I stopped smoking, it was McClaid. From hyperventilation. Take one step you’re wafted on top of the shrubbery. You lose your hands and feet, then your head just bounces away. Except with McClaid you are paired. For protection. Me and a girl named Beryl. McClaid would give us a dose and send us down flagstones. A pretty walk. An English garden. We’d hold hands and float towards the hedge. “Stop us. Beryl,” I’d holler. On a good day she’d anchor left, we’d tumble and roll. Pull at each other like taffy saying “sh. . . sh. . .” and try to make it erect before visitors came around the corner. We could hear their voices approach. Mustn’t frighten somebody’s mother. I’d grab a spiky bush and pull myself up, hang on bleeding. Beryl bracing herself against me. We stood in the thorns while the visitors ambled by.
“Has it been half an hour?”
We tried to think of an hour and divide it by two.
“No, do it by minutes. Think of a minute thirty times,” said Beryl. No use.
“See that tree? It must b…