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Another cigarette was cast away much like a bit of his own life. Eustass Kid exhaled, enjoying the slow rising smoke rings in the frigid air. He knew that instead of sitting on a park bench, he should very well be in class right now. But there were only so many college lectures he could take in a day. It didn’t help that Kid didn’t understand much in the class he was skipping now. After a few skipped classes because of even-Kid-himself-didn’t-really-know-the-reason, one inevitably became lost.

Kid then checked his cellphone, and saw that the class was still far from over. Another hour to waste, he thought. He got off the bench and headed towards the vicinity of his college. Might as well get some cramming done somewhere warm, he reasoned.

When Kid made it into the library building and inside one of the elevators, he pushed the button for floor 13. It was always quietest floor since not many students believed it to be ‘cursed’ or some shit. As the elevator was taking him up, it paused to let another student get on. Immediately, Kid was hit with the smell of marijuana. That, or the person had been sprayed by a skunk. Kid assumed the former. Good stuff, Kid thought. But a very wrong place to be taking it or the wrong place to be after taking it. Nonetheless, it piqued Kid’s interest enough for him to offer a friendly greeting.

“The fuck you smoking that here?” Or at least Kid’s version of a friendly greeting.

The person did not reply. Instead, he seemed to be too out of it for Kid to hope for an answer. As the person stared at the increasing numbers that indicated the floor number, Kid took the time to look him over more carefully. White dress shirt, tight jeans, and what appeared to be tattoos just below his knuckles. He had bags under his eyes as well. Kid wasn’t sure what to make of the person. On one hand, he seemed to be one of those good students who dressed well, studied a bit too much, and did well in classes, while on the other hand, he could be like Kid himself: pretending that you’re a good student by dressing the part, but actually just a failure in everything, really. As fucked up as it may seem to be, Kid hoped that the person was more like the latter. After all, why not drag others further down with him if they had nothing left to lose either?

The person suddenly got out of his trance when the elevator pinged and opened to the 13th floor. Before Kid could even react, the person took his hand and clasped it with a small plastic bag full of pills. “Better to be quiet about this,” the person said. With a smirk ghosting over his features, he continued, “Let’s get together sometime.”

Then the person was gone as Kid dumbly stood in the closing elevator with a small bag of pills. It was then Kid realized that there was something else besides the sample of pills that the person had given him: a crushed sticky note with neat handwriting that read, “Law.” The phone number below the name was not lost to Kid, either.

xxx

“I’m not sure what to make of it, Bonney,” Kid told his friend as they sat inside a pizza joint.

Bonney went to the same college as Kid, and often skipped class not because of whatever Kid’s reasons were, but because she always got hungry. They met when they were in high school. Bonney, along with a select bunch other kids from the ‘worst generation,’ usually had detention together for generally being late, playing music too loudly, stealing fossils from the science lab, promoting ‘black magic’ to other students, or even getting lost and using that as an excuse for being late. Nonetheless, that select group of the ‘worst generation’ had stuck together when needed most. It had been fun.

“Well, for one thing,” Bonney replied, swallowing a bite of pizza. “Call him. Ask him what he wants and tell him what you want.”

“That’s the thing,” Kid continued. “I don’t know what he wants. ‘Get together’? What is that? Does he wanna go out or just have a smoke with me?”

Bonney rolled her eyes. “Kid, you’re over-thinking it. So what if he was kinda out of it, just call him and see. You don’t get a FWB or a steady supply of good stuff everyday. Never knew you as a coward.”

“I ain’t a coward.”

“Then call him. God knows how long you’ve come out of the closet and not had sex.”

“Crude, Bonney. But when--” Kid was interrupted when his eyes caught a flash of white, tight jeans, and knuckle tattoos that spelled out ‘death.’ Bonney took a subtle glance at whatever Kid was gaping at. She grinned. “Looks like you don’t have to call him anymore,” she said as she walked out the door. Kid, of course, was left with the bill.

“Dammit, Bonney,” Kid swore loudly.

“You’re pretty good with greetings and goodbyes, aren’t you?” Law spoke as he casually took Bonney’s seat.

“You’re one to talk,” Kid replied. “Let’s cut to the chase, alright? You here to sell more of that stuff, or are you here for something else?”

“You never called.”

“Wha--”

“But yes, I can sell you more of them. What I am more interested in, however, is you, yourself, Eustass.”

“How do you know my name?”

“I know a great deal about you.” Law said almost too casually, making Kid want to punch that cocky smirk off of Law’s face. “But what I don’t know is if you’re up to partnering up with me.”

“What are you suggesting?” Kid suddenly felt flustered.

"Tell me, Eustass,” Law lowered his voice, “have you ever tried smuggling?”

 

To be continued.