San Dorado Stories: Cold Turkey
Auburn-haired Andrew Pullman had just smirked and shrugged when his friend Rob asked him what was going on.
"Come on, Townes," he'd said. "It's fuckin' cold out here. Just let me in."
It was November and Pittsburgh looked like a rusted city with all the orange and red leaves everywhere. Barely five minutes after six a.m. and uber-ambitious speed addict Andrew Pullman was already burdening the quiet, kind-of nerd with something.
"No," Rob Townes said. "Tell me what's going on."
So the aloof, holier-than-thou Andrew Pullman told him. Told him about the drug bust in the middle of the night. Told him that he'd barely gotten out of it. Told him he'd been wandering the city for hours ever since, eager to score. Told him he was glad as shit his dad didn't work Narcotics. Told him he needed a place to lay low.
And what Rob told jonesing, barely awake Andrew Pullman was; "No."
"What the fuck, Townes? Is that how you help out a friend?"
And what Rob said was; "I can take you to your uncle's, Andy, but I won't harbor a fugitive."
"Christ, Townes, do I look like fuckin' Harrison Ford to you?" That's what Andrew Pullman said.
Before Affymetrix, before Illumina or the Human Genome Project, Matthew Pullman worked at Mercy Hospital. The place was popular and the tech was something else. It was located in the Bluff. Matthew Pullman was located in the Bluff, too. He was what they called "well-off".
Rob Townes took a weakened Andrew Pullman to his uncle. While Andrew Pullman suffered through withdrawal and slept the day away, Rob Townes and Matthew Pullman tried to make a plan.
"He barely got away," Rob had told Matt. "If he doesn't stop now, things will really start to spiral down."
Uncle Matt agreed. Uncle Matt said he'd take care of his nephew. "Tell his parent's he's interning for me," he said. "He'll be staying here for a couple days, working late nights."
And what Rob said was; "And I'll bring his homework here, so he doesn't fall behind."
Uncle Matt said thanks, since he said Andrew Pullman didn't know how.
When Andrew Pullman had woken up, it was the evening of his second day at Uncle Matt's. It had been a while since he'd slept, after all. Pale and sickly Andrew Pullman turned on CNN and watched while a disingenuous-looking anchor talked about another bombing in the Middle East. Andrew Pullman scoffed and thought, What does it matter if they blow themselves up? That was just less work for the American troops (supposing some of the dumber ones didn't get themselves blown to hell with the fanatics in the process). Like he cared about what a bunch of savages did halfway around the world, anyway.
Andrew Pullman, his body sore, called out for some water. Rob Townes came in, a glass of it in hand. Andrew Pullman gulped it down and asked, "Townes, where's my shit?" Rob Townes just glared at him and sighed.
Rob Townes told him he had to quit. Told him it was either that or rehab. Told him that probably meant he would fall behind. Told him that meant he would never be salutatorian (to which Andrew Pullman laughed and asked, "Who remembers second best?"). Told him if he didn't stop using, it probably meant a criminal record, too.
Andrew Pullman grumbled and complained. Swore at Rob Townes and his Uncle Matt both. Ranted about how he would slip away without the drugs. Ranted about how he was afraid he'd fall asleep and never wake up. Ranted about how he needed something to keep him all together.
But finally, Andrew Pullman agreed. Another few days passed. Little to do but keep up with his schoolwork and watch talk shows. And when he was clean, it was just like his uncle said. He said no thank you's, showed no signs of appreciation. Andrew Pullman didn't know how. But Rob and Uncle Matt figured an indifferent Andrew Pullman was better than a dead one.