Most of the Men were Disillusioned Long Before They Met Her
Part Six of The White Darkness series
Back to Part Five: Disengage Quickly or the Seams Will Become Transparent
Or where it all begins: Guided At Night by Factory Lights
"Make the drop ten minutes after the disco closes.
Leave his cut in the bird feeder behind the bank parking lot.
I'll take my share from you later.
Don't let anyone see you.
He'll never let you see him."
Miles nodded, closed the trunk, and drove off towards the disco. It was a place called Diamond Eddie's and was the only nightclub of any kind in town. In fact there wasn't another for at least seventy miles. This wasn't the big city. This town was the egg roll that fell off the table and rolled under the sofa. For that very reason, the distributor that used Jerry to sell drugs to the patrons of the disco knew he could haul in all the business from six counties. Anyone with money who liked to party came to Diamond Eddie's and Jerry had a monopoly on the cocaine supply. Jerry's father was a state trooper and his brother was with the county sheriff's department. Neither one was especially true to the law and they used their position to forward causes they believed in. Thanks to that, Jerry maintained a monopoly and kept his supplier very, very happy.
Donna Summer's cover of "MacArthur Park" was playing on the radio, making Miles wonder why anyone thought it was a good idea to release such a thing as a single. Distracted from the mission ahead, Miles barely managed to swerve quickly enough to miss driving head on into a large tree branch that had fallen onto the road. Everything went white for a moment and the mountain appeared before him, reminding him that few things are as simple as they appear.
"If a tree branch falls into the roadway and no one hits it,
did it ever really pose a threat?"
There was now nothing other than static coming from the radio in the Buick. Startled by his scrape with disaster, Miles had brought the car to an abrupt halt so he could stare fate straight in the face. A motor vehicle accident could spell his doom. He had a pound of cocaine in his trunk with intent to distribute. One false move would undo everything this was meant to achieve. The roundabout would come to a halt and Miles would while away the hours behind bars. That wouldn't help Jayne or Jeannie. It wouldn't really help anyone at all, aside from the growing number of politically active townspeople who wanted more money spent on drug enforcement.
"People with an agenda need validation.
Being validation for such shallow pursuits is not your purpose here."
Miles put his foot back on the accelerator and continued going forward, around the bend and closer to the place where nightmares and dreams blur together. He ignored the feeling that there was a presence in the passenger seat of the car. That was too much to tackle under the current circumstances. The visitor could be dealt with later. It was there either to provide guidance or to deter him in his mission. He was not going to the disco so he could make money selling drugs. He was finding another way to climb the mountain.
As Jerry had told him, Miles found a silver painted door at the rear of Diamond Eddie's. With briefcase in hand, Miles knocked three times. The door opened, leaving Miles face to face with two large men. They appeared to have been shaped from pure granite, their bodies sculpted with rock-like muscles which they proudly displayed through skin-tight t-shirts and jogging shorts that were six sizes too small for their bodies.
"Where the fuck is Jerry?"
"Jerry couldn't make it. He sent me instead."
The men were not pleased with this development and watched Miles carefully as they let him pass through the door. They stood close to him, and spent some quality time patting Miles down to be sure he wasn't carrying any sort of weapon. Once they felt comfortable he did not, they shoved him forcefully through a beaded curtain into a small office with a wooden desk, chair and filing cabinet. Behind the desk sat a smallish man, no more than five foot two in stature with a badly receding hairline and a group of gold chains around his neck that probably weighed more than he did.
"You have something in that case you wishes to give to me?
Or you would like anal sex?"
The man spoke in a strange, warbling voice and giggled between words. While waiting for Miles to respond to his query, he tossed a plastic bag filled with hundred dollar bills onto the right side of his desk and a box of condoms on the left side and begged Miles to take his pick. "One or the other. You can't have both."
Pausing in order to maintain composure, Miles took a deep breath and then placed the briefcase on the desk. He opened the case and spun it so it faced the little man. Miles said nothing. He did not want to incriminate himself by making a choice that was obviously part of some inside joke only the strange little man understood.
One of the goons stepped forward and pressed the cold steel barrel of a gun against the back of Miles' neck. He slowly slid the gun along Miles' neck until it was firmly in place behind Miles' ear. The little man began laughing, watching Miles' uncomfortable expression while he pulled the bags of product from the briefcase. He broke each bag open, tasted a bit of powder from each, and then pulled a large circular mirror from his desk drawer and slid it onto the desk.
"You will try some of this?
Or are you still dreaming of our anal sex?"
Miles told the man he preferred not to partake in cocaine and that he was merely a messenger. The man giggled and sang about how he knew Miles had come for the anal sex and how glad he was to hear that. Then he began cutting lines on the mirror, and once he had four lines laid out, the goons pushed Miles towards the table.
"I am needing to insist.
There are many reasons for this.
Two lines for each blow hole.
You thank me much later.
Then we will talk about the placement of my balls during the anal sex, no?"
Miles never had any interest in cocaine. He was involved in this deal because of his own sense of the way things worked. At the moment those senses told him this was not the right path and that he had to resist. He wasn't sure whether the little man thought he was a narc or whether he wanted Miles to assure him the quality of the product was good. When he thought about it, he had no idea what he was doing. Jerry could have set him up by sending him to the buyer with inferior or tainted product. This was the lesson. Whatever you do in life, there are always things outside one's peripheral vision that either become apparent much later or never at all. Sometimes when they become clear it is only because it is too late.
"Anyone could die in the next five minutes without upsetting the balance of the world."
The little man stood up and scooped a pinch of cocaine from one of his carefully placed lines with the long fingernail on his left pinky finger. He came around the side of the desk and raised the fingernail to Miles' nose while the two goons held him in place.
"Just a widdle bit, eh?
It will help you enjoy our anal sex, don't you think?"
Resigned to thinking there was no better way out of the situation, Miles inhaled the cocaine. At the little man's bequest, the goons released Miles from their grip. The man removed the bags of cocaine from the briefcase and put the bag of money in their place. He closed the briefcase and handed it back to Miles.
"Pleasure doing business with you, honey.
Unfortunately I have no time for anal sex right now.
But maybe you will be back someday?"
The goons showed Miles to the door and slammed it shut behind him. Feeling his head spinning, Miles all but tripped over his own feet walking briskly back to his car. He dropped the keys twice before unlocking the door and getting back behind the wheel. The bank was not far, and he knew to look for the bird feeder. He hoped it would be big, as the briefcase had a lot of cash in it and he needed to leave half of it in the bird feeder.
This was not control. Miles had sought to take his own path and to free himself from expectations, but this path was taking too much from him. Still, he knew there was something to be gained, so he stayed on the path.
The key turned in the ignition and the engine sprung to life. Miles was about to drop the transmission into drive when his vision went white. This flash lasted longer than any in the past, and was followed by a vision of both Jeannie and Jayne crawling slowly across a filthy, cold stone floor towards a dog food dish filled with the most unpleasant looking heap of steaming brown mush imaginable. They were racing to get there first, but neither had the strength to do much more than drag themselves painfully towards the prize. The vision drifted away and Miles dropped the Buick into drive and made his way towards the bank parking lot.
"She never walks alone.
Alone is not always defined by the number one."
The bank parking lot was dimly lit, and the bird feeder was just outside the ring of inadequate lighting. Calm and in control, Miles prepared himself to make the drop. He breathed deeply, watching the two houses behind the bank carefully for activity. Both houses were dark, and all seemed quiet, but as Miles opened the trunk and divided up the money, the shrill sound of a woman's angry voice broke up the night.
"It's not normal for a man to eat six pounds of bacon every day!
Think about your heart!
You're killing yourself!"
The woman was standing on the back porch
of the house immediately behind the bank, waving a rolling pin
in the air while a man in a flannel shirt
raced down the stairs to his car. She continued yelling to him about her bacon
related concerns until he drove off. Then she yelled louder.
Miles put the money in the bird feeder. Then he slipped "Reminiscing" by the Little River Band into the eight-track tape player mounted in the dashboard of the Buick and took the long way home.
The conclusion: Do not mourn the day, for the sun shall rise, but you may not