Meet my first underground drug dealer, Dean, here:
My second underground drug dealers in New Mexico were acquaintances of Dean’s, and they also lived in my apartment complex. For the purpose of this story, let’s call her Grace, and her boyfriend, Pedro. While Pedro didn’t live with Grace, he was a frequent visitor.
Both Grace and Pedro were in their early 20s, just like Dean. And also just like Dean, they were middlemen (middlepersons?) in the underground drug market, supporting their own habits through these transactions. They had access to medicinal-strength bud, but even though the cost was less than in the legal dispensaries, it was still expensive. The larger the number of middlemen between the user and the product, the more it costs. (Although that theory doesn’t apply to the legal dispensaries, who’s prices don’t reflect the actual costs of growing and selling this plant.)
Grace and Pedro knew each other in high school, then connected years later. I thought their relationship was a little odd, as they never showed each other any affection — no kissing, no hugging, no holding hands. No public displays of affection. They were more like roommates than lovers.
Dean (my first connection) told me stories about Grace and Pedro, including stories of the consumption of hard drugs. Dean also told me that the reason Pedro was with Grace was because she had access to prescription medications. While I didn’t believe everything Dean said, Grace herself mentioned using pain medications in the past, so maybe these stories were true.
Grace and Pedro had a few arguments in the corridors of our apartment complex, but were mostly laid-back and cool. Grace was pretty smart, probably smarter than Pedro, who used to visit with me every once in awhile. After one of their arguments, Grace told me that she thought Pedro had cheated on her. And then separately, Pedro told me that he did go out with other women, although he denied it afterwards. Said he was just joking.
When Grace told me they had broken up over this argument, I advised her to get an STD/HIV test, and told her why. But I doubt she took my advice. She trusted him; I don’t know why. Of course, they got back together, and then Grace moved out shortly thereafter. Another connection to the underground lost, as she wasn’t interested in helping me out after she moved. Neither, of course, was Pedro.
Grace’s cousin and his girlfriend lived with her — let’s call him Jackass. He was younger and I think his girlfriend was still a teenager. After his girlfriend moved to a different state, Grace told me Jackass was depressed about it, so I allowed him to visit once in awhile. He was unemployed and these visits grew in number as time went on.
Jackass wasn’t dumb, just apathetic. I don’t think he suffered from depression, but he did appear very lonely. He told me that he used to be homeless (in another state) and that he missed all his friends. It seems no one in his family wanted to put up with his lack of motivation for very long, and he didn’t have any friends in Albuquerque.
Jackass and I talked almost every day for awhile, including of all things, subjects like baking. But he mostly talked about how much he missed his friends and all the stuff they used to do, especially raves and different kinds of drugs. He kinda dressed like a raver, wearing a wool hat even in the summer. He had a huge mop of very thick and wavy hair, which he hid underneath the hat, and of course he didn’t have too many clothes.
Jackass also talked about how hard it was to get a job and that he might join the military, as he had few options. I don’t think he was serious about joining the Army — he just wanted people to feel sorry for him. But even so, he seemed like a nice enough guy, non-violent, and I grew to have some trust in him. He usually did what he said he was going to do, unlike Grace and Pedro.
In the weeks that Grace was preparing to move, she didn’t have any time to help me, so Jackass became my only connection to the underground. Since I’ve given him the pseudonym of “Jackass,” perhaps you’ve already figured out how this story ends.
Jackass often talked about wanting to move back to the state he used to live in and returning to his homeless friends, which he said he could always count on. He felt those were the only people who cared about him. Plus, he had nowhere to go after Grace moved, as she said he was not welcome in her new place. At one point, he asked to stay with me, but I said no. (I’m a nice person, but I’m not a masochist.) After Grace moved, he stayed with his mother across town, but was still willing to help me. At least, that’s what I thought…
When you deal with middlemen, you have to provide your exchanges up front. The last time I saw Jackass, I gave him my part of the exchange, and then I never heard from him again. And I subsequently learned from one of his cousins that he was actually ripping me off the whole time. Yeah, I’m still angry about that, but that’s the price you pay when you’re forced into the underground drug market. You can choose to be ripped off by the legal dispensaries or your underground connections, but when we talk about medical cannabis, you’re going to be ripped off somewhere. It’s called the drug war.
If I didn’t have trust issues before (which I did and plenty of them), after my experiences with Jackass, Grace, and Pedro, I have become even more wary. I don’t make friends easily, and when that friendship is treated like shit, it makes it even harder to make friends in the future.
I’ve got one more story about the underground bud market, and I think I’ll name that character… Dickhead. 🙂