Bijan Stephen's Suckin’ down a pop,” Cam replies, after a slight pause.

I’d asked him what he was doing via text. Twenty-four hours ago, we (minus Cam, our tap-dancing fisherman) were somewhere hazy in Midtown. Ishaan, whom Lars would go home with later that night, controlled the music while nursing a glass of some brown liquid; Diesel was on his third pop in twenty minutes.

Lars and I were delicately double-fisting, alternately sliding neat Jackie D and Budweiser down our parched throats. We both hated Rach when we met her, which is fifty per cent of the reason why I went home with her, beyond Harlem to Washington Heights, close to the Hudson River [1]. Her breasts were milky-white: dainty acorn nipples, whey-pale. She was salty. She likes back dimples. She hates ears. I wasn’t too drunk to enjoy her.

We got back to hers around 7:13am, finally sleeping at eight or so; on the way I stole an unripe nectarine, mottled red and white, from her neighborhood bodega.


Lars taught me how to wolf. I saw her do it once, drunk; it’s terrifying because it’s totally about speed. Cam and I rubbernecked, grotesquely fascinated, as she bit into the bottom of a pop—our features contorted as hers did, in sympathy.


She cracks the tab, slurping greedily at the hole she’s created: animalistic, beautiful. A foamy golden vortex pours into her mouth, and she sucks it down with only a little difficulty.


We call ourselves the Deviants, not wholly ironically. The name was Cam’s idea; he learned how to drink on an old fishing boat, just off the icy Alaskan coast, surrounded by grizzled men, old men, drunk men [2]. He’s maybe an inch shorter than me, with stocky limbs, fingertips, toes. I asked him how he’d like to die, once, after a few pops.

“I want to be out on a raft in the middle of the Gulf of Alaska, with a handle of Johnny Walker Red Label; I’ll just fall asleep,” he said.

A summer ago, after a month of no contact, a chat from him arrived in my inbox.

Cam: no cabin but i sleep with a bottle of jack or mcnaughton's in my bunk on the fo'c'sle of the ship
  lol....i am gets mad lonely and tiring

Cam likes to drink alone, usually while reading philosophy; Lars prefers poisoning herself with other people. Their habits complement my own, which is why we started our little group. We actively recruit.

“You’re joining our clique. You can’t fucking play Starcraft all day,” Lars texts Alex, Beefeater and tonic in hand. In the end, this aids his candidacy.

Twenty-seven hours ago I was in Prospect Park with Lars and Taryn. We were strapped, carrying a sixer of pops—Dale’s Pale Ale—ready for a concert we wouldn’t gain admission to; in the hour that follows, I drink five.

We lay down in the grass around 7:33pm, listening to vaguely distorted sounds of Kishi Bashi. As we sucked down, the sun followed; then, slowly, fireflies rose from the ground, blinking green lights whirling all around us.

When I lit my third cigarette, drunk, around 8:16pm, they had risen to cover us.


Cam’s brow furrows when he reads Freud. He’s drinking something from China that tastes like watermelon Laffy-Taffys, dipped in oil and MSG, lit on fire. Lars is still working on that Beefeater and tonic.

She’s got this stick and poke of a gibbous moon on her ankle—slight and witchy, just like her. When she perches (she never sits) on the arm of Diesel’s blue cloth sofa, whiskey in hand, I think it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if Rach noticed, even after she asked if Lars and I were sleeping together.

For her own part, Rach has a tiny stud below her lower lip; it’s not witchy, and I can’t decide if I like it. The next day, before we ate mediocre eggs, I’m still thinking about it while she turns away from me, slipping out of last night’s camp shirt and running shorts, showing me her creamy, slight back. She points out her back dimples. Today, she doesn’t wear a bra—Lars never does, either.

Sixteen hours ago, as Rach shows me her dimples, Lars writes this:

in the morning, the light poured in—i write about it a lot, morning light, but i don’t write about how it leaves your mouth dry, your body suddenly a new animal that moves differently without ninety milliliters of whiskey in it, and all this sweet and sour heavy new skin.


two-hundred sixty four hours ago, on the fourth of july, cam, lars, and myself sit on a roof we christen Howe St. Beach; our pops are Schafers, grandpa beer. we have thirty. it does the job. to ensure our complete dissolution, lars and i buy a fifth of some cheap brown firewater.

after we lose the cap, it does the job. we’re always drinking. the sun sets, mottled red and white, a stolen unripe nectarine.

1. Somewhere in the vicinity of the 181st Street A express stop and the Hudson-View Restaurant, to be exact. They don’t make decent eggs, we found out the next afternoon.

2. One of these men gives us the phrase we now abuse, suckin' down a pop.

Bijan wears round glasses. His work has appeared in the Huffington Post, Quartz, VICE, and Kill Screen; if you do some creative googling, you're bound to find more elsewhere. He gives great tweet at @bijanstephen.