Screams came from the alley below, someone yelled something, a gunshot, and the screaming stopped. Unfortunately I had gotten used to these nightly events; someone always gets hurt at night in this city.

I had been living in an apartment on the eight floor of a run down building. The rent was cheap, and so was everything else. The toilet worked when it wanted to and the fridge would only come to life when there was nothing in it. I never knew appliances could be ironic. The hallway leading to my place was a long mustard yellow corridor that was covered with years of graffiti; most of it was too hard to see due to the poor quality of the lights. The carpet had been torn out in patches, and everything that was still on the ground was old, soiled, and falling apart.

I never used the elevator anymore; someone had been beaten to death in it a few months ago. I unfortunately needed to use it that day. When the doors opened, the mirrored walls were covered in crimson, still moving. The killer probably wasn't even a kilometer away. One of the mirrors had a large crack in it, with a blood stained indentation, presumably from where the guy on the floor had gotten his head smashed in. I took the stairs for the rest of the time I lived there.

I came to this city looking for a job, whether it be legal or not I really couldn't care less. I had originally wanted to set up a small music store, but a friend advised me that people would just walk in and take anything they wanted. If you said anything, they'd shoot you in the face. I didn't have a hard time believing that these things can happen here. I decided my music store might have to wait a while.

I didn't have much money left, and it kept decreasing by the week. I finally decided to phone up my buddy Trent. He had connection in a lot of places with a lot of people, so I figured he could help me out.
The phone rang twice before he picked up.
"What do you want?" Trent asked harshly.
"Nice way to greet a friend" I replied.
"Oh, hey man, what's up?" His voice changed to something a little less aggressive.
"I need a job or something, I'm out of cash."
"So go rob someone." Trent said bluntly, I knew he was only half serious.
"Seriously though, I need some way to get some cash." I said, not trying to sound too desperate.
"All right, here's what I'll do. I'll make a few phone calls, see if anyone needs a runner or something, cool?"
"Yeah man, thanks a lot, I'll call you back in an hour."
"Later" The phone clicked and it was done, I would phone him back in an hour and see what kind of job Trent had found for me. Hopefully it wasn't too bad."

Bleeding from so many different places, everything was in pain and I think my leg was broken. I just laid there, concentrating on keeping my breathing at a somewhat normal rate. What the hell had just happened? What went wrong?

I handed off the 'product' and when I asked where the cash was all I saw was a fist flying towards my face. Three guys, Russians I think. They had called wanting a few ounces of coke, and Trent had told me they were regular customers. He also told me they didn't take shit, so not to piss them off, which I didn't but they robbed me and beat me regardless.

When I got back to Trent's apartment, bleeding all over the ground looking completely trashed, I explained what had happened. I could tell Trent didn't agree with what they did either.
"They're fuckin dead!" He got up and got a small phone book out and started dialing some numbers. Each conversation lasted about fifteen seconds.
"Yo, it's me"
"What can I do you for?"
"I need someone fixed"
"Another one eh? Heheh, you're pissed off at a lot of people this month."
"Yeah, this one ain't for me."
"Alright, I'll make some arrangements."
With that, the conversation was over and he would be looking through his book again, trying to find yet another number. After it was all done he turned and looked at me.
"We'll find these fuckers. I can guarantee it. I'll show em why no one fucks with me, or anyone I'm on good terms with." He said, sitting back in his chair, it's all he needed to do right now, sit and wait until whoever it was that he phoned to phone back with some news.

So maybe it wasn't the type of job I had in mind. But I didn't want to quit, something good could come out of being a dealer. Probably not, but hey, it's was a good source of income for the time being. I just needed to learn how to fight.

The next day I got a phone call, it was Trent. He sounded a little less enraged than yesterday.
"Hey, it's me."
"What's up?"
"You want another job? This time it'll go the way it's supposed to." He said with some assurance behind his voice. I knew as well as he did that what happened was a pretty rare thing, even in an illegal business. Most people pay respect to the ones that supply them with their needs.
"Sure, just tell me where to be."
"Alright, I need you to go meet a guy, one of my close friends; he'll be waiting for you at the corner of Mallard St. and 54th. His name is Chavez.
"I'll be there" I responded. I was glad to have some more business, hopefully this source was reliable.

At three o'clock I was standing at the corner of Mallard St. and 54th waiting for Chavez. I didn't like standing there, I had an insecure feeling someone was watching me. I casually looked around at the windows of the surrounding buildings, looking for someone that might have been looking at me. I didn't see anyone, but that's never a good enough reason to believe you're actually not under someone else's secret supervision.

Fifteen minutes later I saw a man get out of a black 87 mustang that had been parked across the street. He was tall, not huge, but larger than average, and he wore mostly black clothing. He had on a black leather coat, too short to be considered a trench coat, black jeans and dark brown leather boots. His dark sunglasses made it impossible to see where he was actually looking. Summing it up, he looked like the stereotypical street dealer, which is what he was, so I guess it works.

He casually walked up to me, checking around him for anything that looked suspicious probably.
"You Trent's friend?" He asked. He had a Spanish accent and a deep scratchy voice.
"Yeah, you must be Chavez, right?" He nodded.
"Come with me." He said as he began walking back towards his car.
When we got into his car I noticed a small metal briefcase in the back seat. I assumed I'd be getting whatever it was that was in the case. We began driving down 54th, it was basically an abandoned street, the only people you see there are the strung out junkies and the homeless, which were usually junkies too. As we were driving he reached around and took the case that was resting on the back seat.
"Here, this is everything you'll need." Passing me the briefcase, I opened it to find six small vials of neon green liquid.
"What the hell is this?" I questioned. I didn't want to come off as someone that didn't know anything about current drug trends, but I had never seen anything like this.
"It's something a few of my boys in the lab have been testing out. So far they haven't gotten a good street name for it; they've called it lot 9900C. Don't ask me why, that's just the name they've chosen."
"Well, what does it do to you? This stuff looks hardcore." Eyeing one of the vials, it was transparent green goo almost.
"I dunno, I've never done it myself. But from some of the tests, the best way to describe it is like you're falling up. I don't really get what that would mean myself, but I'm sure anyone that tries it would understand. The guy that wants this is all into the chemicals. He buys different kinds, makes them into pill form, and charges something like four times the cost to make them. He's making a small fortune offa this. That's where you come in. I need you to drop this off at his house. It's under surveillance, so don't act stupid. I'll be parked down the block."

We drove silently for the remainder of the trip until we arrived somewhere on the other side of town. I thought my area was bad, but the real slums are the dangerous parts. People lose their lives here and no one notices. If they do notice no one say's anything. You get lost here; you're probably gone for good.He parked a few hundred meters away in an alleyway.
"So all you have to do is go up to the sixth floor of the building over there, and knock on room 627. When he asks who you are, just say a friend."
With that I got out of the car with the briefcase and started to walk towards the building. Sirens were going off all around this area. Ambulances, police, and anything else, it was almost constant. I got to the building and opened the steel gates that were the only entrance into the building. I typed in the code 627 and waited for the door to open. It buzzed and I walked in. The elevator was out of service, so I took the stairs.

Halfway between the fourth and fifth flight of stairs was two teenagers, one male, looked really strung out or something, the other one female; she looked about the same as her friend. Both of them looked like they hadn't slept in days. They looked like they were probably off of the street, and sleeping in an alleyway usually didn't involve much sleep. Why they were there I didn't really know. As I walked past them they gave me a glance but mainly focused their attention on the case.
"You think that's it" The girl whispered
"It better be."
"I need this, I need this bad."
"I know me too."

I got to the door, number 627, it was already open. I wasn't sure if I was taking that as a good sign or not. Cautiously, I walked in, knocking three times before stepping in.
"Over here man" Said a voice from down the hall. I walked over to a doorway and inside the room was a man sitting on a couch in front of a television, rolling some type of cigarette on the table.
"Hey, just have a seat over there," He said, pointing over at the couch adjacent to his. As I went to sit down, the man reached into one of his pockets and drew out a large amount of bills. He looked at it for a moment, and then tossed it onto the table.
"Here you go, now I believe that's mine." He said, eyeing the case.
"Yeah, all yours buddy." I said with a smile. "By the way, how's that stuff make you feel?"
He looked at me questioningly; I guess he expected that I knew what I was talking about.
"It's kind of like being in a dream, but you're awake. You're just free. Free to feel how you want to feel or something. I dunno, but a lot of people really like this stuff, so I'm probably going to be talking to you again sometime soon.
"Well, whenever you need it, just give us a call I guess." With that, I stood up, and walked out, putting the large amount of bills in my inside pocket of my jacket.

Walking down the stairs I noticed that the two teenagers had vacated. The only sign of them was a smoldering cigarette butt that was only half stepped on. The second I got outside I started to become paranoid. There were sirens close, very close. I began to walk back to the car, looking around casually for anything suspicious. I didn't see anything, but I still had that weird feeling that someone was watching me. I got in the car and shut the door. Chavez looked at me, took a pull from his cigarette and started the engine.

"I trust everything went okay." He said.
"Yeah, I have you're cash right here." I said as I pulled the large wad of bills out of my pocket.
"So what's my cut?" I asked. I was hoping for something good, even though all I did was drop something off.
"Take this." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small roll of bills. I gave him the cash I had, and he gave me the stuff he pulled out of his pocket. It was about a thousand or so. Not too shabby.

We came to a stoplight and waited. I looked in the rear view mirror to discover a squad car two cars back. I didn't really think much of it. You see cop cars all over the place. When the light turned green we turned left, so did the cop.
"Turn right." I said, keeping my eyes on the car behind us.
"Why?" Chavez asked.
"Just do it man, I want to see something."
"Alright man, but I don't get why you want to turn right, we gotta go straight."
The car turned right at the next corner, and my prediction was correct, the cop did too.
"We're being followed." I said quietly.
"Shit. Well, as long as we act cool and don't do anything stupid we can't get in trouble for anything." Chavez said in an assuring voice.
All of a sudden the lights started flashing. The siren chirped to life and the police were on our ass.
"I still got a lot of shit in the back of this car man, I can't let them find it." Chavez said nervously. Out of nowhere his facial expression changed. He looked pissed.
"Screw it, we ain't getting caught, not today." He shifted into fourth and floored it. The cop sped up with us, but it wasn't catching up completely. Chavez shifted into fifth and the old 87 mustang that we were in actually outran the cop car. We drove using mainly back roads until we reached my apartment. When I got out Chavez thanked me for the help and told me I'd probably be getting some more tasks sometime soon. With that I returned to my apartment.

When I got up to my floor I walked off the elevator and down the hall. A television was blaring in my neighbors place, it sounded like a soap opera or something.
When I got to my apartment I walked in and sat on the couch. Turned on the TV, and sat back. It had been an interesting day to say the least and I had a feeling there were going to many more opportunities to come. As long as I don't get killed I think I'll be okay.

The phone rang at around seven. I picked it up.
"Hey, it's me." It was Trent. "How'd it go?"
"Good, everything went as planned."
"Good, good. You know those guys that robbed you yesterday? One of my buddies found em for ya. Hehe, and let's just say they won't be doing that type of shit in this city ever again." He said with a somewhat twisted tone to this voice. The guys that had beat the hell out of me were getting theirs, but for some reason I think they were getting it a hell of a lot worse.
"Thanks man, I appreciate all this."
"Hey, no problem man, what are friends for right?"
"Yeah, I guess so."
"Cool, so I guess you'll be needing another job right?"
"Yup, got anything?"
"Not right now, but I will soon, trust me, you'll be among the first to know about some good stuff to come in the future. I'll give you a call later." With that there was a click on his end of the line and it was done.