Keyes just wanted to finish her Reuben sandwich. Instead she’s off chasing low level drug pushers after the ultimate high.
Not For All The Heroine In Disneyland
By Amber Fernie
For the Lemonade Carbonade Award
It’s never good news when Kaminski drops a file on my desk.
“Why do you always have to show up while I’m eating?” I asked, tossing the rest of my Reuben in the trash.
“I don’t know, Keyes, maybe you eat too much. I need your help.”
Kaminski is an okay cop, but he shows up in my office a little too often asking for help. I can’t complain, it’s steady business.
After skimming the file, I had a pretty good idea where to start, so I pushed a contract in front of him. He rolled his eyes and used some wadded up napkins on my desk to wipe mustard off the tablet before signing.
“You know, Keyes,” he said, scrawling a signature with his finger, “You’re not a bad looking woman. I might be convinced to ask you out for a drink, if you weren’t such a slob.”
“Yeah, and I might give a crap if I had the slightest interest in cops,” I shot back, snatching the tablet and stuffing it into a drawer. “Now, get out of my office so I can do your job for you.”
He left, and I headed to the East Side.
Seemed there was a new drug on the street known only as Sweet Release. From what they knew, it blocked endorphin receptors, not only making people particularly responsive to pain, but also inducing a heroin-like euphoria once it wore off; the worse the pain, the higher the euphoria. Nasty concoction. Users were pushing pain thresholds beyond the breaking point, and now too many mangled bodies were showing up at the morgue.
Sour Sebastian is never too happy to see me, but he’s usually more or less helpful. He owns and operates The Lemonade Stand, which is a legitimate place to buy your legal recreational drugs, but he also has the hard stuff, if you know what to ask for. Come in there asking for meth or heroin, and he will put you out on your ass, but if you drop a name like Accelemondo or Tartwired, he’ll hook you up, assuming of course that he’s already familiar with your face. I knew even he wouldn’t be dealing with this Sweet Release shit, though.
Sebastian and I have an understanding. I grease his palms a little bit, he helps me out with my investigations. The cops will catch up to him at some point, maybe, but as long as he keeps pointing me in the right directions, they won’t hear a word from me. Today, all he could give me was the number of someone who might know someone. It was a start.
A few phone calls and a few hours later, I pulled up to a street corner outside my favorite deli, where a nervous little guy waited for me to pick him up. Not your typical dealer. I wondered who his supplier was.
As he approached the car, I asked the question Sebastian’s hookup had given me, a pass code of sorts.
“Aren’t you a friend of Jenny’s?”
“I am,” he said.
We drove a few blocks, and I exchanged some awkward small talk with him, an unfortunate aspect of that lifestyle which I did not miss from my college days at all. Finally, I got down to business.
“So, I hear you’re the guy to talk to about a Sweet Release?”
“I’ve got some friends coming down this weekend, and they want me to show them a good time. I hear this stuff is like heroin.”
He stiffened up defensively at that, and snapped, “It’s not like heroin! It’s not like heroin at all!”
I thought that was really strange, and I started to suspect something. I had to be careful not to push it, though. No need to spook him.
“Okay, okay. So, why don’t you tell me what it’s like?”
“What it’s like? There are chemical processes going on here that you wouldn’t understand! It’s not like anything else!”
I couldn’t believe what I’d stumbled upon, couldn’t believe anyone could be that stupid, but I realized then that he was way too proud of the product to be a low-level pusher. I had the guy in my car. I was sure of it.
It was tempting to just drive him to the police station. I briefly considered it, picturing the look on Kaminski’s face when I brought him exactly who he’d been looking for, but I knew it wouldn’t stick. They had procedures to follow. They’d need warrants. Information was what Kaminski wanted, and I had more than he’d been expecting. I finished the transaction, and dropped the guy off a couple blocks from where I found him. Then I headed back to the deli for another Reuben, hoping to finish it this time.