SCENES FROM THE CHOCOLATE FAMINE
This work by Jonty Kershaw is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
(Censored for Blogspot)
Mack and me had been trying to score all day without much success. Since they moved the chocolate behind the pharmacy counters, we had been running this little scam together. One of us would distract the pharmacist by making a scene, and the other would reach behind the counter and score. Now the famine was getting worse, there was always a rentacop watching the counter.
Mack's favorite trick was to show up wearing a miniskirt and fake a collapse in the pharmacy aisles. She'd be sure to open her legs when she fell, and this would hike up the miniskirt just enough. This worked great; the men couldn't look away for fascination, and the women couldn't look away in disgust. Trouble was they'd done it too many times around town already, and Mack wasn't as sexy as she used to be before the chocolate addiction got her. Hard to believe two years ago she'd been a dentist.
Today, it was my turn to take the fall. I'd found a walking stick in a trash can nearby, and I was hobbling through the store trying not to look like a junkie, which isn't easy, let me tell you, when all you eat is candy. I made sure some of the counter-workers were watching me, then reached out a wobbly hand for some cough syrup. Then the walking stick gave way and I fell into a display of blood pressure monitors. Everyone came running.
Everyone, that is, except the security guard. Asshole. I could be seriously hurt. He turned around just as my Mack was hanging over the counter with her ass and feet in the air. Next thing he was grabbing her by the miniskirt with one hand and yelling into his walkie-talkie with the other.
Everyone else was leaning over me, so it took me a while to get to my feet, and that gave me time to come up with a plan. "Look!" I yelled, "He's molesting that woman." Everyone turned around and looked, and the security guard let go of Mack's skirt with a guilty look on his face. We all just stood there for a moment, and stared at him, and at Mack's ass on the counter.
Just like that, Mack was on her feet, all kicks to the shin and fingernails, and we both made for the door. We were two blocks away before we heard the sirens.
We had to get back to our place, and fast. At $20 an ounce, we could be mugged for our stash. Besides, it was 90 degrees out today, and we couldn't let the chocolate melt. If any of it got on the foil wrapper, we would end up eating that too in desparation, and you haven't felt pain until you've had the Glittery Sh**s. That's how often it happens to us junkies; often enough that it's got its own nickname.
So we get back to our place without too much trouble. Our place is a storage trailer on 5th. We'd been living there since we lost our house on the East Side. I'd been a copier salesman before I was a user, and between my salary and Mack's, we could afford a $900-a-month mortgage. Now, we could afford a storage trailer.
It was time to check what she had managed to score. Mack held up two Nestle Crunch bars and a box of truffles. "This was all I got," she pouted. It wasn't much, but I suppose it would have to do. We could last for a couple of days on that if we were careful, and then we would be hurting again.
Mack told me she had to pee and went outside. I broke out the styrofoam plates and the razor blades, and set them up on the table.
* * *
Here's how it works.
This new drug appears on the market. Everyone talks about it. It gives you a pure high for two days. No hallucinating, no hangover, no aftereffects at all. Problem is, it only works once per person. After that, you might as well be swallowing a Tic-Tac. But it catches on. People wo usually don't do drugs hear that it isn't addictive and doesn't show up on tests, and they start doing it too. Respectable people, even. People like me and Mack.
Then, a couple of years later, you wake up one morning and you want a chocolate donut for breakfast. You buy a cup of hot chocolate instead of a latte at the coffeeshop. It could be a few days before you realize you're not just hormonal. A week later, chocolate is the only thing you want, the only thing you think about. Everything else is somehow related back to where the next bag of Goobers is coming from. Like, if you were in a car wreck, you could be lying in the wreckage with your legs across the street, and you would be thinking about how hard it would be to get that last Twix bar out of the glove compartment.
Next thing you know, you can't hide it anymore. For the first few months, people think you're just putting on some extra weight, and you can keep your stash hidden in your jacket pocket. Then they start to notice your teeth are going bad, because, Hey! they don't make chocolate-flavored toothpaste. Then you're living on the streets, selling your body for a butterfinger. And you only suck the chocolate off the outside of the Butterfinger.
By the time the government realizes there's an epidemic, it's too late. No medical explanation can be found, and no one even knows where the drug came from. And because they're the government they don't try and find a cure. Instead they make it illegal to buy chocolate without a background check. Prices skyrocket, and pretty soon the only people who can afford it are the rich. Of course, the rich always could get away with drug use.
* * *
So Mack didn't come back right away, and my spidey-sense kicked in. Oh, she ain't peeing.
I ran out of our storage trailer and looked around for her. When I found her, she was crouching behind a building trying to dig a hole in the bushes. When she noticed me, she looked flustrated. Flustrated? That's a word, right? I used to have a pretty good vocabulary back when I was a businessman, but the sugar gets to you.
"I was just…" she said, but it was too late. I had already seen the pile of Hershey's Extra Dark she was trying to bury. That's the hard stuff. Get maybe $70 a bar for it if I was a dealer.
I called her something bad, like maybe "You bi***" or something. I don't remember. Then I hit her. I'd never hit anyone before, not especially her. I just stood there leaning over her breathing heavy and trying to figure out how to take it back, how to fix it.
That was six months ago. I'm in a rehab program now. I have biscuits for breakfast, and I work at a Home Depot. I haven't fallen off the wagon for five weeks now.
Mack left me after I hit her, and took up with some pimp named Larry. He turned her out the first week, and now she puts out as long as he keeps her in M&M's. I blame myself.