A Student's Story
Jennifer J. de Guzman

Y ou know that really salty, bitter taste you get in your mouth right before you start to dry-heave? Or, like how your spit gets all thick and sticky before you have to earl? That's what I felt like the night before the final paper for my "Social Revolutions in Latin America" class was due. That's why I ended up calling Milta at three o'clock early that Wednesday morning. It was nobody's fault but my own, I guess. I shouldn't have gone to the Peppermill for their "Luscious Libations," but they always have free appetizers on the week-day nights. So I couldn't resist Milta's invitation, or the free shrimp cocktail or quesadillas. Was I fucking stupid, or what? Anyways, Milta said she'd hook me up with some No-Doz if I couldn't hang to finish my paper. So, yeah, I got pretty buzzed.
Milta dropped me off at home at about two thirty in the morning, and off to work I went on my homework. But, there I was barely done with the first page of my paper on Las Madres de la Plaza Mayo when I started to get real sleepy and sick-feeling. And I had four to nine more pages due in about five hours. So just about a half hour after she dropped me off, I called up Milta and said, "Hope your offer on those No-Doz still stands."
"Aww, bitch!" she answered. "Why didn't you take some before you got out the car? Fuck it! I got something better anyways." And she got to my house in five minutes.
She took a little plastic bag or something from out behind one of the credit cards in her wallet. It looked like there were some pinkish rocks in it. I took a closer look and whispered, "Fuck that! I ain't smoking no crack!" (Didn't want to be disrespectful and wake up the folks.)
"This ain't crack, dumb-ass!" she said.
"Then what is it?"
"Hello, McFly! Don't tell me you ain't never seen any of this shit before!"
"I don't know, Dude. I never tried any of that stuff before. Will it keep me awake?"
"Fuck yeah, Bitch! For days! Here, c'mon, I'll chop some up for you."
She grabbed my Sandino's Daughters book and smashed the little rocks into powder.
"Do we need a mirror or something?" I asked.
"This ain't coke," Milta replied. "Hey, but do you have a pen cap?"
"For what?"
"Either that or let me see your pinky nail," she said. I didn't have one, and I kind of figured out why her right pinky nail was always a little longer than the rest of her nails. She looked at my nails and said, "Yeah, better go grab a pen cap. Or do you want to snort it through a straw? I think I got one in my purse somewhere."
She dug through her wallet and couldn't find a straw, so she grabbed an ATM receipt and rolled it up like one. Then she took her student ID card and cut four little lines on the powder on Sandino's Daughters.
"Here, watch me. Like this," she told me. And she held her left nostril with her left index finger as she snorted the shit up her right one with the rolled up receipt. "It's better if you do a line up each one." Then it was my turn.
I did it just like she did. Maybe I did it too hard 'cause the shit hurt like a motherfucker. You know when you pull out a nose hair on accident and your eyes start burning and start to tear up? It felt like that but worse. And then it started trickling down my throat and I could taste it's bitter, chemical flavor.
Milta laughed at me and said, "Fuck, bitch, drink something before you choke on me. Or here, lay down for a while and let it finish draining." I did, and Milta went home.
When the shit finally hit me, fuck, I felt like I could type a dozen papers. But as I sat in front of the word-processor, I couldn't focus. I started cleaning out my drawers, rearranging my closet. I would type a couple of words and something, anything, everything would distract me. My mind was racing. I was gone. At about seven o'clock, I sat my ass down at my desk because I only had about an hour to finish my paper. Then Milta called up and said, "I see you're still up. Finish your paper?"
"Fuck you, bitch!" I yelled at her, and slammed down the phone. Then, that really salty bitter-tasting, thick and sticky feeling I had felt earlier got real sour. Maybe that's what made me want more. The before and after sucked, but the "during"-- the being wired part, that was worth it. Yeah, it felt pretty good.
I never did finish the paper; never even made it to class. So I ended up with an incomplete in the course. And I ended up calling Milta later on that day and told her, "Sorry 'bout earlier, Dude. Hey, how much would it be for some more of that shit?"
"Yeah, I thought so."

First published: March 1994
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