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About a Guy Named Casey Five Rough Yogurt

He asked me if I had any yogurt, and so I shot him in the head.
    
He was hungry, I guess. And a Tred. As he turned I saw his pager and I saw it was that special little prissy-lookin' neon green POS they pass out to all their kids. Sigh. Wanted yogurt. Yogurt and dope. Dope he'd turn around and sell threefold back to some twelve year old down on Collier's. We don't need any kids dying.
    
I don't really like that word: yogurt. Sounds like a disease. And there sure as hell isn't any in my fridge. And if there ever was, it's gone now.
    
And so is Kell. He has a bullethole through his skull now, a hole that looks up at me and smiles. The gun is still smoking. I walk over to the phone and call Mickey, the McDonald's guy.
    
He picks up on the first ring. "Whatcha need, Casey?" he says. "When'd you get Caller ID," I ask. "While ago," says Mickey, "Gotta catch up on the times."
     "Yeah, well ..." I say.
     "Haven't talked to you in a few months. You still in with Del?" he asks.
     "Yup, well sorta. I'm taking care of childcare distro now, making sure those dumb kids get sh*t rolling and making sure they don't get caught. Restricting 'em to limited quantities, sh*t like that. We don't need any little kids dying on our behalf. Bad f**king karma."
     "No sh*t." He breathes in and out. "You did it again, didn't ya?"
     "It was a Tred, Mick," I say. "Kidsale, selling to younger than high school."
     "How old was he? Not a kid, I hope. A kid'll cost you more than you got right now, I guarantee it. All sorts of stuff to deal with. Parents, manhunts. Fuck that."
     "He's cool. Twenties, I think."
     "First thing: check his ID. Make sure he's not a kid."
     "He's not a kid."
     "Just check his ID."
     "Hold on."
    
Mickey's with the city. He's hired directly by your hard-earned tax dollars to drop by McDonald's four, five times a day and get the trash. Nowhere else - he's special sanctioned. A McDonald's-only garbage man. He's been taking care of sh*t for me for something like a year now.
    
And he does it again, no questions asked.
    
Backing up.
    
Rick's looking backward over his shoulder at me in a mutual pathetic nod sort of thing, and my head hurts worse than it ever has before.

The bag he's dragging up the sidestairs is black, and the ratty leather strap looks chewed by some kind of small animal, maybe a dog. And by the sharp edged semi-square protrusion on the left side, I know there's not just clothes inside.
    
Maybe it's a twelve gauge. It's a big bag.
    
He reaches me, claps his hand across my back, lightly- making sure to avoid bruises or treat the ones that are there nicely. I try to but can't smile.
    
"Casey," he says.
     "Yeah."
     "I'm sorry."
     "Don't worry 'bout it. 'ts not your fault."
     "Yeah but--" he trails off, looks me in the eye, my left eye, my squinted blackened swollen-shut left eye.
    
We say no more.
    
My apartment is/was number Four-B, a nice little studio I've been leasing for about a year now. Three hours ago at one in the AM it was superclean, organized, trendy, sleek. In the right corner was a home entertainment center, a nice Sony system I got at a wholesale price from a friend down in New Orleans who ships that kind of thing for a living. Sometimes electronics tend to fall off the trucks, he says. No big deal, he says. System only cost me a thou. But that's now irrelevant, seeing as the remains of the center are now four floors below in a jumble of circuitry and smoke, surrounded on four corners by banana-colored tape.
    
And in the left corner was a Mr. Coffee. A Mr. Coffee that made a strong connection with my head at some point last night. The pieces are on the floor, and a brown stain diffuses into a red one on the carpet.
    
"Fuck." says Rick, who moves his arm to set the bag down slowly.
     "Yeah," I trail, feeling my head pulse again. "You need to get out of here as soon as possible," Rick says. "I know," I say.
     "Del actually told me he's got a place you can prob'ly stay. He thinks this is a warning. He feels responsible."
    
I fume. "Fuck that," I say. "Fuck that." I wave my arms, sleeves of my robe slapping the air inside. "This was me. Not his ass. This was me."
    
"But you said it yourself," Rick says. "No one here wants you dead."
     "No one here would put a hit on me. Trust me. That's why it doesn't make sense."

     "Put a hit on you- you sound like a gangster."
     "What the f**k else would you call it?" I snarl, walking over the refrigerator to pour a glass of orange juice. Hell, at least it usually cures a hangover.
     "A situation," he says. "A bad situation."
    
The juice hurts my teeth; the acid doesn't mix well with the blood.
    
"A situation," I repeat. "That's all you have to say. That this is a 'situation'."
     "Casey I f**kin' told you I'm sorry. What else do you want?"
     "I want my life back."
     "Here," Rick says, "Del wanted to replace what you lost."
    
He holds out a plastic bag.
    
I was watching TV when they came in. Guy had a bat, just like the movies. And after he used it and threw my sh*t out the window, all I could think was, I need to f**king flush my stash before the cops come. So minutes before I passed out I dumped it all. And here's Del, replacing it.
    
Like it matters at this point. I can hardly see. How 'bout replacing my eye.
    
I bend over to the floor. There is, rounded corner stuck in a dent in the hardwood, a chip- poker chip- blue. I palm it and look to Rick.
    
"Take it," I say, about the sh*t, not the chip, for some reason thinking about an old girlfriend. "I don't want it." I wonder where she is, wonder what she's doing. "I can't take this back to Del," he says, throwing it at me from a couple feet away. I don't catch it. It hits the ground softly. Her number ended with 34-27 I think. Can't remember the prefix. "Then you take it. Use it, sell it, f**k, I don't care."
    
"You sure?" he asks, leaning over to retrieve the clear-wrapped baggie. "It's yours, you know."
    
I know, I say. What was I thinking about a minute ago? Girl. Girl. I spin my head to face Rick again. Things blur and trail and blend into a line. "Yeah. Yeah. Take it." He pockets the bag. "What a spill you took last night."
    
Last night. I was watching television last night. The man on the screen looked at me and probed my mind, asking me question after question about geography and zoology and astronomy. Some gameshow. He was on a question about seals when the power went off. Dark, dark, click, flash, dark ...
One time I took one too many tabs and tried to kill a couple of wasps with a shotgun. There are still holes in my bathroom wall.
    
Matched by the single taunting hole in the wall above my black leather armchair. They missed me. Couldn't be on accident.
    
Rick is over by the window.
    
"Come on," he says. "Pack up and let's see your new place."
    
Suddenly a kid bursts through the door and my gun is out.
    
"Can I score some dope here?" he asks.
    
"Maybe."
    
"Have I been here before? Is this the place with the yogurt?" he asks, "Do you have yogurt?"
    
Clickbang. (c) Ben Glaser
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