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Jul 13th, 2016
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  1. {{note|This is a fictional story involving characters from my comics, but real-life instances of things like this happening are abundant.
  2.  
  3. I read about a group of friends who were smoking crack together. One of them overdosed and nearly died. The others watched the incident in fear, but they didn’t stop smoking crack to help him.
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  5. When he regained consciousness, he went right back to the crack pipe. For the record, that true account was scarier than my story that you’re about to read, so you’re completely in your rights if you want to stop reading now.}}
  6.  
  7. Claude leaned against the wall in the area set up as a waiting room as he processed all that had occurred. It had been frightening to witness Red suddenly suffer what he realized was a heart attack, but he was thankful that he had been there to get him medical help. He was also thankful that he knew a competent underworld doctor. A lot of underworld doctors didn’t care at all, but with his connections he knew just where to bring his friend and business partner.
  8.  
  9. Red was in stable condition now, but Claude knew that you don’t just bring a heart attack sufferer into the hospital and boom, everything’s okay. Red’s heart would be strained now and it was too early to tell how badly his system had been affected and how long his recovery would be. The nurses had treated his heart attack so quickly that he didn’t think Red would have any significant brain damage, but there was always the possibility.
  10.  
  11. He heaved a sigh as he recalled what Red had been doing when he suffered the attack. Claude said nothing when he first saw Red pour cocaine into his glass pipe and smoke it. When Red started smoking so much cocaine that he needed Claude to give him injections of morphine just to come down enough to get to sleep, he still hadn’t said anything. However, over the past months Red’s use had gotten so bad that Claude could see he had a problem. Both he and Rob, the latest member of their gang, had started confronting Red about it, only to be rebuffed. He regretted not saying something to Red about it earlier. Maybe then things wouldn’t have gotten to this point.
  12.  
  13. Claude’s thoughts were interrupted by a nurse stepping up to him. “He’s awake now if you’d like to see him.”
  14.  
  15. Claude went into Red’s room. Red looked tired as he lay in the bed, but he looked up at Claude. “Hey.”
  16.  
  17. “Hey,” replied Claude. “How’re you feeling?”
  18.  
  19. “Tired.”
  20.  
  21. “Rob had some business to take care of, but he said he’d be right back to see you. You, uh, you really gave us a scare.”
  22.  
  23. Red managed to smile one of his wicked grins. “That’s what I do – scare people.”
  24.  
  25. Relieved that Red seemed to be okay, Claude told him, “Well, be nice to these people. It’s thanks to them that you can scare another day.”
  26.  
  27. “How long will I be here?”
  28.  
  29. “It depends, but we’re hoping it’s just a day or two.”
  30.  
  31. “Where’s my jacket?” Claude grabbed Red’s jacket, the one as white as a sun-bleached bone, off a nearly chair and handed it to him. Red thanked him and felt the pockets. He suddenly looked concerned. “Claude?”
  32.  
  33. “Hmm?”
  34.  
  35. “Where’s my pipe?”
  36.  
  37. Claude was stunned by the question. Hoping he had misunderstood, he asked, “wh-what did you just ask?”
  38.  
  39. “Where’s my pipe? It’s not in my pocket.”
  40.  
  41. “What do you mean, ‘Where’s my pipe?’!? We threw it out!”
  42.  
  43. Red was beginning to grow alarmed, “you know that’s the only way I use!”
  44.  
  45. “Exactly! You had a cocaine-induced heart attack!” Shock and disbelief had paralyzed him at first, but now something else suddenly took over. Not fully understanding what compelled him, he rapidly went to Red, gently but firmly placed his hands on both his shoulders, and looked directly into his eyes.
  46.  
  47. “Look, try to calm down before you give yourself another attack. We’re all friends here, and Rob and I aren’t going to hand you a pipe just so you can kill yourself with it! You hear me?”
  48.  
  49. Normally Red would have glared at Claude in an attempt to intimidate him, but he was too weak, and Claude was acting in a way he never had before. Staring at his friend, he replied, “yeah. I gotcha.”
  50.  
  51. Claude released his hold. Red watched as he went to a chair, sat down, and buried his face in his hands.
  52. [[Category:OC]]
  53. [[Category:Items/Objects]]
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