I remember once being so drunk I let a friend talk me into going to a crack house with him. The lookout immediately pegged me as a cop. Luckily I had a forty with me. "Cops don't drink Midnight Dragon," I said, and raised the bottle. That seemed to do it. I was in. It wasn't really a house, it was more like half a house. The rear of the old brick structure had collapsed, but enough of the front remained to shield the crackheads from an open street view and the drive-by lights of the police. My friend said, "I'll be right back," and vanished down a hall. Ghost faces hovered above glass pipes. When coke burns it has a particular smell, a little like an electrical fire, that settles not in the nose, but in the throat. People spoke in whispers if at all. Then a guy walked up and asked if I needed some ass. "Seven dollars," he said, "young too." I didn't see a woman. "She ain't here," he said, "I'll take you to her." I figured he had his sister chained to a radiator in the basement. That, or I was about to get rolled. It didn't matter either way, I didn't have seven dollars. As I pushed past him and stepped heavily into the street, my friend reappeared, high and nervous. "Got what you needed?" I asked. "Yeh," he said, "let's get the fuck outta here." I drained the last of my forty, then we did.