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The Time I Met a Drug Dealer

January 28, 2011

I was sixteen. I wanted a car of my own. My mom’s car, Putting Betsy, was just not the right automobile for a hip young thing. (Those of you who knew me in high school are free to laugh. I was never hip. Still am not.)

My parents certainly weren’t going to buy a 16 year old a car (good decision, parents!) So, I did what any desperate teenager would do. I got a job. For a drug dealer. (Not really.) I got a job at Wendy’s. Let me tell you, I was a good little drive thru muffin. I was quick and efficient and cute in my stupid little uniform.

See, cute, right? Anyway, there was this girl I worked with. And she was a bit of a troubled soul. One afternoon, in the slowest part of the day, the part of the day where we’re supposed to be cleaning and prepping for the dinner rush, a guy walks in. My friend goes to talk to him. And then she makes him a hamburger and gives it to him free of charge. Then the guy walks out. And I’m standing there wondering what just happened.

The guy was wearing a faded pair of jeans and an old mid-90s style nylon jacket. He was short and thin, but he had all of his teeth and was reasonably well-groomed. He did have shifty eyes, but that was all that seemed amiss. Of course, I asked my friend who that person was and why she had given him a burger. She said, rather nonchalantly, “Oh, that’s my brother’s drug dealer. He needed appeased.”

Somewhat stunned (read, having an out-of-body experience), I mentioned that he didn’t look like a drug dealer. Clearly, I thought all drug dealers were named “Big-E” and had killer attack dogs and no teeth and wore black and looked shifty all over, not just in the eyes. She informed me that he did, in fact, look exactly like a drug dealer. Apparently most of them are slightly out-of-date style-wise, and have all of their teeth. She then informed me that giving him a burger every now and again kept him from getting too cranky about not getting paid in a timely manner.

I nodded my head in an understanding manner, while internally feeling like my perception of the world had been permanently altered. Television did not prepare me for the reality of drug dealing.

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