Los Angeles, 2001, 2002, maybe 2003. I was sharing an apartment with a young woman, about my age. She was sexy and I was not, but I did not have any venereal diseases. All the same, we were not lovers. We were writers – my work was better, but hers was more promising – and other than writing, which we did separately, at separate desks pushed against different walls of the same room, we did almost everything together. But not quite everything. For example, one night, when she was in what I suppose could be described as an experimental phase, I drove her across town (she wasn’t much of a driver, and Los Angeles isn’t a great place for someone who isn’t much of a driver to drive across town, especially at night) to meet up on a street corner with a former supermodel, a lesbian, and whatever she did between the time I dropped her off on the corner where that former supermodel was waiting for her and the following morning, I most definitely did not do with her. As for the former supermodel, the reason she was a former supermodel and not simply a supermodel was that she had developed an addiction to heroin that prevented her from carrying out her duties as a supermodel according to expectations, and consequently had ceased to be offered work and probably dropped by her management company, though this latter is pure speculation on my part. Anyway, the next morning, that is to say the morning after I left the young woman with whom I was sharing an apartment and more or less a life with on a street corner, I walked into the kitchen to find the former supermodel and current heroin addict smoking heroin through the husk of a ballpoint pen, which is apparently technically known as the “barrel.” She had the heroin in a little square of tin foil which she was heating from below with the flame from a cigarette lighter and one end of husk or barrel of the ballpoint pen poised just above it, and her mouth closed around the other end. Well, that’s the way I remember it, but looking back over what I’ve written it seems to me that in order for this to be true she would have had to have three hands, none of which changes the basic facts, which are that she was smoking heroin through the husk or barrel of a ballpoint pen when I walked into the kitchen that morning. She apologized the way someone does when you needed to use the bathroom and they just beat you to it, and then carried on smoking her heroin. She was addicted, so I couldn’t really have expected otherwise, but I felt a little – slighted, I supposed I’d say – nevertheless.
You’re probably thinking these things happened a very long time ago, but as a matter of fact it was just yesterday, and yet somehow we are all old and married with children now, even the former supermodel, who is still a lesbian but no longer a heroin addict, and whose child, technically speaking, is actually a small dog by the name of King Alphonse.