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Chess had moved to the city only a few weeks earlier and so far he hadn’t paid much attention to where everything was yet. He was trying to follow along unsuccessfully on the GPS system of Mark’s Range Rover, just in case he’d end up having to walk back. He had only known Mark since a few days and although Mark had been nice enough to invite him along to see his dealer, Chess couldn’t help but profile him as the kind of guy who would bail on you just to make clear who pulls the strings…
Why did I have to forget my damn phone?
“Almost there. I hope you brought enough cash,” said Mark in a way that seemed to assume or hope his new neighbor hadn’t.
“I do… Don’t worry.”
Now Chess was worried he didn’t bring enough cash. He had smoked weed before with his friends back in his old high school, but never really liked it. He had no idea what this shenanigan would cost. He didn’t even know how to roll a joint.
Just as quickly as these thoughts crossed his mind, he came up with a plan. He was simply going to ask what he could get for forty bucks and whatever that Nate guy would answer, he was going to sigh and pretend to find it expensive, but then aloofly accept anyway before anyone would have time to respond. He wasn’t going to actually bargain.
Meanwhile, he still had no idea what part of town they were in. He reassured himself by rubbing his left pinky with his right thumb. It doesn’t matter. We’re just going to get the stuff and then drive back home. The neighbourhood did appear rougher than his own. He couldn’t tell why. If someone were to ask him afterwards, he would describe the area to be darker and dirtier than where he lives, but he wouldn’t be able to explain why. He wasn’t a very keen observer. He was more of an instinctive kind of person. Instinctive but doubtful.
“There we are. So here is waddle doo… I’ll drop y’off at the corner but you need to walk on and ring the bell at those double red doors,” Mark mumbled.
His lips had been holding on to a hand-rolled cigarette he hadn’t lit since twenty minutes or so.
I could never get away with posing like that.
Mark had pointed through the windshield but Chess didn’t see any red doors.
“Wait, what? Why?” he stuttered.
“Cus that’s where Nate lives.”
“No but why drop me off? Where are you going?”
“Just ’round the block, man. It’s a hassle to park here. B’sides, he knows you’re coming. I texted him. Here’s a fifty. I don’t have anything smaller. You should be able to get an eight of that new stuff I told y’about.”
Chess had not listened to a word Mark had spoken that morning. At least this gives me an idea of what I should be able to get for my forty bucks.
Mark pulled the car over and Chess got out automatically, as if they did this every day. It reminded him of being dropped off at school by his mom during all of elementary and middle school. He had been too nervous to take the bus, so his mom did what she thought she had to do.
As Mark drove away, Chess assumed he had to walk straight ahead and was only able to hope soon enough he would stumble upon the double red doors. Alright. Red doors, just tell the guy who I am, get eight grams or whatever of the new stuff for Mark, get whatever I can get for forty myself, get out. I’ll be fine. It’s not a fucking test.
Walking through this neighborhood reminded him of movies he had seen, although he couldn’t tell which ones. The cool, dangerous types. Like, The Departed or something. He suddenly felt kind of reckless and even brave about all this. It felt very unfamiliar but empowering. For the whole five minutes since he had left the car nobody had bothered him or even uttered a look at him. Did he blend in?
Shit, did I pass by any red doors yet. Did I even walk straight ahead? Yeah, no, I’m sure I did. Why would I have turned? It wouldn’t make any sense. But the doors were supposed to be right around here somewhere. He was pointing at them… Fuck, if I don’t get there quickly, Mark will be back and think I’m an idiot, or worse, a wuss. Fuck me, why did I forget my phone!
Chess didn’t want to jeopardize his reputation with Mark, just yet. Not that he really liked Mark or even enjoyed hanging out with him so far. But those two girls that Mark was hanging out with when they got introduced by their parents the other day, were so attractive and they seemed so genuinely slutty, it had truly been a devastating experience to meet them. Who knows how many more of these kinds of friends that rich douchebag had. No, it was clear. The douchebag’s opinion mattered.
He realized that, while once again caught up in thoughts, he had been staring at the ground, so he promptly looked up. And as he did, he barely believed what immediately caught his eyes, right in front of him………………………………………………………………………………………