Runner – Part 15

This is Part 15 of my serial narrative, “Runner.” Here’s a link to Runner – Part I if you haven’t read that yet.

***

Part 15

We decided to continue their efforts to subvert the Mad Hatters. Ryan articulated the group’s feeling when he said, “I came here 3 years ago for school. Now it’s my home.”

Deacon suggested that we should talk to Shake in the hospital. The group agreed and picked me to visit the injured drug dealer.

I went to the hospital the next day to see Shake.

I walked up to the nurses’ station, and I stammered as I said Shake’s real name. Shake was, of course, a nickname. A stage name.

I went to his room and pushed the door open.

His face looked like someone had used it for violent, radical psychotherapy. He was sitting up in bed, both eyes black and puffy. I put his phone on the bedside table. We stared at each other for a bit.

“What happened?” I finally asked.

“I went back for my other stash of meth.” Shake smirked. “I’m no fool. Any dealer worth his bread won’t hide his junk in just one place.”

His smile faded. “That’s when they jumped me. Those Hatter thugs had been waiting for me. They beat me up and took the rest of the meth.”

He touched his swollen cheek and said, “They really gave me a makeover.”

“Did you know the guys that jumped you?”

“Nah, never seen them before,” Shake said. “I’m not really part of the Hatters. I can’t believe you’re messing with them. I’m getting out of town as soon as I’m released. This town is a bomb waiting to be poked.”

He looked at me. “You guys still serious about messing with the Hatter?”

I nodded.

“Okay,” he said. “I’m going to give you the address of my meth supplier. Give me some paper.”

I handed him a notepad from the table and a pen marked “[Redacted] Memorial Hospital.” Shake scribbled on the notepad then handed it back to me.

“His name is Travis, and that’s where he lives. I don’t know if he’s the only one that lives there. I’ve only been inside twice.”

I ripped off the page and stuffed it into my pocket.

“Thanks. Sorry about your face.””

He shrugged. “Life is about collecting scars, brother.”

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