It feels so horrible to be useless.
This is a story about two girls.
Maybe if I write the story, I'll not have to think it over and over.
Maybe writing it will make me feel a little less useless.

Nadia and Rachael are best friends. Nadia is a drug addict. Rachael was my first real love. Rachael drove Nadia to the city, to take a plane away for vacation.

They'd been out to the corner store. The first didn't have the right kind of cigarettes, so they went to another. Rachael got her Djarum cloves, and some soda. Nadia bought one of those little single-shot bottles of scotch. They sat on a strip of grass next to the road and shared a clove and soda.

At least she saw him before he spoke.

He circled around a few times. They try to ignore him. He is a bum, after all. He approached them. He says hi, they say hi.

At least she saw him.

"Wanna get loaded?" he mumbles.

"No." Rachael frowns.

Nadia eyed him speculatively. "What on?"

He smiled. "Crank."

"I don't have any money." Nadia shrugged. But her eyes didn't leave him. She didn't turn away.

He smiled wider.

"I just want someone to smoke with."

And then things went wrong.

I wish so much I could've been there.

There was always something I could do. Even if it was only to beat them at their own game, with force, to scream my rage at them as they fled. Even if it was just sitting with my gun, going through it over and over again in my mind. Finding my mistakes and fixing them in my head.

There was always something I could do.

Later, she told me Nadia asked her if she wanted to, at first. She said no, of course. She doesn't do meth. What bum has crank to spare just to have company?

Trying to convince Nadia to do something is easy, you see. Except when it comes to drugs.
She argued hard, telling Nadia she had a bad feeling about the guy. That she didn't need it. She begged.

Nadia reassured her. That it'll be okay, he's fine.

She told me later she must've argued for ten minutes, the bum interjecting every so often.

He said Nadia should come to his place, under an overpass. That it was pretty close, only a few minutes away. That the stuff was good. That it'll be okay. He's fine.

He offered to leave his plastic bags full of clothes with Rachel.
So she'd know he was coming back, he said.
Rachael argued for so long, but Nadia got her way.

They walk a few blocks, climb a short fence.
The bum tries to get Rachael to stay near the road. To keep watch, he says.
Rachael loves Nadia, and by now she knows things have gone south.
She goes with them. Whispers to Nadia that she has tear gas. She has it out of sight, but ready. I was proud of her for that. For being ready.

Here is where it all falls apart in my mind.

He has friends waiting. A gun. He has a knife.
Others who live with him come back.
He wants to be repaid for his drugs, and won't take no for an answer.
Maybe he's just Jeff-fucking-Dahmer and he wants to watch their life flicker out under his hands, before his eyes.

I never get to touch her, I never get to watch her sleep.
I wasn't in time to teach her enough, and she made too many compromises.

In reality, things went differently.

Nadia got loaded. She let the bum touch her under a blanket. Tells him she'll be back at 9:30.

She doesn't come back.

Later, she told Racheal he had needles. That she would've shot up if she thought they were clean.

He got to feel up a teenage girl for a hit of crank, Nadia got loaded.
Racheal got betrayed. Discarded by her best friend. By her lover.

I hope I'm there in time to mentor what she needs to know.

I hope I'm there in time.

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