Life of Crime: Confessions of a Teenage Drug Dealer
“We regularly go from hot-boxing subsidized apartments to hot-tubbing on Chad’s dad’s mansion estate. But she’s an in-betweener… forgettable. Until now.”
Note: This is the first installation of my Fictional series, Life of Crime: Inspired by real people and true events. If you like this story, read “Confessions of a Hustler” next. Thank you!
I turn around to find a beady-eyed girl approaching from the end of the driveway.
“FUCK YOU!” she shouts, tossing up a middle finger.
I look back towards the house, trying to figure out who the fuck she thinks she’s talking to.
“No, YOU, bitch! FUCK YOU!”
Okay, so it’s me. She’s definitely talking to me. “Dude, do I know you?”
“You fucking ruined my friend’s life.” She’s caught up to me now.
“You don’t remember me, bitch?”
She must be drunkenly mistaking me for someone else.
I ignore her and head towards the backyard. Gordy and Becca are waiting for me by the bonfire.
She grabs my shoulder and yanks me back towards her.
I push her off me: “yo, what the fuck?”
“You sold us some shit acid and he’s never been the same.” Oh. She continues, “Remember now? Like two months ago! Is your brain fried from drugs too?!”
“What… uh…” I stammer, “but what happened to him?”
“He’s just fucked!!! He had a fucked trip and now he’s fucked. He went fucking crazy. Like, we thought he was going to die that night. I thank God every day that I didn’t end up doing that shit too. Because I knew not to trust you — nasty chemical-pushing, lying-ass, dumb bitch.”
Yeah, I remember her now.
She lives at her parent’s house by the mall. I still work at some pseudo “high fashion” clothing store in that shithole, so Ben figured it’d be no problem for me to stop by his homegirl’s place after my shift. He’d given her my number. Fuckin’ Ben. He should know not to be doing that shit. But he thinks he’s helping by building my clientele. And well, he gets clout for knowing the plug. Win-win, right? Cool. Whatever.
So I clock out and GPS her address. Her neighborhood is literally across the street. I text her to open the door, and she does quickly, wearing a big smile. She leads me to a fenced-in backyard, where her friends are gathered around a plastic picnic table. They’re all happy to see me. Someone even remarks, “wow, a hot female? Boss bitch energy.” I explain that my job makes us dress bougie for work, but I don’t always look so done-up.
I pull the tin foil square out of my purple Coach wallet and unwrap it. She hands me the cash, then invites me to stay and smoke. I say I have another appointment.
As I turn to leave, some kid chimes in to tell me this will be his first time. Sick. Enjoy bro. He asks if I’ve done this particular tab myself, to which I reply, “of course. Best shit ever.”
That was a lie. Gordy said he did it and it was great, so I took his word for it.
In retrospect, he could’ve been lying just as easily.
Oh fuck. Yeah, wait… of course he was lying.
I feel a jolt and snap back to reality as she pushes me and yells, “got nothing to say, bitch?!”
Another unfamiliar face jogs over from the street. “Is that the chick that sold us that shitty acid? Yo, FUCK YOU!”
My chest tightens. Either I’m about to sob a pathetic apology at her feet, or she touches me again and her face meets my fist. But I still have half a stupid sheet in my stupid purple wallet, which happens to be in my stupid jacket pocket… and I don’t want to go to jail tonight.
“I’m sorry about your friend.” I murmur, clearly trying not to cry.
“Are we supposed to feel bad for you?”
For a second, I consider bringing them over to Gordy, who knows more about the origin of this particular hallucinogen, and drugs in general, but he’d be pissed at me for throwing his name into trouble.
And I ain’t no snitch.
“I’m sorry…” I repeat, through shallow breathing. “Nothing bad happened to anyone else…”
Her guy friend puts his arm around her and suggests they “forget this bitch, who obviously can’t do anything to reverse the situation…”
Fuckin’ thanks for understanding, I guess.
I spend the next hour lying in the backseat of my car, bawling my eyes out. I hope this dumbass kid is okay. He will be, right? He must’ve had some outstanding psychological issues to begin with. What am I meant to do? Pre-screen everyone I sell to with a mental health assessment?
Gordy isn’t answering my fucking texts to come out. I’m his ride home. And I have cash to give him.
In the beginning, my good pal Gordy had no problem convincing me to push for him. He’s a natural salesman… or con-man, as some might rephrase. But he’s always been there for me.
As kids, when asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, he’d always say “a pirate”, and I thought that was a really cool answer, so I started saying it too. The adults thought it was cute.
In elementary school, he’d help walk the neighborhood with my wagon of Girl Scout cookies, and I’d always hit my quota. Even if we’d have to adjust a few orders.
In high school, he’d set up a network of kids willing to pay me to do their art assignments, which really allowed me to explore new perspectives as a creative. I’d make subjectively bad work, to pass as some burnout’s passion projects. Genius.
And to this day, Gordy is always excited to introduce me to new opportunities:
“It’s easy!” He grins as the flicks on the kitchen light, to reveal a tabletop display of psychedelic patterned tiles. He’s got on his spiel suit; a blazer over a crisp T-Shirt, tucked in. I bet he’s wearing suspenders too. He continues, “I produce a sheet of 100 for $100 and you sell the tabs for $10 each. You owe me fifty percent, but keep the other fifty. So simple, huge profit!” His gestures fill the room. “And I know you’ll get rid of this shit so fast!”
“Alright then…” I joke, “open up the PowerPoint. Do you have slides detailing prospective buyers or what?”
He’s clearly prepared to answer: “How many parties do you get invited to per week? Sometimes multiple per night, right? And someone — if not a whole group — at each of those events, is going to be down to trip balls. Someone always is.”
I ask how it’s so cheap to begin with, and he says not to worry about it. “It’s from an untraceable source, called the Silk Road.” He vaguely explains how this works, knowing I don’t know shit about “the deep web”. It could all be bullshit, but I trust him. And I need the money.
He assures me that as long as I’m not stupid about it, I’ll be fine. And I’m not stupid.
Stupid would be something like: letting acquaintances pass around my number, then not only responding to random texts, but showing up to sketchy locations in order to conduct illegal transactions with strangers. But I would never let it get to that.
We start flipping over a grand per week. That’s at least five hundred dollars in my pocket, which is more than I’m making at my “real” part-time job. So I quit.
I move in with Gordy and Becca, rent-free. I just have to deliver what I owe and drive them around when needed. Easy.
Our weekends are fun. We make scheduled appearances at each address from a curated list, sell out, then return to the biggest party to get trashed and laugh at friendly idiots attempt to describe the faces in the walls.
Routine ensues and our network continues to grow. We regularly go from hot-boxing subsidized apartments to hot-tubbing on Chad’s dad’s mansion estate.
Yet still, nothing tops Ben’s bonfire parties.
I’ll have to talk to him about his friends who hate me now.
It’s past three AM.
I watch Gordy and Becca stumble over to my car. Normally we’d just crash here, but my “SOS ABORT MISSION” texts are finally being addressed. Becca flops into the passenger seat and links her arm with mine. “What happened?” she slurs, looking up into my raccoon eyes.
“Some assholes.” I respond simply. I don’t even want to talk about it.
Gordy chimes in triumphantly, “Fuck those assholes!”
Becca giggles, “Yeah, fuck those assholes!” And she reaches up to wipe mascara off my cheek. “Don’t be sad, pretty girl! Let’s go home!”
As I fly through these streets (which Gordy claims we own), I keep thinking of this kid that went off the rails. UHG!!! It’s not my fault he had a bad trip. It’s seriously not.
As we approach our little townhouse, something feels off. But I’m probably just still anxious from that interaction earlier. I turn the key, push the door, and flip on the light.
Gordy pushes past us to the coat closet. He fumbles for the shoe box on the top shelf, throws the top on the floor, and unwraps the scarf inside to reveal his gun. He points the weapon aimlessly around the ransacked living room.
“Show yourself!” He yells to no one. Hopefully no one.
There’s glass on the floor from the shattered back window. The couch cushions are slashed. All the cabinets are open. There’s abstract black spray paint streaks on the walls… and a note on the kitchen table. That probably means whoever did this is gone, right? RIGHT?!
Becca rushes over to read it, while Gordy ascends towards the bedrooms. My heart is racing. What am I supposed to do? Grab a kitchen knife or something, just in case?
I hear a bang as each upstairs door crashes open.
Becca shrieks: “FUCK!!!” She backs into a paint stained wall, hyperventilating, and slides down onto the ground. I see some black on the back of her shirt as she curls into fetal position. We need to get the fuck out of here.
Gordy appears, breathing heavy. “We’re all clear”, he reports.
“Maybe not quite…” squeaks between my lips as I point to the smeared black paint.
He snatches the note from Becca’s grasp. I try to pull her up. “Let’s go.” I try to coax her to the door, keys still in hand. I look to Gordy, who’s pale as a ghost behind the piece of paper. “Dude, what the fuck does it say?”
“We gotta go.” He hustles us back to the car with his head on a swivel, still armed.
As soon as the doors shut, Becca turns to hit her boyfriend. She cries as she wails on him, screaming “Gordy, what the fuck?!”
I attempt to yell over her: “WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?!” as I drive aimlessly out of the neighborhood, constantly checking the rear view mirror.
Becca plants a fist on Gordy’s chest. “READ IT OUT LOUD!”
“Gordan…” he starts. I’ve never heard his voice shake while reciting his own name like this. “You know what you owe us.” He’s choking on his words. “And if we don’t have it by sunset tomorrow…” he starts to cry. “…we’ll take your girlfriend as collateral. And that’s a promise.”
They’re screaming at each other now.
I ponder the potential consequences of driving straight to the police station, then quickly dismiss that option. I realize I’m heading back to Ben’s, despite that being the last place I want to be at the moment.
Luckily, by the time we arrive, most of his guests are gone. We let ourselves in to find him watching cartoons in the living room with some other mutuals. He addresses us with bong in hand and lungs full of smoke: “y’all look like shit!” he exhales a huge cloud and laughs.
Gordy is already scouting nooks to hide our stash as he responds, “we’re in trouble.”
Ben suddenly seems more sober. “So you came here?”
“They didn’t follow us!” Gordy snaps back. “And you fuckin’ owe me anyway!”
They didn’t follow us. To Florida, at least.
We left Gordy at Ben’s. I don’t know how he’s meant to clean up this mess, but he gave us all the cash he had on him, then told us to get as far from him as possible until further notice. So we hit the road.
A good friend of mine moved to Miami last year, and has been begging me to come visit. Perfect. I drive three hours South before pulling into a gas station parking lot to nap. It was already late when we started.
I’d never watched the sun rise over a row of Mack trucks until now. I bet that colored sky behind silhouetted palm trees hits different.
Ten plus hours of traffic later, we pull up to Claire’s crib.
“HEY!!!” She runs barefoot onto the lawn, waving and grinning.
We slump out of the car, no bags in hand.
“Wow!!!” She yells. “No housewarming gifts?”
I drape my arm around her. “I’m your gift, bitch.”
“Fuck you!” She laughs. “How did you not visit sooner?”
“I’ve been mad busy.”
“Aha. Busy breaking hearts? Ruining boys lives? The usual?”
“Yeah.” I finally laugh at the irony of it all. “Exactly.”