The next night, I snuck out and made my way to the warehouse from the night before. Cai had told me that I should be there on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, but I could be called in to work at other times as well if someone didn’t show. I would work from 10 PM until my run was over, which was usually around 2-3 AM. For now, I wouldn’t be working alone. Every night I would tag along with Cai, who would teach me the basics of the trade.
As I walked down the street, I smiled ever so slightly. I had never noticed it before, but I had always though that at night the streets would be deserted.
I was wrong.
There were girls standing on street corners. They probably sold their bodies for the same reason I delivered drugs: They needed the money to support their habits. I saw some guys about my age walking down the streets with duffel bags. I steered clear of them because I didn’t know if they were from a rival sector or not. No one was out for a midnight stroll. Every denizen of the night had a purpose, a reason for being there. There wasn’t anyone that “just wanted a breath of fresh air.”
These were people that the average person would fear and shy away from. They were outcasts from society, they were the rejects and the people that no one wanted anything to do with. But they had joined together and created the society of the night, a society all their own. None of the people that had thrown them away entered the realms of the night. These people could do as they pleased, without the pressures of social acceptibilities weighing them down. I envied them. I wasn’t one of them, not yet.
I arrived at the warehouse around 9:55. I went inside and sat down at the table in the same place as the night before; I didn’t want to sit in someone elses seat and get into trouble. Jeremy and Spenser weren’t there. I wasn’t surprised. From what Cai had told me, the two of them were pretty close. Jeremy stuck to Spenser like glue. Spenser had been Jeremy’s mentor when he had first started working, but even being this close was unusual for this business. I smiled as I remembered the events of the night before. As I looked around, I noticed that I wasn’t alone.
The black-haired girl named Arlais was sitting across the table from me, I couldn’t believe that I had missed her when I came in. It felt rude to just ignore her, so in an attempt at conversation, I said, “Hi, I didn’t see you when I came in.” Arlais kind of glared at me from underneath her hair. I was a little put off, but being stubborn, I had to finish what I had started. “Hey...uh, where is everybody?”
She glared at me and looked as if she didn’t intend to answer, but at the last minute, she must have changed her mind because she answered, “You’re really stubborn aren’t you? To shut you up I guess I’ll have to answer your question, but that doesn’t mean we’re friends or anything. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way I’ll tell you: Spenser had to go out- don’t ask me what he’s doing, it’s none of your business. Jeremy, being Jeremy, went with him. But honestly, I don’t blame him. Who wants to hang around with a bitch like me anyway? James had to go to a meeting with his boss and left about twenty minutes ago. Cai hasn’t shown up yet. That bumbling idiot is always late. There, you happy now?”
I guess I was a bit taken aback by this outburst because for a few seconds I just sat there and tried to take it all in. I didn’t understand what Aralais had against me or why she had been so hostile. After I had regained my ability to speak, I just said “Thanks for filling me in,” and sat in silence for about ten minutes until Cai came in.
He was laughing and talking to Spenser. Jeremy was trailing behind, grinning from ear to ear. I didn’t realize just how short he was until I saw him standing next to Cai and Spenser. The top of his head would be just about level with my eyeballs. Something wasn’t quite right about him, I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
Cai saw me sitting at the table and looked slightly surprised, as if he had forgotten that I would be waiting here. Maybe Arlais was right, he probably was a bumbling idiot. I didn’t even know he was all that close to Spenser. He had told me a lot about how everyone felt about everyone else. The “politics” of the little group, so to speak. Oh well, I guess there are some things I will never understand.
“Is James here?” Cai asked. After looking around and realizing that he wasn’t, Cai mumbled quietly to himself, “Not like it matters anyway. He said he’d leave me a list with my customers for tonight on it. I did need to ask him something though...” at this he trailed off and he began to look around for the list. I didn’t really pay attention. A few minutes later he must have found it because he tapped me on the shoulder and waved a pink post-it note in my face.
“Here we go. I found it! It’s time for your training to begin, young grasshopper.” At this he did some flying-kung-fu-ninja-stuff and spazzed his way out the warehouse door. I hurried to catch up with him. As I turned to close the door behind me, I saw Jeremy and Spenser trying to keep their expressions of pity at bay. It wasn’t working.
When I caught up with Cai, his expression was serious, the way it had been last night when he told me not to let people push me around. He pointed at the sticky note and told me about the places we were going to go.
“Tonight we’re going to make three deliveries. Their names are Jack, Demelza and Nathaniel. To the left of the names are the addresses, the amount they ordered and the price. Never give them anything until they hand over the money. That’s important. You also want to make sure that none of them seem twitchy or nervous. Yeah, it could just be withdrawal, but more often then not, it means that someone is about to try and kill you. They figure it’ll just be easier if they kill you and take everything you’ve got on you at the time. We’d all feel bad if you died of course, but more importantly, to James at least, it means we lose a customer. We can’t have them getting ideas. If they get away with something like that, odds are they’re gonna try it again. When it comes to that point, there’s nothing left to do ‘cept kill em.
“Now the three we have tonight are generally okay, Jack’s a little iffy. I’ve never had any trouble with Nathaniel or Demelza. Arlais said that Nathaniel was a little strung once and got a bit violent when he heard the price. But then again, who wouldn’t? This stuff is pretty pricey. Anyway, its Jack Frell you’ve got to watch out for. He has a thing for young boys. We can hardly have Jeremy make deliveries to him anymore. Jack’s a real sicko. If he tries anything just back off and do your best to discourage him without pissing him off too much. For your sake we’ll do him last tonight so that you can get a feel for the line of work before having to deal with him.”