Thought Catalog
March 22, 2013

On Orange County, Date Rape Drugs, And Xanax

Report This Article
What is the issue?
U.S. National Archives
U.S. National Archives

In 2012, my apartment in Fullerton was robbed. I wanted to leave as soon as I could, to put the memory behind me. I had seven days to find a new place to stay. My requirements were: under $700 a month, little or no deposit, month to month, okay with transsexuals.

An old friend of mine from high school, Sarah, told me on Facebook that she had a room available. It was a three-bedroom unit in Anaheim Hills. The price was $650 a month for the room, and a $200 deposit. I didn’t ask any questions and told her I could move in as soon as possible. I was excited to live in an apartment that I didn’t find through Craigslist.

I had fallen out of contact with Sarah after high school. She was nice, and sometimes funny. I remembered an argument we had in eighth grade but I couldn’t remember what it was about.

The day I was scheduled to move in, I called her.

She answered, “Oh my god, that’s right, you’re moving in today!”

I had forgotten how her voice made it obvious she had lived in Southern California for most of her life. Even if she were aware of how she spoke, she wouldn’t be able to hide it if she tried.

“Yeah, I am! Is it okay if I come over around 8? I don’t get off work until 6.”

She replied, “Yeah yeah, that’s fine, I’ll see you then.”

I drove around for the rest of the day with all of my belongings in the back seat of my car, completely blocking the rear window. I felt nervous driving around like that and I looked forward to moving into my new room as quickly as possible. I’d always hated moving.

The complex was new. Six three-floor buildings, all covered in beige stucco. Half the buildings a lighter shade, the other half darker. The different shades of beige paint reminded me of housing tracts in Irvine. This was likely why most of the residents had chosen to live there.

I had to call Sarah for the entry code. 3120, no pound or star. Sarah answered the door holding a cigarette. I thought it was strange that she smoked inside and I wondered if it was legal.

“Oh my god Rachel! Do you want a beer?”

“Uhhh, sure.” I knew I sounded hesitant, so I tried to brighten my tone. “That’d be nice.” I don’t really like drinking too much but I felt like it would be rude to turn her down my first day there.

Sarah said, “Did you know Tiffany lives here too?”

“Tiffany Xiao?”

“Yeah! You remember her, right?”

I did remember her. Junior year, she was caught cheating during an AP Biology test.

Sarah led me to the living room. There was a black futon from Ikea with a broken leg, a worn brown leather couch, a small glass coffee table, and a maple desk. On the coffee table were two ashtrays full of cigarette butts and the ends of finished joints. On the desk was a one gallon plastic bag about a third of the way full with weed, a small mirror with a razor blade, and a few long rectangular pills scored three times. Seeing these things didn’t necessarily make me feel uncomfortable. In my experience, most apartments in Orange County belonging to people in their early twenties had these things.

I sat down on the brown leather couch. Tiffany came out of her room coughing with a cigarette in her hand. She looked about ten pounds thinner than she had been in high school.

“Rachel! I can’t believe you’re living here now, this is going to be so much fun.”

I had never really considered fun-ness when apartment hunting so the prospect of this made me feel a bit warm inside.

As I slowly sipped my beer, Sarah and Tiffany lit two more cigarettes each while we caught up on the basics. What had I been doing for the past three years. Where did I work. Did I still smoke weed.

About three quarters of the way into my beer I asked Sarah if I could bring my things from my car into my new room.

Tiffany answered me, “Oh shit, sorry. I’ve been in that room for the past few months but I’m going to share Sarah’s room now so I don’t have to pay so much for rent. But, uh, yeah, all of my stuff is still in there.”

I didn’t know what to say.

“Is it okay if you sleep on the couch tonight?” Tiffany asked.

I felt like there was only one answer to that. I replied, “Yeah sure, no problem.”

I tried to forget about the anxiety of driving around with all of my things in my car. I tried to enjoy myself for the rest of the night.

As I drank and talked more with Sarah and Tiffany, I learned that neither of them worked. Their parents paid for them to live twenty minutes away from their childhood homes. Sarah didn’t go to school. Tiffany went to a community college about fifteen minutes away.

I was exhausted, but Sarah and Tiffany didn’t go to sleep until 2 a.m. I lay awake on the brown leather couch until 3 a.m. because I had smoked too many cigarettes. The moonlight through the windows illuminated the living room and after my eyes adjusted, it felt no different from a cloudy afternoon. I lay on my stomach and inspected the carpet with my hands. There were about a dozen burns in the carpet from dropped cigarettes. I thought to myself that they most likely weren’t going to get their deposit back, but it probably didn’t matter to them since their parents paid for the place.

In the morning, I left for work at 7. When I got back at 3, they were still sleeping. I sat on the brown leather couch and talked to my friend from Berkeley on Facebook.

Rachel Lindstrom: andrew just told me that you’re coming down in two weeks!

Jennifer Oh: yes! i’m going to try to megabus/vietnamese bus my way down there!

Rachel Lindstrom: dude vietbus gives you free banh mi

Jennifer Oh: DUDE YEAH LOL. megabus might be cheaper though, maybe $30 one way?

Rachel Lindstrom: damn, i didn’t know it was that cheap. you should get your ticket soon, its probably even cheaper if you book it early

Jennifer Oh: yeah! i’m looking at my syllabi, wondering which days i can ditch class

Rachel Lindstrom: i’m excited to see you, i’ve been pretty bored since I hung out with you and andrew last weekend.

The conversation was cut short when Tiffany walked out of my room.

“Hey Rachel, can I bum a stog?”

I gave her a cigarette and she sat down at the table, taking three short successive drags within thirty seconds.

I asked Tiffany, “Can I start moving my stuff into your room?”

I don’t know why I phrased it like that. It was my room, after all.

“Oh, well I think we need James to move my dresser.”

“Oh. Who’s James?” I asked.

“Oh yeah, he’s my friend. He usually crashes here for most of the week.”

I offered, “I mean, I’m not very strong but I can try to help you?”

“Nah, don’t worry about it, he’ll be here later. He’s bringing some good shit.”

James came at 9. He brought his girlfriend, Grace. James had black tattoos that covered his arms and a large colorful South Korean flag on his right bicep. His gang’s name was written around the flag.

James said, “Brought some good shit.”

“Fuck yeah,” said Sarah. “And we still got half of that thirty-rack left from last night.”

I was curious. I asked, “What’re you guys taking?”

James didn’t notice me.

Tiffany answered, “The date-rape drug!”

“No Tiffany, that’s rufies,” said Sarah. “James brought GHB.”

I remember learning in high school health class that GHB was a date-rape drug.

“Why do you guys take that?” I asked.

Sarah answered, “It makes you feel like you’re drunk, it’s fun but you don’t remember most of it. You should take some.”

I seriously considered joining them but decided against it because I would’ve beaten myself up for weeks for taking something nicknamed ‘the date-rape drug.’ I felt left out though. I reached in my purse and took 100mg of Tramadol.

I felt energized from the Tramadol but it took away my ability to be an active participant in any conversation. I really wanted to get all of my shit out of my car. I probably shouldn’t have taken a hit from the joint that was being passed around.

Everyone was incredibly fucked up.

James acknowledged me for the first time, “How long have you been, uhh, cross dressing for?”

“Well, it’s not cross dressing, I’m a woman.”

James replied, “Damn, really? So you’re a tranny the other way around?”

“Yeah, sure,” I answered. I didn’t feel like explaining transsexuality and gender identity to him.

“That’s cool man, that’s cool, you’re a pretty good looking dude. I would’ve had no idea.”

James and Grace started making out. Sarah brought out a little bag that had three long rectangular pills scored into three pieces.

Sarah whispered, “You want to go to my room and rail Xanax?”

Sarah, Tiffany and I left James and Grace. We sat down on the floor in Sarah’s room. Sarah put two of the pills in between a folded piece of paper and crushed them with the bottom of an ashtray. She brought out her iPad and made four lines on it with the powder. Grace walked into the room, without James.

“Is that coke?” Grace asked.

“Nah, it’s Xanax,” Tiffany responded.

“Where’s James?” I asked.

“Oh, he just wanted to chill and stog it for a bit.”

Sarah insufflated one of the lines. She held one of her nostrils closed and continued to inhale after she lifted her head from her iPad.

A loud sound from the living room silenced everyone. It was a gunshot.

There was a silent understanding of what had just happened. James, drunk and fucked up on date-rape drugs, had killed himself. No one wanted to walk outside the room. No one wanted to be the first to see bits of James’s head strewn across the floor. Sarah still had a finger pressing against her nostril.

I walked out of the room first, prepared to see James’s dead body, after what had felt like five minutes of dead silence.

He was sitting at the kitchen table with a blank stare on his face. There was no blood.

Sarah asked nervously, “James, what happened?”

“It went off.”

Tiffany asked, “A gun?”

James replied, “Yeah, my gun.”

“What happened?” Tiffany asked.

“I was cleaning it and then I dropped it and it went off.”

Everyone except James immediately started searching for a bullet hole.

“Okay cool, I don’t think there are any holes,” Sarah said.

“Thank fucking god,” said Tiffany.

The lack of a hole was more disturbing to me than the prospect of finding one in something valuable. I doubted James had blanks loaded into his gun.

I was still shaking, part from fear and part from the Tramadol. I walked down the hall to use the restroom.

I passed a door and noticed a small black hole that wasn’t there before. It was the door to my room.

“I think I found the bullet hole,” I said.

Everyone, except James, moved to the door as quickly as they could. Tiffany opened it and we all walked in. The bullet had gone through the door, into the closet, through the drywall, and had lodged itself in one of the studs in the wall. One of Tiffany’s hangers was blown to pieces.

“Fuck!” Tiffany said. “We’re so not getting our deposit back.”

James was still sitting at the table. “Shit, I’m sorry. I’ll come by and fix it tomorrow.”

“Oh my god, I can’t believe a gun went off. This is so crazy,” said Sarah.

“Lets go finish those lines,” said Tiffany.

I was terrified and anxious and high. I wanted to leave. While Grace, Sarah, Tiffany, and James were in the other room, I slipped out through the front door.

When I got to my car, I received a text message from Sarah. “Where’d you go?”

I didn’t respond. I started my car. I was going to light a cigarette but I didn’t want all of the clothes in my car to smell like tobacco. I called my cousin in Los Angeles. She said I could stay with her for a few days.

I pulled out of the complex and drove to the freeway. I got on The 5 and drove north to Los Angeles. TC Mark

Read This

Cataloged in , , , ,