I asked Karina if she feared death.

She shook her head and told me she didn’t.

I wiped my nose, then the whole world washed in around us.

I’ll never forget that evening – or early morning I guess you’d call it – my first encounter with exuberant energy, an actual confidence pulsating through my veins. My waking moment began with a snort, only to end in an existential retort. It wasn’t the dark Reaper I feared it would be. Instead, I was the king of my inebriated world. I didn’t have to succumb to my fateful tomb – unless I wanted to.

Now, while I wouldn’t mind going out in a ball of lustrous flame, smoldering to my eternal demise on the midnight streets of DP like my neighbor’s newest La-Z-Boy, it’s times like these in I.V. when my philosophical thoughts wander from the blooming, chirping spring towards my howling, plaguing dreams.

The wind rushed against my face, beneath a receding sun. I threw the football. As it wobbled out of control, crash landing into a heap of oil-ridden sand, I noticed her in the ]distance.

She rode an incoming wave onto the beach and then laid down in the moist sand.

Tim tossed the football back, but I didn’t see it until it came spiraling past my head.

“Shit, she’s in trouble,” I thought.

Ignoring the friendly toss of the pigskin as if it were a lowly bag of shake, I made my way along the beach to see what was up. Little did I know that once I got to her I’d find her beneath the sun’s piercing rays, clinging to the last few breaths of life.

Tim followed. I stopped. We stared.

I didn’t know what to do. I’d never been this close to one before – well, except when that one kissed me at Sea World. She started to crawl up the beach, further and further from the sea that spewed her from its protective womb.

I couldn’t understand. Maybe my stash was more potent than I had anticipated, or maybe the sun had switched from the usual barbecuing of my skin to the saut