Crack the Spine Issue 96 - Page 13

car. Or a lawyer.” He shifted around in his low rocking chair, his foot tapping at a million miles a minute, vibrating the whole room. “Because a judge is going to award custody to a drug-dealer.” “No one would ever have to know. And big time drug lords get custody all the time. It's just about hiring the better lawyer.” “And where would Stephanie sleep? She needs a room of her own.” Arty's apartment had only one bedroom with a large living room, a kitchen, dining room, and bathroom. Not much space for a four-year-old. “The money will help me get a new place, like I said.” “What happens when Steph finds out her dad is a drug dealer?” “We'll be a drug-dealing family. Like in Weeds,” he replied. “Just without the killing and sleeping with cops. Unless the cop has a really nice ass.” “Then the cop figures out what you are, you get arrested, and I have to bail you out with your own drug money.” I took a sip of my beer. Needed lime. “At least you'd already have a good lawyer!” “Maybe.” “You think she'd fall so in love with you and Steph that she'd overlook your little business and you'd get married and live happily ever after?” “Maybe.” His foot was still tapping incessantly. “Wouldn't have to sell drugs if we got married. Cops earn huge salaries.” “OK, I can't argue with that.” I laughed, then something sparked in the speaker box and the fake wood caught on fire. “Shit! Extinguisher!” Arty scrambled into the kitchen, spilling his beer on the carpet, and tossed aside a few garbage bags looking for it. “Go check in the bathroom!” he yelled. “Who keeps a fire extinguisher in the bathroom?” “Someone who hates spiders!” It wasn't in the bathroom. I ran into the bedroom, careful to step over the condom wrappers on the floor. The room was so covered in dirty laundry that it took me a minute to find the extinguisher that was hidden in the corner. By the time I got back to the living room, most of the speaker was on fire, but a few quick sprays were enough to put it out. “Good thing you don't have curtains,” I said, dropping the empty canister on the floor. Arty laughed a little. I couldn't help but laugh too, relief sweeping over me. “Well, looks like that plan is ruined,” he said. “Take it as a sign from the universe, Arty,” I said. “You're not meant to be a marijuana farmer.” “Maybe.” He went to the kitchen and I heard the pop-hiss of a beer bottle being opened. “I've heard mushrooms are pretty easy to grow.”