The guy with wide, crazy eyes has the door open and is sprawled across the backseat before I know what's happened. I curse myself for not having the door locked, and am glad to hear that it's a short trip.

He begins to rant about how no one in Portland respects him. He played in the NFL for Christ's sake, for the Redskins. Do I have any idea what that means?

I ask what position he played.

Defensive end, he says.

Unwisely, I laugh, and tell him that I think of those guys as being up around 275 pounds. He explains that even though he's skinny now, it's because he's been doing more aerobics. He says that he's still really strong, and as proof he holds his fist out where I can see it.

It's as big as my knee, the arm coiled in muscle.

He mentions that he's also picked up a heroin habit—that helps keep his weight down, too. He changes his destination, then changes it again. He's fuming about his lack of respect, and that he can't remember where to score more dope. For only the second or third time, I find myself considering the panic button.

I pull up to the bar he's settled on, and as he pays he asks if we're going to drive around all night, hang out together.

An order thankfully pops up, and I tell him I need to go. He tosses me a big tip anyway.