Zac was smoking a joint and trying to relax after an extremely stressful shift at Borders when he got a text from Max.
hey man just wanted to let u know that mark got arrested
Zac sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. Of course. Of course this had to happen when he had just smoked the last of his fucking stash. It’s not like it would be hard to find a weedman or anything, he lived in California for Christ’s sake, but it was just an inconvenience he did not want to deal with right now.
He had gotten the number from Brandon when they met up for drinks the following night. Brandon had told him he had been buying weed and pills off the dude for a while. He also said he was a young guy. Zac assumed Brandon meant their age, since Mark was a bit older.
He did not expect an actual, like, kid. He could not have been any older than twenty-one—he even had chubby cheeks.
“Hey man!” He said, beaming. He was so…. chipper. “Zac, right?”
“Yeah… And you’re Cole?”
“Yup!” The kid grinned and passed Zac a little plastic baggie.
Zac accepted and scratched his head nervously.
“So, uh, you in school?” He asked awkwardly, pulling a few crumpled bills out of his pocket and dropping them into Cole’s open palm. Zac noticed he had big hands, and looked away. His nails were painted blue. Zac briefly wondered if Cole was into guys, and then pushed the thought out of his mind.
“Where do you go?”
“Berkeley. I don’t know my major yet. I’m taking a lot of gender studies and postcolonial studies classes, though. Literature classes too.”
Zac felt ridiculous. He was seriously at a point in his life where he was nearly thirty years old, and yet here he was, buying weed from a starry-eyed kid that went to fucking Berkeley in between shifts at a dead-end job at a bookstore that was probably going under soon, anyway.
“How old are you?”
“Twenty one. I took a gap year to travel and find myself.”
“What about you?” He said, giving Zac a dreamy, dopey smile and tucking his chin-length green hair behind his ear.
“I, uh, work at Borders.” Zac felt himself grow slightly red.
“That’s cool. I’m actually looking for reading on anarchism and Zapatistas right now, do you happen to know if you have anything good?” Cole said.
Zac blinked. “Uh, sorry, I don’t know. Um, look, I really gotta—I gotta go.”
“See ya, man!” Cole said. He stood up and went in for a hug.
Taken aback, Zac awkwardly ruffled the kid’s hair instead, and then made a hasty exit.
Zac told himself he was intending on finding a new dealer, one who didn’t go to fucking Berkeley, but never seemed to actually get around to it. Like, ever.
One morning, after a night of heavy drinking alone, Zac was catching up on texts and saw one from Cole.
Hey man I’m doing $20 for 2g
Are you home rn
Ya but I just want to be alone
Rn :/ Ya
When should I come by???
Ill text u man. idk
“What the fuck?” Zac mattered. What kind of weedman even was this? He rolled his eyes and stumbled into the living room to watch crime show reruns until his phone buzzed.
Im feeling ok now
As Zac paid, he noticed Cole’s face was blotchy, like he’d been crying. Zac felt like he should say something.
“So uh, what was wrong?”
Cole swallowed. “My girlfriend broke up with me.”
“Shit man, I’m sorry. That fucking sucks.”
“Oh-oh god.” Zac said, awkwardly wrapping Cole in a hug. “Don’t cry, it’s okay, buddy,”
“Do you wanna smoke with me?” Cole mumbled into Zac’s shoulder.
“Yeah. Yeah, dude, I got time.”
Zac gently pried Cole off of him and sat him down on the bed. He laid down and curled on his side.
“Top drawer.” Cole mumbled, and Zac opened the drawer of Cole’s nightstand and located his rolling paper. He also noticed a box of condoms.
Cole took a lighter out of his jeans pocket and handed it to Zac, who was finishing up rolling a few joints. Zac noticed that the crotch of Cole’s jeans was absolutely shredded, his boxers barely showing. He lit one of the joints and hit it before passing it to Cole.
Cole scooted over on the bed and motioned for Zac to join him. Zac obliged.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Zac said, after they had passed it between them a few times.
“If that’s okay.” Cole said, head tilted to the side, blue eyes looking at Zac inquisitively.
“Go ahead,” Zac said honestly.
Zac listened to Cole vent about the breakup for a while. He never once said anything bad about her. He talked about how they met, what their relationship was like, how he was going to have to see her in one of his classes and he felt sick because he missed her, and why they broke up. She was apparently planning to study abroad in Spain and didn’t feel like they could make long distance work. Cole had assured her they could, but when she declined, he ultimately let her go, and went home and cried.
As the hours passed, Cole gradually got closer and closer to Zac, until he was literally hugging him. Zac didn’t mind, and started to even hold the kid back, and then he started to get really touchy around Zac’s waist and thighs.
“Dude,” he finally said, putting the last of the joints out. “Want me to try and make you feel better?”
Cole looked up at him. “What do you mean?”
Zac put a hand on Cole’s thigh. Cole bit his lip.
“Only if you want me to.” Zac said.
Cole looked at him and rolled onto his back. “I want you to.”