The Eternal War is Here (excerpt)

opium den.jpg

Once I was lying comfortably she disappeared again into the back room and reemerged bearing a tray on which were arranged a pipe, a lamp, and several other implements and vessels.  And a book of matches from Trader Vic’s.  She lit the lamp, adjusted the flame, then used a tool with the look of a Civil War dental instrument to scrape out a pea-sized ball of opium from a little lacquer box.  Picking up another needle, or skewer, she heated and kneaded the pellet of opium over the low flame.  When it was warm and soft enough she put it into the opening at the top of a hexagonal ceramic bowl plugged into a long bamboo pipe with silver fittings.