Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Leith Street Junkies

I saw my first Leith junk dealer today. He was right there on Leith Street, near a Ladbrokes, trying to collect money from a junkie. The guy was about 5 foot 6 inches tall, and could not have weighed more than 120. But he had one of those crazy, wiry, junkie builds. I have no doubt he has the ability to call upon reservoirs of crack, heroin, and speed stored in fat cells to help him kick the shit out of anyone he jumps.

He was dressed in a white jumper and track suit bottoms. He had the hood of the jumper up, of course. Among Leith streeters that is the universal sign of, “hey I’m a badass, and I’m too cool for peripheral vision..” In the pocket of his hooded jumper was one of those large beer cans that look like soup cans. The kind that you have to rip the top off, like a V8 can. They must be really cheap, and really potent. I have never actually seen one in a store, usually just tossed in the gutter.

He was up in some junkie’s face (and he was short, so he had to look up), pointing with the finger of his right hand. All the fingers on his right hand had large gold rings on them. Not the kind you get in jewelry stores, more like the kind you buy from the counter of a tattoo parlor. He held a leash in his left hand, which was attached to one of those Spud McKenzie dogs. This one was a little leaner and meaner than Spud and looked like his idea of a good time was biting someone’s nads, rather than hanging out with beer chicks.

I couldn’t make out what he was saying to the junkie. He was being very expressive though. I suppose you have to be with junkies. The uniform of a junkie is this: dirty blue jeans, a hooded jumper with the hood either up or down, a used coat, probably from a local shelter, in decent condition, chin stubble, slightly mussed hair (but greasy enough that it is not sticking up), and a downward stare. Usually they are in their late teens or twenties. I am sure there are not many that make it all the way to thirty without getting clean, getting killed, or getting jailed.

I didn’t stop and stare. The junk dealer was sure to eye any passerby’s who didn’t pretend not to notice a mean, raging glare, as if to say, “you want some of this? I got plenty to go around.”

I continued to Scot Mid and bought some beer and wine.