I regret taking my time to get to Spiro's. It's already dark outside and I'm just now leaving with his package. I'm so fucking tired. I'm glad that I don't have to go all the way into the valley but the thought of skating for an hour and a half there and then another 90 minutes back tonight sounds impossible. Maybe Lime was right, I need to just go to sleep early tonight. Spiro gave me this load of breVita to a dealer in Beverly Hills. Spiro has a car and could easily make the delivery himself in minutes but he would probably get recognized there. His contact doesn't know who he is and would probably tell all of his clients within days who his provider is just for the extra publicity. It may not actually compromise Spiro's position but it might compromise his other contacts in the underground and destroy everything he built for himself. Also I get the feeling that Spiro prefers not to leave his house. Even just bringing the spirits to the tree across the street is stressful for him.

The house has a drop driveway that lets residents and guests park underneath the house and keep their cars out of sight from the street. I walk up to the front door. It is rather grand and I wonder if I am the only human who uses it, since the driveway leads everyone to the elevator entrance. I've only used it once to leave after they placed a rush delivery and invited me in during a party. I'll never forget that party. There were hundreds of people packed into the house, leaning on furniture and each other, with a strange balance of scowling and laughing that made the whole thing feel sinister. Underground parties are full of drugs and people on drugs but they never look as fucked up as the party guests did at this place. It was loud with people trying to laugh over each other, it felt like they were performing the act of partying rather than actually doing it. There were a few dozen people scattered around dancing and kissing completely naked. It was hard to believe that they needed more drugs but I guess when you are a drug dealer, you need to have more than you actually use. Leopard himself was leading two people in suits around the party and acted surprised to see me. The four eyes of the two suits were staring into me harder than I had ever felt. Leopard passed my handheld back to me with an extra deposit of CASH into my own account which is not at all normal.

"Why don't you come downstairs with us, I want to show you my new car." As if we were old friends. I told him I should get back to the rest of my deliveries, not that I had any. But I realized I didn't really have much of a choice. Under the house, there were several cars parked neatly next to each other. He opened the door to a shiny black car that looked like it had never seen the dusty air of LA yet. He pointed to all the secret compartments that he could hide things in.

"Isn't that great, Sugar?" he kept repeating. "Wouldn't you love to have a car like this for your deliveries?"

"I don't know how to drive a car," I kept saying but he wasn't listening.

"I love it. Not that I would ever get pulled over, but if I did, there is no way they'd find anything." He was standing so close to me and I couldn't get out from between him and the car.

"Sit in it, Sugar. You would look so cute in there! You have to take off your skates though! Here, I'll help you take them off." He reached down to start taking my skates off me and I wanted to say "No get the fuck away from me." But for some reason I couldn't say anything. I just kept laughing for some reason. Why was I laughing? Luckily a few more people came down and called over to Leopard.

"Hey! I didn't know you were down here!" one shouted above the rest. They were wearing a long yellow gown and bright orange hair. "Who do you have over there?" He spun around and I was able to move away from the car and edge towards the exit. "Don't bother that delivery girl she's got work to do!" they scolded. Leopard looked bashful and giggled like a child.

"I just wanted to show her my new car." Leopard stared down at the floor and rocked from side to side as the yellow and orange person glided over with their entourage of people, all holding drinks and talking to each other. They thanked me and told me I should go ahead and head out the driveway. Their eyes looked kind and sparkled at me but my heart was still frozen.

I was shaking when I got out of the driveway and onto the street. I could hear yelling from down below.

Deliveries to this house have never been the same, at least for me. Leopard still acts the same, a little corny but professional enough to not make me nervous. I wonder sometimes if he even remembers inviting me down there, or if it's just a blur in his hazy memories of the night.

I step up to the door and give it knock. Behind the door stands a tired looking person in a jumpsuit.

"I need to speak with Leopard," I say with a smile. They nod and disappear, leaving the door open. I stay outside. There is a vase of spotted orange flowers on a table inside the door. They feel a little strange from over here and I focus on them so see if there is anything in them. I call out to them quietly in spirit tongue but don't hear any reply. It must just be a trick of the eye.

"SUGAR!" I hear echoing down the hallway moments before Leopard appears. He is wearing a long robe and athletic pants. "Why don't you come in!" he shouts before adding, "My neighbors have been a bit nosey lately you know." He puts his arm out to take my shoulder and I try to move inside before he can touch me. I skate around to the opposite side of the entryway table. The floor is polished and I have to grab the table's edge to stop from falling.

"Sorry about your neighbors. At least it's night time, so they probably can't see much." I try to sound relaxed but the more I can smell them, the more anxious I feel. I pretend to rummage in my backpack for a moment, even though the package takes up most of the space. "Got your breVitas right... ah... right here!" I slam it down on the table triumphantly and reach back in to get my handheld.

"Uh..." he starts, pointing to the package.

"Oh! I mean Onyx! Sorry. I just ya know... It's Onyx. I have been hanging around those memesters and got used to hearing it called that." I try to look embarrassed.

"Oh, right, of course!" he says. Is he pretending to know what I'm talking about?

"You've seen the memes?!" I ask with a laugh. "Yeah I suppose you would have, you seem hip to that niche meme scene." I smile at him. It's surprisingly easy. "You know the one that's like got the lady at the hospital bed?"

"Oh my God yeah!" he says, laughing. "That one killed me!"

"HAH! Yeah. Killed!" I point at him laughing. My fake laughter becomes real laughter without me realizing it.

"Yeah wow," they say, picking up the package and opening it. I have to take off my goggles and wipe my eyes. I place my handheld on the table and give my face another wipe to get all the sweat off. My goggles have vents to prevent fogging but they only help to a certain point. Leopard enters his number and I stuff the handheld away.

Well have a good night!" I say, circling around to the door. "Life is short! breVita!" I laugh to them. They chuckle again.

"Yeah," they say, opening the door for me as I slip out and down the steps.

What an asshole.

©2019 by Zita