THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

I am sitting in my car with the engine running because even though it’s dark outside it’s still hotter than the devil’s piss outside. The air conditioner is blasting through the vents like old man winter was trapped in my dashboard. I’m waiting for her to come out the bar . It’s only midnight but I have to get up early in the morning for work. I told her that but she is still taking her sweet time .But she will come. I have her candy .

Finally I see her come out the side door and amble across the parking lot to my vehicle. If she was in L.A.  or New York  she wouldn’t garner a second glance. In Gloucester VA she is a beauty queen.  Gorgeous in a sad way . Like a down trodden goddess. Big almond shaped eyes stare out at the world from a smooth caramel heart-shaped face. Long black hair that spills down her back like a river made of shadows blows gently in the breeze. She is wearing one of  those little newsboy caps pulled low on her forehead.  A black top that slips so seductively off both her shoulders and frees her ample bosom every so slightly draws my attention. I haven’t even gotten to her firm thighs and I’m already hard.

She jumps in the car and leans forward and kisses me softly on the mouth. Her tongue darts in and tickles my front teeth like a tentacle .She is an expert with her tongue. She leans back and stares at me for a second. I get the feeling she getting into character.  She rubs my leg and speaks in that breathy way that drives me crazy.

  “So you got my candy daddy? “she whispers. I don’t respond but I do reach into the pocket of my khaki shorts. I pull out an old aspirin bottle. It no longer contains aspirin. Inside are ten Oxycontin pills.  I hold them out to her. I will giver her some credit,she doesn’t immediately grab the bottle. She does her best to look coy. But her left eyelid is twitching rapidly. Finally she grabs the bottle . She opens it up, takes out one of the pills and puts it on my dash, She uses the bottle to crush it ,then crush it again.  Like an old craftsman she carefully sweeps the powder into her hand and then inhales it . She coughs for a few moments then leans back and closes her eyes.

“Dam thank you daddy .I needed that . My dam tooth is killing me and I can’t get my prescription filled anymore. Fucking dentist won’t  approve it. “she says .Her voice sounds dreamy ,like any minute she could just fall asleep.  I don’t even know why she is still lying. We both know that if she ever had a prescription for oxy it’s long gone now. Yet we sit here ,actors in this off off off broadway production of a play called Desperate and Lonely. Staring me  Sam White and her, Adela Marcone.   I just nod my head at her lie and turn the music up on the CD player.

“Daddy can we go somewhere else? I don’t wanna give you your present here.”she says warily. This it new. We always complete the transaction here in the far end of the parking lot under the blown out pole light. I study her face for a second.

What’s wrong butter pecan?  You afraid of getting caught? I don’t think we have to worry about any drunk rednecks getting a crisis of conscience  and coming out here to stop us from sinning.”I said laughing. She turned her head and smiled at me. Her smile was a thousand kilowatts of lust that powered my desire.

“Naw I ain’t scared of that. Jamal might be up here tonight and I don’t want to hear his mouth. He be trippin’  all the time. Like he know he ain’t my man and you know you ain’t my man.I ain’t got no fucking man. But he be trying to claim me and shit. I just wanna give you your present daddy without no interruptions.”  Jamal . Fucking Jamal Henderson. Our local drug dealer and wanna be thug. He was a short little miscreant with a Napoleon complex . He was Adela’s other “friend”. I knew they were fucking . I’d see them together sometimes in the bar. He would rub his hand over her ample backside .He would order a round of shots for his crew and she would sit at his left like some tawdry queen to a broken down king.  Later Adela would move around the room and eventually alight next to me . But just for a few moments. Jamal never even acknowledged our friendship. He walked through bar with a  cocksure swagger and an ego bigger than the Coleman Bridge. His confidence in his hold on her was complete and seamless. There was no room for any doubt. Or concern about a quiet chubby guy who talked to his bitch once and awhile. I was bigger and taller than Jamal.  If a physical altercation were to take place I’d have a distinct advantage. But Jamal never rolled out alone and he was almost always armed.  I wonder how secure he would be if he knew that every payday Adela met me in a motel in Newport News and let me fuck her silly. Or how she would sometimes meet me in the parking lot .Once there she would suck my dick until I exploded in her mouth.  Then she would take her candy and go back into the bar. On a few occasions I saw her kiss Jamal in the mouth after we had concluded our transactions. I must admit ,that was immensely satisfying.

“Well I guess we can go to the McDonalds parking lot. “I said .

“That’s what’s up daddy. Dam I should stretch my mouth ,I can hardly get that big ol’ dick all the way in.”she said salaciously. I knew she was exaggerating for my benefit. I was average in that department. I had seen my share of porno movies to gauge my size. I started the car up and pulled out onto Rt.17. We cruised on over to the Mickey D’s and then Adela gave me my gift. I cried out when I came. She reached up under the sweater vest I was wearing and twisted my nipple just the way I liked. Some would call Adela a slut. I called her the closest thing to love I have ever known.

We went back to the bar parking lot. She wiped her mouth and looked in the mirror in my passenger seat visor. ” You coming in Daddy?”she asked not really looking at me. She had the percs in her purse and I could tell she wanted another hit. Her voice had lost it’s pretense of charm and now only the desperation shone through. I loved her anyway. I loved her with all her faults and her chicanery. I loved her even though I knew she didn’t love me. Only tolerated me because of her “candy”.

“Naw butter pecan I have to get up early for work tomorrow. “is what I said. What I wanted to say was that I couldn’t stand watching her and Jamal tonight. That it would make me sick to my stomach to watch his sad little territorial displays . She leaned forward and kissed me .

“Don’t let them work you too hard at the pharmacy Daddy. I’ll text you later.”she said as she slid out of my car and into the night. She didn’t look back once. Not that I expected her too. But hope and expectations are two different things.  I pulled out of the parking lot and headed to the single  wide trailer I shared with my mother. I was 35 years old but I didn’t have my own place .My mother needed me to look after her. She couldn’t walk or talk or  do anything really. I walked in the door of our trailer and plopped on the couch. I had left the television on the History channel.  My mother loved the History channel.  She was sitting at the kitchen table .Mute as ever. I talked to her anyway . I thought it made her feel good.

“So Adela tells me tonight that Jamal is tripping . I don’t know about what. It’s not like she is cutting him off anytime soon. She got the best of both worlds.Getting pills from me and money from him. She is worried about him tripping. Maybe I should start to trip. I don’t know how much longer I can stand seeing his hands on her. “I yelled to my mother.  “It’s all getting to be just such an abomination.” I hollered.  “Well I’m going to sleep Ma . Let me get you in the bed.” I said. I walked in the kitchen scooped her up in my arms and walked down the narrow hallway to her bedroom. My room was at the opposite end of the trailer. It gave me a modicum of privacy. Even though I hadn’t had a guest stay over in fifteen years. I tucked her in and kissed her lightly on her forehead.

“Love ya Ma “I whispered.  I went to my room and stripped off my clothes. I lay across my bed with the creaky AC window unit wheezing and sputtering like an emphysema victim. My mind began to drift and my dream theater began it’s performance in my mind. As always the play starred me and Adela.  I felt the beginning  of  a smile stretch across my face as I drifted away to never neverland.

I got up the next morning . Ma didn’t want to get out of bed so I made myself breakfast before I headed out for the day.  I was only at work for a few hours when I got a 911 text from Adela. I texted back and she sent a cryptic message.

“TROUBLE.”

I looked at my phone like it was an alien artifact. Had Jamal finally lost his cool and put his hands on her? I pushed that thought from my head. I couldn’t even deal with that idea. If that had happened. Well bad things  were going to happen. Very bad things.  I texted her back that I would call her on my break. She wanted to meet me at work but I nixed that idea. I didn’t want her to know where I worked .Not yet. We were not in a relationship,not a healthy one anyway. Intimate details of my life were reserved for someone who loved me back. She didn’t. Not yet. Suddenly my lunch break seemed very very far away.  I pensively watched the clock until it finally reached noon. I walked out to my car and called. her.

“Butter pecan what’s wrong?” I said as soon as she answered.

“Ah Sammy I’m in trouble. Can you come over ? Like as soon as you get off work?” she asked .Her  voice was quaking.

“Um sure. Is this about Jamal?” I asked.

“Just come over soon as you get done.”she said . Then the phone went dead. My heart was in my throat and my stomach felt as deep and hollow as the Marianas trench. I had no clue what was going on but I knew instinctively it was bad. Bad for Adela and bad for me.  But I was going to go over there anyway. She needed me . And I needed her . Just not for the same reasons.

I got off work and drove over to Adela apartment. She lived on the edge of town down near the bridge that led to the big bad city of Newport News.  Her two kids got taken away a few months ago .Now she lived alone . At least until her section 8 ran out and she had to move. I had only been here a few times when my money was low and I couldn’t afford a room. Her apartment was the fifth one in a line of single story dwellings with thin walls and bland fronts. A dilapidated grey and black roof stretch over all  eight units. There were two more identical units behind Adela’s. The rent was cheap and so were the tenants. I pulled my Honda in between the faded yellow parking lines and hurried to her door.  I knocked once and she opened it immediately . I wondered if she had been looking out the window awaiting my arrival.  She was wearing sweat pants and a wife beater t-shirt. Her long hair was twisted into two pigtails.  I took her into my arms and held her tight . I breathed in her scent. A mix of apricot body lotion and her own mysterious pheromones.

“What’s wrong boo?” I asked.

“What up Sammy.” a raspy voice said behind me. I whirled around .It was Jamal .He was sitting in  a white plastic lawn chair that someone had brought in from outside and sat  next to the small dinner table.  His dark skin glistened in the morning light like he had bathed in baby oil . His hair stood off from his scalp in tight painful looking mini-dreads. His mouth was screwed up in a perpetual sneer. He wearing a Lebron jersey over a t-shirt and some blue Ecko jeans and  Timberland boots.  In his left hand he had a bottle of Yoo Hoo. In his right hand was a nickel plated .45 caliber pistol.

I turned back toward Adela.

“Just sit down boo .We need your help.” she said Her big brown eyes were filled with tears.

I sat on the tiny love seat that filled in for the couch she didn’t have. Jamal pulled the chair over until he was sitting in front of me. Adela plopped down on the floor. Not next to me or Jamal , in the middle half-way between us. Jamal scratched his chin with the barrel of his gun. I silently prayed for it to go off in his face.

“So look here man. I know you and Adela been smashing and shit. And you know what ? It’s cool dog. I mean she ain’t my woman or nothing .Now normally I’d be pissed off as a motherfucker bout some shit like that but I got bigger problems than who fucking who.So that shit is squashed alright? No beef between me and you. Adela told me you a pharmacist and shit .Hooking her up with percs and oxy and shit like that. Well here the thing man. We done got ourselves in a fucked up situation and we gonna need your help.”

“I don’t have any money.”I blurted . Jamal laughed.

“Man I know that . But look ,here where we at. I got a package from one of my homies to work for him . A whole key.”

“A package??” I asked.

“It’s coke boo.”Adela said patiently.

“Yeah well anyway “Jamal went on” I was supposed to work it.And well last night me and my boys and Adela,we fucked it up. We gave some away,we used some ,some of it fell on the floor of a bathroom in the Comfort Inn. Real talk.That shit is gone. And my homie ,he expecting his money or his product. He work for a motherfucker out of Richmond named Mixx and this motherfucker don’t take no for an answer If he don’t liket the answer he cut your tongue out.So by Thursday I gotta have some money or his product. And this where you come in homeboy. I got a plan. You just need to leave the door back door open at the pharmacy you work at . I come in act like I’m robbing you and grab some oxy and percs and shit like that. I can flip that and have my homies money with some left over by Thursday night.  You feelin’ me ? ” he said between sips of Yoo Hoo.  I studied his face  .

“I don’t see how you blowing up a kilo of cocaine is my problem.”I said. He was fast. I have to give him that at least. He was up out of the chair in an instant. He smacked me with the butt of his gun. My head exploded in a kaleidoscope  of pain. I saw colors and shapes that didn’t exist. He pressed the barrel of the gun against my temple.

“Listen you fat motherfucking piece of shit. I am MAKING this your problem.  Now if I don’t have my man’s money he gonna make me disappear .But before I go I’m gonna find the store you work at and I’m going to tell them that you been stealing from them for some ratchet ass bitch. Then BOOM your fucking pharmacist  life go up in fucking flames. You hear me fat boy? YOU HEAR ME ?”he growled. If I had been standing I would have towered over him.   But I was seated with a gun to my head and that meant he had all the power. But power is fleeting .

“Alright ,alright ….just let me think for a minute. I mean I can leave the door open for you and everything but there is an easier way. I just need your car. “I said. Jamal laughed. He laughed while holding a gun to my dam head.

“Oh all the sudden you fucking   T.I. in Takers? You got a better way.Let’s hear this better way  fat boy.”he  said.

“I can disable the camera system in the pharmacy . Back your car up to the door. I’ll wear a mask so they won’t know it’s me. I load the car up with all the oxy and percs and demarol and codeine  I can get my hands on . I drive away in your vehicle. I meet you at a place somewhere out in the woods. We change cars and I go into work later like nothing happened. “I said. Jamal was quiet for a minute.

“You would do that ? Take all the risk to help us out ?” he said .His voice dripped with incredulity.

“Not you. Her. I’d do anything for her.” I said. It wasn’t the most romantic way to tell Adela I had feelings for her but once it was said I felt liberated.  Like a millstone had been taken off my chest.

“Word .Respect . I feel ya on that man. I can’t hate on you if that how you feel. So we switching cars now ?” Jamal asked.

“Yes.As soon as you pull that gun away from my head.”I said quietly.  He took the gun away and stuffed it down into his waist band. I prayed silently again but apparently God was not granting prayers that involved blowing someone’s nuts off. Jamal pulled his keys out of his pocket and handed them to me.  I stood up and fished my keys out of my pocket. I handed them to him.

“I won’t do it til tonight.After the store is closed. Then I’ll text Adela in the morning and tell you where to meet me.  ” I said . I walked toward the door. Adela got up and stopped me.

“You really going to do this? Risk you job and everything for me?”she asked. Her eyes were beautiful brown pools of honey  that I could stare at forever.

“I’d do anything for you butter pecan.” I whispered. I wanted to grab her and kiss her .But Jamal was there with his gun. He still had the power. But like I said power is fleeting.

I left . Walked over to the big money green SUV  that Jamal drove. I climbed in and was immediately overcome by the smell of blunts and ball sweat. I hoped he had legal tags and insurance. My whole plan hinged on not getting stopped by the police during any phase of the operation. I backed up and left the apartment complex.

Forty-eight hours later I texted Adela. I told her and Jamal to meet me at the public landing in Redart in Mathews. I could feel her excitement through the text message.

I was waiting outside Jamal’s truck when he arrived. He pulled up and hopped out like a kid at Christmas.

“Where’s Adela?” I asked.

“She gone to see her kids. Visitation and shit. So you get it?  “he asked. I pressed the key fob and opened his truck.  He stepped forward and let out a sigh.

“Dam that’s a lot of shit man. “he said. There were ten big containers the size of milk jugs. Two were oxycontin. Three were percocets.  The other five were tremidal and codeine .

“Alright give me my keys. And drive normal. I saw some cops on my way down here.” I said nervously.  Jamal tossed my keys up in the air and I caught them.  He took his keys out of my hand and got in his truck.

“I guess you ain’t a punk ass after all. “he laughed as he started up the truck. I turned and stared at him for a moment. I was searing his face into my memory. I had a feeling I wouldn’t be seeing him for a long time.

I got in my car and drove home. I’d call Adela in a bit and go see her.I had a few other calls to make before I talked to her though…….

 

I got home and checked on mom. She was still in bed. A few flies had landed on her face. I waved them away. Then I made the calls I needed to make.

“I think it’s all going to work out Ma. She will be with me .And Jamal will be out of the picture. Yeah Ma I think it’s going to be okay.”

I called Adela a few hours later. She told me to come over right away.

I knocked on her door and she answered immediately. She didn’t look good. Her eyes were red and swollen.  She had been crying.That hard  ugly crying where snot comes out your nose and you don’t even care. She let me in and I sat on the love seat. She plopped down beside me.

“Um the police arrested Jamal today. They found all those pills in his car. And um …they found a guy’s head where his spare tire was supposed to be in his trunk. Like the guy who worked at the pharmacy in Mathews.Sam what…what did you do?”she said .It all came out in one long dissertation.

‘Well Adela I haven’t been entirely honest with you. Just like you have not been entirely honest with me.  I don’t work at a pharmacy. I got those pills from my mom.But she doesn’t really need them anymore. I visit a pharmacy quite frequently though. I’m on or I should say I used to be on a lot of medication. Lithiuim and Adderall and Xanax for starters. See I did some bad stuff a while back .I had to go  away. So when I came back they told me I had to be on my meds. But I didn’t like them. My mom tried to make me take them. She would crush them up an put them in my food. Can you believe that? She was always fussing at me about my meds.Fussing fussing fussing. So I sewed her mouth shut and filled her nose up with silicone glue. Now she is very quiet and we get along fine. Look I know you’re mad but you lied to me too. You and Jamal were never in any trouble . You just wanted to use me for what you thought I could get for you. It’s okay I forgive you.  But Jamal, I could see he was just going to be a problem that got worse. So I tricked him into loaning me his car. Poor Mr.August. I like him. The pharmacist. He was nice to me even though a lot of people thought I was crazy. He begged me not to kill him right up to the time I slit his throat with  a box cutter .Which I left in Jamal’s car. Along with Mr. August’s head and the pills.  That should fix his little red wagon. Even if he tries to tell the police I did it I will just tell them he is a crazy person who assaulted me for talking to his girl. His gun will even have my DNA on it. I knew I could make him hit me I just had to push the right button. Now stop crying Adela .We can finally be together. I know this may take some getting used to so to give you time and you know a reason not to turn me in I saved some of Mr. August’s blood. It’s in a very secret place. But if you ever give me reason to think you are going to leave me or turn me in ,well I will have to sprinkle it somewhere in here that the cops will be sure to find it. That luminol stuff really works you know.  I know ,you thought I was some fat stupid nerd that you could throw some pussy at and get me under control so that Jamal could make his move. Guess it shows you never really know anyone. But now we have time to get know each other. We have all the time in the world.” I said. She looked at me with those big gorgeous eyes and as the tears streamed down her face I pulled her close. She was shaking . I knew exactly how she felt .It scary when you finally find true love. But she will learn how to love and be loved.

She has no choice.

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Published by: S.A.Cosby

i am a writer ,poet and aspiring author. I write because I have to....it's not something I do it's something I AM........I would love to hear from other aspiring authors.......

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