A week had gone by and there was no sign of Disco Dave... granted my gut feeling was always that Disco Dave was a top class knob end but since he seemed relatively intelligent my thoughts were he wouldn't piss away what was commonly referred to as the best connection in the city. His sexually ambiguous hairdresser friend Kyle, the guy who had got Dave through the door, a guy introduced to me by a hippie chick who had been introduced by an ex-roommate's friend's sexually ambiguous boyfriend (cue Blur's Girls and Boys), were all big fans, they couldn't believe their luck at finding what was the steadiest and most stable weed connection around, the last thing anyone who had stumbled upon my little enterprise wanted to do was get cut off especially the guys moving quantity... but a week later and Disco had become a ghost.
Kyle had stopped by a few days later to pick up something small, usually i would have kicked him to my business hours at the bar but he caught me on the rare slow day and so i told him to swing by. Kyle was always amusing, he understood the game, understood the protocol, come in and hang for a 20 minutes or so and then get the fuck out. There were always stories and laughs and there was the time where Kyle and a friend of his turned up one Saturday afternoon with a tank of nitrous oxide and we spent the afternoon drinking beer and doing balloons... the Waitress was at work and was none too pleased when she rolled in the door, apparently you could hear the tank from outside and one of the agreements we had was that business would be kept to a minimum in the apartment, by this time it was mainly the heavy hitters who got a foot in the door due to the amount they were picking up and the need for me to count a lot of cash. Kyle had stories of nude photo shoots on sailboats, strange parties where he was the "entertainment", always interspersed the word "girlfriend" into his stories though in all the times he stopped by i never saw her... he often offered to take me for a ride on his motorcycle, a crotch rocket, where he said i could hold onto him as we did 100mph up the freeway... i passed.
On this day having Kyle come to the place was more about gathering info then selling a quarter ounce of weed. I asked if he had seen Disco. He said he hadn't in a while. I said cool and if he saw him that he should tell him to get a hold of me ASAP, he owed me for a half pound and his lack of communication was concerning. Kyle, being the ever-friendly guy who wanted to help, said he'd do his best to help track him down and relay the message. I tossed in a couple extra grams and said thank you. I could tell my line of questioning had changed the vibe in the room and while it was still congenial and friendly Kyle picked up on the dark undercurrent, mainly the fact i was a little pissed about some fucking rich kid owing me a grand. I quizzed Kyle a bit on Disco's financial situation and since he wanted to help he made it pretty clear that Disco had money and that his momma would bail him out if needed though he may not tell her why he needed the money. I stood listening and nodding and then Kyle made for the exit albeit it less smiley and jovial than when he came in.
It wasn't long before the mystery of Disco's disappearance was solved. I often wondered if Kyle didn't know or after leaving my place beelined it to Disco's to tell him he better give me a call cuz i was none to pleased. When the cell rang and i saw Disco's number i answered, Disco was affecting the timid fuck-up voice that i had come to recognize every time some fucking idiot shit the bed and didn't have my money, be it $50 bucks or $500. I wasn't pleased... and so Disco began to spin his yarn... he said there was a problem, that he had gotten popped... at that point i stopped him and pretended i didn't know what he was talking about, i told him i'd call him back shortly because my phone was almost dead. My phone was not but here this fucking moron was, on the phone, telling me he got busted, i didn't need anymore info relayed and the dealer paranoia came slamming in like a tsunami, what the fuck was this bonehead doing? were the cops listening? i didn't think they were but i also didn't want to find out. For those who don't know the late 90s and early 2000s were boom years for the prison industrial complex and those who took their campaign contributions, they were tossing people in prison for fucking dimebags let alone duffel bags filled with grass, the last thing i need was this conversation being overheard by anyone with a passing interest in law enforcement. I hung up and ran down the street to a payphone.
Years from now when some kid googles asshat and stumbles upon this experiment they may read this and wonder, what was a payphone? yes i'm old enough to remember the days when they still existed and luckily at this point they still did, on the corner next to the mini-mart and across from a bar stood a lovely and graffiti covered payphone. I dialed Disco's number, he answered and i let loose with a torrent of controlled anger, don't call me on my fucking cell and tell me you got busted, what the fuck is wrong with you, i'm in no mood for fucking laughs my friend and that kind of shit makes me fucking very nervous and my being nervous ain't gonna be the best thing for you Davey Boy, got it? Disco then mumbled and bumbled his way through some lame ass apologies before we got to the crux of the situation which was... what the fuck happened you stupid fuck-up?
The story went like this... Disco Dave had a customer, some pooh-butt chick who apparently had all sorts of issues pertaining to various substances and in the process of feeding that habit got popped... in exchange for leniency she cut a deal with cops to "help get" someone else... i'm sure the cops didn't think it was going to be some half ass weed deal and were hoping for some clown with a bundle of stamp bags but the pooh-butt wasn't about to get the dealer she needed in deep shit therefore the easiest and wisest target for her was fucking Disco Douchebag. He explained she wanted to meet in a gas station parking lot, something he thought was strange but since she was a bit sketchy he figured she was just paranoid. Yes it's as stupid as it sounds and i asked why if she was sketchy and suddenly wanting to meet in a parking lot did he say yes? Of course his reply was that he was trying to move shit so he could pay me, to which i replied pay me for what? which he realized meant i didn't want to be implicated as having anything to do with this situation while fuckhead was on his phone... because now my healthy paranoia was running rampant. Were the cops really going to tap Disco's phone? probably not but then again i had no idea what Disco had spilled, for all i know he had pissed his expensive and ugly jeans and offered them "the man."
Disco then continued reassuring me that he had said nothing to the police and that he had gotten himself a good lawyer but the problem was this was his second offense. I asked what he got caught selling and he said an ounce. In one sense i was somewhat relieved because though an ounce was more than a dime bag it wasn't something like a quarter pound which would have definitely got the boys in blue all hard with the prospect of taking down "an organization." Still, an ounce was enough to keep the cops interest but Disco had sworn up and down that he said nothing, which to me meant fucking jack shit. It was around this point that Disco began to sheepishly explain he wasn't going to be able to pay me. Why? i asked, you got busted with an ounce, where is the rest of it? Yes i realized i was now implicating myself in this little dilemma (had anyone been listening) but i needed this shit resolved. He said he had given the rest to his brother, the one who stole the triple beam for me, and that he was broke because he had to pay for a lawyer, in fact he had to hit up his rich mom for help. The thought that maybe he could sell some of his swanky threads crossed my mind but i stood in the cold listening intently to the ramblings of an idiot.
So let me get this straight, i hissed into the phone, you fucked up and got popped with a zip selling to some junkie cunt in a parking lot like a fucking moron. You also don't have the money to pay the bank what you owe even though someone still has the bulk of the gear. That's the story correct. Yes, he mumbled. I looked up and down Ellsworth Avenue, already watching for anything unusual. Here's how this plays out then my friend, the loss of that cash covers my security understand, it's off the books, you don't owe a thing, now if i so much as see a strange car or the door gets kicked in or a couple of guys in suits come walking up and take my arm you my friend are fucked, got it. One of my first calls will be to a certain friend of mine who owes me a favor and specializes in things like this, meaning you'll be walking with a fucking limp for the rest of your days or maybe worse depending on my mood... and believe me you'll never see it or know it's coming but understand if it ever gets to that point i'll be watching from somewhere, got it. There were more mumbled apologies as the sad sack version of Disco rambled for a minute before i cut him off and said, that's it, nothing more to discuss, good luck with your case and have a nice life, but we're finished here.
I hung up the phone and took a deep breath. Things were going to be dicey for a minute or two and i'd have to keep things wired as tight as possible. I contemplated discussing it with Stiv but seeing as he was high strung and paranoid to begin with i decided best to keep him in the dark about the situation, maybe explain that some shithead beat me for a half pound but that said shithead was now cut off. It was around this time when i started to consider a safe house, a place where i didn't do business but could stash some extra weed and some cash just in case. I had a few places in mind, both good friends, old roommates, who knew the deal as they had lived with the dealer. Granted i'd make it worth their while and who doesn't like money for nothing and free weed? Walking home i could feel the weight, the game was always precarious, a delicate balance of business acumen and luck, hopefully that luck ran good but on occasion when it went south one hoped it didn't go way south. I knew there would be no good night's sleep anytime soon. (to be cont.)