It was more like trying to pull something heavier than you

‘Hold on to your heart,’ C said, watching the needle go in. The pharmacist slid it in expertly, horizontal and flush to the skin. Gately had never done Sunshine. Next to ungettable outside a Canadian hospital. He watched his own blood ruddle the serum as the pharmacist extended his thumb to ease the plunger back. The pharmacist’s assistant could really boot. C’s tongue was in the corner of his mouth as he watched. The corporate guy had Fackelmann’s arms held tight and a transvestal who’d gotten in behind the chair held his head by the chin and hair as the gray lady knelt before him with her threaded needle. Gately couldn’t keep himself from watching the stuff go in him. There was no pain. He wondered for a second if it was a hot shot: it seemed like a whole lot of trouble to go to just to get him off. The pharmacist’s thumbnail was ingrown. There were a couple eczema-flakes on Gately’s arm where the guy was inclined over it. You get to like the sight of your own blood after a while. The pharmacist had him half booted when Fackelmann started screaming. The scream’s pitch got higher as it drew out. When Gately could look away from the stuff going in, he saw the librarian-type lady was sewing poor old Count Faxula’s eyes open. A kid on the playground had used to turn his lids inside out at girls like they were doing now to poor old Faxter. Gately gave a reflexive jerk toward him, and C hugged him tight with one arm.

Easy,’ C said very softly

The taste of the hydrochloride in the Sunshine was the same, delicious, the taste of the smell of every Dr.’s office everywhere. He’d never done Talwin-PX. Impossible to get scrips for, the PX, a Canadian blend; U.S. Talwin’s got .5 mg. of naloxone mixed in, to cut the buzz, is why Gately only did NX on top of Bam-Bams. He understood they’d given Fackelmann the anti-narc so he’d feel the needle as they sewed his eyes open. Cruel is spelled with a u, he remembered. Linda McC. sounded borderline-psychotic. The little gray lady worked fast. The eye that was already sewed open bulged obscenely. Everybody in the room except C and the corporate guy and grim lady started shooting dope. Two of the fags had their eyes shut and their faces at the ceiling as if they couldn’t take watching what they were doing to their arm. The pharmacist was tying off the passed-out Pamela Hoffman-Jeep, which seemed like insult+injury. There was every different kind of style and skill-level of injection and boot going on. Fackelmann’s face was still a scream-face. The corporate-tool guy was dropping fluid from a pipette into Fackelmann’s sewed-open eye while the lady rethreaded the needle. It was just seeming to Gately he’d seen the fluid-in-eye thing in a cartridge or movie the M.P.’d liked when he was a Bim playing ball on the chintz in the sea when the Sunshine crossed the barrier and came on.

You could see why the U.S. made them cut the buzz. The air in the room got overclear, a glycerine shine, colors brightening terribly. If colors themselves could catch fire. The word on the C-II Talwin-PX was it was intense but short-acting, and pricey. No word on its interaction with massive residual amounts of I.V.-Dilaudid. Gately tried to figure while he still could. If they were going to eliminate his map with an O.D. they’d have used something cheap. And if the librarian was going to sew his eyes open. Gately was trying to think. Too they wouldn’t have got him. Him. Got him off.

The very air of the room bulged. It ballooned. Fackelmann’s screams about lies rose and fell, hard to hear against the arterial roar of the Sun. McC. was trying to muffle a cough. Gately couldn’t feel his legs. He could feel C’s arms around him taking more and more of his weight. C’s arms’s muscles rising and hardening: he could feel this. His legs were, like: opting out. Attack of floors and sidewalks. Kite used to sing a ditty called ’32 Uses For Sterno Me Lad.’ C was starting to let him down easy. Strong squat hard kid. Most heroin-men you can knock down with a Boo. C: there was a gentleness about C, for a kid with the eyes of a lizard. He was letting him down real easy. C was going to protect Bimmy Don from the bad floor’s assault. The supported swoon spun Gately around, C moving around him like a dancer to slow the fall. Gately got a rotary view of the room in almost untakable focus. Pointgravè was vomiting chunkily. Two of the fags were sliding down the wall they had their backs to. Their red coats were aflame. The passing window exploded with light. Or else it was DesMontes that was vomiting and Pointgravè was taking the TP’s viewer off the wall and stretching its fibroid wire over toward Fackelmann against the wall. One of Fax’s eyes was as open as his mouth, disclosing way more eye than you ever want to see on somebody. He was no longer struggling. He stared piratically straight ahead. The librarian was starting on his other eye. The bland man had a rose in his lapel and he’d put on glasses with metal lenses and was blind-high and missing Fax’s eye with the dropper half the time, saying something to Pointgravè. A transvestal had P.H.-J.’s torn hem hiked up and a spiderish hand on her flesh-colored thigh. P.H.-J.’s face was gray and blue. The floor came up slowly. Bobby C’s squat face looked almost pretty, tragic, half lit by the window, tucked up under Gately’s spinning shoulder. Gately felt less high than disembodied. It was obscenely pleasant. His head left his shoulders. Gene and Linda were both screaming. The cartridge with the held-open eyes and dropper had been the one about ultra-violence and sadism. A favorite of Kite. Gately thinks sadism is pronounced ‘saddism.’ The last rotating sight was the chinks coming back through the doo, holding big shiny squares of the room. As the floor wafted up and C’s grip finally gave, the last thing Gately saw was an Oriental bearing down with the held square and he looked into the square and saw clearly a reflection of his own big square pale head with its eyes closing as the floor finally pounced. And when he came back to, he was flat on his back on the beach in the freezing sand, and it was raining out of a low sky, and the tide was way out.

— David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

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