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Klauser's Ampoules

    Back in the 70's, I played full-time in a bar band out of Pocatello, Idaho. We four band-mates rented a house, under the gravelly slopes of Scout Mountain; this was our home base for the several years that I had the interesting job of playing country-rock guitar, four or five nights a week in shabby clubs for hard drinkers, dancers, and fist fighters.

    There was a raggedy man who would occasionally come over to the house, and hang out while the band practiced. His name was Klauser, and we would give him a beer, or whatever was going. One time, it was a bowl of vegetable soup that I had just finished making. Klauser took his bowl with a sort of reverence, and spooned it up with a look of rapture on his face. He said he hadn't eaten something like that, since his Mama used to make it for him.

    One time, Klauser showed up with a small stout case, which contained several hundred little glass ampoules of morphine. He had lifted it somehow from a hospital, and he brought it over to share. Each ampoule was fitted with a needle, and designed as a disposable cartridge to fit into a hypodermic fixture. He didn't have the fixture, but he would insert a small machine screw into the end of the cartridge, and use that to push down the plunger inside.
 Klauser asked us all if we would like some. I don't remember why the others declined, but no one took up the offer, which seems strange, now. Drugs weren’t unheard of in our old house in that mountain town; neighborhood people were always dropping over, hanging out, drinking beer and what not, wandering off again. I myself declined Klauser's offer, because of my dislike of needles, especially when administered by an unsteady, somewhat poxed, raggedy man, however kindly intentioned.
   So Klauser shot up by himself, and relaxed in a chair while we rehearsed. Presently, he shot up another, and he got all dreamy; his bumpy red face a little redder, his thin straggly hair a little stragglier; the case of little glass capsules tucked comfortably next to him in the big chair. For old Klauser, life was very good, and would remain so for a certain stretch of days ahead. 
    And the band played on.

Old Unfaithful

    This morning, coming sleepily down to the kitchen in my pajamas, anticipating nothing but my first cuppa coffee, I turned on the hot water in the sink, only to have the faucet handle shear completely off in my hand, blasting a steaming geyser of water onto the ceiling and beyond. It was a beautiful living replica of the famous Old Faithful.
    Surprise! is a pale way to describe my reaction; I instantly dashed down to the basement to shut off the house water, coming back up to a dripping steaming mess. Then I poured myself a cuppa hot coffee (thoughtfully provided by Lauren before she left), and I contemplated my next move. I won't get to practice music this morning apparently, but on the bright side, it had actually been quite a lovely sight; like suddenly being transported on vacation to Yellowstone Park.
    Aren’t I glad that I was home when it happened? Yeah, it would have been a shame to miss it.