The Real Deal

Photo credit Sarah Whiley

It’s been a while since he tasted the real thing. Too long. Exasperated and pacing in front of the bar kitchen door, Henry was thoughtfully splitting the grams and piles in his head. He touched the outskirts of his pocket, tracing for his phone and his keys. Neon advertisements were shinning relentless against his thriving anxiety and anticipation. Where is this guy?

The door flung open. A man in his twenties briskly stepped out, closed them, and leaned against the wall. He took out an electronic cigarette, red – with polka- dots, and took a long drag. He blew the smoke towards the starless sky.

“Are you Henry or not, mate.”
“Yes, I am Henry.”
“I’m the guy.”

Henry’s eyes widened. He was thinking about dust, colours, the smell. He brushed his thoughts away and gave the dealer a puppy eyed stare. This is going to cost him a fortune. And he would risk even more, if he could. He was weak, unfair. Craving.
He opened his jacket and slid his left hand inside towards the back. He unclicked a plaque from his belt and took a look at it.
It said X89 – POW32 – 444 – ZD. He extended the card and the guy took it, reading the code.

“That’s me”
“Yes, according to the depository code, that’s you. Can I have it now?”

The dealer instinctively ran his hand through his hair, pushing a single bright-pink braid behind his ear. He pulled out a small wooden box and handed it to Henry.

“Don’t open it until you are ready to use it”
Henry understood.

“Thanks, man. I hope you don’t mind me asking, feels like we are not exchanging small favours here. Why would you give me my points tracking code? For , you know, this? You could get into a lot of trouble man.Everything is digital, how did you even manage to card it?”

Henry took three short breaths, thinking about the taste, the smells, the sizzling gritting of his teeth, the explosions.

“Don’t worry about it, everything”, he paused, “is digital.”

“How long do I have?”

“30 minutes, starting tomorrow, 8:15 AM”

Henry couldn’t help himself but add:
“Be fair.There’s 200 of my own points there”
They agreed on 150.

The dealer glanced at the box he handed to Henry, now rotating between his restless palms, and said :”You too, man.” He took another drag while turning around and dissapearing back behind the door.

Henry zipped back his jacket and headed out of the alley. Sounds of music, chatter, sirens, alarm, yelling and beeping dancing around him. He held the wooden box out in his right hand and opened it with his left.

Metallic, frail and worn baggies of noodle sauce packets glistened under the streetlight. It has been too long. Digital flavours dulled against his neuros made him salivate bitter. Too long. But Henry is eating real spices tonight.

*Written for Mindlovemiserysmenageries Photo Prompt

~ by Oloriel on June 15, 2022.

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