Start with a low point. It's a public school bathroom. A boy, fifteen, maybe sixteen, walks in—T-shirt, jeans, burst of curly hair. He sets a piece of paper on the counter next to the sink. From his pocket he pulls out a tiny Ziploc bag, a single-edge razor blade, and a short segment of a straw. It takes him a minute to open the bag; his fingers are shaking beyond their typical pubescent clumsiness. Onto the piece of paper tumble two small blue pills. First he places the blade on top of them, then presses his palm down, as a chef would do to cloves of garlic, until the pills give way and break apart under the force. Then he begins to chop, aiming for the large pieces, methodically sweeping the debris into a pile, repeating until only a fine powder remains. Satisfied, he bends over and places the straw to his nose with one hand and presses the opposing nostril closed with the other. He vacuums up the powder into an abused sinus cavity, then turns and walks back out the door to finish the school day.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.