Marc D. Goldfinger
Spare Change News
(Dean, his wife Brenda, their friends Billie & Chrissie are all in the holding pens in Orange, New Jersey. The police are trying to get Dean to turn over his connection, offering freedom with lesser charges for everyone else if Dean turns the trick for them. In the cells, a conversation is taking place.)
“Well, it would get us off the hook. They’d let us gReo. Chrissie will lose her job at Sandoz if these charges stick,” says Billie.
“I think you should do it. None of us will ever say a word about it after. It will be just like it never happened.”
“Dammit!, says Dean. Why did fucking Mickey have to turn us in?”
“How do you know it was him?”
“It had to be. They knew we had the pills and how many we had. They were waiting for us. It was a set-up.”
“I could kill that punk.”
“We have to get out to do that. So Dean, what are you going to do?”
There was a long silence. Then Dean shook the bars for the detectives to come back in. After an hour the gate clicked and Irish and D’azeo came back.
The police had no idea that it was a pharmacist. When they found out, they called in the State Police to assist. Dean was alone in the holding area. The others had gone home and he was set-up to make the buy at 1:00pm that day. It had been a long night.
It was a jailhouse breakfast. Coffee with the taste of metal and a cold fried, dried egg sandwich with crusted ketchup. Dean’s stomach was floppy and he ate very slowly. The roll that the egg sandwich was on stuck to his teeth and he moved his tongue around the rubber paste that it made in his mouth. He wanted to get high.
“How does it feel to want, asshole?” he moaned inside his head.
The car door clicked and inside himself, there was something talking that he did not want to listen to. Out of the vehicle. There were candy wrappers in the street and they made little rattling sounds as the chilly wind blew them across the black asphalt.
Dean went into the pharmacy first and Sam, the pharmacist, did that grimace that was his kind of smile and, hand resting on his little gun hooked on his belt, placed the bag of pills on the counter.
Dean was counting the money and the door to the drug store swished again and Irish was paying the girl at the other register for cigarettes. The Judas witness.
“Did you put in the hypodermics?” Dean asked mechanically because he was told to ask that question.
Sam’s head was bobbing up and down on his stubby fat neck and he croaked, “I’m throwing in the spikes for free this time. Are you interested in any morphine shakers?’
“Not right now. Just give me the Quaaludes and I’ll be back another time.” Dean hoped. Dean wondered why Sam couldn’t see the screaming in his eyes.
Money in Sam’s hand and Sam pushing the bag at Dean with Irish watching out of hard-corner eyes that see everything and it was the longest moment with Sam looking at him and the air felt wrong around all of them.
They were outside. Bag in hand. Irish smiling at Dean and telling him it will be all right. Dean knowing that it will never be all right again.
In the car. Surrounded by detectives laughing as they drove away in the black Judas car passing the bottle of pills to one, to the other, to the other.
“See. Easy. Now we just process the papers and you go home and wait for us to call. You do us right and we’ll do you right.”
Later Brenda picked him up. She had some Seconals (barbiturates) that she had picked up from a girl friend and Dean kept eating them until he passed out. When he woke up his neck was all stiff and he was laying half on the couch with the dog’s head resting on his leg. His leg was numb.
Dean sniffed the air and the stench of diarrhea dog hit him and the fluff in his throat from the pill hangover made him gag. He tried to get up to run to the toilet but his leg went out from under him and he fell. He did not get to the bathroom on time.
Dean was frightened but the thought of the morphine shakers drove him on. He had borrowed Chrissie’s car, a red Barracuda, and swung it into the grocery shop parking a short distance from Frost Drugs. The wind felt cold on him and he noticed the wetness under his arms as he stiff-walked across the lot and the street and into the store. Sam stood behind the counter, hand on his gun.
“You didn’t call.”
“I thought it would be better to just come in. Last time you mentioned the shakers.”
“The trouble with you guys is that you think. Leave the thinking to me. Next time call me or I won’t know you. Ever again.”
The thought crossed Dean’s mind that soon Sam will wish he didn’t know him. But right now there was the business of the morphine.
“Sorry,” Dean said. And waited.
“There is one hundred of them. They are very old. I’ll charge you one dollar apiece for them but you got to take the whole bottle. That’s very cheap. I know what they are worth on the street.”
“I’ll take them.” Dean pulled out the hundred plus ten. “And throw in ten hypodermics.”
Suddenly Dean’s bowels lurched upside down and he felt as if he had to go. Dope sickness never forgets. He tightened his sphincter and prayed that he could make it back to the apartment.
Back at the apartment. Sitting on the toilet. Dean leaned over to the sink and twisted the faucet for the hot water and filled the cup. He unscrewed the small cap from the bottle of morphine shakers and dropped two into his hand. They had a slight grayish color.
He pulled the slide from inside the syringe and dropped the tablets into the narrow barrel of the U-100 insulin syringe. His hands were shaking and he dropped the slide. Picked it up from the bathroom floor and slipped it back into the barrel of the disposable injector. He shook it and the pills inside it made it sound like a poor quality baby rattle.
Dean put the tip of the spike into the hot water and sucked air into his lungs as he pulled the top of the syringe to suck up the water. For a second the pills were moving in the water and he shook the device and the pills dissolved. Clear and clean.
Dean put the hype on the edge of the sink. Yanked his belt out of his trouser loops and put the end through the buckle slipping it up his arm to just above his elbow and tightened it like a tourniquet. He tapped the veins in his “pit” just below the elbow and they stood up as if they were yearning for the shot as strongly as he was. He visualized tiny mouths opening just above the veins and the image made a smile break out on his face.
Dean tapped the needle into his arm. He felt the little pop as it pierced through the fibrous flesh above the vein from so many metallic excursions come before and a tiny spot of blood appeared at the base of the barrel. He drew back on the plunger. A plume of blood inked into the water and he licked his dry lips and pressed down on the instrument. He had left a small amount of air in the syringe and he could hear the bubbles popping in his veins at shoulder level and then the rush hit him and his eyes drooped closed. He wilted like a waterless flower in the hot sun.
MARC D. GOLDFINGER is a formerly homeless vendor who is now housed. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and via his web page Marc D. Goldfinger. Marc also has books on www.smashwords.net that can be downloaded for $2.99.