humor

Giddy Up

If American Horror Story connects the seasons, is it still an anthology? Lately, I’ve had a hard time deciding what to talk about. I feel like writing Halloween stuff, but didn’t want to overload you with ghost stories. For my style, that pretty much leaves something embarrassing or scandalous so I thought hey, let’s do both.

You want to think this doesn’t really happen, but it does. People rode horses down a highway just to get to a western store on horseback. I still don’t understand why.

I’ve told you about the western store I worked at and mentioned a pervy boss, he played a role in The Incest Cliche. The 2+ years I worked there are a rich tapestry of Dixie Drama at its finest, but today we will focus on the owner.

The only background you need is, Crook was fed up with my being jobless. I had to adult long enough to venture into the world for work. Applying online was a luxury for few, I had no clue where to begin. During a morning smoke with my neighbor, I explained the dilemma, hoping she could recommend how to proceed.

“Actually, I heard that little western store, the one across from the mall, was hiring. Do you know it? I think it’s called Giddy Up.” She said.

“If it’s not a restaurant or open past dark, I’m in.” With the world experience of a 19 year old, I clearly knew what I wanted from life.

You like the new map? No more hand drawn atrocities for you guys! Please note the blank space in the middle was a 4 way opening, but it’s important for later to understand the wall didn’t end there.

I drove to town, found the store, and cursed my nervous pit stains as I walked in, arms tightly clinched. Approaching the counter, I saw a portly, older gentleman who suspiciously resembled Trump without the bleached wig and spray tan. Let’s call him Don, he was the owner. Don sat at a table with two women, both appearing close to my own age. Full disclosure, I can’t judge age. At all. If I ever guess, please understand I’m probably wrong. In this case, Sara and Jane were 10+ years my senior.

Sara was the manager, and Jane read magazines until closing when she did money stuff. Before we dive too deep, please understand, I have nothing but respect for my coworkers. They were mostly good people making the best of bad situations. Finding a good job in a small town is hard, we do what we must to feed our family. That being said, Don was a disgusting pig and deserved everything he got.

“Can we help ya?” Don asked with a head nod to Sara.

“Hi, my neighbor said you all were hiring, I wanted to fill out an application.” No stutter, it was a miracle. I directed my question to Sara as she approached the counter. She looked to Don for guidance.

“Nawp, I dunno where they heard that, but I can barely afford these two.” Don answered, waving his hand between the women with his best good-ole-boy accent. “You can leave your name and number if you like. We’ll give you a call if anything comes up.”

Sara passed a pen and sticky pad across the counter. Knowing this interaction was the southern way of saying ‘we don’t know you so we’re giving you the brush off’ I wrote my information with a smile and left quickly. Technically, I applied for a job. After sending Crook a highly exaggerated text about my fantastic interview, I drove home to recover. Tv told me it can take weeks, possibly months, before one is actually hired. Imagine my surprise when the very next day, not an hour after Crook returned home, my phone rang. In ye olden days, it was common practice to answer a number you weren’t familiar with. I knew I was doomed the moment I answered.

“Hi, this is Jane from Giddy Up.” After routine pleasantries, she got to business. “We hoped you could start tomorrow, we open 9-6 Monday through Saturday. Could you be here by 8:30?”

Crook was grinning like the Joker. I clearly had no choice. But tomorrow?! “Oh, absolutely… thank you so much. I’ll see you tomorrow.” I answered with my best fake, happy voice.

One of my OCD traits forces me to arrive a minimum 30 minutes early. Sara was the first to show at promptly 8:30, and wasted no time approaching me. “We don’t open til 9, sorry.” She pointed to the store hours, clearly posted on the door, and walked away.

“Right, I’m the new girl, they told me to be here at 8:30.” I called after her, awkwardly trailing behind.

She paused in the middle of unlocking the door, looking me over closely. “They did? You sure?” She sounded confused, but I often misunderstood sarcasm.

She must be joking… “Haha… yes. I am sure.” I smiled, hoping it appeared genuine.

Spoiler Alert: she wasn’t joking, I was hired by accident. They genuinely didn’t like the look of me, but Don loved the pretty, single mom who brought her baby to apply shortly after myself. They considered her hired, but Jane mixed up our information. Several months later, after learning I wasn’t purposely offensive, they admitted the truth.

Don arrived shortly before 9, searching for his new eye candy. When he found me in her place, he was puzzled to say the least. “Uh. Morning. Ladies…” Before he could say anything untoward, Sara came to the rescue.

“Mista Don, this the new girl… member? You told Jane to start her today. She was earlier than me, we off to a good start. Ima finish showing her around.” With that, Sara led me on the grand tour. Without realizing it, her words translated into ‘I know she’s not the one you wanted, but I’m sick of opening alone.’

I would soon learn Don only hired women. Two kinds were employed; the Workers ran the store, helping customers, loading feed, etc. The others were… I’m sorry, there isn’t a delicate way to say they were his whores. Sara pegged me for a worker. I knew I had to work harder than others to compensate for my personality quirks, but had I been aware of the Worker or… Non-Worker… situation, I would have arrived at 8 to reorganize the outdoor plants.

You guys know how it is when a new person starts work, you can’t trust them. Everyone is on their best behavior, you won’t truly meet them until they drop their guard. Same sentiment from the new person’s POV, you’re surrounded by strangers, you have no idea who they really are. It’s like navigating a field of landmines, one wrong step and you’re dead.

I made several wrong steps, but Sara was desperate for a third Worker. Jane didn’t wait on customers, and only worked the register if the rest of us weren’t available. The third, Stephanie, also worked at a grocery store; she could only work a few hours before closing. It was she who first trusted me to explain how Don came to own the store. Or she just couldn’t resist good gossip any longer.

“Believe it or not, this store use to stay busy. There was no sitting around the table gossiping all day, no ma’am. Carey would roll over in her grave if she could see it now. She started this place from scratch, almost lost it a few times too, but she treated everyone like family. People were loyal because they knew she would take care of them if they fell on hard times.” Stephanie stacked boot boxes by size as we unpacked the new shipment. Her smile faded as she continued, “We couldn’t believe it when she passed. She was always a little sickly, but we had no idea how bad it really was. Even her sister, (Kay) Don’s wife, didn’t know. She passed two days after they admitted her to the hospital, she was 57.”

I have deep respect for the dead and grieving, but I’ve never mastered properly expressing those sentiments. I memorized several condolences, but always mess up the delivery. “I’m sorry to hear that.” I was careful not to look away from my task.

Stephanie continued, more concerned with telling the story than my response. “Now Don is running the store straight into the ground. He thinks we’re too stupid to notice his little cash bucket under the register. Thinks we don’t know what those girls really get paid for.” She nodded to the companion giving Don his after-lunch neck massage.

I decided to take advantage of her chatty mood. “I’ve been wondering why Kay stays with him. Why doesn’t she just take the store away?”

“That poor woman is clueless, but she’s one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. No one has the heart to tell her the truth. She’s never been with another man, I doubt she would know how to leave even if she wanted to.” Stephanie shook her head sadly, and sighed before continuing, “Besides, he’s only had the money and freedom to do it for a few years, I doubt anyone would touch that nasty man before then.”

“You have a point there.” I admitted. Kay genuinely is a kind soul, I hope Don dies many years before her. She deserves a fair chance at genuine happiness. Even if she’s still ignorant of his affairs, I’ve seen how he speaks to her; it’s not okay. “How many side chicks does he have anyway?”

The way her head cocked to an almost 90 degree angle coupled with how wide her eyes grew seemed to say, “a lot.” Regardless, it was a very informative chat.

When you spend three years working in a restaurant/drug mart, you think you’ve been fully desensitized to the various evils of the world, but not so. Somehow, this kindly, old man cheating on his sweet, little wife seemed far-fetched. No matter how obvious their office tryst, I couldn’t see it as more than a silly coincidence. Even when you think you know, being told and seeing are two very different kinds of knowing.

I could tell you a book’s worth of anecdotes involving Don hiring a new playmate and the various resulting ventures, but many will come out in other stories. Besides, I still don’t understand what length you guys prefer in a post. Today, I want to focus on the one I found personally traumatic. Oh boy, this is harder than I thought. Ok first, let’s get the time he propositioned me over with. Due to my inability to judge sarcasm or social interactions, I repeated what I’m about to share with several others after it happened. All were unanimously agreed, I did not misunderstand this one. Unfortunately.

Within 6-8 months I was fully accepted and nested at Giddy Up. Don possessed a prescription for Xanax, and being a shady guy himself, was aware I knew how to take/sell them in bulk. He must have been particularly lonely one day when we were alone. One minute we were pleasantly discussing NCIS, the next he was setting his bottle of Xanax on the table.

“That’s nice… what? You need to sell some? I asked, confused.

“Yea, I guess so.” He didn’t sound very excited about it.

I assumed he stole too much money from the store. Normally he saved Xanax for special whore candy, it wasn’t surprising he would be upset to part with them. “Alright, well how much do you need? If it’s the full 90, it takes 4 of your Peaches to equal one Xanax bar. I could get $90, but that’s about it.” Best he would get at least.

“Oh, I don’t need money.” He said

“What else would people possibly… eww… dude, gross, be serious. You want the $90 or not.” I wasn’t capable of taking such a notion seriously. If I had, I’m sure I would have been speechless. As it was, I wanted that Xanax and hoped insulting him would end his joke.

“No, you’re not listening. I don’t want… Money.” He said it slower that time, each word almost it’s own sentence.

Joke or not, no drug was worth indulging that line of conversation. “Dude, that’s gross, there aren’t enough drugs in the world.” I walked away before Don could say more. To avoid tainting my experiment, I relayed our conversation verbatim without saying who said what until the end. No one was surprised, but upon hearing Don’s role, Jane changed her answer to “you just misunderstood, I’m sure he was joking.” but her heart wasn’t in it. Jealousy can blind the best of us.

This next part is the whopper, but if I can survive it without removing my own eyeballs, I can relive it long enough to share with all of you. It was New Years Eve, we had no customers all day, so we found various shenanigans to pass the time. Don was running errands, (whores) and therefore unlikely to make an appearance. If you’ve read Weird Science, you know I have an… inquisitive mind, if you haven’t, you need to know I enjoy taking things apart.

Ok it’s super frustrating how hard it was to find a clear picture of ceiling panels. You know the cheap foam kind kids throw pencils into? That’s what the store had.

For some reason, I was fascinated with the roof at that time. For several weeks I fantasized what it would be like to climb into the ceiling. I had a theory it would exit into the warehouse, possibly providing access to the wide, metal beams and roof. Why the idea of walking across a 20-30ft drop appealed to me, I can’t say, but the compulsion was overwhelming.

With a 4ft ladder placed on the dressing room bench, a flashlight, and broom, I was finally ready to test my theory. Moving a panel to the side, I pushed the broom through the opening. If a spiderweb touched me, it would be game over.

“No way she’s going in there… is she?” Liz asked Sara. Liz was my age, and a real cowgirl. She was a Worker and good friend, but unimportant. Nowadays she’s a nurse, and happily married with two sons, so don’t worry about her.

“She dumb enough to get in. How long until she falls is the question.” I heard Sara’s answer, but was too busy to engage in their foolishness.

“What if she breaks something?!” Liz exclaimed, cringing as I prepared to stick my head through for a real look.

“If she break herself we call 911, if she break the store we tell Mista Don she did it behind our backs.” Sara answered simply.

“Hey! If you break something are you gonna say we let you?” Liz was talking to me now.

I couldn’t tell if it was a serious question, but either way, it was distracting. “Nah, you’re good. I’ll say whatever you want as long as you let me focus.”

“But why are you…” Liz started to ask, clearly not listening.

“I said long as I focus!” I snapped, testing my weight on the wall. I knew the flimsy ceiling panels couldn’t support my weight, they were held in place by skinny metal racks and wire. If I didn’t locate support beams or follow the wall, I wouldn’t be crawling anywhere. Aside from a few giggles and gasps, the girls remained silent.

After a few moments testing the dressing room walls, I decided it was time to go. I situated myself like a bird on a perch, shining the light through decades of cobwebs and dust. “Guys, I think it really does go all the way to the warehouse! I can see really far, and I think I can see sunlight at the end!” I was excited, but the dust was already effecting my allergies. I had the nose itch of a first time codeine user and couldn’t stop rubbing it.

“I wanna see!” Liz was standing atop the ladder, eyes scrunched, looking through the dust we disturbed. “I think you’re right! That is light down there!” She was excited too, caught in my moment.

“I want to see if I can make it across, see how this wall connects over there? I think it’s the chemical room, it looks like I can follow the wall to where that metal starts on the other side.” I pointed, wanting Liz to confirm she saw the same thing. The more we moved, the thicker the air filled with dust. Even with a flashlight it was difficult to see. “Pass the broom up, please.”

Liz passed the broom, and we struggled to maneuver it through the wires. It cleared what it reached, but I had much less space than anticipated. If I weren’t a tiny woman, I wouldn’t fit past the opening, but I was providing too much entertainment to quit. The wires made excellent broom holders, but were otherwise the most difficult obstacles to overcome. It felt like several minutes passed as I struggled to crawl a few feet, but I focused on keeping my weight on the wall.

“I wonder how far I’ve come.” I leaned over to lift a panel. Anxiety paired with a lack of fingernails exacerbated the simple task. The frustration was coming on strong, but I doubled my efforts and finally pulled it askew. “Hey guys! I’m already over the office! Have you ever seen it? It’s just a desk, computer, and futon. Who doesn’t have a desk chair?” I called out, pleased my adventure would have two purposes. The office was always locked, even Sara and Jane were denied access.

“What did you expect? He doesn’t need a chair, I bet he only watches porn in there.” Liz laughed, but stopped abruptly. Sara was telling her something but I couldn’t hear the words. I dropped the panel, not thinking. It landed askew, leaving a wide gap into the office exposed. Before I could try to fix it, Liz screamed for my attention, “Shit dude, don’t move! Don and his current pet just pulled up, we gotta hide this mess! Don’t talk no matter what!” Her head was gone before she finished speaking.

I hoped they were joking, but doubted it. She was terrified, and the clumsy sound of removing the ladder was unmistakable. I heard the door buzzer followed by several minutes of silence. I was too afraid to attempt fixing the crooked panel. The office was rarely used on a normal day, if I risked movement now, I would likely fall through the ceiling. Waiting for Don to leave was the wiser choice no matter how you did the math. I laid flat, unmoving, and stared into the office, letting a daydream carry me away before a claustrophobic panic set in. Without the distraction of impressing Liz, the walls were closing in, pushing out my precious oxygen. I like that shade of green on a futon. I want a futon.

As the fire in my lungs extinguished, I noticed sounds of laughter and keys. More specifically, keys being used to unlock a door. No way, if he sees me I’m dead. Did they tell on me? Did he think it was funny and now he’s going to screw with me? He’s going to see the ceiling the second he opens the door, I’ll kill them both for this.

The door swung open, I held my breath, waiting. Softer giggling reached my ears and confirmed the betrayal. I gritted my teeth, formed the angriest face possible, and prepared to be caught. But I wasn’t. Instead, I saw the Pet lead Don into view. By his penis. She had a firm grasp oh his erect member, through his slacks, and used it to guide him to the futon. Sara and Liz definitely hadn’t betrayed me.

You know how you can’t look away when you see something horrible? This had the same effect. Plus I was too chicken to move. One sound, any reason for one of them to look up, spelled my doom. There was no chance they wouldn’t notice the large, open gap in the ceiling. I’m not trying to give my audience nightmares. I would very much like to use the word ‘fans’ one day, and I feel like a blow by blow (no pun intended, but it is accurate) would be a step in the wrong direction. Instead, I will FF past the use of a dildo hidden in the desk, and skip to their departure.

When they finally left, I remained completely still. Eventually, Liz returned, calling out to me. “Hey! Oh my God, what happened?! Are you okay?” By the tone in her voice, I felt they already suspected what I saw.

“I need to get out of here right now, I’m not joking, I don’t wanna play anymore, I’m done, I gotta get out.” I repeated a mixture of those phrases in one long, run-on sentence as I shakily replaced the crooked ceiling panel. After checking several times to be sure it sat correctly, I began the difficult process of turning around. Not falling off my perch required focus, I continued ignoring Liz as she berated me with questions.

As I came down the ladder, I saw Sara and Liz’s facial expressions, and knew mine was worse. I stuttered out every painful, disgusting detail, gagging several times in the process. I only told it once, after which, I began protocols to erase the memory entirely. Some things, not even bleach can clean. Needless to say, I never crawled into the roof again.

The Pet ‘worked’ at Giddy Up a few more weeks, but she felt so ostracized by the other girls, she quit. Don called a staff meeting and gave a long lecture explaining his disappointment. “I expect better! You aren’t children anymore. Pet was a sweet, caring person, just trying to support her little girl! But you all made her feel so unwelcome, she quit! Do you understand how horrible that is? I can’t even look at you right now.” He turned to leave, paused, expecting us to trip over ourselves with apologies, but no one stopped him. Little did we know, the store would be closing forever by that time the following year. Turns out, prostitutes are expensive.

He always pouted when he lost a pet, but we were far past indulging his delusions. Don was the worst kind of predator, truly believing we were clueless to his hobby. His complete faith in our stupidity was insulting, it took all my willpower to remain silent. I knew I was incapable of a convincing sympathy act, and stopped trying after this ordeal took place.

If I’m wrong and should have written the gorey details, let me know, but I feel like the majority of you would be happier without. Hubby had a few days off recently which makes writing impossible, but for my next story, I was hoping to try something new. So far, I shared a few spooky stories from my hometown, but I have been wanting to try my hand at a real scary story. Something that makes you nervous to look outside and gives you chills. If it sucks, it can go into the future psychologist pile, if not, maybe I can finally break 300 followers! Either way, I’ll take it.

humor

Queen of the Walk (Pt. 3)

For those who notice the blog’s new look, I hope you enjoy the astronaut’s company as much as I do. I had no intentions of changing it, but she reminds me of River Song! Look, she’s waving! I miss the good ole Doctor Who, a fandom that managed to span multiple countries and generations, dead to me now, thanks to a moronic casting choice. People wanted a female doctor? Great, write in a new one, don’t try to tell me a Time Lord who regenerated as a man 12-13 times (this isn’t the place for the number debate) is suddenly a woman now. Everyone wave to River, she’s here to stay.

Omg, it still hits me right in the feels 😭

Now to business, there isn’t much time difference between this and Pt. 2, most will take place before or during.

Entry 3: How to Buy Drugs

I dropped out first semester of Community College to sleep more and work longer hours. Not to make money, though it didn’t hurt, but to spend more time with Crook and friends. Working in a restaurant with a drug drive-thru gave new meaning to ‘business in front, party in back.’ Ready to have your mind blown? Drugs temporarily cure depression! Hold on, we should talk about risk vs reward before you make any life altering decisions. It’s not all cake and coconuts. Drugs are like explosives; fun to play with, but you can lose fingers. Let’s take a journey, I can show you what I mean.

Being a sheltered only-child, I was not provided with information on drugs. Much like my period and swimming, I was thrown in the deep end to swim or die. At 17, Goku introduced me to weed, on which I have already made my feelings abundantly clear. I don’t consider weed a ‘drug’ in the sense we’re discussing today; it’s a life saving miracle. The drugs we’re discussing today are pain pills and Xanax. Pain pills come in a wide variety, but give the same happy, ‘upper’ effect. Xanax now has a rainbow of flavors as well, but back then, it ruled the downer market solo. It cured my anxiety and allowed me to carry conversations as if I were normal! Big magic, indeed.

To enter DrugMart, you need a member to vouch for you. Without a referral, you’ll be met with blatant denials. Crook told the busboys I’m ‘cool.’ Don’t panic. In this case, ‘cool’ has a different definition; if you aren’t a snitch, you’ll be fine. After gaining admission, you are free to shop at your leisure. If you become a trusted regular, you might receive a job offer. I know the money sounds alluring, but had I understood the risks, I would have passed. Ok, I’m lying, I would have thought myself too smart to be caught. See? This is me staying honest. Being arrested for possession is embarrassing and expensive, while intent to distribute is a felony that follows you forever. Some things simply aren’t worth the risk, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me finish painting the scene.

To Teenage Me, there were three kinds of people in the world:

  • Those who stand in the center of crowds, entertaining the masses.
  • The members of the crowd who laugh in comradery.
  • Those who stand outside the crowds because if they try to enter, it will disperse.

Want to guess whereI belonged? Yes! The last one, Platinum Membership. At work, I was part of the crowd, it was intoxicating. I stood in the center once or twice, but I’m not here to brag. I’m here to say, if your ultimate fantasy is being allowed to stand near people, you may have worse issues to wrestle. Also, hard drugs are 99% likely to exacerbate those issues. And yes, it bothers me to have a time in my life I desired to be near people, but aren’t most of us fools at 18?

Crook went to work at a lumber mill shortly after we started dating. It paid more, but left me to fend for myself. I was experiencing popularity (fine, what I perceived to be popularity, can you guys just let me have one?) for the first time. I reveled in it, rolled in it like a pig in mud.

My career in the underground began with a bright yellow pill called Norco. It’s a pain pill, or as I call them, Happy Beans. I honestly never believed pills could effect me. I didn’t take medications, I smoked cigarettes to look cool and weed to feel human, but pills were voodoo. I’m not sure why, maybe it ties back to my doctor issues, but I held a strong aversion to them. Until a headache hit me early in a night shift.

Waiter Greg, gave me an aspirin, “This is all I have. Just don’t take the whole thing, break it in half… you hear me? No matter what, do not take the whole thing.”

“Sure, fine thanks.” I wasn’t in the mood to explain why magic wouldn’t cure a headache. He never said what the pill was. Why would I think anything but aspirin? When someone has a headache, people give them aspirin. That’s how social etiquette works.

But then my headache got really bad. Desperate, I retrieved the pill. No one ever recommended breaking an aspirin in half, I considered it may be something different. Desperation has a way of convincing us. I took half, but 20 minutes later, my head was still pounding. Hating myself for believing a voodoo doctor, I took the other half.

After 20 minutes more, the headache disappeared and the painful, crushing depression in my chest lifted. Pure happiness washed over me for seemingly no reason. Knowing it takes more than half a hour to feel the effects of medication requires a basic level of common sense about the human stomach which I didn’t possess. If we jump ahead 20 minutes once more, my euphoria turns to confusion when I’m left in charge of money. Brain was my calculator, I never learned to work the archaic ‘cash register.’ I knew which button opened it, then counted change back, but the numbers were moving. How could I do math when the numbers refused to sit still?

** In the end, weed killed Brain’s super power. I chose banishing suicidal urges over mathematical genius. We all face our own Crossroads. **

I asked Kerry to switch places, hostessing was easier, but the damage was done. I knew what possibilities those magic beans held and life would never be the same. Crook was excited at first. He was still trying to win my love and I discovered a fondness for something he knew how to provide. When he was sober, Crook was a Prince, but drugs turned him into a douche turd, what can you do? I’m almost proud to say I thought I was being careful. It may not have prevented every mishap, but it kept me from experiencing drug addiction. I already knew how ugly withdrawals could be.

I theorized if I didn’t allow myself to take the same drug too many days in a row, I couldn’t become physically dependent. Not to toot my own horn, but that part worked out. A routine developed for popping uppers on busy nights, downers for slow. I learned to use the damned cash register and called it an even trade. When I began to understand the financial downsides, DrugMart offered fair financial plans.

Two busboys ran our local DrugMart, we can call them Jay and Bob. Crook purchased a blunt the day he told them I’m ‘cool,’ but they were out of bags. Instead they sold him a blunt Jay had for the ride home. I misunderstood this and embarrassed myself thoroughly because of it.

Up to that point, Goku and I smoked out of homemade bongs. The blunt Crook bought was the first time I saw weed rolled into cigar paper, it spoiled me. A few days later, after Crook began work at the lumber mill, I bought a blunt solo. I approached Jay on his smoke break, he was easier to understand and had more patience than Bob.

“Ha! Aight Shawty, I knew you be back.” Jay dug into his pockets to retrieve a small baggy, and patiently waited for me to get the hand off right. I tried to mimic the handshake exchange I watched Crook perform, but dropped the money.

Jay noticed the look of confusion I wore when looking at the small bag. “What’s wrong, kid?” His laughter made me brave enough to ask.

“Umm. The other day, you gave Crook a… a cigar rolled.. thing. Ya know?” I muttered, silently pleading with the universe to let this be a test I’m passing. The ‘let’s see if this white girl knows her shit’ test. It wasn’t.

After a fair amount of laughter, he explained, “That’s all I had on me. This how it usually is. That bag fit in one cigar, one blunt cost 5 bucks, so me and you, we straight.” I have to give him credit for patience. I was lucky he found it amusing. Supposedly these guys killed people, but it was never proven and that’s not why we’re here today. Even if it was, they weren’t exactly innocent victims.

“So… where do I get the cigar part?” In for a penny, in for a pound.

“The gas station, any one of ‘em.” He turned to walk back inside, maybe I should have let him. This is probably what caused the side jobs.

“But… if everyone coming to you needs one, wouldn’t you make more money if you just sold them too?” I slid into another fantasy and ran with it.

Jay stopped, turned back, and scratched his beard in thought. “Well, funny you should say. Ole boy from the hood sold pre-rolleds for $7 a pop…” he paused, flipped a 5 gallon bucket, and sat before continuing, “…he made a lil, but ain’t worth it. Pay a dolla for yo cigar, go through the trouble to split it, roll it, and you only adding a dollar to profits. Nah, I don’t see it.”

“But who says you gotta roll it?” It came out before I could check it against the filter. Another problem exacerbated by Norco and Xanax alike.

“Choo mean don’t roll ‘em. What be the point?” He rolled his eyes, preparing to stand up by the tell-tale sign of adjusting his boxers. There was a comical irony in the way he primped his boxers above his hips yet over his tank-top.

The point.” When he looked more confused I elaborated. “I can probably use common sense to roll it, but I’m too lazy to get a cigar to try. Plus, people under 18 can’t buy one anyway. Charge them extra.” Thankfully, Crook previously explained my monotone voice was involuntary, or he may have mistaken hesitation for condescension.

“Huh… well I’ll be damed. Go on girl, here, that one’s on me.” Jay returned my $5, shooing me along. I didn’t yet understand I would be handing it right back when I purchased my blunts and cigars at the special discount price of $7 each. Sure, I could have gone to a gas station, and Crook usually did, but I was always too lazy.

You guys remember Fucking Sookie? She’s making an appearance. After graduation, we stayed close for the first year. She continued dating her abusive high-school sweetheart, and stayed with me after their fights. His fear of Crook made our home a safe haven, but more importantly, they smoked lots of weed. I became the most convenient source to support the habit, and introduced them to Happy Beans.

The first time I asked for a bulk order, Jay taught me quantity/price ratio. “So… if you give me all the weed in one bag… that means I could pretty much split it up however I wanted… right?” I asked.

“You catch on quick, yup and you do it before the meet. Don’t let ‘em see what you buy. They only see what they buy. You already tell ‘em what the pills cost? You buy ‘em for less and charge more. Ya feel me?”

“That’s genius! Thanks!” I ran off to pilfer my first of many commissions.

It didn’t take long for Jay to notice how regularly I needed to re-up. He easily convinced me to expand his clientele with Sookie’s social circle. I brought home lots of goodies. Crook was proud, being a professional criminal in his own right. His approval felt really good, I craved more.

When Jay asked if I was ready to make real money, I thought I was. “You’d make more if you bought in bulk to sell it. You wouldn’t have to come to me erry time you wanna sling a dime bag, ya feel?”

“Yea, they do that on tv, but I can’t let go of that much money at once.” It was a pipe dream, nothing more.

“Nah, you sell it then pay.” He launched into a play by play of Dealing For Dummies, but all I heard was “…and you walk away with a few grand, then use it to buy more. You out of debt forever after one time.”

“Sweet! I’m in! What do I get to take first?” I know I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but I hate Past Me. If I ever figure out how to lay hands on that bitch, she’s dead. This bitch asked, “what makes the most money? Can I get a bunch of cocaine?”

“No, hell no girl, I can’t load you down with cocaine, that’s too risky. You can have some pills and weed. We see how you do.”

Can you believe I thought he meant it was too risky for me. Like he was concerned for my safety or getting arrested. He was concerned with his risk, all his.

I went home with 10+ years of jail time crammed into my purse. I walked through the door with a skip in my step, and dumped the contents on the table for Crook to see. His eyes widened in fury. Unfortunately, I mistook it for excitement and launched into my story, ending it with, “…so now we’re going to be rich!”

“What the hell is wrong with you?! I know you’ve seen this play out on tv! Why? Why would you do this?!” Crook screamed.

“Well… I mean, come on. This isn’t tv! Everyone’s always screaming life isn’t tv, and now you want to use it for an argument? Jay and Bob aren’t going to hurt us, they’re your friends. Jay even likes me now.” I was angry. I was so excited for him to be proud again. Not only was he disappointed, he was angry! It was the first time he yelled at me.

“This is the one thing it has right! What were you thinking?! Do you know how long it would take you to sell this much?! We don’t even own scales! No, we can’t do this, I have to take it back. My parole officer could come in here any day, do you know what happens if he finds this? We both go to jail!” That finally got through to me. I already lived in constant fear of his PO, I couldn’t add that to it no matter how small the odds.

“Ok, I admittedly overlooked that part. Can you give it back?” That was an extreme hot to cold mood swing even for me.

“Only because I know so many of them, I’ll be back, just be grateful you didn’t take any of this.” He snatched the bags up and left.

He came home an hour later, drug free. He wouldn’t talk about it any further aside from making me swear not to participate in their business again. I had no problems with that, Angry Crook was scary. It would be over a year before I had to see Angry Crook on a daily basis.

I thought loaning my car to them while I worked was pretty savvy and kept my promise. My car basically retrieved and paid for it’s own gas. As an additional thank you, goody bags were left in the glove compartment. It was an all-win scenario, I was technically supporting a habit with zero overhead. It was baffling to have my felon boyfriend outraged because I let someone borrow my car, but he lost his shit when he found out.

“What the hell?! What do you think they’re doing with it?!” He asked.

“Running errands! None of them have cars, they walk to work, can you imagine how much that must suck? It’s not like they’re using all the gas and bringing it back empty.” I really didn’t understand the harm that time, if anything, I saw it as charitable.

“How can someone as smart as you have no common sense?! They have cars! They walk to work so police can’t pull them over! They’re using your car to run huge amounts of drugs! That way, when the car falls under suspicion, it’s your car! Do you understand now?!”

“Oh, that’s pretty smart! Well… even so, wouldn’t it be fine when they pulled me over and I was me? Could I say they stole the car while I worked? Don’t look at me like that, I wouldn’t do it unless I had to.” I know it sounds terrible, but I was already spoiled and didn’t want to lose my goody bags.

“I’m going to talk to Jay and Bob. Your done working for them, and they won’t offer anymore.” Angry Crook was back, I didn’t argue.

I successfully prevented physical addiction to the pills, but not mental. Being motivated to do good work was impossible. Luckily, this is around the same time Krissy and Kristy needed someone with a car. Someone who was impressionable and desperate to please. That someone was this chick right here. I explained this in part 2, but there is a honorable mention worth telling.

If you aren’t familiar with shotgun houses, this is the perfect example. Long, cheap, yet flamboyant. We had them all over town.

When Kristy first moved into her shotgun house, she saved money on electricity by not paying for it. She let someone hook it up illegally, but obviously didn’t advertise the fact. That’s why, when I came to pick her up, I was confused by the strange utility truck and man in her yard. I parked on the street, tried to get out, but paused when the strange man began looking into windows.

Unsure what to do, I tried to call, but she called me first. “I’m so glad you’re here, I’ll explain in the car, but I’m going to jump in, and you’re gonna drive off fast. Get closer, and make sure the doors are unlocked.” She hung up before I could ask questions.

I drove closer and waited. Kristy rushed through the door, and jumped in like she was escaping a bank robbery. I floored it when the confused man came our way, completely consumed with the fantasy of a police chase.

“What the hell was that all about.” I asked, watching the man signal us to return. Like that was going to happen.

“Ugh, it’s a long story. I’ll give you a bump if you promise not to tell anyone.”

“Deal!”

“Alright, here hold my cig, be careful, it’s laced with coke.” She handed me the cigarette and began digging through her purse.

I tried my first (and only) laced cigarette as I watched her remove a bag of cocaine from a make-up case’s hidden compartment. We each snorted a bump while she explained the power company caught on to her illegal connection. She would pay a large fine and monthly bills now, but that was it. She simply didn’t want to have the awkward conversation in person, and I didn’t blame her, I would have ran too. We had illegal cable once, but after 6 months, one day we came home to find only the TV Guide channel working. They wanted us to know what we were missing.

Life was good for a while. I enjoyed being a happy, social member of society, but all good things must come to an end. Though I was too blind to see it at the time, I can tell you what happened. Crook was taking more than 3x the amount of pills I was, but I never saw the quantity he purchased, only what he gave me.

When Feeny learned she had a DrugMart in her kitchen, she reported it to the police. How did she find out? Do you remember earlier when I said drugs might cost you a few fingers? Bob only lost half his index finger, but Fenny requested a drug test at the hospital. She said workman’s comp burned her too many times, and she had a feeling no sober person could lose their finger to a lemon slicer. When he failed the drug test, other coworkers gave her enough details to save their own asses.

This is the kind we used.

Yes! Fine! Me too! It’s a shame I still live with, but it was an accident! Kerry tricked me! I thought it was normal girl-talk gossip! She told Feeny everything. It’s a matter of principle. I had a reputation to uphold. It may not have been the kind of reputation you write home about, but damnit there was an entire group of people who looked upon it positively! I denied it with fervent conviction. This blog is the first time I’ve uttered the truth aloud. I still feel weirdly ashamed.

City police were useless in the beginning. They asked for evidence and told her failing a drug test for work wasn’t enough. So what did Feeny do? Nothing, at first, but when we cooked 25 fish plates for a reservation that canceled, she made lemonade… metaphorically speaking. She had the food boxed up, and personally delivered it to the Sheriffs Department. The next day, three deputies came to speak with Jay and Bob. I can only imagine the conversation, but both left work that night never to return. A few weeks later, Jay was arrested and Bob was on the run. Police never found Bob, (that I’m aware of) but Crook participated in the food delivering rotation while Bob lived under a an abandoned house’s porch.

When Crook lost his pill source, every night of our lives became consumed with where he would find his next fix. Sure, I was super bummed the party was over, but not to the point I was willing to sacrifice all my free time to find more. I learned there was more to withdrawals than becoming physically ill, there was becoming an annoying asshat too. It was a hard, painful lesson, but it better prepared me for later, when Crook would fall off the wagon permanently.

Well guys, I think that’s it for my days as a drug dealer. I got in and out without being arrested or injured. I think that’s the best one can hope for in that scenario. Let’s call this one a win. After all, it did provide valuable life lessons. Thanks for reading, you guys are the best listeners I’ve ever known.

One more thing, before I go, I know it’s off topic… but why do girls cut their hair off at the end of every relationship? I’m not poking fun, I’ve done it at least 5x myself. Seriously, if I even come close to a break-up, the first thing I’m gonna do is chop my hair off. Why? Well, never-mind, this is something I can Google. But does anyone else feel it’s an overly dramatic reaction? In the moment I’m doing it, I know I’m going to hate myself for being a cliche, but I can’t stop myself. It’s as compelling as an addiction, I don’t understand it. I’m oddly fascinated with the psychology behind it. Oh well, thanks again, laters.

These jokes are everywhere. I want to understand why!