I. "The bad news is: You're falling through the air, nothing to hang on to—no parachute. The good news is... there is no ground." To inject, place black end against outer thigh, then firmly—five... four... three... two... one... injection complete! Please seek emergency medical care! The darkness swam before her eyes, pops of light like the flash bulb on an old polaroid slowly, slowly revealing... the halogenic glow of a Quik-N-Easy. She knew it was after dark, because her eyes—still adjusting to the bright, white interior of the gas station—couldn't quite discern the parking lot outside. She knew she'd fucked up, because a great big paramedic whose name tag read PICKENS was hoisting her up into the air and setting her ass-first on the grimey countertop next to the register. "She's back," Pickens declared, disrupting her pupils by penlight. She cringed, feebly lifting a shaking, shuddering hand to shield her eyes. "You're back. You OD'd. Do you remember what you took?" "Nar... narcan?" she asked muddily. "No, honey, we gave you the narcan. You're flushed out. Are you on a script, or was it heroin?" "Yeah," she answered dismissively, brow furrowed as she cast her gaze limply around the room. "Yeah, heroin." "Okay. You're gonna—" She interrupted Pickens by hurling on his chest, thick chunks of a half-digested burger, pink and raw. Bile burned her throat and nose, and her stomach tightened like a fist as she bitterly fought the incoming waves of nausea. "—come on, let's get her out," Pickens grumbled, an undercurrent of annoyance souring his tone. "S-sorry," she murmured weakly, pushing down the urge to sob. "Your shirt, I'm... I didn't—sorry." Another paramedic rolled a stretcher into the store, and one loose wheel jiggling fruitlessly against the tile floor struck a chord in her belly. She threw up again, all water and bile this time, and she wondered briefly if she'd just ruined the start of some register jockey's third shift. "One. Two. Three," Pickens and his partner counted down, lifting her up from the countertop as if she weighed nothing at all. They deposited her on the stretcher, which barely shifted under her mass. Once they'd strapped her in, the stretcher was wheeled out into the parking lot, down a wheelchair-accessible entry ramp, and up into an ambulance's open bay, where the stretcher's legs buckled and folded so that it could be slid inside the van. She lost consciousness as Pickens pulled the doors shut.