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“I knew gene therapy was the answer,” exults Alexandrei. “The rats are ignoring the laced pellets entirely! We’ve done it, Susan. We’ve cured addiction!”

“And still no side effects?” she says, a little stunned.

“None!” says Alexandrei. “I mean, they do experience a serotonin surge, but that’s hardly a negative. I imagine they just feel excited for a while.”

“And it’s a one-time treatment, or…”

“Well, no,” he frowns. “The body rejects the foreign matter, so they need another dose every day or–”

“Will it,” says Susan slowly, “at least be cheaper than an eight-ball?”

Alexandrei bites his lip.


1985: This book would not have been possible without the help and support of my parents, Alexandrei and Susan, my dear friend Vera Linares, and God.

1989: This writing of this book owes a great deal to Miss Vera and the CBLDF.

1991: This book was written for all of you, and it comes without apology. I’m done.

1996: This one goes out to you, my Vera, my heartsong, who saw me through a great and nearly endless night.

1998: To Vera, with love.

1999: As always, for Vera.

2001: This book is for Vera.

2003: This book is for Jen.