House-Call From Dr. Dixon

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Lightning Rod
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House-Call From Dr. Dixon

Post by Lightning Rod » January 12th, 2011, 7:02 am

House-Call From Dr. Dixon

The first real needle-freak that I ever met was Dixon Dean from Norman, Oklahoma. I had read Junky and was about to start Naked Lunch when he showed up on my doorstep in Denton with his little black kit.

I was introduced to Dixon on one of my trips to Norman on behalf of pot and politics. The radical underground railroad ran from Austin to Norman by way of Waco and Dallas and Denton. It was the Silk Road of the Sixties in this region. Student activists would travel from rally to rally and bring their cargoes of reefer going north and LSD going south, the fuel of the revolution, along with the folklore of the counterculture.

Dixon wasn't much into politics. He was into shooting up. He preferred Methadrine but anything would do. I saw him and a bunch of his fanatic friends trying to shoot hot water and peanut butter because there was no actual dope to be had and somebody had heard a rumor that Skippy worked in a pinch for just a short rush. My nausea prompted me to leave.

There was an amount of suspicion in the underground surrounding Dixon. The politicos didn't really trust him because he had no ideology and the hippies thought he might be a little too hard-core. So when he showed up at my little cottage in Denton unannounced, I took a breath but let him in. He was on his way to Austin, he said, and needed to take a little break from the road. What he needed was a place to top off his crank-case so he could stay awake for the five hour drive to Austin.

Dixon placed his black kit on my coffee table. Inside were little compartments, in one an alcohol lamp, in one a silver baby spoon with its handle bent to make it sit level, in the long one at the back were several syringes. After I had declined his offer of a shot of meth, he proceeded casually to his ritual. First a tiny pile of crystal powder in the baby spoon. Dixon Dean never stopped talking. Even as he prepared his shot the rambling monologue continued. In a way it was entrancing. He lit the alcohol lamp and looked me square in the eye, "So, what do you want?" This question always disarms me in any context. It's so wide open. He didn't wait for an answer, but continued, "You know you can't get to straight ends by crooked means." This coming from a drug-addict with a notorious lack of morality seemed a strange pronouncement. He heated his shot over the alcohol lamp explaining that alcohol burned clean and didn't leave the bottom of his spoon charred like a match or a butane lighter or a candle would.

The whole process of shooting up still made me squeamish at that time in my life. I had never done it myself and still looked at the practice as too unnatural to fit with my hippie orthodoxy. I still associated shots with the pain of a doctor's office, but Dixon had long since transcended this bourgeois prejudice and connected the injection ritual directly to the pleasure centers of his brain. Underground folklore has it that when a speed-freak starts dissolving his brain with crystal, the first things to go are the higher cognitive powers like morality and ethics. All dedicated drug-addicts suffer this reputation whether it's true or not. I have met both honest and dishonest drug-addicts and the degree of their moral turpitude usually corresponded to the depth of their pockets. Addicts are like anyone else, they do what they need to do and then try to justify it later. Why was he asking me, 'What do you want?' anyway? Did he think he was my shrink or my pastor?

Some people called him Dr. Dixon. He looked like a scrawny old croaker as he drew his shot up into one of the syringes. It was a glass syringe and not one of the plastic disposable ones that most junkies use over and over. He left the cotton wet and removed the surgical tourniquet from his kit. He tied off, slapped his arm once and it was over in a blink. Dixon was one of the few needle-freaks I've ever met who used alcohol on his skin before and after a shot, and as I tried to decide if this was foreplay or good hygiene he began again, 'Nope, you can't get to straight ends by crooked means. If you want the whole white picket fence deal, better get a job as a teacher." What did he mean? All Dixon knew about me was that I was an 18 year old aspiring poet who went to political rallies and sold a little pot to his friends.

Dixon was only in his late twenties but he looked like some mad sage who wandered out of El Topo or the desert of drugs and demons. Plus he had the same infectious, manic intensity as most amphetamine users. Speed is a drug built for salesmen. So, his simple question resonated with me. What Did I want?

Dixon had just injected a quarter-gram of pure crystal methedrine directly into his bloodstream. I could see his hair growing. Anything was possible, anything in the world. He was like a man staring directly at God. He wasn't going anywhere until I answered him. He produced a yellow legal pad and began sketching the Periodic Table of Elements. Dixon had been a Chem major in his student years at OU. He was still in touch with some of the young stars in the department who supplied him with his very fine psychedelics and also his crank. "It's all about Chemistry," he said. "I can make you believe whatever I want you to believe if I put the right chemicals in your brain." I didn't doubt him for a moment.

"I can make you think you are In Love or On Mars or in the presence of Jaysus hisself. I can make you ambitions or content. I can make you feel hungry or horny or like you just been fucked and fed. I can make you hate your mother or believe that every woman in the world wants your body. BELIEF is chemistry. It's all chemistry."

I couldn't argue with him. I knew that a little piece of LSD smaller than you can see with the naked eye can strip your soul naked and hang you like a nerve exposed on the cross of your chosen mythology. I knew that one puff of marijuana containing less than 100 micrograms of THC can propel one with enthusiasm throughout the day. I knew that I could smell four parts per million of my love's pheromones in one waft of her scarf. I knew it was all chemistry, yes. Or you could say that it's all energy or even all Belief. But that gets us back to chemistry. Dixon was right, you can't get to straight ends by crooked means. The means themselves always become the ends.

I told him that all I wanted was to be a real poet. I meant a REAL poet who would put Whitman on notice and plumb the deepest wells of the human heart with his words. Dixon started packing up his hit-kit. "Well, yer in trouble there, son. Artists are the worst junkies in the world." Maybe he was right. Maybe all I wanted was a civil service job and a trouble-free girlfriend. I didn't see the sense in suffering for my art any more than was strictly necessary for authenticity. "Artists have a habit they can never kick," he said, "They'll lie cheat and steal, even kill for it, themselves usually."

As he folded himself into his rusty Ford Falcon, he said, "Well, kid, I'm off to crooked ends. Do yer homework." That's the last time I ever saw Dr. Dixon in person though I heard stories about him for years where someone had seen him in jail or selling dime bags at a Tim Leary concert or arguing with some rookie professor at an ethics seminar. For some reason I have carried his words with me through the years like a war-time penny. And they have always proved true. "You can't get to straight ends by crooked means."
"These words don't make me a poet, these Eyes make me a poet."

The Poet's Eye

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Re: House-Call From Dr. Dixon

Post by Doreen Peri » January 12th, 2011, 12:22 pm

drug stories... couldn't read it.. my bad... sorry

i get squeamish and feel like regurgitating every time i read about shooting up drugs or see images of it on tv

disgusting habit ... very dangerous

has made some people very sick years later... and some people die

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Re: House-Call From Dr. Dixon

Post by still.trucking » January 12th, 2011, 12:42 pm

I knew it was all chemistry, yes. Or you could say that it's all energy or even all Belief. But that gets us back to chemistry.
"meet your maker
the mad molecule"

Must be a bitch trying to stay awake for the five hour drive. I knew a lot of truckers like him.

I wanted no truck with it.
I could drive two days straight, a thousand miles a day, on bubble gum, coffee and hillbilly music
with only the occasional hallucination
that would make me get off the road and hide
"Natural selection, as it has operated in human history, favors not only the clever but the murderous." Barbara Ehrenreich

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Re: House-Call From Dr. Dixon

Post by Steve Plonk » January 12th, 2011, 12:56 pm

LRod, Good one, that maxim is quite true... We may be marked by our "bad habits"...proceed with caution. :mrgreen: "The first time, the devil made me do it, but the second time I did it on my own..." To coin one adage... Or...

As Dylan once sang "The moral of the story, the moral of the song, is simply that one should never be where one does not belong. So, if you see your neighbor carrying something, help him with his load; but, don't go mistaking paradise for that home across the road." :wink: Or...
Folks, we knew it was a snake before we picked it up and it bit us.

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Re: House-Call From Dr. Dixon

Post by still.trucking » January 12th, 2011, 1:04 pm

sorry if I sounded like I lacked compassion
I just got turned off by the bit about why he needed to shoot up
I would respected him more
jf he had just done it to get off
if he did it for the kicks
No not need to rationalize it

sorry to break into your conversation Steve
that was a awesome quote.
made me feel like a jerk 8)
"Natural selection, as it has operated in human history, favors not only the clever but the murderous." Barbara Ehrenreich

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dadio
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Re: House-Call From Dr. Dixon

Post by dadio » January 12th, 2011, 1:20 pm

You write so well. This was bang on the nail writing.

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Re: House-Call From Dr. Dixon

Post by Lightning Rod » January 12th, 2011, 1:49 pm

Thank you for your comments. This piece is just a simple parable with a picaresque setting. It's a moral fable really. The drug stuff is just stage business. It has only metaphoric relevance to the story but it's what carries it along. That, and the question.

The device of using a picaresque setting is expressly for the purpose of taking the reader into an unfamiliar world. This makes it easier to achieve a willing suspension of disbelief. When Dickens wrote about pickpockets and street-thieves, it was because his audience was genteel and bourgeois and such characters were foreign and romantic and picaresque to them. No matter how seedy the setting, Dickens' message is always resoundingly middle-class.

Plus, remember rule #1, Write About What You Know
"These words don't make me a poet, these Eyes make me a poet."

The Poet's Eye

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Re: House-Call From Dr. Dixon

Post by Doreen Peri » January 12th, 2011, 11:42 pm

Lightning Rod wrote: Plus, remember rule #1, Write About What You Know
I usually do, but then I delete it.
I got so sick! I'd never repeat it.


(sorry, stuck on rhyming couplets tonight)

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Re: House-Call From Dr. Dixon

Post by stilltrucking » January 12th, 2011, 11:54 pm

Plus, remember rule #1, Write About What You Know
you wrote it well
I know what I want, to write like you.
But I am too lazy




Sorry I freaked out the bit about the road. I know that piece of road intimately. Murder and Mayhem on that road.

When I was 18 I wanted to be a working class hero.
A doctor and grand prix driver
And see paradise by the dashboard lights

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Re: House-Call From Dr. Dixon

Post by stilltrucking » January 13th, 2011, 12:52 am

Good stuff clay
this cut and paste of what jumped out at me the third time I read it.
Addicts are like anyone else, they do what they need to do and then try to justify it later. Why was he asking me, 'What do you want?' anyway? Did he think he was my shrink or my pastor?

Artists are the worst junkies in the world." Maybe he was right. Maybe all I wanted was a civil service job and a trouble-free girlfriend. I didn't see the sense in suffering for my art any more than was strictly necessary for authenticity. "Artists have a habit they can never kick," he said, "They'll lie cheat and steal, even kill for it, themselves usually."



If you want the whole white picket fence deal, better get a job as a teacher." What did he mean?

So, his simple question resonated with me. What Did I want?
This last bit, have you ever read Bertrand Russell's What I Believe?
BELIEF is chemistry. It's all chemistry."

I couldn't argue with him. I knew that a little piece of LSD smaller than you can see with the naked eye can strip your soul naked and hang you like a nerve exposed on the cross of your chosen mythology. I knew that one puff of marijuana containing less than 100 micrograms of THC can propel one with enthusiasm throughout the day. I knew that I could smell four parts per million of my love's pheromones in one waft of her scarf. I knew it was all chemistry, yes. Or you could say that it's all energy or even all Belief. But that gets us back to chemistry. Dixon was right, you can't get to straight ends by crooked means. The means themselves always become the ends.
A lot more to your piece than what met my eye the first time I read it.
But still not sure if I understand the "can't get to straight ends by crooked means" I will have to sleep on that.
thanks for posting it.

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