*This was published in a collection of remembrances of Gian that I edited.

You were born in West Virginia in 1974. I was born nine years later, in Virginia. I grew up in Florida. You went to college in New Orleans, getting a degree in philosophy. We both moved to New York City in 2001.

In 2005, the year I finished getting a journalism degree, I saw advertisements in NOON and The Paris Review for a new literary magazine called The New York Tyrant. The ad showed the backside of a standing, naked, obese man holding a sword.

I submitted a story and said, “Where can I get more information on The New York Tyrant? There's no information anywhere. Also, can you give me a job? I really want to work for The New York Tyrant.”

Someone—maybe you—replied, “The New York Tyrant is a brand spanking new strictly short fiction publication that will publish issues quarterly which will be beautiful books on the inside and out. We haven't any openings for workers or interns at the moment, but if you want to send us a resume, feel free to do so.” I didn’t send a resume.

Seven months later, I got an email signed “The Editors” that said, “The Tyrant thanks you for the opportunity to consider [my story]. After due consideration, however, we have come to the unfortunate conclusion that your story is not a good fit for our publication. Rejection is never a happy occasion, but rest assured that the anger and disappointment now stirring deep within your heart will only lead to greater things.”

“I hate you,” I replied. “No, just kidding. Thanks for the note.” A week later, I submitted another story, which I withdrew after a month when it was accepted elsewhere. Someone replied, “Damn. This is a good fucking story. Have anything else?” I submitted another story. A month later, after I withdrew it, someone replied, “Damn it, man. Give us a fucking chance.”

“Dear Tao,” you emailed me a month later, in February 2006. “Was at KGB the other night but had to leave before you read. Sorry I missed it. Look, we are already collecting for the second issue. If you have anything, send it our way. I promise I will read it as soon as it arrives. Your first two submissions got yanked so fast, we couldn't do anything for you. But we love your shit, so please resubmit.” The email was signed “GianCarlo.”

I submitted a story and withdrew it a week later. Three months later, I submitted a fifth story, which seems to have never elicited a response. Six months after that, I submitted a sixth story, which you rejected eight months later, in June 2007: “Hello. We're gonna pass on this one, though. Thanks though.” Your signature was “Giancarlo.” You didn’t ask me to submit again.

Two years later, in 2009, the year you started publishing books under Tyrant Books, you emailed me saying you’d started writing for Vice. You asked for a review copy of Shoplifting from American Apparel. Your signature was now “Gian.”

The next year, in June, I emailed you asking if I could send you a copy of Richard Yates. You said yes. On July 2, you emailed me, “Happy Birthday, Tao. I won't say to have a great day, because that's so hard sometimes. So have a good day.”

I thanked you, and you asked me if I knew a doctor who would prescribe Adderall, which you’d noticed me mentioning online. I gave you my phone number, and we began texting.

We met in person four weeks later. We met outside Bobst Library. I traded you Adderall for Percocet.

The next night, we texted and decided to hang out. I went to an in-progress reading that you were at. I sat on a sofa in front of a low table. You were on the other side of the table. You passed me your phone over the table. I picked it up and saw “Sip,” a typo for “Sup.” I don’t remember what we did that night, but the next day you texted me, “It was great hanging out with you last night. Still can't believe I lost those fucking pills.”

Early in August, you gave me instructions on how to get drugs from a Dr. Zhao in Chinatown:

Go in and be like, "I got in a car crash when I was 13 and I have back pains. I need a prescription of: if you ask for oxys, It's what I take and I've just moved to town." I'd say shoot low, like in the 30s and say you don't want Percocet because all of the fucking aspirin is ruining your stomach. You're not fooling him, but he just needs to hear that. He knows exactly what he's doing. I think first visit is like 80 bucks maybe less. And subsequent visits are like 50 sometimes 60. It's weird. The secretary just like says a number. And go across the street to fill it. They have like a partnership and don't give you shit for picking up 90 x 30mg oxys. Anyway, good luck. This is like Lord of the Rings. I'm like a troll leading you to the gold. (oh yeah, this troll charges a finders fee of five pills from your first prescription.)

In mid-August, we met at Think Coffee on 4th Avenue. I bought oxys from you. Afterward, I felt a pang of antagonism and disappointment when the drugs looked different than expected. I texted you, “Hey. 4 of these are blue with cursive Vs on them.” You responded, “I know. They look different but they are all oxy 30s. Trust.” And I trusted you again.

Late in August, I asked how you were doing, and you said, “Good, I guess. I'm always bored. Even with drugs.” I said I was also bored. To solve this problem, you worked on getting LSD and mushrooms.

In September, you published a review of my second novel. The review was titled “I like Tao Lin now.” It began, “I never fucking liked Tao Lin. I'd probably have liked his books more, given them their fighting chance, if he and his books hadn't been constantly shoved down my throat every day of the week for the past few years.”

By then, we were texting regularly. Our texts were mostly about drugs—praising, getting, using, selling, trading. I had just started using pharmaceutical drugs—out of boredom and curiosity—and was excited. You’d been using pills, powders, and psychedelics for an unknown amount of time, and seemed still excited.

I don’t know when you began to use drugs. Your cluster headaches, which you’d had since you were 15 or 16, were a factor. “In efforts to deal with this pain,” you wrote in a 2016 article, “I've orally ingested, injected, snorted and/or smoked oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, demerol, dilaudid, cocaine, heroin, codeine, morphine, and more, all to no avail.”

You introduced me to mushrooms and MDMA. You connected me with your dealer. We helped each other relieve boredom. I asked you questions like, “Is there a party in Williamsburg” and “Any parties or want to sell Oxys to me?” and “Any chance of me getting more MDMA tonight?” You asked me questions like “Where can I charge my iPhone in soho?” and “I have some oxies. Wanna buy?” and “Know of any parties tonight?”

We discussed masturbation:

Me: In a hotel in rural Georgia. About to chug an energy drink and 'jack off.'

You: lol

You: Does the energy drink increase the pleasure of the jack sesh? I never tried. Adderall makes me beat off like a madman.

Me: It does, I feel. More blood flow. Addy actually makes me hornier but harder to get/remain hard.

You: Yeah, same with coke. But that doesn't stop me. I'll pull on it either way. Like a madman.

Me: Me too. Me too…

You: I had a bunch of coke one time and jacked it looking at porn for over 24 hours. The whole time thinking to myself, "This is when you begin to lose your mind."

Me: Jesus…my record is probably ~2.5 hours but happens kinda often. I always feel good about it, seems like good exercise.

You: It's like, intense focus.

Me: It's probably as good or better than meditation for one's well-being. Someone should do a study. Meditation seems like…utterly no exercise.

You: I've always wondered if I could sit still, not touch my dick, and be able to come just by thinking. If the mind and body does it during "wet dreams" then it's possible.

We saw each other in-person irregularly, mostly at parties and literary events. You always looked very stoned, with a hooded, extremely calm, slightly dead gaze. Like me, you were gentler and quieter and shyer in person than you were online.

In February 2011, you texted me, “I love you. Happy Valentine's Day to you and Megan!” Then you texted me, “Don't know why I said I love you. I do, but like I'm kind of fucked up.” Two weeks later, I texted you, “Felt an urge to txt you 'I love you' & on only little Xanax and vyvanse,” and you responded, “I love you same.”

We had many ideas. We encouraged each other into productive activities—some panned out, some didn’t, some were jokes. You said Vice should send us to South America to use ayahausca. I published a selection of your tweets in my online magazine. In an email in June, you said, “I was scrolling through the last year of our drug-addled text messages. Some funny stuff in there. Could be an ‘epic’ Vice post someday.”

In October, Vice posted our texts from July 2010 to June 2011. We subtitled the post “a Dialogue of Texts in the Year of Drugs and Kindness” (after you died in 2021, I learned that many of your close friendships were based on playfully insulting each other; our friendship never had that—we were always polite and earnest; we only ever praised each other).

We weren’t sure if posting the texts, in which we giddily discussed buying, selling, trading, and using illegal drugs, was a good idea. The texts would appear unseemly to most people, we knew; our drug use seemed reckless and would be worrying to many people. But we also liked the idea—it seemed unexpected and funny—and so we decided to do it.

I was able to publish them because my only family in the States was my brother, and we weren’t close, and because I also wasn’t close to my parents then, and because I was a writer who didn’t need to protect my reputation. You were able to publish them for your own reasons. You didn’t need to protect your reputation either—you were an editor, writer, and bartender—and maybe you weren’t close to your family (you had a mom, a dad, two sisters, a brother, and a dead brother) or didn’t want or care about their approval, at least in terms of druggy lifestyle.

In January 2012, when you said your new dealer had asked you about books, I joked that he wanted to be in our next year’s “year of texts.”

“Lol totally,” you said. “He wants the fame. He's tired of living a life of drug world anonymity.”

“We should start our own drug dealing thing next year,” I said.

“Publish books from profits, like lit gangsters, would be fucking chill,” you said.

“Get writing residencies at Yaddo and use the time to figure out how to make our own MDMA.”

“Show up to Yaddo with a truckload of chemicals and haz-mat suits ‘We'll need our food delivered once a day, and no interruptions please.’”

In March, you said, “We need to hang more. I feel like you're like my best friend but I never see you URL / irl / I never see you URL lol,” and then, later, after Vice posted another year of our texts, you introduced me one day to a friend of yours whom I’d never heard of before. I remember him and/or you seeming kind of sheepish as one of you—I don’t remember which—said that he was your best friend.

In July, you said, “lol would be sweet if one of us died and then the one remaining (hopefully you) would just do one of lonely unreplied-to texts to no one.”

One reason we became friends was because we could discuss drugs openly and joke about addiction and death. Other reasons: we had dark senses of humor, were hard to offend, and felt like outsiders.

Besides texts, we also emailed. We emailed each other around 1000 times each. We emailed the most in 2012 and 2013. We discussed literature and drugs. We both wrote for Vice and Thought Catalog. We both had independent presses. We published some of the same people. We helped each other promote our writing and the writing that we published.

You sent me drug-related articles (“Sartre + mescaline = lobsters”) and videos (people smoking Salvia divinorum). I sent you a mattress recommendation. You sent me a link to an ostrich pillow—a pillow that encloses one’s whole head. I sent you a drug-related excerpt of a John Cheever biography. You sent me a concert that you did in your apartment—in Hell’s Kitchen—on piano on ketamine.

You talked about your cluster headaches. During what you called a “cluster headache season,” you flew to Italy to see your dad, who was sick. “I 'loaded up' on $1,500.00 of Imitrex shots and Stadol (nasal spray morphine, will save some to 'party' with you) yesterday to try and deal with them myself over there,” you said. “I feel like my affection for painkillers is like my subconscious making up for all the pain of 20 years of these damned headaches. Like getting my time back or something. But that is most likely my addiction rationalizing things for me. heh.”

Your headaches seemed nightmarish. Once, you told me, “Went and got more nerve blockers injected into my head yesterday so I have been headache free for like 20 hours now. Seems like a long time. Also, I am also using shrooms to cure the headaches and was on a mild trip when the doctor was injecting my skull. The injections swell and felt like bee stings afterward.”

In June 2012, you solicited me for your magazine again. I submitted an excerpt from Taipei, and you accepted it. You were thinking of stopping the magazine—it wasn’t “much fun” anymore and was a “moneysuck”—to focus on publishing books. You’d published around 6 books by then.

I told you that time was “moving way faster” for me. I asked if you’d had a period of time when time started to move faster.

Yes, in my late twenties is when it really started flying. A year is like nothing now. It used to seem like a lifetime. Also, there was like a four year period where I did nothing but party and I don't remember anything from that time. Maybe a couple of monumental moments, but mostly a blur of watching the sunrise every morning. I don't mind time flying though. I feel like I've done everything I want to do in life. Now I'm just like waiting for disease or tragedy. I don't know. Life is nice sometimes, but it mostly seems annoying/ridiculous.

In the same email, after mentioning that you hadn’t been drinking alcohol because it triggered headaches, you said, “I smoke weed all day, every day, but I have done that my entire life it seems,” which I hadn’t known; we’d previously never discussed cannabis, which at that point I rarely smoked and didn’t like.

On my 29th birthday, you sent me a song you’d improvised on piano. “I taught myself like three years ago,” you said. “I have hundreds of songs. Can’t read music, don't even know the names of keys. I only use white keys or black keys. Never been able to join them. I have to record them to remember them. Otherwise they disappear.” You sent me another song, and I said, “i feel like i'm listening to the soundtrack to 'gattaca'...have you seen that movie? one of my favorites.” You said, “I fucking love that movie.”

You told me about your acne. “I suffered from horrible, grotesque, not-ever-wanting-to-leave-the-house-and-see-anyone acne all through high school and some of college and afterward. It was literally hell.” I said your skin looked “great” now. “Thanks about my skin,” you said. “I could have turned out a lot worse, like deep ass scars and shit. I took Accutane twice. It's like this hardcore acne medicine that apparently causes suicides. But I think all of the suicides were caused from the acne. Whenever I see someone young with terrible acne, I kind of pray for them.”

In October 2012, I told you I was worried because I kept having reasons to extend a drug-binge that I was on, and you said, “I get in that postponing the end of binges too. Man, I think I'm really fucked up maybe. Whenever I like don't do painkillers for more than a week I have these vomiting attacks. And only eating painkillers helps me feel better. its like not even my mind but my body that keeps 'forcing' me to do drugs. I think I've ruined my stomach with drugs. Oh well. I'm sure it'll be fine.”

You interviewed me for Vice. In a part that our editor deleted, you asked me about obese people. The characters in my second novel had seemed to make fun of obese people, and you called me out on it. I tried to explain that I viewed obese people with sympathy. You said, “I don’t know, I feel like a lot of my attraction towards like fat guys or whatever comes from some kind of sympathy. Like I feel bad how they’ve been treated all their lives and like it’s, to be honest, sometimes I feel like that’s something... and then I think that there are other people that have been treated bad for other reasons and I’m not attracted to them at all so...I feel like there’s some kind of endearing quality in the fact that they’ve put up with a lot of shit for their entire lives and for some reason that makes me love them or something. I don’t know. It’s really weird that it manifests itself through sex.”

You gifted me a plastic figurine of a fat guy wearing a mask, and I kept it in view in my room. I sent you my favorite song by the band Swearin’—a song “about feeling empathy for obese or overweight people,” and you said, “what a great song. there should be like a fat music genre.”

In a 2010 essay, you wrote about A Confederacy of Dunces, which your father had gifted you when you were 21. “Until then, I’d always thought of myself as straight. I walked straight and I talked straight. I dated girls, I slept with girls, when I jacked off, I jacked off to girls.” You “fell hard” for the novel’s “waddling,” “chubby mess” of a protagonist. You “went fag,” you wrote, while reading the book.

I liked that you liked to revisit projects we’d done. You emailed me a link to our Vice interview a year after it was published and said, “just reading this. so good. it angers me how the sweetest lit shit is on Vice but it's completely overlooked.” The email ended, “Just did some coke and am drinking beers to sleep and looking at old shit that makes me smile.” Another time, you sent me a link to our texts and said, “rereading this, dying laughing. feel like it didn't get the accolades it deserved.”

After you profiled Junot Diaz for Playboy, you emailed me: “after my dad read the playboy piece he emailed me this: ‘I am so proud of you I am about to burst. I'm telling all of my friends about my brilliant son.’ He's never really complimented me before, or said he was proud. The email made me instantly cry. But like a joy cry.”

Your mom hadn’t believed you when you told her you were gay, I knew from an interview you did in March 2013, but your dad, who was “more worldly,” a fan of Oscar Wilde, had been supportive.

In mid-2013, I reached a kind of bottom with pharmaceutical drugs. I started using more psychedelics. I became obsessed with Terence McKenna, who promoted cannabis and other natural drugs, especially psilocybin. You got my interest in McKenna; you smoked weed as much as he did, and you loved psychedelics, in part because they helped with your cluster headaches—“nothing has provided me with even a 100th of the relief that psychedelics have,” you wrote in your 2016 article.

In most of the literary world, psychedelics seemed unseemly, but you encouraged me in my interest in McKenna and psychedelics. You encouraged me to pitch a column on McKenna to our editor at Vice, and I did. When I thanked you for your encouragement, you said, “Nice. It was an encouragement of a selfish nature because I want to read that shit.”

On psilocybin at around four a.m. in August, sobbing on my bed, I texted you, “Listen: an alien was in me. It was using my body to figure out this terrain!” I told you an alien was using me to “scope out this place,” to learn about “this thing we’ve got set up: family.” You said, “You don’t think they have families?” I said, “I’m laughing. No they do. Of course they do.” Then I called you. It was the first time I’d called you (I almost never called anyone). Years later, when I was writing about this in my book Trip—an expansion of my Vice column—I asked you about the call, and you said,

I think we talked about 20 minutes. I can remember saying, "Don't forget that you're on drugs so whatever is happening will wear off once the drugs do. Just don't forget that you're fucked up at the moment." I think we were laughing? You also said you thought I was controlling you but I convinced you that I was, in fact, not controlling you. You might have said something about my voice being soothing. I was a little worried at first but after talking to you for a bit, i knew you'd be fine. I was doing shrooms like every day for my clusters during that period so felt like I could kind of understand the trip you were having.

That winter, I stopped going to parties and being in social situations. I isolated myself in my apartment. I used cannabis daily. I stopped talking to my friends, who were still deep into pharmaceutical drugs, but I continued talking to you, because, though I wanted to distance myself from pills and powders, we now shared an interest in cannabis and psychedelics.

In March 2014, I emailed you, “i can hear so much shit going on in apartments around mine when i'm very stoned. i hear someone talking to his dog and i've never heard anyone talking to their dog and i like never hear a dog. i hear like 5 dogs right now,” and you replied, “lol. it's weird that in my building i sometimes feel like i can hear nothing from my neighbors and then other times, I can hear all kinds of shit. Like the guy upstairs with the piano who i started hearing play the songs i write and play on my piano. Like he heard me and then learned them and played them and i could hear it. Sometimes we would play at the same time and kind of play to each other i felt. Like I would play some, then he would as a kind of response.”

We discussed Asians and gays. “I wish Asians did more for me, they don't do shit for me,” I said. “Totally,” you said. “I wish gays did more for me. I feel like i dont reap enough minority benefits from being gay. Maybe if I added it to my twitter bio. But I guess if anyone ever attacks me (in writing or irl) I can always say that they are a homophobe or scream ‘I'm being hatecrimed!!’ Really need to exploit this minority position in society. Gays just don't like me, I think. I only have one gay friend (Mark Doten) and the gay community has always treated me weirdly. Like just because I have none of the stereotypes, they don't feel like I am truly ‘one of them’ but I guess they are right. I don't feel like one of them.” I said, “Felt strong connection with you on this, replacing gay with Asian.”

We discussed feminism. After you published Marie Calloway’s book, someone asked you if you considered the book “a feminist text.” You told me, “and I was just like, ‘I have no idea. I don't even really know what feminism is exactly, but I think the world would be better off in the hands of women.’ And then I think I was arguing that every country should do the opposite of China and they should kill the male babies and let the female ones live.” I said McKenna had had that idea—to mitigate male dominance by having fewer male babies—and you said, “He said that? Sweet.”

In May, I emailed you, “i'm extremely stoned. i just started daydreaming and thinking of how productive we're being during these past few years and how it'll be interesting to look back on things in like 10 years, in terms of literature. made it feel fun to keep going and see what happens.” You said, “Totally totally totally, all counts.”

In June, you emailed me, “dude. I did some h last night and I fell asleep standing up in my bathroom for 4 hours. I slept, standing straight up, for four fucking hours. I woke up mid fall face first into shower curtain and bathtub. Wish I could have that on video somehow.”

In May 2015, you asked if I had a mushroom contact. You said, “Been micro-dosing lately. Just eating like a large nibble every 4 days. I felt my headaches coming on twice this year and so ate like half a dose you would take to trip and it clear my head up and the headaches dont start. Its so amazing. It’s like the only thing in life that I feel like being political or an activist for, Gonna freakin’ march on Washington or some shit lol.”

That December, I told you about my evolving drug use—”Been alternating days of weed capsules and days of LSD while in Taiwan”—and you said, “Nice weed and LSD cocktail. Should be good. Seems I am inundated with powders here in the city. There is always some kind of powder around to sniff.”

You said you were going to Italy for two weeks. “When I was just there, I think I fell in love,” you said. “I mean, I did fall in love, but I can’t tell if it was just for four days or it is still happening to me. I’m totally sabotaging every aspect of my entire life lol.”

“Who is this person?”

“This guy I met in a train station in Campoleone, IT. Soon as we met he took me to have dinner at his mom’s lol. Going back on the 30th. We’ll see. I could just be being retarded. I feel like I’m halfway creating all this in my head. Oh well.”

A month later, in January 2016, you said, “Went back to Italy and I am in love. Breaking up with Chris and moving to Italy in April to live with this guy. Crazy.”

I wanted to leave New York City too, but I stayed that year and the next—2017—to focus on writing my book Trip and because, in fall 2017, I met someone and fell in love too.

In February 2018, you said you’d been “getting by” by dosing “like an 1/8th of a tab of acid every 5 or 6 days” for your cluster headaches.

In March, you emailed me, “remember the doctor i went to and tried to get him to see you?” with a link to an article titled “Doctor made $1M selling Xanax before bust: cops.”

You invited me to Italy: “Come to italy when you get a chance. Or if they send you on tour here, try to have a couple extra days so we can show you around. And we have a guest room and bathroom to stay in.”

You seemed to be doing well in Italy. You’d started a writing workshop that was popular. You seemed to enjoy teaching.

I moved out of the city in September, to a rural area in New Jersey. In 2019, I stayed out of the city, moving to rural areas in upstate New York—in Haverstraw, then Pawling—and then, in January 2020, to Hawaii.

In March 2020, I messaged you on Twitter (I no longer had a smart phone and no longer texted) a link to a book titled “SIP,” saying “It’s our book.”

“lmao NICE,” you said. “Chapter One. The event was crowded, but at least he had drugs. ‘I’ll never find a place to sit to listen to this boring shit,’ Tao thought just as he saw someone stand from their seat and walk towards the bar. He scurried over to the bench and sat down, filled with the small joy of not having to stand for an hour. Tao was blankly staring at the glass table at his knees when a cell phone appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, on the table before him. The screen was illuminated and open to the Notes app. One word, three letters: sip. What could it mean?”

“Gian made his way to the back of the reading, choosing a seat at a table where he couldn't see the readers and wasn't facing the stage,” I said. “He noticed a small Asian person sit down across from him. It was that annoying Chinese-looking kid who was always promoting his books online.”

“Tao looked up from the phone and across the table,” you said. “Smiling, and obviously on opiates by the look of his eyelids, sat this guy named Gian who had just written a Vice piece about me. It was called ‘I like Tao lin Now.’ This confuses Tao. Why didn’t Gian like him before? What has he done to him? But Gian had confessed his new feelings in the article and the love in the article dominated anything between them in the past.”

In April, I asked if Italy was still on lockdown. You said it was. “i’ve gotten used to it,” you said. “it’s kinda how i lived before anyway. i’ve always worked from home. sucks though because we can’t even go for walks or leave the house for anything except grocer and pharmacy. and been running for past few months but can’t now. it was so hard to get into i’m afraid i won’t be able to pick it up again.”\

In July, I asked how the lockdown was going. You said it was back to normal. You said “feel so much of america is fucked” and “i feel like i’m never gonna see people from america again. kind of scary. what a whack-ass year.”

“We got out of NYC at a good time,” I said. “We were there for the fun apocalypse, in 2010-2013.”

In January 2021, after listening to an interview you’d done for a podcast, I messaged you, “Liking your talk with Sean a lot. Making me miss you and also want to write.”

A week later, we talked about an idea you had for anthology of one story edited by different editors. I liked the idea. You said I should publish it. I said you should.

Then you said, “dude / i tripped my balls off last night / such a long story / but i thought i was god’s angel here to do his work / and had all the power in the world / so wild / i called my brother and sister and freaked them out / i was just medicating for my clusters and went too far lol / but so beautiful / the most beautiful experience i’ve had in my life / i was convinced i would be king of Italy lmao / feel so happy today.”

Two days later, out of nowhere, as a non sequitur, you said, “wild to think where we were 8 years ago.”

“yes. 2013. damn,” I said.

“lmao. i was a freakin mess,” you said. “‘gian r u there’ ‘the aliens’ ‘they’re interested in this thing we have’ ‘family’”. i owe you for getting me to this place where i finally feel happy and enjoy life.”

“lol, forgot the aliens texts, and calling you. your voice was coming out of my head, or from in my head, it seemed. was so sweet,” I said. “nice, glad you feel that way. i owe you for getting me into and out of whatever happened i think.”

“lmaooooo,” you said. “we owe each other. nice.”

You asked if I was on WhatsApp or Signal. “wanna tell you about something like just in texts or whatever but i don’t think i have your number or even if you use a phone anymore,” you said.

I didn’t have WhatsApp or Signal. I gave you my Google Voice number, where I could get text messages. I don’t know what you wanted to tell me—you never texted—but maybe it was about your new press.

A week later, on the first day of February, you tweeted “I’m launching another press soon. Please stand by…” with two images of the logo for the press, which was called DiTrapano. I messaged you, “what is your new press?” You sent me the logo, and I said, “sweet logo and name”

“thanks man. it’s gonna be huge launch. honor sean molly brodak gabriel.”

“excited,” I said.

“me too like tons. dreamt you said it wasn’t good.”

“damn,” I said.

That was the last time we talked.

Eight weeks later, I learned from a mutual friend that you’d been found dead in a hotel room in New York City, where you were visiting to have meetings with investors for your new press.

No one knows exactly why you died. The mutual friend said he’d heard that a bad batch of heroin had been going around New York City, and that multiple people had died.

You’d gotten the Johnson and Johnson vaccine on March 16, the one that was later banned federally for causing blood clots, which could have been a factor.

The last person you met might have been Hamilton Morris, another mutual friend. On his podcast, he said you’d visited him at his apartment. While there, you’d said your dealer was coming to sell you heroin. Hamilton had told you to be careful—the heroin might be cut with fentanyl. You’d told Hamilton that your dealer had said the heroin had been triple-checked for fentanyl. Hamilton had told you not to believe your dealer.

You’d wanted heroin in a celebratory way, according to Hamilton. You didn’t have a death wish. You had many plans and seemed excited about life and the books that you wanted to publish.

After your death was announced online, there was an outpouring of praise for you and your work. You’d published around ten issues of New York Tyrant, 24 books, and fifty-something pieces of your own writing.

The Believer and The Paris Review posted remembrances of you by your friends. It felt like you’d exploded onto the internet, infusing your friends and acquaintances and other people with your life and ideas, resulting in inspired pieces of writing in magazines and newspapers.

I tweeted “Feel heartened by all the praise of Gian and the sharing of memories of him. I feel like he's out there, seeing all this.” I tweeted a screenshot of our direct messages in which you said you were in a place where you “finally feel happy and enjoy life.”

I tweeted “Thank you for your friendship, Gian. Thank you for your warmth, support, playfulness, open-mindedness, ideas, energy, and excitement. Thank you for enjoying literature and drugs with me and for spending time with me. Thank you for publishing the books that you did. I'll miss you.”

I reread our correspondences—texts, emails—and collaborations. I printed and your published writing. I wrote a story about you. I thought about what you would have wanted me to say, what you would’ve wanted people to know.

And I organized a post in memory of you, posting it on May 11, 2021, six weeks after you died.