The neon glow of the 7-11 sign hangs limply in the Los Angeles smog. The night air is stagnant, warm and the sky is painted a dark, reddish brown that makes me wonder if we’re already on Mars. The sky is the same color as the wine I’m drinking from a plastic Coca Cola bottle and sharing with my best friend.
A tall girl with delicate limbs zipped up in a purple American Apparel hoodie is standing in front of the store. She eyes me as I’m about to walk in and asks me if I have any money, since she needs some for cigarettes. She emphasizes that it’s for cigarettes. She has short, blonde hair, hair like a lesbian, so I trust her. I fish through my soft, denim bag, sorting through the shine of empty gum wrappers until I find a five to give her. I scan her face methodically, wait a second for my breath to turn invisible in the cold air, and decide to ask her if she knows where I can get any drugs. “What do you want?” she asks me, not rudely at all, not even missing a beat. “Like, H?” she continues. I’m silent for a second. Heroin? I was looking for meth, since I thought it was more common. “Sure,” I say. “Or crystal,” I mumble. “You know, anything.” Across the street a bus stops and groans an asthmatic release. My own breath, a beat, passes. I choose to ignore the bus.