“I’m not trying to impress you.” he said.
“Why would you?”
His eyes burned across the table.
“Some people assume it’s fabricated, that the side effects aren’t that severe, that I’m making up most of it to be sensational. I’d just like you to know that I’m not.”
“Are you sure?”
“Nothing might happen.” he said. “Would you be disappointed then?”
“A little. Maybe. But I’d get over it.”
They sat in silence. A drunken woman’s cackle at the bar startled her and she laughed awkwardly, a paltry attempt at extinguishing his intensity.
“You’re very nervous.” he said. “If you’re nervous you shouldn’t do this.”
“I’m only nervous because you keep looking at me like that.”
“If that’s all it takes to get you scared, you really shouldn’t do this.”
“Just shut up and give it to me.”
“You don’t know what you’re doing.” He said.
“Sure I do. I’m expanding my imagination, enhancing my perspective on reality, and all that other stuff. Now give me the pill.”
He placed it an inch away from her. She snatched and swallowed it. Smirk now irrepressible, he said, “The trowel that digs your grave.”
She rolled her eyes, nervous, beginning to grasp the extent of her rashness.
“How long before this starts to work?” her voice was high and short like a child.
“It varies with everybody, I guess. I’d probably give it two or three minutes, if anything even happens.”
“And what does happen?”
“Usually just standard hallucinations. There’ve been a couple cases of blithering insanity in some, but not enough to cause alarm. You’ll probably be fine.”
She laughed weakly.
“It was your choice, honey.” he said. “You didn’t have to do it.”
“I know. I know I know. Okay, let’s talk about something else now.”
“Okay... Where are you from?”
“Really, honestly, we’re stooping that low for conversation topics?”
“Yes, now answer the damn question.”
His answer was inaudible as the clamor of the barroom doubled, quadrupled and quadrupled again, until it roared in her ears. The smirking corners of his mouth melted garishly from his face. She had to turn from him or else scream, die, explode, or some grotesque hybrid of the three.
When she turned the room became alive, utterly, blindingly, brightly alive. Every sneer, every bat of an eyelash, every tiny movement of a hand reaching a drink was stretched and perverse. It was all a gross rendering of night life at the hand of a resentful sketch artist, the colors of which had become so vividly rich and saturated that they seemed to melt and blend together yet still remain each in tact.
She faced her misshapen new friend, fighting for control of her tear ducts and gag reflex or else she would spew herself all over the room.
"That was some good stuff.” she breathed. “I’ve gotta get out of here or I’m going to totally lose it.”
Warm, dark smile. “You’re welcome.”
He watched with quiet amusement as she staggered out of the bar, and pulled a roll of Sweet Tarts out of his pocket. Popping two tiny white sweet pills into his mouth, he tried earnestly hard not to laugh.