Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A National Epidemic

He opened the door to find the dealer standing on his porch again, smiling her sweet, semi-toothless smile, proudly displaying her gang's colors. Like many kids in that part of town, she'd been brought into the gang at a young age. There just wasn't much a kid could do to resist their aggressive recruiting efforts, and gang membership offered prestige, rewards and a sense of belonging.

She was just a pawn in a much bigger game, and the man couldn’t fault her for doing what her ruthless masters were forcing her to do. There was no real “pushing” involved. She only needed to know how much he wanted to buy. He had quit the habit almost a year ago, gone clean - started a new life, free of her addicting junk. The stuff could possess a man; make him wake up at night craving it. One was too many – a hundred not enough.

And maybe she wasn’t so innocent after all. There was something behind that smile. Something that said, “You love it, Mister. You need it. With as much as you bought off me last year, you made me a hero in my gang. I’m counting on you again to help me rake in the cash. I'm gonna have respect among my peers. I'm gonna rise in the ranks.”

He caved, of course – and later that month when he saw her with her mother, he pretended to be joking as he shouted from across the parking lot, “Where are my cookies?!”

“Next Wednesday,” they both called out with waves and smiles.

“Better hurry the fuck up,” he muttered under his breath.



Last Year in Evil Girl Scouts

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