One Last High

By Clegg, Bill | Newsweek, April 9, 2012 | Go to article overview

One Last High


Clegg, Bill, Newsweek


Byline: Bill Clegg

'It looks like Oz. This is what I think as Manhattan comes into view through the windshield of my friend Dave's jeep. The crowded towers poke the sky with their metal and glass and in the midday haze look faraway, mythic, more idea than place. We're driving in thick traffic that moves swiftly and in unison. A month ago I hadn't noticed the city receding behind us as we drove from Lenox Hill Hospital to the rehab in White Plains. Between Lenox Hill and rehab I've been in treatment for six weeks. He's offered me his place for a few weeks while I find somewhere to live. I've just finished four weeks in a small drug-and-alcohol rehab on the grounds of an old mental asylum. Dave drove me there after I was released from the psych ward at Lenox Hill Hospital, where I wound up after a two-month bender that ended in a fistful of sleeping pills, a bottle of vodka, a crack pipe stuffed to bursting, and an ambulance.'

The small literary agency I co-owned and ran for four years is gone, all my clients have found new agents, our employees have scattered to new jobs or left New York, and whatever money I once had has been wiped out, leaving in its place a rising debt of legal, hospital, and rehab bills. The eight-year relationship with my boyfriend, Noah, is over, and the apartment at One Fifth Avenue his grandmother bought him, where we lived for six years, is no longer my home. Hours later. Dave has helped me with my bags up the three flights of stairs to his small writing studio on Charles Street, said a stern goodbye, and gone home to have dinner with his wife and kids.

All at once it hits me: I'm alone. No one besides Dave knows exactly where I am. I could be doing anything. I've been an inpatient for weeks, under the thumb of nurses and doctors and counselors the entire time. No more morning gatherings, group meals, and in-bed-by-10 room checks. I'm alone and unaccountable. And then, like a dead ember blown to life, I think about my old dealers, Rico and Happy. I remember how I owe each of them a thousand dollars and wonder--despite all that's been lost, everyone hurt, despite everything--how I'm going to get two grand to pay these guys off so I can buy more? I start to puzzle through credit cards and PIN codes for cash advances. Suddenly a few thousand dollars seems within reach, and I can feel that old burn, that hibernating want, come awake. I imagine the relief that first hit will deliver and I'm suddenly up off the couch and pacing. No no no, I chant. No f--king way. That craving, once it begins, is almost impossible to reverse. What my addict mind imagines, my addict body chases. It's like Bruce Banner as he's turning into the Incredible Hulk. Once his muscles begin to strain against his clothes and his skin goes green, he has no choice but to let the monster spring from him and unleash its inevitable damage.

I've just got to get to 90 days.

Several days later, I remember a day two months ago, leaving the bank with $3,000 stuffed in my jacket, calling my dealer from the street and telling him to meet me at my room at the Gansevoort Hotel. I remember him saying he was only a block away and how my heart raced as I hailed a cab to get there before he did, how his van was pulling up to the hotel just as my cab was, and how I hopped from one vehicle right into the other. From call to cab to van and back to room took less than five minutes, some kind of record, and in the middle of the day, no less. Remembering the return to the hotel room, the wealth of drugs, the remaining cash in hand, and the night ahead starts my heart racing. I think again of the $2,000 in my account now. The two that will soon be eight. Following the thousand-dollar-a-day logic of those nights at the Gansevoort, three months' rent becomes eight nights high.

Out the door, down the elevator, and onto Seventh Avenue, where I quickly duck into a bodega and head to the cash machine. I have less than $200 in my checking account, but I also have three credit cards with separate limits for cash advances. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

One Last High
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.