A high school student finds a grimoire that shows how to make magical disguises.
|Previously: "Improperly Paranoid"
You hate the idea of giving up tens of thousands of dollars worth of weed and getting nothing in return. But you don't know how to move it yourself. Only one person in the school would know how to do that, and that's the person the weed came from: Gary Chen.
What if I could sell it back to him? you wonder. I could pretend to have found it—
No! I could have pretended to find a bag of it! I could sell it to him. Then, a few weeks later, I could pretend to have found another bag. Oh! You grin to yourself at the gleeful ingenuity of it. If you even sold it back to him at a tenth of actual value, one bag at a time over the course of the school year, that would be thousands of dollars!
The trouble is, Chelsea Cooper can never be spotted talking to a lowlife like Gary Chen. You'll have to send one of your acolytes, Kendra or Gloria—
Except if that even if one of them was seen with Chen, it could be linked back to you. You ponder and ponder ...
Then after cheerleading practice, you pull aside Gloria (who comes from the gutter; she's only a step above "trailer park trash") and tell her what you need and how to arrange it ...
* * * * *
"Who did you set it up through again?" you ask Gloria later that evening. You're parked back up at the school, in a distant corner. It's well after sunset, and your cars are almost invisible in the gloom of night.
"Lori Sherman," replies Gloria, who is seated with you in the passenger-side seat of your car. Her own car is parked in the next space over.
"I don't know who she is."
"Never mind, I don't need to know."
"I set it up exactly like you asked me to, Chelsea. I told Lori to tell Gary that a couple of the basketball players wanted to meet up with him here at eight o'clock to—"
"Yeah yeah yeah. I know what I told you to tell her!"
"I'm just telling you that's how I set it up. If something goes wrong—"
"I'm not going to blame you, Gloria! And thank you so much again for setting this up for me! I'll never forget it, I promise!"
You wait for her to ask why you want to meet with Gary Chen, the school's major dealer in weed. When she doesn't, you volunteer the bare minimum of the story you cooked up for her.
"Steve is so pissed off about the marijuana that Gordon got hold of," you say. "He's talking about getting some of the guys together to 'straighten Gary's shit out'. Not that I give a rat's patootie what happens to Gary. Only if they do something like that, and it gets out, it could bounce back against the team. So I want to let him know what's up so he can maybe calm Steve down."
"Uh huh," Gloria says, dryly.
You crane your neck, watching for any sign of headlights turning into the parking lot. "God, I hope he comes. I don't want to have to ask you to set up another meeting!"
"I'd do it for you if you asked me to," Gloria replies in a dull voice.
Fifteen more anxious minutes pass before head lamps swing into the parking lot. You turn on your car, flash your headlights at the other car. When it swings in your direction, you shove Gloria. "Get out! Go home! You don't want to be here!"
"Are you sure you want to be here?" she asks. "I mean, alone with—"
"I'll be fine! Gary knows what Gordon and Steve'll do to him if he tries to get handsy with me!"
Gloria seems doubtful, but she climbs out one side of your car as a red Jeep pulls up next to you on the other side. A minute later, she's driving away.
Chen is out of his Jeep and staring at you doubtfully when you emerge from your car. "Hi Gary," you pant at him. "Thanks for coming out here to meet me!"
He stares at you, his face a mask of suspicion. Then he says, "I didn't know I was meeting you."
"Well, there was a last-minute change in plans. Anyway, I need to talk to you about, um, the stuff you sell in school?"
It's hard to read his reaction in the dark. The most you can tell is that he doesn't flinch.
"Are you talking about band candy?" he asks after a moment's silence. "Shit, I don't sell fuckin' band candy, you need to talk to—"
"No, I'm not talking about band candy! I'm talking about, you know!" You sigh when he doesn't answer. "Mari-whana!" you carefully enunciate.
Even in the dark you can see him roll his eyes.
"Okay. Jesus. How much do you want?" he asks.
"What I want to know is, how much it is?"
"Eight dollars an ounce?" you squeal.
"No, you—!" He catches himself. "Eight dollars for an artisanal, hand-rolled joint."
"Oh. Well, how much per ounce?"
He rolls his eyes again. "Christ!"
"I mean, well, see, the thing is— I don't want to buy any from you, Gary," you tell him as you open a door to the back seat of your car and duck inside. "I want to sell you some."
"Look, don't ask me how I got ahold of it," you say as you reemerge with a baggy. It holds two ounces, carefully transferred from one of the baggies in Chen's briefcase. "Okay, no, I will tell you. I found it up in the gym loft, where, um, me and my friends—"
"You've got a stash?"
"No! I don't—! Gary!" You gasp at him. "I'm telling you, I found it up in the loft and I don't know whose it is! Maybe it's leftover from last year! Or maybe—" You bite your lip and pretend to stifle tears. "You're not selling to Gordon, are you?" you yell.
Chen actually takes a step back.
"No," he says. "Not personally. But if that's your boyfriend's stash—"
"Gordon doesn't smoke this stuff!"
"Then how's he gettin' it, in brownie form?"
"Never mind! Let's just say that I don't want it up in the loft!" You dangle the bag in front of him.
He grunts. Then he snatches it from you. "Okay," he says, "long as you're trying to get rid of it."
"So how much will you give me for it?"
You gape at him. "Nothing? I'm not giving it to you for— If I wanted to just get rid of it I'd've put it in the trash!"
"So why didn't you?"
Your face feels hot. "Because I figured maybe I could sell it to you for, you know—"
He laughs—a harsh-sounding bark.
"Oh, fuck me, you silly bint!" he chortles. "You think I sold it to your boyfriend and now you want a fucking refund?"
"You said you didn't sell it to him!"
"Well, I don't know that," he says. "One of my guys might've— So where do you think Gordon got it?"
"Beats me! But if—" You make a grab for the baggie, but Chen holds it up high, out of your reach. "I don't wanna just throw it away! So I figured if you could use it—"
"Alright, alright! You wanna make a dime offa something you found! So lemme think about this a minute."
In the silence that follows, you can hear the grumble of distant traffic and the hiss of a breeze blowing over the grass in the nearby practice fields.
"I'll give you fifteen an ounce," he finally says.
"Fifteen?" you exclaim, outraged. "You said it sells in school for four hundred!"
"That's gross. Profit per ounce is a lot less."
"But if I can sell it in the school for—"
"You?" He laughs again. "Sell it in the school? You really wanna try? Fuck you, bitch, you won't even meet up with me 'cept at night, next to the school dumpsters, after everyone's gone home! But you're gonna start dealin' weed inside? You'd suck me off first!"
"But what if—?" You cut yourself off.
But what if what? What if you helped him sell his stuff into places he doesn't normally sell it? As Chelsea you'll be hanging out at lots of parties—parties where one isn't likely to find weed. But where some could be found if you discreetly opened some doors for someone like Chen.
Next: "Chelsea Cooper, Marijuana Marketeer"