Monday, May 3, 2021

The Wilderness Years - The Halcyon Days

In the Book of Veronica the next month and change would be the halcyon days, when the bliss and chemical imbalance of infatuation, of lust, of the giddy stages of love, can spackle over the cracks and challenges that this particular situation imposed. Four days was going to be a lifetime to wait to see her again and when the mobile rang and i saw her number i caught myself smiling. She needed to ask me something, something she didn't want to ask but she was in a bind and didn't know who else to turn to. She could have asked for my fucking left arm and i'd have given it to her but what she really needed was a loan. She wanted to know if she could borrow some money because the trip really had tapped her. The rent was due and she had picked up a few shifts waitressing at the club but that didn't cut it like dancing or tending bar. No problem i said. How much do you need? i asked. $400 for rent she said, and maybe a hundred more for food and incidentals until she could get things sorted. She then told me it was a loan and that she promised to pay me back as soon as she could. I chuckled and said not to worry about it but she was adamant. When do you need it? i asked. She told me to bring it Friday, i was grinning slyly when i told her i'd run it by Thursday after i got down dealing and if she wasn't around i'd bring it Friday. Then i added, because i can't wait that long to see you. I could hear her smile on the other end. 

Having landed on a Thursday, picked up more gear shortly after and then dealt with a deluge that had me requesting more product in the span of a few days, my return was quite profitable for the new King of North Oakland. I had cleared somewhere north of four grand profit in the four or five days i'd been back. Shit was flying off the shelves as they say and Stiv was damn near gleeful when i told him i needed more. He was always happiest when i showed up at his house with stacks of money and i knew that a good portion of that was going into his pocket. Now of course i had to give the business report which was the break down of how many pounds went out the door in the five pack deal and how many were regular price. Stiv had made the rookie mistake of the budding kingpin of letting me know exactly what his cut was from this operation and let's just say i was a bit pissed. Stiv's job was driving to his buddy's place and hanging out for a night before returning with the load. After that he handed it off to me and then sat back and waited for his cash while i moved the gear. Rudimentary knowledge in this game means that the smaller it's broken up and sold the more one can make and of course the more people you deal with and the more risk involved... sort of. Getting caught with an ounce broken up to sell is still less trouble then getting caught with a pound... or five... or twenty. The math states that if i sold a pound all in ounces or smaller the average i could make per pound was between $600-$1000. Selling it by the pound i made $200 to $250. The former had me dealing with 20-30 people while the latter had me dealing with three or four for the same amount of profit. Stiv made the mistake of letting slip he cleared four bills a pound. Stiv and i had it fucking good. Normally selling weight in the ganja game might net you a hundred bucks a pound if that. Fact was the gear was pretty good and i had practically cornered the East End market. If one wanted good to excellent weed at a fair price, i was the guy you needed to know. 

Thursday night was always a fine night in my world. I could suffer through a hangover on my way to the weekend and it was always amazing that by Friday night i was ready to go at it again. That said i was the Michael Jordan of the Friday call-off. In my party store warehouse days i had once called off seven out of eight Fridays, a record that still stands and one still retaining their job. That warehouse gig was a bit different, locally owned and as my manager told the owner, he didn't have to worry about things when i showed up as i got shit done and didn't need babysat, something rare for this particular place. The new gig though was a corporate place with people who took themselves way too seriously. They had quotas and bean-counters and bonuses to earn while the lumpen prole tossed boxes and loaded trucks and barely scraped by so i had to rein my absenteeism in a bit. This particular Thursday i was in an excellent mood and was slinging like a motherfucker. The cargo pants pockets bursting as the seams and more stashed in the car. A pound sold out of the trunk on the side street and another half pound sold broken down in the bar. Matt the Bartender grinning as his tip jar filled up as my clientele made their way in and out. Shortly after 11 i slid Matt another $20, smiled, and headed out the door as he yelled "My Man!". 

I bounded up the steps two at a time drunk on booze and lust. Veronica had spent a rare quiet night in, being broke being a major drag for the young lady. When she opened the door she smiled and it wasn't long before we were tumbling into her bed, the last words i heard being, "i can't help myself." We lay there naked with a fine layer of sweat listening to the traffic drift in through a cracked window, the cool autumn night slipping in, the shades of blue muted and changing as the curtains danced with the streetlights from the back alley. We didn't talk, just lay there, just being. It was almost 1AM when i started to get dressed and mentioned i needed to get home cuz i had to work. She said she wished i could stay but knew and her voiced trailed off. I asked her about her rent and what she needed. She reiterated that it was just a loan and i smiled and said sure no problem. Four hundred for rent and another hundred for food and things and she would get it back to me as soon as she could. I smiled and pulled a wad of cash from my pocket. Is that just from tonight? she asked. I grinned and nodded. I handed her the weed i had brought her and then gave her $800 and told her if she needed any more to let me know. I don't need that much she replied. You can always use money i smiled back. She asked if i was still coming over tomorrow and i said of course i am. She said she could score some E if i'd like and i said that'd be swell. I kissed her forehead and made for the door. 

I quietly closed her apartment door and made my way down the steps and into the street, put the Geo into gear and flipped a U-turn on a normally busy street now deserted at this time of night. Work would come calling in roughly five hours and the temptation to call off was great but seeing as i had just gotten back from nine days off i figured that would be the last straw and i'd get canned. Did i care? not really but still that warped sense of discipline kept me going in. Sleep was becoming a precious commodity between the warehouse job, my real gig slinging, and Veronica. On this night i was hoping to scrape by with five hours before i had to get up and head in, toss boxes and unload trucks all day, come home and take care of the real business, then finally make my way over to Veronica's, take a pill of Ecstasy and get back to my favorite pastime, her... 

No comments: