She sits next to her cousin on arm of the couch. “Thank God—I thought you’d never ask.”

Warren reaches into his pocket and pulls out a clear baggie that contains a few prerolled joints, some loose marijuana, and a small, brightly colored bowl pipe.


Erin asks, “Where’d you get that from?”

“I brought it from New York.” His brow furrows as he clarifies, “Well, technically, I brought it from California to New York, and then here. It’s good shit—high-level medical grade. The janitor at my music studio has glaucoma.”

“But how did you get it past airport security?” my sister questions.

Warren explains proudly, “I keep it in my boxer briefs. That way, if I get picked for one of those scanner things, it just looks like the downstairs dreadlocks need a trim.”

I raise my eyebrows. “Now there’s a backup plan. If the music career tanks, you can always become a drug mule.” Drug smugglers have an extremely high rate of early, violent death. Awesome.

Warren passes Dee-Dee a joint and she lights up. Matthew makes his way over. “I could go for a hit of herb.”

Erin is hesitant. “I’ve never smoked marijuana before.”

Warren tries to be reassuring. “Then you’ve come to the right place. We’re all friends in the dope show.”

She still looks nervous, so I tell her, “Just say no, Erin. Only losers get high.” I point my thumb at Warren. “You really want to end up like Exhibit A over there?”

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Delores holds her hands up like claws. “Peer pressure! Come on, Erin—you have to try it at least once. Live a little, girlfriend.”

“And that would be Exhibit B.”

Erin takes a big breath and looks at me with wide, approval-seeking eyes. “I think I’m gonna try it. I mean . . . sometimes you just have to say, ‘What the f**k?’ . . . right, Drew?”

You can’t argue with a Risky Business quote. I shrug my shoulders in surrender, and Erin joins the rest of the stoners.

Jack’s not interested. “No thanks, man. I’m all about keeping the toxins out of my system these days.”

Alexandra declines as well, with a wave of her hand. Steven, however, says, “Sure, why not? I’ll relive my misspent youth.”

Alexandra snaps, “What do you mean relive? You’re a man—you’re still living your misspent youth.”

My brother-in-law holds out his hand to Warren. “Make mine a double.”

Warren passes Steven a full bowl and a lighter, while Matthew offers Kate the joint. She shakes her head. “Maybe later.”

I walk across the room, open a window, and turn on the ceiling fan.

Warren asks, “What about you, Evans? You down?”

I snort. “Like I’d ever put something in my mouth that hitched a ride next to your sweaty balls. I’d rather kiss a jungle elephant’s ass.”

Warren takes a long drag, and puffs of smoke escape his lips as he mocks me. “Narc.”

I deadpan, “Yeah, that’s me. On my off days I hang out with Johnny Depp down at 21 Jump Street.”

Already feeling the effects of the high, Matthew giggles. And announces to the whole room, “Nah, Andrew’s cool. But him and Mary Jane don’t get along. He tried her once in college. It didn’t work out.”

Kate leans forward. “I’ve never heard that story.”

“It wasn’t exactly one of my finer moments.”

Matthew laughs louder. “He took four hits, then started running around the house locking all the doors and windows. He thought his old man was gonna show up, or the SWAT team was gonna drop out of the sky. Then he had a panic attack.”

“I did not have a frigging panic attack.”

Matthew’s eyes meet mine. “Dude, I thought I was gonna have to haul your ass to the emergency room. You looked like you were going into cardiac f**king arrest.”

Everyone has a good chuckle at my expense—even Kate.

Warren nods his head happily. “Evans can’t handle the weed. Good to know. Now, if I ever want to mess with you, I know just how to do it.”

Friends are supposed to rag on each other. It’s one of the benefits of knowing everything about a person—all their accomplishments, all their embarrassing, dirty little secrets.

But that’s a hammer that swings both ways.

“Keep on walking down memory lane, Matthew. There’s a few potholes I could dig up on you too.”

He spreads his arms wide. “I’m an open book.”

I smile devilishly. “You sure about that?”

“Bring it, chump.”

I turn toward his wife. “Hey, Dee, Matthew ever tell you about the time he was so trashed, he pissed in Kelly Macallister’s mouth while she was giving him a blow job?”

Matthew sobers immediately.

Steven doubles over laughing.

“Ewwww,” Erin squeals. “That’s so gross.”

“That’s how he got his nickname in our fraternity—Golden Shower Fisher.”

Alexandra looks both sickened and amused.

Jack snorts, “Nasty.”

Kate grimaces and covers her ears.

Delores laughs at first, then turns to her husband and confesses, “I’m ruined. I’ll never be able to suck you off again without thinking of that story.”

Matthew glares at me good-naturedly, “You’re a dickwad, man.”

I just grin. “That’s what friends are for, buddy.”

Ten minutes later, Erin lies feet up in the recliner with heavy-lidded eyes. She raises one arm slowly, then the other. “This is great. I’m so relaxed.”

Steven’s face is slack as he motions toward the shiny grand piano in the corner. “Hey, Billy, why don’t you play something?”

Yes, asswipe can also play the piano. Just keep in mind—he may be a multifaceted tool, but he’s still a f**king tool.

Dee pipes up, “Good idea. Nothing goes better with a quality high than some smooth tunes. Make it mellow, cuz.”

Shit-for-brains gets up, settles himself on the piano bench, cracks his knuckles, and starts to play. After a few bars of instrumental, he starts to sing “Someone Like You” by Adele. It figures he’d choose a chick song.

As he croons the last line before the chorus—the one about things not being over between him and his former love, my good mood sours like milk left out of the fridge too long. This is why I always have, do now, and will forever hate Warren’s guts. Because, despite Matthew’s story about my experience with marijuana, I’m not a paranoid guy. I’m observant. Intelligent. Goddamn smart enough to know why—out of all the motherfucking songs he could have played—he picked this one.

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