It was cold, and dark, and everything reeked of cocaine.
The funny thing is, I always assumed that cocaine doesnâEUTMt have a smell. I donâEUTMt know who came up with that idea, but theyâEUTMre dead wrong; maybe itâEUTMs because IâEUTMm constantly around it, or maybe itâEUTMs because thereâEU~s just so much of it here, but all I can ever smell is cocaine when I hang out downtown. Me and my best friend Anthony were just eating, laughing about jacking off or something, and I couldnâEUTMt even smell the ketchup on my hot dog. And I put an avalanche of ketchup on my hot dogs.
Now, granted, IâEUTMm not complaining. I love the smell of cocaine, but not because I do drugs or anything stupid like that. I just love this part of town. ItâEUTMs so suspicious, and dank, and creepy, and comfortable. I swear, I love everything about it. It reminds me of childhood.
You know somebody who does like the smell of cocaine because he actually snorts it, like, eight times a day, though? Our good friend Ezra. Me and Anthony rarely hang out with Ezra now, but we always throw around stories about him. Like the day he snorted meth in class, in front of our teacher, and didnâEUTMt get caught, or the time he did coke in a bathroom, and a cop was in the stall right next to him. We sort of treat Ezra like a tall tale at times, but itâEUTMs just too fun. Today, for example, me and Anthony were just driving around, all bored, and decided to buy hot dogs and share stories about Ezra. Why eat hot dogs in a bad part of town at 11 P.M., you ask? Because weâEUTMre stupid, bored teenagers. But it was fun.
Me and Anthony were just eating and laughing, just rambling on and on about Ezra. Obviously, we donâEUTMt want our friend doing drugs, but what else can we do besides stay positive about it? We try to help him, we really do, but to be honest, he scares the crap out of us. ThatâEUTMs why we donâEUTMt hang out with him as much anymore, but we still care about him immensely. But, I mean, everybody has their drug; Anthony canâEUTMt go a damn second without his iPod. And I like snapback hats to the point of obsession. But those things arenâEUTMt putting us in any actual danger, unlike Ezra. God, IâEUTMm scared for him, I really am.
I was just thinking about all this stuff, inhaling the smooth scent of late-night cocaine while watching a couple rats follow around a crazy homeless dude, when AnthonyâEUTMs phone started ringing. His loud-as-hell Eminem ringtone started blasting, of course., and a shady-looking guy in a trench-coat was staring at us; the loud music seemed to aggravate him. Regardless, Anthony picked up his phone, and all of a sudden, he just went quiet. Like, for seven minutes or so, he just sat there, silently nodding his head. I kept trying to ask him what was happening, but he signaled me, with his hand, to shut up. So I did.
He finally hung up, and just stared at me. Usually heâEUTMs laughing constantly, but now he just lookedâEU¦hurt. Empty, even.
âEUoeEzraâEUTMs missing.âEU He took a deep breath, and added, âEUoeAnd he won the race.âEU
\ This time, it was me who went quiet. âEUoeWhat?âEU
EzraâEUTMs gone missing before. It was the second part that got us. I donâEUTMt want to explain the concept of the race, since itâEUTMs pretty PG-13 stuff. LetâEUTMs just say that itâEUTMs a bet we made, to see who would lose their manhood first. We made jokes about it for months, but we never thought about one of us actually winning.
âEUoeLetâEU~s go,âEU Anthony said, grabbing the keys out of his pocket, walking towards his car. âEUoeI told his mom we would look for him.âEU
This was weird. The race. Ezra. He won the race, just like that. I gotta be honest, I kind of felt like shit. I feltâEU¦inferior. Like less of a man. But whatever, what mattered now was finding Ezra.
We were sitting in the car. It was a boring old sedan with a really comfortable leather interior. Anthony was driving, just blasting rap music about a thousand decibels louder than legally allowed at night. And, my God, he looked pissed. It was scary. He kept tapping the dashboard, clenching his teeth, refusing to look at me for even a second. I was upset about the race, too, but nowhere near as bad as Anthony.
âEUoeLower your music, dude. IâEUTMm not getting arrested again.âEU Why are there even âEUoepublic nudityâEU laws in the first place? Man, cops are stupid.
âEUoeShut up, Alberto.âEU I stayed quiet. AnthonyâEUTMs my best friend, but when heâEUTMs upset, he tends to, you know, treat me like total shit. Like I donâEUTMt have feelings. Like I donâEUTMt matter. But whatever. ItâEUTMs nothing.
Anthony was squeezing the steering wheel, now. Just looking into his rearview mirror, over and over and over again, for no reason whatsoever. âEUoeI canâEUTMt believe it, bro. We lost. Just like that.âEU I stayed quiet, and he stared at me. He slammed his foot on the brake, and pigeons all around us flew away in fear. âEUoeOf course the damn drug addict beats us. Why does he just get to cruise through life so effortlessly?âEU
This pissed me off. âEUoeHey, calm down. DonâEUTMt talk about him like that.âEU We make jokes about Ezra all the time, and Ezra even laughs with us! But we must understand that he has a legitimate problem.
Anthony looked at me, and turned more red than a tomato on steroids. âEUoeI wonâEUTMt calm down. DonâEUTMt tell me to calm down, Alberto. You donâEU~t tell me what to do!âEU Yeah, because I donâEUTMt get to have opinions.
Anyway, Anthony continued driving, and stopped at a little green shack with a cracked door and, I swear to God here, a sign right out front reading âEUoeDRUGZ 4 CHEAP!âEU Cops never, ever drive around this part of town, for some reason. We got out of the car, and walked towards what was left of the door.
âEUoeAnthony, please, just be careful here. DonâEUTMt do anything crazy like last time.âEU Like I said earlier, public nudity laws are silly and need to be stopped.
After I finished talking, Anthony violently jerked his head towards me. He did not look happy, so, of course, I didnâEUTMt say a thing. He slammed opened the door.