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Comment length hard limit?
April 2, 2007 10:18 PM   Subscribe

(Minor issue, but) is there a character limit on comments?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken to Feature Requests at 10:18 PM (59 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

It's happened to me a couple of times, and I've seen quite a few other occasions lately where people's (very long, for whatever reason) comments have been truncated. Is there a hard limit? If so, could we get a warning on preview (or something scripty and sexier that will tell us before that) if the comment will be cut off?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:19 PM on April 2, 2007


Oddly enough, this has never happened to me.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:26 PM on April 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


That's because jrun couldn't bear to truncate your inimitable prose, EB.
posted by gsteff at 10:40 PM on April 2, 2007


Anesthesia

Waking up, he rolled onto his side and looked at the clock. It was early, probably too early to actually get up. He propped myself up on one arm and listened. There was somebody down on the couch sleeping, their slow, rhythmic breathing indicating deep slumber. Otherwise the house was quiet.
He slowly sat up, tucking his legs underneath, and felt around for a glass. Finding one, he nestled it between his legs and felt around carefully for the bottle. It was in the same spot he generally put it in, and he uncapped it and took a large mouthful. The bourbon went down in a hot ball, and he silently burped. Pouring a glassful, he recapped the bottle, giving the cap a deft spin. Eyes adjusting to the semi-darkness, he took stock of his surroundings. It was a cramped loft-space, with a vaulted ceiling that only cleared his head by a two or three feet when sitting; he had to shuffle around on his knees. There were two framed cutouts to his left that served as windows from which he could look out on the living room. He liked this. It made him feel like the guy in the t.v. show "taxi" in his little booth, surveying the comings and goings of the others. He had two national flags, made out of filmy polyester, that he had tacked up for drapes. German and French. There were pinups on the walls and the ceiling. He could make out Miss February's Chiclet teeth, smiling innocently in the dark. He had a makeshift bookshelf with a selection of books that he liked to reread, and a pile of unused medical textbooks. Assorted papers and magazines on the floor, with a collection of VCR tape cases. There was a sheet hanging from the ceiling, blocking a set of stairs that led down to the living room, 13 or 14 shallow steps.
Once he could see, he grabbed a pack of cigarettes and shook one out. The match flared and ruined his night-vision, so he felt around for the ashtray, putting his fingers in the ashes before pulling it closer. He wiped his fingers on the sheet. He alternated drags on the cigarette with gulps of bourbon, and he smiled in the darkness. He pushed the German flag-drape aside, and looked down. It was Mike on the couch. Finishing off the glass, he uncapped the bottle and refilled the glass halfway. He lit another cigarette with the end of the previous one. It was starting to get a little light out, enough to see the smoke rings he blew. He put the butt down, and reached over and lit a candle. The bourbon was beginning to really kick in, and he rubbed his face, pressing hard on his eyes. His stomach gurgled. He knelt and shuffled over to the stairs, drink and smoke in hand. Avoiding two steps he knew were particularly loud, he padded down, and then at the bottom of the steps, realized that he wasn't wearing any clothes. He muttered "shit." Not recalling who was there besides the housemates, he went back up and put on a pair of blue surgical scrubs, throwing the cigarettes in the back pocket. Going back down the steps, his stomach was more insistent, growling loudly. Picking his way around empty beer and liquor bottles, and red plastic cups with cigarette butts floating in stale beer, he went to the bathroom and turned on the shower. When the bathroom was filled with steam, he disrobed and got under the water, moving the bar of soap over on the ledge, and placing the glass of bourbon next to it. He urinated and let the hot water run over him. His stomach gurgled again, and he doubled over and vomited, the amber liquid diluting and running around his feet. Holding on to his knees, he dry-heaved a few times, coughed, straightened up, and had a sip of his drink. He turned off the water, toweled off, and threw the scrubs back on.
When he went back into the living room, Mike was sitting up, watching the television. "'Sup Jeff."
"G'morning, Mike."
"Sleep well?"
"Yeah, not bad, but I think I only got an hour or two-- it was a late night."
"Always a late night for you, dude." He stretched and yawned, turning back to the television.
"Yeah, well, you know how it is, someone’s gotta make up for all the lightweights around here. fucking grad students, you’d think they were eighty years old."
"Shit, man, are you drinking now?" Mike said, shaking his head.
"Yes. I'm thirsty. I need sustenance."
"Whatever, man. you're fucking crazy, I swear."
"Like I said, gotta balance out the lightweights."
"It's six o'clock on a Sunday. you know? Sunday morning."
"What, you're religious now?"
"I'm just saying. Nobody drinks at six in the morning on a Sunday. It's crazy."
"Well, I do. And it's good for you, and you should try it. Try watching the morning show with a beer or four-- it's much more entertaining."
"No thanks, man. Don't get defensive-- I don't care what you do, really. I'm just saying you're pretty hard-core." He added as an afterthought "Six o'clock, shit."

Jeff sat down at the coffeetable across from Mike, and lit a cigarette. They sat quietly for a while, the television droning on. After some time, he got up, went upstairs to the loft, and refilled his glass again halfway. Looking down to the common room, he saw the rest of the people who were waking up slowly trickling into the living room, one in the kitchen, brewing a pot of coffee. There were the housemates, Mike and Walter, and a smattering of girls who had spent the night, mostly graduate students in the anthropology department at the university. He grabbed one of the unmarked VCR tape cases on the floor and shook it lightly, listening to the rattle. There was a muffled metallic clink. He tucked it into his pants and crawled over to the bookshelf, selecting "A History of the Boston City Hospital 1905-1964". He opened it up to the middle, and took two small wax paper baggies out of the hole he had cut into the center of the book. He went back down with the case and the baggies, and sat down at the coffeetable.
"Anyone mind if I get high?" He asked this to no one in particular.
One of the girls said "You asked us that last night, and you went ahead and did it anyway. Why bother asking?"
"Well, it's the classy thing to do, and I'm a high-class motherfucker."
“Does your whole high-class existence revolve around ‘getting high’?”
“Yes, now shut the fuck up. is it any business of yours?”
“You’re not right. you’re just....not....right.”
Ignoring her, he opened the case and pulled out a bent-handled teaspoon, which he placed on the table, along with the baggies and some cotton balls. He took out a short orange-capped syringe, and placed it lengthwise in his mouth. He got up and went in the kitchen, got a glass of water, and went back and sat down again. Opening one of the baggies, he asked "Anyone want some?", muffled by the needle in his mouth.
"No way." said Terri, one of the girls. A couple of people came over and sat down to watch. He emptied the bag into the spoon, and drew water into the syringe, then squirted it into the spoon. He flicked the lighter, and held it under the spoon until the liquid sizzled. Putting a tiny bit of cotton in the spoon, he stuck the needle in the cotton and drew up some liquid. Everyone watched. Setting the needle on the table, he lit a cigarette and opened a pre-packaged alcohol swab, running it over the crook of his arm on the inside of his elbow. Switching the syringe for the cigarette, he held it up to the light and flicked it.
"Why do you do that?" asked Walter, one of the housemates.
"To get the air bubbles out. The bubbles can give you a heart attack."
"Heart attack? you're shooting drugs and you're worried about a heart attack?"
"Shut up, man, you fucking asked."
"Whatever." Walter shook his head, and sat back watching the television, monitoring with a sidelong glance every now and then.
Satisfied with the flicking, Jeff grabbed an adjustable green cat-collar that doubled as a tourniquet, and wrapped it around his bicep. Pulling it tight, he put the end in his mouth to hold it. He tapped his arm with a finger, and selected a spot in the crook of his arm. He pushed the needle in and eased back on the plunger. A little spot of blood appeared, and he let the strap fall from his mouth.
"And here we go." He slowly pushed on the plunger, the small red spot disappearing, along with the rest of the liquid in the syringe. They all watched. One girl held her hand over her mouth, as if she had just tasted sour milk. He pulled the syringe out and a small drop of blood formed on the skin where the needle was. He started counting aloud, as he put a cottonball on the spot and bent his arm around it.
"Seven, six, five, four, three, oh, oh, holy shit." He leaned back in the chair, and his mouth hung open, still holding his arm up and bent. "Ohh. oh, god." He reached over with the other hand and pulled the tourniquet off slowly, letting it drop into his lap.
"What does it feel like?" asked one of the girls.
"When it’s good dope, it’s like an hour long orgasm in a warm bubbling Jacuzzi--no, better than that. But I can't really put it into words. It's like God is kissing your insides." His eyes were half-open, and he was absentmindedly scratching his belly and crotch. "But when you don't have it, or you run out...." he trailed off.
Walter got up and went into the kitchen.
“How do you know it’s good? I mean, if you can’t like sample it or whatever? or can you? I don’t know anything about this stuff.”
Jeff scratched, and was silent. Pans were banging on the stove in the other room. “Well,” he began, “I knew this particular shit would be good because last week there was something on the news about how all these people were dying in Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn from heroin overdoses. This means that it’s really pure. The best shit is the shit that’s killing motherfuckers.” He paused, scratched. “So I knew to ask the guy for the good stuff. He knows.” The overnight girl stared.
“You mean you got that stuff deliberately?”
“Of course. What, you think I’m going to spend my money on crap?”
“I guess not.” She said this while studying the floor.
The banging of the pots continued, everyone flinching with the BANG each time. No one spoke. After a few minutes Jeff got up, still scratching, and packed everything back into the tape case. He went up the stairs and sat on the mattress, smoking. He closed the German flag-drape. He laid down and let the world drift away for a while. After some time, he became aware that people were leaving, and he sat up. The front door shut, and the house was quiet. He poured a drink and went downstairs, turning on the television. The produce guy on the morning show was saying to “Never ever ever” put tomatoes in the refrigerator because they lost their flavor. He heard the distinctive sound of Walter’s truck pulling into the driveway, and mentally sighed. The front door opened, and Walter came in and sat down. Jeff said “where’d everybody go?”
“The beach. Nevermind. I cannot believe you.” He squinted, looking at the television. “I let you live here, rent-free, and you shoot up in front of guests. Are you kidding me?” He looked over at Jeff. “Now I look like a fucking idiot. Is that how you treat a friend?” He got up and started to pace across the room.
“I don’t suppose so.” Jeff continued to stare at the television.
“I mean, I thought that you were down on your luck, this was a temporary thing, and you’ve been here for three months, you have no job, you stopped going to classes, you were a month from going on to your residency, and now this.” Walter threw his arms up in the air. “This is absolute bullshit. You think I’m stupid? You think I don’t know what’s going on? You need help, man. You do realize that, right?”
“I could use a couple of bucks, that’s for certain.”
“What? Are you insane? You’ve got to get out. You’ve got a week. I don’t care where you go, I’ll give you a ride to wherever, but you have to leave.”
“So that’s it, huh? Thanks mom.”
“Yeah, that’s it.”
“If that’s it, that’s it, I guess.”
“Yeah. Like I said, you can stay for the next week in order to get your stuff together, make phone calls, whatever, but I swear, if you take anything, if you go near my room, I will kick your ass from here to the next life. I’m not joking.”
“All right Walter.”
“Okay. I’m doing this because I can’t take this craziness anymore, and I know it’s trite, but it’s for your own good.”
“All right Walter. I got it.”

“Okay.” He blew out a long breath and went to the other end of the house.
Jeff got up and went back upstairs. He sat for a while, smoking. He sat and thought about the grads at the beach with the white sand, sunlight glistening off the waves and children laughing. He thought about wearing a suit and a red silk tie, maybe a clean white lab coat. The smell of an expensive leather briefcase filled with patient histories. A black BMW. He poured another drink, and wondered if it was too early to call the guy in Brooklyn.
posted by exlotuseater at 11:27 PM on April 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ok, probably not, then.
posted by exlotuseater at 11:28 PM on April 2, 2007


I'm not sure if I recall seeing it on Metatalk, but I have on the blue, I'm quite sure. *shrugs*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:36 PM on April 2, 2007


Long comments get truncated in the "my comments" view, but they don't on the actual page. For me, anyway --
posted by Rumple at 11:48 PM on April 2, 2007


7, but none of us are any good at following rules anyway.
posted by allen.spaulding at 12:15 AM on April 3, 2007


I've never seen a comment (even the massive, this-could-qualify-as-a-novel, ones) cut off... Can you point us to an example, stavros?
posted by amyms at 1:30 AM on April 3, 2007


Yeah, comments never get cu
posted by aubilenon at 2:01 AM on April 3, 2007


Hell, maybe it was a brain fart. I'm sure I've seen it happen two or three times this week, which led me think it wasn't just user error. Only Matt knows for sure, I guess. Like I said, pretty minor.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:16 AM on April 3, 2007


Hehe... Hehe... *tries to adopt a Beavis And Butthead voice*... You said "fart."
posted by amyms at 2:26 AM on April 3, 2007


I'm sure I've seen it happen two or three times this week, which led me think it wasn't just user error.

It happens on the My Comments page for very long comments. Is that what you're thinking of?
posted by grouse at 3:43 AM on April 3, 2007


"Hell, maybe it was a brain fart."

Not surprising, from a butthead.

:)
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:04 AM on April 3, 2007


I've had at least one comment truncated by the character limit.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 4:42 AM on April 3, 2007


I would guess it's a database field length limitation that limits post lengths.
posted by armage at 5:17 AM on April 3, 2007


Well, theoretically the database field is NTEXT, so you'd be hard-pressed to fill that without being an asshole about the thing or really hung up on the issue.
posted by yerfatma at 5:20 AM on April 3, 2007


I suspect you were reading My Comments. It happens all the time there. I've never seen it in an actual thread, on the blue or elsewhere.
posted by languagehat at 5:35 AM on April 3, 2007


We should limit comments to 140 characters. I'm off to work now. Wondering if I should buy lunch near my house or at work. Can't decide.
posted by yeti at 5:40 AM on April 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


There's no character limit on comments, please see: Treaty of Westphalia and other great crapfloods.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:43 AM on April 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Just tested a gigantic lorem ipsum. There is so a character limit! And a wc against the portion that made the cut puts it in the vicinity of 31,500 characters, or roughly six thousand words of English text.

So apparently the ToW just isn't long enough.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:19 AM on April 3, 2007


I thought about replying with "Nooooooooo…" and holding down the "o" until it filled the entire page, but then I realized that it would waste less of all of our time if y'all just imagined me being a dick instead of putting me through the effort of actually being one.
posted by klangklangston at 6:19 AM on April 3, 2007


And on further testing, ToW is plenty long—comes out at nearly 89K characters—so either someone was showing what could be very strictly called 'restraint' in posting selections thereof, or there was truncation a foot and we somehow failed to notice.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:22 AM on April 3, 2007


You know, when the treaty was posted, I can remember noticing that paragraph 532 subsection 73 was missing..
posted by Chuckles at 6:34 AM on April 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


omg somebody's foot got truncated this is more srius than we suspected
posted by Wolfdog at 6:43 AM on April 3, 2007


I stand corrected.

There's no character limit on comments that any reasonable person would notice.

Yeah I said it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:55 AM on April 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Circumcision.

There I said it.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 7:20 AM on April 3, 2007


just imagined me being a dick instead of putting me through the effort of actually being one.


lazy dick.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 7:21 AM on April 3, 2007


Reasonable people don't have much to say.
See how reasonable I am?
posted by Plutor at 7:29 AM on April 3, 2007


Back in 2002 or 2003, I think, someone posted his entire graduate thesis or something, which was fairly long (and relevant to the discussion). (Something to do with geology, maybe?) I can't find the thread now, though. . . .
posted by yz at 7:31 AM on April 3, 2007


There's no character limit on comments that any reasonable person would notice.

I've been called many things, but reasonable is not one of them. Hugs!
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:43 AM on April 3, 2007


the portion that made the cut puts it in the vicinity of 31,500 characters

If only there was a convenient power of two in that range...

My guess if that some internal db field is limited to 32,767 characters and that there's some housekeeping in there which lowers the limit somewhat further.
posted by GuyZero at 9:15 AM on April 3, 2007


Plus, my wc wouldn't have tracked the chars for the <br> tags that mefi inserts, cutting futher the deficit up to the 215-1 breakeven.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:22 AM on April 3, 2007


Which, on further test, knocks the wc up to 31897. 870 bytes of headroom?
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:25 AM on April 3, 2007


I thought about replying with "Nooooooooo…" and holding down the "o" until it filled the entire page, but then I realized that it would waste less of all of our time if y'all just imagined me being a dick instead of putting me through the effort of actually being one.

To kk, thanks! Because you didn't, and trust me, we do.
posted by Lynsey at 9:43 AM on April 3, 2007


Back in 2002 or 2003, I think, someone posted his entire graduate thesis or something ...

I posted this a while back. Summary, MeTa.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:45 AM on April 3, 2007


Character limit for comments? Judging by the general level of discourse around here, it's pretty clear that anyone can comment, whether or not they have any character.

/rimshot
posted by Kwine at 9:46 AM on April 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


i always thought comments got cut off because they had some code or something--like they were pasted from Word or some other place.
posted by amberglow at 9:47 AM on April 3, 2007


Yeah, sorry, that was me. Often when typing a long comment, I am overcome with self-loathing, stop typing, and just hit post.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:06 AM on April 3, 2007


There is no limit on comment length in the database itself. The field that holds comments is a unlimited text field, not a character based one.

There are likely issues with browsers submitting text via a textarea form. I have no idea what the upper bound is, but I know a few years ago, Netscape 4 would only let you post 32kb of text before it stopped itself.

I am pretty sure I might have a limit on the database field size that gets fetched from the database. So if you upload 1Mb of text (about an entire book), when I go to display the page with the comment in it, it might cut off at 128,000 characters or something very large like that.

So I don't actively do anything to limit text on mefi, but there may be browser or server-side java database interactions that enforce some very large number as a limit.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:33 AM on April 3, 2007


THAT'S CENSORSHIP!
posted by klangklangston at 10:35 AM on April 3, 2007


Im in yr treaty trunckating yr foote
posted by oneirodynia at 11:02 AM on April 3, 2007

I posted this a while back. Summary, MeTa.
That's most likely it (I do seem to remember Matt sidebarring it as well); I must have recalled only Matt's subsequent reference to his thesis on "trace metals transport in lake ecosystems". Thanks for finding it. (That comment was limited to 31,651 characters, by the way.)
posted by yz at 11:05 AM on April 3, 2007


Seems to affect FF, IE, and w3m—guessing it's a server-side thing of some sort, unless there's some sort of W3C spec on maximum form content size?
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:16 AM on April 3, 2007


lemme try a test here

Anesthesia

Waking up, he rolled onto his side and looked at the clock. It was early, probably too early to actually get up. He propped myself up on one arm and listened. There was somebody down on the couch sleeping, their slow, rhythmic breathing indicating deep slumber. Otherwise the house was quiet.
He slowly sat up, tucking his legs underneath, and felt around for a glass. Finding one, he nestled it between his legs and felt around carefully for the bottle. It was in the same spot he generally put it in, and he uncapped it and took a large mouthful. The bourbon went down in a hot ball, and he silently burped. Pouring a glassful, he recapped the bottle, giving the cap a deft spin. Eyes adjusting to the semi-darkness, he took stock of his surroundings. It was a cramped loft-space, with a vaulted ceiling that only cleared his head by a two or three feet when sitting; he had to shuffle around on his knees. There were two framed cutouts to his left that served as windows from which he could look out on the living room. He liked this. It made him feel like the guy in the t.v. show "taxi" in his little booth, surveying the comings and goings of the others. He had two national flags, made out of filmy polyester, that he had tacked up for drapes. German and French. There were pinups on the walls and the ceiling. He could make out Miss February's Chiclet teeth, smiling innocently in the dark. He had a makeshift bookshelf with a selection of books that he liked to reread, and a pile of unused medical textbooks. Assorted papers and magazines on the floor, with a collection of VCR tape cases. There was a sheet hanging from the ceiling, blocking a set of stairs that led down to the living room, 13 or 14 shallow steps.
Once he could see, he grabbed a pack of cigarettes and shook one out. The match flared and ruined his night-vision, so he felt around for the ashtray, putting his fingers in the ashes before pulling it closer. He wiped his fingers on the sheet. He alternated drags on the cigarette with gulps of bourbon, and he smiled in the darkness. He pushed the German flag-drape aside, and looked down. It was Mike on the couch. Finishing off the glass, he uncapped the bottle and refilled the glass halfway. He lit another cigarette with the end of the previous one. It was starting to get a little light out, enough to see the smoke rings he blew. He put the butt down, and reached over and lit a candle. The bourbon was beginning to really kick in, and he rubbed his face, pressing hard on his eyes. His stomach gurgled. He knelt and shuffled over to the stairs, drink and smoke in hand. Avoiding two steps he knew were particularly loud, he padded down, and then at the bottom of the steps, realized that he wasn't wearing any clothes. He muttered "shit." Not recalling who was there besides the housemates, he went back up and put on a pair of blue surgical scrubs, throwing the cigarettes in the back pocket. Going back down the steps, his stomach was more insistent, growling loudly. Picking his way around empty beer and liquor bottles, and red plastic cups with cigarette butts floating in stale beer, he went to the bathroom and turned on the shower. When the bathroom was filled with steam, he disrobed and got under the water, moving the bar of soap over on the ledge, and placing the glass of bourbon next to it. He urinated and let the hot water run over him. His stomach gurgled again, and he doubled over and vomited, the amber liquid diluting and running around his feet. Holding on to his knees, he dry-heaved a few times, coughed, straightened up, and had a sip of his drink. He turned off the water, toweled off, and threw the scrubs back on.
When he went back into the living room, Mike was sitting up, watching the television. "'Sup Jeff."
"G'morning, Mike."
"Sleep well?"
"Yeah, not bad, but I think I only got an hour or two-- it was a late night."
"Always a late night for you, dude." He stretched and yawned, turning back to the television.
"Yeah, well, you know how it is, someone’s gotta make up for all the lightweights around here. fucking grad students, you’d think they were eighty years old."
"Shit, man, are you drinking now?" Mike said, shaking his head.
"Yes. I'm thirsty. I need sustenance."
"Whatever, man. you're fucking crazy, I swear."
"Like I said, gotta balance out the lightweights."
"It's six o'clock on a Sunday. you know? Sunday morning."
"What, you're religious now?"
"I'm just saying. Nobody drinks at six in the morning on a Sunday. It's crazy."
"Well, I do. And it's good for you, and you should try it. Try watching the morning show with a beer or four-- it's much more entertaining."
"No thanks, man. Don't get defensive-- I don't care what you do, really. I'm just saying you're pretty hard-core." He added as an afterthought "Six o'clock, shit."

Jeff sat down at the coffeetable across from Mike, and lit a cigarette. They sat quietly for a while, the television droning on. After some time, he got up, went upstairs to the loft, and refilled his glass again halfway. Looking down to the common room, he saw the rest of the people who were waking up slowly trickling into the living room, one in the kitchen, brewing a pot of coffee. There were the housemates, Mike and Walter, and a smattering of girls who had spent the night, mostly graduate students in the anthropology department at the university. He grabbed one of the unmarked VCR tape cases on the floor and shook it lightly, listening to the rattle. There was a muffled metallic clink. He tucked it into his pants and crawled over to the bookshelf, selecting "A History of the Boston City Hospital 1905-1964". He opened it up to the middle, and took two small wax paper baggies out of the hole he had cut into the center of the book. He went back down with the case and the baggies, and sat down at the coffeetable.
"Anyone mind if I get high?" He asked this to no one in particular.
One of the girls said "You asked us that last night, and you went ahead and did it anyway. Why bother asking?"
"Well, it's the classy thing to do, and I'm a high-class motherfucker."
“Does your whole high-class existence revolve around ‘getting high’?”
“Yes, now shut the fuck up. is it any business of yours?”
“You’re not right. you’re just....not....right.”
Ignoring her, he opened the case and pulled out a bent-handled teaspoon, which he placed on the table, along with the baggies and some cotton balls. He took out a short orange-capped syringe, and placed it lengthwise in his mouth. He got up and went in the kitchen, got a glass of water, and went back and sat down again. Opening one of the baggies, he asked "Anyone want some?", muffled by the needle in his mouth.
"No way." said Terri, one of the girls. A couple of people came over and sat down to watch. He emptied the bag into the spoon, and drew water into the syringe, then squirted it into the spoon. He flicked the lighter, and held it under the spoon until the liquid sizzled. Putting a tiny bit of cotton in the spoon, he stuck the needle in the cotton and drew up some liquid. Everyone watched. Setting the needle on the table, he lit a cigarette and opened a pre-packaged alcohol swab, running it over the crook of his arm on the inside of his elbow. Switching the syringe for the cigarette, he held it up to the light and flicked it.
"Why do you do that?" asked Walter, one of the housemates.
"To get the air bubbles out. The bubbles can give you a heart attack."
"Heart attack? you're shooting drugs and you're worried about a heart attack?"
"Shut up, man, you fucking asked."
"Whatever." Walter shook his head, and sat back watching the television, monitoring with a sidelong glance every now and then.
Satisfied with the flicking, Jeff grabbed an adjustable green cat-collar that doubled as a tourniquet, and wrapped it around his bicep. Pulling it tight, he put the end in his mouth to hold it. He tapped his arm with a finger, and selected a spot in the crook of his arm. He pushed the needle in and eased back on the plunger. A little spot of blood appeared, and he let the strap fall from his mouth.
"And here we go." He slowly pushed on the plunger, the small red spot disappearing, along with the rest of the liquid in the syringe. They all watched. One girl held her hand over her mouth, as if she had just tasted sour milk. He pulled the syringe out and a small drop of blood formed on the skin where the needle was. He started counting aloud, as he put a cottonball on the spot and bent his arm around it.
"Seven, six, five, four, three, oh, oh, holy shit." He leaned back in the chair, and his mouth hung open, still holding his arm up and bent. "Ohh. oh, god." He reached over with the other hand and pulled the tourniquet off slowly, letting it drop into his lap.
"What does it feel like?" asked one of the girls.
"When it’s good dope, it’s like an hour long orgasm in a warm bubbling Jacuzzi--no, better than that. But I can't really put it into words. It's like God is kissing your insides." His eyes were half-open, and he was absentmindedly scratching his belly and crotch. "But when you don't have it, or you run out...." he trailed off.
Walter got up and went into the kitchen.
“How do you know it’s good? I mean, if you can’t like sample it or whatever? or can you? I don’t know anything about this stuff.”
Jeff scratched, and was silent. Pans were banging on the stove in the other room. “Well,” he began, “I knew this particular shit would be good because last week there was something on the news about how all these people were dying in Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn from heroin overdoses. This means that it’s really pure. The best shit is the shit that’s killing motherfuckers.” He paused, scratched. “So I knew to ask the guy for the good stuff. He knows.” The overnight girl stared.
“You mean you got that stuff deliberately?”
“Of course. What, you think I’m going to spend my money on crap?”
“I guess not.” She said this while studying the floor.
The banging of the pots continued, everyone flinching with the BANG each time. No one spoke. After a few minutes Jeff got up, still scratching, and packed everything back into the tape case. He went up the stairs and sat on the mattress, smoking. He closed the German flag-drape. He laid down and let the world drift away for a while. After some time, he became aware that people were leaving, and he sat up. The front door shut, and the house was quiet. He poured a drink and went downstairs, turning on the television. The produce guy on the morning show was saying to “Never ever ever” put tomatoes in the refrigerator because they lost their flavor. He heard the distinctive sound of Walter’s truck pulling into the driveway, and mentally sighed. The front door opened, and Walter came in and sat down. Jeff said “where’d everybody go?”
“The beach. Nevermind. I cannot believe you.” He squinted, looking at the television. “I let you live here, rent-free, and you shoot up in front of guests. Are you kidding me?” He looked over at Jeff. “Now I look like a fucking idiot. Is that how you treat a friend?” He got up and started to pace across the room.
“I don’t suppose so.” Jeff continued to stare at the television.
“I mean, I thought that you were down on your luck, this was a temporary thing, and you’ve been here for three months, you have no job, you stopped going to classes, you were a month from going on to your residency, and now this.” Walter threw his arms up in the air. “This is absolute bullshit. You think I’m stupid? You think I don’t know what’s going on? You need help, man. You do realize that, right?”
“I could use a couple of bucks, that’s for certain.”
“What? Are you insane? You’ve got to get out. You’ve got a week. I don’t care where you go, I’ll give you a ride to wherever, but you have to leave.”
“So that’s it, huh? Thanks mom.”
“Yeah, that’s it.”
“If that’s it, that’s it, I guess.”
“Yeah. Like I said, you can stay for the next week in order to get your stuff together, make phone calls, whatever, but I swear, if you take anything, if you go near my room, I will kick your ass from here to the next life. I’m not joking.”
“All right Walter.”
“Okay. I’m doing this because I can’t take this craziness anymore, and I know it’s trite, but it’s for your own good.”
“All right Walter. I got it.”

“Okay.” He blew out a long breath and went to the other end of the house.
Jeff got up and went back upstairs. He sat for a while, smoking. He sat and thought about the grads at the beach with the white sand, sunlight glistening off the waves and children laughing. He thought about wearing a suit and a red silk tie, maybe a clean white lab coat. The smell of an expensive leather briefcase filled with patient histories. A black BMW. He poured another drink, and wondered if it was too early to call the guy in Brooklyn.


Anesthesia

Waking up, he rolled onto his side and looked at the clock. It was early, probably too early to actually get up. He propped myself up on one arm and listened. There was somebody down on the couch sleeping, their slow, rhythmic breathing indicating deep slumber. Otherwise the house was quiet.
He slowly sat up, tucking his legs underneath, and felt around for a glass. Finding one, he nestled it between his legs and felt around carefully for the bottle. It was in the same spot he generally put it in, and he uncapped it and took a large mouthful. The bourbon went down in a hot ball, and he silently burped. Pouring a glassful, he recapped the bottle, giving the cap a deft spin. Eyes adjusting to the semi-darkness, he took stock of his surroundings. It was a cramped loft-space, with a vaulted ceiling that only cleared his head by a two or three feet when sitting; he had to shuffle around on his knees. There were two framed cutouts to his left that served as windows from which he could look out on the living room. He liked this. It made him feel like the guy in the t.v. show "taxi" in his little booth, surveying the comings and goings of the others. He had two national flags, made out of filmy polyester, that he had tacked up for drapes. German and French. There were pinups on the walls and the ceiling. He could make out Miss February's Chiclet teeth, smiling innocently in the dark. He had a makeshift bookshelf with a selection of books that he liked to reread, and a pile of unused medical textbooks. Assorted papers and magazines on the floor, with a collection of VCR tape cases. There was a sheet hanging from the ceiling, blocking a set of stairs that led down to the living room, 13 or 14 shallow steps.
Once he could see, he grabbed a pack of cigarettes and shook one out. The match flared and ruined his night-vision, so he felt around for the ashtray, putting his fingers in the ashes before pulling it closer. He wiped his fingers on the sheet. He alternated drags on the cigarette with gulps of bourbon, and he smiled in the darkness. He pushed the German flag-drape aside, and looked down. It was Mike on the couch. Finishing off the glass, he uncapped the bottle and refilled the glass halfway. He lit another cigarette with the end of the previous one. It was starting to get a little light out, enough to see the smoke rings he blew. He put the butt down, and reached over and lit a candle. The bourbon was beginning to really kick in, and he rubbed his face, pressing hard on his eyes. His stomach gurgled. He knelt and shuffled over to the stairs, drink and smoke in hand. Avoiding two steps he knew were particularly loud, he padded down, and then at the bottom of the steps, realized that he wasn't wearing any clothes. He muttered "shit." Not recalling who was there besides the housemates, he went back up and put on a pair of blue surgical scrubs, throwing the cigarettes in the back pocket. Going back down the steps, his stomach was more insistent, growling loudly. Picking his way around empty beer and liquor bottles, and red plastic cups with cigarette butts floating in stale beer, he went to the bathroom and turned on the shower. When the bathroom was filled with steam, he disrobed and got under the water, moving the bar of soap over on the ledge, and placing the glass of bourbon next to it. He urinated and let the hot water run over him. His stomach gurgled again, and he doubled over and vomited, the amber liquid diluting and running around his feet. Holding on to his knees, he dry-heaved a few times, coughed, straightened up, and had a sip of his drink. He turned off the water, toweled off, and threw the scrubs back on.
When he went back into the living room, Mike was sitting up, watching the television. "'Sup Jeff."
"G'morning, Mike."
"Sleep well?"
"Yeah, not bad, but I think I only got an hour or two-- it was a late night."
"Always a late night for you, dude." He stretched and yawned, turning back to the television.
"Yeah, well, you know how it is, someone’s gotta make up for all the lightweights around here. fucking grad students, you’d think they were eighty years old."
"Shit, man, are you drinking now?" Mike said, shaking his head.
"Yes. I'm thirsty. I need sustenance."
"Whatever, man. you're fucking crazy, I swear."
"Like I said, gotta balance out the lightweights."
"It's six o'clock on a Sunday. you know? Sunday morning."
"What, you're religious now?"
"I'm just saying. Nobody drinks at six in the morning on a Sunday. It's crazy."
"Well, I do. And it's good for you, and you should try it. Try watching the morning show with a beer or four-- it's much more entertaining."
"No thanks, man. Don't get defensive-- I don't care what you do, really. I'm just saying you're pretty hard-core." He added as an afterthought "Six o'clock, shit."

Jeff sat down at the coffeetable across from Mike, and lit a cigarette. They sat quietly for a while, the television droning on. After some time, he got up, went upstairs to the loft, and refilled his glass again halfway. Looking down to the common room, he saw the rest of the people who were waking up slowly trickling into the living room, one in the kitchen, brewing a pot of coffee. There were the housemates, Mike and Walter, and a smattering of girls who had spent the night, mostly graduate students in the anthropology department at the university. He grabbed one of the unmarked VCR tape cases on the floor and shook it lightly, listening to the rattle. There was a muffled metallic clink. He tucked it into his pants and crawled over to the bookshelf, selecting "A History of the Boston City Hospital 1905-1964". He opened it up to the middle, and took two small wax paper baggies out of the hole he had cut into the center of the book. He went back down with the case and the baggies, and sat down at the coffeetable.
"Anyone mind if I get high?" He asked this to no one in particular.
One of the girls said "You asked us that last night, and you went ahead and did it anyway. Why bother asking?"
"Well, it's the classy thing to do, and I'm a high-class motherfucker."
“Does your whole high-class existence revolve around ‘getting high’?”
“Yes, now shut the fuck up. is it any business of yours?”
“You’re not right. you’re just....not....right.”
Ignoring her, he opened the case and pulled out a bent-handled teaspoon, which he placed on the table, along with the baggies and some cotton balls. He took out a short orange-capped syringe, and placed it lengthwise in his mouth. He got up and went in the kitchen, got a glass of water, and went back and sat down again. Opening one of the baggies, he asked "Anyone want some?", muffled by the needle in his mouth.
"No way." said Terri, one of the girls. A couple of people came over and sat down to watch. He emptied the bag into the spoon, and drew water into the syringe, then squirted it into the spoon. He flicked the lighter, and held it under the spoon until the liquid sizzled. Putting a tiny bit of cotton in the spoon, he stuck the needle in the cotton and drew up some liquid. Everyone watched. Setting the needle on the table, he lit a cigarette and opened a pre-packaged alcohol swab, running it over the crook of his arm on the inside of his elbow. Switching the syringe for the cigarette, he held it up to the light and flicked it.
"Why do you do that?" asked Walter, one of the housemates.
"To get the air bubbles out. The bubbles can give you a heart attack."
"Heart attack? you're shooting drugs and you're worried about a heart attack?"
"Shut up, man, you fucking asked."
"Whatever." Walter shook his head, and sat back watching the television, monitoring with a sidelong glance every now and then.
Satisfied with the flicking, Jeff grabbed an adjustable green cat-collar that doubled as a tourniquet, and wrapped it around his bicep. Pulling it tight, he put the end in his mouth to hold it. He tapped his arm with a finger, and selected a spot in the crook of his arm. He pushed the needle in and eased back on the plunger. A little spot of blood appeared, and he let the strap fall from his mouth.
"And here we go." He slowly pushed on the plunger, the small red spot disappearing, along with the rest of the liquid in the syringe. They all watched. One girl held her hand over her mouth, as if she had just tasted sour milk. He pulled the syringe out and a small drop of blood formed on the skin where the needle was. He started counting aloud, as he put a cottonball on the spot and bent his arm around it.
"Seven, six, five, four, three, oh, oh, holy shit." He leaned back in the chair, and his mouth hung open, still holding his arm up and bent. "Ohh. oh, god." He reached over with the other hand and pulled the tourniquet off slowly, letting it drop into his lap.
"What does it feel like?" asked one of the girls.
"When it’s good dope, it’s like an hour long orgasm in a warm bubbling Jacuzzi--no, better than that. But I can't really put it into words. It's like God is kissing your insides." His eyes were half-open, and he was absentmindedly scratching his belly and crotch. "But when you don't have it, or you run out...." he trailed off.
Walter got up and went into the kitchen.
“How do you know it’s good? I mean, if you can’t like sample it or whatever? or can you? I don’t know anything about this stuff.”
Jeff scratched, and was silent. Pans were banging on the stove in the other room. “Well,” he began, “I knew this particular shit would be good because last week there was something on the news about how all these people were dying in Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn from heroin overdoses. This means that it’s really pure. The best shit is the shit that’s killing motherfuckers.” He paused, scratched. “So I knew to ask the guy for the good stuff. He knows.” The overnight girl stared.
“You mean you got that stuff deliberately?”
“Of course. What, you think I’m going to spend my money on crap?”
“I guess not.” She said this while studying the floor.
The banging of the pots continued, everyone flinching with the BANG each time. No one spoke. After a few minutes Jeff got up, still scratching, and packed everything back into the tape case. He went up the stairs and sat on the mattress, smoking. He closed the German flag-drape. He laid down and let the world drift away for a while. After some time, he became aware that people were leaving, and he sat up. The front door shut, and the house was quiet. He poured a drink and went downstairs, turning on the television. The produce guy on the morning show was saying to “Never ever ever” put tomatoes in the refrigerator because they lost their flavor. He heard the distinctive sound of Walter’s truck pulling into the driveway, and mentally sighed. The front door opened, and Walter came in and sat down. Jeff said “where’d everybody go?”
“The beach. Nevermind. I cannot believe you.” He squinted, looking at the television. “I let you live here, rent-free, and you shoot up in front of guests. Are you kidding me?” He looked over at Jeff. “Now I look like a fucking idiot. Is that how you treat a friend?” He got up and started to pace across the room.
“I don’t suppose so.” Jeff continued to stare at the television.
“I mean, I thought that you were down on your luck, this was a temporary thing, and you’ve been here for three months, you have no job, you stopped going to classes, you were a month from going on to your residency, and now this.” Walter threw his arms up in the air. “This is absolute bullshit. You think I’m stupid? You think I don’t know what’s going on? You need help, man. You do realize that, right?”
“I could use a couple of bucks, that’s for certain.”
“What? Are you insane? You’ve got to get out. You’ve got a week. I don’t care where you go, I’ll give you a ride to wherever, but you have to leave.”
“So that’s it, huh? Thanks mom.”
“Yeah, that’s it.”
“If that’s it, that’s it, I guess.”
“Yeah. Like I said, you can stay for the next week in order to get your stuff together, make phone calls, whatever, but I swear, if you take anything, if you go near my room, I will kick your ass from here to the next life. I’m not joking.”
“All right Walter.”
“Okay. I’m doing this because I can’t take this craziness anymore, and I know it’s trite, but it’s for your own good.”
“All right Walter. I got it.”

“Okay.” He blew out a long breath and went to the other end of the house.
Jeff got up and went back upstairs. He sat for a while, smoking. He sat and thought about the grads at the beach with the white sand, sunlight glistening off the waves and children laughing. He thought about wearing a suit and a red silk tie, maybe a clean white lab coat. The smell of an expensive leather briefcase filled with patient histories. A black BMW. He poured another drink, and wondered if it was too early to call the guy in Brooklyn.



Anesthesia

Waking up, he rolled onto his side and looked at the clock. It was early, probably too early to actually get up. He propped myself up on one arm and listened. There was somebody down on the couch sleeping, their slow, rhythmic breathing indicating deep slumber. Otherwise the house was quiet.
He slowly sat up, tucking his legs underneath, and felt around for a glass. Finding one, he nestled it between his legs and felt around carefully for the bottle. It was in the same spot he generally put it in, and he uncapped it and took a large mouthful. The bourbon went down in a hot ball, and he silently burped. Pouring a glassful, he recapped the bottle, giving the cap a deft spin. Eyes adjusting to the semi-darkness, he took stock of his surroundings. It was a cramped loft-space, with a vaulted ceiling that only cleared his head by a two or three feet when sitting; he had to shuffle around on his knees. There were two framed cutouts to his left that served as windows from which he could look out on the living room. He liked this. It made him feel like the guy in the t.v. show "taxi" in his little booth, surveying the comings and goings of the others. He had two national flags, made out of filmy polyester, that he had tacked up for drapes. German and French. There were pinups on the walls and the ceiling. He could make out Miss February's Chiclet teeth, smiling innocently in the dark. He had a makeshift bookshelf with a selection of books that he liked to reread, and a pile of unused medical textbooks. Assorted papers and magazines on the floor, with a collection of VCR tape cases. There was a sheet hanging from the ceiling, blocking a set of stairs that led down to the living room, 13 or 14 shallow steps.
Once he could see, he grabbed a pack of cigarettes and shook one out. The match flared and ruined his night-vision, so he felt around for the ashtray, putting his fingers in the ashes before pulling it closer. He wiped his fingers on the sheet. He alternated drags on the cigarette with gulps of bourbon, and he smiled in the darkness. He pushed the German flag-drape aside, and looked down. It was Mike on the couch. Finishing off the glass, he uncapped the bottle and refilled the glass halfway. He lit another cigarette with the end of the previous one. It was starting to get a little light out, enough to see the smoke rings he blew. He put the butt down, and reached over and lit a candle. The bourbon was beginning to really kick in, and he rubbed his face, pressing hard on his eyes. His stomach gurgled. He knelt and shuffled over to the stairs, drink and smoke in hand. Avoiding two steps he knew were particularly loud, he padded down, and then at the bottom of the steps, realized that he wasn't wearing any clothes. He muttered "shit." Not recalling who was there besides the housemates, he went back up and put on a pair of blue surgical scrubs, throwing the cigarettes in the back pocket. Going back down the steps, his stomach was more insistent, growling loudly. Picking his way around empty beer and liquor bottles, and red plastic cups with cigarette butts floating in stale beer, he went to the bathroom and turned on the shower. When the bathroom was filled with steam, he disrobed and got under the water, moving the bar of soap over on the ledge, and placing the glass of bourbon next to it. He urinated and let the hot water run over him. His stomach gurgled again, and he doubled over and vomited, the amber liquid diluting and running around his feet. Holding on to his knees, he dry-heaved a few times, coughed, straightened up, and had a sip of his drink. He turned off the water, toweled off, and threw the scrubs back on.
When he went back into the living room, Mike was sitting up, watching the television. "'Sup Jeff."
"G'morning, Mike."
"Sleep well?"
"Yeah, not bad, but I think I only got an hour or two-- it was a late night."
"Always a late night for you, dude." He stretched and yawned, turning back to the television.
"Yeah, well, you know how it is, someone’s gotta make up for all the lightweights around here. fucking grad students, you’d think they were eighty years old."
"Shit, man, are you drinking now?" Mike said, shaking his head.
"Yes. I'm thirsty. I need sustenance."
"Whatever, man. you're fucking crazy, I swear."
"Like I said, gotta balance out the lightweights."
"It's six o'clock on a Sunday. you know? Sunday morning."
"What, you're religious now?"
"I'm just saying. Nobody drinks at six in the morning on a Sunday. It's crazy."
"Well, I do. And it's good for you, and you should try it. Try watching the morning show with a beer or four-- it's much more entertaining."
"No thanks, man. Don't get defensive-- I don't care what you do, really. I'm just saying you're pretty hard-core." He added as an afterthought "Six o'clock, shit."

Jeff sat down at the coffeetable across from Mike, and lit a cigarette. They sat quietly for a while, the television droning on. After some time, he got up, went upstairs to the loft, and refilled his glass again halfway. Looking down to the common room, he saw the rest of the people who were waking up slowly trickling into the living room, one in the kitchen, brewing a pot of coffee. There were the housemates, Mike and Walter, and a smattering of girls who had spent the night, mostly graduate students in the anthropology department at the university. He grabbed one of the unmarked VCR tape cases on the floor and shook it lightly, listening to the rattle. There was a muffled metallic clink. He tucked it into his pants and crawled over to the bookshelf, selecting "A History of the Boston City Hospital 1905-1964". He opened it up to the middle, and took two small wax paper baggies out of the hole he had cut into the center of the book. He went back down with the case and the baggies, and sat down at the coffeetable.
"Anyone mind if I get high?" He asked this to no one in particular.
One of the girls said "You asked us that last night, and you went ahead and did it anyway. Why bother asking?"
"Well, it's the classy thing to do, and I'm a high-class motherfucker."
“Does your whole high-class existence revolve around ‘getting high’?”
“Yes, now shut the fuck up. is it any business of yours?”
“You’re not right. you’re just....not....right.”
Ignoring her, he opened the case and pulled out a bent-handled teaspoon, which he placed on the table, along with the baggies and some cotton balls. He took out a short orange-capped syringe, and placed it lengthwise in his mouth. He got up and went in the kitchen, got a glass of water, and went back and sat down again. Opening one of the baggies, he asked "Anyone want some?", muffled by the needle in his mouth.
"No way." said Terri, one of the girls. A couple of people came over and sat down to watch. He emptied the bag into the spoon, and drew water into the syringe, then squirted it into the spoon. He flicked the lighter, and held it under the spoon until the liquid sizzled. Putting a tiny bit of cotton in the spoon, he stuck the needle in the cotton and drew up some liquid. Everyone watched. Setting the needle on the table, he lit a cigarette and opened a pre-packaged alcohol swab, running it over the crook of his arm on the inside of his elbow. Switching the syringe for the cigarette, he held it up to the light and flicked it.
"Why do you do that?" asked Walter, one of the housemates.
"To get the air bubbles out. The bubbles can give you a heart attack."
"Heart attack? you're shooting drugs and you're worried about a heart attack?"
"Shut up, man, you fucking asked."
"Whatever." Walter shook his head, and sat back watching the television, monitoring with a sidelong glance every now and then.
Satisfied with the flicking, Jeff grabbed an adjustable green cat-collar that doubled as a tourniquet, and wrapped it around his bicep. Pulling it tight, he put the end in his mouth to hold it. He tapped his arm with a finger, and selected a spot in the crook of his arm. He pushed the needle in and eased back on the plunger. A little spot of blood appeared, and he let the strap fall from his mouth.
"And here we go." He slowly pushed on the plunger, the small red spot disappearing, along with the rest of the liquid in the syringe. They all watched. One girl held her hand over her mouth, as if she had just tasted sour milk. He pulled the syringe out and a small drop of blood formed on the skin where the needle was. He started counting aloud, as he put a cottonball on the spot and bent his arm around it.
"Seven, six, five, four, three, oh, oh, holy shit." He leaned back in the chair, and his mouth hung open, still holding his arm up and bent. "Ohh. oh, god." He reached over with the other hand and pulled the tourniquet off slowly, letting it drop into his lap.
"What does it feel like?" asked one of the girls.
"When it’s good dope, it’s like an hour long orgasm in a warm bubbling Jacuzzi--no, better than that. But I can't really put it into words. It's like God is kissing your insides." His eyes were half-open, and he was absentmindedly scratching his belly and crotch. "But when you don't have it, or you run out...." he trailed off.
Walter got up and went into the kitchen.
“How do you know it’s good? I mean, if you can’t like sample it or whatever? or can you? I don’t know anything about this stuff.”
Jeff scratched, and was silent. Pans were banging on the stove in the other room. “Well,” he began, “I knew this particular shit would be good because last week there was something on the news about how all these people were dying in Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn from heroin overdoses. This means that it’s really pure. The best shit is the shit that’s killing motherfuckers.” He paused, scratched. “So I knew to ask the guy for the good stuff. He knows.” The overnight girl stared.
“You mean you got that stuff deliberately?”
“Of course. What, you think I’m going to spend my money on crap?”
“I guess not.” She said this while studying the floor.
The banging of the pots continued, everyone flinching with the BANG each time. No one spoke. After a few minutes Jeff got up, still scratching, and packed everything back into the tape case. He went up the stairs and sat on the mattress, smoking. He closed the German flag-drape. He laid down and let the world drift away for a while. After some time, he became aware that people were leaving, and he sat up. The front door shut, and the house was quiet. He poured a drink and went downstairs, turning on the television. The produce guy on the morning show was saying to “Never ever ever” put tomatoes in the refrigerator because they lost their flavor. He heard the distinctive sound of Walter’s truck pulling into the driveway, and mentally sighed. The front door opened, and Walter came in and sat down. Jeff said “where’d everybody go?”
“The beach. Nevermind. I cannot believe you.” He squinted, looking at the television. “I let you live here, rent-free, and you shoot up in front of guests. Are you kidding me?” He looked over at Jeff. “Now I look like a fucking idiot. Is that how you treat a friend?” He got up and started to pace across the room.
“I don’t suppose so.” Jeff continued to stare at the television.
“I mean, I thought that you were down on your luck, this was a temporary thing, and you’ve been here for three months, you have no job, you stopped going to classes, you were a month from going on to your residency, and now this.” Walter threw his arms up in the air. “This is absolute bullshit. You think I’m stupid? You think I don’t know what’s going on? You need help, man. You do realize that, right?”
“I could use a couple of bucks, that’s for certain.”
“What? Are you insane? You’ve got to get out. You’ve got a week. I don’t care where you go, I’ll give you a ride to wherever, but you have to leave.”
“So that’s it, huh? Thanks mom.”
“Yeah, that’s it.”
“If that’s it, that’s it, I guess.”
“Yeah. Like I said, you can stay for the next week in order to get your stuff together, make phone calls, whatever, but I swear, if you take anything, if you go near my room, I will kick your ass from here to the next life. I’m not joking.”
“All right Walter.”
“Okay. I’m doing this because I can’t take this craziness anymore, and I know it’s trite, but it’s for your own good.”
“All right Walter. I got it.”

“Okay.” He blew out a long breath and went to the other end of the house.
Jeff got up and went back upstairs. He sat for a while, smoking. He sat and thought about the grads at the beach with the white sand, sunlight glistening off the waves and children laughing. He thought about wearing a suit and a red silk tie, maybe a clean white lab coat. The smell of an expensive leather briefcase filled with patient histories. A black BMW. He poured another drink, and wondered if it was too early to call the guy in Brooklyn.



Anesthesia

Waking up, he rolled onto his side and looked at the clock. It was early, probably too early to actually get up. He propped myself up on one arm and listened. There was somebody down on the couch sleeping, their slow, rhythmic breathing indicating deep slumber. Otherwise the house was quiet.
He slowly sat up, tucking his legs underneath, and felt around for a glass. Finding one, he nestled it between his legs and felt around carefully for the bottle. It was in the same spot he generally put it in, and he uncapped it and took a large mouthful. The bourbon went down in a hot ball, and he silently burped. Pouring a glassful, he recapped the bottle, giving the cap a deft spin. Eyes adjusting to the semi-darkness, he took stock of his surroundings. It was a cramped loft-space, with a vaulted ceiling that only cleared his head by a two or three feet when sitting; he had to shuffle around on his knees. There were two framed cutouts to his left that served as windows from which he could look out on the living room. He liked this. It made him feel like the guy in the t.v. show "taxi" in his little booth, surveying the comings and goings of the others. He had two national flags, made out of filmy polyester, that he had tacked up for drapes. German and French. There were pinups on the walls and the ceiling. He could make out Miss February's Chiclet teeth, smiling innocently in the dark. He had a makeshift bookshelf with a selection of books that he liked to reread, and a pile of unused medical textbooks. Assorted papers and magazines on the floor, with a collection of VCR tape cases. There was a sheet hanging from the ceiling, blocking a set of stairs that led down to the living room, 13 or 14 shallow steps.
Once he could see, he grabbed a pack of cigarettes and shook one out. The match flared and ruined his night-vision, so he felt around for the ashtray, putting his fingers in the ashes before pulling it closer. He wiped his fingers on the sheet. He alternated drags on the cigarette with gulps of bourbon, and he smiled in the darkness. He pushed the German flag-drape aside, and looked down. It was Mike on the couch. Finishing off the glass, he uncapped the bottle and refilled the glass halfway. He lit another cigarette with the end of the previous one. It was starting to get a little light out, enough to see the smoke rings he blew. He put the butt down, and reached over and lit a candle. The bourbon was beginning to really kick in, and he rubbed his face, pressing hard on his eyes. His stomach gurgled. He knelt and shuffled over to the stairs, drink and smoke in hand. Avoiding two steps he knew were particularly loud, he padded down, and then at the bottom of the steps, realized that he wasn't wearing any clothes. He muttered "shit." Not recalling who was there besides the housemates, he went back up and put on a pair of blue surgical scrubs, throwing the cigarettes in the back pocket. Going back down the steps, his stomach was more insistent, growling loudly. Picking his way around empty beer and liquor bottles, and red plastic cups with cigarette butts floating in stale beer, he went to the bathroom and turned on the shower. When the bathroom was filled with steam, he disrobed and got under the water, moving the bar of soap over on the ledge, and placing the glass of bourbon next to it. He urinated and let the hot water run over him. His stomach gurgled again, and he doubled over and vomited, the amber liquid diluting and running around his feet. Holding on to his knees, he dry-heaved a few times, coughed, straightened up, and had a sip of his drink. He turned off the water, toweled off, and threw the scrubs back on.
When he went back into the living room, Mike was sitting up, watching the television. "'Sup Jeff."
"G'morning, Mike."
"Sleep well?"
"Yeah, not bad, but I think I only got an hour or two-- it was a late night."
"Always a late night for you, dude." He stretched and yawned, turning back to the television.
"Yeah, well, you know how it is, someone’s gotta make up for all the lightweights around here. fucking grad students, you’d think they were eighty years old."
"Shit, man, are you drinking now?" Mike said, shaking his head.
"Yes. I'm thirsty. I need sustenance."
"Whatever, man. you're fucking crazy, I swear."
"Like I said, gotta balance out the lightweights."
"It's six o'clock on a Sunday. you know? Sunday morning."
"What, you're religious now?"
"I'm just saying. Nobody drinks at six in the morning on a Sunday. It's crazy."
"Well, I do. And it's good for you, and you should try it. Try watching the morning show with a beer or four-- it's much more entertaining."
"No thanks, man. Don't get defensive-- I don't care what you do, really. I'm just saying you're pretty hard-core." He added as an afterthought "Six o'clock, shit."

Jeff sat down at the coffeetable across from Mike, and lit a cigarette. They sat quietly for a while, the television droning on. After some time, he got up, went upstairs to the loft, and refilled his glass again halfway. Looking down to the common room, he saw the rest of the people who were waking up slowly trickling into the living room, one in the kitchen, brewing a pot of coffee. There were the housemates, Mike and Walter, and a smattering of girls who had spent the night, mostly graduate students in the anthropology department at the university. He grabbed one of the unmarked VCR tape cases on the floor and shook it lightly, listening to the rattle. There was a muffled metallic clink. He tucked it into his pants and crawled over to the bookshelf, selecting "A History of the Boston City Hospital 1905-1964". He opened it up to the middle, and took two small wax paper baggies out of the hole he had cut into the center of the book. He went back down with the case and the baggies, and sat down at the coffeetable.
"Anyone mind if I get high?" He asked this to no one in particular.
One of the girls said "You asked us that last night, and you went ahead and did it anyway. Why bother asking?"
"Well, it's the classy thing to do, and I'm a high-class motherfucker."
“Does your whole high-class existence revolve around ‘getting high’?”
“Yes, now shut the fuck up. is it any business of yours?”
“You’re not right. you’re just....not....right.”
Ignoring her, he opened the case and pulled out a bent-handled teaspoon, which he placed on the table, along with the baggies and some cotton balls. He took out a short orange-capped syringe, and placed it lengthwise in his mouth. He got up and went in the kitchen, got a glass of water, and went back and sat down again. Opening one of the baggies, he asked "Anyone want some?", muffled by the needle in his mouth.
"No way." said Terri, one of the girls. A couple of people came over and sat down to watch. He emptied the bag into the spoon, and drew water into the syringe, then squirted it into the spoon. He flicked the lighter, and held it under the spoon until the liquid sizzled. Putting a tiny bit of cotton in the spoon, he stuck the needle in the cotton and drew up some liquid. Everyone watched. Setting the needle on the table, he lit a cigarette and opened a pre-packaged alcohol swab, running it over the crook of his arm on the inside of his elbow. Switching the syringe for the cigarette, he held it up to the light and flicked it.
"Why do you do that?" asked Walter, one of the housemates.
"To get the air bubbles out. The bubbles can give you a heart attack."
"Heart attack? you're shooting drugs and you're worried about a heart attack?"
"Shut up, man, you fucking asked."
"Whatever." Walter shook his head, and sat back watching the television, monitoring with a sidelong glance every now and then.
Satisfied with the flicking, Jeff grabbed an adjustable green cat-collar that doubled as a tourniquet, and wrapped it around his bicep. Pulling it tight, he put the end in his mouth to hold it. He tapped his arm with a finger, and selected a spot in the crook of his arm. He pushed the needle in and eased back on the plunger. A little spot of blood appeared, and he let the strap fall from his mouth.
"And here we go." He slowly pushed on the plunger, the small red spot disappearing, along with the rest of the liquid in the syringe. They all watched. One girl held her hand over her mouth, as if she had just tasted sour milk. He pulled the syringe out and a small drop of blood formed on the skin where the needle was. He started counting aloud, as he put a cottonball on the spot and bent his arm around it.
"Seven, six, five, four, three, oh, oh, holy shit." He leaned back in the chair, and his mouth hung open, still holding his arm up and bent. "Ohh. oh, god." He reached over with the other hand and pulled the tourniquet off slowly, letting it drop into his lap.
"What does it feel like?" asked one of the girls.
"When it’s good dope, it’s like an hour long orgasm in a warm bubbling Jacuzzi--no, better than that. But I can't really put it into words. It's like God is kissing your insides." His eyes were half-open, and he was absentmindedly scratching his belly and crotch. "But when you don't have it, or you run out...." he trailed off.
Walter got up and went into the kitchen.
“How do you know it’s good? I mean, if you can’t like sample it or whatever? or can you? I don’t know anything about this stuff.”
Jeff scratched, and was silent. Pans were banging on the stove in the other room. “Well,” he began, “I knew this particular shit would be good because last week there was something on the news about how all these people were dying in Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn from heroin overdoses. This means that it’s really pure. The best shit is the shit that’s killing motherfuckers.” He paused, scratched. “So I knew to ask the guy for the good stuff. He knows.” The overnight girl stared.
“You mean you got that stuff deliberately?”
“Of course. What, you think I’m going to spend my money on crap?”
“I guess not.” She said this while studying the floor.
The banging of the pots continued, everyone flinching with the BANG each time. No one spoke. After a few minutes Jeff got up, still scratching, and packed everything back into the tape case. He went up the stairs and sat on the mattress, smoking. He closed the German flag-drape. He laid down and let the world drift away for a while. After some time, he became aware that people were leaving, and he sat up. The front door shut, and the house was quiet. He poured a drink and went downstairs, turning on the television. The produce guy on the morning show was saying to “Never ever ever” put tomatoes in the refrigerator because they lost their flavor. He heard the distinctive sound of Walter’s truck pulling into the driveway, and mentally sighed. The front door opened, and Walter came in and sat down. Jeff said “where’d everybody go?”
“The beach. Nevermind. I cannot believe you.” He squinted, looking at the television. “I let you live here, rent-free, and you shoot up in front of guests. Are you kidding me?” He looked over at Jeff. “Now I look like a fucking idiot. Is that how you treat a friend?” He got up and started to pace across the room.
“I don’t suppose so.” Jeff continued to stare at the television.
“I mean, I thought that you were down on your luck, this was a temporary thing, and you’ve been here for three months, you have no job, you stopped going to classes, you were a month from going on to your residency, and now this.” Walter threw his arms up in the air. “This is absolute bullshit. You think I’m stupid? You think I don’t know what’s going on? You need help, man. You do realize that, right?”
“I could use a couple of bucks, that’s for certain.”
“What? Are you insane? You’ve got to get out. You’ve got a week. I don’t care where you go, I’ll give you a ride to wherever, but you have to leave.”
“So that’s it, huh? Thanks mom.”
“Yeah, that’s it.”
“If that’s it, that’s it, I guess.”
“Yeah. Like I said, you can stay for the next week in order to get your stuff together, make phone calls, whatever, but I swear, if you take anything, if you go near my room, I will kick your ass from here to the next life. I’m not joking.”
“All right Walter.”
“Okay. I’m doing this because I can’t take this craziness anymore, and I know it’s trite, but it’s for your own good.”
“All right Walter. I got it.”

“Okay.” He blew out a long breath and went to the other end of the house.
Jeff got up and went back upstairs. He sat for a while, smoking. He sat and thought about the grads at the beach with the white sand, sunlight glistening off the waves and children laughing. He thought about wearing a suit and a red silk tie, maybe a clean white lab coat. The smell of an expensive leather briefcase filled with patient histories. A black BMW. He poured another drink, and wondered if it was too early to call the guy in Brooklyn.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:05 PM on April 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


so it looks like 2.5 copies of that story could be posted. Lemme up the db limits.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:05 PM on April 3, 2007


I upped the db limit to 128,000 characters, which was enough to paste that story four times, which seems to be more than enough space for any outlier comment.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:07 PM on April 3, 2007


Whoa, that actually changes my old comment. I guess the entire thing was stored in the database; it just couldn't get called in its entirety.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:17 PM on April 3, 2007


Ha!
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:26 PM on April 3, 2007


Yeah, the limit is the java odbc connector thing. It has a max setting, which I doubled. I'll leave it where it is, since I can't really think of a worthwhile reason why it should ever be larger than that.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:30 PM on April 3, 2007


Oh, good. Thanks for the extra breathing space.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:36 PM on April 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


There is no limit on comment length in the database itself. The field that holds comments is a unlimited text field, not a character based one.

You're a goddamn liar. Bet I can't get more than 2GB into the field. And what if I need to some day? Say I'm going to flame out but I need to mention a few things I've noticed in the past six years and about the listening devices my neighbors have set up and that funny-looking kid that I think works for the CIA, what with him always being on the swings and the other stuff from that cooking class I audited (hell if I'm going to sign my actual name on a piece of paper, even before that bitch started spiking my spices). Thanks for nothing. Guess I'll stay instead.
posted by yerfatma at 3:53 PM on April 3, 2007


All's well that wends ell, or something. Thanks, Matt (et al)!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:56 PM on April 3, 2007


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April 03, 2007 10:18 PM

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Comment length hard limit?
April 2, 2007 10:18 PM
(Minor issue, but) is there a character limit on comments?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken to feature requests at 10:18 PM (53 comments total) [add to favorites]
[!] 1 user marked this as a favorite

It's happened to me a couple of times, and I've seen quite a few other occasions lately where people's (very long, for whatever reason) comments have been truncated. Is there a hard limit? If so, could we get a warning on preview (or something scripty and sexier that will tell us before that) if the comment will be cut off?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:19 PM on April 2 [+]
[!]


Oddly enough, this has never happened to me.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:26 PM on April 2 [2 favorites +]
[!]


That's because jrun couldn't bear to truncate your inimitable prose, EB.
posted by gsteff at 10:40 PM on April 2 [+]
[!]


Anesthesia

Waking up, he rolled onto his side and looked at the clock. It was early, probably too early to actually get up. He propped myself up on one arm and listened. There was somebody down on the couch sleeping, their slow, rhythmic breathing indicating deep slumber. Otherwise the house was quiet.
He slowly sat up, tucking his legs underneath, and felt around for a glass. Finding one, he nestled it between his legs and felt around carefully for the bottle. It was in the same spot he generally put it in, and he uncapped it and took a large mouthful. The bourbon went down in a hot ball, and he silently burped. Pouring a glassful, he recapped the bottle, giving the cap a deft spin. Eyes adjusting to the semi-darkness, he took stock of his surroundings. It was a cramped loft-space, with a vaulted ceiling that only cleared his head by a two or three feet when sitting; he had to shuffle around on his knees. There were two framed cutouts to his left that served as windows from which he could look out on the living room. He liked this. It made him feel like the guy in the t.v. show "taxi" in his little booth, surveying the comings and goings of the others. He had two national flags, made out of filmy polyester, that he had tacked up for drapes. German and French. There were pinups on the walls and the ceiling. He could make out Miss February's Chiclet teeth, smiling innocently in the dark. He had a makeshift bookshelf with a selection of books that he liked to reread, and a pile of unused medical textbooks. Assorted papers and magazines on the floor, with a collection of VCR tape cases. There was a sheet hanging from the ceiling, blocking a set of stairs that led down to the living room, 13 or 14 shallow steps.
Once he could see, he grabbed a pack of cigarettes and shook one out. The match flared and ruined his night-vision, so he felt around for the ashtray, putting his fingers in the ashes before pulling it closer. He wiped his fingers on the sheet. He alternated drags on the cigarette with gulps of bourbon, and he smiled in the darkness. He pushed the German flag-drape aside, and looked down. It was Mike on the couch. Finishing off the glass, he uncapped the bottle and refilled the glass halfway. He lit another cigarette with the end of the previous one. It was starting to get a little light out, enough to see the smoke rings he blew. He put the butt down, and reached over and lit a candle. The bourbon was beginning to really kick in, and he rubbed his face, pressing hard on his eyes. His stomach gurgled. He knelt and shuffled over to the stairs, drink and smoke in hand. Avoiding two steps he knew were particularly loud, he padded down, and then at the bottom of the steps, realized that he wasn't wearing any clothes. He muttered "shit." Not recalling who was there besides the housemates, he went back up and put on a pair of blue surgical scrubs, throwing the cigarettes in the back pocket. Going back down the steps, his stomach was more insistent, growling loudly. Picking his way around empty beer and liquor bottles, and red plastic cups with cigarette butts floating in stale beer, he went to the bathroom and turned on the shower. When the bathroom was filled with steam, he disrobed and got under the water, moving the bar of soap over on the ledge, and placing the glass of bourbon next to it. He urinated and let the hot water run over him. His stomach gurgled again, and he doubled over and vomited, the amber liquid diluting and running around his feet. Holding on to his knees, he dry-heaved a few times, coughed, straightened up, and had a sip of his drink. He turned off the water, toweled off, and threw the scrubs back on.
When he went back into the living room, Mike was sitting up, watching the television. "'Sup Jeff."
"G'morning, Mike."
"Sleep well?"
"Yeah, not bad, but I think I only got an hour or two-- it was a late night."
"Always a late night for you, dude." He stretched and yawned, turning back to the television.
"Yeah, well, you know how it is, someone’s gotta make up for all the lightweights around here. fucking grad students, you’d think they were eighty years old."
"Shit, man, are you drinking now?" Mike said, shaking his head.
"Yes. I'm thirsty. I need sustenance."
"Whatever, man. you're fucking crazy, I swear."
"Like I said, gotta balance out the lightweights."
"It's six o'clock on a Sunday. you know? Sunday morning."
"What, you're religious now?"
"I'm just saying. Nobody drinks at six in the morning on a Sunday. It's crazy."
"Well, I do. And it's good for you, and you should try it. Try watching the morning show with a beer or four-- it's much more entertaining."
"No thanks, man. Don't get defensive-- I don't care what you do, really. I'm just saying you're pretty hard-core." He added as an afterthought "Six o'clock, shit."

Jeff sat down at the coffeetable across from Mike, and lit a cigarette. They sat quietly for a while, the television droning on. After some time, he got up, went upstairs to the loft, and refilled his glass again halfway. Looking down to the common room, he saw the rest of the people who were waking up slowly trickling into the living room, one in the kitchen, brewing a pot of coffee. There were the housemates, Mike and Walter, and a smattering of girls who had spent the night, mostly graduate students in the anthropology department at the university. He grabbed one of the unmarked VCR tape cases on the floor and shook it lightly, listening to the rattle. There was a muffled metallic clink. He tucked it into his pants and crawled over to the bookshelf, selecting "A History of the Boston City Hospital 1905-1964". He opened it up to the middle, and took two small wax paper baggies out of the hole he had cut into the center of the book. He went back down with the case and the baggies, and sat down at the coffeetable.
"Anyone mind if I get high?" He asked this to no one in particular.
One of the girls said "You asked us that last night, and you went ahead and did it anyway. Why bother asking?"
"Well, it's the classy thing to do, and I'm a high-class motherfucker."
“Does your whole high-class existence revolve around ‘getting high’?”
“Yes, now shut the fuck up. is it any business of yours?”
“You’re not right. you’re just....not....right.”
Ignoring her, he opened the case and pulled out a bent-handled teaspoon, which he placed on the table, along with the baggies and some cotton balls. He took out a short orange-capped syringe, and placed it lengthwise in his mouth. He got up and went in the kitchen, got a glass of water, and went back and sat down again. Opening one of the baggies, he asked "Anyone want some?", muffled by the needle in his mouth.
"No way." said Terri, one of the girls. A couple of people came over and sat down to watch. He emptied the bag into the spoon, and drew water into the syringe, then squirted it into the spoon. He flicked the lighter, and held it under the spoon until the liquid sizzled. Putting a tiny bit of cotton in the spoon, he stuck the needle in the cotton and drew up some liquid. Everyone watched. Setting the needle on the table, he lit a cigarette and opened a pre-packaged alcohol swab, running it over the crook of his arm on the inside of his elbow. Switching the syringe for the cigarette, he held it up to the light and flicked it.
"Why do you do that?" asked Walter, one of the housemates.
"To get the air bubbles out. The bubbles can give you a heart attack."
"Heart attack? you're shooting drugs and you're worried about a heart attack?"
"Shut up, man, you fucking asked."
"Whatever." Walter shook his head, and sat back watching the television, monitoring with a sidelong glance every now and then.
Satisfied with the flicking, Jeff grabbed an adjustable green cat-collar that doubled as a tourniquet, and wrapped it around his bicep. Pulling it tight, he put the end in his mouth to hold it. He tapped his arm with a finger, and selected a spot in the crook of his arm. He pushed the needle in and eased back on the plunger. A little spot of blood appeared, and he let the strap fall from his mouth.
"And here we go." He slowly pushed on the plunger, the small red spot disappearing, along with the rest of the liquid in the syringe. They all watched. One girl held her hand over her mouth, as if she had just tasted sour milk. He pulled the syringe out and a small drop of blood formed on the skin where the needle was. He started counting aloud, as he put a cottonball on the spot and bent his arm around it.
"Seven, six, five, four, three, oh, oh, holy shit." He leaned back in the chair, and his mouth hung open, still holding his arm up and bent. "Ohh. oh, god." He reached over with the other hand and pulled the tourniquet off slowly, letting it drop into his lap.
"What does it feel like?" asked one of the girls.
"When it’s good dope, it’s like an hour long orgasm in a warm bubbling Jacuzzi--no, better than that. But I can't really put it into words. It's like God is kissing your insides." His eyes were half-open, and he was absentmindedly scratching his belly and crotch. "But when you don't have it, or you run out...." he trailed off.
Walter got up and went into the kitchen.
“How do you know it’s good? I mean, if you can’t like sample it or whatever? or can you? I don’t know anything about this stuff.”
Jeff scratched, and was silent. Pans were banging on the stove in the other room. “Well,” he began, “I knew this particular shit would be good because last week there was something on the news about how all these people were dying in Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn from heroin overdoses. This means that it’s really pure. The best shit is the shit that’s killing motherfuckers.” He paused, scratched. “So I knew to ask the guy for the good stuff. He knows.” The overnight girl stared.
“You mean you got that stuff deliberately?”
“Of course. What, you think I’m going to spend my money on crap?”
“I guess not.” She said this while studying the floor.
The banging of the pots continued, everyone flinching with the BANG each time. No one spoke. After a few minutes Jeff got up, still scratching, and packed everything back into the tape case. He went up the stairs and sat on the mattress, smoking. He closed the German flag-drape. He laid down and let the world drift away for a while. After some time, he became aware that people were leaving, and he sat up. The front door shut, and the house was quiet. He poured a drink and went downstairs, turning on the television. The produce guy on the morning show was saying to “Never ever ever” put tomatoes in the refrigerator because they lost their flavor. He heard the distinctive sound of Walter’s truck pulling into the driveway, and mentally sighed. The front door opened, and Walter came in and sat down. Jeff said “where’d everybody go?”
“The beach. Nevermind. I cannot believe you.” He squinted, looking at the television. “I let you live here, rent-free, and you shoot up in front of guests. Are you kidding me?” He looked over at Jeff. “Now I look like a fucking idiot. Is that how you treat a friend?” He got up and started to pace across the room.
“I don’t suppose so.” Jeff continued to stare at the television.
“I mean, I thought that you were down on your luck, this was a temporary thing, and you’ve been here for three months, you have no job, you stopped going to classes, you were a month from going on to your residency, and now this.” Walter threw his arms up in the air. “This is absolute bullshit. You think I’m stupid? You think I don’t know what’s going on? You need help, man. You do realize that, right?”
“I could use a couple of bucks, that’s for certain.”
“What? Are you insane? You’ve got to get out. You’ve got a week. I don’t care where you go, I’ll give you a ride to wherever, but you have to leave.”
“So that’s it, huh? Thanks mom.”
“Yeah, that’s it.”
“If that’s it, that’s it, I guess.”
“Yeah. Like I said, you can stay for the next week in order to get your stuff together, make phone calls, whatever, but I swear, if you take anything, if you go near my room, I will kick your ass from here to the next life. I’m not joking.”
“All right Walter.”
“Okay. I’m doing this because I can’t take this craziness anymore, and I know it’s trite, but it’s for your own good.”
“All right Walter. I got it.”

“Okay.” He blew out a long breath and went to the other end of the house.
Jeff got up and went back upstairs. He sat for a while, smoking. He sat and thought about the grads at the beach with the white sand, sunlight glistening off the waves and children laughing. He thought about wearing a suit and a red silk tie, maybe a clean white lab coat. The smell of an expensive leather briefcase filled with patient histories. A black BMW. He poured another drink, and wondered if it was too early to call the guy in Brooklyn.
posted by exlotuseater at 11:27 PM on April 2 [1 favorite +]
[!]


Ok, probably not, then.
posted by exlotuseater at 11:28 PM on April 2 [+]
[!]


I'm not sure if I recall seeing it on Metatalk, but I have on the blue, I'm quite sure. *shrugs*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:36 PM on April 2 [+]
[!]


Long comments get truncated in the "my comments" view, but they don't on the actual page. For me, anyway --
posted by Rumple at 11:48 PM on April 2 [+]
[!]


7, but none of us are any good at following rules anyway.
posted by allen.spaulding at 12:15 AM on April 3 [+]
[!]


I've never seen a comment (even the massive, this-could-qualify-as-a-novel, ones) cut off... Can you point us to an example, stavros?
posted by amyms at 1:30 AM on April 3 [+]
[!]


Yeah, comments never get cu
posted by aubilenon at 2:01 AM on April 3 [+]
[!]


Hell, maybe it was a brain fart. I'm sure I've seen it happen two or three times this week, which led me think it wasn't just user error. Only Matt knows for sure, I guess. Like I said, pretty minor.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:16 AM on April 3 [+]
[!]


Hehe... Hehe... *tries to adopt a Beavis And Butthead voice*... You said "fart."
posted by amyms at 2:26 AM on April 3 [+]
[!]


I'm sure I've seen it happen two or three times this week, which led me think it wasn't just user error.

It happens on the My Comments page for very long comments. Is that what you're thinking of?
posted by grouse at 3:43 AM on April 3 [+]
[!]


"Hell, maybe it was a brain fart."

Not surprising, from a butthead.

:)
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:04 AM on April 3 [+]
[!]


I've had at least one comment truncated by the character limit.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 4:42 AM on April 3 [+]
[!]


I would guess it's a database field length limitation that limits post lengths.
posted by armage at 5:17 AM on April 3 [+]
[!]


Well, theoretically the database field is NTEXT, so you'd be hard-pressed to fill that without being an asshole about the thing or really hung up on the issue.
posted by yerfatma at 5:20 AM on April 3 [+]
[!]


I suspect you were reading My Comments. It happens all the time there. I've never seen it in an actual thread, on the blue or elsewhere.
posted by languagehat at 5:35 AM on April 3 [+]
[!]


We should limit comments to 140 characters. I'm off to work now. Wondering if I should buy lunch near my house or at work. Can't decide.
posted by yeti at 5:40 AM on April 3 [1 favorite +]
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There's no character limit on comments, please see: Treaty of Westphalia and other great crapfloods.
posted by jessamyn at 5:43 AM on April 3 [1 favorite +]
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Just tested a gigantic lorem ipsum. There is so a character limit! And a wc against the portion that made the cut puts it in the vicinity of 31,500 characters, or roughly six thousand words of English text.

So apparently the ToW just isn't long enough.
posted by cortex at 6:19 AM on April 3 [+]
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I thought about replying with "Nooooooooo…" and holding down the "o" until it filled the entire page, but then I realized that it would waste less of all of our time if y'all just imagined me being a dick instead of putting me through the effort of actually being one.
posted by klangklangston at 6:19 AM on April 3 [+]
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And on further testing, ToW is plenty long—comes out at nearly 89K characters—so either someone was showing what could be very strictly called 'restraint' in posting selections thereof, or there was truncation a foot and we somehow failed to notice.
posted by cortex at 6:22 AM on April 3 [+]
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You know, when the treaty was posted, I can remember noticing that paragraph 532 subsection 73 was missing..
posted by Chuckles at 6:34 AM on April 3 [1 favorite +]
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omg somebody's foot got truncated this is more srius than we suspected
posted by Wolfdog at 6:43 AM on April 3 [+]
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I stand corrected.

There's no character limit on comments that any reasonable person would notice.

Yeah I said it.
posted by jessamyn at 6:55 AM on April 3 [1 favorite +]
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Circumcision.

There I said it.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 7:20 AM on April 3 [+]
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just imagined me being a dick instead of putting me through the effort of actually being one.


lazy dick.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 7:21 AM on April 3 [+]
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Reasonable people don't have much to say.
See how reasonable I am?
posted by Plutor at 7:29 AM on April 3 [+]
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Back in 2002 or 2003, I think, someone posted his entire graduate thesis or something, which was fairly long (and relevant to the discussion). (Something to do with geology, maybe?) I can't find the thread now, though. . . .
posted by yz at 7:31 AM on April 3 [+]
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There's no character limit on comments that any reasonable person would notice.

I've been called many things, but reasonable is not one of them. Hugs!
posted by cortex at 7:43 AM on April 3 [+]
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the portion that made the cut puts it in the vicinity of 31,500 characters

If only there was a convenient power of two in that range...

My guess if that some internal db field is limited to 32,767 characters and that there's some housekeeping in there which lowers the limit somewhat further.
posted by GuyZero at 9:15 AM on April 3 [+]
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Plus, my wc wouldn't have tracked the chars for the
tags that mefi inserts, cutting futher the deficit up to the 215-1 breakeven.
posted by cortex at 9:22 AM on April 3 [+]
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Which, on further test, knocks the wc up to 31897. 870 bytes of headroom?
posted by cortex at 9:25 AM on April 3 [+]
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I thought about replying with "Nooooooooo…" and holding down the "o" until it filled the entire page, but then I realized that it would waste less of all of our time if y'all just imagined me being a dick instead of putting me through the effort of actually being one.

To kk, thanks! Because you didn't, and trust me, we do.
posted by Lynsey at 9:43 AM on April 3 [+]
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Back in 2002 or 2003, I think, someone posted his entire graduate thesis or something ...

I posted this a while back. Summary, MeTa.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:45 AM on April 3 [+]
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Character limit for comments? Judging by the general level of discourse around here, it's pretty clear that anyone can comment, whether or not they have any character.

/rimshot
posted by Kwine at 9:46 AM on April 3 [1 favorite +]
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i always thought comments got cut off because they had some code or something--like they were pasted from Word or some other place.
posted by amberglow at 9:47 AM on April 3 [+]
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Yeah, sorry, that was me. Often when typing a long comment, I am overcome with self-loathing, stop typing, and just hit post.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:06 AM on April 3 [+]
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There is no limit on comment length in the database itself. The field that holds comments is a unlimited text field, not a character based one.

There are likely issues with browsers submitting text via a textarea form. I have no idea what the upper bound is, but I know a few years ago, Netscape 4 would only let you post 32kb of text before it stopped itself.

I am pretty sure I might have a limit on the database field size that gets fetched from the database. So if you upload 1Mb of text (about an entire book), when I go to display the page with the comment in it, it might cut off at 128,000 characters or something very large like that.

So I don't actively do anything to limit text on mefi, but there may be browser or server-side java database interactions that enforce some very large number as a limit.
posted by mathowie at 10:33 AM on April 3 [+]
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THAT'S CENSORSHIP!
posted by klangklangston at 10:35 AM on April 3 [+]
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Im in yr treaty trunckating yr foote
posted by oneirodynia at 11:02 AM on April 3 [+]
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I posted this a while back. Summary, MeTa.

That's most likely it (I do seem to remember Matt sidebarring it as well); I must have recalled only Matt's subsequent reference to his thesis on "trace metals transport in lake ecosystems". Thanks for finding it. (That comment was limited to 31,651 characters, by the way.)
posted by yz at 11:05 AM on April 3 [+]
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Seems to affect FF, IE, and w3m—guessing it's a server-side thing of some sort, unless there's some sort of W3C spec on maximum form content size?
posted by cortex at 11:16 AM on April 3 [+]
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lemme try a test here

Anesthesia

Waking up, he rolled onto his side and looked at the clock. It was early, probably too early to actually get up. He propped myself up on one arm and listened. There was somebody down on the couch sleeping, their slow, rhythmic breathing indicating deep slumber. Otherwise the house was quiet.
He slowly sat up, tucking his legs underneath, and felt around for a glass. Finding one, he nestled it between his legs and felt around carefully for the bottle. It was in the same spot he generally put it in, and he uncapped it and took a large mouthful. The bourbon went down in a hot ball, and he silently burped. Pouring a glassful, he recapped the bottle, giving the cap a deft spin. Eyes adjusting to the semi-darkness, he took stock of his surroundings. It was a cramped loft-space, with a vaulted ceiling that only cleared his head by a two or three feet when sitting; he had to shuffle around on his knees. There were two framed cutouts to his left that served as windows from which he could look out on the living room. He liked this. It made him feel like the guy in the t.v. show "taxi" in his little booth, surveying the comings and goings of the others. He had two national flags, made out of filmy polyester, that he had tacked up for drapes. German and French. There were pinups on the walls and the ceiling. He could make out Miss February's Chiclet teeth, smiling innocently in the dark. He had a makeshift bookshelf with a selection of books that he liked to reread, and a pile of unused medical textbooks. Assorted papers and magazines on the floor, with a collection of VCR tape cases. There was a sheet hanging from the ceiling, blocking a set of stairs that led down to the living room, 13 or 14 shallow steps.
Once he could see, he grabbed a pack of cigarettes and shook one out. The match flared and ruined his night-vision, so he felt around for the ashtray, putting his fingers in the ashes before pulling it closer. He wiped his fingers on the sheet. He alternated drags on the cigarette with gulps of bourbon, and he smiled in the darkness. He pushed the German flag-drape aside, and looked down. It was Mike on the couch. Finishing off the glass, he uncapped the bottle and refilled the glass halfway. He lit another cigarette with the end of the previous one. It was starting to get a little light out, enough to see the smoke rings he blew. He put the butt down, and reached over and lit a candle. The bourbon was beginning to really kick in, and he rubbed his face, pressing hard on his eyes. His stomach gurgled. He knelt and shuffled over to the stairs, drink and smoke in hand. Avoiding two steps he knew were particularly loud, he padded down, and then at the bottom of the steps, realized that he wasn't wearing any clothes. He muttered "shit." Not recalling who was there besides the housemates, he went back up and put on a pair of blue surgical scrubs, throwing the cigarettes in the back pocket. Going back down the steps, his stomach was more insistent, growling loudly. Picking his way around empty beer and liquor bottles, and red plastic cups with cigarette butts floating in stale beer, he went to the bathroom and turned on the shower. When the bathroom was filled with steam, he disrobed and got under the water, moving the bar of soap over on the ledge, and placing the glass of bourbon next to it. He urinated and let the hot water run over him. His stomach gurgled again, and he doubled over and vomited, the amber liquid diluting and running around his feet. Holding on to his knees, he dry-heaved a few times, coughed, straightened up, and had a sip of his drink. He turned off the water, toweled off, and threw the scrubs back on.
When he went back into the living room, Mike was sitting up, watching the television. "'Sup Jeff."
"G'morning, Mike."
"Sleep well?"
"Yeah, not bad, but I think I only got an hour or two-- it was a late night."
"Always a late night for you, dude." He stretched and yawned, turning back to the television.
"Yeah, well, you know how it is, someone’s gotta make up for all the lightweights around here. fucking grad students, you’d think they were eighty years old."
"Shit, man, are you drinking now?" Mike said, shaking his head.
"Yes. I'm thirsty. I need sustenance."
"Whatever, man. you're fucking crazy, I swear."
"Like I said, gotta balance out the lightweights."
"It's six o'clock on a Sunday. you know? Sunday morning."
"What, you're religious now?"
"I'm just saying. Nobody drinks at six in the morning on a Sunday. It's crazy."
"Well, I do. And it's good for you, and you should try it. Try watching the morning show with a beer or four-- it's much more entertaining."
"No thanks, man. Don't get defensive-- I don't care what you do, really. I'm just saying you're pretty hard-core." He added as an afterthought "Six o'clock, shit."

Jeff sat down at the coffeetable across from Mike, and lit a cigarette. They sat quietly for a while, the television droning on. After some time, he got up, went upstairs to the loft, and refilled his glass again halfway. Looking down to the common room, he saw the rest of the people who were waking up slowly trickling into the living room, one in the kitchen, brewing a pot of coffee. There were the housemates, Mike and Walter, and a smattering of girls who had spent the night, mostly graduate students in the anthropology department at the university. He grabbed one of the unmarked VCR tape cases on the floor and shook it lightly, listening to the rattle. There was a muffled metallic clink. He tucked it into his pants and crawled over to the bookshelf, selecting "A History of the Boston City Hospital 1905-1964". He opened it up to the middle, and took two small wax paper baggies out of the hole he had cut into the center of the book. He went back down with the case and the baggies, and sat down at the coffeetable.
"Anyone mind if I get high?" He asked this to no one in particular.
One of the girls said "You asked us that last night, and you went ahead and did it anyway. Why bother asking?"
"Well, it's the classy thing to do, and I'm a high-class motherfucker."
“Does your whole high-class existence revolve around ‘getting high’?”
“Yes, now shut the fuck up. is it any business of yours?”
“You’re not right. you’re just....not....right.”
Ignoring her, he opened the case and pulled out a bent-handled teaspoon, which he placed on the table, along with the baggies and some cotton balls. He took out a short orange-capped syringe, and placed it lengthwise in his mouth. He got up and went in the kitchen, got a glass of water, and went back and sat down again. Opening one of the baggies, he asked "Anyone want some?", muffled by the needle in his mouth.
"No way." said Terri, one of the girls. A couple of people came over and sat down to watch. He emptied the bag into the spoon, and drew water into the syringe, then squirted it into the spoon. He flicked the lighter, and held it under the spoon until the liquid sizzled. Putting a tiny bit of cotton in the spoon, he stuck the needle in the cotton and drew up some liquid. Everyone watched. Setting the needle on the table, he lit a cigarette and opened a pre-packaged alcohol swab, running it over the crook of his arm on the inside of his elbow. Switching the syringe for the cigarette, he held it up to the light and flicked it.
"Why do you do that?" asked Walter, one of the housemates.
"To get the air bubbles out. The bubbles can give you a heart attack."
"Heart attack? you're shooting drugs and you're worried about a heart attack?"
"Shut up, man, you fucking asked."
"Whatever." Walter shook his head, and sat back watching the television, monitoring with a sidelong glance every now and then.
Satisfied with the flicking, Jeff grabbed an adjustable green cat-collar that doubled as a tourniquet, and wrapped it around his bicep. Pulling it tight, he put the end in his mouth to hold it. He tapped his arm with a finger, and selected a spot in the crook of his arm. He pushed the needle in and eased back on the plunger. A little spot of blood appeared, and he let the strap fall from his mouth.
"And here we go." He slowly pushed on the plunger, the small red spot disappearing, along with the rest of the liquid in the syringe. They all watched. One girl held her hand over her mouth, as if she had just tasted sour milk. He pulled the syringe out and a small drop of blood formed on the skin where the needle was. He started counting aloud, as he put a cottonball on the spot and bent his arm around it.
"Seven, six, five, four, three, oh, oh, holy shit." He leaned back in the chair, and his mouth hung open, still holding his arm up and bent. "Ohh. oh, god." He reached over with the other hand and pulled the tourniquet off slowly, letting it drop into his lap.
"What does it feel like?" asked one of the girls.
"When it’s good dope, it’s like an hour long orgasm in a warm bubbling Jacuzzi--no, better than that. But I can't really put it into words. It's like God is kissing your insides." His eyes were half-open, and he was absentmindedly scratching his belly and crotch. "But when you don't have it, or you run out...." he trailed off.
Walter got up and went into the kitchen.
“How do you know it’s good? I mean, if you can’t like sample it or whatever? or can you? I don’t know anything about this stuff.”
Jeff scratched, and was silent. Pans were banging on the stove in the other room. “Well,” he began, “I knew this particular shit would be good because last week there was something on the news about how all these people were dying in Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn from heroin overdoses. This means that it’s really pure. The best shit is the shit that’s killing motherfuckers.” He paused, scratched. “So I knew to ask the guy for the good stuff. He knows.” The overnight girl stared.
“You mean you got that stuff deliberately?”
“Of course. What, you think I’m going to spend my money on crap?”
“I guess not.” She said this while studying the floor.
The banging of the pots continued, everyone flinching with the BANG each time. No one spoke. After a few minutes Jeff got up, still scratching, and packed everything back into the tape case. He went up the stairs and sat on the mattress, smoking. He closed the German flag-drape. He laid down and let the world drift away for a while. After some time, he became aware that people were leaving, and he sat up. The front door shut, and the house was quiet. He poured a drink and went downstairs, turning on the television. The produce guy on the morning show was saying to “Never ever ever” put tomatoes in the refrigerator because they lost their flavor. He heard the distinctive sound of Walter’s truck pulling into the driveway, and mentally sighed. The front door opened, and Walter came in and sat down. Jeff said “where’d everybody go?”
“The beach. Nevermind. I cannot believe you.” He squinted, looking at the television. “I let you live here, rent-free, and you shoot up in front of guests. Are you kidding me?” He looked over at Jeff. “Now I look like a fucking idiot. Is that how you treat a friend?” He got up and started to pace across the room.
“I don’t suppose so.” Jeff continued to stare at the television.
“I mean, I thought that you were down on your luck, this was a temporary thing, and you’ve been here for three months, you have no job, you stopped going to classes, you were a month from going on to your residency, and now this.” Walter threw his arms up in the air. “This is absolute bullshit. You think I’m stupid? You think I don’t know what’s going on? You need help, man. You do realize that, right?”
“I could use a couple of bucks, that’s for certain.”
“What? Are you insane? You’ve got to get out. You’ve got a week. I don’t care where you go, I’ll give you a ride to wherever, but you have to leave.”
“So that’s it, huh? Thanks mom.”
“Yeah, that’s it.”
“If that’s it, that’s it, I guess.”
“Yeah. Like I said, you can stay for the next week in order to get your stuff together, make phone calls, whatever, but I swear, if you take anything, if you go near my room, I will kick your ass from here to the next life. I’m not joking.”
“All right Walter.”
“Okay. I’m doing this because I can’t take this craziness anymore, and I know it’s trite, but it’s for your own good.”
“All right Walter. I got it.”

“Okay.” He blew out a long breath and went to the other end of the house.
Jeff got up and went back upstairs. He sat for a while, smoking. He sat and thought about the grads at the beach with the white sand, sunlight glistening off the waves and children laughing. He thought about wearing a suit and a red silk tie, maybe a clean white lab coat. The smell of an expensive leather briefcase filled with patient histories. A black BMW. He poured another drink, and wondered if it was too early to call the guy in Brooklyn.


Anesthesia

Waking up, he rolled onto his side and looked at the clock. It was early, probably too early to actually get up. He propped myself up on one arm and listened. There was somebody down on the couch sleeping, their slow, rhythmic breathing indicating deep slumber. Otherwise the house was quiet.
He slowly sat up, tucking his legs underneath, and felt around for a glass. Finding one, he nestled it between his legs and felt around carefully for the bottle. It was in the same spot he generally put it in, and he uncapped it and took a large mouthful. The bourbon went down in a hot ball, and he silently burped. Pouring a glassful, he recapped the bottle, giving the cap a deft spin. Eyes adjusting to the semi-darkness, he took stock of his surroundings. It was a cramped loft-space, with a vaulted ceiling that only cleared his head by a two or three feet when sitting; he had to shuffle around on his knees. There were two framed cutouts to his left that served as windows from which he could look out on the living room. He liked this. It made him feel like the guy in the t.v. show "taxi" in his little booth, surveying the comings and goings of the others. He had two national flags, made out of filmy polyester, that he had tacked up for drapes. German and French. There were pinups on the walls and the ceiling. He could make out Miss February's Chiclet teeth, smiling innocently in the dark. He had a makeshift bookshelf with a selection of books that he liked to reread, and a pile of unused medical textbooks. Assorted papers and magazines on the floor, with a collection of VCR tape cases. There was a sheet hanging from the ceiling, blocking a set of stairs that led down to the living room, 13 or 14 shallow steps.
Once he could see, he grabbed a pack of cigarettes and shook one out. The match flared and ruined his night-vision, so he felt around for the ashtray, putting his fingers in the ashes before pulling it closer. He wiped his fingers on the sheet. He alternated drags on the cigarette with gulps of bourbon, and he smiled in the darkness. He pushed the German flag-drape aside, and looked down. It was Mike on the couch. Finishing off the glass, he uncapped the bottle and refilled the glass halfway. He lit another cigarette with the end of the previous one. It was starting to get a little light out, enough to see the smoke rings he blew. He put the butt down, and reached over and lit a candle. The bourbon was beginning to really kick in, and he rubbed his face, pressing hard on his eyes. His stomach gurgled. He knelt and shuffled over to the stairs, drink and smoke in hand. Avoiding two steps he knew were particularly loud, he padded down, and then at the bottom of the steps, realized that he wasn't wearing any clothes. He muttered "shit." Not recalling who was there besides the housemates, he went back up and put on a pair of blue surgical scrubs, throwing the cigarettes in the back pocket. Going back down the steps, his stomach was more insistent, growling loudly. Picking his way around empty beer and liquor bottles, and red plastic cups with cigarette butts floating in stale beer, he went to the bathroom and turned on the shower. When the bathroom was filled with steam, he disrobed and got under the water, moving the bar of soap over on the ledge, and placing the glass of bourbon next to it. He urinated and let the hot water run over him. His stomach gurgled again, and he doubled over and vomited, the amber liquid diluting and running around his feet. Holding on to his knees, he dry-heaved a few times, coughed, straightened up, and had a sip of his drink. He turned off the water, toweled off, and threw the scrubs back on.
When he went back into the living room, Mike was sitting up, watching the television. "'Sup Jeff."
"G'morning, Mike."
"Sleep well?"
"Yeah, not bad, but I think I only got an hour or two-- it was a late night."
"Always a late night for you, dude." He stretched and yawned, turning back to the television.
"Yeah, well, you know how it is, someone’s gotta make up for all the lightweights around here. fucking grad students, you’d think they were eighty years old."
"Shit, man, are you drinking now?" Mike said, shaking his head.
"Yes. I'm thirsty. I need sustenance."
"Whatever, man. you're fucking crazy, I swear."
"Like I said, gotta balance out the lightweights."
"It's six o'clock on a Sunday. you know? Sunday morning."
"What, you're religious now?"
"I'm just saying. Nobody drinks at six in the morning on a Sunday. It's crazy."
"Well, I do. And it's good for you, and you should try it. Try watching the morning show with a beer or four-- it's much more entertaining."
"No thanks, man. Don't get defensive-- I don't care what you do, really. I'm just saying you're pretty hard-core." He added as an afterthought "Six o'clock, shit."

Jeff sat down at the coffeetable across from Mike, and lit a cigarette. They sat quietly for a while, the television droning on. After some time, he got up, went upstairs to the loft, and refilled his glass again halfway. Looking down to the common room, he saw the rest of the people who were waking up slowly trickling into the living room, one in the kitchen, brewing a pot of coffee. There were the housemates, Mike and Walter, and a smattering of girls who had spent the night, mostly graduate students in the anthropology department at the university. He grabbed one of the unmarked VCR tape cases on the floor and shook it lightly, listening to the rattle. There was a muffled metallic clink. He tucked it into his pants and crawled over to the bookshelf, selecting "A History of the Boston City Hospital 1905-1964". He opened it up to the middle, and took two small wax paper baggies out of the hole he had cut into the center of the book. He went back down with the case and the baggies, and sat down at the coffeetable.
"Anyone mind if I get high?" He asked this to no one in particular.
One of the girls said "You asked us that last night, and you went ahead and did it anyway. Why bother asking?"
"Well, it's the classy thing to do, and I'm a high-class motherfucker."
“Does your whole high-class existence revolve around ‘getting high’?”
“Yes, now shut the fuck up. is it any business of yours?”
“You’re not right. you’re just....not....right.”
Ignoring her, he opened the case and pulled out a bent-handled teaspoon, which he placed on the table, along with the baggies and some cotton balls. He took out a short orange-capped syringe, and placed it lengthwise in his mouth. He got up and went in the kitchen, got a glass of water, and went back and sat down again. Opening one of the baggies, he asked "Anyone want some?", muffled by the needle in his mouth.
"No way." said Terri, one of the girls. A couple of people came over and sat down to watch. He emptied the bag into the spoon, and drew water into the syringe, then squirted it into the spoon. He flicked the lighter, and held it under the spoon until the liquid sizzled. Putting a tiny bit of cotton in the spoon, he stuck the needle in the cotton and drew up some liquid. Everyone watched. Setting the needle on the table, he lit a cigarette and opened a pre-packaged alcohol swab, running it over the crook of his arm on the inside of his elbow. Switching the syringe for the cigarette, he held it up to the light and flicked it.
"Why do you do that?" asked Walter, one of the housemates.
"To get the air bubbles out. The bubbles can give you a heart attack."
"Heart attack? you're shooting drugs and you're worried about a heart attack?"
"Shut up, man, you fucking asked."
"Whatever." Walter shook his head, and sat back watching the television, monitoring with a sidelong glance every now and then.
Satisfied with the flicking, Jeff grabbed an adjustable green cat-collar that doubled as a tourniquet, and wrapped it around his bicep. Pulling it tight, he put the end in his mouth to hold it. He tapped his arm with a finger, and selected a spot in the crook of his arm. He pushed the needle in and eased back on the plunger. A little spot of blood appeared, and he let the strap fall from his mouth.
"And here we go." He slowly pushed on the plunger, the small red spot disappearing, along with the rest of the liquid in the syringe. They all watched. One girl held her hand over her mouth, as if she had just tasted sour milk. He pulled the syringe out and a small drop of blood formed on the skin where the needle was. He started counting aloud, as he put a cottonball on the spot and bent his arm around it.
"Seven, six, five, four, three, oh, oh, holy shit." He leaned back in the chair, and his mouth hung open, still holding his arm up and bent. "Ohh. oh, god." He reached over with the other hand and pulled the tourniquet off slowly, letting it drop into his lap.
"What does it feel like?" asked one of the girls.
"When it’s good dope, it’s like an hour long orgasm in a warm bubbling Jacuzzi--no, better than that. But I can't really put it into words. It's like God is kissing your insides." His eyes were half-open, and he was absentmindedly scratching his belly and crotch. "But when you don't have it, or you run out...." he trailed off.
Walter got up and went into the kitchen.
“How do you know it’s good? I mean, if you can’t like sample it or whatever? or can you? I don’t know anything about this stuff.”
Jeff scratched, and was silent. Pans were banging on the stove in the other room. “Well,” he began, “I knew this particular shit would be good because last week there was something on the news about how all these people were dying in Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn from heroin overdoses. This means that it’s really pure. The best shit is the shit that’s killing motherfuckers.” He paused, scratched. “So I knew to ask the guy for the good stuff. He knows.” The overnight girl stared.
“You mean you got that stuff deliberately?”
“Of course. What, you think I’m going to spend my money on crap?”
“I guess not.” She said this while studying the floor.
The banging of the pots continued, everyone flinching with the BANG each time. No one spoke. After a few minutes Jeff got up, still scratching, and packed everything back into the tape case. He went up the stairs and sat on the mattress, smoking. He closed the German flag-drape. He laid down and let the world drift away for a while. After some time, he became aware that people were leaving, and he sat up. The front door shut, and the house was quiet. He poured a drink and went downstairs, turning on the television. The produce guy on the morning show was saying to “Never ever ever” put tomatoes in the refrigerator because they lost their flavor. He heard the distinctive sound of Walter’s truck pulling into the driveway, and mentally sighed. The front door opened, and Walter came in and sat down. Jeff said “where’d everybody go?”
“The beach. Nevermind. I cannot believe you.” He squinted, looking at the television. “I let you live here, rent-free, and you shoot up in front of guests. Are you kidding me?” He looked over at Jeff. “Now I look like a fucking idiot. Is that how you treat a friend?” He got up and started to pace across the room.
“I don’t suppose so.” Jeff continued to stare at the television.
“I mean, I thought that you were down on your luck, this was a temporary thing, and you’ve been here for three months, you have no job, you stopped going to classes, you were a month from going on to your residency, and now this.” Walter threw his arms up in the air. “This is absolute bullshit. You think I’m stupid? You think I don’t know what’s going on? You need help, man. You do realize that, right?”
“I could use a couple of bucks, that’s for certain.”
“What? Are you insane? You’ve got to get out. You’ve got a week. I don’t care where you go, I’ll give you a ride to wherever, but you have to leave.”
“So that’s it, huh? Thanks mom.”
“Yeah, that’s it.”
“If that’s it, that’s it, I guess.”
“Yeah. Like I said, you can stay for the next week in order to get your stuff together, make phone calls, whatever, but I swear, if you take anything, if you go near my room, I will kick your ass from here to the next life. I’m not joking.”
“All right Walter.”
“Okay. I’m doing this because I can’t take this craziness anymore, and I know it’s trite, but it’s for your own good.”
“All right Walter. I got it.”

“Okay.” He blew out a long breath and went to the other end of the house.
Jeff got up and went back upstairs. He sat for a while, smoking. He sat and thought about the grads at the beach with the white sand, sunlight glistening off the waves and children laughing. He thought about wearing a suit and a red silk tie, maybe a clean white lab coat. The smell of an expensive leather briefcase filled with patient histories. A black BMW. He poured another drink, and wondered if it was too early to call the guy in Brooklyn.



Anesthesia

Waking up, he rolled onto his side and looked at the clock. It was early, probably too early to actually get up. He propped myself up on one arm and listened. There was somebody down on the couch sleeping, their slow, rhythmic breathing indicating deep slumber. Otherwise the house was quiet.
He slowly sat up, tucking his legs underneath, and felt around for a glass. Finding one, he nestled it between his legs and felt around carefully for the bottle. It was in the same spot he generally put it in, and he uncapped it and took a large mouthful. The bourbon went down in a hot ball, and he silently burped. Pouring a glassful, he recapped the bottle, giving the cap a deft spin. Eyes adjusting to the semi-darkness, he took stock of his surroundings. It was a cramped loft-space, with a vaulted ceiling that only cleared his head by a two or three feet when sitting; he had to shuffle around on his knees. There were two framed cutouts to his left that served as windows from which he could look out on the living room. He liked this. It made him feel like the guy in the t.v. show "taxi" in his little booth, surveying the comings and goings of the others. He had two national flags, made out of filmy polyester, that he had tacked up for drapes. German and French. There were pinups on the walls and the ceiling. He could make out Miss February's Chiclet teeth, smiling innocently in the dark. He had a makeshift bookshelf with a selection of books that he liked to reread, and a pile of unused medical textbooks. Assorted papers and magazines on the floor, with a collection of VCR tape cases. There was a sheet hanging from the ceiling, blocking a set of stairs that led down to the living room, 13 or 14 shallow steps.
Once he could see, he grabbed a pack of cigarettes and shook one out. The match flared and ruined his night-vision, so he felt around for the ashtray, putting his fingers in the ashes before pulling it closer. He wiped his fingers on the sheet. He alternated drags on the cigarette with gulps of bourbon, and he smiled in the darkness. He pushed the German flag-drape aside, and looked down. It was Mike on the couch. Finishing off the glass, he uncapped the bottle and refilled the glass halfway. He lit another cigarette with the end of the previous one. It was starting to get a little light out, enough to see the smoke rings he blew. He put the butt down, and reached over and lit a candle. The bourbon was beginning to really kick in, and he rubbed his face, pressing hard on his eyes. His stomach gurgled. He knelt and shuffled over to the stairs, drink and smoke in hand. Avoiding two steps he knew were particularly loud, he padded down, and then at the bottom of the steps, realized that he wasn't wearing any clothes. He muttered "shit." Not recalling who was there besides the housemates, he went back up and put on a pair of blue surgical scrubs, throwing the cigarettes in the back pocket. Going back down the steps, his stomach was more insistent, growling loudly. Picking his way around empty beer and liquor bottles, and red plastic cups with cigarette butts floating in stale beer, he went to the bathroom and turned on the shower. When the bathroom was filled with steam, he disrobed and got under the water, moving the bar of soap over on the ledge, and placing the glass of bourbon next to it. He urinated and let the hot water run over him. His stomach gurgled again, and he doubled over and vomited, the amber liquid diluting and running around his feet. Holding on to his knees, he dry-heaved a few times, coughed, straightened up, and had a sip of his drink. He turned off the water, toweled off, and threw the scrubs back on.
When he went back into the living room, Mike was sitting up, watching the television. "'Sup Jeff."
"G'morning, Mike."
"Sleep well?"
"Yeah, not bad, but I think I only got an hour or two-- it was a late night."
"Always a late night for you, dude." He stretched and yawned, turning back to the television.
"Yeah, well, you know how it is, someone’s gotta make up for all the lightweights around here. fucking grad students, you’d think they were eighty years old."
"Shit, man, are you drinking now?" Mike said, shaking his head.
"Yes. I'm thirsty. I need sustenance."
"Whatever, man. you're fucking crazy, I swear."
"Like I said, gotta balance out the lightweights."
"It's six o'clock on a Sunday. you know? Sunday morning."
"What, you're religious now?"
"I'm just saying. Nobody drinks at six in the morning on a Sunday. It's crazy."
"Well, I do. And it's good for you, and you should try it. Try watching the morning show with a beer or four-- it's much more entertaining."
"No thanks, man. Don't get defensive-- I don't care what you do, really. I'm just saying you're pretty hard-core." He added as an afterthought "Six o'clock, shit."

Jeff sat down at the coffeetable across from Mike, and lit a cigarette. They sat quietly for a while, the television droning on. After some time, he got up, went upstairs to the loft, and refilled his glass again halfway. Looking down to the common room, he saw the rest of the people who were waking up slowly trickling into the living room, one in the kitchen, brewing a pot of coffee. There were the housemates, Mike and Walter, and a smattering of girls who had spent the night, mostly graduate students in the anthropology department at the university. He grabbed one of the unmarked VCR tape cases on the floor and shook it lightly, listening to the rattle. There was a muffled metallic clink. He tucked it into his pants and crawled over to the bookshelf, selecting "A History of the Boston City Hospital 1905-1964". He opened it up to the middle, and took two small wax paper baggies out of the hole he had cut into the center of the book. He went back down with the case and the baggies, and sat down at the coffeetable.
"Anyone mind if I get high?" He asked this to no one in particular.
One of the girls said "You asked us that last night, and you went ahead and did it anyway. Why bother asking?"
"Well, it's the classy thing to do, and I'm a high-class motherfucker."
“Does your whole high-class existence revolve around ‘getting high’?”
“Yes, now shut the fuck up. is it any business of yours?”
“You’re not right. you’re just....not....right.”
Ignoring her, he opened the case and pulled out a bent-handled teaspoon, which he placed on the table, along with the baggies and some cotton balls. He took out a short orange-capped syringe, and placed it lengthwise in his mouth. He got up and went in the kitchen, got a glass of water, and went back and sat down again. Opening one of the baggies, he asked "Anyone want some?", muffled by the needle in his mouth.
"No way." said Terri, one of the girls. A couple of people came over and sat down to watch. He emptied the bag into the spoon, and drew water into the syringe, then squirted it into the spoon. He flicked the lighter, and held it under the spoon until the liquid sizzled. Putting a tiny bit of cotton in the spoon, he stuck the needle in the cotton and drew up some liquid. Everyone watched. Setting the needle on the table, he lit a cigarette and opened a pre-packaged alcohol swab, running it over the crook of his arm on the inside of his elbow. Switching the syringe for the cigarette, he held it up to the light and flicked it.
"Why do you do that?" asked Walter, one of the housemates.
"To get the air bubbles out. The bubbles can give you a heart attack."
"Heart attack? you're shooting drugs and you're worried about a heart attack?"
"Shut up, man, you fucking asked."
"Whatever." Walter shook his head, and sat back watching the television, monitoring with a sidelong glance every now and then.
Satisfied with the flicking, Jeff grabbed an adjustable green cat-collar that doubled as a tourniquet, and wrapped it around his bicep. Pulling it tight, he put the end in his mouth to hold it. He tapped his arm with a finger, and selected a spot in the crook of his arm. He pushed the needle in and eased back on the plunger. A little spot of blood appeared, and he let the strap fall from his mouth.
"And here we go." He slowly pushed on the plunger, the small red spot disappearing, along with the rest of the liquid in the syringe. They all watched. One girl held her hand over her mouth, as if she had just tasted sour milk. He pulled the syringe out and a small drop of blood formed on the skin where the needle was. He started counting aloud, as he put a cottonball on the spot and bent his arm around it.
"Seven, six, five, four, three, oh, oh, holy shit." He leaned back in the chair, and his mouth hung open, still holding his arm up and bent. "Ohh. oh, god." He reached over with the other hand and pulled the tourniquet off slowly, letting it drop into his lap.
"What does it feel like?" asked one of the girls.
"When it’s good dope, it’s like an hour long orgasm in a warm bubbling Jacuzzi--no, better than that. But I can't really put it into words. It's like God is kissing your insides." His eyes were half-open, and he was absentmindedly scratching his belly and crotch. "But when you don't have it, or you run out...." he trailed off.
Walter got up and went into the kitchen.
“How do you know it’s good? I mean, if you can’t like sample it or whatever? or can you? I don’t know anything about this stuff.”
Jeff scratched, and was silent. Pans were banging on the stove in the other room. “Well,” he began, “I knew this particular shit would be good because last week there was something on the news about how all these people were dying in Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn from heroin overdoses. This means that it’s really pure. The best shit is the shit that’s killing motherfuckers.” He paused, scratched. “So I knew to ask the guy for the good stuff. He knows.” The overnight girl stared.
“You mean you got that stuff deliberately?”
“Of course. What, you think I’m going to spend my money on crap?”
“I guess not.” She said this while studying the floor.
The banging of the pots continued, everyone flinching with the BANG each time. No one spoke. After a few minutes Jeff got up, still scratching, and packed everything back into the tape case. He went up the stairs and sat on the mattress, smoking. He closed the German flag-drape. He laid down and let the world drift away for a while. After some time, he became aware that people were leaving, and he sat up. The front door shut, and the house was quiet. He poured a drink and went downstairs, turning on the television. The produce guy on the morning show was saying to “Never ever ever” put tomatoes in the refrigerator because they lost their flavor. He heard the distinctive sound of Walter’s truck pulling into the driveway, and mentally sighed. The front door opened, and Walter came in and sat down. Jeff said “where’d everybody go?”
“The beach. Nevermind. I cannot believe you.” He squinted, looking at the television. “I let you live here, rent-free, and you shoot up in front of guests. Are you kidding me?” He looked over at Jeff. “Now I look like a fucking idiot. Is that how you treat a friend?” He got up and started to pace across the room.
“I don’t suppose so.” Jeff continued to stare at the television.
“I mean, I thought that you were down on your luck, this was a temporary thing, and you’ve been here for three months, you have no job, you stopped going to classes, you were a month from going on to your residency, and now this.” Walter threw his arms up in the air. “This is absolute bullshit. You think I’m stupid? You think I don’t know what’s going on? You need help, man. You do realize that, right?”
“I could use a couple of bucks, that’s for certain.”
“What? Are you insane? You’ve got to get out. You’ve got a week. I don’t care where you go, I’ll give you a ride to wherever, but you have to leave.”
“So that’s it, huh? Thanks mom.”
“Yeah, that’s it.”
“If that’s it, that’s it, I guess.”
“Yeah. Like I said, you can stay for the next week in order to get your stuff together, make phone calls, whatever, but I swear, if you take anything, if you go near my room, I will kick your ass from here to the next life. I’m not joking.”
“All right Walter.”
“Okay. I’m doing this because I can’t take this craziness anymore, and I know it’s trite, but it’s for your own good.”
“All right Walter. I got it.”

“Okay.” He blew out a long breath and went to the other end of the house.
Jeff got up and went back upstairs. He sat for a while, smoking. He sat and thought about the grads at the beach with the white sand, sunlight glistening off the waves and children laughing. He thought about wearing a suit and a red silk tie, maybe a clean white lab coat. The smell of an expensive leather briefcase filled with patient histories. A black BMW. He poured another drink, and wondered if it was too early to call the guy in Brooklyn.



Anesthesia

Waking up, he rolled onto his side and looked at the clock. It was early, probably too early to actually get up. He propped myself up on one arm and listened. There was somebody down on the couch sleeping, their slow, rhythmic breathing indicating deep slumber. Otherwise the house was quiet.
He slowly sat up, tucking his legs underneath, and felt around for a glass. Finding one, he nestled it between his legs and felt around carefully for the bottle. It was in the same spot he generally put it in, and he uncapped it and took a large mouthful. The bourbon went down in a hot ball, and he silently burped. Pouring a glassful, he recapped the bottle, giving the cap a deft spin. Eyes adjusting to the semi-darkness, he took stock of his surroundings. It was a cramped loft-space, with a vaulted ceiling that only cleared his head by a two or three feet when sitting; he had to shuffle around on his knees. There were two framed cutouts to his left that served as windows from which he could look out on the living room. He liked this. It made him feel like the guy in the t.v. show "taxi" in his little booth, surveying the comings and goings of the others. He had two national flags, made out of filmy polyester, that he had tacked up for drapes. German and French. There were pinups on the walls and the ceiling. He could make out Miss February's Chiclet teeth, smiling innocently in the dark. He had a makeshift bookshelf with a selection of books that he liked to reread, and a pile of unused medical textbooks. Assorted papers and magazines on the floor, with a collection of VCR tape cases. There was a sheet hanging from the ceiling, blocking a set of stairs that led down to the living room, 13 or 14 shallow steps.
Once he could see, he grabbed a pack of cigarettes and shook one out. The match flared and ruined his night-vision, so he felt around for the ashtray, putting his fingers in the ashes before pulling it closer. He wiped his fingers on the sheet. He alternated drags on the cigarette with gulps of bourbon, and he smiled in the darkness. He pushed the German flag-drape aside, and looked down. It was Mike on the couch. Finishing off the glass, he uncapped the bottle and refilled the glass halfway. He lit another cigarette with the end of the previous one. It was starting to get a little light out, enough to see the smoke rings he blew. He put the butt down, and reached over and lit a candle. The bourbon was beginning to really kick in, and he rubbed his face, pressing hard on his eyes. His stomach gurgled. He knelt and shuffled over to the stairs, drink and smoke in hand. Avoiding two steps he knew were particularly loud, he padded down, and then at the bottom of the steps, realized that he wasn't wearing any clothes. He muttered "shit." Not recalling who was there besides the housemates, he went back up and put on a pair of blue surgical scrubs, throwing the cigarettes in the back pocket. Going back down the steps, his stomach was more insistent, growling loudly. Picking his way around empty beer and liquor bottles, and red plastic cups with cigarette butts floating in stale beer, he went to the bathroom and turned on the shower. When the bathroom was filled with steam, he disrobed and got under the water, moving the bar of soap over on the ledge, and placing the glass of bourbon next to it. He urinated and let the hot water run over him. His stomach gurgled again, and he doubled over and vomited, the amber liquid diluting and running around his feet. Holding on to his knees, he dry-heaved a few times, coughed, straightened up, and had a sip of his drink. He turned off the water, toweled off, and threw the scrubs back on.
When he went back into the living room, Mike was sitting up, watching the television. "'Sup Jeff."
"G'morning, Mike."
"Sleep well?"
"Yeah, not bad, but I think I only got an hour or two-- it was a late night."
"Always a late night for you, dude." He stretched and yawned, turning back to the television.
"Yeah, well, you know how it is, someone’s gotta make up for all the lightweights around here. fucking grad students, you’d think they were eighty years old."
"Shit, man, are you drinking now?" Mike said, shaking his head.
"Yes. I'm thirsty. I need sustenance."
"Whatever, man. you're fucking crazy, I swear."
"Like I said, gotta balance out the lightweights."
"It's six o'clock on a Sunday. you know? Sunday morning."
"What, you're religious now?"
"I'm just saying. Nobody drinks at six in the morning on a Sunday. It's crazy."
"Well, I do. And it's good for you, and you should try it. Try watching the morning show with a beer or four-- it's much more entertaining."
"No thanks, man. Don't get defensive-- I don't care what you do, really. I'm just saying you're pretty hard-core." He added as an afterthought "Six o'clock, shit."

Jeff sat down at the coffeetable across from Mike, and lit a cigarette. They sat quietly for a while, the television droning on. After some time, he got up, went upstairs to the loft, and refilled his glass again halfway. Looking down to the common room, he saw the rest of the people who were waking up slowly trickling into the living room, one in the kitchen, brewing a pot of coffee. There were the housemates, Mike and Walter, and a smattering of girls who had spent the night, mostly graduate students in the anthropology department at the university. He grabbed one of the unmarked VCR tape cases on the floor and shook it lightly, listening to the rattle. There was a muffled metallic clink. He tucked it into his pants and crawled over to the bookshelf, selecting "A History of the Boston City Hospital 1905-1964". He opened it up to the middle, and took two small wax paper baggies out of the hole he had cut into the center of the book. He went back down with the case and the baggies, and sat down at the coffeetable.
"Anyone mind if I get high?" He asked this to no one in particular.
One of the girls said "You asked us that last night, and you went ahead and did it anyway. Why bother asking?"
"Well, it's the classy thing to do, and I'm a high-class motherfucker."
“Does your whole high-class existence revolve around ‘getting high’?”
“Yes, now shut the fuck up. is it any business of yours?”
“You’re not right. you’re just....not....right.”
Ignoring her, he opened the case and pulled out a bent-handled teaspoon, which he placed on the table, along with the baggies and some cotton balls. He took out a short orange-capped syringe, and placed it lengthwise in his mouth. He got up and went in the kitchen, got a glass of water, and went back and sat down again. Opening one of the baggies, he asked "Anyone want some?", muffled by the needle in his mouth.
"No way." said Terri, one of the girls. A couple of people came over and sat down to watch. He emptied the bag into the spoon, and drew water into the syringe, then squirted it into the spoon. He flicked the lighter, and held it under the spoon until the liquid sizzled. Putting a tiny bit of cotton in the spoon, he stuck the needle in the cotton and drew up some liquid. Everyone watched. Setting the needle on the table, he lit a cigarette and opened a pre-packaged alcohol swab, running it over the crook of his arm on the inside of his elbow. Switching the syringe for the cigarette, he held it up to the light and flicked it.
"Why do you do that?" asked Walter, one of the housemates.
"To get the air bubbles out. The bubbles can give you a heart attack."
"Heart attack? you're shooting drugs and you're worried about a heart attack?"
"Shut up, man, you fucking asked."
"Whatever." Walter shook his head, and sat back watching the television, monitoring with a sidelong glance every now and then.
Satisfied with the flicking, Jeff grabbed an adjustable green cat-collar that doubled as a tourniquet, and wrapped it around his bicep. Pulling it tight, he put the end in his mouth to hold it. He tapped his arm with a finger, and selected a spot in the crook of his arm. He pushed the needle in and eased back on the plunger. A little spot of blood appeared, and he let the strap fall from his mouth.
"And here we go." He slowly pushed on the plunger, the small red spot disappearing, along with the rest of the liquid in the syringe. They all watched. One girl held her hand over her mouth, as if she had just tasted sour milk. He pulled the syringe out and a small drop of blood formed on the skin where the needle was. He started counting aloud, as he put a cottonball on the spot and bent his arm around it.
"Seven, six, five, four, three, oh, oh, holy shit." He leaned back in the chair, and his mouth hung open, still holding his arm up and bent. "Ohh. oh, god." He reached over with the other hand and pulled the tourniquet off slowly, letting it drop into his lap.
"What does it feel like?" asked one of the girls.
"When it’s good dope, it’s like an hour long orgasm in a warm bubbling Jacuzzi--no, better than that. But I can't really put it into words. It's like God is kissing your insides." His eyes were half-open, and he was absentmindedly scratching his belly and crotch. "But when you don't have it, or you run out...." he trailed off.
Walter got up and went into the kitchen.
“How do you know it’s good? I mean, if you can’t like sample it or whatever? or can you? I don’t know anything about this stuff.”
Jeff scratched, and was silent. Pans were banging on the stove in the other room. “Well,” he began, “I knew this particular shit would be good because last week there was something on the news about how all these people were dying in Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn from heroin overdoses. This means that it’s really pure. The best shit is the shit that’s killing motherfuckers.” He paused, scratched. “So I knew to ask the guy for the good stuff. He knows.” The overnight girl stared.
“You mean you got that stuff deliberately?”
“Of course. What, you think I’m going to spend my money on crap?”
“I guess not.” She said this while studying the floor.
The banging of the pots continued, everyone flinching with the BANG each time. No one spoke. After a few minutes Jeff got up, still scratching, and packed everything back into the tape case. He went up the stairs and sat on the mattress, smoking. He closed the German flag-drape. He laid down and let the world drift away for a while. After some time, he became aware that people were leaving, and he sat up. The front door shut, and the house was quiet. He poured a drink and went downstairs, turning on the television. The produce guy on the morning show was saying to “Never ever ever” put tomatoes in the refrigerator because they lost their flavor. He heard the distinctive sound of Walter’s truck pulling into the driveway, and mentally sighed. The front door opened, and Walter came in and sat down. Jeff said “where’d everybody go?”
“The beach. Nevermind. I cannot believe you.” He squinted, looking at the television. “I let you live here, rent-free, and you shoot up in front of guests. Are you kidding me?” He looked over at Jeff. “Now I look like a fucking idiot. Is that how you treat a friend?” He got up and started to pace across the room.
“I don’t suppose so.” Jeff continued to stare at the television.
“I mean, I thought that you were down on your luck, this was a temporary thing, and you’ve been here for three months, you have no job, you stopped going to classes, you were a month from going on to your residency, and now this.” Walter threw his arms up in the air. “This is absolute bullshit. You think I’m stupid? You think I don’t know what’s going on? You need help, man. You do realize that, right?”
“I could use a couple of bucks, that’s for certain.”
“What? Are you insane? You’ve got to get out. You’ve got a week. I don’t care where you go, I’ll give you a ride to wherever, but you have to leave.”
“So that’s it, huh? Thanks mom.”
“Yeah, that’s it.”
“If that’s it, that’s it, I guess.”
“Yeah. Like I said, you can stay for the next week in order to get your stuff together, make phone calls, whatever, but I swear, if you take anything, if you go near my room, I will kick your ass from here to the next life. I’m not joking.”
“All right Walter.”
“Okay. I’m doing this because I can’t take this craziness anymore, and I know it’s trite, but it’s for your own good.”
“All right Walter. I got it.”

“Okay.” He blew out a long breath and went to the other end of the house.
Jeff got up and went back upstairs. He sat for a while, smoking. He sat and thought about the grads at the beach with the white sand, sunlight glistening off the waves and children laughing. He thought about wearing a suit and a red silk tie, maybe a clean white lab coat. The smell of an expensive leather briefcase filled with patient histories. A black BMW. He poured another drink, and wondered if it was too early to call the guy in Brooklyn.
posted by mathowie at 12:05 PM on April 3 [1 favorite +]
[!]


so it looks like 2.5 copies of that story could be posted. Lemme up the db limits.
posted by mathowie at 12:05 PM on April 3 [+]
[!]


I upped the db limit to 128,000 characters, which was enough to paste that story four times, which seems to be more than enough space for any outlier comment.
posted by mathowie at 12:07 PM on April 3 [+]
[!]


Whoa, that actually changes my old comment. I guess the entire thing was stored in the database; it just couldn't get called in its entirety.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:17 PM on April 3 [+]
[!]


Ha!
posted by cortex at 12:26 PM on April 3 [+]
[!]


Yeah, the limit is the java odbc connector thing. It has a max setting, which I doubled. I'll leave it where it is, since I can't really think of a worthwhile reason why it should ever be larger than that.
posted by mathowie at 12:30 PM on April 3 [+]
[!]


Oh, good. Thanks for the extra breathing space.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:36 PM on April 3 [2 favorites +]
[!]


There is no limit on comment length in the database itself. The field that holds comments is a unlimited text field, not a character based one.

You're a goddamn liar. Bet I can't get more than 2GB into the field. And what if I need to some day? Say I'm going to flame out but I need to mention a few things I've noticed in the past six years and about the listening devices my neighbors have set up and that funny-looking kid that I think works for the CIA, what with him always being on the swings and the other stuff from that cooking class I audited (hell if I'm going to sign my actual name on a piece of paper, even before that bitch started spiking my spices). Thanks for nothing. Guess I'll stay instead.
posted by yerfatma at 3:53 PM on April 3 [+]
[!]


All's well that wends ell, or something. Thanks, Matt (et al)!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:56 PM on April 3 [+]
[!]


« Older "Long tailed awesomeness" - or... | I did a google search, looked ... Newer »

Posting as: jewzilla (logout)
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posted by jewzilla at 10:19 PM on April 3, 2007


...sho nuff.
posted by jewzilla at 10:20 PM on April 3, 2007


I have a dream, that someday my 65 little comments will be judged not on the color of their skin, but on the (# of) characters in their contents.
posted by lostburner at 4:14 AM on April 4, 2007


I deserved to find this thread sooner so that comment could get all the attention it deserves.
posted by lostburner at 8:20 AM on April 4, 2007


too short, lost ; >
posted by amberglow at 11:56 AM on April 4, 2007


It's still getting attention.
posted by Mitheral at 9:35 AM on April 13, 2007


« Older "Long tailed awesomeness" - or...  |  I did a google search, looked ... Newer »

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