The Dream Doctor
12. The "Dope Trust"
As we hurried into Chinatown from Chatham Square we could see that the district was
celebrating its holidays with long ropes of firecrackers, and was feasting to reed discords
from the pipes of its most famous musicians, and was gay with the hanging out of many
sunflags, red with an eighteen-rayed white sun in the blue union. Both the new tong truce
and the anniversary were more than cause for rejoicing.
Hurried though it was, the raid on the Hep Sing joint had been carefully prepared by
O'Connor. The house we were after was one of the oldest of the rookeries, with a gaudy
restaurant on the second floor, a curio shop on the street level, while in the basement all
that was visible was a view of a huge and orderly pile of tea chests. A moment before the
windows of the dwellings above the restaurant had been full of people. All had faded
away even before the axes began to swing on the basement door which had the
appearance of a storeroom for the shop above.
The flimsy outside door went down quickly. But it was only a blind. Another door
greeted the raiders. The axes swung noisily and the crowbars tore at the fortified, iron-
clad, "ice box" door inside. After breaking it down they had to claw their way through
another just like it. The thick doors and tea chests piled up showed why no sounds of
gambling and other practices ever were heard outside.
Pushing aside a curtain we were in the main room. The scene was one of confusion
showing the hasty departure of the occupants.
Kennedy did not stop here. Within was still another room, for smokers, anything but like
the fashionable place we had seen uptown. It was low, common, disgusting. The odour
everywhere was offensive; everywhere was filth that should naturally breed disease. It
was an inferno reeking with unwholesome sweat and still obscured with dense fumes of
Three tiers of bunks of hardwood were built along the walls. There was no glamour here;
all was sordid. Several Chinamen in various stages of dazed indolence were jabbering in
incoherent oblivion, a state I suppose of "Oriental calm."
There, in a bunk, lay Clendenin. His slow and uncertain breathing told of his being under
the influence of the drug, and he lay on his back beside a "layout" with a half-cooked pill
still in the bowl of his pipe.
The question was to wake him up. Craig began slapping him with a wet towel, directing
us how to keep him roused. We walked him about, up and down, dazed, less than half
sensible, dreaming, muttering, raving.