|Written by AnDroid|
|Thursday, 10 September 2009 16:20|
“You see the 9 go by?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I said. “Just missed it.”
“How long ago?”
“Like three minutes ago,” I said.
The man went shuffling up the sidewalk in a hurry. Obviously he knew something I didn't. I started jogging after him, but he was limping, so I quickly overtook him. Behind me I heard a woman shout something, and I looked over my shoulder to see the man turn and cross the street to talk to her. I continued jogging, and several blocks up I saw the 9 sitting there with its doors open. I climbed aboard, flashing my transfer at the driver, and headed for a seat in the back, breathing hard.
Several minutes later the bus hissed and rocked to a kneel as the short man climbed aboard and limped to a seat. “He made it,” I thought. “Sure took his sweet time.” From my man-purse I pulled out a paperback copy of Charlaine Harris' Definitely Dead and opened it to the bookmark in the middle. “Oh Sookie Stackhouse - so full of sass!” I thought. “Will you ever learn?” I chuckled dumbly to myself as I read, and the bus carried us across the river.
I decided to get off a stop early to pick up a case of beer at the Plaid Pantry. As the bus pulled up to the stop and I got up to leave, the short man was already standing at the exit door. I stuck my hand in the air and yelled “Thanks!” at the bus driver, and we stepped off the bus. There was a red light at the intersection, so the man and I stood there waiting. I took a moment to reflect on what a good night it'd been: I'd seen some old friends, hung out at a couple of bars I'd never been to, gotten a nice buzz on without doing anything stupid, and I'd made it back from Northeast at a relatively decent hour without wasting money on a cab. I was feeling dangerously happy-go-lucky.
“Man,” I said to the man, “if I hadn't known that bus had been sitting there a few blocks up, I'd still be standing at that stop downtown waiting for the next 9 like an idiot.” The man hadn't actually told me the 9 was waiting up ahead, but in my good mood I thought he still deserved some credit for showing me the way.
The light turned green and we began to cross the street together. “Yeah,” he mumbled, “they'll wait there ten, fifteen minutes at that hour every night. Heh.”
“Good to know,” I said. “Good to know.”
“Say man,” he said, “you wouldn't happen to have some weed on ya, would ya?”
“Actually I do,” I said.
“You think you could sell me a bag? I just need like a dime bag, ya know?”
“Nah, I don't have that much,” I said. “I just got a little bit.”
“Well you got some I could smoke?” We were on the sidewalk in front of Plaid Pantry now, and we stopped walking.
“Sure man,” I said, “I got a little bit you could smoke.” What the hell? I pulled my little case out of my man-purse and took out my one-hitter, which was already packed, and I handed it to him with my lighter. It was dark on the sidewalk where we were standing. As the man smoked I looked at the Plaid Pantry and saw that someone was leaning against the wall outside - watching us? - but I figured it was too dark to see what we were doing. Cars sped by in the night, and the man finished the small bowl in one long extended hit as the headlights passed over his massive form.
“Thank you so much,” the man said, choking back smoke as he talked. He handed the pipe to me, and I put it back into the case.
“No problem,” I said.
“Hey – you smoke crack rock?” he said.
I chuckled for some reason. “No,” I said, “but thank you for offering.”
“Cuz I got some here,” he said, pulling out two small white blobs from somewhere inside his mouth, “I could trade you for the rest of what you got in that tin. How much you got there?”
“Nah,” I said, “I don't want any crack. I don't have much here anyway.” I opened the tin to show him there was less than a gram inside.
“Well I'll tell you what,” he said, “I'll give you some of this here crack rock for what you got there.”
“Alright man,” I said, “Whatever. You give me some crack then. We'll trade.” I looked up at the Plaid Pantry and saw that the person was still standing there leaning against the wall. I was starting to feel paranoid and just wanted to get this over with as fast as possible.
“Alright,” he said, “I'll give you this, you don't got much here – you got five dollars?”
I pulled out my wallet, and he peered into it while I took out five ones.
“Alright how about this – you got a ten there, I'll give you all of this for fifteen. You give me that ten.”
He now had my ten and five ones.
“Alright now I'll give you all this,” he said, “you just give me that twenty, and I'll give you back this ten, and I'll just put this in here,” he put the crack into my tin and scooped out the weed, dropping some on the ground and bending over to pick it up while I fumbled with my wallet and the tin, trying to put everything away.
Somehow the man managed to find the pot he'd dropped in the dark, and he stood upright and stuck it in his pocket, saying, “Thanks a lot, man. I'm Leon, by the way,” and he gave me his phone number, “in case you want any more of that shit. Just give me a call.”
Our transaction had been less than discreet, and I knew that the person standing outside the Plaid Pantry had seen the whole thing, but I was determined to return home with beer, so I trudged across the parking lot. Apparently Leon was after the same thing, because he scuffled along next to me. As we neared the building I saw that the person leaning against the wall was an attractive young woman, probably in her late teens or early twenties, and the expression on her face told me she knew we were up to no good. There was a sign on the door that said “Back in 5 minutes.” Leon tried the door anyway.
“Shit man,” he said, right in front of the girl, “you got that pipe on you? Let's smoke some more of this shit over here.” He motioned towards the dark parking lot to the side of the building.
“Alright,” I said, and I followed him, but he stopped at the pay phone fifteen feet from the entrance. I took out my lighter and the pipe, and he loaded it, and we passed it back and forth, taking hits. The girl was glancing nervously at us the whole time, the pot smoke wafting by her face, and finally she decided that whatever she'd been waiting to buy inside wasn't worth it, and she walked away.
We finished up, and I put the pipe back in my man-purse. The clerk took the sign off the door inside and undid the latch. Leon and I walked in and both headed for the cheap beer. I pulled out an 18-pack of PBR and held the door open while Leon reached up for a tall can of malt liquor. There was only one left of the particular kind he wanted, and it was all the way in the back. “Say man,” he said, “you've got long arms. You think you could reach that for me?”
“Sure man,” I said, and handed him the can. I walked to the counter and made my purchase with a debit card. On my way out I turned to Leon, who was standing at the register, and said, “See ya later, man.”
“Hey!” he shouted, “Give me a call sometime! I'll hook you up with some more of that shit! We could meet in this parking lot or some shit.” The clerk glared at me as I walked out the door.
When I got home I discovered that during our money-exchange when Leon had said he was giving me a ten in exchange for a twenty he'd actually handed me a one. Why had I been giving him a twenty in the first place, let alone a ten? That Leon was good. The fucker even stole my lighter.
Since I now had crack to get rid of, my roommate would later refer to this story as the time I “accidentally became a crack dealer.”