September 21, 2018
The Life and Crimes
of Billy Butters: Chapter 4
“You look great” as I adjusted his tie, “now, just be like, you know, polite and friendly and you’ll be fine. Just don't act like you sold crack.” But I was full of shit. He was sweating like a fucking wild boar and ruining his stolen Gap outfit. With a simple swipe of extra-aluminum pore-clogging deodorant, he would have been set but that was Butters for ya. He always seemed to skip the easy stuff. We both knew that for Butters, it was too late. The fact is, you can't make a shitty drug dealer into a 9-to 5 man. My mistake was thinking he was more of a Tony Soprano and less of a guy that sold crack. But he geared heavily to the latter.
Well, they won't want it back anyway, I thought to myself as I fanned his sweat-stained armpits. We were getting ready to head to court for the final decision on his charge. He pleaded innocent but he managed to get caught selling crack to an undercover policeman out of the trunk of a Chinese van selling TVs that covered for a drug exchange depot. He fucked up.
I tried to rationalize the event, but how he thought no one would notice a bunch of Chinese gang members selling “TVs” from a VW trunk was beyond me. I needed to break up with him. Though I knew I had to do it, it was easier said than done. I had legs designed for chopping wood and spent most of my time in sweatpants, hanging around guys who saw me as one of their own.
Needless to say, I had the self-esteem of fresh roadkill. For me, Butters thought I was pretty, he was the first guy to ask me for my number, the first guy who took me out on a date and those are precious moments for a girl who's intimacy with men extends as far as being Dutch ovened at band camp. Yes, he had stolen me a pair of earrings for Christmas, but he had stolen them for me.
I folded his collar, “we should go,” picked up my bag and headed out the door. We planned to drive to the courthouse in his old shitty Toyota which screamed “tow-truck”. Though the state of his car concerned me, I didn’t have a car, so I wasn’t in a position to complain about the mode of transportation. I opened the car door and dusted the crumbs off the seat before getting in.
“She’s been acting kinda weird lately,” as he adjusted the rearview mirror, “but it’s only a twenty-minute ride.”
“Well, we’re leaving early, so there’s no rush, it should be fine.” But with Butters, nothing is ever easy and I kinda liked it like that.
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl, year after year.
While in the car, my thoughts drifted to the sound of Pink Floyd in the background. I wanted to tell my parents everything but if I told them, they would label me an idiot and I wasn't ready to receive that title just yet. I figured since he's obviously guilty, he'll get house arrest and let's be honest, I wasn't going to cross the bridge to his house every day. You had no idea how expensive gas was.
After I played my supportive girlfriend role, I would use his house arrest as an easy get-out-of-jail-for-free-card to get out of the relationship. Instead of visiting Butters at his house, I wanted to go to Europe. With the selected sexually adventurous friends by my side, I accepted the challenge of achieving hot Euro dick that struggled with English as a second language. The American dream.
I hadn't figured out exactly when to break the news to him, Cosmo told me that there's never a good time to break up with someone. But at the same time, I was hoping he would have sat me down after the court appearance and told me that I needed to "live my life," dramatically kissing me and walking away without looking back. But knowing that he was probably going to stuck at home for six months, he needed me more than ever. I sat in the passenger's seat, picking at the skin around my thumb, maybe I should wait before breaking up with him....what do I tell him? That I don't like the fact he sold drugs?...that sounds kinda shallow. Fuck, I can't break up with him, I need him to break up with me...yes! He has to dump me!...
The car started making a couple of coughing noises and slowed down, coming to a complete stop 10 blocks away from the courthouse. I snapped out of my pre-breakup mental preparation, “what happened?”
“Fuck, I think she broke down,” as he looked at the dashboard, “we’re gonna have to push her the rest of the way.”
“Yeah," he fiddled with the ignition for a couple of seconds and frowned, "get out of the car and help me push her.”
“But…” as I stared at my heels, “why don’t we just catch the bus and come back and deal with the car after?”
“I’m not leaving her here, someone’s gonna steal her.”
“Butters," we have to be at the courthouse in...,” pulled out my phone, “ten minutes. No one is going to steal this shit box, let’s just go.”
He got out of the car, ignoring my comment and started pushing. “I don’t give a fuck if I’m late, I’m not leaving her here.”
I rolled my eyes as a sharp pain shot through the back of my head. I should get that checked out. I walked heavily towards the other end of the car, threw my bag over my shoulder like a trucker and started pushing, “who pushes their car to court." I felt the sweat developing on my forehead. "Fucking Trailer Park Boys doesn't even have this shit happen to them," I mumbled to myself.
With each step, I resented the fact that I agreed to come, I also resented the fact that I was too much of a pussy to end things, "and stop calling your car her. I’m a fucking her and you don’t give a fuck about that, huh? How fucking great is this, eh? Pushing your car to court, the judge will love this excuse. Do you know why we're even going to court? And here we are--"
"Will you shut the fuck up?" he said, through heavy breath.
"Yeah, I said it. Shut the fuck up. I have to go stand in front of a fucking judge and pray I don't go to jail over this stupid shit. You know, I have a brother at home and the last thing I want is him to fuck his life up following what I do and here's you, bitching about pushing my car. Then don't push it, don't fucking push it." He continued to look straight ahead. "Just shut the fuck up. Please."
I helped him push his car the rest of the way to the courthouse. We were late. Without speaking a word to each other, we pushed the car into the parking lot and lightly jogged into the building. He looked up his name and entered courtroom #2.
"Justin Butters," the judge called out. "Please come to the stand."
Justin walked up to the stand and for the first time since I've met him, he looked scared.
"Where's your lawyer?"
"Uh," he looked around, the courtroom was empty, "I guess he didn't come."
I rolled my eyes while she looked at him pathetically for a second before continuing with her speech. "Let's speed things up a bit because you're twenty minutes late. I see you pleaded innocent."
"The court has decided that you are guilty of drug trafficking," as she flipped through a stack of papers, "but, since this is your first offense, you will be sentenced to six months of house arrest with three years probation. Do you understand your sentence?"
"Good," as the judged scribbled something on a piece of paper and looked up, "next."
That was it? We went all the way here for this? They couldn't have just e-mailed him this shit? He walked towards me with a weak smile, "well, that was quick eh?"
"Are you okay?" I rubbed his shoulder tenderly but stopped to itch my nose.
"Yeah, I'm cool. Why don't we just grab some food across the street and go home?"
"Sure," I grabbed his hand and we walked across the street to a nameless pancake joint. You could tell mostly prison guards and cops ate there. It was the type of place that provided you a hearty meal without any bullshit added. If you wanted pancakes, you got pancakes. If you wanted the waitress to smile at you, that would cost you extra. The seats were made out of plastic and the tables had unwrapped toothpicks in little jars, next to the red plastic ketchup bottles.
We ordered our meals and sat across from each other in silence. I felt bad. I know he dealt drugs but he had a good heart. He once carried my dog to the car after my dog ran jumped over a stump, dislocating his elbow. He would pick me up from work and we'd go for walks in nature and he always supported my crazy dreams. I started thinking, maybe I didn't need to break up with him, maybe I wasn't giving him enough love and attention for him to grow into the person I knew he was.
"Can I ask you something?"
"Yeah," he replied, take a sip of his coca-cola.
"Okay, well, you don't have to answer this but," as I stirred the ice around in my glass, "you know me, I'm curious. What was the worst thing you did when you were dealing...you know...crack?"
He nervously giggled and started to pick at his fingernail. "Well, I would usually just see a lot of bums, and you know, you'd just sell them crack. Like sometimes I'd have some problems when they didn't pay, but they were usually cool. I mean, it's like crack, ya know?" he giggled and took another sip of coca-cola. Though he sold crack, it made me feel good that he didn't beat up bums. See Natasha? He was a nice drug dealer.
He nervously adjusted himself in his seat, "uh well," he continued, "there was like this one time I was called by this chick to go to her house, and uh, when I got there, her kids were on the floor in front of the TV. I think they were watching Sesame Street or something." He warmly smiled, "they were pretty cute." He reached for an unwrapped toothpick and started fiddling with it, "anyways, I weighed out the crack in front of them and sold it to her." I didn't reply. I just looked at him. "That's probably the shittest deal I've done."
"And you still sold her crack?"
"I mean yeah, she's wanted crack and she called me. I'm going to sell it to her." He giggled and grabbed my hands, rubbing my palm with his thumb.
This was the man I was dating? This guy? I could feel my stomach quenching, I couldn't stop myself, "I think..."
The waitress abruptly placed our meals on the table and my courageous moment was destroyed by a plate of macaroni and cheese.
"I think we should take a break."