Works

Pyre of Envy XI: Indebted to You

“Don’t you think it’s wrong?” said Rolemn as they walked past the campus’ main library, a long five stories high mammoth guarded by pruned trees and shrubs. They were on their way to the book store. Overcast, the main library looked like a hibernating transformer, resting on a green hill. 
Corklin glanced at him. “This is how you decide to break the long peaceful silence?”

“You know what I’m talking about. Or at least what I have been thinking about.”

“Yeah.” He gave a rattling nod. “The drug dealing thing, right?”

“Yeah,” Rolemn pulled on his cigarette. “Think about it. It could destroy peoples’ varsity careers. Get them hooked on something and derail their entire varsity career, therefore their life.”

“Uh-huh, and?”

Rolemn stopped walking, Corklin did too. He waited for a girl to pass by and few other students on the causeway. Corklin impatiently waited, tapping the paving with his left foot. Rolemn drew closer, leaning in. “This is serious, dude. Very serious,” He whispered. “I don’t think you understanding this well.” He pulled on his cigarette, blowing smoke in a sigh. “I have seen things. I have seen some disturbing, horrible things.”

Corklin raised an eye brow, slightly pulling his head back. “What things?”

“At my time at the…” His voice fizzled out.

“At the country side?”

“Yeah. I don’t wanna be responsible from bringing people at that stage in my entire life. I can’t erase the memories. It’s enough to destroy people’s varsity careers, but not their minds. Their sanity. That’s like taking someone’s life, dude. I don’t think it’s right.”

Corklin sighed, looking up. “We aren’t making these people take anything. Their adults and they make their own decisions. You get me? I’m not trying to sound insensitive here, but think about it. If we don’t do it someone else will. By not doing it we aren’t changing the situation either. Bystanders are bad as the dealers because they let it continue.” Corklin paused as another student went by. “Think about it, maybe if you did, if we did it, we would be responsible about it.”

Rolemn frowned, the cigarette smoking itself in the gentle breeze. “That is not a reason to do it either. We are increasing supply into the area. Maybe if you had seen the things I had seen you would understand.”

Corklin snorted. “What lives are we gonna destroy any way? The kids who come here and buy this stuff are mostly rich ass motherfuckers who wouldn’t even succeed at destroying their future or life if they tried. They don’t worry about getting a degree because they won’t starve a day in their lives. But people like you, Rolemn, could really use the money they throw away. Think about that.”

Rolemn looked down, threw the cigarette on the pavement and stamped on it.

“You work harder than these motherfucker’s only to be their puppet, while they barely get off their couches the rest of their lives. It’s simple physics, man. You should get what you put in, but you won’t and you aren’t. The country is corrupt, the economy is shit and nepotism reigns. Sometimes you have to take a little justice into your own hands.” Corklin put his fist up and shook it. “You know, rectifying the scale.” He paused. “Honestly, man. Think about your family. They are where they are because of the systems imposed by these motherfuckers. Think about your sister.”

Rolemn began walking and Corklin joined him. “She only did that once I told you that, we had been starving for days.” Rolemn paused. “And do you think it’s a good idea to have ample amounts of drugs when we clearly have some kind of an abuse problem ourselves. It could only get one of the two ways, selling to support our habit or accumulating debt. I mean, we could just be making things worse for ourselves. All I see is dark clouds gathering and bungee jumping with a nooses around our necks.” He felt there had always been a downward spiral, but it was gradual and because of that there was always a way he could get out before hitting the bottom. The self-medicating could get out of control, he knew it. Maybe for Corklin it was all fun to pop pills but for him it was always in the spirit of temporarily drowning his horrors, those in the past, present and those awaiting him.

“What?” Corklin frowned, stunned by the morbid imagery. “That sounds like something Sandy would say. Stay away from that guy. He is feeding you some negative crap.” 

As Rolemn looked at him he remembered what he had always liked the most about Corklin. Like him he shared a very bleak worldview but, unlike him, instead of giving up he always believed he could wiggle himself through impossible situations. A thin glimmer of optimism that Corklin couldn’t even notice within himself. Something that Rolemn’s family could use off Rolemn, and like a cold he thought he could catch it from him. Corklin was the right amount of optimistic for him, rarely overwhelming, sparse and often indirect. A resilient fella.

“Think about your little sister, man,” Corklin urged him.

“I told you she only did that once. We didn’t have food for days. It never happened again.”

“Of course, but two years until your graduation or you working is far. Your father is barely putting food on the table as it is and I’m sure there are some needs she has got that he isn’t able to fulfil as it is. Look, what I am saying is that it is only a matter of time until she gets screwed up. The money could help change that.” Corklin shrugged. 

“What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean. There is a sugar daddy epidemic in this country. It’s not even a sugar daddy thing. It’s a pedo’s wet dream. Girls under 18 and older men.” 

Rolemn nodded, his brow furrowed.

Corklin slumped his shoulders. “I am not saying we should do this for the rest of our lives, but the kind of money we could make could change our entire lives for good and we might never need to look back. Think about this as well, you are at varsity and you don’t know what’s it like to have a varsity experience, you can’t go to parties, have dates, meet new people. All in all you can’t enjoy your life here, there is always a freaking lump in your throat. It gnaws at your mental health, self-esteem or a sense of belonging. What has made it even worse is your recent visit to the country side.”

Rolemn sighed. “Good points, good points. I find it quite…” He couldn’t get any more words out.

“Nobody dreams of dealing one day. But we can’t keep living the way the world dictates, the world fucked us by not giving us much hope or options. It drove us here. A job at a bar or restaurant or whatever won’t help you this much and it will probably worsen your social life and studies. It’s about time we stop losing, man.”

Rolemn nodded. “I still need to think about this though. There is obviously risk involved. And I wanna meet this guy.”

Corklin nodded. “Sure there is always risk involved, as it is in everything else worth having.” He paused, pressing his lips together. “And I guess you could meet him, he’s a cool guy. Just remember this though, I can’t do this alone. I’m gonna need some help even if you decide not to do it. I might need to hide stuff from Erica and I figured in my room she could always find it but in yours it’s safe. I’m sure it won’t be much and it’s gonna go quickly.”

Rolemn snorted.

“Rolemn, it will mostly be weed. Weed is not that taboo anymore. Less harmful than alcohol. It is getting legalized in many countries now and this thing is a domino effect. It might be legalized here soon.” Corklin halted. “We might be at the forefront of some big business if we do this right. Weed is always more expensive when it is illegal, we could raise money fast and when business opens we will be able to participate and compete in the market if the day comes. I don’t think it’s such a bad investment. If it is, we could always make enough money to invest in something worthwhile and life changing.”

Rolemn stared at him, face blank as thoughts went through his mind. “I guess I can do that.” If it were another situation he would ask him to compensate him for the risk he would be taking but Corklin was already doing so much for him, it wouldn’t feel right. He always felt indebted to him, and Corklin kept making it worse. Now, he was taking him to the bookstore to buy him textbooks, he felt he didn’t have any leverage. There was also that bit of guilt in him that reminded him that he kissed his girlfriend and was meeting with her in secret, surely that was a very costly offence. 

Corklin stepped back, a smile on his face. “Okay!”

He nodded. “Okay.”

###
If you haven’t yet, join the journey of an underprivileged student as he tries to deal with his prescription drug abuse and carve out a real future in a world that denies him of it in the most unconventional ways. Find the first chapter here.

Next chapter coming next week.

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