PAIGE ANDERS CHRONICLES – 4

Five years is the sentence I had to pay, thanks to my age (“She obviously didn’t know better! People of the jury, just look at her mother!”) and my resentful cooperation.

The cooperation part was what egged me the most. I had no idea I was helping bring in the biggest drug king in south Ohio. Truth be told, I would have never talked had I known what really lied behind Trevor’s thin, white skin. I loved my job. More importantly – I loved my life, even if it was funded by some magic dust. Everyone has to have some fun. Right?

The icing on the cake is that’s how they told it to Rodney, too. ‘The little tramp turned you in you son of a bitch. You weren’t worth nothing to her but a Get Out of Jail Free card.’ I can imagine his face, twisted. His lower lip protruding out from those awful buckteeth. His eyes would have been still, concentrating on the cold metal table and how he would have liked to seen me there on top of it with a bullet through my head, just like my brother.

I imagine he was erratic on the inside. Every word the investigators served him, he swallowed and let it settle in his stomach. I’m sure by the time his verdict was in and he was marched down the pale hallways of his future, his insides had begun to boil and become hungry. Revenge is one nasty pill.

But time passes. I did my time, making a few new friends and enemies along the way. Then six years ago at the bright age of twenty, I walked back out of the gates with only a set of clothes, a toothbrush, and a notice that I would remain on probation for a year.

No one was there to greet me. My mother had long since died, finally seeing herself to a deadly concoction of antidepressants and vodka. My brother was by now a skeleton. And there was no one from school that had even dared to see me through the whole fiasco – so much for being popular. I was alone. I was poor. And I was desperate.

I started at a shelter. It was grungy and sad. Canned goods for meals everyday and material that felt like it had been woven from burlap for sheets. The threat of lice and runny noses were a brutal daily reality along with hoards of mold growing in the bathroom shower stalls. But it was a starting point.

I got a job at a local grocery store, stocking shelves in the midnight hours and eventually I was able to move into a comfortable apartment of my own. Actually eating real food was the best part about that whole thing. The job was tedious and had me feeling like I owned bricks for feet and like I always do – I got bored.

It only took me four months to find my way back to the streets, pedaling the latest trend – ecstasy and adderall. College kids were my new favorite customers. They would pay you any amount of daddy’s money to have a good time.

Life was starting to get good again. The money was easy – the hours even easier. I was in business with this guy who called himself Buster. Besides a glass eye he would never talk about, he was a chatty guy who knew the game well. He was always ready to meet the demand and his stuff was good. Really good – I personally tested it myself a few times a week chased with a little rum along the way. Buster would always snap at me for that, wasting product was never a good thing in his sight. Even if it was for a short trip out of your own life.

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