Barry inhales the acrid smoke, that gross chemical taste attacks his buds as the drug works its magic. Meth transforms an individual into something different, maybe a version of oneself that they can tolerate a little more. With meth comes focus, clarity, bravery, and confidence. Of course, there are delusions and paranoia along with a host of other negative effects but at this point Barry is not concerned with that. He’s not eager to face the cruel truth. No, he will ride this awesome wave until the crash. And it is at this juncture, the crash, where a tweaker falls into psychosis. After the second day awake you continue doing more meth just to avoid the crash. It’s pointless though, the crash is unavoidable, and the longer you wait the harder you fall.
Besides Barry two others sit at the old wooden table in the basement, each taking turns killing their brains, “setting them on fire” as Barry loves to put it. Tucker is a big redneck. Unlike Barry Tucker is Carolina born and bred. He’s well established in Caldwell County for his fondness of fighting. The bald, bearded man with face tattoos sure loved to throw fists. Barry swore that the man got off on it. People like that do exist. It’s a fetish for them.
“Do you think we trip when we die? Like an LSD trip for eternity.”
Barry met Tucker in county lockup. They were cellmates and got along well. The two became inseparable ever since. Whereas Barry is prudent, Tucker is spontaneous. Barry should be the voice of reason however he is a spineless coward and almost always gave in to the stupid shit Tucker came up with. Like the time they broke into an old lady’s trailer to steal her pain meds just to find out she wasn’t prescribed any. Not only that but the two of them were a cunt hair away from being caught had they not slipped out the back door when they did.
Bitsy was a slim, short dark-haired woman. Like Barry and Tucker, she was covered in tattoos. She was sexually abused by her father, who died two years earlier from cancer. An eccentric woman she easily could be the life of the party, that is when her crippling depression hadn’t reduced her to a husk. Barry and Bitsy have been dating for a little over a year. They loved each other and Barry appreciated her uncanny ability to get him out of his shell.
“I think the government has a bug on my phone. They are listening to me, Barry.”
Like any night they were in Barry’s basement smoking crystal. His mom didn’t care that her son was a junkie, she also used and if she caught him she’d just ask for a hit. “Come on, help your poor old ma out.”
Money was tight. Barry and Tucker did odd jobs around town and when they weren’t they were either scrapping metal or scheming. A few months ago one of their scams almost got them busted. They were printing counterfeit money and passing it at the Jason Mart. The clerk had shown them mercy and didn’t call the law. You just don’t run into people like that.
If Barry had the money he’d get a place and try to get joint custody of his five-year-old daughter, Britney. Her mother refused to let him near the girl until he got caught up on child support payments.
“I got an idea on how to make some money.” How the fuck did Tucker do that. Whenever Barry finds himself dwelling on a problem Tucker seems to know precisely what it is and have a solution.
“I told you, Bitsy and I aren’t doing internet porn.” Bitsy giggled as she leaned in, planting a kiss on his cheek.
“Yeah, don’t be a pervert Tucker.” Barry chimed in before hitting the pipe.
“Let’s sell crystal.”
Barry has done a lot for money, some of it not legal, but never had he contemplated selling drugs. The risks were a lot higher than he was used to, more than he was comfortable with. He didn’t like where this conversation was headed.
“I mean it’s not a bad idea.” Bitsy chimed in as her eyes rolled around like slot machines. “I mean, we smoke it, why not sell it. Not forever.”
“Exactly” Tucker handed the bowl to Barry. “We sell it for a little while, make some money to get our tree trimming business off the floor, and then we are done. In and out. Little risk.”
“I don’t know.” Barry took a hit before continuing. “I mean where the fuck are you going to get the drugs.”
“I know a guy.”
“He knows a guy,” Bitsy said.
“Oh, you know a guy. Who?”
“This guy I met in lockup. They call him Problem Child. He sells for the cartel.”
“The Cartel? I don’t like that Tucker.” Bitsy looked concerned suddenly.
“They got the best dope. Besides, we don’t need money down on the package. He fronts. We flip it, pay him and get another. I figure a few re-ups will be enough to start our business.”
The business is something they have talked about all year. Barry knew that if they could get it off the ground money would no longer be a problem. Could this be the way out? Still, it was a giant risk.
“I just don’t know, selling dope. That’s not us.”
“Oh, Barry” Bitsy had a way about her, she was Barry’s weakness. God, he loved her. “This could be our chance. Then we can get a real place. Just the two of us. It would be nice.”
“Listen, man, Problem Child is legit. I trust him. We can do this, a couple of months tops, and then I promise you that we’re out.”
Barry never could handle peer pressure. It was a weakness, especially when that pressure came from Bitsy. Reluctantly he nodded his head.
“I guess we can do it for a short game.”
Tucker stood up with his arms out, looking for a hug.
“Don’t fucking touch me asshole.”
Tucker laughed as he leaned toward Barry. “I love you when you agree with me.” He kissed him on the cheek.
“Don’t make me regret this.”
“Dude, we will make bank. I swear.” Tucker then turned to Barry. “Also you won’t even need to keep it in the house, I’ll hide it in the abandoned house next door.”
“Yeah I don’t want all that weight in my house.” Barry shrugged. “Let’s do this.”
“You got to grind those cunts, girls.” Problem Child hollered at two women. “If you don’t then you’re useless to me. Got it?”
Their names were Lucy and Pinky, sex workers, and he was their pimp. Pinky was twenty years old and had been hooking since she ran away from home at fifteen. She immediately got hooked on meth and pills, and the lifestyle consumed her. When she started working for Problem Child he was kind to her, but then he got to smoking that shit and spun into a violent sociopath. Every day she thinks about running away, but she’s tired of running. Even if she is being beaten.
Pinky was a black woman who wore a ass length pink wig. She was voluptuous and a top earner. At twenty-eight years old she began hooking at 17, quickly becoming addicted to crack and meth. Pinky had a mouth on her and she loved to fight. Problem Child found her explosive behavior amusing.
Pinky and Lucy were tight and always supported each other emotionally. When Problem Child beat one of them the other would help treat the injuries. Had he noticed this he probably would kill one of them.
The women in their garters and short skirts took off down the street just as Barry and Tucker pulled up to the apartment building in Barry’s beat-up Camry. The belt squealed as they parked. Problem Child laughed “Holy fuck that car sounds like hammered dogshit,”
“Yeah, it’s seen better days,” Barry replied, ashamed.
“Tucker, you fuck. Good to see you brother.” The two men hugged.
“Sorry I didn’t reach out sooner.”
“No worries my brother, it was worth the wait. This shit I got is pure glass. The real tweak. True fire.” Barry was eager to try some of this dope after that upsell. “So how’s it been?”
While the two caught up with one another Barry studied Problem Child. He was a real tweaker, strung out and manic. Sure, he’s all laughs and hugs at the moment but Barry knew this could all change in a second. He was unhinged, dangerous, and violent. His stomach dropped and he suddenly felt overwhelming concern about this ordeal.
Problem Child had a temper. One time he pulled a gun out at a Mcdonald’s because they got his order wrong. Who does that? And why in the ever-loving fuck were they doing business with this man? Barry tried hopelessly to cram his anxiety down.
“Ok so here’s the deal. It’s a five thousand dollar package. Bring that back and I can give you another.” Problem Child’s smile fell off his face. “But if you fuck me I will slit your throat.”
Problem Child has spoken often that he loves to torture people. The man works for the cartel so you know he’s a brutal bastard. During the short conversation with Tucker, he already mentioned hooking battery cables up to a man’s testicles.
“Go around the corner and see the kid in the hat. He’ll have your package.”
They rounded the edge of the brick apartment building and started their way down the alley. The kid was really a kid, no older than ten years old. The boy reaches into a trash can and retrieves a bag. He holds it out in front of him.
“Is that the shit?”
“Are you going to fucking take it or what?” Tucker grinned.
“The mouth on you.”
“Yeah, it was up in your mom’s pussy.”
Tucker pointed at the kid as he took the bag. “Not cool.”
Tucker hid the stash in the abandoned house next door from Barry’s. He put word out that there would be premium dope in the basement. Within an hour there were nine customers. Tucker sold out what he was holding, so he went off to retrieve more from the stash.
Jaimie was a squirrelly fuck. The man was a hopeless tweaker who probably slept once a week. He was a filthy guy who stunk of old sweaty balls, but he was fun to smoke with. The pipe glowed in his hands as he sucked the poison into his lungs.
“So I turned this bitch onto the pipe. Dude, she’s twenty years old, nice ass. I love eating her ass. Anyway, she never tried it. So I tell her how amazing it is, and her curiosity begins to peak. So she takes a few hits and I let the drug do it’s magic. Then I tell her that sex on meth is mind-blowing. Next thing I know, I got her face down and ass up. Fucked her for a week before I got bored.”
“Is she still smoking” Bitsy asked, a little concerned.
“Fuck yeah, she’s blowing motherfuckers for a shard.” Jaimie raised his hands in the air, eyes wide and wild. “But that’s how it goes. I mean this drug will change a motherfucker, Mothers will fuck some nasty fucker just for a taste. I swear, if it wasn’t for the clear I’d never get pussy. Now I have all I can handle.”
“Pass the pipe motherfucker.” Barry laughed.
“This is some serious dope. So you sell this shit?”
“Just in the short game.”
Suddenly the outside cellar door flew open and Tucker tore his way through the doorframe. He pointed at Jaimie. “Beat it.”
“Oh come on Tuck, I’m just getting my smoke on.”
Tucker rushed over to him and picked him up by his collar. “I said get the fuck out of here.”
“Ok man, Jesus.” Jaimie shook his head, mumbling on his way out.
“What gives Tucker?” Bitsy asked, annoyed with how rude he could be sometimes.
“Someone ripped off the package.” It took a second to set in, the grave reality of the words that just came out of Tucker’s mouth.”
“What do you mean someone ripped off the package?” Barry asked, hoping, but knowing it wasn’t a joke.
“The shit is gone. Someone found the stash and ripped it off.”
“How the fuck would anyone know it was there?” Bitsy yelled in a panic. Barry thought about the story Problem Child told Tucker, the one with the jumper cables. Violent images flashed in all their minds.
“We’re fucked. All we have is $1800. We’re short like…” Tucker did the math in his head but he was in such a panic it took him a minute. “$8,200. We are short over 8000 dollars! Problem Child is going to shit.”
“Listen, let’s calm down for a second.” Barry tried to bring some order to the table. “Tucker, he’s your friend. Maybe he’ll give us some time.”
“You think Problem Child will give us time? I know you’re high, but you can’t be that high. This is the fucking cartel man. They will rape our mothers in front of us before they set us on fire.”
“We need to think of something.” Bitsy cried out with tears.
“Like what? How the fuck are we going to come up with $8,200? We can’t get enough scrap metal. We can’t just rob a house and hope they have that money lying around.” Tucker began to pace. “We need to do a bank job.”
“Are you out of your fucking mind?” Barry hollered.
“He’s right, Tucker, we can’t rob a bank. It’s too dangerous.” Bitsy pleaded.
“It’s either that or Barry and I get our cocks sliced off and shoved down our throats. This is life or death.”
“Seriously, this is way over our head.”
“I got the guns and a few masks. If we follow a plan, then we will get through this alive.”
“What if we fuck this up?” Bitsy asked in a panic.
“We can’t, that’s all. It’s either this or we take our chances with the cartel.”
Barry began to chew nervously on his finger. Bitsy was antsy, unable to sit still. Tucker was stone cold serious.
“So,” Barry shook his head, “What’s the plan?”
“Are you fucking serious, babe?”
“We don’t have a choice. So let’s plan this shit well.”
He pulled the trigger, and from the chamber a bullet fired. It shot across the air before smashing a hole into the head of a man who was there to do some banking, nothing else. Skull fragments and brain matter exploded out the back of his skull. A .45 will do that kind of damage.
The man’s lifeless body fell to the ground as the masked Barry lowered his gun. He had just killed a man. A life was gone, violently ripped from his body. How the fuck did this all turn to shit?
The next morning the three of them went over the plan. Tucker would take the right, Barry the left, and Bitsy would come up the middle. No gunfire unless fired upon. Don’t pull the trigger unless you’re absolutely sure. Bitsy will collect the money and then they all leave in a stolen car parked outside. Once the plan was concrete, Tucker and Barry went to boost a car.
Bitsy was alone in the basement, terrified. She felt something was off, and sure, perhaps it was the meth causing her paranoia, but she just couldn’t shake it. They had to pull this off. There was no room in that grey matter for doubt.
A half hour later, Barry and Tucker picked up an anxious Bitsy. They pulled up to the First Citizen Bank branch, taking note that it didn’t seem busy. The three of them sat there, all petrified but out of options. So they put on their masks, racked their guns and made their way inside.
“Nobody fucking move!” Tucker hollered behind his clown mask. Just as was planned, they took their positions. “If everyone remains calm, nobody will get hurt.”
There were five customers and a handful of employees, all scared shitless. Bitsy in her goblin mask handed a bag to the lady behind the counter and told her to fill it. The nervous old woman began stuffing bills into the bag before handing it back. Bitsy then moved on to the next clerk, but before she could hand the bag, she felt the ripping pain in her abdomen.
Her ears were ringing. She looked over at Barry in the werewolf mask as she reached down to touch the damp spot on her belly. One of the customers decided to be a cowboy and unloaded a shot into Bitsy.
Barry felt his entire world shatter. Everything was in slow motion. The cowboy, shocked at the hole he made in Bitsy’s stomach, raised the gun but before he could get a shot off Barry let off a round into the man’s head.
Tucker panicked, aimed his gun and shot a woman with tears streaming down her cheeks. The blast sent her backwards into the wall. Barry ran to Bitsy and pulled her up, carrying her in his arms.
“Get the fucking money bag.” Barry hollered. Tucker ran across the room and scooped up the bag. As they made it outside, they could hear sirens approaching.
Barry got into the backseat with Bitsy as Tucker peeled out of the parking lot and onto the road. Barry pulled his and Bitsy’s masks off and softly rubbed her cheek.
“I’m so sorry, Bitsy.” She couldn’t talk. When she opened her mouth, she spat up blood. Her body began to convulse. “She’s fucking dying.”
Tucker took a right, then a left, and another right. They pulled into a parking lot where Barry’s car was waiting. Barry carried Bitsy to the car, screaming for her to hang in there. It was no use. Her eyes rolled back in her head and she went still. Bitsy was dead.
“Oh my fucking God, Bitsy!” Barry cried as Tucker pulled out of the parking lot, heading toward the hospital. As they pulled up Barry called out “She’s fucking dead.”
Tucker stopped the car and turned to Barry. “Listen, I’m really sorry, but we need to drop her off and get the fuck out of here.”
“I know she is, but you need to keep your shit together. Open the door and place her on the sidewalk.”
“I can’t leave her.”
“Listen man, she dead and if we don’t get this money to Problem Child, we will be dead next. Drop her off and let’s go count the money.”
Barry opened the door, crying as he placed Bitsy’s lifeless body on the ground. He kissed her forehead before returning to the car. Tucker took off, headed to a building across town to count the money. He just hoped they got enough.
Lucy was watching TV on the couch when the door opened. “Oh, my god!”
Pinky stumbled into the living room, barely able to walk straight. Her face was swollen and her nose was broken. She collapsed onto the floor as Lucy rushed to her side.
“Did Problem Child do this to you?”
“He fucking raped me.” Pinky muttered between broken teeth.
“Son of a bitch. Come on.”
Lucy helped her up and walked her to the bathroom. She reached into the sink cabinet and retrieved a first aid kit. Pulling it open, she began the task of cleaning the wounds. Bandaged and battered, Pinky ran her hand through Lucy’s hair.
“You’re the only person who’s ever been good to me.”
Lucy smiled, rubbing Pinky’s cheek. She felt it before, the attraction, but this was something else. Seeing her in pain killed her and for some reason she leaned down and kissed Pinky on the lips, and then quickly pulled away.
“Why you stop for?” Pinky smiled, slowly reaching up and wrapping her hand around Lucy’s head, pulling her in close. “I love you.”
“I love you too.” And the two of them kissed.
Problem Child was on an epic bender. He’d been up for six days and psychosis was getting to him. Last week he switched to shooting the dope, and this caused him to act crazy. He broke Marlo’s arm simply because he didn’t apologize after dropping a sandwich. The man was out of control.
And the two women had to do something about it.
Barry and Tucker were in an abandoned warehouse. Barry sat there catatonic, Bitsy’s blood all over him. Tucker was throwing broken furniture around and screaming. The take from the bank job was $1236. They didn’t have the money to pay Problem Child.
“What the fuck are we going to do man?”
“He’s going to fucking kill us.”
“She died in my arms.”
“He’s going to cut our dicks off.”
“SHE’S FUCKING DEAD!” Barry hollered. Tucker dropped down next to him and hugged him tight.
“I know and I’m sorry. I know this is hard to hear, but you need to keep it together a little longer. We’re going to go see Problem Child and see if he will give us some time. Then we will come up with a plan to get the money and then will be time to mourn.”
Barry knew he was right. After a few seconds, he wiped the tears from his face and stood up. “Let’s go see Problem Child.”
Lucy and Pinky stopped off in the kitchen before making their way to Problem Child’s apartment across the hall. Both of them grabbed the biggest knives they could find.They entered the door to his apartment and let themselves in. Problem Child was sitting on the couch.
“Who told you fucking cunts that you can come into my crib?” He hollered.
Before he could stand up, both women hurled themselves at him, plunging their kitchen knives into his body. The two of them screamed manically as Problem Child begged for his life, but they kept repeatedly stabbing him in his stomach, chest and face. Blood sprayed everywhere.
“Die you motherfucker!” Pinky screamed as she sliced out his right eye, Then she held Lucy back. “Wait. Before he dies…help me get his pants down.”
“No please baby, don’t.” He was too weak to fight back. The women tore his pants and underwear down to his ankles.
“I’ll be taking that dick.” Pinky said as she lowered her knife and sliced his member off. He began to scream as the blood poured from the stump where his cock once was. The women didn’t leave, they watched as Problem Child died, and loved every second of it.
That’s all the two men could say. Laying in a pool of blood, missing his dick, was a very dead Problem Child. When then entered the open front door, they never would have imagined they would find him like this.
“We got to go, Barry.”
On the drive back to the basement, Barry thought about Bitsy. He loved her. Would he have married her? If their lives weren’t so fucked up, he would have. Often he wondered what their life would’ve been like without drugs. Well, that’s how they met so he supposed he’d never had a chance without the dope. Still, they could’ve gotten clean together. He could’ve gotten a job at DeChamp’s warehouse as a forklift operator. They wouldn’t have been rich, but they’d be happy…and she’d be alive still.
“What the fuck.” Tucker muttered as he stopped the car. Cop cars surrounded Barry’s home. Before he had a chance to back up, two more cruisers pulled up behind them. Officers jumped out with guns drawn.
“Come out with your hands up high.” One officer commanded.
Tucker was furious. After all that and this is how it ends. Fuck that, he thought. He wasn’t going back to jail, not for something this serious. Tucker turned to Barry.
“Well, it was nice knowing you. I mean that.” And before Barry could react, Tucker jumped out of the driver’s side door. He raised his gun and fired off several shots, instantly killing one of the cops. The police fired back. Tucker’s body shook and convulsed as the shots tore through his body.
That son of a bitch is smiling, Barry thought. Then Tucker’s lifeless body hit the ground with a loud thud. Barry wasn’t brave or ballsy. No, he did what was expected of him. He exited his vehicle with his hands in the air. Once the cuffs were on him, he felt a strange sensation of relief sweep over him.
He was just so fucking happy it was over.