was blessedly silent, and I closed my eyes, hoping I wouldn't
throw up in his car. By the time he got me to my house I was
feeling a little less queasy.
"I'd invite you in," I said, carefully extricating
myself from the seatbelt, "but I don't think I can face
anything but sleep."
"That's fine, Lisa," he replied in a kindly way.
"I have to be heading home anyway My wife is waiting
for me. I know this probably isn't the best time to tell you,
but the pen club is having a small holiday party next Sunday.
If you can manage to make it, please do. Everyone will be
there, even Jason."
I smiled at him halfheartedly and opened the car door. "If
I can, I certainly will," I replied, not at all sure
I was telling the truth. Jason would probably have Diana with
him at the party. And even if he didn't, I wasn't sure I really
wanted to see him.
When I walked through the door to my house, my mother was
about to leave for her night shift at the children's home.
She glanced at me and said, "You look like hell, Lisa.
Go to bed. I'll put dinner on the table before I go."
I didn't argue but headed right upstairs. However, once I
was in bed, I couldn't sleep. My head still hurt and my stomach
wasn't completely calm. Tossing and turning only made things
worse, so I lay rigid for a couple of hours and then gave
up. Although I'd followed Mrs. Amos' advice and taken two
Tylenol, they hadn't helped at all. I got up and stumbled
to the bathroom, hoping to find something that would ease
my discomfort and allow me to sleep.
There was aspirin, but I knew better than to take that with
an unsettled stomach. I searched through the medicine cabinet,
and when I didn't find anything promising, I bent over and
began to examine the contents of the cupboard under the sink.
Bending over made me feel lightheaded, so I sat down on the
cold floor and began to search.
After pushing aside another bottle of aspirin and a great
assortment of razor blades, bargain shampoo, soap, and toothpaste,
I came to a large-mouthed, brown bottle labeled "Crane's
Digestive Salts." It looked old, so I picked it up, wondering
if it was still good. It was surprisingly light for something
that felt so full. I stood up with the bottle in hand and
felt lightheaded all over again. So I sat down on the toilet
seat and opened it. It was a good thing I was sitting down.
Inside the bottle I found a plastic bag full of marijuana
and a handful of rolled joints. I shook my head. Typical of
Donald to keep her stash in the bathroom cupboard. When he
was younger that's where he'd kept the comic books that he'd
I was ready to close the bottle, when it registered in my
tired brain that there was something else in it besides the
pot. I pulled out the baggie and my eyes nearly popped out
of my head. There was a large roll of bills tucked in against
the side of the bottle and a number of packets made of folded
aluminum foil stacked in the bottom of the bottle. My first
thought was that Donald was silly to be stowing his earnings
from the paper route in with his stash, but when I pulled
out the roll of bills and saw that all of them were in denominations
of twenty dollars or more, I realized that I was not holding
his paper route earnings. I placed the money back in the bottle
and shook out a couple of the foil packets. The first one
I opened contained a pile of powder. There was a scrap of
white paper with something written on it in Donald's handwriting.
I peered at it and read "Super K." Super K? I thought
that was a breakfast cereal! No, that wasn't right either.
Special K was the breakfast cereal. What the hell was Super
I rolled the packet back up and replaced it in the bottle.
The next one I examined contained pills and a scrap of paper
as well. This one had "GHB" scrawled on it. All
the other packets had pills in them as well, some tablets
and some capsules. Most of the names seemed to be in code
and were unfamiliar to me, like "Cat" and "X."
But then I saw a name I had heard or read somewhere: "Roofies."
Roofies? Wasn't that the date rape drug? I felt my skin prickle
and the hair stand up at the base of my skull. What was Donald
Shivering I replaced all the aluminum packets in the bottle,
covered them with the marijuana bag, put the top back on,
and returned the bottle to its hiding place. Then I went back
into my room and sat down on my bed.
It was almost midnight. I knew my father was asleep. I wouldn't
have confided my find in him anyway. He was having a hard
enough time with Donald's arrest for possession. There was
an emergency phone number for the children's home, but I knew
that this didn't qualify as that sort of emergency. Anyway,
what could mom do if she knew? Race home and confront Donald?
He never listened to her anyway. He barely paid any attention
to dad. I thought hard for a few minutes, trying to come up
with someone he did listen to but couldn't identify a solitary
soul. Of course, since his arrest he'd been less blatantly
rebellious, but his threat to shoot dad came back to me, and
I wondered if it were time to call in the police.
The idea shocked me. Call the cops on my own brother? What
was I thinking of? I stood up and paced. Maybe I should go
into Donald's room and confront him myself. Wake him up if
he was sleeping and show him the evidence.
I stood up and walked to the bathroom. The door was closed.
I knocked, and Donald's voice called out, "Just a minute."
I waited far longer than a minute, but eventually he came
out and brushed past me. I hesitated, trying to decide whether
to follow him to his room or not. Confronting him, I thought,
would do little good, unless I had the goods in hand. So I
went into the bathroom and dug the bottle out from cupboard.
Then I walked over to his room and knocked softly on the door.
"Hey, Donald," I whispered, "open up. We have
There was no response for the longest time. Then he opened
the door and stuck his head through it. "I'm beat. Can't
I held up the bottle, and he opened the door.
"What do you want?" he asked as soon as he'd shut
the door behind me.
"What's going on, Donald? What is all this stuff? Are
you using it?"
He snorted derisively. "What stuff?"
"All these pills and the powder in here."
"How should I know?" he countered.
"The packets are labeled in your handwriting," I
snapped at him. "That's how you should know."
He glared at me. "Well, if the packets are labeled, why
are you asking me what the stuff is. You can read."
I opened the bottle and poured the contents onto the floor.
"If these aren't yours, you won't mind if I stomp on
them and then sweep them into the trash, will you?" I
stepped hard on one of the packets.
"Hey! Are you nuts?" he yelled and immediately fell
to his hands and knees and started to pick up the packets.
"This stuff is worth a lot of money."
He shoved the packets back into the bottle and then counted
the money. "Well, at least you didn't take my cash,"
he mumbled, putting the money back in the bottle. "Or
raid my stash of weed." He added the baggie to the bottle
and closed it.
"Donald, what are you doing with those drugs?"
"Selling them," he said, glaring at me. "What
"You're a drug dealer?" I squealed.
He grabbed me and put his hand over my mouth. "Shut up,
Lisa! If you want to talk with me, talk quietly."
I nodded and he let me go.
"I'm not a drug dealer," he whispered. "Drug
dealers are guys who stand around on street corners and entice
little kids to try heroin. I'm a middleman. Some of the really
cool guys in my class get their stuff through me. It's not
like I'm enticing anyone. I'm providing a service."
I snorted. "You're a drug dealer," I repeated, but
more quietly. "And you're selling the date rape drug."
He rolled his eyes and shook his head. "You are so naïve.
I am allowing people to buy substances that will help them
relax and lower their inhibitions. That's all."
He sounded as if her were quoting someone.
"So who sold you that line And who's selling you the
drugs?" I demanded.
"Look, Lisa," he said calmly, but I could see that
his fists were balled. "I need to earn some money so
I can have a decent time until I get out of here. And it wouldn't
hurt if I could salt some of the green away to pay my way
once I leave."
"You have your paper route. And you could get a job once
you're a little older," I replied.
He shook his head. "Yeah, right. Do you know how many
months it would take me to be earn from my paper route what
I make selling this stuff in one week?" he demanded.
"And I need to keep working to be able to afford my weed."
I shook my head. "You won't be able to smoke that in
"I'm not going to jail," he growled. "I only
got busted for smoking and for possession of a couple of jays.
You don't go to jail for that."
He looked at me as if I were a complete moron. "Don't
you know anything?"
"I know that you'll get busted for dealing sooner or
later. And then you will go to jail."
He laughed. "Well, I'm not going to do this forever.
Just until I finish school."
"But you're only in tenth grade!" I protested.
"Shh!" he ordered me. "Keep your goddamned
"Look, Donald," I whispered, "I can't let you
keep dealing now that I know."
He smiled. "You can't stop me."
"I can turn you in."
"Yeah, that would go over really well with mom and dad."
"I could tell them what you're doing."
His smile got bigger. "Don't you think they already know?"
I shook my head. "That's impossible."
He giggled. "That bottle has been under there for about
eight months. Do you really think you're the first person
who's ever opened it?"
"Dad doesn't know," I insisted.
He shrugged. "Maybe not. Maybe he'd have a heart attack
if he found out. Do you want to take that risk?"
"If you don't get rid of that stuff and stop dealing,
I'm turning you in," I said as firmly as I could.
"Sure," he said. "Go ahead. Turn me in and
ruin our family. I dare you. I double dare you."
I stared at him.
"Close the door behind you when you leave, Lisa,"
he said softly, putting the bottle under his pillow and lying
down in bed. "I need my beauty sleep."
my room I sat on the bed and realized I was shivering so I
pulled the covers over my shoulders. I was sure that Donald
had lied about our parents' knowing he was dealing drugs,
but it shocked me that he had tried to intimidate me by saying
that. Once again I remembered that he didn't know how much
dad had changed over the years. His threat was laughable.
Dad would not have a heart attack if he found out about Donald's
drug dealing, but he might very well lose control and put
Donald in the hospital. Dad had worked hard at learning to
be a non-violent parent, and I was not about to put him in
a situation where he'd be so sorely tested. I was even more
certain that mom had no idea that Donald was dealing. She'd
had trouble believing that he'd been caught smoking pot, insisting,
though he'd been caught in the act, that there must be some
I was still shivering, so I pulled my legs into the bed and
crawled under the covers. What to do? I couldn't let him go
on selling drugs, especially not drugs that would put innocent
people at risk. I had no idea how Donald had turned into what
he'd become. Was he really spoiled, as Miss Carswell had insisted?
I couldn't believe that. None of us was spoiled. We were hard-working
farm kids. I knew as I began to drift off to sleep that I
had to do something. At the same moment I realized my headache
and stomach discomfort were completely gone and I hadn't thought
about Jason and Diana or wondered how much Amanda knew ever
since I'd found that bottle under the sink.
I was amazed at how much better I felt physically, even if
my thoughts were a blur. As my mind shut off and I felt myself
sink into silence, I wondered why.