The school bell echoes throughout the university as students scurry late into their classes. In one classroom, David Kyne, age 19, sits front and center as his classmates hurry for their seats in the back.
David is dressed in his nicest, yet ripped, black sweats and wears one of his few, also ripped, white tee shirts. His beard is thick and unkept, covering up most of his face and neck. His green eyes look eager, yet exhausted as he awaits the arrival of his professor. He has his notebook, which is filled cover to cover, lying in front of him on the desk. He has had to resort to writing in the margins and in between the lines of other notes just to fit in everything, as a result the pages are beginning to look solid blue. He anxiously taps his pen on the table as he avoids the magnitude of conversations going on around him.
Finally, the teacher arrives and the lecture begins.
The professor dismisses the class a few minutes early and the classroom goes up in a flurry as every student darts towards the door. Even the professor missiles out through the backdoor. David slowly goes over his notes from the day, making some edits where he sees necessary.
After he is satisfied, he places the notebook and pen inside of his dirty backpack and leaves the classroom.
David walks through a busy downtown street. It's a big city, a concrete city. Their downtown is filled with skyscrapers and large business for miles and miles in every direction.
David walks, with his head down, until he reaches the near end of a street and sits down against a shaded wall. He reaches into his backpack and pulls out a rusted tin can that he places in front of him. He digs back into his backpack and pulls out a sign that reads, "College student. Hungry. Anything helps. God bless." and places it on his lap.
David reaches back into his backpack and pulls out his notebook and begins to read it from front to back. He has trained his mind to know which line is for which class, but to an untrained eye it just looks like a bunch of jumbled nonsense. He reads through his notes from calculus to business finance to biology. A few quarters and dimes have been tossed into David's tin can, David looks up and gives them a smiling nod.
After about fifteen minutes of sitting against this wall, a couple teenagers turn the corner and begin towards David's direction. There are three of them, they look to be around thirteen years old. They wear their saggy pants and American Eagle tee shirts, like all middle schoolers do and then later regret.
As they get closer to David, the fat one lets out a, "Hey bum! Why don't you get a job? Fuckin' lazy ass!"
Then one of his sidekicks, cleverly echoes with, "Yeah! Get a job, lazy ass!"
The other sidekick isn't as clever, so he just lets out a simple, yet obnoxious laugh. The three of them continue down the street as they high five each other and celebrate like they just won the world series.
David never even looked up from his notebook as they jeered him, but when they are gone he sets his notebook down onto his lap. His eyes slowly water up as he looks down at the ground that he calls his home. He lowers his hand onto the hard, cold concrete and gently rubs the concrete that he will be sleeping on tonight. He sits there, frozen for a moment, then wipes his eyes and picks his notebook back up. He goes back to reading.
A couple hours pass, his tin can now holds twenty-seven dollars and some change. David has already read through his notebook twice and is about to start round three when he sees a man in a navy blue suit walking towards him. He gets closer to David as David looks up at him. He is a well dressed man, clean shaved. He is wearing a Rolex on his wrist and expensive glasses on his face, even though the sun set over an hour ago. On his side he holds a backpack. Then man doesn't look at David at all, just stares straight ahead.
As the man approaches, David pulls the money from the tin can and puts it into his pocket. He places the can, sign, and notebook into his backpack. He digs into the bag and pulls out a yellow, fully stuffed envelope. He then zips up the backpack.
As the man walks past, he drops the backpack onto David's side and takes the envelope from David's hand. He then continues walking down the street like nothing happened. David looks into the side pouch of the backpack and pulls out a 100 dollar bill. He puts it into his pocket with the other twenty-seven dollars then picks up both backpacks, stands up, and leaves.
Later that night, after the city has been asleep for hours, David begins his way up a shaky apartment fire-escape. On his back he wears the backpack he received from the man downtown, along with his own backpack smashed underneath it. David is wearing the same black sweats as earlier, along with the white tee shirt, a black sweatshirt, and a black beanie. He is speedy up the ladder.
When David reaches the top of the building he walks over to the far corner of the roof. He pulls a panel off of the wall and grabs the envelope from inside and places it in his own backpack. He then places the other backpack into the hole and puts the panel back over it.
David begins his decline back down the fire-escape. He is about two-thirds of the way down when he hears a loud, "Freeze!" But David didn't freeze.
Instead, he quickly thrusts his feet forward into the window in front of him into an unknown home. He jumps into a living room filled with a family watching television. The kids let out a scream, but David is out the front door before the family can react anymore than that.
David finds himself in an empty sixth floor corridor. He looks around quickly, then darts towards the end of the hall. He finds the stairs and begins up them. He hears footsteps from a few levels below him, but their footsteps are much slower than David's.
As David speeds up towards the roof, he hears many shouts of, "Stop immediately or we will shoot!" and "We need backup!" and "He's headed towards the roof!" David doesn't quiver at all as he continues his incline.
When David reaches the top of the staircase, he opens up the door onto the roof. He listens to the footsteps and screams from below and knows they are coming from exactly six levels below. He looks around for his next move. He hears cops climbing up the fire-escape, also screaming threats at him. The sirens from cop cars below are lighting up the buildings around them. He grins.
David begins to sprint towards the edge of the building and leaps into the air. He lands onto another building top. He continues from landing to sprinting without losing even an ounce of momentum and jumps onto the next building. From this building he looks around and notices that the surrounding buildings are much taller than the one that he currently stands on top of. He looks around for any fire-escape facing him. He finds one.
David backs up to the opposite end of the building, then begins his sprint, his leap, and his landing onto the fire-escape. His right hand lands cleanly on the left side of the ledge, His left hand airmails as it reaches for anything to grab onto. David is now dangling 15 stories in the air, or about 160 feet. He looks down at the ground and allows himself to dangle for a few seconds. The air flows through his hair. He takes a deep, peaceful breath in and then out. A small smiles begins to creep onto his face as David dangles in the air momentarily.
After David enjoys a few more spurts of air across his dirty face, he pulls himself up with his right arm and grabs the ledge with his left hand. He pulls himself up onto the fire-escape, then turns to look upon the city that he lives. After a few seconds of admiration, he begins down the fire-escape and down onto the street.
Down the street, the cop sirens are still lighting up the sky, more and more cars coming in every minute. The cops flood the building and the rooftop looking for David, who is nowhere to be found. David laughs and walks down an alley opposite from the building.
David walks down a couple more alleyways, looking for a good place to settle down for the night.
He finds one that will suffice and sits down against the wall. He places his backpack to his side and takes out the envelope. He opens it up and sees that it is filled with thousands and thousands of dollars. He fights the urge to take a share of it and goes to put it back into his bag. As he does, he feels someone pull him up by the shoulder and throw him against the wall.
Two men stand in front of David. These men wear dark, raggedly clothes. The knives in their hands glimmer from the moonlight and shine onto David's face. The fatter man reaches for David's bag and starts digging through it. David leans out towards the bag and is then thrusted back into the wall, banging his head. The bigger man now holds a hand to his chest and a knife to his neck.
The fatter man pulls out David's tin can and throws it to the ground. He begins digging more, when a look of satisfaction comes over his face. He pulls his hand out and he is holding the envelope full of money in his hand.
The bigger man loosens his grip on David as the two of them let out a sigh of relief and a chuckle. David quickly leans towards the envelope, grabs it out of the fatter man's hand, and turns to run.
The bigger man reaches out and pulls David back and throws him to the ground from the neck of his shirt. He then lowers his knife onto David's chest, then loads his hand backwards ready to strike.
As the man gets ready to lower his knife into David's chest, sirens are heard as a car begins down the dark alley. The two men hear it and book it down the other end of the alley, leaving David alone, with his emptied backpack and envelope of money clenched tightly to his side.
The car isn't a cop car, but rather a regular black Hyundai. Out steps a man about 6'2" dressed in a casual jean and graphic tee. He is clean shaven with bright blue eyes. His brown hair is beginning to grey, he is and older man, compared to David, at the age of 43. He reaches for the siren atop the car, removes it, and throws it back into the car.
As he begins to walk towards David, David stands up quickly and begins to throw everything back into his backpack. He turns to run, when the man shouts out to him, "Hey man, don't worry. I'm not a cop. I bought this siren online for like twenty bucks." He then let's out a chuckle as David stops in his track, back still to the man.
The man continues walking towards David, who is still stopped in his tracks.
"My name is Jaden, I saw you when I was driving by, thought you could use some help." He continues down the alley towards David, "What are you doing down this alley, anyways?"
David takes a few deep breaths then turns towards Jaden, who now stands only a few feet in front of him. David clears his throat, "I was, uhm, just walking home. This is a shortcut."
Jaden laughs, "Probably not the safest route home, is it?"
"I guess not," David says stone faced as he straps the backpack tighter to his back. He then turns down the opposite end of the alley and begins walking away.
"Where you going?"
"Home," David yells back as he continues to walk away.
Jaden runs over to David's side and begins walking side by side with him.
"Let me give you ride home, it's clearly dangerous out here."
"Okay, then let me at least go buy you a meal, you look hungry."
"Come on, it's on me. Whatever you want."
"No." David then picks up the pace to try to get away from Jaden, but Jaden quickly catches back up.
"Don't make me eat alone. I hate eating alone. Come on, man." Jaden puts his hand onto David's shoulder and turns him towards him. "One meal, then you'll never hear from me again."
David contemplates it for a few seconds, then feels the grumbling in his stomach. "Fine."
A smile takes over Jaden's face, "That's what I like to hear!" He puts his arm over David's shoulder as they turn back towards his car. "What's your name by the way?"
"Well, it's nice to officially meet you, David."
In front of Jaden sits a plate with a burger and fries, he's only eaten a bite of burger and a few fries. Jaden's eyes, however, are fixated on David who sits across from him. In front of David sits three different plates. On one plate their is a half eaten burger with only a few fries remaining. He has a plate with yolk that is leftover from a couple eggs and only a bite or two left of hash browns. The next plate holds a mostly eaten biscuit smothered in gravy. In front of those plates is an empty cup with residue of milkshake, next to it sits another cup filled half way with more milkshake, which is getting lower and lower as David takes huge sips through the straw.
David then picks up the burger and finishes it with three huge bites. Looks of shock and mesmerization are painted onto Jaden's face as he looks on.
Jaden lifts a fry to his mouth, then lets out a laugh as he stares on at David. "And to think I had to beg you to come to dinner."
David takes another big drink of milkshake then a large bite of biscuit.
"When was the last time you ate?"
David, with a mouth full of biscuit, "Two days ago I had some leftover Chipotle."
"Your parents don't feed you?"
"I don't have parents."
"You don't have- who do you live with?"
Takes a large bite of biscuit, "Just...a buddy."
Jaden looks across at David with a look of confusion, then pushes his plate towards David as he has now run out of food on his own plates. David picks up the burger and takes a big bite.
"So," Jaden tries to think of the right words, "Do you have a job? You know, so you can eat again?"
"I do, but all of my money goes towards paying for me to go to school," another large bite of burger, "If I have leftover money then I eat."
"What work do you do?"
"I'm a late night delivery man. I was walking home from work when you-" cuts himself off with a mouthful of fries, "found me in the alley."
Jaden looks onto David as he continues to shovel in the food, then let's out a small, "Hmm."
Some time passes with just the sound of David chewing, then David looks up at Jaden, "So what do you do for a living?"
"Me?" Jaden takes a sip of Coke, "I'm an accountant. Nothing too exciting."
"I'm actually studying to be an accountant right now at university."
"Yeah, maybe you can hook me up with a job after I graduate." David jokes.
Jaden let's out a small laugh then reaches across the table and grabs a fry, "Yeah, maybe."
After David refuses for five minutes, Jaden finally convinces David to allow him to give him a ride home. David instructs Jaden to just drive towards downtown.
As they reach downtown, David tells Jaden to drop him off at the next corner.
"What? No, I'll drop you off at your house. I don't want you walking around this late."
"This is close enough."
"There's not a house even-"
"Just drop me off here!" This outburst startles Jaden, so he pulls over to the side of the road, David gets out, and begins walking down the street. Jaden then puts the car into park, turns it off, and gets out.
"Where are you going?" He shouts out after David, but David ignores him and continues walking. Jaden runs up to David's side and repeats, "Where are you going?"
"I'm going home," David says softly.
"Just let me take you all the way there, David."
David stops and quickly turns to Jaden with anger in his eyes. He walks up close to Jaden and gets in his face and says firmly, "I am home, okay? I am home. Now leave me the fuck alone." He turns and continues down the street.
Jaden turns and walks back towards his car as he sees David turn down an alleyway.
David walks a few feet down the alley and sits down in a dark area. Before he can set his backpack down he sees Jaden's car turn the corner and begin towards him.
Jaden brakes only feet in front of David, rolls his window down, and yells out, "Get in the damn car. You're staying on my couch tonight. No way am I letting you sleep out here."
"I said leave me alone." David says as he stands up and walks down the alley.
Jaden slowly follows behind and continues yelling out at David.
This continues down multiple alleys, until David finally turns back to Jaden and shouts, "Fine! Fine! One night."
The next morning, David wakes up to the smell of breakfast in the air. He jumps up and goes into the kitchen to see Jaden has placed eggs, bacon, pancakes, syrup, and OJ onto the kitchen table.
"I know how much you eat, so I made a lot," Jaden says as he adds a tall stack of toast to the already crowded table.
David sits down and begins to fill his plate as high as possible. After David finishes stacking his plate with a food pyramid, Jaden places a scoop of eggs, two pieces of bacon, and two pieces of toast onto his plate. They eat in silence for a few moments.
"So how'd you sleep?" Jaden asks to David in between bites.
"Good, I'm glad. You're free to stay on it as long as you want."
"I think last night was enough."
Jaden takes a couple bites of eggs and toast. "Can I ask you something?"
David gives a sound that sounds like "yes" through a mouthful of pancakes and syrup.
"What happened to your parents?"
David stops chewing and looks up at Jaden. He sets his utensils down and swallows the food in his mouth, then sits in silence for a moment. After a while, David takes a sip of OJ then says softly, "They died when I was sixteen."
"I'm so sorry"
David takes a deep breath, "Uhm, they were driving me to baseball practice when a car veered into our lane from opposite traffic and smashed into us. He was texting and driving. My mom and dad died instantly, I was knocked unconscious for a few hours. Spent a couple days in the hospital...and, yeah."
"That's terrible. Do you have any other family that you could live with?"
"I lived with my grandparents for a couple months, but they kicked me out. Then I moved in with my buddy, Alejandro, but we had a falling out a couple years ago."
"So you've been out on the street since then?"
"Yeah, about 3 years or so."
The sounds of biting and chewing fill the room for the next couple of minutes.
David has Jaden drop him off at the university, but today is actually one of David's days off of school. Instead, David walks downtown to his regular street corner and sets up post.
It didn't take long before the man in the suit walked by to grab his envelope and drop off David's new backpack for the night. David looks onto the side of the pouch and sees his 100 dollar payment, which he slides into his pocket.
David begins his journey to his usual fire escape. It's another cold night in the city and he has nothing more than his beanie and thin sweatshirt to keep him warm. He throws on his hood, which doesn't make much of a difference with the wind. His breath fills the air as the fog slowly rolls in in the background of the city.
David digs his hands deep into his pocket for more warmth. The two backpacks on his back help a little.
The city sidewalks are filled with many others who call the streets their homes. Signs can be seen on every corner, street lights reflecting off of other tin cans.
A cop car rolls slowly past David on his left, David puts his hood further over his face and looks over in the opposite direction. The car slowly passes him then continues down the road. David turns down a nearby alley.
When he reaches his normal building, he senses something is different. The street, it's quieter than usual. He looks around, the streets are empty. They are never empty.
He continues down the street, towards the building. He pulls his beanie down and digs his head deeper into his hood.
As he gets nearer to the building, he looks down an alley and sees the tip of car hoods from both sides. He looks in the opposite alley and sees the same. Cops.
David picks up his walking speed, but tries to be as sly as possible about it. He continues past the fire escape and down the street. He makes his next right, then goes into an all out sprint down the next couple of blocks. He knows nobody is chasing him, but you can never be too safe.
David wanted to get as far away from the fire escape as possible and finds himself wandering around the other side of downtown. This part of town doesn't have any alleys for him to sleep in. He looks around and sees people sleeping on nearby benches and against walls. He feels the two backpacks on his back and knows he can't leave them simply lying around. So he keeps on walking.
After a few blocks, David finds an empty bench facing out towards the street and sits down, placing the two backpacks on his side. He lays down on the bench and tells himself repeatedly, "Don't fall asleep. Don't fall asleep. Don't fall asleep."
David feels a tapping on his shoulder and hears, "David, David. Wake up. David."
He looks up groggily and sees a blurry figure standing over him. The figure starts to clear up and turns out to be Jaden.
"I've been driving around all night looking for you. Why don't you come sleep on my couch, get another good night of sleep?"
"Jaden, uh" David says half awoken, "Thanks."
The next morning at Jaden's started off very differently than the day before. Instead of waking up to the beautiful smell of breakfast, David wakes up to a backpack being slammed into his stomach with screaming from Jaden.
"What the hell is this? Huh?" Jaden yells as he points down at the backpack now in David's lap.
David wipes the sleep out of his eyes, looks down at the backpack, then up at Jaden, "Cocaine."
"Cocaine. Cocaine. That's not just cocaine, that's like 20 pounds of cocaine."
"What the fuck are you doing with 30 pounds of cocaine, David, what the fuck are you doing? I thought you were a delivery man."
"I am a delivery man," David says, "I just happen to deal cocaine. And lot's of it."
"You think this a joke? There is nothing funny about this. What the hell are you doing?"
David goes from amused to annoyed very quickly and steps up to Jaden's level, "Who the hell are you to judge me? You don't even know me! You think you're all high and fucking mighty because you let some homeless kid sleep on your couch for two nights. No, fuck that. You're not better than me," then with a loud cry, "You don't know me!"
David and Jaden's faces now rest only a foot or two away from each other. Fury filling their red, veiny faces as their eye contact is unbroken for nearly half a minute. Jaden finally breaks the eye contact and begins in a slow pace.
"Why do you do it? Is it for money? Because if that's all it is, I'll give you the money. Is this how you pay for school? Fine, I'll do it. I'll pay for your schooling. Will that make you stop?"
The anger leaves Jaden's face as he sits back down on the couch. He looks up at Jaden who is now in a quicker pace. Silence fills the room.
"It's a lot of money." David says finally.
Jaden lets out a laugh of relief as he stops pacing and sits down next to David. "I have the money. I've always wanted to pay for someone to go to college,but I've never had the opportunity."
David let's out a small chuckle, "Okay, fine. I'll let you pay for my college."
"On one condition, you need to promise me that you are done selling drugs."
"And if I find any sign whatsoever that you are still dealing, I will put you back on the streets."
David let's out a laugh, "Don't worry, I'm done."
"Good, I'll make us some breakfast."
After 15 minutes, breakfast has been served. David and Jaden sit around the table and fill their plates.
A minute or two of eating in silence goes by before Jaden decides to break it, "Okay, this is the only time we're going to talk about it, just because I'm curious, how did you start dealing drugs?"
David let's out a laugh, "Well, after my parents died and my grandparents kicked me out of the house, I had absolutely no money. I moved in with my buddy Alejandro, whom I've mentioned, and he told me about this business he was in. Selling drugs. And ever since then, I've been distributing."
"You said you had a falling out with him last time you mentioned him, didn't you?"
"Yeah, after a few months of working with him, I started to take a lot more of the deliveries. The cops got really close to us a few times when Alejandro was on the job, so our boss started giving me more jobs. Which meant I was taking opportunities away from Alejandro and, most importantly, money. He got frustrated, we got into a big brawl, and our boss kicked him out of the business and I became his number one guy, which used to be Alejandro for years. I haven't seen him since."
"What's your bosses name?"
David chuckles, "You are way too into this."
Jaden laughs, "I'm sorry, I'm just curious. I've never known a drug dealer before."
A couple months later
David has spent the last couple months studying hard in school and loading up on his classes. He is nearing his finals week and has spent the last week or so in the library, day and night, preparing. He is still living on Jaden's couch and has kept his promise of no longer dealing drugs.
He is in the middle of another late night at the library. He finishes up his last page of reading and closes the textbook. He places it into his new backpack that Jaden bought him. It's the classic Jansport that nearly everybody on campus owns, but it is a luxury to David. He zips it up and places it on the back of his also new, and very thick, peacoat and tightens the straps. He rubs some dirt off of his new Levi's that his new dress shirt from Macy's is tucked into. He notices that the shoe laces to his new Nikes are untied and bends down to tie them. Point is, he is looking fresh in his new gear.
It is two in the morning and David is the last one to leave the library that night. He walks out into the cold air, but he is fully prepared to handle this weather.
As David reaches the car that Jaden is letting him borrow for the time being, a hand grabs David and turns him around. The hand then slams Jaden back against the car. It's the man in the suit.
"Where the hell have you been?" He yells at David, as they stand alone in the empty parking lot on the empty campus.
"I told you, Jason, I'm done with this business," David yells back as he grabs Jason's hand and rips it off of his shoulder.
Jason quickly punches David across the face, knocking him to the ground. Jason kicks him once in the stomach, forcing a cry out of David. He then crouches down so he can be eye level with him. "You're done?"
David let's out a quiet whimper as he clenches tightly to his stomach.
Jason stands up and kicks David again in the stomach as he yells out, "You're done?!" David let's out a louder cry and spits out a mouthful of blood.
Jason crouches down to David, "No, no. I'll tell you when you're done."
"Fuck you Jaso-" Jason kicks David underneath the chin, splitting it open and spilling blood onto the street.
David digs deep for air, but feels nothing coming for some time. He tries to scream, but can't seem to make a sound. He lies there, helpless.
Jason turns and walks a few paces, then picks up 3 backpacks off of the ground and throws them at David. Then walks back over to him and crouches down.
"We have a bigger drop off than usual and I need my best man on the job." He gives David a playful tap on the face, "And that just so happens to be you." Jason stands up and pulls a box of cigarettes out of his pocket and lights one up. He takes a deep inhale.
"It's a new drop off spot, the fire escape is too dangerous now. It's always surrounded by fucking cops." Jason takes another drag, "All the information you need to know is in on a piece of paper in one of the side pockets, don't fuck it up."
Jason takes a big drag, then crouches down to extinguish the cigarette on David's jeans. "You look like shit, you should call somebody." He lets out a laugh and walks through the empty parking lot and eventually disappears in the distance.
It takes David half an hour before he can muster up the strength to stand up and drive himself home. When we walks in through the front door, Jaden is sitting at the coffee table. He stays up every night waiting for David to get home to make sure that he arrives safely. A calm face quickly turns to panic when he sees David's beat up face walk in through the door. He quickly stands up and rushes over to David, who is now bent over by the door.
"What the hell happened?" Jaden shouts out in a panic as he puts David's arm around his shoulder.
David picks up the three backpacks from his side and drops them next to Jaden's side.
"That motherfucker." Jaden says under his breath. "Let me grab my keys, I'll drive you to the hospital."
David returns home after a night in the hospital. He has 4 stitches on his chin, a broken nose, and some internal bruising in his stomach region. The doctor ordered him to take 2 Vicodin a day (one in the morning, one at night), but he already plans on upping that dose to 4.
The first thing David does when he walks in the front door is pull out the paper from the side pocket of one of the backpacks. It gives David a new address and a date, February 3rd, which is tonight.
Jaden walks into the room with the bottle of Vicodin and a glass of water, David quickly throws the paper into his pocket.
"Here, take these," Jaden hands him the Vicodin and the water, "Now you want to tell me what the fuck happened?"
David grabs the bottle and pours out his 2 morning Vicodin. He throws them in his mouth and takes a gulp of water. "My old boss came up to me in the library parking lot and told me he needed me for one more drop. Then, after he beat the shit out of me, he threw these backpacks at me."
"When's the drop?"
David looks off to the side, trying to avoid answering the question.
"When is it, David?"
"Tonight," He snaps towards Jaden.
"I'm going with you. It's not safe for you to go by yourself."
"No, I'm not putting you in danger!"
"It wasn't a question. I wasn't giving you an option. We're not going to debate this. Okay? I am telling you, that I am going with you. And that's that."
David takes a big sip of water, "Fine, whatever. I need to get some sleep."
David puts on an all black outfit and advises Jaden to do the same. They grab the three backpacks and drive to the new location. The car ride is filled with complete silence.
When they arrive to the address they see an empty, locked up parking lot in front of a large abandoned warehouse. They park outside of the gate and climb over it, throwing the backpacks over first then jumping the fence.
The parking lot extends over a quarter mile before the warehouse, and the drop off zone is in the middle of the warehouse. They begin the walk.
"So, like, what should I expect? Should I be doing anything special? I've never done a drop before." Jaden says nervously.
David laughs, "It's simple. You walk in, you find the hiding zone, grab the envelope, and replace it with the backpack."
The parking lot is dark, with spread out lights throughout the lot. When they walk underneath one light, Jaden goes to adjust his sweatshirt and David sees the light reflect off of something in Jaden's waistline.
David stops in his tracks for a few moments as Jaden keeps walking without realizing. Then, it hits him. "Jaden, what the fuck is underneath your belt?"
Jaden turns around slowly and looks at David, "What?"
"You heard me, Jaden," David nervously moves closer, "What is underneath your fucking belt!?"
Jaden doesn't respond.
David begins to shake, "You're a fucking cop? That's a police badge, isn't it? How did I not see this? What the fuck, Jaden!" David's heart begins to pound faster and faster and faster. His hands are shaking. Jaden stands there calmly, with this head down to the ground. "Were you just using me? Goddammit, man, goddammit. I fucking trusted you, man. I told you everything. I told you everything!" David is yelling into Jaden's face at this point. Then turns and starts pacing back and forth. "Shit, I told you everything."
"I haven't been using you, David." Jaden finally says softly.
"Oh, yeah? Then can you tell me what exactly is going on? Because the way I see it-"
"Okay, I'll admit it. I know who you are. I know you're the guy we've been chasing up that fire escape and on top of rooftops and through alleys and the whole nine yards for years. I know that. You are on the radar of every police officer in the city. That's how I knew to find you that night in the alley. And that night on the bench. But that's not why I took you in."
"That's fucking bullshit, Jaden, and you know that! Fuck that. I'm not doing a drop with some cop," David throws the backpacks at Jaden's feet, "You do it." Then turns around and starts walking back towards the gate.
"Fuck you, Jaden!" David yells back and continues walking.
Jaden watches on as David continues to walk away. He realizes that he's not going to turn back, so he picks up the three backpacks and continues into the warehouse.
David now sits there leaning up against the gate, near the car. He looks on as Jaden finally reaches the front of the warehouse and walks inside. David begins to slam his head back against the gate repeatedly. He has no idea what his next move is going to be. He puts his head down into his lap and begins to cry.
And then, all David hears are five consecutive gunshots from the warehouse.
"Jaden," David says to himself. He then begins to sprint towards the warehouse as fast as he can.
David feels sick to his stomach as he enters into the warehouse and begins looking around. Then he hears a, "David, David. I'm over here."
David runs over to see Jaden lying in a pool of blood, next to the three backpacks and a yellow envelope.
"Jaden! No, no, no. Fuck. No. Jaden. Goddammit. No." David begins to cry atop of Jaden.
Jaden then lifts up David's head, "You want to know why I did what I did, David? It wasn't so I could bust you or your crew. It wasn't cop related at all. In fact, I would probably lose my job if my Chief new I was housing you. No, I did it because I saw potential in you. I did it, because you reminded me of my son."
David wipes a tear from his eye, "But you don't have a son."
"I did." With this, David's heart sinks. "He died seven years ago, he was 11. Him and my wife were shot down in the streets, that's why I became a cop."
David sits in silence for a moment, "Tell me about them."
Jaden's eyes begin to glow as he speaks, "My son, his name was Derek, he loved football. He was obsessed, he never put the football down. And he was smart, oh he was smart. He won his 3rd grade spelling bee against a bunch of sixth graders."
"He sounds amazing." David says with a smile from ear to ear, tears rolling down his face.
"He was. He got that from his mother, though. She was one of a kind. God never made one better, let me tell you. She was the most caring, thoughtful person I have met." Jaden's sentences begin to tail off as his head drops down onto his shoulder.
David wipes his eyes before he can deliver this next sentence, "Go be with them, Jaden. They miss you."
"I love you, David."
David can't help but to break down at those words as he drops down to Jaden's bloody chest and begins to cry. "I love you too, Jaden. I love you too." And continues to bawl into his chest.
Jaden lifts up his right hand and begins tapping on David's head. Once, twice, thrice, and then the tapping stops. And the hand comes to rest atop David's head.
David let's out a loud cry that echoes throughout the emptied warehouse, where no other soul but David's remains.
After sitting in silence for an hour, with Jaden's body lying next to him, David grabs the yellow envelope and rips it open. Only a note rests at the bottom of it, it reads: "Looks like I'm the number one man now, bitch. Love, Alejandro."