The name “Chris Spillane” is gonna start popping up in just about everything I write (and already has in my Facebook posts) so I figure a little explanation is in order.
Chris is one of my oldest / best friends. When I came back to Sarasota two weeks back, he was in bad shape. We got into heroin together back when we were kids but have slid in and out of the danger zone with it to different degrees and at different times. After a relatively long stretch of clean time that began last summer, Chris started shooting up again earlier this year. He also started smoking and shooting crack. That’s not entirely new (I’ll tell the story of the first time we smoked crack later) but it had never been a regular thing until just recently. So, anyway, Chris’s April featured such exciting developments as (1) losing his job, (2) losing his dog, (3) losing his home, and (4) losing his girlfriend. And things weren’t exactly getting any better from there. On April 30th, some friends and I filed Marchman Act papers to have Chris picked up by the police and put into detox and then (ideally) transferred to the Salvation Army’s long-term inpatient treatment program. Which all worked out until Chris panicked and ran off into the night last Friday. With ideas about heroin, overdosing, and death. Thankfully, before he followed through with that, he called me and I picked him up. He’s been with me ever since.
We looked at the options. Chris could try to get back into the Salvation Army’s treatment program, which might be good for him but it’s pretty clear that it’s not all that tough to leave on a whim and – should Chris get anxious or scared and walk out again – things might not work out quite as nicely next time around. SO, with that in mind, we’re going with plan B. Chris is coming on the road with me for the time being. He can help me with all the practical/work parts of my “job” and maybe (just maybe) see that life without heroin can be pretty fucking spectacular. I realize that art (and my lifestyle, more generally) isn’t a universal cure and I don’t think Chris is gonna wanna become an artist and live like this for the rest of his life. But (hopefully) he’ll have some fun and find something to get excited about (something worth living for). All I know for sure is that that’s a fuck of a lot more likely to happen on the road with me than back in Sarasota. And a whole lot less dangerous, for him specifically.
Granted, this has the potential to become pretty stressful for me (it’s a lot of responsibility to take on) and I can be pretty fragile myself some days. But, ultimately, it’s more than worth it to me. I love the kid. And – like I said – Chris will be able to help me out in a lotta ways. Just for starters, the distances between the cities I’ll be visiting are about to increase exponentially as I get out of Florida. Chris can split the driving with me and I’ll be able to hang out in the back of the van and actually paint (or write) as I make my way from city to city. (That’s pretty awesome).
So that’s the latest development and (barring any further unforeseen developments) the next time you see me, you’ll be seeing Chris too. He’s one of my favorite people on the planet and will be one of the best people you’ll ever meet. Here’s a picture of me eating some pizza and cutting his hair, the morning after he left treatment.