» Town Full of Hoors «
Kevin McGowin
13 ... In Which Fleetwhite Prepares to Stir Up the Town With Some Wild Alchemy ...

New Orleans is such a year-round chaotic and disorganized place that anybody who comes here with a good scheme wins, and I'd like to think of myself as belonging to that small category of folks. You gotta have a Recipe, see. But first you've gotta know what you're dealing with, which is the First Big Mistake people who come here to live tend to make. This ain't the South. And it ain't San Francisco, either. Or anywhere in between, even Paris. New Orleans makes up its own rules out of some ill defined and capricious logic, and in that sense, whatever you want to call it, the place is a Land unto Itself. Always has been, always will be until it finally gets taken out by a Category 3 or by missile strikes or before it just collapses under its own dead weight and slowly sinks into the Mississippi.
        The Tourists don't know but the residents understand, or at least they COME to understand . . . and the minor evidences of this are just reflections of the larger issues. For example, there aren't really any Left Turns in New Orleans, a town in which there's no right way to turn as it is! And there you went, thinking BOSTON was bad. And the narrow, ancient, potholed and often still cobblestoned streets in the Quarter and the Marigny aren't really meant for cars, either, but yet they're packed with them, and people drive the wrong way down the many one-way streets like nowhere else in the WORLD and people walk in the Middle of the Roads. Nobody knows what's going on down there, especially on weekday afternoons.
        I can tell you some other things about the way it's run, like how you get your water cut off at random here for no reason and then have to appear in person before some kind of Water Magistrate to get it turned back on, during which you'd spoken to in stern tones and treated like something out of a novel by a guy who turned into a Roach or some shit. While OTHER people, like Frankie Minot, can go for MONTHS without paying their utility bills before anything gets cut off. And he DOES, too. And the water here comes out of the effluvium of the Mississippi and a chemist's breakdown of a sample of it'll demonstrate that a single sip of the shit is pretty much enough to land you with Asthma, Eczema, Psoriasis, Cirrhosis, Dementia Praecox, Anthrax, and AIDS.
        And there are no police in New Orleans. They have cars that say that on their sides, sure, but that's just for the Tourists. More on that later.
        But this is all just the long way around saying that Nola's inefficiency, while a Pain in the Rectum, to be sure, also allows my doings to slide between the cracks and under the rug, and does, in fact, provide me with many an opportunity for constructive, proactive behavior. Like making Meth.
        I usually only do it once a month at the Full Moon to augment my regular income as an Apple-Squire, but at the Time of Which I Speak I had to get to making a MAJOR batch of the shit, or more than one, actually, 'cause the Town on Heroin sure wasn't doing any favors for itself, as it's steeped in ennui and apathy and a perpetual hangover ANYWAY, and what in the face of the attacks from Algiers it had gotten even WORSE, I tell you. So I took a little drive to my outdoor lab down River Road.
        I had someone scheduled to come get the shit just as it was done, before the Mob got wind of what I was making and came to get it for themselves. See, when making Meth, you only have the shit at the very final instant of production — before that it's just an acidic SOUP, but once made my Man in Jeff Parish would come pick it up to distribute in his Beer Truck and he'd go his way and I'd go mine. Simple as that. For that LAST part of it, at least. But actually MAKING the stuff takes about 36 hours and is a process of pretty intricate chemistry, let me tell you.
        — Okay. Here goes. Since you KNOW you wanted to know.
        There are three main ingredients in the shit, and the formula varies slightly contingent on the Maker, but, generally speaking, it's gonna be about 10% Red Phos-----, which is simply . . . well, ask your Science Teacher what the fuck it is! Chemically, it's really quite simple. Yada suspended in Nada.
        Then you've got a good amount of ephedrine powder, which is perfectly legal (though the difference between it and speed is simply a single O molecule at the end of the Chain, which can easily be "blocked" or "cropped" off) , as is h------- acid, which is some stiff shit . . . it's actually made for Etching Gold. But with lye, a base, this wicked little concoction gets neutralized and it looks like pee until it sits a while and you add a couple of little solvents and THEN, the good shit's under a layer of harmless watery fluid like a layer of gold thru a mountain, and this layer is brought to the surface by the action of a little glass wand (that contains a certain chemical referred to in another chapter), which when slowly passed over the Solution yields the White Flakes! So potent that if you so much as rub them in your HANDS you'll get off. And then people take it as a pill or boot it up or drink it in their coffee.
        Or in their water.
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