Now

I snort a long line of coke and breathe deeply as my eyes widen, pupils shrink down to nothing, and the rest of the universe slows down to a dull crawl.

I sit here awake and alone once again. Someone will show up though. Someone always does. I’ll sit and wait. Perhaps a cup of soy milk and some noodle soup will keep me busy while I wait. I think about snacking. People really shouldn’t snack so much. That’s why everyone is so bloody fat. They snack too much. I guess if they snacked on noodle soup they wouldn’t be so fat. I hate fat people. What do they think about when they come out of the shower and see an extra fifty pounds hanging off their bodies in the mirror? Do they think hey, pick a roll and make love, I’m feeling hot today?

I just realized that I haven’t eaten in a day. At least I don’t remember eating for a day. The forgetfulness is kicking in, but it’s cool. I suppose that’s just because I haven’t slept for three days.

Did the doorbell just ring? I think that was the doorbell. I’ll check. Nobody at the door. Weird. I stare out the door a few minutes longer. Someone is there. It’s a money hungry chick, and she brought her stupid junkie friend.

I let them in.

Junkie asks: “how did you know we were coming?”

“I heard the doorbell ring.”

“We didn’t ring the bell,” says Money Hungry.

“Yeah, I know.”

“Can I get a taste?” Junkie asks me right away. No respect with these people.

“Also, if you have a few bucks…” Money Hungry raises her eyebrows and continues, “we could give you the same thing as last time.”

“Look, I gave you a taste last time so that you’d come back and buy from me, and as for you, I never hand out money.”

“So, you don’t want our lips on your cock?” asks Money Hungry

“Not if there’s a price attached to it.”

Junkie laughs. “What, did you think we just wanted to suck your dick because you’re so beautiful?”

“I thought you played with me last time because you wanted to.”

“We did. We did. It’s just nice to get a little appreciation in return,” Money Hungry says in a reassuring sort of voice.

I pull my pants down and slap Junkie in the face with my junk. The vacuous pair act like two vacuum cleaners dueling over the eventual canon shot of confetti.

Suddenly, although I’m sitting in the same chair, the girls are gone, and one of my distributors stands in front of me. I look at him and ask: “were people just sucking my cock?”

Distributor looks nervous. His hand starts to shake as he speaks, “look, Reggie, man, I ah, I was a bit low on the count. I know it. I’m saying, I’m going to make it up on this one. I’ve never let you down before, right?”

I look down at my pants, confused, as I fiddle with my zipper, only to notice that everything is packed away tightly. I look back up at Distributor, pointing accusingly. “Were you just sucking my cock?”

“Reggie, I’m truly sorry about the count. I don’t know what happened. I brought the cash back here. I thought it was right. Nobody else has been here? Nobody else could have taken the money?”

“You weren’t sucking my dick,” I yell out.

He’s quivering in fear, as he begins to get down on his knees and slowly unzip my zipper. Oh, no. I’m losing time. Money Hungry and Junkie must have robbed me. I push Distributor off me.

“When did you drop off the money?” I ask

“About three hours ago.”

I point, “this is it? On the table over here?”

“Yes.”

I count it. It’s exactly $300 short.

“You know that Junkie girl and Money Hungry girl she hangs with?” I ask

“Yeah. The whores from across town.”

“Right, whatever. Bring them to me, right away,” I demand.

“What about the money?”

“I am the money. Now bring me the girls,” I shout.

“I got it, yo. I got it.”

As he’s leaving, I ask: “what time is it?”

“It’s like almost 3.”

“Forget it. Not today, tomorrow,” I say.

He opens the front door wide, points up to the sun and says: “3 in the afternoon.”

“I don’t do business between 3pm and 10pm. Tomorrow, OK?”

Distributor nods his head at me and closes the door behind him.

Almost right away, I hear a knock at the door. I open it to see Distributor with Money Hungry and Junkie.

“Here they are boss,” Distributor says.

“That’s some great initiative, grabbing them when they are coming to the door like that, but what did I just tell you?” I ask.

“Uh, boss?” Distributor asks.

“What time is it?” I ask.

“It’s 10am cutie,” Money Hungry says.

“We didn’t do nothing,” Junkie says.

“Yo, that’s like a double negative, ho,” says Distributor.

“What the fuck’s his problem? You know your skin is white bitch!” says Junkie.

Distributor raises his hand.

“Hold your hand,” I say.

“Hold my hand. You playin? This bitch be trippin’ disrespectin’ me n’ shit. Yo, bitch be like usin’ double negatives n’ shit. That’s like a direct admission of guilt, yo,” Distributor retorts.

“Hold your hand. Listen, you…” I point at the junkie “…apologize right now. I can’t have anyone disrespecting one of mine.”

“I ain’t apologizing to that nigger wanna be motherfucker. Why would anyone want to be one of those fucking people anyway?”

“You’re going to apologize, or you’re going for a ride with guns and shovels, got it?”

“Why the fuck…”

Money Hungry interrupts Junkie, “apologize, right now. If you don’t apologize right now, very bad things will happen.”

Junkie looks at me, and I nod.

Junkie looks at Distributor, looks down at his feet, and says: “I’m sorry.”

“Fuckin’ right you’re sorry ho bitch.”

“Watch your manners in front of the ladies,” I say.

“Sorry boss. I gotta admit though. You command some damn respect. Now, what about the double negative admission of guilt shit?” Distributor asks.

“Bad grammar isn’t an admission of guilt,” I say.

“What happened?” Money Hungry asks.

“Describe to me what happened after you left here yesterday,” I demand.

“We wiped our chins and made you some tea,” Junkie replies.

I glared at them waiting for more.

“We gave you what you wanted and you gave us a little taste. Everyone was happy, and we left. You were tired,” said Money Hungry.

“Yeah, I never did see nobody as tired as you,” Junkie says.

“You can go now,” I conclude.

“What the fuck? You bring us all the way down here to tell you shit you already know?” Junkie asks.

I look at Distributor and say “I’ve asked them to leave. I have faith that they’ll do the right thing. Please give them that chance before taking any drastic actions, cool?”

“Like ice.”

I walk out of the room and say: “oh, and if they ever come back here again…”

“I’ll take care of it, boss.”

The women leave without any further discussion, almost tripping over themselves on the way out the door, while distributor followed me into the other room.

“Yo, you really going to let those hos get away with stealing your money?” Distributor asks.

“They didn’t steal anything. I’m sure of it.”

“Yo yo yo, if they didn’t take the stacks, who did?” Distributor asks.

“I’ll find out. I always do.”

“I make a badass cup of tea boss. You want a badass cup of tea?” Distributor asks.

“I would very much enjoy a badass cup of tea.”

Before

I’m just minding my own business. She’s looking at me though, out of the corner of her eye. She wants to tell me off for something. I can tell. I wish that woman would stop with that weird stare, weird accent, and weird way of doing everything so weird.

“You eat?” she asks.

“Yeah Mom, I ate.”

“What you want? I make you food.”

“Nothing Ma. I’m not hungry. I don’t want food.”

“You look tired. I make you a sandwich.”

“A sandwich won’t make me less tired Ma. Howz about a coffee? You can make me a coffee, please!”

“I get you a sandwich and tea. You like tea.”

“No Mom. I don’t want a sandwich or tea.”

“What kind of sandwich you want?”

“Mom!”

“What you want in your tea?”

“Ham, Mom. Ham is good.”

“Sugar. I put sugar in your tea, not ham. Nobody put ham in their tea. So crazy!”

She starts laughing, and she even does that with a weird accent.

“What kind of sandwich you want?” she asks again.

“Still a ham sandwich Ma.”

“OK . . .” she interrupts herself with fits of laughter.

“Ham in your tea, ham in your sandwich. Maybe you see a pig and marry it. I always want you to get married one day.” she continues.

“Ma, I’m not going to marry a pig.”

“I don’t know. I thought you never bring drugs in the house. I thought you never sell them. I thought you were a good boy, but now you deal the drugs. Maybe next you marry the pig.”

She starts crying, a slow pathetic cry, partly out of shame, partly out of worry, partly out of fear.

“Mom, you have nothing to worry about. No business happens when you’re here and awake, only when you’re at work or sleeping.”

“I don’t care about me. I care about you. I die someday anyway. Can’t you be a carpenter, a doctor, or a pirate?”

“A what?”

“A doctor. Everyone wants a doctor in the family.”

“No ma, you said pirate. Did you mean pilot?”

“Oh, no. I’ve seen you drive a car. I don’t want you to be a pilot. You crash. You die. You be a doctor or a carpenter.”

“Or a pirate?”

“Don’t marry the pig. Don’t deal the drugs. Don’t put the ham in tea.”

“OK Mom.”

“I love you”

“I love you ma.”

After

“Yo boss, here da hos,” Distributor says.

“This bitch wannabe. I told him you don’t want us here. I told him we ain’t been around, and we didn’t do nothing,” says Junkie.

“Stop talking. All will be revealed soon enough,” I say.

“That’s right hos, shut the fuck up,” says Distributor.

“What the fuck?” asks Junkie.

“Bitch!” yells Distributor.

“What’s that stain on the floor?” asks Money Hungry.

“I asked for silence,” I pull out a gun, wave it around lazily a bit and continue, “I will have silence. If anyone speaks other than me, they will take a bullet.”

I point at each person with the gun, nod at each one and wait for a return nod of recognition.

“Good, now that I have your attention,” I look at Distributor, “I would like you to make us some tea.”

I point the gun at the cabinet in the corner of the kitchen while looking towards Money Hungry, “please get us 4 tea cups, the cups from the set please. Just because I’m holding you hostage at gunpoint doesn’t mean we can’t be civilized.”

I nod at Junkie. “You, my dear. Please get the full gas container that is in the garage, just back there,” I point with my gun. “I want you to pour it slowly out into every room of the house.”

She looks as though she might start speaking again. I wave my gun lazily once more. “Ah ah ah, remember no talking yet. Don’t worry, nobody innocent will die today.”

Distributor takes out two tea bags, putting one each into two cups, throws the tea box away, grabs another box, and puts one each into two more cups. As the water boils, I can smell gasoline filling the house, taking over. My stomach feels sick. Distributor fills the cups with boiling water and after a bit of time removes the tea bags and adds some soy milk to all 4 cups. He makes the tea just the way I like, without saying a word to anyone. I pat him on the shoulder.

“You’ve been a good soldier man. You’re free to speak at will,” I smile and nod at him.

He sighs with relief, looks at me and says: “yo, cool, so what’s going down here?”

“I need to find out who stole that money from me. You three were there that day. It’s very important that I find out.”

Distributor gives tea mugs to me and Money Hungry. He grabs one for himself and leaves one for Junkie, who is still pouring gasoline about the house.

“Please go and check on her. I want to make sure she’s not up to something,” I say to Distributor.

“Sure thing boss. You want me to slap that bitch?” he asks.

“No. Just bring her back here please.”

As soon as he leaves the room, I stop Money Hungry from sipping her tea. I switch her tea with Junkie and I switch my tea with Distributor.

“This is critical. Without saying a word, not one word. Go to the garbage can and open up the tea box. Show me if there is anything in it. Then put it back. Do this quickly,” I say to Money Hungry.

She opens the garbage, opens the box, and shows me that there is enough tea bags for 5 more cups of tea in the discarded box. Money Hungry’s eyes widen with curiosity.

“Thank you. Drink the tea in the cup I gave you and say nothing, no matter what happens. You will be safe. You won’t get hurt, no matter what I say or do,” I say.

Distributor and Junkie come back into the room after what seems to be a bit too long. I tap Junkie on the shoulder. “You can speak now. Drink your tea.”

“What the fuck is this all about?” Junkie asks.

“Someone stole my money. Maybe they came back for more, or maybe they were just trying to kill me, take my drugs, take control of my drug business. I don’t know, but instead they killed my Mom. That’s what that stain on the floor is. That is the stain of my Mom’s blood draining out of her. That’s where she died, alone, in a puddle of her blood, urine, and tears, afraid and alone.”

Junkie and Distributor chug down their cups of tea.

“Do you have a lighter?” I ask Junkie.

“Look who the fuck you’re talking to boss. Of course that skank ho’s got a lighter.” says Distributor.

“Fuck you, you little pansy bitch,” Junkie says to Distributor while handing me a lighter.

“No, no. You go ahead, please. Light the place up,” I say.

She walks over to a bit of gas soaked carpet and sets it on fire.

“So, what the fuck now?” Junkie asks.

“Now, I have to decide who dies, but I’m a very democratic sort of guy, so I’m going to let you guys vote on it. Who do you think stole my money?”

“It’s gotta be the bitches, yo,” says Distributor.

“Fuck you,” says Junkie.

“OK, who was it then?” I ask Junkie.

“Honestly, probably Jessica,” she says while pointing at Money Hungry.

“So, Jessica is it? She stole my money, came back for more money, saw my Mom, then stabbed her 17 times so she couldn’t be a witness, yeah, yeah. That makes sense. There is just one problem with that. Jessica here is sort of smart. She would figure that my money would be safe, locked up somewhere that she couldn’t get at it. She wouldn’t stab my Mom a bunch of times like some sort of jacked up Junkie. A jacked up Junkie would know that I had drugs in the house though.”

Nobody says anything, so I continue. “It doesn’t matter though does it? It doesn’t matter if I blame you because my soldier over here has been drugging my tea for quite some time now so that I fall asleep. That’s why he threw out tea bags after grabbing drugged tea for me and Jessica here. That’s why you two chugged your tea so quickly with confidence, knowing that I would fall asleep anytime now, but I switched the cups didn’t I? I’ll see you in the next life.”

I take Jessica’s hand lead her out of the burning house while the two others struggle to even stay awake.

“What happens now?” Jessica asks me.

“I have to go find someone. Just say you were never here.”

“What about your Mom, and what’s your name? I didn’t get your name.”

“My Mom’s dead. The stain will come out of the floor, but it will never come off me.”

“So, I’ll just call you Stain then?”

“Yeah, best if you do.”

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