I asked Malek for a quick pee break. He said: “I better see you back here in a few minutes.” Let me go. When I stepped out the door, I passed Chet in the hallway. He told me to drop the money in locker 317. I didn’t know the drill since I’d never bought from Chet at school. Always went to his place. I dropped the envelope, with $150 in it and my name on the front, through the slots. As I walked to the can, he gave me the book, a paperback of Yasunari Kawabata’s Snow Country.
I looked at the title and asked, “Big fan of Japanese lit?”
Chet smiled. Said: “Yeah right. Someone else chooses the titles. I’m just a lender. You’d prefer instead White Fang? A Handful of Dust?1 The Snows of Kilimanjaro? The Nose? White Noise?”
I shook my head and left. Opened the book in a toilet stall. In the middle of it, several pages had been cut out, leaving a chamber where had been deposited a neat little plastic baggie. The marching powder my nose was twitching for.
I opened the bag. Lifted a tiny bit up to my nose with my small spoon. Inhaled it. After such a period of abstinence, it was like honey in my blood. I sniffed up some more wacky dust. It transformed me. Took everything that had been weighing me down and pushed it aside. Right now as I write this, I can say that I am wrapped in the arms of rapture.
I could write ten thousand more pages,2 but it looks like it’s about time to finish up. Detention’s almost over.
I3 woke up early this morning. I smoked a cigarette first thing. I spent some time relaxing in bed. My sister’s cat, Bastiat, passed the door to my room then. I had some unfinished business with that damn cat. He’d annoyed the hell out of me last night with his meowing. I realized I hadn’t punished him like he deserved.
That cat was terrified of me. He ran away when he saw me getting out of bed. I caught him by the scruff of his neck. I took Bastiat into my hand, and he whined and scratched. I put my burning cigarette to his skin, and he howled with pain.
I had to remind him, since I could tell he’d forgotten by now, “This is for the noise you made last night. I can’t get my studies done with you meowing like that.”
I hated that cat. When he whined with pain like that, I felt good about myself. I felt good about the world.
When I got dressed that morning I took extra time. I wanted to look super nice. I first drowned myself in cologne. I put on the nicest clothes in my wardrobe, short of a suit and tie. I had my best shirt and nicest shoes. I even wore French cuffs and cufflinks. There was an extra special girl at Elmville High, Blair Brown, who’d be getting an invitation to the Homecoming dance from me today. She didn’t know it yet.
I ate a breakfast of eggs, bacon and milk. My mom served it to me, right on time and still hot and steaming. She’s a good mom to me sometimes. Except when she’s a bitch and gets in my way.
I hopped in my sports car for a quick ride to school. I squealed the tires as I drove down the street. My space by the door was unoccupied. As always. I’d worked hard to make sure everyone knew it was mine. I took the morning swig from my flask and left it in the car. The scotch loosens me up. It readies me for the hunt.
I didn’t have a chance to talk to Blair that morning before class because I had to take care of business. I’d been dealing weed since the summer. I had a growing list of customers. One of these had demanded I deliver half an ounce before class. I had to wait for him at the edge of the parking lot just outside of school grounds. By the time we’d finished our business I had to rush to get to class.
1. It’s probably of no interest to the reader, but this is one of my favorite books? –Bob↩
2. Forgive me if I’m not disappointed that she didn’t do this. –Bob↩
3. Deciphering Clement’s awful handwriting was a task tantamount to translating from Chinese. Many of my word choices are more accurately described as best guesses. –Bob↩