April 5, 2020
I love the Internet! Since I can’t go to the city library, I’m using my laptop to educate myself on the subject of speedballs. Firstly, I have to ignore all the sites that interpret the word as some sort of sports equipment. Secondly, I force myself to ignore a number of YouTube videos that sound truly horrifying, like My Life in an Abandoned Warehouse. All I want to know is, how did my imminently respectable neighbor end up dead of a drug overdose?
It seems that the term “speedball” refers to a mixture of two or more drugs injected to produce a state in which the injectee becomes very high, hyperactive, feeling invincible, but also very mellow and happy. Cocaine speeds up the heart rate, increases blood pressure, dilates the pupils, and raises body temperature. Heroin, or almost any opioid, lowers the heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. It slows the rate of breathing. In some cases, it slows to zero. Not good.
Speedballs don’t always contain heroin; almost any opioid will do, including Vicodin, OxyContin, Fentanyl, etc. They usually contain cocaine, but sometimes methamphetamine is used.
The user may experience anything from violent seizures to passing out and forgetting to breathe. I wonder which of these extremes killed Victor. I wonder if these drugs have to be injected. Could they be snorted or eaten? Do they have to be taken together or could they be taken separately? Could a person snort a bunch of cocaine, then get a shot of an opioid? I imagine a hospitalized patient, hooked up to a morphine pump when someone comes in and gives him an injection of crystal meth.
I have to fold up my laptop and find my dog. I have to pet something sane.
I’m pretty sure Victor was home all that morning before young Matt walked in and found him. And it’s likely that he wasn’t dead yet because the EMTs and the hospital staff worked on him for some time before pronouncing him dead. I try to remember everything about that morning. I had been watching the street from the windows in my bedroom from about nine until almost noon. I went to the kitchen and found my phone about eleven-thirty or twelve. I called Marian. Shortly after that, Megan drove up, Matt got out with a grocery bag, and went into his grandfather’s house. But wait. Did I actually see Megan or Megan’s car? Or did I just see Matt? Was Matt on his bicycle? No. If he was riding a bike, he couldn’t have also been toting that bag of groceries. Could he? So much for my photographic memory.
My phone rings. It’s on the nightstand. I answer.
“Mrs. McKenna? Mrs. Karen McKenna? Sergeant Frank Romano here. I need to talk to you. Ask you a few questions.”