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So Alone - a fiction short story
How had it come to this? He sat alone on the dark steps of the bar on the S. Philadelphia street corner, his head ragging from the alcohol and drugs - the H. He looked out onto the street in his alcohol and drugged haze. He saw a lone male walking towards him several blocks up.
Instinctively he tensed and his hand went to his back jeans under his jacket for his gun, but the walker turned up a side alley. He relaxed a little. The gun was his protection. Thank God it was there and thank God he hadn't been killed. It had been a close call.
The drug deal had started out as planned and then had gone all wrong. He had brought the H to the agreed spot, but there had been five of them and only one of him. Even with his gun he was terribly outnumbered and facing terrible odds. He knew all five of them were armed, too.
Was there no honor among thieves? They had taken the H from him and refused to pay for it. With him pinned to the hood of their car and a gun to his temple they had interrogated him about "The Man." He was somehow able to convince them that he had no direct contact with "The Man, although that was not true. They had let him go with just a beating -- a "working over."
But, no payment, meant now he was in hot water and in hoc with "The Man." How could he explain this? He was responsible for that money -- more than half a million dollars worth of H gone. He had no way to pay it. "The Man" would put a contract out on him. He knew that would come next.
His hands tremored as he lit a cigarette. What was he going to do? How had he come to this?
He hadn't started out life as a lowlife, a drug dealer and junkie. He had grown up on the Main Line in Philadelphia, the toniest place to live. He came from a prominent attorney family, generations of which had lived in the toniest places on the Line. He had grown up with all the advantages, attended all the best prep schools, and had been a fine athlete, too. A star basketball player at prep school so he was a definite shoe in for a full scholarship either academic or for basketball to Villanova, the basketball powerhouse college.
He went on an academic scholarship but had also made the team and played on the famed Villanova basketball team. He had a 'golden life.' He ran in all the right crowds and dated all the right debutants.
But, he had fallen in with the wrong "brothers." The African-American basketball players had nicknamed him 'little white-boy' his freshman year in college. The upperclassmen players had forced him to tutor them through their toughest classes because he was a perfect four pointer.
He would do anything for them just to be accepted. First, they packed guns. So, he also bought himself a gun and learned how to shoot it. They were into small time drugs - pot and coke - and so he followed them and used too, wanting so badly to fit in.
And it worked; finally, he was accepted and he finally lost the 'little white-boy' moniker. He was now a 'brother.' They began including him in all their nightclub runs. It was great hanging with the stars of the team. He was able to get in anywhere, restaurants, nightclubs and have his pick of women. He was flying high figuratively and literally.
At first he didn't even notice, his grades in a few classes began to slide a bit. Just a bit; instead of all A's he was receiving a few B's. So what? He thought he could handle it all. Then, slowly his timing and reflexes on the court dimmed a bit, but he was able to hang on.
But, it was the guys who approached him at the nightclub one night that had truly done him in. Why couldn't he have seen through them? Why had he been so greedy? Why hadn't he just said 'NO?'
How would he like to make a cool thousand dollars a night? All he had to do was deliver a package as asked to a specific destination. No questions asked and he didn't need to know what was in the package. Just deliver it.
The 'job' appealed to him. He was tired of being kept on a shoe-string allowance from his father. He wanted to have the money to really impress the women and this town. He wanted to be his own man, not rely on his father's allowance and the friendship of the brothers all the time.
Heck, what was so bad about being a mailman delivering some packages for a thousand dollars a pop? He could do this. Why hadn't he though beyond his nose?
Yea, he could do it all right. He was so successful and his bank account grew large. As time went on and he got in deeper and deeper and was delivering more and more packages.
One day he was "summoned" to "the office." Here he learned just what he was delivering. It was packages of heroin. He saw rows of naked women cutting and packaging the heroin at "the office."
"The Man" introduced himself and explained that because he had been so successful at his job delivering, he was being "promoted" to salesman. But, there was always a but . . . all his salesman had to experience "the product" to attest to its purity and quality for the customers.
Before, he knew what had happened, he had been strapped down to a table and his first injection given to him. Again, he thought he could handle it. But, each time he delivered his money after a sale, "The Man" forced him to shoot up again.
It didn't take long before he was hooked and a junkie. He eventually was kicked off the basketball team and expelled from Villanova. But, he still had his 'job.'
End of the line
Now, here he was sitting on a darkened S. Philly corner. A college has been and disowned by his family. He was a drug dependent schmuck.
In only a few more hours he would need another fix. Every penny he 'earned' now went toward another hit of H. "The Man" kept raising the price on him for every fix and he could never get ahead.
But, he hadn't received the money for the deal. He couldn't see "The Man" tonight for his fix or anything else for that matter.
He was starting to shake so hard and his bruises from the beating were so painful, he could hardly get to his feet. He struggled but finally was upright. He started walking up the street. Alone.
On the left he noticed a store window with a light on. It was two a.m., why was there a light on? When he reached the window, he saw it was not a store, but an all-night clinic. One of the drug clinics he had so foolishly chuckled at not too many months ago.
He knew he was at a crossroads. To enter and get help meant certain arrest. And not to meant certain death - there would be a contract out on his life. He was so frightened and scared.
He snuffed out his cigarette under his boot and tried to light another, but his trembling hands dropped the cigarette and then the match. He looked once more up and down the street. He was alone.
He took a deep breath and pushed open the door to the clinic and walked toward the pretty, smiling nurse at the counter.