I woke up to the sight of the Villainess brushing her hair. We’d met a week ago in London, and now we were waking up with matching hangovers in Budapest, Hungary. Realizing I was awake, she skipped the pleasantries and lit into me about the night before.
“When you file for bankruptcy, just remember it’s because you tip drug dealers even though you don’t buy any drugs.” She said.
(This is why I hate alcohol. Not because it makes you do stupid or amazing, things, but that the memories of those stupid and amazing things are so often lost in the hangover, like a forgotten dream.) I rubbed my head, trying to remember the details.
She explained that, as we left the club, I asked a man for directions to an ATM, and him, being uncharacteristically friendly for 1AM, offered to walk me there, and me, being characteristically drunk for 1AM, thought that was just grand! He then asked if I wanted to buy some cocaine and I perked up.
Of my three companions, one was a 50 year old school teacher, the other didn’t even drink, and even though I knew the Villainess was down for it, we were supposed to fly to Italy in the morning (not something you want to do on a cocaine hangover). Having thought it through, I thanked the dealer and declined, saying that my friends and I were going to call it a night. When I turned to continue on, he touched my arm and said, “Testing is free.”
“Testing is free?” I asked. Yes, he said. I was so confused. How the hell are we going to test it? My dad told me about how in college in the sixties, you could mail a sample of your drugs to a lab on campus that would test their cleanliness, but how does he make any money if he’s constantly shuttling people back and forth from the clubs to a lab?
“No.” He said, “You TRY free!”
“Oh shit! Free bump!” I exclaimed, loud enough startle him. I was making him nervous with my lack of discretion, but the best camouflage is to hide in the open. I told him that as much as I would like to buy from him, my friends and I were going home and it would be rude of me to take the cocaine he had worked so hard for with no intention of purchasing it. I don’t remember much, but I remember loving his salesmanship. So much so that I was concerned he would think I was wasting his time and so needed to give him something to show my respect.
This is where the Villainess helped to fill me in. “You put your hand on his shoulder and give him a motivational speech about entrepreneurship and hustle!” She said. “You told him you appreciate him, as an individual AND a dealer, and to never give up on his dreams. You said the work he does is important, and to never doubt himself or think that the world doesn’t need drug dealers like him. Then you reached in your pocket and gave him all your money, and then you gave him a hug!
“He didn’t even speak English!” She said, hands in the air.
“Did he think I was coming on to him?” I asked her.
“It was a little gay,” she said, “but judging from the fear in his eyes, I think he was more confused than anything else.”
“Fuck.” I said, trying to calculate how much money I gave him. Couldn’t have been more than 5000 Hungarian Forrent, which is about $20.
Looking back on it now, I would give anything to know what he was thinking.