The neglect of sleep never fails to appear feasible until the following afternoon when the body begins to sputter and lag to reveal the falsity of that feasibility. This is accompanied by any number of individual symptoms that differ from mind to mind and day to day—mine is a squatting pang behind my right eye that has already made it clear that it intends to stay until I sleep. For this exhaustion and lethargy of body, I received the experience that revealed how my mind reacts to cocaine.
It was no surprise that it was a pleasant effect constituted of excitement, delight, attentiveness, stimulation, and heightened self-assurance, but what I did not expect was realizing that for this effect, men ruin themselves. I do not hesitate to say that it is a delightful sensation and if I were exposed to it some years back, perhaps I would have been more impressed and consequently, more likely to return, but for one already delighted with all that is within and beyond him, it is far from remarkable. This is not to say that I am intent to never again glide along those white lines made menacing to some, dreadful, only by the aid of misconception, but that I would not deign to even desire it let alone search or pay for it (a few days have passed between when I wrote this and now, as I’m typing it, and it seems appropriate to add that I was far more willing to deign than I thought then, under the influence of sleep deprivation). In the same manner as the cigarettes I do not consider to indulge in for there being insufficient incentive to justify the effort required for indulgence. Only when offered, and even then, only if it would be improper to do otherwise, do I smoke and I think it will be no different for this pleasant powder.
It was the novelty that made it easy to accept the friendly offer in this hostel. My last entry was interrupted prematurely by an invitation to join two guys for conversation on the roof. After two or so hours of discussion, I was given cause to laugh when with a casual tone I will not soon forget, one of the two asked if we wanted some cocaine. It must have been more than two hours of conversation because it was just as I was ready to retire for bed. I have been primed to regard such things with apprehension but I could see no harm in a line, if only to become acquainted with the taste. I have introduced a number of artificial medicines to my system over the course of my youth and this was the first that did not leave a sort of metallic, odious taste to linger. Its was a peculiar taste I have never known before, neither especially pleasant nor unpalatable but neutral, as a grain or unsweetened corn flake is. I cannot even remember when the last time I inhaled anything but the air around me was; the association between the practice and my youth is solid enough to give it a juvenile character in my mind.
The line rejuvenated the three of us and rekindled the flame of conversation until it came to its initial intensity, at which point another line was suggested to prepare us for the challenge of maintaining the conflagration. This continued well into the morning and considering the tireless dispositions of my two friends, it would not have stopped if the powder was not expended. Without the kindling of cocaine, the conversation slowly assumed that pace natural between three men who have not slept. Needless to say, nine hours of cocaine empowered conversation is among the greatest of pleasures when the individuals have differing ideas.
Between the Englishman, a Swiss man, and myself, all that young men could discuss over nine uninterrupted hours was likely passed beneath our inspection. Politics, religion, music, the human condition, personal and relevant experiences, morality, women—an interesting subject when of the three, one is married—and art took their turns and inexplicably came under discussion with a sort of seamless flow as the night passed, undoubtedly bored with our unwavering voices. It gives me pleasure to acknowledge that names were not even exchanged until close to the afternoon when hunger became intolerable and we left for a nearby market.