Fifteen-year-old Nico made crumbs by drugs trafficking. The job was very badly paid and it often meant that he skipped school, but Nico had no higher educational aspirations than what the State provided him, and the only thing that bothered him about the whole affair was the presence of the police. Stavros was waiting for him on the balcony when he arrived at the man’s apartment.

The hairy, large man smelled of tobacco smoke when Nico entered the apartment, which was, as usual, a miserable tip. “Stavros,” was his greeting, “I haven’t been paid for three weeks.”

“What do you want me to do about that?” Stavros asked.

“Pay me.”

“I can’t afford to pay you, Nico, you know that.”

“Why?” Nico said. “You can pay Yiannis just fine, why not me?”

“The economy, and that,” Stavros replied lazily, and then let him onto the balcony. “Wait there.”

He returned some time later with a few black packets of something. “Orestes wants heroin tonight,” Stavros told him. “Hide it well and deliver it on time. Orestes is my best customer.”

Nico took the bag. It was heavier than he expected, and when he put it in his green jacket pocket, it bulged obviously enough to need him to put a load of plastic bags in his other pocket to balance his appearance out. He turned on the stair on his way down and called up to Stavros’ hairy face in the door. “When will you pay me?” he demanded.

“Merry Christmas,” Stavros replied, and shut the door.

Nico plunged his hands into his jeans pockets and stood now on the dark grey pavement, which was already becoming spattered with black droplets. He had already decided on his route to Orestes’ house: he would take the road that passed Plato Square.

The End

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