125 WALK THIS WAY

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WALK THIS WAY

Okay, I exaggerated. It wasn’t all work. Christian and I managed to get drunk at the house a few times, too.

I was staring at a half empty bottle of Southern Comfort when I got to thinking, as I probably often did while drunk, about whether Digger felt at all like this when he got drunk.

I suspected not, because here’s what I felt like. Like I wanted to laugh really loud, with my heart pounding so hard I could feel it in my neck and in my temples, my face red and some sweat on my forehead. When we walked down toward the convenience store to see if they were still open, I walked backward the whole way feeling like I couldn’t make a wrong step. For me, knocking back enough liquor fast enough produces a feeling that is really entirely too similar to the way I feel on stage for me to admit it any time other than while I’m drunk. I told this to Chris while walking backward through the quiet Allston streets.

He laughed. He closed his eyes while he did it, tipped his head back and let his hair fall down his back, so that neither of us was looking where we were going. “Yeah, I guess so,” he said, when he looked forward again. “I feel that way when I’m fucking, too.”

“No shit,” I said before I really had time to think about what he said.

“No shit. Like I’m on top of the world and can do no wrong. And of course I get hot and sweaty and all that.”

I pressed my hand to my neck and every beat seemed doubled. “Yeah, okay, sex and drugs and rock and roll. We aren’t the first ones to figure that out.”

“Not every drug does it like that,” Chris said, then. “I mean, coke is like the ultimate extension of that. Your heart beats like it’s going to explode, only this seems really cool at the time. And the raging hard on it gives you, man, it explains all of Hollywood.”

“No shit,” I said again. “When have you done coke?”

“Miracle Mile had a manager for a while was a total coke-head. Which meant it was sort of fun for us for a very short time. He didn’t last.”

I didn’t ask for more details.

“Every time I did it I swore I was going to go out and get a second job just to support myself to buying the stuff. But in the morning I’d always see the error in that logic. Watch your left.”

I moved to avoid a fire hydrant in the sidewalk and put my hands into my jacket pockets. “Pot doesn’t really do it for me,” I said.

“Yeah, I noticed. You get like stone quiet, man.” Chris wasn’t looking at me, really. His eyes were sweeping back and forth over the neighborhood–at that moment we were passing a row of two-family houses, six houses identical in shape but painted different colors. “Sometimes.”

“Yeah, sometimes. It’s weird, it’s like sometimes when I smoke, I get no effect at all. Other times, it just saps the energy right out of me.” I decided against mentioning paranoia.

“Like you’re too relaxed.”

“I guess.”

“You’re one of the most laid-back high-strung people I know, Dar.”

We both started laughing then because he knew I was going to ask what the hell he meant by that and I knew he would have said he didn’t have the slightest fucking idea. I turned to start walking forward and felt disoriented suddenly. I swayed and Chris steadied my arm.

“What the hell did you mean by that?” I asked suddenly.

“Come on, Daron, you know what I mean. You can be so absolutely like deadpan, and yet hyper. I’ve learned not to take it personally.”

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