Wednesday, February 27, 2013


You sold dope for a short period of time (a junkie seller never works out, but all seem willing to try to buck the trend) and kept the bags inside the silver foil wrappers of a Juicy Fruit gum pack. You thought your ingenuity genius, what cop is going to think to look through a pack of gum? Your customers would hand over their ten dollar allotments, often times in the same spare change denominations they had begged, and you would reach into your bag, pull out your pack of Juicy Fruit, and give them as many sticks of gum.
One day, three of your most unsavory customers, one an ex-boxer with teeth as gnarled as his English, surrounded you on a street corner in broad daylight.  Junkies without dope in the morning are like bombs waiting to be diffused. “Give us the dope,” they said. Funny, how just the day before you would have considered them friends.  You didn’t make it easy for them; it was your only line of defense. They went through your bag, your pockets, bloodied your eye. You made them do the guesswork, and every lead you withheld was another punch.

 “Where’s the fucking dope!”  

Finally, they found it. You'd put it in your socks.

Later, you reported seeing the empty foil wrappers, discarded on the street, riding the wind. Shiny and reflective, they were everywhere, and seemed to dance on the air. The street in front of you seemed to be peppered with oblong streaks of silver. You weren’t sure if it was real, or because of the damage they’d done to your head, but it struck you, for a fleeting moment, as beautiful.

©Fiona Helmsley