Mrs. O’Connor liked Burger King because it was cheap. When I arrived the next day, she was putting on makeup and drinking Coca-Cola from a large glass. “I’m almost ready,” she said. “That’s good,” I answered, “because I hate going into Mass late.” “I always love to go places late,” she said. “I hate to be on time . . .”
My friend, if I don’t put up things for you to “like” it’s not because I don’t love you, but because I remember what you and I used to be . . .
It was one of those days when the snow started and wouldn’t quit, so we bought beers and drank them and didn’t stop until long after dark and anyway, we were out. The apartment seemed all stained and yellow and stank of rancid burger grease. The snow just kept coming. We needed escape . . .
You snorted a rail so long I thought for sure it would knock you over, but you just threw your head back and asked me where I kept my champagne. With your pupils dilated, your jaw set hard, you strode across my apartment in your ridiculous red high heels and poured yourself a glass, bending down to lick up the overflowing liquid. You were still fun then, on day one. They all are . . .
I met her at work. I was five years younger than her, and shy. She always smiled, was loud and outspoken . . .
Which reminds you of the first time you ever dropped acid.
Hardly anyone then had ever heard of LSD. But rumors dawned of a great new drug which let you see God, or someone similar. Apocryphal stories drifted like alien blimps through misty skies. How LSD had been discovered by an atheist Swiss chemist who got some on his hands and became a holy man. How Aldous Huxley had taken tons of it and left his dying body behind, rising like a comet into heaven . . .
You tell yourself you have a handle on it, that it’s not so bad. You catch yourself looking down at that once-precious, bleeding, now-scarring arm—blisters reddening, rotting boughs hemorrhaging, far from on the mend, things swelling where they shouldn’t. And those twitches you have . . .
I shouldn’t have dropped acid today. But then, that’s what I always say. I live on the third floor of the Mars Motel in Yuba City. If you lived in the Mars Motel in Yuba City, you’d drop acid, too. But this time is different . . .