There was a knock on the door. It was Buckley. He was solemn, with puffy eyes and a sadness that emanated from his soul. “Hey man. How are you doing?” His voice quavered slightly. Gabriel last saw him a few days ago. He invited him in and they walked down the hall to Gabe’s room. He knew something was wrong, that it had been too long since he and Buckley had talked seriously, and that a random knock on his door occasioned more than a catch up. They sat down, Buckley on the bed, Gabriel in his Captain’s chair, at his desk. “I have a confession to make man.”
“You’ve been doing H intravenously?”
“I do heroin.” This didn’t come as a shock to Gabriel; he had supposed that his friend was caught up with the “H train” for a while. “ I’ve done it for a long time, and I haven’t told you but you’re the one person I can trust and talk to outside of my junkie friends. I did it back then, I did it all this year, I still do it.”
“Shit man.” He knew that to lecture his friend immediately would be inappropriate, that the reason he came to him in the first place was because he wouldn’t come down hard on him, but would want to hear his side of the story first. “What’s it like?” He was curious, but he also wanted Buckley to be able to get all of the details off of his chest.
“Honestly it’s not even that good. The first time, I went over to this guy’s house, and he’s been doing it for two years or so, and my best friend at school man, he has thick veins, he can carry that shit deep in his veins, but me, mine are thin, so this dude tied up my arm, and when he finally found the one that everyone shoots in, he said, “I found that motherfucker, and now I’m gonna pop it!” And he put that needle in and it spread through my body for like 30 seconds, and I passed out man. I practically passed out for three hours. It’s that fuckin intense. I woke up the other morning feeling like shit like you do some days, and I wanted to tie up. And when I tried to find my vein, because I have thin veins, and I couldn’t find it, I was poking and poking, (he made a motion like he was jackhammering one handed with a sewing needle) and I must have pricked 20 or 30 times, and it was a fucking bloodbath man. It was ugly.” Jack’s face was sharp and pinned. He looked down the entire time, but felt lighter with each word. He balanced against the history of their friendship like a cane.
The while, Gabriel listened like a shrink, nodding approvingly, thinking about his poor friend, his expectations for his success being washed down the drain by a drug. Buckley looked down at his hands, then up from behind his thick cocoa framed glasses, and wanted to express the pain of his past year and a half.
–Daniel Adler, “Hot Love on the Wing”