Mouthful of Dreams, a short story by StevenHunley. Date added: 2010-03-14. Times viewed: 2106.
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- Intro: A streetcorner score
Mouthfull of Dreams
The pavement was still wet from the rain. Above that the threatening clouds were pushing through the sky at an alarming rate. Only black was on their bottoms, only grey on their tops. The air smelled of danger. Errant raindrops were forcing circular patterns to flee to the edges of the puddle at my feet when I recognized the splash of predatory boot heals on the puddled sidewalk. Raymond was walking toward me as though there was trouble on his back. Around the leather ankle of one boot was a silver bracelet that had once been on a woman's wrist. She'd lost it in trade. It featured a piece of turquoise surrounded by a silver setting. In contrast, the cuffs of his faded blue jeans were tattered and stringy. I knew he had no money. For a dealer he was often broke. He didn't spend much on his clothes. Such people's pocketbooks have other concerns. Illegal substances, which there are laws against possessing or being under the influence of, were of far more importance to him.
His cheeks were sunken. Typical. His eyes were pinned. Typical. He was smoking a cigarette so typical of him. Multiple addictions were his style. If you could use it, he could abuse it. That's just how he was. Being strapped for cash didn't bother him either. Soon he would have mine.
You see, my eyes weren't pinned. They were bright and their pupils normal. My attention was focused. My voice was in the proper register. That's what was wrong with me. I was much too normal. I needed to adjust something. My consciousness had been screaming,
I suffered from a deadly disease. Normal consciousness is what I called it. I was bored to death. A serious adjustment would be required. I would do it with the substance he was hiding in his mouth. Either you know what I'm talking about or you don't. If you don't then keeping reading. You'll figure it out eventually.
He recognized me. He should of. He's known me for years.
He gave me a sinister smile. The smile was for free. The dope wasn't. Its price was beyond measure yet,
"Twenty or twenty five?" he asked.
"Twenty-five," I answered, "they're bigger."
I loved saying that for more reasons than one.
With all the bags in his mouth it was a wonder he could talk at all. He was a regular Demosthenes. And why not? He'd had plenty of practice.
He sorted them out with his tongue. That was OK with me. They were double-bagged. One time when he was making local deliveries, he came to the house just after he'd been hassled a few minutes earlier by the man, and said,
"Got a glass of water?"
He took it out back and drank it down. When I returned a few minutes later he was barfing them back up. If he'd had to wait much longer they would have slipped farther down into his system. We might have waited days. Still, the stuff was good shit, if you know what I mean. It would have been worth the wait. That is, if I could have waited.
But this was on the street near the bus stop in front of the Union 76 station on Atlantic. There'd be none of that here.
I handed him a twenty.
"Here," I said, "I owe you five."
"Typical," he muttered and took it. He always did.
He knew I'd spent two bucks on bus fare and more on the payphone. It had taken several calls and three hours of time to get his ass moving. He was slow. They always are. They know you're not going anywhere.
I took the bag, wiped it on my jeans, popped the danger in my mouth to be safe.
He started to leave. But I had one more question.
"As good as last time?"
"Better," he said, "so be careful."
You had to love the guy. He thought of himself and you in the same breath.
"Always am," I answered.
I saw the bus approaching and hopped on when it pulled up.
Even though it was sprinkling and cold, even though it was getting dark and damp, I'd already started to feel warm and comfortable. The adjustment had already begun and I wasn't even home yet. Or maybe I was.
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