CHAPTER: 12345, 678910111213141516171819

Straight away the next morning Emmet is on the phone, calling the people he dealt to before and who he knows love TV. He chooses to focus on the seven most likely to actually buy the boxes from him, the ones who always had the television on when he came around to drop off the pills. Three of them are eager, saying yes as soon as he’s explained what the boxes are and actually do. Even when he tells them the price they don’t care.

“Not a problem mate!” one of them says, “I just wanna watch something that isn’t Countdown while I enjoy the buzz. Do they get kids cartoon channels?”

Emmet quickly checks with his own box and is instantly assaulted by animated images and loud shouting.

“Yup,” he says after muting the television, “At least three different kid’s channels, if not more. I’ve just checked and found them in a few seconds.”

“Mint!” the guy cries down the phone, “I love some cartoons. You’re wanting cash right?”

“Yeah, £200 clear,” Emmet says.

“Great, I’ll have it for you,” he says. “Drop it off at 7. If you set it up for me, I’ll bung you an extra £50. Can’t be arsed with all those wires.”

“Not a problem,” Emmet says, excitement racing through his veins. He doesn’t even care that he has no clue how to set it up. “See you then.”

Once he’s hung up and before he makes the next call he realises that he should know. More people might want some help and he’ll probably feel more legit if he can actually tell them how to set their boxes up. He quickly checks over the box, following the wires to see where they plug in. Each box came with a set of wires and he makes sure that he knows which ones go where, both in the box and in to the television.

Other potential buyers that he calls are a little more reluctant. Some are interested when he tells them what the boxes did but become more reluctant once they hear the price. Emmet has to blag it then, take a chance and work on their greed.

“You sure you don’t want it?” he says. “I’ve only got seven and I’ve already sold three of them. People really want them; I don’t know when I’ll be able to get more in. Figured I’d call you first though and ask, you are one of my best customers.”

For some that is all it takes, the threat of not getting something that everyone wants. Others it is the compliment of being asked first, of being considered the best customers. One potential customer takes a lot more convincing though and Emmet figures out that it’s because the other guy is trying to make a clean start, just like Emmet is.

“Hey I get it mate,” Emmet says kindly. “I’m trying to do the same thing. It’s not just good for when you’re buzzing though. You can use it all the time. Snuggle up with the missus and watch some films on one of the movie channels, catch up on some porn when you can’t sleep, put the news channel on and look smart when you’ve got people around fixing shit. And you’ve got the kids channels for if you’ve ever got little kids around. It’s brilliant.”

“I still don’t know mate,” the guy says reluctantly. “It’s a lot of money and I don’t know if the missus will like it.”

“It gets American channels as well,” Emmet says, “MTV, Desperate Housewives, American Idol, Sex and the City. All sorts of shows I bet she reads about and wants to watch. She can watch them all.”

“Still…” the guy says. He doesn’t sound as reluctant now, there’s something in his voice that says he could be interested and he’s close to giving in. “It’s a lot of money…”

“Tell you what,” Emmet says, sensing a sale. “I’ll let you try it. No problem. You pay me up front and if you don’t like it in a week you can have your money back and keep the box anyway. If you like it though I keep the money and you keep the box. And I’ll set it all up for you. How’s that sound?”

The guy sits in silence for a little while, mulling things over.

“Yeah,” he says, “Yeah alright, I’ll give it a go.”

“Sweet,” Emmet says.

He arranges the drop off time and hangs up. He smiles, happy and pleased with the day’s work that he’s just done.

 

***

 

Damian tries another of the pills while he’s sat at home and bored out of his mind. It doesn’t taste right, just sugar and the tang of paracetamol. He winces and spits it out. That is not what he was expecting at all and it’s definitely not what he’s paid for. He reaches for another one but it tastes exactly the same. He spits that one out too. He grabs another. Exactly the same again. Another. Tastes right at last. He doesn’t take it though. He puts it to one side, next to the ones that he spat out. There’s a slight difference between the two types of pill. The ones that are actually the pills he wants are a little smaller, slightly fatter and they have a slight pink tinge. The others are flat and pale.

Damian grabs the bag and tips the pills out over the coffee table in front of him. He sorts through the pills, picking out the ones that look right and shoving the others to the side. It doesn’t take him long to sort them; he gets better at seeing the differences between the two types the more that he looks at them. When they’re all sorted he counts through the pills. It’s a fifty/fifty split. Half of the pills are dud.

“That little fucker!” he snarls. “50% crap shot.”

He grabs his phone and hammers on the numbers, angrily dialling Emmet. All he gets is the engaged tone though, Emmet is busy on the other end setting up his box sales. Damian hits the end call button angrily. The more time that passes, the more that he looks at the two piles of pill, one good and the other crappy, the more furious he gets.

He hammers in Terry’s number.

“’Lo,” Terry says sleepily. “Who this?”

“Terry you little shit,” he snarls, “What the fuck is going on?”

“Not so loud,” Terry whines. “My head.”

“Fuck your head!” Damian shouts. Terry whimpers on the other end. “You’ve sold me crap.”

“What you on about?” Terry asks.

“The pills!” Damian says, “Half the pills are crap, just sugar and paracetamol mixed up. What the fuck have you sold me?”

“They’re good man, really good,” Terry says, starting to slur. “They’re not duds.”

“Yes, they fucking are,” Damian says. “I know because I’ve tried them. Now. I want my money back. ALL OF IT!”

“Hey, that’s not fair,” Terry says. “The other half are still good, you can still sell those and make a profit.”

“Fuck off,” Damian says. “I want my money back, all of it and I’m gonna keep the pills. Bring it round now.”

“No can do mate,” Terry says around a yawn. “I’ll come and see you in a few days. We can talk it over and figure something out there. I’m out of town at the minute. Can’t do a thing until I’m back.”

“Get fucked!” Damian snarls. “I want my money back and I want it today.”

“I’m not in Baslow!” Terry whines. “And I don’t have your 700 on me at the moment.”

“I don’t give a fuck where you are or how much you have on you!” Damian snarls, sounding like a wild animal. “I want my £700 back. Today!”

He hangs up angrily, slamming the handset back in to place. He looks at the phone in his hand, considers throwing it across the room to let off some anger but decides against it. He wants his money and he’s going to get it, one way or another.

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