I ate two of the Vicodin at work an hour before leaving.

By the time I entered my house and ate a sandwich, then watched my dog run laps in the backyard, the pills were already making me feel numb and glorious. It could all be traced back to the suspended moment in time when—while watching my dog squat and take a shit—the Vicodin started to push the serotonin and suppress the synaptic pain responders.

Another disease had been found in some tropical town, killing hundreds. He’s Samoan and he’s part of that gang—I guess they’re called Yard Dogs—and he wants to kill me.

Another man was found dead in his car in Sendero Loco. Anyhow,” I said, passing the bottle back over to Isaac, “she doesn’t like me. Actually, he says that if I make his wife feel uncomfortable one more time, he kill me.” Going over the whole story felt good.

Police said he may have been sitting there for days. All those strange faces of suffering people I’d never meet; it didn’t seem right. He always liked a good time and he could share my bottle. It all seemed scripted and filmic, as though I were acting it out and there would have to be a happy ending.

As I remember it, right when he got there we finished the first bottle and had to go to the liquor store for a couple more. But then Isaac eyed me seriously and started shaking his head. I mean, you know, don’t you, why they’re so big and mean and everything, right?

Not that I’d forgotten; I just hadn’t thought about it. not more than 37 hours ago,” I declared, taking a long pull from the bottle of wine. It was supposed to be some kind of reparation for having taken off to Mexico.” My tongue stumbled around like feathery lead and my body felt like Jell-O cement. “I talked to Newt Gingrich in DC.” I was going to go into details about the conversation, the dialogue with the war vet, and the bathroom incident, but something spawned thoughts about John. “Hey,” I said, quickly changing subjects, “have you heard from John lately? “Nobody has since that night at the Casual Corner.” We made silent evaluations, both of us absently feeling guilty for not knowing where or what John was doing, or how to do anything about it. “Long ago they used to eat humans on the Pacific Islands.

I’d also forgotten that, just hours prior, I’d been in that sterile DC bathroom while some poor bastard clung to the tile with his fingernails, back half-broken and shit-smeared. “It’s all there: the maniacal and loose-hinged American Dream in action.” Isaac, even when drunk, talked quickly, with color and charisma. And this being not so very natural, it caused them not only to develop a ghastly body size, but also a mean streak unprecedented by any tribal group.

Not even the Assyrians match their historically documented and unbelievable brutality. “If it comes down to it,” he said, like a street-kid raised on father-beatings and hustles and scams, “just go for the throat. ” It took a second for his words to come together and form meaning. Sure.” And of course Isaac wanted to go to a party.

And the Assyrians, mind you, hung human enemy skins on the walls of their caves.” He grabbed for the bottle again, took a long pull and sighed. “Well,” I sighed as my eyes began probing the circular patterns on my carpet. Always go for the throat.” He only paused a few moments before adding, “There’s a party up in the hills tonight. The guy, standing tall and lanky-fit at 6-foot-2, had a face of American Apple Pie and the character of a nostalgic Cassidy. In times like these—the middle of growing inebriation—everything runs the fragile curvature of highly unreal and too real. You can’t find the purpose in any action and—because every action holds far too much possibility and purpose—you are afraid to commit to any particular one. After what could have been five minutes or an hour, Isaac asked, “So, you wanna get going to the party? Sure.” I found myself in the passenger seat of Isaac’s ‘80s sports car, listening to the scratchy airwaves of classic rock.

Clutching onto him from behind was an Asian girl who looked no more than 12 or 13, but who must have been older. The girl behind the man continued grinning, eyes wide and empty. Another way of saying that would be that I was so drunk and painless that I didn’t care if I gave the guy for nothing. But before any of these thoughts could appear, Isaac and I shrugged our shoulders and popped the pills into our mouths.