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No one bothered to ask Boggs how he knew needles so well. He could hit a vein without leaving a track mark and, if you held still enough, you didn’t even feel it. No one asked because he was willing and no one else knew how.

I sat in Andrea’s shitty apartment on one of her shitty chairs with a black studded punk rock belt around my arm. The studs clicked like a metronome as I pulled it tighter and my veins bulged hungrily. Random (that was his name) said he didn’t want to and eyed me with a mixture of curiosity and disappointment. We had promised each other that we would never put anything up our nose and, when we both broke that promise, made another pact that we would never shoot anything.

I was about to break that promise and he wasn’t.

Boggs held the slender needle like it would break and stretched my skin back a little; my skin felt horribly exposed and I waited for the inevitable sting. If it hadn’t been for the ribbon of blood that shot up the plunger I would have thought that he missed. My blood mixed with the clear drug and he slowly pushed the plunger down. It didn’t feel cold, like I had thought but I imagined the sound water makes when it goes down the drain.

He pulled the short needle out and lightly massaged the area as I loosened the punk rock belt and attempted to hand it to Stu. It was too late.

The air conditioner hummed in another room and I focused on the noise. It roared in my ears and I was only vaguely aware of the people in the room. I allowed Boggs to lead me to the floor, where I laid down on my stomach before the ride started. That hum was all consuming now and I wasn’t even aware of my body, Andreas’s shitty apartment or the smell of the carpet below me.

Seven years later, Random would call me and say that he had always regretted not doing it with me. He had lived through our exotic summer in the South and wished he had pushed it a little farther while he was there. As it stands, he has never pushed a needle into a vein and experienced drugs in their rawest state. And, for some reason, he regretted this.

Seven years later, I would tell him that I always regretted doing it. We had made so many promises and kept none of them, I wished we had kept more. I had lived through that exotic summer and wished that I hadn’t pushed it so far.

What we didn’t regret, was that he had called me seven years later.