He leaned out of the doorway toward me, just far enough for the reflected muddy glow of the streetlight to hit his hands and up his chest, leaving everything above the cigarette in shadows. By the tilt of his hat, his gaze seemed off-as if he were looking over my head, off into the distance. Where there was more nothing but stacked higher.
“What can I do for you?” he asked, voice dry and dusty.
“I’d like to be high”, I told him.
“We got you. Lotta people in your shoes.”
“Yeah, but only for a half hour or so…”
“I need to be high for a half hour.”
“Half hour. Like thirty minutes?”
“Maybe forty-five tops. Got some things to do that a buzz would definitely help with. I don’t need to tell you how long it’s been! But then, I’d like to be straight again.”
“Yeah I got shit to do later that would definitely require…a level of straightness. Like I have now.”
“Whyn’t you go do that shit now? Then come back?”
“Too early. And I doubt my ability to hold on till then without…”
“Yeah. I need it to hit me real fast.”
“Then, like that…”, he tries to snap his fingers, but instead his pointer finger snaps off at the top knuckle with a small pop. He pauses to follow the track of the top of his digit disappearing among the detritus along the curb. “…be straight again. That what you mean?”
“Yeah. Something that snaps on and off. Well not like….” I looked down to where his finger had fallen to watch the roiling under the rags and sodden papers as the vermin vied for the prize. Something must have won out as a skittering of tiny claws rattled away. “You got anything like that?” I asked, looking back up. “With switches?”
“On and off.”
“Neh, man. Our ride takes a while to get to cruising speed. And once there it lasts…a good long while. Then it takes some time to come back down. Four-hour minimum commitment. Results may vary.”
“Come back when you have a couple of seconds”, he said leaning back into the shadows. “A day…a weekend maybe. And I’ll fix you up.”
“Thanks”, I said hustling away. Who has that kind of time?