Friday, May 1, 2015
I Miss Bennies
In the sixties you could get these little white pills, Benzedrine, they had an X on them and were cheap. Imported from Mexico, Bennies were a dollar a roll, ten pills tightly bound in tin foil. You could pop them and be up all night. I worked in a coffee shop on Santa Monica Boulevard and everyone was popping bennies, popping bennies, and then up all night, rap rap rap rap rap.
I had one friend who had three jobs. She just never slept. When she needed a few hours, she’d take two bennies and lie down on her bed, then the bennies would kick in and she’d pop back awake, get up, and get dressed for her next job. She was skinny, had flashing eyes, and would rap rap rap rap rap.
I don't know if anyone ever let another else get a word in edgewise, on Bennies. The word rap entered our vernacular thanks to bennies. They preceded methadrene and crack and even cocaine as the speed drug of choice.
You popped bennies and then you ground your teeth and your brain just ran and ran and you solved every problem that ever crossed your mind and felt compelled to tell whoever was near you all about it. You needed no food, but a caffeine kicker was great. You and your fellow benny head friends owned the city streets in the hours before dawn. You were skinny and could wear all the best clothes, and thought you looked so great with your bright eyes.
Getting skinnier and skinnier, your gums getting so weak and wobbly they no longer held your teeth and they fell out, your bones cracking.