He recalls a time when he and friend ingested a cocktail of Xanax, liquor, and cocaine. He awoke a day later, in a house he did not recognize after having missed work.
Franklin is just one of millions of individuals caught up in the international drug trade. According to CNN more than 72,000 Americans died from opioid related overdoses in 2017, and about 11.4 million Americans misused prescription painkillers. These are only numbers from The United States, the toll taken on Latin America is unimaginable. Drug cartels mixed in with a complex blend of poverty, failed American interventions, and the crushing legacy of Colonization, which has also crippled many nations across the globe.
Franklin draws out another line of coke, he crumbles up a twenty and snorts a bit.
“Shit! Get down!”
On reflex I hurl down into my seat as a Sheriff deputy drives by.
They don’t stop, they keep going, and soon they disappear into the abyss of night. No cruel irony catches Franklin’s attention. He looks out the driver side window for a moment, lights up a Marlboro, and drives away.
Jae Bireley is a college student born and raised in San Diego. He is an aspiring writer and journalist.