Last year I decided that I didn’t want to spend my summer suffering through the 110 degree Phoenix heat so I got a friend to sub-let my abysmal apartment in Tempe and moved out to Chicago for a couple months to take some improv classes and write for my friend’s sketch group Clam Bake. During my time there I slept on an old comedy friend’s couch for two months. This was the longest I have gone living in a new city away from all the friends I made in high school and college; needless to say it was quite the learning experience. Here’s something I learned during my time in the Windy City.
It’s easy to meet sketchy people in Chicago
I’m a bit of a social butterfly (gag) and while I was out in the dirty Chi I only knew a total of four people. I had actually only interacted with the girl whose couch I was sleeping on about four times before moving. She had also just started dating a new man by the time I moved out there and she usually slept at his house leaving me an empty apartment and the fattest cat I have ever had the displeasure of taking care of.
So whenever I had the opportunity to meet new people I would jump at the chance to hit up a bar or grab some dinner after improv class. The other thing about my roommate was that she was a small time weed dealer, picking up an ounce every other week and selling just enough to smoke for free. Whenever she was out of the apartment I would be in charge of doling out the rations to all of her comedy buddies from around the city. Which leads me to the craziest interaction I had living in Chicago.
I met this 35-year-old guy in one of my improv classes he took a liking to me and I needed a friend so I figured what could go wrong and we made a habit of getting drinks after class. After hanging out a couple times he revealed to me he was the son of a British Petroleum CEO and his father was filthy rich. We got on the topic of drugs and I told him if he ever needed bud my roommate could supply him. He told me he didn’t smoke weed but asked if she sold any other drugs. I jokingly replied, “Oh yeah she sells crack too.” He chuckled; we finished our drinks, and went our separate ways.
About three days late I received a call from this kid, let’s call him John, at around 3 a.m. This in itself is not that weird because bars don’t close until 4 or 5 a.m. in Chicago. John asks if he can “pick up” and I tell him, “Of course, how much do you need?”
This is where it starts to get weird.
He asks for a “teener”, which a 16th of an ounce and a term usually reserved for the purchase of cocaine, meth, or crack. I brushed it off and weighed out half an eighth for this guy. I get a text from John asking if I mind if his friend comes up with him. I’m a little apprehensive but John seemed like a nice enough guy at this point so I obliged. I buzz the two friends in and they crawl up to my fourth floor apartment drunk as all hell. Apparently they had just come from the popular night club the evilOlive.
It’s about 4 a.m. now and I have work in the morning so I throw John his bag and tell him its $30. John looks at the bag disappointedly and says, “Oh no man… we we’re looking for the crack…” I laugh and repeat that its $30 and he says, “No, seriously man… we wanted the crack.” To which I reply, “Oh sorry man but I don’t sell crack.” What happens next I will never forget. He looks at his friend and in the most earnest voice I’ve ever heard come out of a crack head he says,
“Well, darnit! Where are we going to find crack now?”
Flabbergasted I ask, “Wait you seriously smoke crack?”
He replies, “Yeah, but only when I’m drunk!” as if that somehow mitigates the fact that he is spending his father’s hard earned money on crack. Then in a moment of spontaneity I ask him if he and his buddy want to stay for drinks because I felt bad that I didn’t have what these guys wanted.
To my surprise they both are very down to drink my beer and hangout for the next TWO hours. During this time they explained to me that “When you’re on crack it’s like you’re not even high man… everything is just perfect.” The two are also furiously texting and calling anyone and everyone who might be able to score them rock at 4 in the morning. At around 5:30 a.m. I politely ask the two guys to leave to which John replies, “Oh come on man, why don’t you come out with us we’re planning on picking up chicks on the red line.”
If you’re not familiar with Chicago the red line is one of the sketchier trains to be taking at 5 in the morning and these guys are going to try to get laid cat calling girls who are probably on their way to work. I politely decline, they leave and I triple lock my door. After that experience I never saw John again, he stopped showing up to class and I ignored his texts from that night on.
The most disturbing thing to me about this whole situation was that the only friend I had made in Chicago up to that point was a fucking crack head. Thankfully I was a bit more discerning in whom I chose to associate myself with from then on and I left the city with a good group of new comedy pals that I can hopefully network with in the future.
But I will never forget the crack addict who shouted, “Darnit!” when he realized I didn’t have base.