I’d cut back to the point where just a touch of the brown stuff in the spoon kept me well and gave me a warm glow. Physically, I knew I probably still didn’t look that good. And even a triple espresso latte couldn’t keep me necessarily awake. But life, from the bubbly point of view of a heroin infused Holiday Season, looked good to me.

There I was cruising the streets at will in a cherry 1970 Mercedes 280SL convertible, up and down the San Diego coastline. I had to keep bits of black tar heroin, fresh syringes, a spoon or two, my Cartier lighter, and sterile vials of saline solution locked away in the trunk of my car for the inevitable pit stops throughout the day to keep me going. I tried to keep sterile cotton on hand, but torn pieces of cigarette filter would get the job done just as well.

Not that I needed to be anyplace in particular, so the numerous stopovers didn’t slow me down at all. I was on vacation, waiting to leave town for yet another vacation, in Tahoe. Life was good, and if it wasn’t, I was too loaded to feel otherwise.

It was warm in San Diego that December, and even if it weren’t, I was pretty damn toasty on the inside on account of the drugs.

I met my old time friend Byron in downtown La Jolla, and went into a Tommy Bahama store with him, where he lifted a quick pair of slacks for me. He also gave me a little computer accessory, gratuity, that he’d managed to come by. We parked by Jonathan’s, the village’s carpeted gourmet supermarket, and I set him up with a quick little shot and the same for me. Abask in the halo of glowing good cheer, I dropped him off by his car, and headed home, taking the long route up the coast.

I stopped about ten miles away in Del Mar, at Starbucks, for another tall latte with the extra shots of espresso. Those days nothing short of a quadruple shot of coffee could keep me from nodding off at the wheel. Sipping, shifting, listening to Tupac on my new stereo, I ambled up the highway, to home, where I felt so good that I just drifted off into watching my new TiVO and didn’t even bother to take another dose until early the next morning when my body woke me demanding more heroin.

Slave as I was, twenty pounds under weight no less, I was happy. At least for that day.