I picked up a nickel from the gutter. It looked new, worth half a Chiclet. I understood why someone better off may have doubted its value. Why would an upper-middle class management type want to chew on fractions of a Chiclet? There was no reason for it. So I took it. I didn’t ask around for an owner or notify the police. It may have been wrong but I was desperate. You see, I needed the small amount of change. I was an addict and a dealer… of Chiclets. But there’s nothing wrong with that. Harder drugs are expensive and the crowd’s rough. I sell mostly to suburban kids, get them hooked young. By the time they’re my age they can’t live without the rush. Sick times calls for sick business.
Still. It hurts to see the young with peppermint around their lips, thirsting for a jonesin. I told myself I’d get out of the life a million times. Maybe start a clinic for square-gum addiction. I’d have to kick my habit first though. Fat chance of that. I’m taking on fourteen twists a day! We call them twists on the street. It’s how you get Chiclets out of the machines at grocery stores.
Sometimes I crush them up, snort through a straw. You get the sugar way faster even if the taste isn’t there. A few clients shoot straight in their bloodstream. I haven’t sunk that low. So don’t think I’ve hit rock bottom. There’s a long way to fall. But, also, a hell of a long way to climb. I’d sure like to get there, maybe see the sky for once. It feels like there’s gum on my shoes, though, every time I try.
What’s that? You need to go? Think you could give me a ride to the airport? Fine, go on then! Hey, you, I’ve got something you need to try! Kid, KID! Over here!