Inside a Meth Lab

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Drug Trial cont.

This is the first part of chapter two of my in-progress novel. It's now a requirement to finish a major writing assignment for Applied Writing so this stuff will be, as they have so pleasantly described it at TAFE, vomited down on the screen. To be honest, I'm not overly happy with this draft. It needs a fair bit of re-working, i understand that, but you have to start somewhere. And this my beginners vomit.

Chapter 2 - Part 1

The 1993 Ford Falcon his mum bought him for his eighteenth birthday was still running quite well despite its age. Noah had spent the best part of six months fixing it up. Getting it spray painted a true black with dark grey decal along the side. Dark enough to coincide and compliment the black, but light enough to stand out when focused on.
Cars were Noah’s hobby for those six months. Never settling on one thing, he was always changing leisurely activities to keep himself interested or excited. First it was karate back in year seven. His parents always pushed him to do something structured. But he soon grew out of that phase and moved onto painting a little while later. Never imaginative things though, only still lives, realism, and black and whites. Noah never appeared connected to anything he painted or created. He would spend hours upon hours on a single painting, fixated and unmoveable. He would finish the artwork, take a step back. Stare for a moment then come back in close. Look at it, tilt his head to the left, grin, and proceed to scrunch it up and throw it out without any sign of remorse.
This continued until his dad introduced him to his first guitar in year nine. It was a fifteenth birthday present. James had been playing for years, roughly twenty in fact, and had become quite talented for his age of forty five. Noah was hesitant at first and chose to continue painting. His dad kept pushing gently, trying to convince Noah that music was an art, just like painting, and that it had a sort of ‘audio science’ to it. This slowly drew Noah nearer the guitar and away from the canvas.
After several weeks of persisting and prying, Noah had finally picked up the guitar. From that moment, Noah spent precisely one hour each day learning the chord or note his father had taught him the previous day. Once Noah had learnt that note or chord to a satisfactory level, his dad would teach him a new one. James found that Noah learnt best and participated most when in a structured learning environment.
Noah had reached the bank and pulled up out the front. This was the first time in several months that he would have accessed this account.
‘How much will you actually let me take out?’ he thought to the machine. He entered the numbers 5, 0, 0, hopefully. To his surprise the ATM accepted the requested transaction. “WOULD YOU LIKE A RECEIPT?”
Noah repeated this cycle once more to make sure he had enough money to purchase all the required equipment in one go. First stop, the aquarium.
Noah parked on the far side of the car park, rather than going through the hassle of multiple attempts at parking in a narrow, confined spot nearer the front entrance. He felt like he was being watched and judged when he actually tried the manoeuvre, even though he knew that people weren’t actually watching him. He still couldn’t shake that feeling though. And it was such an uncomfortable feeling. Not worth the annoyance.
The automatic doors of the aquarium opened in front of him, and stepping inside, he immediately felt the change in climate. It rose significantly in comparison to the temperature set outside from the Autumn breeze. It was a lot darker inside. The altered light source was coming from hundreds of fish tanks and their florescent light bulbs.
“Noah!” A directed shout came from across the room towards him and instantly gained his attention. He recognised the voice and immediately placed a face to the auditory stimuli.
“Oh shit!” he said under his breath, panicing. He couldn’t escape now. He had been sighted by his ex. She was headed in his direction. Noah got nervous. The past was flashing before his eyes. Their past, shared. A year that brought everything from across the emotional spectrum.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Drug Trial cont.

So, here's part two of the first chapter of my in-progress novel 'The Drug Trial'. The first half had a what I deem to be 'good response', so I'll continue on. Enjoy. And please leave a comment. Helps me become a better writer.

Chapter 1 (Part 2):

Noah was staring out of his bedroom window; fixated on the pool he could see through the fence palings in the neighbour’s backyard. The water had turned a fierce, deep green. It obviously hadn’t been cleaned in quite some time. A chemical process caused by algae and sunlight called photosynthesis had begun, which initiates the minute the algae enter the water. Within twenty four hours, fifty algae can multiply into one million, possibly more. Noah always wondered how a person thought of adding chlorine to water to prevent this algae growth occurring. What reasoning, other than possible scientific hypothesis, could have created this experimenting? He also found it quite interesting that the key property of chlorine, when added to water, was to create ‘light-pockets’, preventing sunlight reaching the algae, therefore halting their growth. 
Science is bloody awesome sometimes’, Noah contemplated, now fixated on the buoyant yellow rubber duck, floating on the surface of the gently stirring water, being carried around with a kind shove from the Autumn day breeze.
Something had just clicked inside of his head. A mental light switch had now been flicked on.
Why hadn’t Noah thought of this before? It had all the makings of what he was looking for. A rush. A future. A risk. Company. Noah could become a Methamphetamine cooker. He had the knowledge and the drive. That stuff he tried back in year eleven was shit house. He hadn’t any experience with drugs before that day, but even Noah could tell the crap quality of the stuff through a simple deduction of common drug criteria and to scrutinise its aesthetic qualities. He knew he could improve it; tenfold even. His only problem was that he didn’t run in those types of circles. He didn’t really run in any clique when he was honest with himself. He hated to think it but a good kick in the teeth is what Noah felt he needed sometimes. To regain focus and set his mental path straight.
‘I’m can use the knowledge I’ve got for a purpose. This isn’t about morals or values. It’s about a future. And without this I have no bloody idea where mine is’. His moral integrity was always skewed, and he recognised this. But his mind process allowed him to think like this without guilt. Without losing what little moral fibre he had.
He emerged from his dimly lit bedroom, turned left down the long, even more poorly lit hallway and entered the garage. His place to escape to. Where he played his guitar. It was the only thing that connected him to his deceased father. Aside from a large sum of money, his dad, James, had left his Ibanez guitar to Noah. He missed his father a lot. They got on really well, especially over their love of acoustic music. Set rhythm, the routine and repetition of a tune. Music was safe.
Noah was never blessed with any real musical talent, but he tried anyway. His dad urged him to. And whenever Noah played that finely crafted, deep-oak coloured Ibanez, it took him six or seven years back, and he felt happy. He swore he could see his father sitting opposite him, showing him how to play a chord better, or hold the guitar more comfortably. It was the only thing, other than science, that made Noah joyful in an otherwise bleak-coloured world. The view Noah took since his dad died from that inoperable brain tumour.
He shook his head, trying to regain focus on the task at hand and move away from the depressing imagery swirling around his head.
He headed over to his plain, four-legged, no drawer desk. Sat down on the black, poor lumbar supported chair and grabbed his pen.
 He started to jot down what was involved, what he needed, and how it could all be tied together in a neat, secretive bow. His main concern was pharmacokinetics. The traces of evidence in people’s bodies. Urine, blood, even plasma. He had to create something with a selling point. Not only would it be pure and refined, but its half life would have to be decreased significantly. This included minimising the traces of hydroxymethamphetamine and phenylacetone; especially phenylacetone. 
And none of this pseudoephedrine bullshit. It’s gonna be the real deal’.
Noah enjoyed expanding his knowledge. He was always researching science related topics and studies. Biology. Chemistry. The laughable concept of Astrology and whether it had yet gained any scientific verification to support its so called ‘results’. All this research included chemical cooking methodology, and how substances such as ‘Ice’, and is base-chemicals, were manufactured. Noah was therefore aware of the current methods of drug production and its pitfalls. How the ‘Birch reduction’ method was dangerous because the alkali metal and anhydrous ammonia were extremely reactive, and how the temperature of liquid ammonia makes it susceptible to explosive boiling when certain reactants were added. No, no, no. He would do it better, smarter, simpler, and safer. Much safer. With some research he felt he could cook some very serious Meth.
He also realised that he didn’t have much to risk, or lose. This was Noah’s way of reinforcing and supporting his current train of thought. Even jail was a path in life, an almost certain one with this career choice. But he would be smart enough to remain anonymous. Even use an alias. Every measure would be taken to ensure his exclusion from the selling and using of his product.
Noah leaned back in his chair, joint his hands together with his fingers, like puzzles pieces, and placed them behind his head. He looked up and the ceiling, closed his eyes, focused on the blackness and took a deep breath. Then another one. And one more just to be sure. He realised how crazy this notion must have seemed.
Calming down, he resolved to himself what he wanted in life. What he wanted to take from it. But to him, cooking Meth, however insane and irrational it might seem, fit him. He had the skill, he had next to nothing to lose, and he stood to make a lot of money if he was smart about it.
It was late morning Monday, the day was young, and he had a lot of supplies to purchase to start off his new career. Noah had been smart enough to go easy on the spending of his inheritance. 
‘It had paid off’, having a little chuckle at the pun he had just made.
Jumping in his car parked out the front, he left for the bank to withdraw some cash. 
'I gotta start this off right. No credit trails. No evidence from point one. No way to trace my footprints. A metaphorical, man-made snowstorm it would seem’.
He would go to the aquarium, the hardware store, the gardening shop and ‘Super Cheap Auto’. Most of the tools and utensils needed were in those four shops, and bought individually; the items were in no way illegal and would not appear to be. The rest of the more specific and specialised equipment he would be able to purchase online.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Novel - The Drug Trial

So this is a different type of blog. For my professional writing and journalism course I'm enrolled in, I've been writing a novel. It's taken some time but I'm slowly progessing with it. So I thought that this would be a good place to paste some of it, bit by bit, and get some feedback. The chapters are anywhere from 8-13 pages each so I'll paste them in parts.
If I get horrible or poor feedback, then I won't do it again. Simple.
Anyway, the book is called 'The Drug Trial' and the following is the first half of the first chapter.
Let me know what you think. Cheers guys.

Chapter One (Part 1):
Noah Kimber had passed Chemistry with flying colours in High School. He had never quite grasped English, and barely passed politics. He had known a few girls on a minor personal level but never knew how to communicate with them without feeling nervous. Except for one girl. One different, understanding girl.
However in Chemistry and Biology, he always hit the metaphorical nail on its head. He had always found himself analysing things, deliberately giving them problems just so he could find a solution.
The doctors called it Asperger’s Syndrome.
He looked like a normal child at the age of six. Dark brown hair, average height, slim build and deep-blue eyes. The sort of deep-blue that gained fascination and felt as though it could see right through you.
His parents thought he was just a stubborn, ill-tempered child, but shy.
Sitting in front of the computer for hours, practically immovable. Only ever interested in objects and patterns, never people and actions.
He stored and recalled information very well without trying. Names, facts, faces, even pictures. It was one Noah’s ‘special qualities’.
It wasn’t until the age of eight that Noah’s parents decided that something might be wrong with him, or at least ‘different’.
After months of testing, interviews and observation, Noah was clinically diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Noah’s parents were relieved when they were told that it was quite manageable and that it was towards the less-severe end of the autism spectrum.
Noah had learnt over time to deal with his Asperger’s. By fifteen, he had made significant progress in managing his symptoms and emotions, or lack there-of.
He would use a ‘rational’ scale in his head to figure out what was socially acceptable in the current situation. It took years to learn and develop this system of methodology and sensibility. It did not come easy to him. But his dad would help him, every night, by presenting an unknown situation, and then ask him ‘Now, how would you react Noah?’ Noah almost never got it correct on the first attempt, but his mind worked like a memory vault, and he was able to recall the correct answer the next time the same question was asked.
He could also tell whether a person was lying from their body language. It was another one of Noah’s ‘special qualities’. He would look for signs like avoiding eye contact, a liar placing an object between him/herself and the accusing; a statement of unnecessary conciseness and emphasis of language (eg. “I did not do it” instead of “I didn’t do it” is less likely to be truthful), lack of or over-stating detail, looking up and to the left, indicating ‘imaginative processing’. Noah felt like a detective when he did this.
By the end of VCE, Noah had become very talented at hiding, or at least masking the signs of his Asperger’s. People finding out only caused questions and uncomfortable communication between himself and others, and this was something Noah could never get over.  He could never put the uncomfortable feeling behind him. But at home he was able to relax, be himself, let his guard down and continue his precise routine, night after night.
It had been four years since he completed his VCE and he had lost track of his path in life. Still the same old brown haired, blue eyed, thinly built Noah but nowhere to go.  All things seemed to lead to a dead end in the future. Career. Relationships. Everything. Noah had lost his footing and didn’t know how to get back up and walk. He needed to find something. Anything that would want to make him get out of bed in the morning.
He had recently seen this show on Foxtel. Crime Busters (Noah spent a lot of his spare time watching the discovery channel. There was always something interesting on). The show was about drug dealers. The underworld. Shady operations and how a deal went down. It amazed him at just how specific an entire operation had to be. Any communication was minimal between parties, but had all the information that needed to be exchanged. Noah liked this particular show because he could easily recognise the chemistry behind the drugs. Methylamine. Carbon. Methamphetamines.
Back in high school, everyone was taught the standard ‘Don’t Do Drugs Kids’ philosophy, but he never really payed attention. He knew drugs were bad. Everyone did. But everyone tried them at least once. Even Noah had. Crack. It was back in year eleven with the few mates he actually had. He wouldn’t dare do it at home. It was too much of a risk with his mother always being around.
He could remember the ice-cold chill racing through the veins in his right arm, up towards his neck, as it was injected. Then waiting, anxiously... Ecstasy. Everything was beautiful. Colours made sounds. He felt like there was a two-foot thick cushion of cloud between him and the surface below his feet. It was amazing. While it lasted at least.
The crash came two hours later, hard. He suddenly became depressed. All worldly events, close or far to him weren’t worth their hassle. Everything seemed closer to its demise. He hated that feeling. He had fallen asleep, and wasn’t able to be woken until lunchtime the next day.
The sadness pressed upon him back then he loathed. But the ecstasy. The escape from reality. He loved that. It seemed to outweigh any negative side effects the drugs had created.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hidden or Misunderstood Meanings in Songs

I was watching Channel [V] this morning when up comes The Script's new hit 'Nothing'. I've heard it on the radio, liked it, so I stayed on the channel to continue watching...
...Images give strong meaning to lyrics that you don't think much about.
What do I see? Well, instead of a heart-wrenching tale of a difficult break up, I see a guy trying to jump into a lake to commit suicide, and his mates trying to convince him not to. Wow.
Anyway, this lead me to think about what others songs had hidden and misunderstood meanings that others and myself weren't getting?
I've done a bit of research and have compiled a list of some of the most intriguing and now blatantly obvious ones that I have never realised before.

1. The Script - Nothing
I'll start with the one that made me come to realise the world is a twisted and mangled web of lies and profanities.
YOU/I think it's about a hard break up and his mates just trying to console him and take him out to get his mind over it all, as good mates do.
IT'S REALLY ABOUT... the protagonist contemplating suicide after being dumped and not being taken back despite his best efforts. Over-the-top much?
This guy in his late 20's gets dumped and his instinct is to first write a song about it, and then go jump in a lake, or smash his head in with a hammer, or give himself an enema with a chainsaw... That last one's an exaggeration, but that's the feeling portayed by the song. That much pain.
..."Am I better off dead? Am I better off a quitter?"
That's part of the chorus, so you know this shit is serious cause it gets repeated several times throughout the song.
..."Only I can see where this is gonna end, but they all think I'm crazy but to me it's prefect sense"
This guy needs to relax just a tad. You got your heart broken, it's sad, sure. The answer is not death (unbeknown to the cheerful main man) however, but rather alcohol and a few notches on your bedpost from some hood rats.

2. Elvis Presley - Jailhouse Rock
YOU/I think it's about dancing in a jail in the 50's (Cause, apparently, if you weren't alive in the 50's [as I wasn't], that's what Elvis told us they did. Just danced. In jail's. Sounds fun really.)
Sure, this song does have a type of dancing subtext to it, but not the type we thought it was.
IT'S REALLY ABOUT... SEX! in jail. So when I refer to dancing, I mean the 'it takes two to tango' sense.
Don't give all the credit to Elvis though, he didn't write the lyrics. He only made rape into a cool dance poorly replicated around the world. Two men (presumably gay) named Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller produced these lyrics (also presumably mid-way through a 'Jailhouse Rock' session in the boudoir) We should have realised the meaning to this song anyway. Sex is a lot more likely to happen in jail than dancing anyway.
"...Cutest jailbird he ever did see" and "I sure would be delighted with your company."
Nothing too sinister there.
"[The warden encouraged the guy to] use a wooden chair [if he couldn't] find a partner"
...Wait, what?!

3. The Police - Every Breath You Take
YOU/I think it's about romance and dedication to that certain someone due to the depths of love. Once again, we are close to the money, but in a wrong way.
IT'S REALLY ABOUT... apparently Sting's favourite past time; stalking. Now, even though the song is about stalking, it doesn't suggest he actually catches her or steals her or anything sinister like that. But it's the way that every single line, and I mean EVERY SINGLE LINE starts with the word 'every'... He's like a shadow, with an amazing voice. That unfortunate girl can't escape him and she doesn't even know he's there. He's there for every breath she takes. Every move she makes. Every bond she breaks. Every game she plays. Every step she takes. Every smile she fakes... Sting is creepy!

4. 5ive - Baby When the Lights Go Out
YOU/I think it's pop sensation 5ive and their super-cool teeny-popper grooves about innocent crushes and kissing secretively and playfully in the dark. Well, get ready to have a part of your childhood crushed when I reveal that...
IT'S REALLY ABOUT... Rape! Yes! Rape! 5ive deliver this perverse song in a way that makes rape seem almost innocent.
..."Babe I swear you will come with me, so babe come to me"
Enticing invitation to all the sluts out there, good move 5ive. Not convinced?... Ok then. How about...
..."I ain't fooled by your thin disguise, I can see I'm getting through babe"
She's trying to hide from this groups' vicious sex ways under a sheet, but she's not hidden very well. They can smell fear. And they can see her. Still not convinced? Ok. One more line then.
..."I wanna knock your socks off, knock your block off girl"
Yeah, blackmail. Smooth stuff 5ive. Either she takes her socks (and the rest of her kit) off, or they knock her block off and do it whilst she's unconscious.
Filthy 5ive, filthy. That's the last time I wait four hours in line to buy tickets to one of your show.

5. Jason Mraz - Butterfly
YOU/I think Jason is a cool, calm, collected guy who likes to wear the same hat everyday of the year, can strum a pretty neat few bars on his guitar to make it feel like Summer all year round, and he sings about the innocence of love and women. Too bad we all didn't know that Jason Mraz is also a PERVERT! Yes.
In this song, Jason Mraz has taken double-meanings, entendre's and subtextual vagina-name-calling to a new level.
IT'S REALLY ABOUT... Sex! and Vagina's! And Jason's names for sex! and vagina's! We can easily establish the view point that this song is about physical romance up first listening, but it's so much more vulgar and depraved than that. Just check out the list of meanings and sayings he uses to describe getting some.
'Kiss me with your eyelashes' - eyelashes = pubic hair; 'Let me feel you upside down, slide in, slide out' - self explanatory; 'You're an open-minded lady' - open-minded = open-legged (You might call that clutching at straws, I call it obvious considering the lyrics listed previous); 'Curl your upper lip up and let me look around... ride my tongue along your bottom lip then bite down' - Lips = Vaginal lips.... I think you get the point.
That's naughty Jason Mraz, naughty!

6. Spice Girls - 2 Become 1
Yes, there is a theme here, but it just goes to show just how people think, even famous, well off role models. So, we can feel better about ourselves.
YOU/I think this song is about a girl realising that she actually likes this guy after he's liked her for a while and that they are going to start dating. However, Baby Spice takes her promiscuity to the new level of 'sluttier than Posh Spice' when she sings the majority of this song ahead of the other Spice Sluts, including lyrics like these.
IT'S REALLY ABOUT... "I need some lover like I've never needed love before", "Set your spirit (meaning penis, semen, animal-side, etc.) free, it's the only way to be", "Be a little wiser baby, put it on, put it on" (this one made me laugh because it seems they've started but now she suggests we should probably use as condom... Think ahead next time, or the reason you'll be called Baby Spice is because you'll have had a baby, and not acting like a ditsy 10-year-old), and "Come a little closer baby, get it on, get it on" (Not so perverse, but still, evidence of her vagina-directed career).

There's plenty more to be deducted out there, but these were some key ones that I didn't click about until I researched. I feel a little disheartened now because all these songs are made and played to make the listener feel love and sadness and hope, but really, it's about penis in vagina. It's making me re-think all the other so called 'love songs', and even other song in general.
Is Fergilicious not really about promoting self-confidence? Is The Bloodhound Gang's Discovery Channel not really about the proper and thorough study of animals to create hypothesis and studies about our past and future development as just another species? And is Britney Spears' If You Seek Amy not a desperate plea to find a lost Amy? Whoever she may be.
...I really hope she finds Amy.