Friday night, and the line outside of the club rivalled the river Nile. No issue for Frankie as she approached the bouncer, whispered in his ear and he cut her in ahead of everyone else.

“She promised to blow him or something?” Bill drove around to the parking lot in the back with the hopes of catching some shut-eye. It was the least he could do while Frankie played Avon sales lady on the inside.

Many young women in the line and parking lot captured his lingering gaze. He didn’t intend to be creepy, but their skin-tight outfits on their curvy bodies flooded his manhood more than he had been accustomed to for some time. Doubts of his love for Amanda was not even a topic, but was it possible his lust waned? Her absence didn’t help matters, and being around Frankie constantly opened the wound even further.

That entire night, someone – along with Frankie – would knock on the driver’s window; he’d unlock it and allow them to head to the trunk to handle business. Bill wasn’t thrilled at his jeep being a public retail outlet, but no cameras were present or patrolling security – not since he was there at least. Anyone that passed by was either too caught up with company, or too drunk and stumbling to their vehicles to care.

“Hate they’re taking so long to legalise it here,” said a spriteful redhead.

“So lame, I know,” Frankie said. “Let’s do business again in the future.”

“Thank youuu,” the red-head replied and skipped away with her eighth of weed.

“Well, looks like things are going well,” Bill said with a deadpan expression and reclined, interlocking his fingers behind his head.

“I know you don’t care, but yes they are. Should’ve come out with two pounds.”

“Why are you selling pot for this guy?”

“Because I’m actually pretty good at sales, and this pays more than a real job.”

“You mean the real job your mother sent you to college to be qualified for and do one day? What is it you study again?”

“As if you care.” She folded her arms and scoffed. “Anyway, this pound’s almost gone and I’m ready to go.”

“Wonderful.” Bill sat up and swung the engine while grinning.

“Hold on a minute now, I’m waiting on someone.”

“Another sale? I thought you were done for the night?”

“I’m done here, but there’s a guy in the club I chatted up and convinced to take an ounce off my hands.”

“I don’t get it.”

“He’s coming with us and I’m giving it to him at home.”

“I bet you will,” Bill snickered.

“Typical…” Frankie walked to the passenger side of the jeep.

“Am I wrong?”

“No.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“Whatever. Look, there he comes now.”

Frankie jumped into the passenger seat and waved over a lanky young man with a crew cut who still had his mother’s features. When he got to the jeep, he jumped into the seat behind Bill and exchanged pleasantries before Bill interrupted.

“If you don’t mind, Champ, slide over to sit behind her please?”

Frankie stared daggers at Bill and the young man followed the instruction.

“Kid, why do you have a backpack?” Bill asked.

“Um… well,” the young man started.

“Don’t worry, he’s cool,” Frankie said.

“Oh, cool.” The young man smiled, plumping his cheeks and turning his eyes into upside-down crescents.

Bill released an audible exhale and replied, “Yep, really, really cool.”

 

*

 

 

Upon arrival, Frankie introduced the visitor as Mark and both ran upstairs while giggling like giddy-headed high-school girls. Frankie broke apart, weighed and bagged the requested amount before fucking him and herself to sleep. For about an hour or two, Bill held pillows over his head while Frankie got pounded by the baby-faced kid.

“Fuck me! Oh shit, FUCK!”

Bill took his sheet, padded along the hallway and down the stairs, to his couch with a hard-on. Sleep, one of his closest friends greeted him once again but was scared away hours later by his lone housemate’s guttural scream. Bill sprang from his couch, sprinted up the stairs, hooked right and into Frankie’s room.

“What? What’s going on?” He scanned the room with a wide stance, ready to strike.

“A pound’s missing.” Frankie paced around with her hands bent at the elbow and fists pointing forward like she was about to fire a Gatling gun.

“It’s that kid, isn’t it?” Bill’s hands dropped and he stood up telephone pole straight.

“He’s the only one that’s been in here. Unless…”

Bill waited.

“Unless you took it?” She stepped to him and scowled.

“For what reason?” Bill’s voice rose.

“You’re right, I’m grasping at straws. Shit-shit-shit.”

“Alright, how long ago did he leave?”His fists tightened.

“Two hours ago.”

“It took you two hours to realize you’re missing that much pot?” He sighed and asked, “How much is a pound worth?”

“Twenty-Five hundred fucking dollars.”

Both stood silent.

“Start making some calls; the club first. Someone over there might know him.” Bill turned and plodded out of her room.

“Okay-okay, that sounds good, I’ll do that.” Frankie pulled the hair at the top of her head and grunted.

“I’m gonna take a shower,” Bill shouted as he made his descent down the stairs. “Start calling.”

 

 

*

 

 

On the way to Mark’s apartment building, Bill was quieter than usual. Although she had him on a leash, she didn’t tug, given his teeth grinding and jaw clenching. What would happen if she broke his glare as he drove? Would he attack? What type of attack? How severe?

“Am I pushing him too hard?” Frankie thought.

Finding Mark was less strenuous than it had any right to be. The first call she made was to her bouncer friend and he gave Mark up within the first thirty seconds. Nowhere near as dramatic as television shows played it out.

At the end of the second-floor hallway, his apartment door – missing splotches of paint like the rest of that building – gave them the meekest of glances. Frankie knocked and a frowning Bill moved out of sight just before Mark opened up.

“Heeey,” said Frankie.

“Hey, yourself,” said Mark. “Come over for another round?” His face drained in colour upon seeing Bill.

“Um, no actually. Can I come in?”

“Sure, of course.”

Mark opened the door wider and allowed both into his apartment.

“I’ll cut to the chase, Mark,” Frankie started, “You stole from me.”

“What do you mean? I bought from you, we fu–” His eyes met Bill’s and went back to hers. “Um, I spent time and I left early this morning.”

“With a pound of her stuff.” Bill broke his silence.

“Hey look, I don’t know wha–” and with that, Mark attempted to rush past, but Bill grabbed the scruff of his T-shirt collar and fell him. Like a calculated predator, Bill mounted and punched until Frankie stumbled backwards and covered her mouth. Afterwards, Mark’s face swelled and he pointed at his bed under quiet sobs. Frankie traipsed to the other side, picked up his backpack and opened it to confirm.

“It’s… it’s in here,” Frankie said. “Bill, let him go.”

Bill stared wide-eyed, still holding the collar of his victim’s shirt.

“Bill,” Frankie repeated.

Her step-father released him and said, “He should buy it.”

“No, it’s okay; let’s get out of he–”

“Hey, you.” Bill grabbed Mark’s chin by the crook of his hand. “You’re buying this, right?”

Mark nodded; his reddened, swollen cheeks stained with tears. Another finger point to the same location as the weed caused Frankie to search about in confusion.

“Under the bed,” Mark sniffled. “Another backpack, I got cash in there. Please, just take it and go.”

“We’ll take twenty-five hundred,” Bill said. “Exactly how much you owe for what you stole.”

Frankie sifted through the stacks, counted and removed the excess.

“Bill.” Frankie pulled the backpack over her shoulders, moseyed over to him, and rubbed his arm. “Come on, let’s get outta

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