“Alright, honey! I'm off to work,” I yell into the living room whilst buttoning up my jacket.
“Alright, see you tonight, baby! Have fun at work,” the living room yells back.
I couldn't imagine a world without Mary if I tried. Always supportive, always sweet. Even when she’s going through
agonizing pain and wants a back massage, she needs to know if I'm comfortable first. It hurts to have to lie to her,
but it’s for the good or our child after all... right? Maybe this is just the line of work where I'm not supposed to think
about morality and just do my job. Besides, Mary’s a tough cookie. She can handle being alone for the day, and if
anything happens, my standard phone is always on and available for her to call me with.
After I close the front door behind me, I check my breast pocket one last time, just to be sure. Yup, it’s there. Now,
I just have to make way to the car. I walk down the stairs of my apartment building. A woman with a young child
crosses my path as I walk downstairs. I’m not exactly wearing the freshest clothes with the biggest brands and I
could feel their eyes going all over me, judgingly. Focus on the task at hand, I think to myself. I'm still quite
new to this line of business, so I can still feel my blood pumping through my whole body with every step I take.
I get to the car and step into the driver’s seat. This thing is filled with empty bottles, a roll of toilet paper that’s
misshapen because it accidentally rolled out of the car into a puddle of rainwater, a broken umbrella and a whole
lot more junk. Part of me wants to clean it all out, but whenever I think about it, the reality rushes over me that
maybe someday, this would be all I have.
I make my way over to the apartment building that my client told me to get to. I read the text again, just to be sure.
It’s a ten minute drive. Every inch of the way, I’m completely conscious of everything. My breathing, the
pedestrians along the sidewalks… hell, I’m even annoyed by the position of my tongue in my mouth.
I finally arrive at the building. I still have ten minutes left before he expects me. I try to imagine what he looked
like. He sounded pretty confident. Definitely not a first timer, but I didn't recognize his voice, so it’s probably some
business man who needed a different dealer.
“Fucking hell, man,” I whisper to myself as I take a deep breath. I never expected all this to take such a toll on me.
I reach into my glove compartment and grab a small bag with some rolling paper. As I place the tobacco into the
rolling paper, I pause. I haven't done this since university, but I mean... I might as well... I think to myself. I
place maybe an eighth of silver haze on the tobacco and roll it up on my dashboard. I'm parked away from any
pedestrians and besides, in this part of town, nobody would give a fuck in the first place. As I light up, I feel that
familiar aroma filling my lungs. Weed doesn't really make me weird as much as it just calms me down, and at this
point, I'd do anything for a little peace of mind.
After I throw the tip out the window I check the time. 9:25 on the dot, perfect. As I step out of my car, the universe
reminds me of what I just smoked as it feels like I'm taking off and flying away. I instinctively grab my car door to
regain my balance. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea. Oh well, we’re here now, might as well go through with it. I
slowly but surely walk towards the sliding door that I could pass through without anyone buzzing me in. Must be
one of those older buildings where the only security you had was the lock on your apartment door.
Walking up the stairs feels like an eternity, it’s five levels after all. It would probably feel like an eternity if I’d been
sober as well. Never really have been the sporty type.
Room 501. All I have to do is knock on the door. I take a deep breath and move my hand up to eye level. I knock
three times, each knock a little louder than the previous as I gain confidence. (I call it confidence, but it’s more the
thought of ‘no turning back now’ that’s pushing me through.)
A man opens the door and immediately walks back through a door (to what I can only assume is the living room)
before I could see his face. “Come in,” he says, with a calm, deep voice.
“Can we just do this here?” I ask, hesitant to enter a stranger's house.
“Are you going to come in, or are you just here to waste my time?” the same voice responds, from that supposed
He’s right, you can’t just have a drug deal in public like this. Why did I even say that? Coming to this conclusion,
however, only leaves me with one option: entering his apartment.
It’s clearly not maintained. Stains on the wall, the vague musky smell of rot; overall not a place anyone would
choose to live in. As I walk through the door, I see the man enter who opened it. The man is about 5’9”, white, and
looks to be somewhere around thirty years old. In contrast to the state of the apartment itself, the man is wearing
a black two piece suit. Ready to get down to business, I reach into my breast pocket but before I can grab
anything, I feel a strong hand clenching my arm. I quickly look to my right where I see a man... well it's more of a
mix between a man and a bear. It’s about 6’6” and muscular beyond what I imagined a human could become.
“Don’t try to grab anything,” the man in the suit tells me.
“But the... bag is in-”
“Forget about the coke. I'm here to talk to you,” the man interrupts.
“Listen Nick...” It’s always strange to hear someone call you by your first name when you don’t recall giving it to
them. “I’m Aaron's boss.” Aaron is my provider. If I’m running low on wares to sell, he'd get me more. “In our little
community, I’m like the big daddy,” the man continued. “I don’t like to make myself known for privacy reasons, so
you know that if I have to present myself, that someone, somewhere, has fucked up, do you understand me?”
I quietly nod my head. He doesn’t seem like the type who’d appreciate it if someone ruined his dramatic
“Now listen...” he continues. “People in our community have been getting in a lot of trouble with the cops the last
couple of weeks. More than usual. Do you know what that means?”
“Do you think I’m ratting us out?” I answer.
“What I ‘think’, is that you sure do have a cute little family thing going on at home, and are desperate for money,
so it sure would make a lot of fucking sense that if someone offered you some money, you’d bite.”
“You don’t have evidence! I didn’t do anything!" I yell, now realizing that these people found out about my wife.
“Nick, does this look like a fucking court of law to you? Look around! You’re in an apartment building more
abandoned than my grandma’s pussy.” That line catches me off guard. I didn't expect this to be the kind of person
to make jokes at a time like this. “I’m sorry Nick, but in places like these, people like us do business the good old
He opens one of the kitchen cabinets, where he grabs a handgun.
They say that weed slows down your reaction time, but as soon as I see the glimmer on the barrel of that weapon,
I immediately yank my right arm as hard as I can, but to no affect. The beefcake holds on without as much as a
change in expression.
As the man, now armed, turns back towards me, I can almost feel the Grim Reaper breathing over my shoulder in
anticipation to take me away.
I give my arm a couple more strong pulls.
“You look like an idiot, Nick. I suggest you go out with digni-”
“Fuck you!” I interrupt, continuing the pulling, which now starts to seriously hurt my shoulder.
“Very well.” The man aims the gun at my head.
Being held at gunpoint changes a man. I’m not talking about PTSD either, I’m talking directly. Instantly. When
your life, your everything is held by another person and can be thrown away my moving their finger less than a
centimeter, every single thought you had in your head switches to ‘get yourself out of this situation’.
“Please! Dear God, please!” are the only words I manage to throw out between the sobbing.
The man walks closer to me, now sure that I won’t try to do anything. “If God gave a fuck about you, you wouldn’t
be here now, would you?”
He presses the end of the barrel against my forehead
There is a click.
Then a bang.