A Controlled Dangerous Substance Act

By Marc D. Goldfinger

There was Dean Levy and he was counting the Quaaludes and he kept losing the count at around fifty or sixty.  It was beginning to make him mad and his wife Brenda came over to help and dropped the coffee on his lap and he jumped up.

“Come on. Watch out with that, huh,” Dean’s voice whined at her.

Chrissie Bishop and Billie Sky were laughing at them and bumbling around the room.  Every time Billie said something to Christine, she would say, “What, what, what,” over and over because she was so high she couldn’t hear.

The dog, Conan, woke up and started snuffling around the door and looked up at Dean and squatted.  It was diarrhea and it was mixed with blood.

Brenda yelled, “Dammit Dean, didn’t you give Conan the hookworm medicine?”

She stumbled to the cabinet and pulled it open.  The medicine was there and she took it down from the shelf.  She opened it and dropped two caps into her hand.  Dean gave her the finger, smiling at Billie and Billie laughed hard into the kitchen air.  Chrissie had the paper towels in her hand and was wiping up the pool of brown mixed red from the floor. Brenda watched with wide eyes as Chrissie’s feet just slicked right out from under her and she managed to hold the towels above her head when she fell.

The mess in the towels was running down her arm and she was swearing.  Everyone broke out laughing and Conan ran into the living room and hid behind the couch.

Dean lost the count again.

Brenda went over to the dog and opened the mouth of it.  She dropped the caps in and rubbed his throat.

Billie helped Dean make the count right and filled two envelopes with one hundred pills each.  There were seven hundred or more still in the jar that they had picked up from Sammy at the Frost Pharmacy in East Orange earlier that day.  Which means, between selling close to seventy-five in the afternoon to Jon, who was a lawyer practicing in the District Attorney’s office in town, they had, between the four of them, eaten at least twenty-five of the Quaaludes.

They had to make a delivery.  None of them were really in any shape to go out, but Mickey who was a regular customer called and he was in begging mode.

“Dean, Dean, I just can’t wait until tomorrow.  Please.  I’ll kick in an extra ten if you can deliver tonight.”

Dean, cash registers clicking in an otherwise dysfunctional mind, heard himself saying, “That would be per hundred, am I correct?” and the deal was sealed.

As fate would have it, more than just that deal was going down.  Listening at the end of Mickey’s hook-up, grinning madly at each other, were the Orange, New Jersey’s finest undercover mad dog detectives who, at the most inopportune time, had come in on Mickey and his “pinch” (girl friend), known as Viola, whilst they were in the midst of selling some pills to one of the dicks.

Selling drugs to cops was bad for business.  Unless, of course, they were your friends.  Unfortunately for Mickey and his old lady these cops were not their friends but they certainly offered what appeared to be a deal that seemed quite reasonable at the time.

“So all you got to do is call the man for us and arrange for him to bring you two-hundred pills and we’ll let you guys slither on the sales charges and only press for the possession,” the pasty-faced Irish cop hissed at Mickey.  “You know what a big difference that will make to the judge and you’ll have us testifying not to send you away.  Your girl-friend is real pretty and she would have a rough time down at the Newark Street Jail.”

The detective named D’azeo snickered.  “I’ll bet she’ll be the only white chick there, haw haw haw.”

Viola was crying by now and she said, “Mickey, Mickey, don’t you see that we have no choice?”

Pasty-faced Irish smiled and patted her gently on the shoulder as he breathed beer-breath in Mickey’s face and said, “You got a smart girl-friend.  I hope you are as smart as her.”

“Haw haw haw,” laughed D’azeo.  “I don’t know.  It seems like they’ve been thinking about this so long.  I really don’t think they want to help us.  Let’s just take them down.  It’s Friday night so they’ll be stuck in jail for the weekend.”

He turned to Mickey, grinning like some dogs do when spoken to with a bone in the air waving above their heads, “You’ll have a bigger arsehole after a weekend in there.  Never have to worry about constipation again, har har har.”

Viola sobbed uncontrollably and Mickey had wide-spinning-like-a-rabbit-in-the-headlight eyes.  He caved and took the phone that Irish held out to him.  Mickey called Dean.

  •      *      *      *      *      *      *

Dean was at the wheel and Brenda sat next to him all Quaalude loving him with her hands on him in places that were too numb to know the difference and he grinned and watched the lane lines move in the road.  The wad of pills pressed Brenda in her wet spot between her legs and she wiggled around lighting a cigarette between the lips on her face that tingled with half-feeling.

Billie and Chrissie in the back seat of the big Chrysler moved into each other and her tongue moving in the back of Billie’s throat as he moaned and slid his hand into her unsnapped jeans and she made the sexing motion with his hand slipping into her sweet.

The lights of the road spilled ahead of them as Chrissi spilled into Billie’s hand and she reached for his and Brenda was so moved by the noise in the back seat that as they turned the corner onto the street where Mickey and Viola lived she reached into Dean’s shirt and began to play with his nipple and——–

The lights were all around them. Shouting.  Beer breath.  Irish eyes not smiling and guns in their faces and blue lights on spin and Dean swallowed his gum when Brenda almost pulled off the nipple on his chest as she whipped her hand away and Chrissie pulled back from Billie so fast that her breath was still hot as she pulsed empty and closed and Billie was coughing for breath because he knew that he was in big trouble.

Suddenly the pills in the pants of Brenda were a lot bigger than they were before and it was the hole in her stomach opening wider than the space it was in that made her chest pull together and the shouting and lights caused her to shut her eyes.

“All right, all right, who’s got the pills?” said the man with a t-shirt on him that said, “Beep Beep your ass.”

“What pills?  What are you talking about?” squeaked Dean who was so frightened that he actually felt like he was going to vomit but he knew he could pull this off because they didn’t have a warrant to search them.  He was wondering how there were so many cops all at once on the street and how they knew to ask for pills.  Suddenly it was all quite clear but it was much too late for revelation to be of any good.

“Listen to this,” said a big swarthy dark-haired cop with a black leather vest over a white dress shirt without a tie, as he waved his gun in the air, “what pills, he says, har har har” and he pulled out a bag of marijuana and threw it onto the dashboard of the car and shined a flashlight that was in his other hand right on the green herb in a plastic bag.

“Look here,” the dark-haired cop yelled.  “Possession of marijuana.  Let’s take ‘em out, book ‘em and search ‘em.”

A big black cop jerked open the door of the car and grabbed Dean by the neck and yanked him out with Dean’s mind stuttering like his mouth wanted to do, but he couldn’t make a sound with his tight throat and Brenda started crying and Billie was yelling as they cuffed him and Chrissie saying, “Jesus Christ, we just went along for the ride.  That’s all, just along for the ride.”

The thought of the charges of possession of heroin down at Seaside Heights kept chasing the bravado from Billie’s mind.  As the police pulled him to the Judas car he remembered the scene on the beach like it was yesterday.  The wind had kept blowing out the matches as he tried to cook the heroin in the spoon and Dominic was supposed to be keeping the peek and finally he had gotten it cooked, drew it up and stuck the spike in his vein.  His life in the dropper as the red blood sprayed up the glass tube was the only thing that mattered and he looked up when he heard a sound and the two dicks were looking at him and Dominic, who was cooking his own dope instead of watching, and the guns in the police hands.  There was only one thing to do and he squeezed the bulb on the pacifier hard and the rush hit him just as the cop kicked him in the side of his head and he spun into the sand face down.  There was a ringing in his ears and the sand in his mouth was mixed with blood.  Billie thanked God that he had been able to get the shot into his vein and the last thing he saw before the darkness spit into his eyes was the two cops kicking Dominic as he lay on the sand.

When Billie woke up it was night and for a minute he thought he was blind.  Three weeks later they let him out on bail that his father had put up and he and his father drank beer together the entire drive home.

Dominic’s parents took him to the Synanon therapeutic community in California after the arrest.  After two years in Synanon, Dominic had come home and talked about being “cured” of his addiction. One week later he was shot into death by overdose in the doorway of a condemned tenement in Newark, New Jersey. The needle hung, filled with dark red clotting blood, from Dominic’s arm.

Billie knew it was going to be one hell of a show in front of that Jersey shore hanging judge with pill charges added to his head.  If he ever got out of that court.

The swarthy dark-haired cop leaned into Dean’s face and said, “well, Mr. What Pills, how the fuck do you like this, huh asshole?  You are going to jail and whoever has the pills better hand them over right now or that person will take the heavyweight even though we know the pills belong to fuckface here.”

Dean turned to Brenda.  “Pull ‘em out and give ‘em to me and I’ll take the weight,” and he loved her more than his freedom in that moment.  She reached into her spot dry with fright now and pulled them out and Irish grabbed them and turned to the dark-haired cop and said, “Well D’azeo, it looks like paydirt for us and prison for these assholes.”

D’azeo turned to them all and said, “Well I guess you all go down for possession with intent to distribute and that’s that. Bring ‘em all in and process them for Newark Street Jail.”

Irish turned around and said, “Well, you know, I hate to send these sweet girls to that jail.  Now if we could get a little co-operation from Dean here, well then, things could be easier on his friends.”

They put each of them in separate police cars and they scattered into the night.  Four cars, two cops and one culprit in each car.  Alone in their heads with the mystery of the darkness pissing fear into the wild monkey terrain of their minds.

At the station they lined them up at a desk with cardboard and ink in front of them, unsnapped one cuff and pulled their hands to the front of their bodies and re-snapped them again and then fingerprinted each of them making sure to twist each finger to the maximum expression of the joint.

Snap off cuffs.  Wash hands.  Lock up.  Men in one cell, women in the other.  Cells facing each other.

“We got the records on Billie here.”  The big Irish cop stood in front of the cell with D’azeo, who smiled with big teeth stained by tobacco.  “I guess you’ll be going away, eh boy?  Unless you can talk your boy Dean into turning a trick for us and giving us his connection.”

The cops looked at Dean.  “See.  You got the fate of your friend Billie in your hands.  Eh.  You can keep your mouth shut and Billie goes for a long time for your drugs and his girl and your wife go to.  Or else you can give us your man and we’ll let Billie, Chrissie, and Brenda go with a slap on the wrist.  Just a get out free card from us to them.  And you’ll be the only one charged with possession with intent and then we’ll be sure and let the judge know you helped us.”

Dean felt the snakes turning in his head.  He did not want to be a rat, but he felt the world was tilted off its axis and they were offering the best he could get.  He didn’t know what to think.  He felt his honor was on the line.

He thought back to a week ago at the pharmacy.  Old Sam the pharmacist had come out with the bottle of pills and showed him a picture of a big fishing boat.

“What do you think of this boat?” Sam had croaked at him in that familiar frog voice as he stood there behind the counter with his little gun and holster strapped to his belt.

“Nice boat, Sam,” Dean had said.

“Ya know how I got it?”  Sam growled with a big grin on his gnarly face.  “From you guys.  You bought it for me.  I’m gonna retire early on the money I make from you junkies.”  And he laughed and laughed and the empty spot in Dean’s stomach pushed at his ribs and made his lungs small.  Dean pushed them money over the counter and walked out with the drugs.

“Maybe we should let these assholes alone so they can think, huh?” said Irish.

“You give these guys a lot of credit,” D’azeo turned to Dean.  “See you in five, fuckface.”

And they left the cell area slamming another barred door that double-locked the cell space.  Dean, Billie, Brenda & Chrissie began to discuss their dire situation.

“Well, it would get us off the hook.  They’d let us go.  Chrissie will lose her job at Sandoz if these charges stick,” says Billie.

“I think you should do it.  None of us will ever say a word about it after.  It will be just like it never happened.”

“Dammit!” says Dean. “Why did fucking Mickey have to turn us in?”

“How do you know it was him?”

“It had to be.  They knew we had the pills and how many we had.  They were waiting for us.  It was a set-up.”

“I could kill that punk.”

“We have to get out to do that.  So Dean, what are you going to do?”

There was a long silence.  Then Dean shook the bars for the detectives to come back in.  After an hour the gate clicked and Irish and D’azeo came back.

The police had no idea that it was a pharmacist.  When they found out, they called in the State Police to assist.  Dean was alone in the holding area.  The others had gone home and he was set-up to make the buy at 1:00pm that day.  It had been a long night.

It was a jailhouse breakfast.  Coffee with the taste of metal and a cold fried, dried egg sandwich with crusted ketchup.  Dean’s stomach was floppy and he ate very slowly.  The roll that the egg sandwich was on stuck to his teeth and he moved his tongue around the rubber paste that it made in his mouth.  He wanted to get high.

“How does it feel to want, asshole?” he moaned inside his head.

  •      *      *      *      *      *      *

The car door clicked and inside himself there was something talking that he did not want to listen to.  Out of the vehicle.  There were candy wrappers in the street and they made little rattling sounds as the chilly wind blew them across the black asphalt.

Dean went into the pharmacy first and Sam, the pharmacist, did that grimace that was his kind of smile and, hand resting on his little gun hooked on his belt, placed the bag of pills on the counter.

Dean was counting the money and the door to the drug store swished again and Irish was paying the girl at the other register for cigarettes.  The Judas witness.

“Did you put in the hypodermics?” Dean asked mechanically because he was told to ask that question.

Sam’s head was bobbing up and down on his stubby fat neck and he croaked, “I’m throwing in the spikes for free this time.  Are you interested in any morphine shakers?’

“Not right now.  Just give me the Quaaludes and I’ll be back another time.”  Dean hoped.  Dean wondered why Sam couldn’t see the screaming in his eyes.

Money in Sam’s hand and Sam pushing the bag at Dean with Irish watching out of hard-corner eyes that see everything and it was the longest moment with Sam looking at him and the air felt wrong around all of them.

They were outside.  Bag in hand.  Irish smiling at Dean and telling him it will be all right.  Dean knowing that it will never be all right again.

In the car.  Surrounded by detectives laughing as they drove away in the black Judas car passing the bottle of pills to one, to the other, to the other.

“See.  Easy.  Now we just process the papers and you go home and wait for us to call.  You do us right and we’ll do you right.”

Later Brenda picked him up.  She had some Seconals that she had picked up from a girl friend and Dean kept eating them until he passed out.  When he woke up his neck was all stiff and he was laying half on the couch with the dog’s head resting on his leg.  His leg was numb.

Dean sniffed the air and the stench of diarrhea dog hit him and the fluff in his throat from the pill hangover made him gag.  He tried to get up to run to the toilet but his leg went out from under him and he fell.  He did not get to the bathroom on time.

Dean was frightened but the thought of the morphine shakers drove him on.  He had borrowed Chrissie’s car, a red Barracuda, and swung it into the grocery shop parking a short distance from Frost Drugs.  The wind felt cold on him and he noticed the wetness under his arms as he stiff-walked across the lot and the street and into the store.  Sam stood behind the counter, hand on his gun.

“You didn’t call.”

“I thought it would be better to just come in.  Last time you mentioned the shakers.”

“The trouble with you guys is that you think.  Leave the thinking to me.  Next time call me or I won’t know you.  Ever again.”

The thought crossed Dean’s mind that soon Sam will wish he didn’t know him.  But right now there was the business of the morphine.

“Sorry,” Dean said.  And waited.

“There is one hundred of them.  They are very old.  I’ll charge you one dollar apiece for them but you got to take the whole bottle.  That’s very cheap.  I know what they are worth on the street.”

“I’ll take them.”  Dean pulled out the hundred plus ten.  “And throw in ten hypodermics.”

Suddenly Dean’s bowels lurched upside down and he felt as if he had to go.  Dope sickness never forgets.  He tightened his sphincter and prayed that he could make it back to the apartment.

Back at the apartment.  Sitting on the toilet.  Dean leaned over to the sink and twisted the faucet for the hot water and filled the cup.  He unscrewed the small cap from the bottle of morphine shakers and dropped two into his hand.  They had a slight grayish color.

He pulled the slide from inside the syringe and dropped the tablets into the narrow barrel of the U-100 insulin syringe.  His hands were shaking and he dropped the slide.  Picked it up from the bathroom floor and slipped it back into the barrel of the disposable injector.  He shook it and the pills inside it made it sound like a poor quality baby rattle.

Dean put the tip of the spike into the hot water and sucked air into his lungs as he pulled the top of the syringe to suck up the water.  For a second the pills were moving in the water and he shook the device and the pills dissolved.  Clear and clean.

Dean put the hype on the edge of the sink.  Yanked his belt out of his trouser loops and put the end through the buckle slipping it up his arm to just above his elbow and tightened it like a tourniquet.  He tapped the veins in his “pit” just below the elbow and they stood up as if they were yearning for the shot as strongly as he was.  He visualized tiny mouths opening just above the veins and the image made a smile break out on his face.

Dean tapped the needle into his arm.  He felt the little pop as it pierced through the fibrous flesh above the vein from so many metallic excursions come before and a tiny spot of blood appeared at the base of the barrel.  He drew back on the plunger.  A plume of blood inked into the water and he licked his dry lips and pressed down on the instrument.  He had left a small amount of air in the syringe and he could hear the bubbles popping in his veins at shoulder level and then the rush hit him and his eyes drooped closed.  He wilted like a waterless flower in the hot sun.-

  •      *      *      *      *      *      *

The wind came up quickly and fingers of ink cast their prints across the sky.  The roar was of water out of control and, without looking, Dean knew that the river was rising.  How long had it been raining?  There was no recent memory of life without the small droplets wetting everything and the mold was green and seemed to move in the cracks of the shingles.

Dean felt for the familiar packet inside his raincoat and shuddered with fear for a moment.  He prayed the packet would stay dry.  In the door.  Tin foil wallpaper dripping with a seaweed-like substance and their was a blind man sitting in the chair by the fireplace.  The blind man was drawing with crayon on the plywood covering the fire place.  Flames.  He drew flames and a hand was burning in the fire.

Dean moved through the room and the air was so thick it slowed him down and the sound of breath filled the room.  His stomach twisted with the sickness and he hoped there was no one using the kitchen.  He was twisting his eye dropper and needle out of the encrusted handkerchief as he pushed open the door.

His heartbeat made his chest shake as he saw the children in the kitchen.  There were three of them.  Spoons filled with white powder littered the table and the boy of about twelve had a rusty spike in his arm and was pushing on the bulb of the dropper.  The liquid shimmered in the light and the wind picked up as the blond-haired boy threw his head back with a look of pain that twisted his face and he sighed and his voice sounded like the wind outside.

A young girl was standing with a belt tied around her arm.

“I’m Susie.  Please help me.  I’ve lost my hit.”

The blood rose into the syringe and flowed out the top and spilled off the tips of her fingers.  Dark tears spun webs down her cheeks.  The other child stood silently in the corner of the room.  His eyes were dark wounds that hypnotized Dean.

“Sleep.  I haven’t slept for days.  Do you have anything to help me sleep?  My dreams have been taken.”

Dean fell to his knees and shook with sobs as he heard the river spray the windows of the house.  A small hand gripped his shoulder and a small voice kept saying, “Don’t sleep.  Don’t leave me alone without a dream.  Wake up.  Wake up . . . “

  •      *      *      *      *      *      *

The voice was familiar and Dean screamed and woke with a start.  Brenda was shaking him.

“Wake up.  Wake up.  The police.  The police are on the phone and they want to talk to you.”

“Brenda.  They want me to do it again.”

“Do it again?  What do you mean?”

“Go back to the pharmacy.  Get more pills.  A different kind this time.”


“I told them I would let them know tomorrow.  They were pissed.  But I want to talk to our lawyer and see what to do.  That’s all.”

“I don’t know,” Brenda said.

“You don’t have to know.”

Dean called the lawyer.

“You see,” the lawyer said, “there was an error made on the charges.  Quaaludes were not declared a ‘controlled dangerous substance’ until 5 days after the arrests took place.  You were charged under the “Controlled Dangerous Substance Act.”  The arrest is non-valid and can only be pressed as a disorderly persons charge.  They want you to go back in so they can have a case.

“Right now, because of their error, they have a minor charge against the four of you.  Actually, they can’t do anything to the pharmacist because of what he did, in a very technical sense, was not against the law.  The way things stand now, we will just do a walk-on in court and the judge will slap you in the face.  They have no case at all against the pharmacist.”

Dean could not believe his ears.  He whooped into the phone.

“Hold on, hold on,” the lawyer said.  “There is another aspect of this that I would like you to pay attention to.  I’m going off the record now.  I never said what I am about to tell you.”

“Huh,” said Dean.  “What?”

“My advice is to leave this area after the proceedings of this case.  The Orange Police Department has, uh, what you might call a reputation for not being, ahem, above board.”

Dean was silent, listening to more than just the voice coming over the phone.

“Remember the incident that night as you related it to me, with the planting of the marijuana to get the go-ahead for the search?  Their Vice Squad is literally riddled with vice and corruption and I know, through some sources, that some of them actually use drugs themselves.  To say that they will be angry at this point would be an understatement.  There is no telling what they will do.  I want to say that they are capable of anything.”

Dean listened, hardly believing what he was hearing.

“What?  What do you think they will do to us?”  Dean asked.

The lawyer replied, “I really can’t say.  But I will tell you that if I were you, I would leave the area and I would not feel safe until I did so.”

Dean hung up.  Then he and Brenda talked for a long time.

  •      *      *      *      *      *      *

The four of them, Dean, Brenda, Billie & Chrissie had been drinking all evening and they drove out past the apartments where Mickey and Viola lived.  Mickey was out walking his Irish Setter and they stopped.  As Billie and Dean staggered out of the vehicle Mickey smiled.  Then his smile went south.  Chrissie and Brenda stayed in the car.  Mickey watched them for a moment as Brenda lifted a bottle over the back of the seat and handed it to Chrissie.  She put it to her mouth and tipped it up.

“You’re a fucking rat-mother-fucker,” Billie slurred and Mickey snapped to attention.  Hands dangling loosely at his side, Mickey watched Billie carefully, his golden-gloves history dancing in his head.  Mickey’s eyes moved like they were attached to Billie as the tall muscular man weaved towards him.

Mickey knew that Dean was no threat to him.  The bearded man was all head and no heart and Mickey had never heard him talk about fighting.  But Billie!  Billie was a brawler who had been 86’d from many bars and there were already legends about him.  Mickey had heard people say that Billie was not allowed in any bar that had windows because the “Painter”, as Billie was known because of his trade, took special delight in shattering bar windows by throwing his opponents right through the glass.

Billie staggered along the edge of the six foot stone wall that bordered the apartment lawn and at times he came perilously close to lurching over the side but he never did.  Dean followed closely behind him and Billie came up to Mickey, face to face, inches away from each other and Billie bellowing beer breath into Mickey’s face and Mickey backing away slightly and swinging tight from the side.

The crack of the blow echoed into the night air and Chrissie almost dropped the bottle, but not quite, as Billie crashed down onto the sidewalk with a dull thwack as the back of his head thumped the cement.  He shook his head and struggled to his feet, smiling, and leaned toward Mickey with his whole body, breath coming hard.

Mickey threw another shot to the head and blood sprayed from Billie’s mouth.  Billie took a punch to the gut and, in what appeared to be slow motion, spilled his large frame over the wall and whumped into the hard frozen grassy ground below.

Dean stared at the scene and his mouth hung open.  Mickey glared at him and stood there, with the Irish Setter aimlessly circling around him, daring Dean to come ahead and attack him.

There was a groan and all eyes focused over the wall as Billie wobbled his head, spit his false teeth onto the grass with a splattering of blood-filled saliva and slowly pulled himself up the wall.  Mickey’s eyes grew very large.

Billie stood in front of Mickey and there was the sound of heavy breathing.  Mickey was like a statue and Billie rocked slightly.

“Had enough?” Mickey talking, strange pitch to his voice.

Billie, smiling again, foot coming up quick from nowhere and crashing, smashing into Mickey’s chest.  There was a cracking sound and the smaller man lifted into the air and slammed down onto the pavement on his back.  Mickey gasping for lost breath, moaned and tried to rise, fell back, sobbing weakly.

“Now I’ve had enough,” Billie said as he jarred Mickey with a sharp-toed cowboy boot to the ribs.  Another crack.  Billie went back to the car and took the bottle from Chrissie, drained it and then tossed it onto the asphalt before he climbed down the wall, picked up his false teeth, and then turned to Dean.

“Let’s get out of here.”

Dean didn’t argue with that.  He hopped into the car and drove away as he shot a glance into the rear view mirror.  The Irish Setter stood over Mickey and seemed to be licking his face but it was too far away to be sure.  Dean pressed down on the gas pedal and the tires cried out into the night as the car strained to hold all four wheels on the road as they took a sharp corner.  He thought about the police.

  •      *      *      *      *      *      *

The next morning the Judas car pulled up as Dean and Brenda went out.  Irish and D’azeo, wearing black leather jackets over t-shirts, came up and got right in Dean’s face so close he could smell stale liquor and old garlic as they growl-whispered at him.

“You think you’re smart.” Said Irish.

“We know about Mickey.  Busted him up but he won’t say who or press charges.” said D’azeo.

“We’re going to drop you.  You’ll have stuff on you whether you’re holding or not.”

“Go ahead punk.  Tell someone.  Ask for help.  No one will believe you or your fucking whore-bitch dope-fiend wife.”

“Maybe when we get you, you’ll try to run.”

D’azeo pulled his gun partially from his holster.

“Dead.  You’re dead mother-fucker.”

Dean cowered with fright and Brenda stepped back as the detectives sprayed them with threats and saliva.  Dean felt his chest tighten up and there was an emptiness spooling down below his belly and he thought of rabbits with headlights bearing down on them, frozen to the death-spot on the road.

Suddenly the dicks were heading back to the black car, a screech of tires, and they were gone.  The smell of burning rubber was in the air and it was like the winter quiet of a graveyard on the narrow urban street.

  •      *      *      *      *      *      *

The night before court Dean and Brenda shot Dilaudid.  Brenda also at some red bullet Seconals.  She did not dream at all.  Dean was plagued by a recurring nightmare all night long.

In the dream he and Brenda were at a wedding.  The wedding party gathered in a giant boat at the top of a multi-tiered waterfall.  Each person at the party flowed down the waterfall and the main gathering drank and made merry on the boat as it descended.

Suddenly it happened.  Someone had forgotten to remove a partial glass barrier on one of the tiers and one of the bridesmaids got caught and started spinning around at the tier as the boat bore down on her.

A few people ahead looked back to see what the commotion was and saw the boat bouncing down tier after tier with the trapped woman screaming as the boat spilled down the beautiful wood-tiered flow-way towards her.

There were screams, the shattering of glass, another color danced in the water as the sound of something soft being squelched was heard.  And then the boat, the giant wooden wedding boat, crashed over and splintered with a roar as it tumbled down the watersteps to hell, crushing everything in its path.

Dean and Brenda leaped from stone to stone, board to board, to flee the nightmare as it hurtled toward them.  Suddenly Brenda fell backwards into the path of the massive ship.  Dean saw someone in front of them with a look of sheer terror contorting their face.  A hideous shriek filled the air.

Dean looked back to see the boat falling onto his wife as she screamed.  And woke up covered with sweat.  He looked at Brenda.  She lay next to him on the bed.  A cigarette had burned deeply into her fingers before it went out.  She did not wake up.

  •      *      *      *      *      *      *

Court was simple.  Everyone got a fine and dirty looks from the detectives.

Chrissie broke up with Billie and moved.  Some say she moved down south.

Billie had to do time in Seaside Heights.  After he got out of jail he moved to Dover, New Jersey and no one ever heard of him again.

Dean and Brenda were divorced.  Brenda moved to Florida with her mother.  Dean moved to New Hampshire.  There were rumors that he had ripped off a major drug dealer and there was a contract on him.

Someone said he moved to Portland, Oregon with the proceeds of his take and became a pot dealer there to support his habit on black tar heroin.  They said he caught that flesh-eating bacteria from the black tar and died.  Who knows?  In that world, nothing seems to end well.

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