It seemed odd to her that she would know what to do. Her innocent questions, eyes wide open about how things were in the ’hood began deliberately with her students. It was easy to turn the class discussion to drugs.
“Who can remember their civics class, the undermining of the Chinese? Which drugs were used for that?” Eager hands shot up. “Opium.”
“Okay. How does that compare with now? And where?” She fed them and they gave back.
A hand shot up. Traverse Washington, a serious boy whose parents were both teachers responded. “Meth. Here, everywhere, and the color of the people it undermines the most is obvious.” He looked from one classmate to the next, all rightfully smug in their considerable knowledge.
She challenged him, she needed to know. “Okay. Good. But it’s not the same as having the government issuing and delivering the goods to the people the way they did in China.” A whole room of hands was in the air. Discussion inevitably broke out, she heard snatches of what she needed. The name of a bodega near her apartment, most of all, the name of her local pusher, and as it turned out, her local savior.
Armed with this new information, Molly waited till it got dark and then headed to the bodega and roamed the tight dirty little aisles filled with cans of Goya products, mostly beans and refried beans, and she watched.
A young man with a do-rag on his head seemed to be in charge of things. He stood just inside the open door watching people pass by. There were always the little kids – ten and twelve years old – who ran about outside, and always they circled back to LaSheed. She knew he was watching her amble down one aisle after another. She picked up a loaf of bread because he stood nearest to it.
“Hey, mama. I seen you before. What you doin in this part of the ’hood?”
Molly pulled her wallet out, leafing through the twenties to find a five-dollar bill. “Same as you. I live here.”
She handed the five to the grocer who studiously avoided eye contact with anyone standing near LaSheed. She held her wallet open to place the change in its proper place. “What you got?” she whispered close to his ear, as she placed the coins in her jeans.
He breathed close to her neck. “What you want?” He moved slightly away long enough to gauge her, check for the cop look, the undercover, slick chick, too fast to be real chick that would get him time inside again. He was so very smooth at what he did.
“Meth. I want meth.” Her heart was beating extra fast in fear and excitement.
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