It's the look. The look of someone totally unaware of their surroundings. The room is filthy, a pile of dirty clothes here, cat litter-tray there, drug paraphernalia everywhere. Rena, his girlfriend pretended to be concerned but at the same time seemed totally disinterested. On the floor of the back room, in amongst the filth and grime, lying unconscious on the sticky carpet, we found Dan.
Dan's face was pale, the colour drained totally from his face. His breathing was slow, shallow, barely enough to sustain his life.
"What have you been doing today?" I asked Rena.
"Dunno." She shrugged her shoulders for good measure.
"Where have you been?"
"Here. Didn't go nowhere."
"Has he had anything to drink?"
"Has he taken anything else?"
"Dunno. Don't care."
Her acting as the concerned girlfriend didn't last very long.
"I only called you lot 'cos I didn't want no cops coming round."
Too bad, I thought, they came with us anyway.
Dan's pupils were tiny, pinpoint sized, leading us, alongside all the other evidence, to an obvious conclusion. We'd guessed it anyway, for once jumping to the right conclusion as soon as we'd walked into the flat. When we asked Rena if she's had the same stuff, she denied knowing what "stuff" we were talking about. In the meantime a bag and mask were helping his breathing as we prepared the injection that would reverse the effects of the heroin and bring him back to life.
Moments later, already strapped in to the wheelchair, Dan started coming round. The look in his eyes changed, the life returned, and as we wheeled him to the ambulance, he began to respond in earnest.
"What're you doin'?"
"Taking you to the hospital. You overdosed and nearly stopped breathing. They need to keep an eye on you for a while."
"Did you give me that damn injection again?"
"If by damn injection you mean the drug that saved your life, then yes. We did. "
"I hate you. That gear cost me money!"
"Well, no money in the world would have helped you if you were dead!"
"I don't give a damn. I might not be dead - but I hope you die instead!"
That look in his eyes, the one so recently changed from death to life, turned suddenly from life to hate.