Crackle chokes back a snort of derisive laughter, mumbles the word 'bastard' under his breath and slams back the rest of his whiskey.
"I ain't sayin' shit until I get another of these," he says, angrily slurring his words while staring at me through shifty eyes. "What the hell you wanna know about that bastard for, anyway?" he asks.
I motion to the bartender who, in short order, places an open bottle of Jack Daniel's in front of my elven compatriot and walks away.
Crackle contemplates the scene for a minute, then pours himself another shot and slams it back, his eyes reddened and watery.
"All right, fine," he says, "Let me start at the beginning..."
"Back in the day, the four of us were inseparable, always hitting whatever parties and broads we could and snorting blow. A LOT of blow. Don't believe me? Ask Pop to show you the trick he can do with a handkerchief and his nose. Poor bastard's got no septum left at all."
"Anyways, one night the four of us were sitting around doing some lines, when who shows up at the door but Toucan Sam? That guy was ALWAYS looking to score some candy. Always carried a coffee can with him, usually full to the rim with coke. He'd plop down lines with a scoop and whiff em up that enormous schnozz of his. Between the women and the blow we always called him "Two Can Sam", 'cause he always had a can he was packing and a can he was tappin', if you know what I mean."
"So Sam tells me that he's got a line on several kilos of premium shit, I'm talking dynamite toot, totally pure and uncut. He wants to know if we want in on the action. It won't just be us, though, Sam's made arrangements through Sonny Bird, who was going to get Lucky to front the cash. Sonny was always a bit highstrung, but the guy knew his shit, and if he said this stuff was gold, well, who was I to argue?"
"We all threw in on what we figured would be a great deal, and I'll tell you what, man, it was. This shit was fantastic! Honestly, I was a bit wary of the stuff, it seemed awfully cheap for the quality, but hey, when in Rome, you know?".
Crackle stared at the liquor in his glass as he slowly spun its contents. Gazing remorsefully into nothing, he sighed, downed the shot and continued his tale.
"So there we are, a handful of us sitting on top of "old Cokey", trying to figure out what the hell to do with it all. Yeah, we could keep it and live off that shit forever, but why not recoup some of the cost, you know? Shit like this we could cut three, four, maybe five times and nobody would be the wiser. It was just THAT good."
"We were all raring to go on selling it, but no one was as excitable about it as Pow. That bastard was absolutely itching to off some of the stuff, almost as if he knew something we didn't. Which, of course, it turns out he did."
"Anyways, we cut this stuff what WE thought was pretty heavy and took a batch to our first buyer, Tony the Tiger. Tony wasn't hardcore about his dope, he just kind of dabbled a little bit, here and there. You know, he liked to get frosted, but he didn't need to be snowy. We told him the price and then popped down a couple of lines for him to try out. Of course he thought they were great, and within a few minutes we'd dropped off a bit of coke and lightened Tony's load by a few G's."
"I hooked up with one of our regular pushers, a smack fiend named Sugar Bear. I told him what we were looking to offload. That's where I heard about the truth behind this shit for the first time. Apparently the original owner of this piece was some Colombian overlord whose name I don't remember. Anyways, he had ended up on the wrong side of Crazy Craving. I don't suppose I need to mention where he got the name Crazy from. After a little unpleasantness between them, Crazy just had the
motherfucker offed, then took his stash and dropped it on the streets at bargain basement prices."
He slammed back another shot.
"I was incredulous, man. I mean, here I am offloading a mountain of some dead Colombian's shit. Who knows who's gonna come looking for this stuff? I brought it up with Snap, Pop and Pow and Pow just starts laughing, telling us he knew all about this because he heard Sonny talking about it once while Sonny was jacked up on crack."
"What's more, I start getting trickles here and there that Pow is running his mouth off about what we're up to. That's bad juju, man. I like getting high as much as the next guy, and I ain't got nothin' against makin' a dishonest buck off the goods, but I don't need no loudmouth ruining my operation for the sake of a few yuks. Come on, man, we're talking thousands of dollars worth of pure coke. Fucking blood coke, when you get right down to it. This isn't the sort of thing you want to advertise."
"Before long, Pow's mouth got to be a big problem. Too many people were catching drift of what was going on, and if we weren't careful we were gonna catch some serious heat. I called a meeting with Snap, Pop, Sonny, Toucan and Lucky. I laid out our situation and said that before we parted ways that day we needed to figure out an answer to our problem."
Crackle went silent. His head dropped and he stared daggers at the bottle that was now half empty in front of him.
"So," I asked, "did you figure out a solution?"
A pregnant pause filled the air between us as Crackle contemplated his answer.
"Yeah," he said, "we figured it out."
"The problem ended up being twofold. First off, how do we take care of the problem and secondly, what do we do with the second problem we'd create when we got rid of the first one, catch my drift?"
"The first problem was simple enough. We arranged a hiking trip for the seven of us, nothing but 'bro's and blow'. We made the whole thing sound like a fun chance to get wasted and kick back. Once we were out in the woods we drew straws to see who would take care of Pow. It turned out to be Sonny."
"Sonny's already a bit unhinged, and having to both off AND dispose of Pow really set that guy off. Before he went to do the deed he inhaled a fucking mountain of blow. The two of them went off to 'find some firewood'. I didn't see him do the deed, but I heard Sonny screaming at Pow to watch him while he died. I guess he really got off on Pow going to the grave knowing he was killed by a trusted friend."
"Whatever, you know, Sonny's always been out there. But disposing of Pow sent him over the edge, man. He'd always been a bit weird beforehand, but after knocking out the teeth, removing the hands and feet and burning them, then burying the rest of the corpse, the dude just went off the deep end. Ever since he's had this wild look in his eyes. You seen him lately? The guy seems just about ready to snap."
"Once we got home we constructed this scenario where Pow got pissed at all of us and ditched off for Europe. We just burned most of his possessions. Lucky forged a note for us. It was simple, really. Too simple, when you get down to it. The fact of the matter was, we pulled it off. No more Pow, no more problem."
"We laid low on the rest of the dope and just kind of withdrew from the scene for awhile. Eventually it all blew over and now we're all pretty much living life like normal."
"Fuck it, you know? Who's perfect these days? Not me, and I'm sure not you."
He finished off the bottle and flipped his glass over.
"I don't know why I told you all this, man. I guess I just trust you."
He climbed off the stool and stumbled towards the doorway. As he opened the door he turned and said, "Thanks for the whiskey."
"No problem," I said, and then quietly whispered, "He's clear now guys, take him down."
Almost immediately the team swarmed Crackle, pulling his screaming frame down to the floor, weapons brandished threateningly and stuffed in his face.
"You BASTARD!" he spat at me, eyes burning with rage. "How could you do this to me? I trusted you!"
I slowly made my way to where he was spread across the floor.
"Pow was my brother," was the last thing he heard me say before I kicked him into unconsciousness and spat on his diminutive frame.