"Ellory," I said. "What the fuck are you doing here?" He looked up and focused his eyes on me. "Hey, Saul," he said "I came here with... Betty." "Who's Betty?" "Betty is... Betty." "Okay. Then why are you in here alone quoting Joseph Moncure March?" Ellory grinned broad and said out loud, "So wassha use drinkin'? Makesh me mad! Makesh no different how many have had! Noshir!" I joined in with him on the last line, quietly. Quoting The Wild Party at each other was a friend habit. "You okay, man?" "I dunno, man." I took a glass and poured myself a whiskey and sat down next to him. I took a sip and tasted the sharpish tang of the Bulliet Rye, followed by that sweetness. I smelled the sand and the oak and the cedar bookshelf behind us. I waited for Ellory to decide he wanted to talk. We listened to the glistened tittering and West Coast Jazz coming from the other room. "Do I seem fucked up to you?" Ellory asked. "A little bit," I said. "I think there's something in the coke." "I don't do coke," Ellory said. "Man, I've seen you do coke." "I've seen you do coke, Saul. You've never seen me. I don't do it." I had a very clear memory of Ellory and I doing a bump at my condo. I remembered the rush of it very well. Did my memory betray me? Had it manufactured a false vision, because I assumed that when I lowered my head on my glass-top table, he had done the same? "Then what?" I said. "I don't even smoke weed," said Ellory "All I do is drink, and not much of that. Usually I absent myself at parties like this, just like I'm doing now."