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I've been all over the place lately. At the beginning of the summer I was plowing through the Needles, Names, and Numbers drafts, ultima...

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Pink Panther Returns

My burner has been blowing up all god damn day. Everyone wants to know if I’m gonna be good for tonight. If everything goes to plan, I should be fine. But that’s the thing about the drug game: there’s no such thing as a sure thing. As product and cash switch hands and trickle down the ladder, someone is guaranteed to fuck something up.
  
Hardwell is in town tonight. The show’s been sold out for months now. This will undoubtedly be the busiest night of the summer. That is, if I’m even able to re-up…

I tried to avoid this. I tried to put the orders in early, only to have my vendor go on vacation. On Wednesday I scrambled to get an express order for 10 sheets of 25i-nBOME in before the shipping deadline. Now it’s Friday. Those sheets are crucial. They mean the difference between paying $120 for my ounce of MDMA instead of $1,000.

I speed home from work while two more texts hit my inbox. I haven’t answered any of them yet. I don’t say I’m good ‘till I’m good. Good means different things to different people. I’m not good until I’m home, the door is locked, and I have the shit in my hand.

I flick my cigarette and check my mailbox. An express envelope from Texas sits inside. I clutch the envelope to my chest, close my eyes, and sigh. I’m beaming as I dash upstairs to my apartment. While this is good news, I’m not out of the woods yet. I still gotta see my man Mark to trade three of these bad boys for a zip of MDMA.

“Yo, what’s good? Yeah, I finally grabbed more of those. I’m tryna do another trade if you’re down. Word. Aight, yeah. Come through ASAP, though. I got a show tonight and I got a ton of people looking. Cool. See you in a bit.”

Mark is usually pretty good with time. Sometimes he’ll string you along all night and just shut his phone off. He says he has a kid looking to grab some sheets off him ASAP, which puts me at ease a bit, knowing he’s on a schedule too. I fix myself a drink and send a text to my buddy Jack to come over when he’s off work.

I slice open the express envelope and tear layer after layer of packaging off my shit. 900 of the hits come together in one big piece of blotter paper the size of a typical sheet of printer paper. Grateful Dead bears decorate the print. GD bears on n-bomb sheets? Even I think that’s a bit disrespectful, but it’s a good selling point, I guess. The tenth sheet is a random psychedelic pattern. I count off rows of tabs until I have a stack of ten ten by ten sheets, and wrap them up in foil.

“Those coupons show up?” Jack asks me as he enters my apartment. I hold up the foil up, smiling as I throw it to him. “Grateful Dead bears, nice…” He says before tossing them back to me. “Now we just need Mark to come through with the M and we can get moving.” Jack and I hang out, smoking weed and drinking while we wait for Mark to show up. When I hear him knock at the door I’m finally at ease.

“What the fuck is this shit?!” I yell at Mark in disgust. I hold the one-ounce bag of alleged MDMA crystals up to my living room lamp and study it. Mark usually gets good shit, but lately, his connection has been fucking up. His MDMA is usually brown or off-white, but these crystals are pink. Last time I got pink crystals, they tested as Methylone, not MDMA.

“Look, kid, I’m sorry. I know you hate the pink shit, but this chick I fuck says it’s fire.” Mark says. I slide the bag over to Jack, who shakes his head as he gets a good look at the stuff. “I dunno if I can sell this shit, man. Why the fuck is it pink? Like, whose idea was that?” He asks Mark. “My guy calls it Pink Panther.” Mark says with a shrug. “Hey, if you guys don’t want it, you don’t have to take it. But it’s all I’m gonna have until next Friday. I’ll get some more of the white and brown shit when I re-up, but I’m kinda stuck with the pink for now. It’s up to you.” Jack goes to say something, but I cut him off. “Fuck it, we’ll take it.”

“What the fuck, dude?! I’m not gonna be able to move that shit!” Jack says after Mark leaves. “Look, I know it’s a pain in the ass, but Hardwell’s tonight, dude. We cannot afford to show up there empty handed. The shit’s been sold out for weeks now.” I reply. I go to my room and grab a shoebox containing my stash, cash, and paraphernalia, and bring it back out into the living room. I break out my milligram scale, a playing card, some sandwich bags, and empty gel caps.

“Let’s go, we only got a couple hours before doors open.” I say to him.

“Ugh… How many you thinkin?”

“60.”

“60!? Fuck off, dude. This shit is so fucking tedious, there’s no way we’re gonna move 60 god damn caps tonight, especially if they’re filled with this stupid Pink Panther bullshit.”

“It’s all gonna get capped up at some point, man. The more we get rid of tonight, the better. I know what you’re thinking, but I think you’re gonna be surprised by the crowd tonight. This is Hardwell. A lot of people that are gonna be at this show never go clubbing, they barely do drugs, they don’t know what the fuck they’re doing. Once they’re all hammered you’ll be all set. Plus, it’s gonna be dark, the lights are gonna be going crazy, they’re not gonna see it’s pink. Maybe try and intimidate them a little bit. Be like ‘Yo, I see a bouncer coming over, you gotta grab these now if you want ‘em.’ If they ask, just say the chemist put pink food coloring in it or something.”

“Pink food coloring. That’s your excuse?”

“Unless you got a better idea.”

Jack sighs and starts capping up Molly. I take a tiny crystal sample from the bag and put it into a plastic test tube. I put a drop of chemical reagent into the tube and it bubbles and fizzes as it reacts with the crystal, ultimately turning yellow. “Fuck, dude. Check this out.” I say, holding up the tube for Jack to see. “Great. Fuckin’ beautiful. Didn’t see that coming…” He replies sarcastically. Yellow means Methylone, which is almost MDMA, but not quite. It’s speedier and a bit less euphoric, but to the noobies at Hardwell tonight, it may as well be the real deal. I think we’ll be fine, but I certainly don’t envy Jack’s position as foot soldier this evening.

Jack and I split the workload pretty evenly. My connections and arrangement with Mark allows me to bring the product in for an incredibly low price. Jack’s charisma and gift of gab allows him to bullshit, pitch, and make sales on the dance floor. He makes small talk with every customer before he brings up drugs, and blends in easily with every little group of friends in the club. Though The Bay nightclub has very lax security, you still have to be careful, and Jack has the shit down to a science at this point. He doesn’t give a shit about the music, and treats every night at the club like a night on the job, and it shows, when he leaves the place with pockets stuffed with 20 dollar bills.

Capping the Molly is easily the most tedious part of the gig. You weigh out 200 milligrams (roughly), put it on a creased playing card, and funnel it into an empty gel cap. Jack and I do this process 30 times each. I take ten of the caps out for my personal stash, as well as a few “free samples” to give to girls when appropriate. At this point, Jack and I have become pretty recognizable at the club, and many of the regulars depend on us to have a great weekend. We have a few drinks each and take a cab to the club, pockets loaded with contraband.

The Bay nightclub: a den of sin and temptation, the east coast’s own little slice of Ibiza. An outdoor club, it overlooks the water, with palm trees, cabanas, three bars, and small pools and fountains scattered across it. The sound system and acoustics aren’t the best there is, but when you’re spun, you hardly notice. The real draw of the place is how few fucks the security staff seems to give about anything. You can smoke weed in plain view of them, there’s no searches at the door, and even the shittiest fake ID’s can get you in. It’s easily the best place I’ve ever had the pleasure of working.

“Jesus, dude. Look at that line. It’s only 8:30!” Jack says as we hop out of the cab. “I fuckin’ told you, man. You’ll do fine.” I reply, lighting up a Newport 100 as we walk to the end of the long line. I take out a nip of Jack Daniels and use it to wash down two caps. Time to see what this Pink Panther shit is all about. I’ve had a few drinks already, and have a pretty high tolerance to MDMA and Methylone. I roll every time I come to The Bay, despite a few attempts at quitting. The alcohol and atmosphere of the place never fail to draw me into the roll. I’m getting this shit for so cheap there’s little incentive to stop, besides, y’know, my brain frying.

But fuck my brain, I’m getting money.

Jack starts working his magic as the line lurches forward. “Yo, if you guys need Molly, I got you. Point 2 caps, $20 each, five for 80.” I mouth the words to myself as I light another cigarette. I’ve heard that god damn pitch so many times, and even though it means we’re making money, it’s still a little nauseating. I discreetly toss an empty Jack nip on the ground and pull another out of my pocket, sucking it down as the Methylone comes on strong. I have tons of money, but I’m still a cheap bastard at heart, and always smuggle in some booze of my own every time we come out here. Whoosh! My heartrate picks up and sweat forms on my forehead. Shit, I need another cigarette. I close my eyes and bob my head to the thumps and sounds of the opening DJ, that grow clearer and clearer as we near the club’s entrance. I reek of booze and am clearly already on drugs, but the bouncer lets me in anyway after barely looking at my ID.

My eyes bulge and I can’t stop moving as we walk into the club. Jack walks off to do his thing while I pace around, trying to keep my cool. 400 milligrams of Methylone is far from a fatal dose, but that doesn’t make it a comfortable dose. I’m nervous, everything’s so intense, I need to balance out. Wait, I have whiskey, duh! That’ll fix everything! I look over my shoulders and down my last two Jack nips, which brings me down at a bit and calms my nerves. I dance and flail like an idiot as the opening DJ plays to a growing crowd.

I get a Crown and Coke at the bar and stumble-dance my way back to the dancefloor, rolling face and drunk as fuck. “Jimmy! Yo! Jimmy!” I hear somebody yell. Jimmy is my alias when I’m at The Bay selling drugs. I turn to one of the cabanas and see Alex and his girlfriend Hannah sitting down. “Hey guys!” I say, waving as I sit down next them. “What’s goin’ on, man?” Alex asks me as he daps me up. “Hey, Jimmy!” Hannah says with a smile. “Oh, y’know. Hard at work!” I reply, lifting my drink. “You guys alright? You need anything?” “We’re fine, we actually just saw your boy there…” Alex replies. Hannah goes through her purse and pulls a couple of caps out, handing one to Alex. I’m more drunk than rolling at this point, and figure I might as well indulge with them, popping another cap and kicking back in my seat. “You said you could get L, right Jimmy?” Hannah asks me, leaning forward to see me.

“Uh-huh. Whatever you need.” I reply.

“Good, ‘cause I need a lot. Would you be able to do, like, a hundred?”

“Like a hundred hits? Or a hundred bucks worth?”

“A hundred hits.”

“Sure. I’d do that for 400. You got my number, right?”

“Yeah, your friend gave it to me.”

“Cool, cool. Yeah, I got that whenever. Just shoot me a text and we can work it out.”

“C’mon babe, I wanna grab a drink and hit the dance floor before this shit starts kicking in. Thanks Jimmy.” Alex says. “No problem guys.” We go our separate ways and I finish my drink. I grab another one. How long has it been since I took that last cap? I don’t even feel it like I want to. Fuck it, let’s take another one… I wade out into the dense crowd and get lost in the music. Hardwell should be on any minute now. Whoah. Feeling that pill right now. Feeling that pill hard, god damn. Fuck. Wait… I took two pills. Four pills, total, actually. Fuck.

“Yo, out of the way, dude. You alright!?”

“Huh?” I snap back to reality, my heart’s racing and my vision is getting blurry. This crowd is so thick, the air is so thick, I’m sweating bullets. God damn. “Yo, yo! Dude! Take this!” I feel a hand on my shoulder. Someone gives me a bottle of water. I stagger out of the crowd and chug it, toss the bottle to the side, and bend over as I pant. My hands are on my knees and I look like I might puke. I feel like I might puke. Puking is no Bueno. If one of the bouncers sees me yacking into one of the pools there’s gonna be a problem…

I take a deep breath and try to regain my composure. It’s all so overwhelming. The music, the lights, my chest, my fucking chest, dude! Fuck! Gotta not die, gotta not die, gotta no die. Everyone’s yelling, so loud! I need a fucking drink! I stagger to the bar, making sure to straighten up as I get within eyeshot of the bartenders. “Crown and coke?” One says to me before I can even order. I nod my head. “11.50” I slap a $20 down on the bar and leave it.

The bartender hooked me up with an extra stiff drink, which once again brings me down as I stand towards the back of the crowd, admiring it all. This place really is gorgeous. The production kicks into high gear as Hardwell takes the stage. Smoke machines, lasers, go-go dancers, or as I call them, half-strippers. I run to the bar for another drink, my tendency to tip big giving me preferential treatment over everyone else. Back on dancefloor I realize I’m down to three cigarettes. I had a fresh pack when I went in. Jesus Christ, I smoked a whole pack of cigarettes in two and a half hours….

I spin around, pumping my fists, chewing my cheeks, almost falling but never quite tripping up enough to finish the job. I jam pieces of gum into my mouth as some kid gives me a show with those light-up rave gloves. He’s really good with these things, god damn… Or I’m just wicked spun… He finishes and I give him a hug and 20 dollars. He tries to give it back but I refuse. “You earned it, dude. Holy shit, you should like, do that professionally or something.” I say idiotically.

“Yo!” A hand grabs my shoulder and I nearly shit myself. I’m not doing anything illegal, but I’m already a good scare away from cardiac arrest. “What the fuck?!” I scream, turning around to see Jack grinning at me. He’s holding up an empty plastic bag, and lets it go flying with the summer night breeze. My eyes light up as I realize what this means. “All of it?!?” I ask out of disbelief. Jack nods and pats me on the back. “I can’t believe it either, dude. But you were right! Half these people don’t even know what Molly is, and they still bought it! Some of them even asked for the Pink Panther shit by name!” He yells into my ear. “That’s my boy right here! Good work soldier!” I say as I dap him up. “We’ll do a count when we get back to your place, but we cleared 800, easy.” Jack says. 4 bills in one night?! I’ll drink to that!

I will also pop another cap to that, apparently. I walk around the club like I’m king shit. Walking out of here all fucked up and rich is a high in itself. And it’s only Friday! What a way to start the weekend! “Yo, have you been doing this shit?” Jack asks me. I just nod and point to my dilated pupils and sweaty, red, face. “Here.” He says, handing me a joint. “Face that shit, dude. You look like you need it.”

The rest of the night is a blur. I snort another cap under a cabana with some girl. I get more booze. Cab ride. Uncomfortably long ecstasy conversation with cabbie, followed  by big tip. More booze and pot back at home. Chest pains. No cigarettes. Too loaded to get more cigarettes. Must drink more booze. Bed?

I wake up covered in sweat, with my heart beating harder than it’s ever beat before. Every breath requires every remaining drop of stamina left in my body. Something is very wrong. It’s never been this bad before… I need water. Past me didn’t leave me any water. Classic past me. I gotta get up, I gotta get to the bathroom. Where there’s water. I gasp and choke for air, like my lungs don’t have the capacity necessary to keep me alive. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. I’ve sweated out every drop of moisture in my body. My throat burns from whiskey and cigarettes. I fall back to sleep, wake up, and my vision is getting shaky. It’s never been this bad…

Laboriously, I get one leg over the side of the bed, then the other. I pant as I sit there, completely spent. The bathroom door is just a few feet away, but I don’t think I can make it. Holy shit. I gotta, though. I gotta, or something bad is gonna happen….

Left foot… Gasp! Right foot… Gasp! Left foot… Gasp! Right foot… Gasp! Left foot… Gasp! Right foot… Gasp! I make it, and grab the sink with both hands before I fall over. My arms shake under my own weight as I stare at the corpse in the mirror. I’m sickly pale, covered in sweat. But I’ve reached water, I’ve reached salvation. I throw the cold water on and stick my head under the faucet, sucking down gulp after gulp until I can’t hold myself up any longer. I collapse to the floor, my back hitting my tub, and narrowly avoid cracking my head open on the shower faucet. I slide up against the bathtub and just sit there, panting, fading, when suddenly, puke.

All the water I drank comes right back up on me, followed by a disgusting mixture of old whiskey and stomach bile. I haven’t eaten in… Fuck, I don’t remember. Holy shit, my head hurts so fuckin’ bad… I’m so tired…

“Yo! Yo! Fucker! Wake up! Wake the fuck up, right now! Harry!”

My eyes slowly open to Jack shaking me. “Yo! You ok, man!?” He asks me. I close my eyes again and just shake my head. Jack starts shaking me awake again. “Yo! Yo! Wake up, dude! I’m fucking serious!” I return to consciousness as Jack hands me a cup. “Drink this!” I gulp the water down quickly before Jack rips it out of my hand again. “Slower, dumbass! You gotta go slow! Otherwise you’ll just puke it all back up! And don’t fall asleep! You fall asleep one more time I’m calling a fucking ambulance, I’m serious.”

Every sip of water is quickly converted to sweat as I lay here, barely hanging on. Jack watches over me, concerned, his phone in his hand as he debates calling 911. He hands me a fresh glass of water and I dump it on my head. It works surprisingly well. He refills it and I continue to sip it, slowly. “You gotta stop, man. Look at this. I’m not your fucking Dad, but like, Jesus dude…” Jack says. I swallow, wincing still at the dryness of my throat. “I know, I know… I went… A little too hard… Didn’t I? Hehe….” I croak softly. My labored breathing is the only sound in the bathroom besides me sipping water. In… Out… In…. Out… In… Out… In… Out…

My strength slowly returns as I’m able to take a sickeningly dark yellow piss. I join Jack in the living room and we order breakfast. After some bacon, eggs, and more water I’m feeling normal, if not completely exhausted. Eventually I drift off on the couch, waking up hours later.
There’s a Gatorade, some fresh smokes, and a stack of cash on the table, along with a note.

Hope you feel better, buddy. I got you a fresh pack of Niggaports, menthol, just how you like ‘em. Call me when/if you wake up. Please don’t die, faggot. J

-Jack


Jack’s such a nice guy. I down the Gatorade as I count out my money. $440, all in a night’s work. Counting money is the ultimate hangover cure. I put the cash back down on the table, snipe my smoke, and get comfortable on the couch. I got two hours before I gotta be back at work…

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