Adam is offering me a klonopin as if it were a piece of Juicy Fruit.
I feel weird accepting a serious medication like this. I’ve been in a psychiatric hospital. I’ve seen my fellow patients fish their AM dose of klonopin out of a little paper cup. And I’ve watched them shuffle around in a daze until it’s time for the PM paper cup of meds. It doesn’t seem like something hipster pill-poppers should be doling out in a corner booth at Rainbo.
But I can’t say this. “Oh, no thanks, Adam…You see, I’ve done some time in a looney bin–I mean, I’m sure you’ve heard I’m crazy–so I just cannot accept this in good faith.” This line would be delivered with a posh British inflection.
I’m too tired to manufacture a good excuse, so I just smile and stuff the pill into the little zip compartment inside my bag.
He smiles. “You’ll be glad I gave that to you later, I promise. It really takes the edge off the acid.”
I’m confused. “Huh?”
He laughs at me. “Don’t be coy. I know that you are dropping acid with us tonight.” He nudges me with his elbow like we’re sharing some big secret.
I shake my head. “Didn’t we just do that last week?”
Just then Ryan returns to the table with drinks. He pushes a glass of water over to me. “Are you sure you don’t want something stronger?”
I nod. “I’m good. After last weekend, I just want to take it easy on my body tonight.”
I don’t add that I am fairly certain I hallucinated well into Tuesday afternoon.
More friends arrive. The usual suspects. Andy, Thom, Larry. This girl Meghan, who I swear only hangs around when she gets a whiff of potentially free drugs.
I’m feeling a little annoyed. Somehow I was under the impression that Ryan and I were having a drink with Adam, and then catching a movie. Clearly this isn’t happening if they are planning on tripping again.
Apparently no one plans on being low-key about this, either. Fives are being tossed into the center of the table. Ryan is doling out doses. He turns to me, “You’re down, right?”
I’m trying to keep the displeasure off my face. Come on, big smile. Fake smile. You’re the life of the party, Amanda.
“Oh, no…I’m fine. I’m just going to enjoy everyone’s company.” Good job. Who could possibly fall for that?
He squeezes my hand. “Well, let me know if you change your mind…”
I should go home. I could finally catch up on laundry or watch a movie with Nate or even just read a book. Call Laura. Vacuum the rug. Anything will be better than this.
But I guess I want to spend time with Ryan. I mean, if I go home, he’ll probably meet some new girl. And then Monday we will be breaking up again because he has decided I’m boring. I am staying here.
An hour later, nobody’s really talking. I’m actually scribbling notes in my journal. People on drugs are dull.
Adam is slumped against the back of the booth. Suddenly he sits up straight. “I need to get money. I have to go to the ATM.”
Ryan volunteers to go with him.
I cannot stand another moment at this table.
I order a cranberry juice.
I play three games of pinball.
I jump into the photo booth, taking individual shots of my limbs. Left hand. Right hand. Left foot. Right foot.
I’m standing against the wall, wondering if I have huge man hands, when Ryan appears by my side. He’s out of breath and obviously furious. I immediately wonder if I’ve done something wrong.
No. He is angry at Adam. “He’s such an idiot! He took THREE klonopin before he took TWO hits of acid. He’s a mess. He couldn’t even read the letters on the ATM. These girls waiting in line behind us were laughing at us.”
I try to make a face that is both disapproving (toward Adam) and sympathetic (toward Ryan.”
“Listen, Amanda…we have to get out of here before he gets us thrown out. We should just get everyone together and leave Adam here.”
I look over at our friends. Adam actually has his head down on the table. His eyes are closed and his mouth is open.
“We can’t just let Adam here. Somebody might rob him or hurt him or something.”
Ryan shakes his head. “Whatever you want, Amanda. But he doesn’t deserve your sympathy. If he wants to make stupid decisions like that, he has to deal with the consequences. ”
“Let me borrow your car. I’ll take him home really fast. And then we can do whatever we want.”
He frowns. “No way. I mean, can you even drive a car?”
I try to hide my disgust. Apparently we’ve already forgotten that night I drove Ryan’s semi-unconscious ass home from Lava Lounge. That was only two weeks ago.
I walk over to the table. “Hey, Adam…I’m going to take you outside and put you in a cab, okay? I think you need to go home and get some sleep.” I give his hand a tug. “C’mon..”
Somehow he gathers the strength to stand. I slowly walk him out on to the sidewalk. He embraces me. “I love you, Amanda. You are the sister I’ve always wanted. I mean, yes, I have a sister, but you know what I mean, right?”
I pat his back encouragingly, while trying to flag a cab.
As soon as a car pulls up, I push him into the backseat. He’s muttering nonsensical syllables.
I realize that I don’t know his address. “Hey, Adam…where do you live?”
He opens his eyes wide. “I live in my apartment. You’ve been there!”
“No, no…I need your house number.”
“I don’t live in a house. It’s an apartment.”
“Okay, okay…listen, I’m going to tell the driver approximately where you live, but you have to tell him when to stop.”
He nods his head. I have a feeling he has no idea what I just said.
I give the driver $ 20. “ My brother has had too much to drink.” Adam is giggling in the backseat. “He only lives about ten blocks away from here. One block south of Chicago Avenue, two blocks west of Damen. I know that is like, a $5 ride. Please don’t leave until he actually walks in his building.”
The driver says, “Yeah, yeah.” And the he drives away.
I walk back inside the bar. Ryan jumps up from his seat. “Hey, guess what? We’re going to go to a party down at the loft. Get your bag…I think we can all fit in the car.”
“The loft.” I secretly call it the “den of sin.” It’s always filled with every drug imaginable. One time an obviously delusional guy tried to sell me his Thorazine. Hipsters smoke crack as if it were a pack of Marlboro Lights. The windows are blacked out, so it’s always night. Something about the place makes me feel like taking a shower in bleach.
I realize my opinion will not count tonight, since everyone else seems excited about this. And Meghan has just started rubbing Ryan’s arm.
I guess I’m going.
I extend my hand. “I guess I’ll take you up on your previous offer of acid.”
Ryan smiles triumphantly before leaning over to kiss me. “Finally! We’re going to have the best night yet.”