I tried this tactic several times and found it a most effective deterrent when things looked grim for me. After awhile I permanently dubbed it the peace pipe.
I got to know the patterns of my drug customers pretty well. Most of them kept a regular schedule, and I could expect them to arrive on certain nights looking for some pott. Sunken eyed, and generally wearing a painterís cap with a shock of black hair bursting from beneath, Fred had became a regular customer on at least two nights a week. One night he didnít show and I didnít see him for about a month.
I almost forgot about him until Shannon informed me that I had a phone call. I stepped around the corner into the back room and squeezed the door shut so that there was just enough room for the phone cord. This shut out some of the noise, as I answered.
"This is September. Whatís up?"
"This is Fred. I need you to get me some pott. Can you set me up?"
I was immediately suspicious. For one thing, I never did business on the phone and made that clear with all my customers. Second, this guy had suddenly gone out of circulation and now he was calling me up to get some weed. I figured that he got caught with some pott and tried to cop a plea; promised the police that he could get a dealer to incriminate himself.
"I donít know what youíre talking about," I said. Then I hung the phone up.
This made me nervous. If Fred was trying to roll over on me, what else could I expect? Were he and the police going to lay a new trap for me in some other way, or did they figure that they had already blown it and decide to move onto easier marks? Obviously I wasnít going to be selling anything to Fred ever again, but I still felt like I was treading on thin ice. I decided to play things close to the vest and didnít take on any new customers.
I was a bit nervous and several times I had the urge to close up shop altogether and get out of the drug dealing business. The money kept me in the game, though. With the added income that marijuana sales brought in, I didnít have to worry about getting by on a piss-ante paycheck that would barely cover my portion of the rent and my motorcycle payment. As small as my business was, I had a constant cash flow that kept me in clothes, food and plenty of alcohol.
Despite my apprehensions the next few weeks passed smoothly, until one night Fred showed up at the bar, acting as though nothing had ever happened. He casually waved to me as if he hadnít tried to hand me over to the police. I walked up to him and poked him in the chest. Although he weighed seventy pounds more than I did, I wasnít going to back down and I sure as hell wasnít going to pretend that nothing had happened.
"You tried to turn me in," I said, digging my finger into his sternum. "If I ever see you in here again, Iím going to rip off your head and stuff it where the sun doesnít shine. Now, get the hell out!"
Fred looked around dumbly, as if searching for some moral support from his bar buddies. When he got none, he loped numbly to the door. I never saw him again. Once again, bravado had carried the day. Although I have studied martial arts in the past- Iím practical enough to realize that if I go up against someone that is way bigger than I am that I will probably get the crap beat out of me. For most people, Bruce Lee excepted, martial arts isnít the magic pill that will allow you to kick the butts of a room full of truckers.
In the meantime, my days as a Ďbig timeí drug dealer were coming to a close. Although I enjoyed the plentiful supply of green backs that my side job provided me, deep down, I still had a little difficulty rationalizing what I was doing. I was far away from actually being a positive influence on anyoneís life and any young impressionable minds that I came into contact with, probably would be impressed in the wrong direction. I was still torn up over my break-up with Heather and my perceived inadequacies. Still, I couldnít seem to muster the willpower to break loose from my downward spiral into common criminality. It was easiest just to live day to dayÖnamely, because I was never sure if there was going to be a tomorrow or not.