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When she was 15, she sold her first kilo of cocaine. Sure, her brother was with her, but she did all the work.

Her first trip flying solo was to a bad part of town where even cops were scared to go. She wasn’t afraid, merely nervous and eager to prove herself.

A skinny woman with sunken eyes and hollowed cheeks opened the door. She tried to maintain eye contact but the skinny woman turned and walked away. She let herself in, locking the door behind her.

The drug dealer wore the same look of mixed fear and anxiety she was so familiar with. He moved quickly; the deal took mere seconds.

As she turned to leave the house, a single slumped figure caught her eye. It was a man, lying on the couch and shivering, his eyes closed tightly as if cringing in pain. His forehead glistened with sweat and his clothes were tattered and damp. Just as she began to tear her eyes away, the man looked at her. The dark, endless holes of his eyes seemed to penetrate her very being. She paused for a moment, then hurried out of the house.

Lying in bed a few hours later she thought about what she had seen. Everyone in that house seemed to know who she was, and they were afraid of her, as they should’ve been; had she returned with even a single hair missing from her pretty head all of Tampa’s police would have descended on that house. But not that man. He wasn’t afraid; he wasn’t even alive. Caught in the currents of desperation he was miles away from being a functional human being.

She shivered with the thought and turned over in her bed.


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