After a tumultuous few weeks things have started to calm down again; it’s impossible to forecast in any line of business. The recession for me has been on a whole positive; my business fortunes mirroring Pizza Hut, with more people choosing a night in front of a movie than going out on the town. And what makes a film or TV better than a decent bag of herb?
Our usual Friday columnist, Matt Delito, is on holiday this week and next. Check back on the 28th for his next column, or read this tale from his criminal foe, Jamie Snoll.
I have rules which I follow fairly strictly, and they have developed over the years; systems and relationships developed to continue my status and employment. The faces and shitty living rooms may change; fashions of the punters developed into something I now find ridiculous, and the amount of chav scum roaming the streets grown exponentially over the last decade, but the rules seem to work.
But the is one group the rules don’t apply for, that don’t have behavioural patterns you can learn from; most likely the most erratic group I have ever had to deal with.
Now, female customers, they have a low score on the Top Trump scoring system I applied, but, they are definitely worth dealing with.
Relationships can be tough, even if you are in a normal job -- just look at Delito, he is doing his best not to bang a colleague's wife, a woman whose husband carries a gun no less.
In my mid-20s I never entered a relationship thinking this was it, “the one”. I never really had the time between day-time activities, which were mostly waiting for people to arrive or leave with a bit of PS2 thrown in for good measure, and nights in the boozer with mates. I went to the same three pubs most times, and the local club was a merely mixture of the area's talent, and the late drinkers from the local. How was I ever going to meet someone new; someone I had not been to school with and most likely cracked onto before?
“Hello Jai, it's Emma T, I was wondering if Sara could pop 'round and pick up an henry, she just moved ’ere from...” Emma T was a nice girl -- I say girl, but she had two kids in her teens and two different daddies for the babies.
“Well I don’t really do little bits like that...” I considered myself a supplier now, although this was debatable. “Oh, well she is fit, ha ha.” Emma T knew I was single. “OK, give her my number then.” My tone suggested I was doing her a favour, but my next action was to clean around the flat quickly and slip on a nice checked Ben Sherman.
About an hour later I was looking out of the window as different people passed the flats; each girl approaching was my potential customer, The Fit One. She arranged to be there at 4pm, as it closed in for 5pm I gave up wondering and sat down for a cheeky spliff. As soon as I lit the bad boy up, the buzzing entry system interrupted my thoughts on my future, where I was wondering if professional wrestling was a viable option.
“Hi, it's Sara,” She sounded fit, I thought, as I peered through the peep hole. She took ages to get up the stair and open the fire door, mind.
“Hi Jamie, it smells nice in here.” The cheeky spliff’s smoke had already swept through the flat.
“Can I have some of that?” Sara was forward; it made me uncomfortable to start with, you never ask like that -- you wait to be offered, spliff-etiquette dictates that. But she was quite fit, for sure. Blonde, small, and wearing an incredibly tight top and jeans.
The next few months passed quickly, with Sara often popping around to pick up a 1/8 here or a Q there; other times just spending time at my flat when her kid was at playschool; leaving bleary-eyed to pick up her little boy, always seemingly happy. I would often drop off orders and stay for a cup of tea, and usually for lunch and dinner too. Finally it seemed to be the logical step to stay the night and have breakfast too, which seemed a good choice at the time.
After I had been sleeping with Sara for a while, the only real change for me was having to factor in extra product for the increasing amount Sara smoked every week for free. She was great fun; liked to have a drink or seven and was a great laugh. Most importantly, she had no problem with my line of work; in fact she liked it. She seemed happy with our arrangement and did not mind that I often would not turn up until pub closing, as it gave her time to put her son to bed and have a relax on the sofa. That was a lie, I later found out.
Sara quickly intergrated herself into my lifestyle, drinking in the same pubs I did, quickly becoming friendly with anyone and everyone -- blokes loved her, girls not so much. She began waiting in for my guys to drop off gear and she began to serve up a bit herself, smoking twice as much from my stashes and thinking I was unaware. It seemed a fair trade to me -- she used me for weed; was adopted by my friends in the pub and estate where we lived, and I got a temp girlfriend who was only just a little bit naggy, benefits still outweighing the little hassle involved in keeping her around.
As we moved along, I began to have a restless feeling -- Sara was talking about holidays and future-related conversations, but at the same time arguments would kick off over little things; always a hand-out for a bit of gear or a night on the piss began to rub against me.
After only a few months things were not great; her temperament was shot, every little disagreement turning into a slanging match, there was no need but I joined in, that was just what we did. She would threaten to broadcast to the world that I was a scumbag, junkie, and even bad father. Not that the kid was mine. It increasingly came down to me leaving for the night and returning a day later, glossing over the row we had had 24 hours earlier.
Then the shit hit the fan -- I was moving into a new place the Friday morning, a much larger place. Sara wanted to move in, but I did not see this as a solution to our arguments. The arguments were getting worse by the day; I needed a night out with the boys. On this particular night I was well-behaved, but it did not matter an iota, with Sara accusing me of every rumour the local gossips had passed on to her; my previous “relationships” used as ammo. I decided I would go home to the safety of my flat.
2pm the next day, and Big Dave’s number is showing on my phone -- nothing unusual there, although he was not phoning to place an order this time.
“Jamie, you need to hear this, Sara has been on the phone to Nikki saying she is going to phone the old bill on you, grass you up, that you gave her an STD; that she does not want you around the kid anymore.” What?! How had it progressed to this stage?
Emma T said she had tried to calm her down but had not been able to; she was convinced I had cheated that night, and out of drunken stoned spite she called the police.
I acted quickly, taking my product to Dave’s place, removed all the paraphernalia and put it in one of the communal bins. I don’t have a grinder and my scales are always in the kitchen -- for cooking, obviously. Although a dog would have a field day, they could not really arrest or convict me for spillage on my rug; that would just be rude.
And then I waited. And waited some more.
“She’s been up the pub gobbing off today about how you were a lazy bastard.” She had me there.
“That she is going to grass you up to the council!” Not a lot I could do there.
“THAT YOU SLAPPED HER!” That was a complete lie; I once put her in a
figure of four leg lock, but that was just for fun.
“WTF, Dave, you know I did not do that,” I replied.
“Mate, I know, she’s a c*nt, no-one believes her, she was going nuts.” Dave found her extreme levels of anger amusing.
“If you see her, tell her to call me.” I had tried to call a few times, but was equally happy and annoyed when she did not answer. All I wanted to know was what she had said to the police.
“I told them the truth -- you are a junkie, drug-dealing, scum-bag prick.” The junkie thing hurt; I smoked less than she did by this stage.
“I told them you tried to sell drugs to my boy, too.” Sara had gone for the low blow, evidently.
“Your boy is four, how are they even going to believe that?” I asked. She had gone too far; even the most inept police office would realise they are dealing with the venomous rants of a bitter girlfriend.
The complete and thorough search of my flat suggested that the police did believe Sara, however, with every single video and DVD case opened up, every piece of clothing searched. They looked in every single nook the flat had -- if there had been anything there, they would have found it, I have no doubt about that. They even found a remote for a TV I had got rid of years before (because I had lost the remote). But alas, on this particular day, they found enough for a spliff and one half-smoked spliff, with slightly too large a roach joint in the ashtray.
Not even enough to warrant more than a slap on the wrists and a promise to never smoke the naughty plant put on this planet by god or millions of years of evolution, whatever you subscribe to, again. The police could have arrested me, but what would be the point for them? Too much paperwork.
The trouble was the source of their information had told everyone; it took two days for the police to knock on my door for their search, and by then I had let my guard down slightly and was having a spliff when they knocked. Thankfully (not that it would've mattered much) she had not told the police I tried to deal to her kid.
I still see Sara; she pops in every once in a while when she is stuck and needs an 1/8 to tide her over, and I would be a massive fibber if I said I had not slept with her after this all happened -- eight cans of Stella and four spliffs can really affect your judgement, and that is just what she drank and smoked, hardy-har.
Jamie Snoll is a pseudonym for a drug-dealer born and bred in Essex, who offers up a view from the different side of the law to our Friday columnist Matt Delito. Check back this Friday for Matt’s next episode.