On December 14th, 2015 (my 34th birthday) my best friend from childhood died of a heroin overdose in a hotel room alone. I thought I was prepared for his passing cuz the signs were all there. I wasn’t. When I got the news, it split me in half like a machete through a rotted cane stalk. And what was once a bad drinking habit quickly devolved into full-blown alcohol abuse. I started trolling the nastiest bars in the nastiest parts of Prague. I tried to maintain a romantic relationship during this time, but it all fell apart like wet toilet paper because she was on the other side of the globe and neither of us wanted to move.
We broke up and never spoke again. I poured even more alcohol down that gaping hole in my chest, but after a while, it just didn’t cut it. I turned to drugs. From late 2016 to early 2018 scarcely a weekend passed where I wasn’t treating my nose with powder, socking my veins with Molly, blazing my brains with weed, or all three. Between the booze and the shit, it’s amazing I got any writing done. By the skin of my geesh, I managed to crank out my second novel and put the finishing touches on my first. I started looking for an agent. I queried over a hundred, but they all gave me a long bony middle finger. I figured I was dust. Then a friend of mine told me:
“Look, your work is good, but you need a professional editor.”
She turned me on to a friend of hers in the biz. It wasn’t a match, but it got me looking. Meanwhile I’m still partying like a Vandal in a fire-lit cave full of Roman skeletons. I’d managed to bang a lid on the drugs cuz the fuckheads that crap put me in contact with were sicker than the arms of a headless junky, but I was still suckin’ drank from a firehose because the way I saw it, I was now being “healthier.”
In June of 2018 I managed to find an editor; a sweet old dude with white hair and glasses who lived on an abandoned island with his wife in a blue house. Homeboy loved my first novel. So much so he was already sending me big fully edited chunks of it while I was on my annual summer trip. This time it was Central America. I made it a week out there with the hard drinking before my guts started going haywire on me.
When I got back to Cali, I saw a doc. He threw some antibiotics on it and I was good in a few days. I decided to celebrate. I went to a buddy’s birthday party and downed enough liquor to fill a child’s casket. The next morning, I dumped a bag of Taco Bell in my stomach. I took all that home and started pounding the wine with my pops. A few days later, my abdomen swole up like an airbag. I thought it was constipation but when it didn’t go away after a round of suppositories, I got spooked. I called my sister (who’s a doctor) and told her the deal. She asked me to have my dad press his finger into my belly and retract it as fast as he could. I was puzzled but complied. My dad did the thing and the jolt of pain it caused was so strong I thought my teeth would catch fire. My sister said I might have a burst appendix. She told my Dad to take me to the hospital, but I protested on account of her wedding rehearsal was the next day and I was her best man. My dad took me anyways. After hours of agony in the waiting room, the jagoffs finally saw me. They pumped me full of pain meds and did a CT scan. The doctor came out thirty minutes later and dropped me the news like she was dropping a newspaper into a trash bin.
“Pancreatitis,” she said.
I looked at her cockeyed. “What the hell is that?”
She rolled her eyes. “Well basically, it’s when you have a blockage in your pancreas and the digestive juices it produces can’t go to the right place, so they spill all over your innards and digest them instead.”
It must’ve been the drugs because my next question was:
“Can I still drink at the wedding tomorrow?”
She laughed and left the room.
The ensuing nine months were dominated by a hell so pure and so clean you’d think the Devil himself had a distillery for all the misery in the world and he was serving his product to me drip by drip through an IV. I was hospitalized fourteen times, lost sixty pounds, had my gallbladder removed, my pancreas run through with eight-inch stents, and had to endure more x-rays, MRIs, EUSs, ERCPs, CT and HIDA scans than I could count. Since I couldn’t eat without triggering organ-melting pain, they had to find alternative ways to feed me. The first was via something called a PICC line, where they basically cut a hole in your arm, stick a tube down your artery and feed you liquid food through it. I was on that for about five weeks, but then the hole got infected so they switched to something called an NJ feeding tube, which is similar in concept to the PICC line only the tube runs down your nose and into your bowels and the formula you’re fed is different. Anyways, I was on that shit for seven months, and only recently stopped taking it. As I write this, I still have two stents in my pancreas and a yellow tube sticking out of my face. But it ain’t about all that; it’s about what I’m working on.
Just last week I found a publisher for my first novel Chuck Life’s a Trip, which is based on a life-changing, around-the-world journey I took with my childhood buddies back in 2006. We still have a ways to go before the thing is shining like a cut ruby and ready to slip on the shelves, but we’re pickin’ away at it, and as long as my condition keeps improving and things go according to plan, we should have it hot off the press and in people’s hands by fall of this year.
In the meantime, I’ll spit little bits on here to keep the interest up. Then when the time is right … KABOOOOM … I’ll drop my first book on that ass 😉
Note: I reserve the right to occasionally alter the character names, descriptions, and/or event details in my posts for the purposes of identity protection and “fluidity of story.” If this puts a kink in your panties, read someone else’s blog, homey.