When Ryan Hathaway was six years old, he made a thousand dollars selling lemonade. First in front of his house, the old fashioned way, then at a local market. He sold the business at the end of the summer to a cousin twice his age. A thousand dollars. It was a lot for a kid.
Ryan never stopped selling things, always looking for the big profit. All through his teenage years his entrepreneurial spirit remained strong. Right now, it was thinking big, though not in the way anyone would socially approve of.
The DJs beats droned on, enveloping the private house party in a wall of sound, a combination of turntable scratches and live blips from a vintage Roland 808. Ryan bounced along to the beat as he led his latest customers up a long staircase into one of the unoccupied bedrooms. He carried a small duffle bag over his shoulder.
“This won’t be like anything you’ve tried before,” he started loudly, battling over the sound. Apparently Jimmy Cho’s father had installed a series of wireless speakers in the house that allowed a single music source to be played throughout, but this sort of volume was never in the design specs.
“Better be good,” one of his customers mumbled in reply.
“You’ll love it,” Ryan said. He quickly opened a bedroom door and stuck his head in, making sure there was no surprises. He reappeared with a quick “Follow me.”
Inside, Ryan found the wireless speaker volume and turned the DJ down to a manageable volume. He turned around and waited until the three customers had closed the bedroom door. Then he pulled down the backpack and pulled it open, dumping the contents on the bed.
Ryan looked at the two guys and one girl in front of him and wondered how he looked in response. Clean shaven and younger-looking than his 18 years, he knew that selling Ecstasy tablets was a rough business, but he couldn’t ignore the profits to be made. Ryan favoured small sales to active party-goers rather than any kind of big dealing, though he couldn’t deny he was dealing with large quantities anyway. His inside connections had probably helped there. Of course, he knew this was a game you couldn’t stay in forever, or you’d end up in jail. Or worse.
The girl and one of the guys couldn’t keep their hands off each other, their bodies intertwined like a pair of snakes. The other guy looked nervous but blank — mid 20s at least, dark messy hair and a least a week’s growth of a beard. But he’d been vouched for by Cho’s best mate, so as far as Ryan knew, the guy was clean.
“So we’ll get down to business,” he said quickly. “Ten dollars a pill, maximum of ten each for now. If you want more than that you really have to arrange it in advance.” He held up the pill bags to show each of them what he was carrying.
The couple agreed quickly and pulled out a handful of 20 dollar notes. Ryan got a little buzz whenever he saw money appear. He wondered if it had always been like that for him. Like a drug.