If Butchie's going to take the heroin, he better do it quick -- Kai just pulled up in her jeep. "Butchie's about to get caught wrong," Ramon says sadly, as he helps himself to a second glass of Cunningham's thimbleful of orange juice. "Isn't he alone in there?" poor, sweet naive Cunningham asks. Not if you count Sweet Lady H as a companion, Cunningham.
But Butchie is not using. He is still sitting far away from the bag of heroin when Kai knocks on the door. He answers. "Got your message," she says brightly. "Shortened my jingle." Now that, friend, is love -- responding to a dickish phone message with grace and aplomb. Anyhow, Butchie motions with his head over to the table where the heroin is sitting in plain sight. "I copped," he said. "I didn't use. I didn't want to use." He looks at Kai somewhat hopefully. "I think it's off me," he adds. He holds out his hand, she takes it, and they have themselves a nice little moment, which would ruined by one of my wise-ass little comments. So let's quickly cut to...
...the bathtub of Palaka's room, where he's up to his sternum in ice, vibrating like a five-year-old who's gulped down 32 ounces of soda, while Dr. Smith sits on the tub, doing a little introspection. "Is it sound judgment, Palaka, treating you here?" Dr. Smith asks. "Or just fear of humiliation?" "I'll go weeks without selling a sherbet," Palaka says weakly in response to this self-examination. "Not much grandeur for me, steering you into the E.R," Dr. Smith continues, "like some defrocked store-front operator waiting hat-in-hand for a resident to decide to admit you. I pray God that's not what holds me back." Palaka takes Dr. Smith's hand and pats it repeatedly: "Now, now, ma." Which raises the interesting question: If not for the tubful of ice and the noticeable shivering, would you really be able to tell Palaka was all that ill by his ramblings alone? Frankly, I've never found him more lucid.
Outside, Cissy has returned to the Snug Harbor. Ramon, who continues to make short work of Cunningham's orange-juice tray, observes, "Let me avoid this lady's tone of voice," and makes a hasty exit. Would that I could join you, buddy. Anyhow, Cissy's looking for Dickstein, which is odd, since they were just in the same place together and probably could have commuted over if she was that hepped up about keeping him in her sights. Cissy notices Kai's jeep and Butchie's van: "Are they fucking in there?" she demands. "Hard to say," Ramon shrugs, as he barely breaks stride. Indeed, it is hard to say -- "if the gone-to-seed motel is a-rockin', don't come a-knockin'" is one surefire way to determine who's doing whom, but any a-rockin' at this time could be caused by Palaka's ongoing shivering. So who knows, really? Cissy is left to talk to Cunningham, who gives her a breathy overview of the renovation plans taking place while she not-so-silently fumes -- about Dickstein, about her son and Kai, about everything.