Hustle and Doughnuts
I’m the best drug dealer at Kennedy High School. I don’t mean “best” in the sense that I make the most money. I don’t mean “best” in the sense that I get the most credit. I’m the best because I sell the most drugs. My drugs are legal. I deal drugs right in the middle of the hallway. I don’t move locations. I don’t have to. People line up. All types — teachers, students, the janitorial staff as well as parents. Principal Jones is still my best customer.
They hand me their dollars and their quarters and I give them their fix. Some come by every day. They come by around the same time. I serve them up their favorite. Principal Jones happens to be a chocolate fiend. She’ll swing by between third and fourth period and pick up her double fudge chocolate cookies. Tim, the janitor, comes by at about two in the morning each night. But where would he be without his peanuts and nugget to get him through those last pushes of the broom, swishes of the mop? Charlotte, a tenth grade blonde girl, comes right before cheerleading practice every day. Usually, she buys two bars. She eats one right in front of me, which I don’t mind, and saves one for midway through practice. I bring these three clients up because there is a story the four of us share.
About a year ago, when Charlotte was just starting here at Kennedy, she came by one sunny afternoon to get her fix. She was only buying one bar at a time then. She would eat half in front of me and save the other. Hers wasn’t the biggest order I filled each day, but she was regular and I knew she was hooked. I had it all planned. When the time was right, I would accidentally drop down two bars instead of one — a freebie. She’d take it and when she noticed the extra rush, she wouldn’t want to go without it. I would stiff the next person to make up the extra money. The whole thing was textbook and I’d pulled it off many times.
She gave me her money and made the selection. I had it queued up from when I saw her down the hall. I dropped the extra.
She reached into me for her Snickers and pulled out a single bar. She missed it somehow. She had already opened and taken a bite when Max appeared. He was a senior on the football team and an occasional client, usually after home games. Charlotte seemed afraid to eat in front of him, although he didn’t seem to notice her. Max wasn’t loyal to any particular sugar vehicle. This afternoon, he purchased a Snickers.
When he reached in and felt around, he smiled. He had felt both. He turned to Charlotte.
“Is this yours?” he said. Charlotte looked mortified. Despite the fact that virtually the entire cheerleading squad was addicted to chips or chocolate, they all made every attempt to keep their habits secret and their purchases clandestine.
“Um, no.” She paused and took two deep breaths. “It’s for you.”
Max smiled. “Hey thanks. Charlotte, right?” Charlotte sighed.
“That’s really nice. Hey there’s a party on Friday at the quarterback’s house if you’d like to come by.” Charlotte stopped slouching and took a bite of her snickers. “Sounds fun, but I don’t have a way to get there.” She licked the chocolate off her lips.
“I can pick you up on my way. What’s your number?”
Max got her number and they walked off together.
For the next two weeks, I noticed Charlotte around quite a bit. She wasn’t making purchases. Just watching from down the hall at what others bought. Taking notes. She must’ve had the name of every sugar junkie and their drug of choice. Luckily for Charlotte, many of the addicts in the school were in positions of power. The head cheerleader didn’t go a day without her Mike and Ike’s at lunch. One day, Charlotte was there a few minutes early to buy them. The English teacher Mr. Andrews couldn’t get through his Monday without Twizzlers. The Monday morning of mid-terms week, Charlotte was there. The school secretary was a hardcore addict. She treated herself three and four times a day to a variety of sugary treats. Charlotte just bought one of everything and told her to take her pick. The secretary picked them all and carried them down the hall like a newborn baby. Charlotte didn’t have a problem cutting class after that.
I respected Charlotte and her methods. That respect didn’t go away when I overheard two wrestlers one day.
“You hear about The Hammer?” one said.
“You mean Max the tight end?” the other said.
“Yeah, he’s suspended. Might get kicked out of school,” the first one said.
“For what?” The first one paid and punched in the code for Jelly Bellies. I hesitated so I could hear the rest.
“He got caught under the bleachers with one of the cheerleaders.”
“Which one?” He started banging on the glass. “Give me my Jelly Bellies!”
I dropped the candies into the well. He stuck his hand in to grab them and I slammed my door on his wrist.
“Ahhh.” He hit me again.
“That ninth grader. The one who calls herself ‘Sugar.’” They began to walk off.
“Oh, I know that chick. Her name is Charlotte.”
“Yeah, well she might get expelled too.”
As far as Charlotte’s academic career was concerned, I could’ve cared less. But since Charlotte had began bribing everyone, sales were way up. I was having a landmark year and the addicts were piling up. Before each lunch period, I had a line of nine or ten people. One kid was eating six Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups as his lunch each day. And I knew that it was because of her.
The day before her hearing, Charlotte had waited for Principal Jones. She had pre-purchased double fudge cookies, a couple of candy bars and some creme —filled cupcakes. When she said, “Take your pick, you teachers work so hard,” Principal Jones told her that she “was not in a position to accept gifts from students.” Principal Jones didn’t buy anything that day. She just walked away, shouting from down the hall, “you should be in class Charlotte.”
It was then that I decided to get involved.
That night, when Tim the janitor reached into me to grab his Payday bar, he found two.
“Hmmm. A lucky mistake.” He smiled and leaned back against some lockers and peeled away the wrapper.
I began beeping arhythmically. Once I had his attention, I dropped another payday bar. He giggled.
“My lucky day.”
When he reached in to grab it, I snared his forearm with my door. He struggled. Grunting, he tried to push off with his foot.
I beeped more rapidly and flashed “TIM” on my screen. When he noticed, he stopped struggling. His jaw dropped. His eyes widened.
“TIM YOU HAVE A JOB TO DO,” I flashed.
“Look goddamnit! This isn’t funny! Who’s responsible for this?”
“TIM IM NOT JOKING.”
“What are you!?”
“JESUS” Tim used to speak often on his cell phone when he first started here. I knew that he was a parolee and attended meetings to keep from being addicted to cocaine. I knew that he had adopted Christianity during his recovery.
“AND I NEED YOUR HELP NOW” He stopped moving.. Peanut shards fell down the side of his chin.
“The Lord is my Shepard. Only say the word and I shall be healed.”
“WONDERFUL.” I didn’t know then nor do I now know the best way to respond to someone quoting scripture. I released his arm and he stood.
“What is it that I must do to serve you?”
“KILL THE HERETIC—PRINCIPAL JONES”
He gasped. “That doesn’t sound like something a Christian would do!”
“THIS IS YOUR CRUSADE TIM”
After an awkward moment, he nodded.
“What do you want me to do?” I didn’t think about how he should kill her. I thought that a guy coming from jail would know enough ways that I could leave it at that. So I said something easy and quick.
His eyes got very wide.
“How?” I dropped a package of chocolate fudge cookies down.
He walked toward me, each step requiring it’s own dramatic pause. When he reached in to grab the cookies, I trapped his hand.
“HELL AWAITS THOSE THAT FAIL CHRIST. SERVE ME WELL”
I released him.
Backing away slowly, the cookie wrapper crinkled between his fingers. He was about to leave when something came over him. He jumped onto his knees and slid towards me like James Brown.
“Hallelujah! I won’t let you down!”
Charlotte’s hearing was scheduled for the next afternoon. I listened in on conversations all morning but heard nothing. Not like I’d have to listen too hard to hear that the Principal was dead. I was imagining all the different chemicals that Tim could’ve used on those cookies when I heard it. Sirens gain a fuzzy echo traveling down from the parking lot to me. It was just before fourth period. I hadn’t seen Principal Jones which was a good sign. It meant that Tim had given her the cookies. I had imagined that blue janitorial liquid somehow injected into them.
The commotion filled the halls with the screams of men. I felt powerful. What other dealer in the history of this school had taken out the principal? I rejoiced. I beeped and blinked.
“DON’T FUCK WITH MY BUSINESS”
“OR ILL KILL YOU TOO”
“THIS IS MY TURF. BITCH”
I lost control. I even dropped some of my gear down while I was freaking out. I didn’t notice when the girl’s soccer coach walked up to get some frosted doughnuts. She’s never come back.
The next day, I saw Charlotte. She was walking with Max.
“More candy?” he said.
“Yeah, a ‘thank you’ for Vice Principal Leek.” Charlotte said. She winked at him. “Plus, I still need to get you off at your hearing tomorrow. And a little candy never hurt anyone’s case.” Smart girl, I thought.
He put his arm around her.
“You need to get me off before that!” he said and she giggled. And they trotted off towards off the bleachers.
Later, I learned that Tim had confronted Principal Jones about her heresy. He had told her that Christ was angry with her and had refused to leave her office until she repented. Principal Jones was an avid kick boxer and a physical altercation had followed. The sirens that I had heard were police sirens. Tim and Principal Jones were taken down to the station to sort it all out. Vice Principal Leek had taken over the disciplinary hearings and was a push-over. So in the end, Charlotte and Max got off with detention. They received another detention for sneaking out of detention to go have sex beneath the bleachers. Tim was suspended and forced to see a therapist about his hallucinations. Principal Jones was forced to see an anger management specialist for breaking Tim’s jaw.
I never ended up killing anyone. But I’m still the best drug dealer this school has ever seen. And I may have to kill soon enough. Word is that a punk ass snack machine is moving in on the second floor.
That’s my turf, bitch.
| COPYRIGHT 2006-2011
Portland Fiction Project
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED