This is a little long, so I’m going to split it up into two separate posts to give anyone reading a much-needed break in the middle. Here is Part 1, enjoy.
A trip to the corner store.
Sounds simple enough, and normally it is but, this was to be a day that was anything but “normal”. I took the quick drive, 5 minutes tops, to the variety store just down the street for a pack of smokes. Standing in line, patiently waiting my turn, just like I’d done a dozen times. “A pack of Players Light King please” I said to the girl behind the counter. She smiled and spun to pluck a pack from the wall of cigarettes behind her. It’s funny that cigarettes get the best placement of anything sold in the store. A giant wall of cancer causing sticks that everyone, young and old, must stand in the shadow of in order to buy anything from a pack of gum to a newspaper.
Sliding the pack into my pocket I walked out of the store and into the bright sunshine outside. I may not have been old enough to buy cigarettes but all that meant was I had to go to certain stores in order to get my hands on them. As I stepped outside I heard someone talking to me. It was the guy who had been in front of me in line a minute ago. “Hey man, you got a light?” I heard him repeat. A quick glance around made it clear he was in fact talking to me. Without hesitating I reached in my pocket and pulled out my lighter, offering it to him. “Sure. Here you go.” I said, as his hand slowly reached out to accept my lighter. He lit his cigarette and as he held my lighter he said “Hey, I remember you from somewhere, how’s it going buddy? It’s Chris, remember?”. He sounded so non nonchalant about it that I never really even spent much time thinking if I could remember him, I mean I wasn’t real good at remembering names anyway. “Yeah that’s right, I’m good. What’s up with you?” was out of my mouth before I even had a chance to try to place him.
Before I knew it we were jumping in his car and going for a quick ride down the street to his buddies house where he was gonna pick up some killer weed for me. The price was right, plus I still had a couple hours before I had to be at work, and I did need to pick some up for this weekend anyway so why not. Everything was going good, we chatted on the ride over and when he told me to pull into the parking lot of the apartment building I was feeling pretty good. “I’ll be right back man.” he said as he jumped out of the car. I turned my head for a second, staring off and suddenly the car door opened back up. Surprised, I looked over and saw Chris leaning in. “Hey man, I’m gonna need the cash from you. This guy doesn’t like to spot anyone, he’s been ripped off too many times.” Sounds reasonable enough I thought and pulled my wallet out. Luckily for me I just got paid today, so I pulled out $80 and handed it to him. “Thanks” was all he said as he swung the door shut and trotted off through the parking lot. The door made a loud slamming noise as it shut. Right away I got goosebumps all up my arms, you know that feeling where you just get a bit of a shiver? Probably just the door slamming that scared me, the car was getting pretty old now and it certainly didn’t do anything quietly anymore.
5 minutes passed……..”He’ll be back in a minute” I thought.
I looked down at the clock on the radio. Another 10 minutes gone and still no sign of him. At this point thoughts start to enter your mind……like, “He better not have taken off with my money!”. “What the hell was I thinking just giving this guy I barely knew $80 and letting him walk off with it?”, I was starting to get worried now, which inevitably led to me getting a little pissed off at myself for being so stupid. I mean I just gave this guy a free ride across town and then threw in some cash for him to boot. Then, as I was staring off at the back corner of the apartment complex, not that I had any idea where “exactly” he went, a thought crossed my mind.
I tried to think back to the last couple weeks at work, all the people who go in and out of the poolhall……did I remember him from there? I pictured his face and thought. I ran through the faces of all the people I could remember meeting there recently, or anywhere………..I couldn’t picture him for some reason. I’m not great with faces but, you’d think I could remember something about meeting the guy, he certainly seemed to remember me. “He remembers me…..why can’t I remember him?” I bounced this thought back and forth in my head like someone playing tennis against the wall, back and forth, hitting it for all I had. “He remembered me….” I said quietly to myself. “He said he remembered me…” I said a little louder…..followed by “Did he actually say my…”. “HEY! Sorry for taking so long in there buddy” Chris shouted as he got closer to the car, a little out of breath from running through the parking lot it seemed.
“Whew” I thought to myself when I heard him and looked up to see him approaching the car. “I guess he didn’t rip me off after all…….paranoid much?” I laughed to myself. Chris got back in the car and pushed in the cars cigarette lighter. As he waited for it to pop, I started the car and began pulling out of the spot I was backed into. “Sorry man, he didn’t have anything to sell but, he told me his cousin has bags of the stuff and he’ll give you a great deal on it. Better than you were gonna get from him.”. “What the hell man, I thought you said this guy had stuff? I don’t wanna drive all over town trying to pick up weed man. I’m not that desperate.” I said, clearly annoyed that he got me to drive out here for nothing. “I’ll get you some great stuff for cheap man, don’t worry, I’ll take care of you.” he reassured me from the passenger seat. “Primo stuff…” he trailed off.
Who doesn’t like feeling as though they’re getting a special deal? Then again, who doesn’t know that if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is?
“Where is the place?” I heard myself saying, annoyed with myself for not just giving up right then. “It’s just in Oakville, 10-15 minutes away, no problem!” I heard him saying as I pulled out of the parking lot and made a right in the direction of Oakville. “This better be some good shit!” I said, trying to sound like I was the one in control……..trying to convince myself more than him. Although I doubt it was working very well on either of us. We drove there without saying much after that. I was too annoyed with myself to make conversation and he was…….well, frankly he looked like he was a little high. We pulled into another apartment complex, which instantly reminded me that he still had my $80. I pulled up into a spot and turned the ignition off, which amplified the silence and made things even more uncomfortable than they were on the ride over. While we sat there he turned to me and said “You gotta give me another $40 man. I’ll get you twice as much as you were getting before but he won’t sell less than $120.”. As he finished saying it he started to get out of the car, “Fuck” I thought.
“I’m already in for $80, plus all the driving around for the last hour. Shit that reminds me I’ve gotta be at work in an hour……fuck!”, thoughts were now running through my head, in one side and out the other to make room for the next thought. I found my hands reaching for my wallet and mindlessly pulling out two more twenties. “Hurry up this time, I gotta be at work soon!” I told him in my no more screwing around voice. “I’ll be 2 minutes. Be right back” he said as he pushed the door shut and ran into the apartment lobby. I sat and watched him press the buzzer and in silence watched as he had a quick conversation with whoever answered the buzzer. Just like that he was opening the door and heading for the elevator.
“What the hell am I doing?” was the first question that popped into my head. “I mean really, what the hell am I doing here? I don’t even need weed, I just thought I’d grab some cause he asked and it was gonna be quick and over with.” I was now muttering under my breath at myself. “I should just leave, forget the whole thing.” I heard pass through my mind….”but what about the money, I’d be out $120?” the other half of my brain countered. “Fuck!” I said loud now, getting more and more frustrated. “Okay……..whether he comes back with the weed or not this is it! No more stops, no more deals, no more friggin money!”. So I’d decided. I’d wait for him to come back out and tell him to forget it if he didn’t have it with him.
Then I waited some more….
Eventually the sun glaring off the glass door to the apartment complex caught my eye. I turned my head and saw Chris coming out of the building, jogging over towards my car. I told myself to be firm. He pulled open the door and jumped in, slamming the door shut behind him. “Did you get it?” I hesitantly asked as I started the car, trying to sound firm but probably coming off as more worried than anything. “Let’s go, let’s go” is all he said, avoiding the question. “Did you get the stuff or what?” I said, definitely coming across as pissed of now. I started to back out of the parking spot, looking over my shoulder I heard him mutter something about how he would get it for me.
“You didn’t get it? What the hell do you mean you didn’t get it?” I said, confident now that I was coming across pretty close to as pissed off as I actually was. “Forget it then, I don’t have time for this shit. I gotta go to work so forget it. Just give me back my money and I’ll drop you off.” I managed to get it out without losing the anger and confidence in my voice. “I can get it for you, don’t worry.” he said to me as we drove down the road. “We just gotta go to Toronto to pick it up, no problem, don’t worry.” he said, as if it was all part of the plan or something. “I can’t go to fucking Toronto, what are you crazy? I just told you I gotta go to work! Forget it, where am I dropping you off?” I said, clearly frustrated. “We’ll just go to Toronto and pick it up and you can come back, it’ll be fine.” he said, sounding as though he hadn’t hear any of what I had just told him.
I kept driving while we bickered back and forth, I really had the feeling of having gotten myself into something I shouldn’t have at this point. We were now approaching the on ramp and that’s when he reached over and grabbed the wheel with both of his hands. “We’re going to Toronto” was all he said now. I tightened my grip and tried pull the wheel back in my direction for a moment, and then I realized that at best I was going to manage to crash the car, so after a bit of a struggle I steered it toward the center of the road again. He kept repeating “We’re going to Toronto!”. Which meant we were now on the highway en-route to Toronto……just about the last place I wanted to be. Taking a moment to look at him out of the corner of my eye now, he looked different than he did before, he looked a little scary now.
Things had calmed down a little, the ride was quiet for the most part now. I did my best to just drive, the last thing I wanted to do was crash while driving this fast. It didn’t take me long to go back to the thought I didn’t get to finish in the apartment parking lot. “He never actually said my name…” I realized that an instantly I felt about 5 times stupider than I did the moment before. “He didn’t say my name, we probably never met, he just made it up…”. After a while Chris started to dig in his jacket pocket and pulled out a pop can. Before I knew what was happening he had pulled out a little baggy and started to cook some of what I can only assume was crack. Right there beside me…….what the fuck was going on…
Now I was starting to feel stupid and scared, instead of just stupid.
Continued in Part 2