Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2273534-Just-In-Case
by Daisan
Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Crime/Gangster · #2273534
Curtis sneaks a bit of the stock to humorous results.
         “Tell me sumthin’,” Curtis said, looking up from the porch with half vacant, glassy eyes.
         “What’s that?” Lil Charles grunted, lifting a wooden crate from the porch and transferring it to the bed of Jesse’s pickup.
         “You think The Devil ‘know’ he The Devil?”
         Lil Charles stopped, straddling the porch and the lowered tailgate, “What?”
         “You heard me,” Curtis said. “Do you think The Devil know he The Devil?”
         Lil Charles looked down at him, shaking his head. He’d been in the storeroom earlier staring at the bag of reefer he’d gotten from Frog’s friend Roland before finally deciding to pass a little out on Saturday night. He’d rolled twenty cigarettes when Curtis walked in carrying a sack of salt that he set down on the floor in the back corner with a grunt. He’d thought nothing of it when he’d paused at the table to make a little small talk. But, when he’d left and Lil Charles had looked at the tabletop again, there’d only been nineteen cigarettes lying there. He was sure he’d grouped them in four bunches of five but then, there were three bunches of five and one of four. He considered that maybe he’d been mistaken and had only rolled nineteen then he’d come outside about half an hour later and noticed Curtis lounging on the porch, a familiar pungent aroma in the air.
         Lil Charles was still looking at him when Jesse walked up, pointing down at Curtis, “That boy drunk?”
         Lil Charles shook his head, “Nawl.”
         Jesse watched Curtis blink up at them, a dumb smile on his face. “What’s wrong wit’im then?”
         Lil Charles started back stacking the crates, “Smoked a little reefer.”
         Jesse made a face, “It always make folk act…,” he pointed again, “stupid like that?”
         Lil Charles snorted, “You rather he get drunk and be lookin’ to shoot somebody?”
         Jesse pursed his lips, “Oh yeah," he said. "This way better.”
         “You wanna try some?” Lil Charles patted his pocket, “Got a little right here.”
         Jesse shook his head, “I’on’t want none of that shit.”
         Lil Charles laughed, “Ain’t nuthin’ wrong with tryin’ sumthin' different every now and then.”
         Jesse was resolute. “Been drankin’ all my life. Ain’t no need to change up now.”
         Lil Charles shrugged. “Aight, but if you ever wanna try some out let me know. All it do is make you relax. Kinda like when you drunk but different. And,” he said, a sly expression on his face, “it make it better if you gettin’ yourself some.”
         Jesse looked at him sharply. “Whatchu mean it make it better?”
         Lil Charles shrugged nonchalantly, his attention focused on the wooden crates he was stacking. “You know. Better. I mean everything ‘feel’ the same, it just feel the same...but a lot stronger.”
         Jesse looked at him for a long time without speaking then said, “So...what? You smoke’em like regular cigarettes?”
          Lil Charles looked down again so Jesse couldn’t see him smirk. He cleared his throat and looked up, face expressionless. “Nawl, you inhale and hold it in your lungs for a bit, then let it out slow.”
         Jesse nodded, thoughtful, “How many times you do that before...you know?”
         Lil Charles shrugged. “Depends on how tight you wanna get.”
         “So...you don’t have to smoke the whole thing?”
         Lil Charles shook his head, “Not ‘less you want to.”
         Jesse pointed to Curtis. “How much he smoke?”
         Lil Charles leaned down, picking up the remains of the joint laying beside Curtis’s hand. He showed it to Jesse, shrugging. “‘Look like ‘bout two or three long puffs.”
         Jesse frowned. “That all?”
         “Don’t take much. ‘Specially if you ain’t used to it.”
         “Hey!” Curtis interrupted. “You ain’t gonna answer my question?”
         Lil Charles laughed. “I’m sorry Curt, what was you askin’ me ‘bout again?”
         Curtis didn’t say anything. After a few seconds, Charles and Jesse shared a look.
         “Well?” Jesse asked.
         “Well, what?” Curtis asked.
         “What was your question?”
         Curtis frowned, “What was who question?”
         “What was your question fool?” Jesse said. “Your dumb ass just asked ‘bout it.”
         Curtis pointed back to himself, “I just asked about it?”
         “Yeah,” Lil Charles and Jesse said together. “You did.”
Curtis frowned, scratching his chin. “What I ask 'bout?”
         “You asked if I was gon’ answer your question,” Lil Charles said.
“What question was that?”
          “You is an ig’nant ass,” Jesse shook his head, exasperated. “The question you was askin’. You wanted to know if he was gon’ answer it or not.”
         Curtis nodded absently. “Well...did he?”
         “No!” Jesse barked. “He didn’t! That’s why you was askin’ him if he would.” He turned to Lil Charles. “If that stuff gon' make me act stupid as hell like this you can keep it to yo’self.”
         “He just ain’t used to it.” Lil Charles reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a hand-rolled cigarette, offering it to Jesse. “In case you change yo' mind.”
         Jesse shook his head. “I won’t.”
         Lil Charles leaned forward, slipping the cigarette into Jesse’s shirt pocket, giving it a pat. “Like I said, just in case.”
         Jesse pulled the cigarette out, sniffing it. “Smell funny.”
         Lil Charles shook his head. “Nah, it just smell different.”
         “Now you tellin’ me what I think?" Jesse quipped. "To me, it smell funny.”
         “No it don’t,” Curtis offered. “It’s like the first time you smell chitlins. The first time? Man, that shit stank! But after while, you get used to it and they don’t stank no mo’.”
         Lil Charles waved at him dismissively, “Bad example ‘cause chitlins stank every time, they just taste good. Reefer just got an odor take some gettin’ used to. And,” he pointed down to Curtis, “yo’ theivin’ ass owe me for that salt and pepper you took.”
         “Aww c’mon man,” Curtis whined. “I thought we was boys.”
         “If we was boys, you coulda just asked me for one,” Lil Charles admonished. “Shit, I was gon' give you some of'em anyway.”
         Curtis shrugged. “What we talkin’ ‘bout then?”
         Lil Charles winked at Jess, “It’s the principle of it. Friends don’t steal from friends. Ain't that right Jesse?”
         His uncle nodded. “Sho'll is. Well...not 'less they got sumthin’ you want.”{/footnote}

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