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Just to Get High
As two small boys ran down the sidewalk, they paused to take a breath. It was almost dark, and their curfew was running short.
“My mom is going to kill me, Chris!” Robby yelled as he started off down the sidewalk, trying to home before the street lights came on.
“Don’t worry about it, Robby. We’re eleven now.” Chris started running again, despite his words.
When they were running side-by-side again, Robby looked over at Chris. “I’m lucky you’re house is closer to the park than mine. And that my mom is at your house talking to your mom.”
Chris smiled. “Yeah, we probably won’t get into too much trouble for being late. I’m sure there sitting there just talking, and they haven’t even noticed that we’re not home yet.” He stopped again, with almost a block left to go. Bent over, he tried to catch his breath.
Robby stopped, too, looking back at his friend. “Come on, Chris!”
Before he could reply, Chris looked down at the curb. Laying there was a needle and syringe. He noticed that it was empty when he stepped closer to it.
“What is it, Chris?” Robby’s voice cut into Chris’ attention as he made his way even closer.
“I think it’s a needle. Like the ones they use at the doctor’s office.” His voice held awe.
“A needle? In the street?”
When Chris nodded, Robby looked down at the ground.
As Chris outstretched his hand toward it, Robby stopped him, pulling at his arm. “No, don’t touch it.”
“Because my mom told me once that needles on the ground usually had bad stuff on it, like drugs.”
Robby pulled harder when Chris advanced again. “We’re going to be late.” Robby shouted.
After a moment, Chris finally looked away and began running, but he glanced back twice before they reached the house.
Robby sat up on the couch as he watched in fascination at what the next news story was about. A woman was just mugged the night before, and the man took all of her money out of her purse. As the sketch was posted on the television, Robby could feel his heart begin to quicken.
He automatically recognized Chris as he stared at the screen. The woman speaking said that the man was well known drug user on the streets, and that he would do anything to get the drugs that he wanted. Robby absently heard his phone ringing next to him, pulling him out of his trance.
Quickly grabbing the phone, he looked at the caller I.D. It was his mother.
As soon as he answered, she talked before he could speak a word. “Did you see the news?”
“Can you believe that Chris would do something like that?”
“Mom, I haven’t seen him in like nine years. I don’t really know him anymore.”
“I would have never thought that he would do something like this…”
Robby ignored his mother as she spoke, occasionally saying “yeah” and “uh huh” at the appropriate times.
“Well, honey, I’m going to go get ready for bed. I’ll talk to you later.”
“Alright, Mom. Good night.”
Robby hung up and stared blankly at the commercial playing in front of him, thinking of all the times he spent hanging out with Chris, and that one day when he saw the change in Chris beginning to take place. Just looking at the needle on the ground caused a lusting glint in his eyes. It’s been almost eleven years since that night, but it was one of those nights that changed you forever, and was instantly etched in your mind.
That night changed Robby forever, and made him realize that his best friend would do anything to get high, no matter the consequences.