Soon I was living in an abandoned garage and begging for spare change. Ripping off my family and frie. Ripping off my family and friends meant nothing to me. I was a dreamseller, pushing the fantasy that I was a recovering addict. Anything to get my precious next fix. This is my story of struggling to survive on the streets and battling with addiction in rehab.
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I am a twenty-five-year-old junkie, sleeping in an abandoned garage in one of the worst parts of Baltimore City. My eyes open. It is August 11, I can't tell you the time because I don't own a watch, but judging by the angle of the sun's rays shining through the cracks of the abandoned garage door, it is about eight-thirty a.
As soon as I am conscious enough to think, panic consumes my body. My mind searches desperately for the answer to the question, "Did I leave a gate shot for myself last night? I suppose this is a term borrowed from horse or dog racing, which conjures an insightful visualization of a junkie's lifestyle: a fixated animal running a desperate, circular sprint.
My hands strike out, searching, reaching, grasping. Not in my shoes, not in my pockets, not on the floor I arrive at the terrible conclusion: no gate shot, not today. I am dreading the chain of events that are rapidly approaching, and I want so bad to reject the responsibility of having to scrounge up ten dollars for a pill of Dope, but Heroin is calling.
I know I have to make it happen somehow, some way. I take a deep breath, and stagnant air fills my lungs. My eyes, adjusting to the sunlight, fix on the cracks on the ceiling, the peeling paint, the broken light fixture, the cement beams, all the exterior details which express my inner condition. My body shivers from the chill of the cold cement floor beneath my "bed," which consists of three moldy dingy-yellow cushions.
A few days prior, I had taken them from a sofa that was sitting in the rain next to some trash cans I happened to be picking through. I thought they might bring comfort after a long day of stealing, lying, and hustling, so I took them to the abandoned garage I call my "home. That night, as I drifted off to sleep with my feet resting on the cold cement, I found pride in my accomplishment — the acquisition of these three dank cushions, stinking of mold and mildew, which I now I refer to as my "bed.
I unwrinkle my makeshift pillow, my hooded sweatshirt. I wear this sweatshirt for one good reason: the hood conceals my white skin. You see, I buy my drugs in an all-black neighborhood, and there are stick-up boys everywhere who look to prey upon white-boy junkies like me. Also, being the only white person in the area makes me a prime target for cops, who know that any white person they see here is a drug addict.
I slip my shoes over the socks I have worn in my sleep. I wear my socks to bed because I have not showered properly in a few months, and the barrier of crust imbedded in the fabric helps contain the stench of my feet. I have slept in many depressing, deathly places, but this one is the unrivaled worst. The floor, covered in muck and grime, is littered with used needles, bloody ties, candle nubs, burned match packs, empty lighters, crushed water bottles, and blackened cookers of all forms — spoons, cans, bottle caps, tins, and other dish-shaped metal scraps.
In the center of the floor a refrigerator on its side functions as a "coffee table" for the junkies who reside here. There have been days when I wondered whether it might actually work when plugged into a live outlet, and others when I contemplated somehow transporting it to the junkyard in exchange for cash. But it's heavy, which means I would have to divide the work, as well as the proceeds, with another junkie, and that wasn't a possibility.
Sharing is a concept foreign to addicts. Piles of broken drywall, which once divided a corner of the garage into a bathroom, surround a toilet that hasn't worked in years.
But junkies who sleep here use it anyway, and it is overflowing with urine and feces. Standing within a two-foot proximity will cause me to vomit from the sight and stench. It is sick that the content of this garage represents the person I have become, and what is worse is that I have become accustomed to it.
As I stagger toward the door, each step intensifies the sinking feeling that today is going to be my day to die. But this idea does not deter my attention from the task at hand, the hustle for ten dollars, the price of a pill of Heroin, a small gel capsule full of Heroin powder that can either be snorted, or cooked then injected.
I race through a mental catalog of scams. How can I get ten bucks through a minimum amount of effort? It comes to me: Mom. Mom is a resource I tap only when all others have run dry, because I am ashamed for her to see me in this condition. But this morning I am desperate.
I'll offer her one of my stock alibis such as, "I need to borrow lunch money until my next paycheck clears," or "I just got a job as a busboy, but I need to buy a new shirt for my first day of work.
This is not because she will believe them. Instead, Mom will hand over the cash just to rid herself of this twisted vision of the filthy junkie who is her beloved son.
The garage door. My opponent. When unlocked, tension from two industrial-strength springs allows it to glide open almost effortlessly. But with the handle in its present "locked" position, the springs act as a fulcrum securing the door to the ground. Yet, the door can be heaved open with a great amount of effort from a desperate junkie.
I grab the handle and begin to lift, straining. I am frail — weight: one hundred fifteen pounds, eat: two or three times a week. I can only call upon as little energy as one would imagine a person of this description might possess. My legs begin to tremble, and I manage to raise the door almost three inches before it slips from my grasp and slams shut: Bang!
As the sound resonates, I wince, fearful that the people who live above this garage might call the police if they discover that every night a junkie sneaks in and sleeps like an abandoned dog. I step back, take another breath, and analyze the situation: I'm sick, I need ten dollars now, and goddamn it, this door is going to open!
Again, I grab the door handle and pull. My knees are buckling, my arms shaking, my back is about to give out, but I am motivated by the thought of my next fix: inspiration! Finally I manage to create a three-foot slot, underneath which I cram my shoulder and apply it as a brace to hold the door up. I look outside, to the far end of the two-story valley of red-brick row homes, where the mouth of the alley touches the street.
There, the sunlight almost washes away the images of pedestrians, cars, stores. To most people, this is scenery. But to me, in these things I see opportunities to steal, lie, hustle, scam, and create victims. I swiftly slip out from under the door, letting it strike the concrete with a slam! I hit the streets, motivated by my plan to scam my mom.
Suddenly behind me, a familiar voice rings out. What's up? I turn toward my old friend Scott, who glances over my condition. Scott is four years clean. As teenagers, we rode skateboards together. As we grew up, we became addicts together.
The difference is, he went clean, I got worse, and he became my NA sponsor. It is an indisputable fact that we could always depend on one another; however, in this case, an unspoken code of ethics dictates that I cannot ask for money. This is for my own good — we both know it, and we both know why: obviously, any funds extended to me would be spent on Dope. Scott looks at me with pain in his eyes. But here.
Take this. Anytime, anywhere, if you ever feel the desire to clean up, call me, and I promise I'll stop whatever I'm doing, come get you, and take you to rehab, okay? Scott's current occupation is real estate, and he is apparently doing very well at it.
He steps into his white Mercedes and pulls away. I pocket the phone number, not because I intend to ever need a ride to rehab, but perhaps I can use Scott for something at a later time: a place to sleep, a change of clothes, a shower, whatever. A junkie always has to consider his resources. Mom's house. Here I go. As I walk the six blocks to Mom's house, my pace quickens, faster and faster.
Her house is now in sight. I see her car and I know she's there. Excitement shoots through me. I am trembling, as I can almost feel the sweet Heroin surging through my veins. Then I see it. I stop dead in my tracks, as my hope of obtaining ten dollars vanishes. The front door of Mom's house opens, revealing my half brother David, a thirty-two-year-old lawyer who works for the State.
He is the proverbial "brain" of our family. Behind David follows our older sister Lisa, who, at a young age, voluntarily assumed many of the parenting responsibilities necessary to raise me while Mom worked her way through medical school in order to provide a better life for us.
With my sister are her children, my seven-year-old niece Cindy and eight-year- old nephew Nicholas. Cute little kids, innocent, not yet aware of the world's evil.
The last to exit the house is my mom. In raising us, she had done her best, especially under the circumstances of being separated from our father. As they gather in front of the house, I hide behind a tree, struck with jealousy, envy, and remorse as I watch them standing in a circle of laughter and joy. I grit my teeth at a memory of my childhood, when I was seven and won my first skateboard sponsorship.
An Excerpt From “Dreamseller: An Addiction Memoir”
At seven, Brandon was a skateboard prodigy. By the time he was fourteen, he was living the dream. Discovered by skate legends Bucky Lasek and Tony Hawk. Touring the U. Signing autographs and appearing in films and magazines. Brandon had it all.
Signed Dreamseller Book
Forward by skateboarding legend, Tony Hawk. Skateboarder and Jackass star Brandon Novak comes clean about his crazy rise to fame, tailspin into addiction, and other death-defying stunts on the road to recovery…. At seven, Brandon was a skateboard prodigy. By the time he was fourteen, he was living the dream. Discovered by skate legends Bucky Lasek and Tony Hawk. Touring the U.
Brandon Novak born December 10, is a professional skateboarder , actor , author , and former friend of Bam Margera , and is a prominent member of the CKY Crew. In Haggard , Novak plays a friendly drug dealer named Dooli, which was the real nickname of Novak's dealer in northwest Baltimore. The show was cut off just as the act was starting. That same year, Novak appeared in a pornographic film by Gina Lynn called The Fantasstic Whores 4 with Margera who has had a "prominent, non-sex role". In , Novak appeared in Jackass 3D in multiple scenes. Novak also had a more prominent role in the follow-up film Jackass 3.
Dreamseller: An Addiction Memoir
Her house is now in sight. Excitement shoots through me. I am trembling, as I can almost feel the sweet heroin surging through my veins. Then I see it.