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A few hours, and a lot of alcohol later Sebastian introduced himself to me. He was a tall, lean Mexican, wearing an expensive silk shirt, open at the throat, with a gold chain strategically exposed. He wore a similar chain around his left wrist.

Proffering a limp handshake, he pulled up a chair and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. . .free booze. The waitress arrived with a couple shots of Jose and a few drinks for Sebastian and his entourage, which consisted of two white boys, Samuel and Frank, who were dressed in similar fashion as their fearless leader. I doubted that Sebastian was the man’s real name and figured that he was some Skid Row wannabee copying the name of the rock band’s lead singer, who was in turn copying the name of the famous classical composer.

But what did I care when he was buying the drinks?

Our long-legged waitress in a short black skirt brought the drinks, and Sebastian paid her with a hundred dollar bill. When she came with the change he handed her a twenty as a tip for her several minutes of hard work putting up with drunk jerks like ourselves - who couldn’t help but ogle her as she traveled to and from the bar.

After a few minutes of conversation about motorcycles and cars - evidently Sebastian owned a tricked out Camaro - he got to the point.

“Hey, you seem like a cool guy. What are you doing after hours? I’ve got a party going and I’ve managed to score a little coke.”

At the time I didn’t realize that this was the whole point of meeting me. It was the tactic of drug dealers world wide. A little free coke to begin with and a paying customer later. I was still trying to drown out memories of Heather, and whether I could admit it to myself or not. . .I was in self-destruct mode. I pegged him for a party guy who wanted to share a little bit of his joy, but I had already figured out another way to forget about my former fiancee - at least for a little while.

My eyes found Stacy’s trim form leaning up against the bar, full lips wrapped around the straw of an umbrella drink. Her skirt was slit up the side and her blouse cut low. I wondered what else she was hiding beneath that provocative outfit. She saw me looking at her and smiled.

“Maybe some other time,” I told Sebastian. “I’ve got other plans for tonight.” I shook hands all the way around and wandered off with a full shooter in my hand. Paul saw me coming and pulled me aside.

“Hey buddy. I know I’ve only known you for a little while, but do you mind me giving you some advice?”

I blearily shook my head as he began to speak.

“Sebastian is a bad mother. Keep your distance from him. He’s trouble.”

I clapped Paul on the back. “Thanks man.” Though not much of his warning had registered on me in my intoxicated state, I was sober enough to appreciate the sentiment. Paul cared enough about me to watch my back. In a sense, I felt that he had taken me under his proverbial wing. I think that there is something essentially needy about me that makes people want to take care of me.

With all the alcohol in me, I was breathing easier. In some ways, drinking was a form of self-medication against cystic fibrosis. Every minute of the day, breathing was an effort. When I drank the pain eased up. Breathing wasn’t so difficult anymore. . .or at least I couldn’t feel the struggle so much.

I found Stacy and we left Johnny’s. Unbalanced from an evening of drinking, she clung tightly to me as we left the parking lot on my CBR 600. Riding my bike took a

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