Ben was trying to keep busy cleaning. He was nervous. It had been a week and he hadn’t heard from the goons. He was running low on money.
Grace was thankfully napping. At 36 weeks, his poor wife was miserable. Fortunately she just needed to make it two more weeks. Sadly, he needed money before then.
He grabbed a beer out of the fridge and sat down to try and figure out what he needed to do.
He was just about ready to eat crow. He picked up the phone to call his Dad and beg for help when a text came across from a number he didn’t recognize.
Fuck. He wished Nick were here, or maybe it was better that he wasn’t.
He texted back. One word:
Ben grabbed a bag of pot and stuffed it in his pocket. He checked to make sure Grace was still asleep and headed outside.
They were waiting for him and pulled him into the local bar. He dutifully followed them into an empty Karaoke room.
“You got it?” asked Sunglasses.
Ben handed him the baggie. “Yeah, here.”
Sunglasses opened it and sniffed. He appeared to be satisfied. “From everything we can tell, you were telling the truth. Lucky for you the kids like your shit. The boss wants to buy from you. Wholesale.”
Ben felt the tension leave his body and did everything he could not to smile. “We will pay $75 per ounce. How much do you have ready?” asked Sunglasses.
He was relieved. He wouldn’t have to ask his Dad. He could increase production to make up the difference. It really wasn’t that much less money but was a lot less work than having to find buyers. “I have about 2 lbs. Give or take. I need to weigh it.”
“Text me the amount and we will meet here in an hour to pick it up,” said Sunglasses.
Ben turned to leave and Beanie, obviously the muscle of the two, grabbed him, “Don’t screw with us kid. Tell the wifey ‘Hi’ for me. No, on second thought, don’t. An hour Murdock.”
Ben went back upstairs and checked on Grace. She was still sleeping so he went into the closet that housed all his paraphernalia for curing and packaging the weed.
He gathered and weighed what he had. It was easier because he didn’t have to divide it up. He had 30 ounces, enough to bring in $2,250. Fortunately, he would have another batch ready soon. He stuffed everything in a duffel bag.
Grace stirred before he could leave. “Hey handsome. What are you doing? You aren’t leaving me are you?”
Ben laughed trying to make light of what he was doing. “Never. I’m making a delivery to Austin. Will you be okay for a couple of minutes. I won’t be gone long.”
“Let me go to the bathroom first, okay?”
“Of course. You need any help?” Ever since she wound up in the hospital, she always wanted Ben to be around when she went.
“No. Just wait for me to get back to bed.”
Grace came back out and laid down on the couch. Ben bent over and kissed her. “I will be right back. Fifteen minutes tops. Text me if you need me.”
He walked out the door with his duffel bag full of weed.
As Ben waited for the dealers to show up he thought about what he had gotten himself into. He felt bad about lying to Grace. But, in just two more weeks they would bring their baby home. Then he could tell her the truth. And a only a couple of more months of selling would finish paying off the medical bills. They would have enough cushion for him to find a real job and forget all this unpleasantness.
The irony of it all was that Nick didn’t want to smoke anymore since he saw the dealers show up at Ben’s doorstep. It totally freaked him out. Ben was glad he hadn’t arrived any sooner than he had. If Nick had seen the gun, he would have called the cops and Ben would have had to admit to his family that he was a failure. Just a few more months, he thought, then this will be over and I can make a new life for myself with Grace and Cole by my side. Ben finally relaxed and smiled to himself while he waited. It’s going to be okay.