This passage is from the middle of the book


...One morning, quite early, there came a knock on my door while I was still in bed. At that time I was living in a small  apartment so, to save space, my couch turned into my bed every night. I got up, put on some pants and a shirt, and opened the door. Jacques came in.

“Sorry, I didn’t call first but I don’t have my telephone with me and I was just up the street.”

“That’s all right.” I said. “Don’t worry about it.” I set about to packing up the bed and putting my pillows and covers away in the trunk that functioned as my coffee table - again, to save space. I lit a cigarette. “Where were you?” I asked.

“I was at the cop shop. I’ve been in jail the last couple of days.”

“Holy shit,” I said. “What happened?” Naturally, a sinking feeling came over me as I thought about how he had come directly from the police station to my apartment. I didn’t need that sort of heat.

“I’ll tell you in a minute. First, I want to smoke a joint. Can you roll one?”

“Sure,” I said and set about to do so. I am an old pro and it took me very little time to prepare it. I lit the joint and passed it to Jacques. He began to puff on it madly.

“Would you like a cup of coffee or something to drink?” I asked. “I’m sure it was unpleasant to be locked up.”

“I’m used to it,” he said with a slight laugh. “Do you have any orange juice?”

“Sure. I’ll fix you one. What about some coffee?”

“I don’t have time. I’ve been out of commission for a couple of days so I have some people to call. Did you try calling me?”

“No,” I said. “I’ve still got some. So what happened?”

“I got in a fight,” he said. “I broke some prick arab’s nose.”

“Really?” I exclaimed. “How did that happen?”

“I was down at Dizzy’s in the market having a few beers. Do you know that place?”


“Anyway, in the past I have had problems with the manager of that shit hole but my friend wanted to go there so I agreed. Luckily, I didn’t have anything on me or I would’ve been in real shit.”

“So what happened?” I was real curios now.

“When that fucking asshole walked in and saw me he went over to one of the bouncers and I saw them looking at me and talking. Then the fucking arab started coming towards me. I didn’t take any chances and I jumped him as soon as he got close enough. I put him on the ground and started pounding him.” 

“Holy shit,” I said. “Then what happened.”

“The pigs came and they put me in handcuffs but not before I told that prick what I would do to him if he pressed charges. If I get charged with this it could mean three years in jail. I don’t want that.”

“Well, let’s hope that he doesn’t press charges.”

“He won’t press charges. I let him know what the consequences would be if he did before the police came. Remember, I would have his name if he pressed charges. I also have friends even if I’m locked away in the pen.”

He puffed madly on the joint as I thought about how tough and dangerous a character like Jacques could be. Even the police could not protect you from such a man and the connections he had in jail and out. I knew why the “arab” had refused to press charges. The only way to deal with such a character is to keep one’s distance. His threats were not idle ones and I knew that I could be in big trouble if I got into his bad books. It was too late to maintain my distance at any rate. When one dances with the devil there is always a price to pay. I was certainly no longer in a position to just send him on his way.

The joint was finished and as quickly as he had come, Jacques was again on his way. I made arrangements to score something off him the following day. He said to drop by sometime in the afternoon. Jacques was getting tired of going out to do his deals and I became one of his customers to be served in his humble abode. It meant more hassle for me but I was glad that he wouldn’t be showing up on my doorstep each and every morning.

I always used a cab when I went to see Jacques for using the public transport system would mean taking more than two busses. Besides, I thought, I was making more than enough in these deals to justify a cab bill of twenty dollars - the cost it took to take a cab both ways. I always made sure to get out of the cab a discreet distance from his abode for I knew that Jacques wouldn’t be pleased to see a cab stopped and waiting before his door. Luckily there was a taxi stand near by and I was able to do the deals and make my getaway in a comfortable fashion.

The next day came and I shoved an ounce of high quality dope into the inside pocket of my leather jacket and made my way to the main road which was a hundred meters from my apartment. It did not take long to hail a cab and soon I was moving through the city. I had not bothered to call Jacques for the arrangements had been made the day earlier. I was fully expecting him to answer the door when I knocked on it. The cab pulled to a stop around the corner and I got out and made my way to his house. I was surprised when no one answered the door. I knocked a few times but the door did not open. I then began to walk in the direction of the nearest telephone booth...           

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