The Need
by Georgepat
forum: The Need, Chapter 1
speculative fiction for the internet generation.

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The Need
Chapter 1


Reggie Hackerson opened his sleep-crusted eyes slowly, coughed up a mouthful of phlegm (which he promptly swallowed), and looked around the squalid room he sometimes shared with three other transients.

Their mattresses were empty and the clothes that usually lay in sad piles on the filthy floor were gone, so he supposed that they had grown tired of laying about on the nod and decided to try to find a day job to make enough cash to score more shit.

He didn’t worry about where his next high was coming from. He already knew. He was a personal friend of his dealer, Bishop. They had briefly attended high school together before they both were expelled permanently for repeatedly sneaking into the girl’s locker room and spying on the young beauties.

When they met again a few years later, Reggie was a two-time loser and long-time junkie, heroin being his drug of choice.

* * *

Bishop didn’t give a flying shit who it was that bought his wares. He sold to kids, to senior citizens, to soccer moms, and businessmen and women that wanted a quick walk on the wild side, or anyone else that had the long green for his ready supply of Mexican Brown.

He tolerated Reggie for old times' sake, but, just barely. His antics reminded him of the character in the film Midnight Cowboy played by Dustin Hoffman. He was dirty, unruly and had the foulest mouth he had ever heard, but his money was good and when asked, he would do the grunt work that he didn’t have the stomach for himself. As tough a man as he tried to project, he still cringed at the sight of blood.

Drug dealing in his neighborhood was becoming harder and the competition for the corner he held was fierce. Small-time drug lord wannabes fought and died for the chance to take over his turf. Bishop and his few trusted minions were ruthless in their intent to hold on to the niche they had carved from the underbelly of the city.

Bishop was far too smart and street savvy to deal or use the drugs himself. He knew better than to expose himself to the eyes and ears of the cops like that. Mrs. Bishop hadn’t raised her son for a fool and he sure as shit wasn’t stupid.

He spent his day in the coffee shop next to his corner, reading a paper and drinking seven-dollar espresso from a small paper cup while his troops hustled the streets. He was always aware of what happened outside the grimy window of his self proclaimed domain and when a sale went down, he mentally calculated his profit before the money had changed hands and was thrust into the temporary pocket of his employee.

* * *

Reggie knew things that Bishop didn’t, because he was able to wander the streets without drawing undo attention to himself. No one noticed him, a junkie, and other than to shake their heads in disgust or think that for the grace of God… He was a non-entity, invisible for all intents and purposes, and felt it his obligation to keep his friend advised of the day’s street news.

This was how he learned that a rival drug dealer, Skinny Smith (or SS, as he liked to be called), from across town was planning on having "words" with Bishop. He’d heard that SS was already enlisting homeboys outside his own gang to hit Bishop and his street cronies hard.

Reggie had seen SS and his boys in action once, several years ago, and the thing he remembered best about the incident, other than the blood shed, was that Skinny was as big as a house. He had more chins than most people had steps on their porch and his belly was immense. It was said that his specially built ride had extra heavy-duty suspension on the passenger side and that when he stepped out of the car, the body rose two inches.

Gold-capped teeth that sparkled in the sunlight, dark glasses and enough bling hanging around his neck to give a normal man serious back problems, SS was a serious and deadly piece of work in anybody’s book and no one ever mentioned the words "weight" or "problem" in the same sentence and lived to tell of it.

* * *

Reggie hurried down the street and back into the relative safety of his hood, looking for Bishop. His stoned face brightened into his imitation of a smile when he saw his friend on the corner in a heated discussion with one of his boys.

“I gotta talk at ya,” Reggie said, tugging on Bishop's sleeve. “It be 'portant, man.”

“Not as 'portant as this sick fuck that be tryin to skim the Benjamins off me,” Bishop said and jerked his arm away. “Wait ya fuckin turn, homey, I got bidness goin down here.”

Reggie put his hands up and then leaned against the brick wall behind him, reached into his pocket and took out a smoke.

“You gonna want to hear this shit, man,” he said, lighting the cigarette. “SS be looking to kick the shit outta you and take over you bidness.”

Bishop stopped in mid-sentence and pushed the offending boy away from him. The kid fell backward and cracked his head on the sidewalk. He shook his head, got up and, glad he was still alive, ran as fast as he could away from the two men on the corner.

“Say what?”

“It be stone up, man. No bullshit,” Reggie said, blowing a thick stream of smoke and halitosis into Bishop’s face.

“When this shit 'posed to be goin down?” he said, giving him his undivided attention.

“Tonight, tomorrow, I donno. I just telling what I hear, man,” Reggie replied. “You think that 411 be worth a lil shit, man? I needs it bad.”

Bishop looked at the man in front of him and wondered how it was that his total existence revolved around his need for smack. But still, he had given him information that, if it were true—and knowing SS’s reputation on the street, it was—might give him the chance to both save his stash and more importantly, his life.

“Yeah, I guess it be worth a lil shit, my man,” Bishop said, motioning to one of his boys on the street and then turned and walked away.

Reggie watched him speak briefly to the boy as their paths crossed. The boy nodded and walked over and handed him two small glassine bags and then continued on his way, never breaking his stride.

* * *

Bishop was scared, and for the first time since he became a dealer, began to look over his shoulder. If SS was after his ass, he’d better come up with a plan damn quick. He had just received a new supply of the Brown that morning and hadn’t doled it out to his boys for distribution yet.

He couldn’t run, because holding on to his territory was the name of the game and he had fought hard to get it. He be damned if that fat fuck was going to take it away from him and make him run away with his tail between his legs or even worse, end up dead bang.

No, running wasn’t an option for him. He had to be smart, a lot smarter than SS, and then in a sudden, blinding flash of inspiration, knew exactly what he had to do.

* * *

Reggie sat in the dingy doorway of a deserted business and cooked his fix in the old, dirty spoon with a stolen Bic lighter. It began to boil, so he dropped a cotton ball onto the spoon and the liquid was sucked up and waiting.

He fished in his pocket for his works and opened the plastic bag carefully. He removed the syringe and looked at the old needle screwed to the top. He didn’t care about hygiene, or AIDS, or anything like that. All he wanted was the Rush. The euphoric feeling that hit his brain, his body, his soul, and that lifted him from the depths of Hell and made him soar when he pushed the drug into his body.

He’d been a junkie for so long that most of his veins in his arms had collapsed. His arms and legs were covered with needle tracks, bruised flesh that instantly told his story. Now he was reduced to shooting this shit into a vein on his small, flaccid penis.

The drug injected, and waiting for the nod to overtake him, he became aware of his surroundings and saw Bishop across the street, in the window of a ground floor apartment.

He remembered telling his friend of a threat, but the drug was invading his mind fast. He forced himself to get up and walk across the street and stand in front of the window. He was his only friend and in his fogged mind, he still wanted to help any way he could.

Bishop was inside with a woman. His current whore, he guessed, but he didn’t know or care. Sex was not an important part of his life any longer. The drugs had destroyed any likelihood of having a normal life, and to him, a woman was nothing more than another skanky person trying to take his share of the drugs away from him.

He watched as the woman held a small funnel over the open neck of a condom and Bishop poured the drug inside. Three condoms, filled to capacity and tied off at the neck with what looked like clear fishing line, were soon lying on the table in front of his friend.

He watched as he offered one of the drug filled condoms to the woman, but she shook her head violently and stormed from the room, slamming the door behind her.

“Fuckin bitch.” He heard through the window. “Don’t you ever show your sorry ass here next time you be jonesin’ for some good shit. You be on your own now.”

Bishop slammed his hand on the table and sat down. He picked up the filled condom and looked at it, and then, tilting his head backwards, swallowed all three before he lost his nerve.

Reggie had seen enough, and returned to the relative safety of the deserted doorway across the street, where he leaned back against the brick and then slid slowly down until he was sitting on his ass.

* * *

Bishop was filled with a time bomb in his stomach and knew it. If SS didn’t try and hit him in the next two days, the latex might dissolve in his body and kill him with a massive overdose that would be written off as another drug related death. He didn’t want that on his tombstone, not yet anyway, and left the apartment looking for somewhere safe for the night.

If the threat blew over, and at this point he had hopes that it might, he could always take an enema and shit the goodies out. His clients weren’t picky and wouldn’t care where the drugs came from. His asshole or Mexico, it didn’t matter to them.

This thought struck him funny as hell and he doubled over in laughter, not hearing the car approaching from the rear. He didn’t hear the tires crunch over the trash on the street as it slowed to a crawl and the darkened rear windows slid silently down and three muzzles were thrust into view.

Bishop straightened up and turned to go inside the coffee shop when the first burst of automatic weapons fire tore through the night and peppered the brownstone entrance.

He dropped to the ground and tried to roll away from the field of fire, but the car was tracking his movements and there was no safe ground he could gain. He could tell that the shooters were young and inexperienced or he would already be dead.

By the sound of the weapons, he knew that two Mac-10s and the single Uzi, all having the capacity to send 650 rounds of death towards him per minute, were slowly working their way to his position, and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do to change it.

The first round entered his leg just above the knee and shattered his femur and severed the femoral artery as it ripped through his flesh. Blood and bone flew in all directions, but before he could react to the pain and shock, seven more rounds tore into his abdomen and chest.

The last sounds Bishop heard were the scream of tires from the accelerating car and the tinkle of the last brass cartridges as they fell to the pavement.

* * *

Reggie watched his friend walk to the entrance of the coffee shop and saw the dark car slow down. The drug was starting to do its job and he had trouble holding his head upright; he was on the nod and drifting into oblivion.

With the sound of the first shot, he stirred and at first thought that perhaps a car had backfired. But when his eyes were finely able to focus on the scene playing out in front of him and he saw Bishop fall to the ground with bullets ripping chunks out of the brick walls beside him, he managed to pull himself to his feet.

He staggered into the street and was making his way to aid his friend, when the dark car sped away with a burst of speed and screeching of tires.

The gunfire had stopped and the street was deathly quiet. Reggie made it to Bishop and knelt beside him. Even in his drugged stupor, he knew that Bishop was beyond help. SS had seen to that, and now this was his corner.

As he stared down at the ripped and bleeding body of his friend, Reggie’s fogged brain realized that his ready supply of drugs had died with Bishop. There was no one else that would take care of him as Bishop had. There was no one to slip him a bag of shit when the money was tight. No one to turn to when the urge of the drug was so great that he would have sold his own mother, were she alive, to get a fix. He was alone now. A small fish in a sea of sharks, and he was scared.

He heard the sirens in the distance and knew they were coming… coming here. Somebody in the neighborhood had found the balls to call the cops, and he knew that he couldn’t be found here with Bishop when they arrived. There would be too many questions that he couldn’t or wouldn’t answer, so he struggled to his feet again, cast a last glance over his shoulder at his friend, and walked slowly across the street.

* * *

Reggie was high, high as a kite, but the drug was suppressed with the adrenaline surging through his body. He watched the cops arrive and dispassionately kick the body of his friend to check for signs of life.

There was no yellow crime scene tape draped around the street with eager young cops pushing the morbidly curious away. There were no TV personalities or satellite trucks vying for position on the street to get the best angle for the ten o’clock news.

Nobody gave a shit about another drug dealer being gunned down in cold blood. It would be just another couple of paragraphs hidden on the back page of the paper, below the Gigantic Sale of Easy Rest Chairs, and between the ads about Choir Robes Needed and Get Your Degree in Two Weeks with no waiting.

Bishop’s obituary, if one was published, would eventually end up on the bottom of a birdcage somewhere, and when its function was fulfilled, would by rolled up and tossed into the trash without a moment’s hesitation.

Good riddance to bad shit.

* * *

Reggie’s chin dropped to his chest and jerked upright again. He was fighting hard to overcome the rush of the drug coursing through his veins and he felt that he might yet be able to control it. He focused his anger towards the law and the lack of sympathy they showed his friend.

Bishop should not be disrespected, even in death. He deserved to be treated, as anyone else would be if they were the victims of a drive by shooting. He should be treated with dignity.

Tears ran down Reggie’s face as he watched the coroner’s van pull up to the scene and a large black man opened the door and stepped out. He walked to the rear of the van and opened the back doors, reached in and removed a stainless steel cart with folded legs and a large black bag resting on white sheets and set it up on the street.

The man pushed the cart beside Bishop’s body, and removing the black bag, unfolded it and lay it next to the deceased.

Enlisting the aid of one of the police officers, he rolled the body on top of the bag, carefully placed the victim’s arms and legs inside and pulled the heavy-duty zipper closed.

As the coroner loaded the body in the van, shut the doors and drove away, it suddenly occurred to Reggie that with Bishop’s death, he was cut off of his only source of drugs.

The thought of having to find another dealer, a dealer like Bishop had been, was going to be next to impossible. He leaned back against the wall and was lamenting his possible fate, when a wild thought, so perverted and obscene, slammed into his brain.

Bishop still had the dope! He’d swallowed it to keep it from being taken from him, and now, with his death, no one in the world but he knew about it. All he had to do now was figure a way to get it back.




copyright 2007 Georgepat.