Jose organizes a search party. Clayton is allowed to go along because he speaks Spanish and doesn’t look particularly white. Also: We flash back to Claire and how she spent her day.
She carried some cash in her pocket and more in her sock. Dressed casually in jeans and a T-shirt, she thought she would blend into the population. She hadn’t counted on the fact that 99 percent of the people in town were dark skinned and dark haired. Her blonde hair shown in the afternoon sun like neon.
People eyed her skeptically, some predatorily. Claire barely noticed. She was too intent upon finding someone with the merchandise she wanted to purchase. She hoped that pot would be enough to get Maddie busted. She didn’t have the cash to buy anything else. She was pretty sure drug dealers wouldn’t take a personal check.
Eventually, some young women approached her on the street. They said they could put her in touch with a guy who would sell her what she wanted. Claire went with them to a big building on the outskirts of town. Men sat around outside smoking and drinking. More women were there, draped languidly over the men. They gave Claire an evil, appraising glance, looking away as if she weren’t important.
The leader of the little pack who had picked up Claire, tapped on a door at the top of some rickety stairs. “Got someone to see you,” she said in Spanish.
“Dunno. Some puta—says she’s from out of town. She wants some weed.”
“Show her in,” the man said in English. “So, you wanna score some ganja,” he said when Claire walked in.
“No, I want some marijuana cigarettes,” Claire replied. She didn’t like the way the man looked at her, as if she were something good to eat.
“Oooh, cigarrillos de marihuana,” he chuckled. “Sure, baby. I can get you a few of those. But first, you come spend some time with me.” He patted the couch next to him.
He was a big man, tall and muscularly built. He was covered in tattoos, some of which looked homemade. He wore an earring in his left ear. It was a single silver hoop. There was an ugly glint in his eye.
“I really just want the stuff,” Claire said. “I need to get back before they miss me.”
“You in my place, you play by my rules,” the man said. He gestured to some of the men.
Claire was surrounded. Rather than risk making a break for it, she sat beside the drug dealer. He put an arm around her, pulling her to him, licking her neck and cheek. Claire recoiled, but he held her fast. She couldn’t move. Her instinct was to slap him, but that seemed ill advised. Instead, she sat quietly, wondering what would happen next.
One of the women brought in some glasses and a bottle on a tray. The man poured a drink, handing it to Claire. She took a sip, but it burned her throat, making her eyes water. He tried to get her to take another sip with some salt and lemon, but she refused. She asked for ice tea, which was brought to her. It didn’t taste quite right, but Claire was so thirsty, she drank it all.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes
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