Chapter 13. Paid In Full

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First off, I'll let you know what Sam was doing on that Friday. It took me a while to find out, but as it just so has it, the evening he spent with Greg Müller would go on to play a significant role in our lives. 

They went blow off quarters at a Northeast, like they used to before Sam found friends who didn't persistently smell like old french fries, or wore graphic t-shirts with cereal mascots rather than band names.

Beneath the neon lights, Sam told Greg it had been a long time since they last hung out, then he asked for money.

Greg, keen on the prospect of leading a slightly edgier life with his friend on the baseball team, quickly agreed.

Then they went to the Lloyd Center parking lot for a meeting Sam had already arranged beforehand, without the need of Greg's consent.

"I'll pay you back," Sam assured, mumbling the words as Greg's twenty dollar bill left his pocket.

"Don't sweat it," Greg replied, his focus shifting towards the broad-shouldered fellow in front of them. Sam told him his name was Halvar prior to the meeting. He also told him Halvar could easily snap.

"It's always a pleasure doing business," Halvar smiled- showing off a missing front tooth, and accepted the money, "I  never see you anymore." 

"Yeah, I stopped running with the Grant crowd," Sam explained, looking over his shoulder to assure himself no one was watching them in the empty mall parking lot. 

Greg watched in awe as Halvar handed Sam a transparent glass vial the size of his thumb. Sam rolled out a flat smile, he always tried his best to avoid people who remembered his time with the the kids from Grant High School. Even so, Halvar was his only vendor he trusted. 

"It sure was..." Sam mumbled. 

"Who's your friend over here?" Halvar then asked, pointing his chipped nail at Greg, "is he straight?"

"Nothing about Greg is straight."

Halvar laughed again, and ruffled Greg's hair as he stood there, paralyzed.

"You two have a good night."

Then he ambled away.

Greg caught his breath, and the two guys started walking in the opposite direction. 

"I'm a little surprised you're tough enough to meet that guy," Greg said, visibly frightened of the 6.9 tall dealer, "let alone in an empty parking lot." 

"Please," Sam scoffed, brushing it off as if the entire pickup as no big deal, "he's a friend of Jude Yuri, he wouldn't touch me with a six-foot stick."

"You're right, he'd stab you with a six-foot stick." 

Sam laughed, moving on to a sentimental smile as he looked over at his chicken-legged friend.

"You know, Greg. I like how you make my life out to be way more exciting than it actually is," he said. 

Greg grunted, the kind of sound you'd expect from him. The kind of grunt he'd made without fear of social rejection. 

"Besides, I usually go through Jude," Sam explained, "he's gone cold turkey, though." 

"Isn't it time you went cold turkey?" Greg asked, "you don't exactly have the personal economy for such an expensive taste in drugs." 

"I'll quit when I want to," Sam claimed. He believed this himself.

"What would happen if Ammi found out about your- ahem, habits?" Greg asked. He was the only one of Sam's friends who had ever met his parents. 

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