After the meal we headed back to the Groucho Club. We were a few drinks in now. We went upstairs and had some cocaine in the restroom . . .
Inkspot Hurricane’s eyes light up when I walk in. We go way back—I used to play music to his poetry on the folk scene. He was a slight man with a big voice, called Inkspot after the singing group, good name for a poet. I don’t recall how Hurricane came about . . .
Unconsciously, I drove toward the ever-expanding bakery with its extra-filled jelly donuts and rum–drenched chocolate cakes smothered in white, flaky coconut frosting . . .
“Brad Delp fucking killed himself, man!” Lairmo was frantic. “The voice of a fucking angel! Gone!” Lairmo popped the lid and dipped his head into a can of varnish for a big morning wake-up huff. His mouth puckered, eyes squinted shut. Calmed, he sat in his white overalls, shaking his head. “You know how many people his songs have made happy . . . ?”
Scared out of my mind
Chilled to the bone under layers of blankets
In my surgical gown and silly cap
I wait to be knocked out by ketamine . . .
The gateway drug is not the weed you smoke in a too-thin joint as a teenager. It’s not the beer you surreptitiously sip from your father’s fishing cooler while hunkered down in the garage. The gateway drug is escape . . .
In her poky hotel bathroom, Sallie filled up a glass with water from the sink. It wasn’t until she’d swallowed the pill—some generic form of Valium—that she stopped to wonder if the water was okay to drink. Oh well, she thought as she stepped into her red bikini bottoms. Too late now . . .
As Chessy slowly approached Thomas’s house, he offered up his usual fervent litany: that Thomas’s mother or father wouldn’t answer the door, and if they did, the strained, obligatory small talk would somehow be less excruciating than usual. But fortune was smiling on him this evening—Thomas was perched right outside. For now, at least, the parents could be avoided . . .