by The Finn
“You know the guys who live here ?”
I looked away from the little redhead I’d been trying to chat up all night and glanced over at the voice. Five-oh. Oh crap.
"Good evening, Officer,” I smiled. He gave me a look that said “Split.” So me and the redhead did just that. We were half a block away when we heard the rest of the cops pull up and saw the lights flashing behind us. We kept on down the street and hopped into a train station. Once we were down the steps she and I went our separate ways and I never saw her again.
Which was just as well. Every time, for the last three weeks, every party I’d been to had been raided. And there were few things worse than having the party get shut down just as you were starting to feel good. It was like kids I was running with were cursed. Or being followed.
I grabbed a seat on the train and stared out the window. Everywhere we’d gone for the last few weeks, the cops had always showed. Party in Southeast, cops shop up. party in Annandale, cops show up. City lights flashing by as the train rumbled home. The scene wasn’t that big, but there was no way that D.C. cops were simply following us. It was happening entirely too often to be coincidence. So what was going on ?
The train stopped at Foggy Bottom. I headed up the escalator and back into the night air. If someone was following us, who were they following ? They couldn’t watch the whole scene all the time. And hell, most of the kids these days were straight edge and vegan, so there was no reason to follow them, unless not doing drugs or eating meat suddenly became a crime. Or maybe I was just being paranoid. Maybe it was just my luck that everywhere I’d been the cops had shown.
I stopped off at the convenience store on the way back to the house. Once again, I’d managed to lose my pack of cigarettes on the train. Fucking Metro was damned uncomfortable and becoming expensive to boot. Charley was behind the counter, with his feet propped up, reading “Soldier of Fortune” and smoking a Marlboro. “Mr. Finn!” he said with a smile. “What’s happening., Charley?” I asked.
“What can I get for you Boss?” he asked. “Just smokes and a cup of coffee,” I said, walking past him to the coffee pots in the back. “That stuff is too old,” Charley said “You want new stuff?” “I’m okay, mate.” I told him. I poured a cup black and could smell the burnt coming off of it. I headed back to the counter where Charley already had a pack of Camels on the counter and my total up. “$3.69,” he said. I gave him a five and smiled. “Keep the change,” I told him.
Two more blocks to the house and I still wasn’t any closer to figuring out whether I was just being paranoid or if there really was a good reason that the cops were tailing us. Jonny wasn’t dealing nearly as many drugs as he used to, Andy quit beating people up in the street… Hell, the house had been deadly quiet for months now. Ever since Angela had left…. Oh crap.
I hit the payphone on the corner and called Angela, making small talk for a few minutes until I found my opening. “Ang,” I asked, “you notice a lot of cops around these days?” “No,” she answered, “Why?” “Ang, did you tell anyone about the little cash crop that Jonny was growing in the basement?” Jonny’d been growing hydrponic weed in the basement for years. But he’d stopped about nine months ago, right after he and Ang had broken up and she’d moved out. He’d broken down the setup and tossed damn near everything he couldn’t sell.
“No,” she insisted. And for a second, I almost believed her. “Okay kid. I gotta split,” I told her, “But we’ll talk soon, okay?” “Okay,”she said. I hung up and finished my coffee. I had to be paranoid, I kept telling myself. Maybe a good night’s sleep instead of partying all night was what I needed. “A nice long nap,” I thought to myself as I came around the corner. Right into the red and blue lights of a cruiser parked out side my house.
Sometimes, even when you’re just being paranoid, you’re right.