Scoring that fix!
The journey there is exciting; it’s the anticipation. You have to remember to not constantly clutch the money in your pocket. Handing over money that’s warm and clammy to the Man isn’t a smart move. It marks you out as an amateur. When you get there, he’s never back. There are others there too, waiting, their eyes nervously trying to watch everyone else, but not wanting to be seen watching. Every time the door opens the eyes flick up in anticipation, and back down when they realise it’s not him. The mood is tense.
A few people drift in and out. There are mumbled conversations, and then they’re gone. What’s the deal with them? Are they getting some special treatment? Maybe there’s something going down? Every minute drags, and you’re already preparing yourself for the disappointment. What if he doesn’t show? What is he’s not holding? How long before you give up and head somewhere else? The whole evening could be spent jumping from one place to next, either missing him at every turn, or chasing the shadow of that illusive man of straw. Better sit tight and wait.
Then he arrives. The mood immediately changes. No one wants to be obvious, to be too pushy, but you just want to hand over the cash, get your shit, and be on your way. There’s the small talk. He doesn’t mind taking his time, because he’s already fixed up. He’s comfortable. He has everything he needs. You? You need him, and he knows it. The politics of the deal, the balance must be preserved. The rules are unwritten.
The money changes hands and he gives you the package. Every fibre in your being is telling you get out, to hit the road, but you don’t want to seem too eager to go. After all, the Man gives better deals to the people he likes, and the ones that just want to cut and run always get shorted. They’re at the back of queue, every time.
Then when the time is right you’re off and heading home, the package jammed inside your coat. Part of you is buzzing, excited, but there’s the paranoia too. People seem to be watching your every move. Do they know what you’ve done? Can they see through your coat, through the package, can they see the packets in their plastic wrap? You try to blend into the street scene but it just makes you stand out even more. They know. They all know.
Then suddenly, you’re home. The door closed behind you. Double lock it, just in case. Close the curtains before you switch on the light, then you slump in your chair. You toss the package onto the table, and sit looking at it for a moment. Then you laugh, a mixture of elation and relief. You’ve got it, you’ve scored your fix. Everything is right with the world. Unless…
Have you been ripped off? The Man seemed happy to take your money. He smiled when he handed over the package. That’s what he does, every day, dozens of times a day, so why smile? He’s carved you up, that’s why. Your trembling hands tear the package open and the plastic packets tumble onto the table. You quickly count them up. Thirty two. The right number. You hold one up. Is it the right amount? It looks light? Has he cut it? Maybe it’s not 100 per cent. Maybe it’s duff. Maybe some of them are placebos?
You calm yourself down. He wouldn’t rip you off. He never has before. Calm down. You drop the packet back into the pile. It’s done. It’s done.
You’re alright. You’re golden, in fact. And you can give it up … any time you want to!