(September 27, 2003)

They're sitting side-by-side on his couch, watching cartoons and passing his pipe back and forth. They're laughing, because cartoons and drugs are funny, and there's nothing better to do. There's a conversation going on, but it's as diffuse and vague as the light shining in through the cloud of smoke; she's not completely sure what's going on, and doesn't particularly care. She does care, however, when he reaches over and runs a finger up her side, remarking,

"Know what you should do? You should get a chain of spots tattooed up your sides, from here to here. Fuck, that'd be hot."

She shrinks back, as she does from all unexpected touches, and narrows her eyes, torn between the urge to respond and the urge to leave. She doesn't like where this is going, both because it speaks of far too much familiarity and because he's hit some previously unseen nerve.

"Why spots?"

He can't quite seem to answer - his glazed eyes grow distant as he thinks about it. Finally, he shrugs, as eloquent a response as she could have expected from him. His gaze turns back to the television, his fingers to his pipe, and the moment is gone. The discomfort evaporates slowly, but still she wonders, thoughts sliding through her mind one on top of the other in a restless, disjointed flow. Closing her eyes, she can practically feel the needle scratching spirals up her flanks, can easily imagine herself wandering lithe down a beach in a black bikini, its two halves joined by two identically curving stripes of spots. Maybe she's just high.

"Want some more?"

The smoke grows thicker, blotting out even these ideas. But she remembers later, and still considers it from time to time. Sometimes the stoned friends are also the most perceptive, eerily.