Over the weekend not much was said between the two. Marcus was still up as Charlie fell asleep on the first night on the small couch. When Charlie had woken up early in the morning it was due to the wooden door creaking as Marcus had entered through it after coming up the steps. Marcus tossed a white bag of diner food on the table. Charlie has raised his head and looked through the doorway. Marcus had noticed that Charlie was awake and all he said was “I’m going to bed. Don’t eat all this or I’ll kill you. There’s a towel set out if you’re going to shower.” Then Marcus went to his room, shut his door, and collapsed onto his bed. Charlie wasn’t sure what to do with his time. He wasn’t sure if Marcus’ laptop was off limits or not but didn’t want to risk it thinking Marcus was more than strange. He showered, ate a few pancakes, and got himself a glass of water from the sink. Charlie glanced through his book collection noticing a large variety of books from campus textbooks to long fictional stories from what he could assume. The only book he had noticed was The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and the dictionary. Marcus didn’t have a television and he didn’t have any magazines so Charlie grabbed his Ipod from his book bag and a book he had to read for class and started reading while listening to music.
Charlie had dozed off until Marcus threw a shoe at Charlie. Marcus was wearing a plain white shirt and some pajama pants. His hair was uncombed and sticking up every which way. The lighting was better now than from the previous night. Charlie had noticed that the two rooms that Marcus had used both had black tarps nailed to the wall around the windows. Only the back room with nothing in it had visible windows. That was also the window he used to escape to the roof the previous night. Several tiny holes were poked in the tarps to let lighting into the rooms. Marcus looked like a guy in his twenties but Charlie didn’t dare ask him. He wasn’t sure if it was his late twenties by the way he spoke or his early twenties based on the way he dressed. He had brown hair and a brown beard. His hair looked scraggly but his beard was neatly trimmed. It seemed like a weird combination of the two. He had a light pale complexion and light blue eyes.
“Get up. I need you to help me with something.”
“Oh yeah? With what?”
“I need to see a man about getting a fridge.”
“It’s light out though. I thought you didn’t use the front door?”
“Only time I can meet with this guy.”
“How are you going to get it up here?”
“You’re a strong kid. If it works you can lift it to me from the alley. The neighbor down the road keeps a ladder next to his garage. We can use that.”
“Why didn’t you tell me about the ladder yesterday?”
“I wanted to see if you were resourceful and could think on your feet.” Charlie rolled his eyes.
“And you think I can lift a fridge from the ally, get it through that back window all without being noticed?”
“Well I’ll help with it obviously.”
Marcus walked away down the hall to the bathroom and took a shower. The two of them then got dressed and headed outside through the back window. They walked two blocks down the alley to a car that was parked outside a garage. Marcus grabbed keys from his pocket and unlocked the doors. It was a Chevy El Camino that looked to be in perfect shape. As the two sat in the car Charlie quickly noticed it had a few modifications inside the vehicle. A cop scanner was hooked up instead of a radio as well as a secret compartment that was below the driver’s seat. Charlie got a glance at the compartment that had a wallet, a significant stack of used money, and what appeared to be a gun. Charlie calmly looked away and tried to pretend he didn’t see anything and wondering to himself “Who is this guy?”
The two drove for about ten minutes through the city without a word being spoken between the two before Marcus pulled the car over in an empty lot where a business had been shut down.
“This guy doesn’t know you so he might ask some questions. Just let me do the talking though. It’ll go easier that way.”
“Why does it matter? We are picking up a fridge right?”
“Right. Give me your phone though.”
“Because if you take photos or text I’ll shoot you. Just don’t talk or touch anything.”
Marcus got back on the road and drove another block before pulling his car into an alley and then pulled his car into a building that looked like a mechanic shop. He got out of the car but motioned to Charlie to stay put. Marcus met some guy and shook his hand and they started walking towards the back. Charlie didn’t see what the big deal was. It looked like a legitimate mechanic shop. Charlie stayed in the car and casually looked around. There were a few guys working on a few cars and another two guys were sitting on a worn down couch watching some television. Marcus had walked to the back of the building where nobody could see the two. About fifteen minutes went by and then Marcus came back with another guy and a smaller fridge on a trolley. The two of them lifted it and placed it in the back of the El Camino. The other guy came to Charlie’s door side and motioned for him to roll down his window. Charlie did so.
“Your girlfriend is pretty hot buddy. Keep her around.” He said with a smile.
“I don’t have a girlfriend.” Charlie said in a serious voice.
“Oh. Well who’s that girl in your phone you have a picture with?”
“Oh shit! You think I could get her number then?” He said and started laughing.
Charlie rolled up his window and the guys in the building started laughing at him. Marcus had gotten in the car and flipped Charlie his phone. Marcus turned the car on and reversed out of the garage.
“You took my phone so you could look through it? You couldn’t have just asked me about it.”
“I wanted to see what you’d do. And why would you just offer someone your phone? You don’t even know me. What if I had left you here without a phone? What would you have done?”
“I don’t know. I knew you wouldn’t have left me here with your car.”
“How do you know this car wasn’t stolen?”
“You have a stack of money, a wallet and a gun under your seat. It’s your car. Nobody would have a secret compartment under their seat.”
“You saw that huh? Well good. If you’re going to be in my circle you need to start thinking about any possible situation and all the options. When you get put in a tough situation you make your own exit.”
“I’m in your circle now?”
“You know where I live. You’re kind of forced in my circle now whether I like it or not.”
Charlie shook his head thinking Marcus was crazy. Marcus smiled thinking he had a new project he could exploit and use to his advantage.
“Let’s go grab some food. We need to talk about stuff.”
“Well you’re driving so unless I jump out of the car I don’t have any option.”
“Or you could demand we go somewhere you want to go.”
“Fine. Let’s go get tacos.”
“No this is more a burger situation but nice try.”
Marcus drove to a diner Charlie had never seen before. When they entered Marcus whispered something to the waitress at the door and then led himself to a booth in the back. Charlie followed behind. Without getting any service two burgers were brought out to them. Again Charlie was getting weird vibes about this new relationship he had formed with Marcus. Marcus had asked more information about Charlie’s roommate and how he planned to fix the situation. Charlie asked Marcus questions but didn’t get any answer out of him that wasn’t extremely vague before he asked a dozen more questions back to Charlie. Charlie decided that he was just going to go back to his room Monday and hope that his roommate had calmed down and they could talk. He said if things got out of hand he would threaten to report him to the RA in his dorm. He expected his roommate would have calmed down and realized that his only choice was to trust that Charlie would keep his secret and they would go about their lives until the semester ended. Marcus remained quiet while Charlie explained what his plan was. They finished eating and left. Marcus had some fun with Charlie getting a fridge lifted to the second floor using a ladder and then disabling the fire alarm to use the back door.
Charlie realized that he needed to submit some homework saved on his laptop. He decided to deal with the issue on Sunday night and hope for the best. When Charlie entered his dorm room his roommate was standing by the cracked window smoking a cigarette.
“There’s no smoking in the dorm.”
“Shut the fuck up man. Who do you even think you are showing up like you did?”
“This is my room too.”
“Not for long. I’m going to make your life miserable for what you cost me. I’m not going to be able to pay my tuition without the cash you cost me.”
“Why don’t you just ask your parents? They’re rich and will pay it.”
“I made them a deal that I would get a job on campus and earn a thousand bucks each semester.”
“And instead you sell drugs?”
“I make way more than a thousand bucks but right now I spent it on weed and booze and clothes and shit. My dad called me on Monday and said he needed a down payment since we have been in school already for a month.”
“Why don’t you tell him you don’t have a job yet then?”
“Because I already told him I had.”
“So now I need $250 from you right now.”
“Well I don’t have anything but a few bucks. There’s nothing in my bank account either.”
“This isn’t up for negotiation. You call your parents, your brother, your long lost uncle and have him put the money in your account and then withdrawal it from the ATM or I’m going to cut your balls off in your sleep.”
There was two knocks on the door and the door opened. Marcus walked in.
“Are you Stan?” He asked pointing to Charlie’s roommate.
“My name is Frankie.”
“You actually tell people your name… and you deal drugs? Marcus asked puzzled. “You’re right this guy’s not too bright.” He said looking at Charlie. Charlie gave him a stunned look for his remarks. “Anyways. My buddy here told me that he knew a guy named Stan that could help me find what I was looking for. You have a stash of ‘X’ on you?”
“Maybe… You have cash on you?” Marcus pulled out a stack of hundreds.
“Get your stash and let me get what I need. I have a grand right here and I need to get going.” Frankie pulled out a bag from a sports baggie he had in his closet and opened it on his desk. He had small packages of two pills each.
“How much you want?” Frankie asked but Marcus went over and grabbed the bag. Zipped it up and threw it in a book bag and tossed it over his shoulder.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing!” Frankie said as he reached for Marcus’ book bag. Marcus pushed him away and raised his shirt showing a gun.
“Do you think I’m going to let some rich kid come into my area and start stealing clients? You’re going to stop selling anything here. And if I even hear you’re selling weed I’m going to come back and slash all the tires on your Mercedes with the license plate that says ‘REALDEAL.’ I’m going to come back to this dorm room and kick your ass and tie you up in the middle of campus. I know the head security guard. His name is Mark. He will let me do it. But don’t get too upset. I’m still going to give you $200 for your troubles. Remember. This is only a warning. I like your ambition Frankie. Now put it towards your studies and leave this business alone. It’ll turn you into an asshole. Stop being an asshole Frank. “ Marcus opened the door and left. Charlie and Frankie stood there in silence stunned.
“What the hell just happened?” Charlie said.
“I don’t know who the hell that is, but it’s your fault idiot. I’m getting out of here.” Frankie started grabbing his clothes and throwing it into a suitcase. He grabbed his laptop and some jewelry he had on his night stand and walked out the door. “I’ll get the rest later.”
Charlie sat on his bed trying to digest what had just happened. He received a text message from “Drug Stealer” telling him to turn in his homework. When Charlie didn’t respond back he received a phone call and Charlie answered.
“Did he leave yet?”
“Did he call the cops or campus security?”
“What an idiot.”
“Why did you do that? Are you insane?”
“I feel like we’ve had this conversation before.”
“Oh really? We had a conversation where you showed a gun off to my roommate? I guess I wasn’t paying attention.” Charlie said sarcastically.
“I did no such thing.”
“Are you crazy? Like seriously? Do you suffer from some mental disease?”
“Are you mad at me? You have no reason to be mad right now. You should be happy. That guy is going to be moved out of your dorm by the end of the week. You’re going to have your own room but be paying the price of a double.”
“You don’t think once he drops out they’ll charge me for a single?”
“It’s already been paid for. That kid comes from money and will be so freaked out he won’t think about saving the cash he could be saving because he’s going to be coming up with a lie for the reason he’s not coming back to campus and staying at his parent’s house or for staying at his buddies place and not attending classes. My votes on a mysterious disease. That’s what I’d go with.”
“So you did all this to help me?”
“I did it to help me, which indirectly helped you. Do you know how much cash I can score for this stuff now? I’ll definitely profit off of it.”
“I prefer insane genius.”
“But you must have put your number in my phone before I told you anything about Frankie. You must have done it at the garage. How’d you know to put ‘Drug Stealer’ in my phone? The only way is if you knew in advance what you were going to do.”
“It is pretty clever isn’t it?”
“Do you ever clearly answer anything or do you always answer a question with another question?”
“Does that bother you? I’m kidding. Never answer anything over an open phone line. Turn in your homework Charlie. It’s getting late. I’ll be in touch. Don’t call me.”