The train lurched forward like a giant hiccup. Holiday awoke from his hiatus, opening his eyes just enough to make out light and dark shapes. You coulda blindfolded him with dental floss . . .
Harry was a twenty-two-year-old junkie who made his living pedaling marijuana to sailors on Telegraph Avenue. He would buy lid bags of Mexican for ten dollars apiece and resell them for twenty. Some nights he would sell five . . .
The Dolphin Tavern used to be a topless bar where junkies shook their loose limbs for dollars to feed their sickness. A hideout for regulars to marinate in Yuengling while their wives did loads at the Laundromat next door . . .
Leaving you was like the way some doors have to be open a bit to lock. Meeting you was an accidental brush at the nape of the neck in a crowd: that thrum coupled with fear. To know each other, we need to take something in together; to trust, we must pass dangerous objects, sharp or burning, palm to cupped palm. We talk this way . . .
You haven’t seen her in over a year, not since that Labor Day weekend you took her up to your family’s lake house and she got so pissed at you for shooting up right away. “Danny, I was serious,” she said, like you were supposed to know that. But how the hell could you tell she was serious this time when she’d never been serious before . . . ?
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 . . .