I follow the police into my lounge, the anxiety in my chest feels almost too much. I’m sure the moment they walk in they will see the phet like and hone in on it. I promise myself no more. Just this last one and if they don’t see it, no more. I’ll be done with the drugs. I realise what I’ll lose if they find them. I think about Will and him at his mothers, I can’t give him up for the drugs; I’d have nothing left at all. I think about Maz’s words, what I promised her. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it to my son and let him suffer for my choices. That would make me no better than my own parents.
I look down and the phet is gone. I’m relieved but I’m afraid Joanne has it on her and they will search us. The police look everywhere. They lift up the cushions off the sofa, take out drawers, I have no real clue what they thing they are going to find, but it isn’t anything I have that they would want. The police finish, but they don’t clean up and the flat is a mess.
They leave but don’t really say anything to me and I sigh at yet another invasion from them. Its beginning to get to the point that I fear each time I open the door it will be them, many times it is, mostly they are looking for Mark, and usually they have just missed him. I am glad of that, but I know if he is there and he is caught, I’ll hand him over, maybe that makes me a coward. But I don’t care. I put my child before Mark and if that means I become a grass I don’t care.
I asked Joanne where she put the phet and she gives me a smile like she knew I was worried. She reaches down into the box that holds Wills toys and pulls out one of his bears, such a classic place for drugs but the police didn’t look there. I guessed they weren’t looking for those.
We all clean up when the police leave and in a way the place looks better than it did before. Maz comes back with the phet and my earlier promise is soon out of the window. I have every intention of not taking more, but it’s just this time, while I have the money. I have to be ready to quit I tell myself. A fake promise I know, but I still believe it. I have to quit, but not today.
I take the phet to the bedroom. Maz comes too. It’s not a big room; it fits the double bed and a single bedside table, that’s it. The window has a large crack through it, but it has tape across it, not that its much use, it still lets in a draft. We don’t have curtains, we can’t afford them. Joanne has tacked an old towel across the window to keep the privacy, but it doesn’t bother me. I feel better when the window is open and the curtains aren’t back. I don’t feel trapped when it’s like that, but she likes it dark.
Maz sits on the bed, but she doesn’t say anything as I prepare the phet and inject it. She does the same with her own concoction of things. She gets onto the bed properly and leans against the wall, crossing her legs at the ankle. I put the things away, light a cigarette and give it to her and then light one for myself. She doesn’t say anything when I climb on the bed with her and lay my head down on her legs.
She runs her fingers through my hair and sometimes I think I could stay there forever when she does that. We talk about the baby, about Froggy, about me working for Lorraine and a million other things that I can hardly remember, but we just talk. Putting the world to rights in our own little ways, with dreams of what we could do if we were able. And when it reaches midnight I wonder where the time has gone, me and Maz have hardly moved and save for a few disturbances from the others mostly we were alone.
I tell Maz I have to go out.
“Karla?” she asks.
I nod my head and smile.
“I’m surprised Joanne hasn’t caught you yet,” she says.
“I’m sure she doesn’t give a shit.”
“If you were mine I’d kick your arse,” she tells me and I laugh.
“If I was yours, I’d be dead.” I sit up properly and lean to her and kiss her. It’s what we do. We don’t even hide it. Froggy and Joanne never seem to complain, they do similar. I wouldn’t care what Joanne did with Froggy.
“I love you, you little shit,” she says to me and I grin and put my arms around her to say goodbye.
“I love you too,” I tell her. She’s the only one I can say it too and feel happy about it. I hold onto her for just a second. “I’ll be back soon.”
I don’t tell Joanne as I leave the flat and race down the steps, I’m not even sure she is in herself. Colin is in bed I noticed though.
Karla is already finished when I get there. She’s sat on the counter with her small black coat on, hair done and a smile on her face. She jumps down and wave’s goodnight to her colleagues. She comes outside and flings her arms around my neck.
I take her hand and lace my fingers through hers. “Where are we going?” she asks me.
“I have something to take care of,” I tell her and then she starts to tell me about her day. I’m not listening so much, my mind is racing and alive. Most people bore me, Karla is one of them, but for some reason I keep her in my life. I’d say it was for the sex, but I can get that anywhere and most of the time, I’m on the phet, it makes the sex part hard.
I walk us all the way to Phil’s house. Not where he lives with Sarah, but where he keeps his car. Silly idiot keeps it at his other place in case Becci ever drives passed. I know where he keeps his bat too. I give Karla and cigarette and tell her to wait there.
“What are you doing?” she asks.
“You’ll see,” I tell her, then I duck down the side of the building that Phil pretends to live at, go into his shed and pull out his baseball bat. I’m hardly thinking as I do it, it’s been cooking in my mind since the moment I realised who had called the police.
I don’t feel bad as I charge back to where his car is and launch the bat into the driver’s side window.
“What the hell are you doing?” asks Karla, startled at my attack on his car, but he deserves it.
“Pay back,” I tell her and then I knock out the back window on the same side.
Karla comes at me; she grabs my wrists of the hand that holds the bat. “Someone’s going to come and hear you,” she says.
I shrug. “What are they going to do?”
“Call the police.”
I raise the bat to take out the rear window, slipping my wrist from her reach; she folds her arms and stares at me, waiting for me to make my decision. I pause with the bat ready to strike. A light comes on in a house over the road. “Fine,” I say and then I throw the bat into the car through one of the already smashed windows. “We’ll go.”