The TripMature

    Ring. Ring. Ring. Ri-"Yo. Whassup?"
    "Hey J, its Mike, look-"
    "Hey Mike, hows it going? It's looking pretty bleak outside, you havin' one of your moments? We still on for Friday?"
    "Y-Yeah, sure, look, J, you heard anything about this Mystery stuff?"
    "Mystery? Hell, you got some of that shit? That's stuff is exclusive man, like, only the high-flyers are buying, where'd you get some?"
    "Toni gave me one."
    "Fuck! Toni? How in the hell did he manage to get his hands on Mystery? I mean, no-one has seen the Mystery dealers Mike, no-one. You get what I mean?"
    "Yeah, I get you. People disappear, start taking the nap sub-terra, the like. You saying this stuff is dangerous?"
    "I don't know man, but if I were you, I'd make sure Toni don't speak to you again. He must have been messing with some tough circles to get that and you don't what them to take a bite outta your ass too."
    "Shit. Hey, J, you mind if I kip round yours for a few nights, lay low you know?"
    "Hey sure, look, I'll get Benny round, we can have some beers, it'll be fine. Just don't get yourself followed alright? I don't want you shitting on my doorstep."
    "Right, no worries. I'll be round in say, half an hour. See you later."

* * * * *

"Get yourself out of the rain and get in here you dumb bastard!" Benny grinned as he greeted me at Jason's front door.

    I was eager to oblige and with a quick glance around I entered. Benny shut the door behind me, nodded down the hall towards the living room and quickly checked the spyhole.

    "I wasn't followed."

    "Yeah, I know. Better safe than."

    I shrugged and hung up my coat on the ancient rack in the hall amongst Jason's collection of unused umbrellas, battered trainers and Asian pornography.

    "Shit, he's still got those old mags?" I shook my head.

    "Yeah, they're the only things that hold that old stand together, well those mags and his own 'special glue. Sqriiiiiiiiick!" Benny laughed, miming the opening of a magazine.

    "Eww, man! I did not need that image in my head dude."

    The living room was great, I loved Jason's living room, it was sweet. Jason owned a proper house financed in part (or mostly as he'd like us to believe) by his dealing, but really because of his work as a courier, or as we called it: Pizza man Plus. The living room was large, even for a semi, and if you ignored the uneven wallpaper it was a really nice room. In the far corner lurked the TV, and that was pretty much the only mundane item in there. Everything else was seemingly collected at random from other rooms around the house, turning the living room into a kind of base of operations. Two opposing walls were occupied by beds, next to the one nearest the door stood a refrigerator. Next to the other bed stood the infamous sink. It wasn't really plumbed in properly, just had a hose pipe rigged up to the back of it for cold water and it drained into a bucket underneath. The luxury of modern convenience it was not, but it served useful at times. A microwave was on the floor against the last remaining free wall, on which was stacked various magazines, books and videotapes. Any other spare space was taken up by either rugs, bongs or other drug-related paraphernalia, leaving the overall experience of the room something that can only be felt. It was fucking amazing.

    Jason was laying on the bed at the far wall. He was a fat bastard, though in reality at least half of that was muscle, he sure had a punch behind him. Not that he got to demonstrate it much, he only ever went outside to do his job, usually scavenging off his customers for food and supplies. Jason was one of those guys that people just liked, even if they hated him, you know? He knew it too, and used it to his advantage so he could indulge himself in his habit of laziness. I'd met him here, surprise surprise, when a since discarded acquaintance introduced me to his dealer. We hit it off straight away, having a similar sense of humour. He'd been going through his Meatloaf-look-a-like stage at the time and the friendly jokes flew fast for the first few months I knew him.

    It was then that I met Benny. Benny himself was a mystery, a tall, straight mystery. No-one really new where he came from, and he could never give a straight answer, always making up a story about how he was an escaped medical experiment, or an alien, or a super-spy that had lost his memory. The shit he made up. Benny had a proper job, a lawyer, if you'd fucking believe it! He was the only one of us with a university degree, a point that he liked to make if an argument demanded it. He was a good guy though, funny. I'd met him at a club Jason and I frequented. He was doing coke in the cubical next to the one we had bundled into. We were really stoned that night and fuck knows what happened but next morning we all woke up at Jason's and we were friends after that. You should have seen our faces when we discovered he was a lawyer. At first we thought it was one of his stories again, but the grin on his blonde-haired, blue-eyed face when he pulled out his lawyers certificate thing convinced us.

    Benny and I plonked ourselves on the bed opposite Jason and I scratched my head to get rid of the last of the rain water.

    "Heeey Mike," Jason crooned, taking another stoke at his favourite bong. "how was the trip." he giggled at the unintentional pun.

    "Fucking awful, it's bloody pissing it down. It's like those clouds have been hanging around all day just to get me, know what I mean."

    Benny passed me a beer from a fridge and chucked one to Jason before opening one for himself. There was a moment of silence as we all sucked them down, and then with a long, smoky exhalation, Jason spoke.

    "So, lets have a look at this mysterious Mystery then." He giggled.

    "You're so fucking stupid when you're stoned J." I laughed and reached into my shirt pocket. I tossed over the little plastic bag I'd put the two half-pills in. Jason held them up in the light and looked at them, nodding and stroking his chin.

    "So?" I asked, "It is the real deal?"

    "Fucks if I know man, looks like it could be, word on the street is that this Mystery shit looks just like this, hey..." he trailed off, peering at the bag more closely. "yeah, this if definitely it man, look, it's got a little question mark on it! Ha!"

    He tossed the bag back over and Benny grabbed it out of the air. "Word on the street? What are you J? A frickin' wigger? Next you'll be talking about your peeps down in da hood, boo-ya!" Benny grinned, scratching an invisible turn-table while I smirked.

    "Piss off."

    "Look, hand it over, I want to see." I said, grabbing the bag at looking at the little half-pills inside.

    Indeed the was a little question mark, split down the middle where I'd sliced the pill. It was a wonder I hadn't noticed it before.

    "You gonna go for a test drive?" Benny said.

    "Maybe. You wanna try?" I replied, offering him half.

    "Nah, you know I don't really do pills." He rubbed his gums and sniffed.

    I raised the bag towards Jason, but he shook his head and took another drag on the bong. "I'm good, Mystery's meant to be strong stuff and I'm already wasted."

    No way out now. "Right, lets start this party, see you on the other side guys." I said, cocking my head back and gulping down the pills with the dregs of my beer.

The End

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