Since I’ve been away for so long, here’s a sneak peek of the next project I’m working on:
Enjoy 🙂 xoxo
The bell dings above my head as I push my way through the door, into the drug store. The kid behind the counter’s new—Chen must’ve only hired him last week. He’s shaking in his Air Jordans, like I’m Bulger himself, and not just a narrow, Irish package-girl.
I toss my long red ponytail over my shoulder and drop my elbows on the counter in front of him. He flinches, and I have to try hard not to laugh. “I’m here for Sean’s shipment.”
The kid’s eyes widen, and he nods almost imperceptibly. Chen had very specific instructions to make sure anyone he hired was well informed of our arrangement. Things could get awfully messy otherwise.
His gaze flicks to my forearm just before he holds up a finger and disappears into the back room. The five bands on my arm—the symbol that all members of Fifth Element have inked just below their elbow after initiation—are a warning to enemies and allies alike. For ten years now, Sean Flannery and Element have had the run of Dorchester. And gaining that control left more bodies and blood in the streets than anyone cares to remember with much detail.
The kid comes back with a small brown paper bag, wrapped around itself and closed tightly with packaging tape. A full key of blow, though technically I’m not supposed to know that.
I heft my knapsack onto the counter and drop the package in. “Thanks. What’s your name?”
He stutters as I swing my pack onto my shoulders. “A-ander.”
“Nice to meet you, Ander. You and I are gonna be seeing a lot of each other.” I turn to leave, but he calls out after me:
“What is it?”
My eyes go unwillingly to the ceiling. Jesus Christ; this kid’s gonna get himself popped. I turn back to him and lean over the counter. When I reach out and grab him by the front of his shirt, his mouth drops open, but he makes no move to fight me off.
“Listen, Ander. Maybe nobody explained this to you, but around here, you don’t want to be the one asking questions. Especially those types of questions. Questions like that get you dead in an alley somewhere, you get me?”
Anders nods; he’s straight up trembling beneath my fingers. “I-I’m sorry . . . I-I just . . .”
I give him a little shake, and he shuts up. “Sorry don’t mean shit around here, kid. Actions louder than words, and all that. Just keep your shit to yourself and won’t nobody bother you, alright?”
“Y-yeah. Yeah, okay.”
“Alright.” I drop my hands from his shirt—the cheap fabric’s still wrinkled from where I held him. “I’ll be seeing you soon.”
The bell jingles again as I duck back out onto the street. It’s rush hour in Southie; the streets are teeming with kids and adults, junkies and blue-collars alike. I hitch my knapsack up further on my shoulder and slip around a corner. My ears—well attuned by now to read my environment—pick up the distant wail of a police siren. Six blocks away, maybe more. And fading.
I can’t help the slight sigh of relief that escapes. The further away I am from five-oh, the better.