But I didn't. Instead I prevailed on a friend of his, a schoolteacher, to drive me on his motorcycle on his day off into Burma, so that I might smoke opium with the Meo tribesmen. I would pay him well for this, of course, and so we made the trip.
We had trouble crossing into Burma -- forbidden territory, but no one was paying any attention. And we found the Meo tribe, where he had taught in former years. Arrangements were swiftly made. I paid my money and was brought to a house on stilts, with a grass room. The breeze was delightful after the heat of the day. I was brought a pipe, and there was even a boy to light it for me. It was not a big deal for them. For me it was as much a literary experiment as anything else. I got very high, but I didn't have any of the hallucinations others have reported. I enjoyed it, I think, but I had no desire to repeat it again, and have not.
Not long after that I returned to Paris, and then London, and then New York.
I can still remember the day when I gave up drugs. I had returned from the Far East. I was staying in a friend's flat in London. I took acid to cheer myself up, and had the worst trip of my life. I remember crying for hours, in my friend's bleak apartment with rain falling outside. I had begun to repeat my acid trips. What I was having now was acid tape loops of all the worst trips of the past. Acid was telling me it was time to quit.
There was another factor, too. My ex-wife Abby had just accused me of being a junky. Me, a junky? How could that be? And yet, I knew it was true.
I dropped it all cold turkey. That acid trip told me I was killing myself, and that I had a choice of ways to go right there.
Back in New York, the city felt strange to me after ten years mostly in Ibiza. Many of my old friends were gone. They had moved out to greener fields and cheaper rents. I managed to find a place again in the West Village, but I didn't like it. The Village had undergone gentrification since I'd left, and prices were sky high. Even the couple rooms I had were overpriced by my standards, and my landlord was no gem. I tried to settle into freelance writing. I had at least one big project ahead of me. While in Europe I had begun a novel, called Dramocles. After a good start, I found myself unable to continue. But I had to finish it! I had taken a contract and spent the advance! I had to get square with my professional life!