tagFirst TimeBlack Market

Black Market

byblackrandl1958©

I need to thank my team. My beta readers are SBrooks103x and my mentor, Harddaysknight. Thank you, gentlemen, you are the best. My editors are PapaKilo14, Hal, Pixel the Cat and GeorgeAnderson. They make sure I don't appear to be any more of a fool than necessary. Love you guys.

*****

I've never really cared much about what society says is legal. If it's profitable, I'm down. Don't get me wrong, I have rules and scruples. I'm just a completely dedicated capitalist. If people want it, I'll try to find it and sell it to them. I don't sell people. I don't kill people for money, I'm rarely violent unless someone else is, and I don't steal from people that don't steal from me. I sell illegal things, all sorts of things. I'm not averse to selling people pharmaceuticals if they want to medicate themselves. I stay away from the stuff that makes people desperate and crazy. Crazy people are likely to become violent.

A little industrial espionage, pirated technology, moonshine and things like that. I'm your guy. I've never felt like illegal meant anything except the government didn't like it, wanted you to pay them to own or sell it or had a monopoly on it. Intellectual property is a joke. How can you own an idea? That never bothered me.

These days, it's hard to stay off the radar. There are cameras everywhere and if you use your cell phone or send an e-mail, the tax man cometh. I was meeting my boy JaMarcus downtown where most of the cameras were broken. He had a truckload of flash memory for sale and I was definitely interested. He knew a guy that worked for a major manufacturer who knew how to make it and wanted to go into business. He had a no-compete clause in his contract and his former employer got the cops to shut him down. Since he couldn't sell it in stores, he was looking for a market. I knew the market.

I was a little early, or he was a little late. I sat in my truck and listened to the new Foo Fighters album. I noticed a little yellow Mustang pull up behind me about a hundred yards. A woman got out and I saw her go around in back and open her trunk. She came back with a jack and I figured she had a flat. Being the gentleman I am, I got out and started walking back toward her car to see if she needed a hand.

A group of young men was walking down the sidewalk and they started making a few comments. I wasn't close enough to hear what they were saying but it was evident that she didn't like it and she went and got in her car. They gathered around it and one of them started beating on the hood. I figured they were just some punks until one of them picked up a brick and broke her driver's window. He opened the door and tried to drag her out. She was putting up a pretty good fight, but it was escalating and I was close enough to hear them now.

"White girl going to bleed a lot if you don't stop fighting," the guy in the door said. "You know you want this, baby."

"Leave me alone," she screamed.

They noticed me standing there.

"What you looking at, white boy?" The one with the brick started walking toward me.

"I think I'm looking at a punk that's about to make a big mistake," I told him.

He stopped. "What you talking about, chump? I beat your punk ass. You better get on up out of here."

"I don't think the girl likes you," I told him. "I think you assholes should move on down the street."

"Bitch don't know what she likes. She like the big dick," he clutched his groin. He started toward me again and I eased my jacket open. He saw the .45 ACP in my holster and he stopped in his tracks.

"I ain't going to argue with that," he started backing away.

The one struggling with the girl wasn't paying attention so I pulled the .45 out, walked up and tapped him on the head. He collapsed and one of his buddies started feeling tough.

"You a pussy motherfucker. I don't think you use that piece," he said.

I used it and his shoe exploded. "Pick up your trash and move on," I told the rest of them. The .45 made a hell of a pop, and he was screaming like he was dying, but I doubted anyone would report it.

"You a crazy motherfucker. You shot Jamal foot. This motherfucker crazy."

They picked up their boys and beat feet, telling me what they were going to do when they came back all the while.

I pointed the gun at them again and they shut up. I walked up to the Mustang and she shut the door.

"I'm sorry, Miss. I won't hurt you. You want me to change that tire?"

She was crying and her shirt was torn. "Please," she said. "I'll pay you if you will. I shouldn't be here. I was dropping off my friend from work and my tire went flat. I was going to change it and then those bastards came along. Thanks for making them leave. I can't believe you shot that guy in the foot. Are you a policeman?"

I laughed. "No, you won't find many of Los Angeles' finest down here. You're right about you shouldn't be here. This is a bad neighborhood."

I walked over and put the gun in the trashcan in case popo showed up. I slid the jack under her car. I loosened the lug nuts and raised it up. She got out after a minute and opened the trunk again. I heard her moving around and she came up, rolling one of those little donut spares. I looked her over a little. She didn't look very old. She was a tiny little thing, not much over 5 feet but she manhandled that tire and she had put up quite a fight earlier.

"Thanks again for helping me," she said. "I'm going to pay you."

"No, you're not," I told her. "I have more money than you. Besides it wouldn't be right to take money for helping someone."

"How do you know you have more money than me?" she asked. "I have a job."

"Yeah, me, too. What do you do?" I asked.

I got the tire off while we were talking and she rolled the spare in. "I work at Victoria's Secret at the mall."

"I've got eight hundred dollars in my pocket and maybe twice that in my wallet. How much you got?"

"Well, not that much. Aren't you afraid to carry around that much cash? No, I guess you aren't. You've got a gun."

"See, I can't let you pay me."

"I'm Thatcher Morgan," she told me.

"Hi, Thatcher Morgan; I like that name. I'm Riggins Sharp. I'd shake your hand but mine is all dirty."

"I'm sorry; I've got some Germ-x in the car."

"Wait till I get this in the trunk and I'll take it. This tire is ruined, Miss Morgan. You didn't get pulled over fast enough."

"Damn, just what I needed," she said.

I put it in and she leaned in looking for the hand stuff. I just stood there enjoying the view. She had a fantastic butt, encased in tight jeans. It was round and full and sort of apple shaped. She found the hand sanitizer and backed out. She caught me looking at her butt, but she just grinned.

She gave me a few squirts and I rubbed it around. She handed me a rag and I wiped them off.

"Miss Morgan, you shouldn't drive very far on that spare," I told her. "How far are you going?"

"Twenty-five miles," she told me.

"Well it should make it that far. You going to try to find a new tire tonight?"

"No, I don't think there's anything open."

"Well, you're wrong. There's a shop that's open late about three miles away. Which way are you going?"

"Santa Barbara," she said.

"That's more than 25 miles. How about I follow you over there to the tire shop, we get you a new tire and make sure you're okay?"

"I'd like that. Thanks, you're a really nice guy, Riggins."

"My folks raised me to help people if I could," I told her. "Drive me down to my truck and I'll follow you." I picked up my gun and got in.

The tire shop was open and they told her it would take an hour before they could get to her. We sat in the lobby for a few minutes and she noticed a Wendy's next door.

"Are you hungry?" she asked.

"Starving, how about you?"

"I was planning to drive through somewhere on the way home. I haven't eaten since lunch. Will you let me buy you a burger?"

"I'd love for you to buy me a burger, Miss Morgan."

She giggled. "Stop calling me Miss Morgan. My name is Thatcher. You said you liked it."

"I do, but I didn't know we were friends. I only call my friends by their first names."

"Well, you saved me from maybe getting raped back there. You changed my tire and you're looking out for me like this. You seem like a pretty good friend to me. You're kind of old fashioned, aren't you?"

"I guess so. I was raised in the Deep South by a Pastor. He wanted me to learn to be polite and I guess it stuck."

We got our order and I slid into a booth. I was a little surprised when she scooted me over and sat by me. We were busy eating for a while and didn't talk much. When I finished my burger, I leaned back and ate fries. I looked her over and she was beautiful. She had a cute little face and the most amazing eyes I'd ever seen. They were violet, I swear, with the longest lashes I'd ever seen. The tear in her blouse gave me peeks at a little lacy blue bra under her shirt. She had dark blonde hair that she wore about halfway to her waist. She felt my eyes on her and she blushed a little.

"Too bad about your window," I told her. "At least it's not raining. If you don't mind me asking, how old are you, Thatcher? I don't mean to pry and you don't have to tell me."

"I know I look young," she laughed, "but I'm 18. I graduate from high school in two months. How old are you, Riggins?"

"I'm 24," I told her.

"Do you go to college? No, I guess you don't. You've got too much money for a college guy."

"Actually, I do," I told her. "I'm working on a PhD from Southern Cal. I don't go every day and I have lots of time to work."

"What kind of work do you do?"

"I'll be a psychologist when I'm through with school. Right now, I buy and sell things."

"What sorts of things?"

"All kinds. I buy abandoned storage units and sell the stuff. I sell computer parts, software and some illegal stuff; untaxed booze, weapons and cigarettes."

"Well, you're honest. I can't believe you told me that."

"I trust you," I told her. "You're not a policeman, are you?"

She laughed. "No, I hear they don't come down here much. Are you a drug dealer, Riggins?"

"Sometimes," I said. "I sell weed sometimes. I buy prescription drugs and sell them on the black market. There are lots of people that need drugs but can't get them from doctors. I don't sell street drugs other than weed. I sell weed to three kids with cancer. Their doctor won't give them a prescription."

"Will you sell me some?"

"No, do you need some?"

"No, but I get high sometimes."

"Really? I didn't imagine you would. Me, too. You want to smoke a joint?"

"Have you got one?"

"Yes, I carry just one. That way I can eat it if a cop stops me."

"Let's go outside and smoke it," she said.

We sat on the grass under a tree between the tire shop and Wendy's and lit up. "Ever had a shotgun?" I asked her.

"No, what's that?"

I turned the doobie around and blew it toward her. She opened her mouth and sucked it in. Our lips were inches apart and I wanted to kiss her, but I didn't.

"Do you think I could do that?"

"Better not; it's getting short. I don't want you to get burnt."

"Maybe some other time," she said.

Now that got me thinking. She seemed like she was telling me I was going to see her again. I was thrilled, but didn't want to take anything for granted.

"Would you take me to see a movie Friday?" she asked me.

It was like she knew what I was thinking. This little girl was amazing.

"I'd love to, Thatcher. Do you always ask guys out or is this the weed talking?"

"No, I've never asked a guy out before. I haven't been on a lot of dates. It isn't the weed talking, though. I really like you, Riggins, and it seemed like if I didn't ask you, you weren't going to ask me."

"I probably wouldn't have. I kind of thought you were out of my league. Good enough to change a tire and buy me a burger, but from kind of a different side of the tracks."

"I guess you're right. Well, that didn't come out like I intended. I meant about the other side of the tracks. I mean, you're a smuggler, and I wouldn't ordinarily meet someone like you. I trust you, though. You probably saved my life back there. My parents are really good people and they're very religious. My dad works for Ford and my mom is an RN. They wouldn't let me date until this year. They don't expose me to anything they think would be bad for me. I trust them and I don't usually push the limits. I don't hang with the bad boys. I think you're really good looking, though, and I thought you probably wouldn't ask a girl my age out."

"Well, I wouldn't ordinarily, but we're friends, right?"

"Yes, do you think my tire is done yet?"

She held my hand as we walked across the parking lot and the weed had made us giggly, her more than me. I offered to loan her some money to pay for the tire but she put it on a card.

We sat in my truck for a while and talked. After we came down some, I got her number, gave her mine and agreed to pick her up at six on Friday. I went around and opened her door and she jumped down. I walked her to her car and she stood on her tiptoes and kissed my cheek.

"Thanks, Riggins. I'll never forget what you did. Those guys were going to rape me at the least. They might have killed me. You're my hero."

I put her in and she drove away. It was all surreal. I called my boy. He was a little put out because I hadn't shown.

"Marc, I met a damsel in distress," I told him. "I can do business anytime. I want those jump drives. Deliver them to my warehouse tomorrow and I'll buy them if they work."

I got the drives for a fair price. I mostly keep black market stuff in storage units. It's pretty easy to rent them under assumed names. If the cops bust one open, no one knows who it belongs to? I called my people and sold most of them in the first two days. I drove up to Humboldt County and picked up 300 pounds of high-grade weed. That's really the only time when I have my ass hanging out; when I'm transporting stuff. I was careful. I seal the weed in plastic just before I transport it. It's important that it not be in there too long. Then I seal the plastic inside metal propane tanks holding dry ice. I carry lots of furniture and junk to look like I've been to a storage auction, and Joe Trooper isn't usually willing to wade through all the junk when his dog hasn't alerted. I've been stopped carrying weed a dozen times, but I've never been busted. Crossing the border from Mexico is a different ball game. I won't do it.

Of course, non-drug contraband isn't a problem except for weapons. No one knows where you got it anyway. I just feed them the storage auction line and I'm on my way. I don't transport weapons. I have them delivered. I'll fill orders, but I'm going to drop them someplace in the city limits and the customer can pick them up. I own a store that I sell the storage stuff at and the right customers know that the good stuff isn't on the shelves. Oh, I do a thriving business selling legit stuff, but there's an elevator in my office behind a bookshelf that goes down to a basement. It's not in the building plans and I'm the only one that knows it's there. I sell weapons, military grade equipment, bootleg computer stuff and electronic spy type gadgets. I'm not a fence, so if you steal some jewelry, don't bring it to me. Like I said, I'm not a thief.

I'd been writing my thesis and it was going pretty well. I was doing a paper on physical education for kids with autism. I had a year to get it finished and it really wasn't pressing on me. I worked on it some; made a deal for some of the new Glock 9MMs and sold a guy a system to spy on his wife at home. He thought she was cheating, but it turned out he was wrong.

Friday rolled around before I knew it. I called Thatcher and we were still on. She wanted to introduce "her hero" to her parents, but that scared me to death. I tried to talk her out of it, but she insisted. I've been around enough religious old people to last a lifetime. I thought the truck looked a little redneck, so I drove my car. I've got a black and white '57 Chevy that I drive for fun. It's built to run a quarter in the 11's and the interior is tricked out, too.

I dressed casual nice, and when I pulled up in Santa Barbara, I was as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of vacuum cleaners. I figured that if they didn't like me, I was done. It was all for nothing. Her parents were really nice. I think they were a little uneasy because of our age difference but Thatcher had told them what happened and they couldn't stop thanking me. She kept her arm around me the whole time and that helped, too. I was robbing the cradle a little, but we met under unusual circumstances.

We made our getaway and Thatcher loved the Chevy. Her Mustang was one of the new GTs and I could tell she was cool about cars. She slid over and leaned against me with my arm around her. I love bench seats. I took her to eat at Outback and then we caught the new Hobbit movie. She was a big fan and I liked everything I found out about this girl. She told me all about school. She was near the top of her class, wanted to go to UCLA and she was a cheerleader. She played trombone in the band and she liked art and math.

I told her about my thesis, the store and what it was like to make a deal for an unregistered gun. She wanted to see the store so I took her over. She was impressed and wanted to buy a lamp I got out of a storage unit. It was a green stone mermaid that she fell in love with, but when I told her how much it was she changed her mind. She used the restroom and I packed it up and put it in the car.

I took her down to the lower level and she was impressed. "Is all this stuff illegal?" she asked.

"No, you can own most of it; I just don't have a license to sell it." She handled the guns and I asked her if she wanted one.

"It might come in handy next time you have a flat and I'm not around," I told her.

"I don't know how to shoot, and Mom and Dad would freak."

"I don't know, Thatcher. They seem pretty cool to me. I think they'd sleep better knowing you weren't going to be dragged out of your car and raped. I'll tell you what: You take this taser, talk to them about the gun and if they say okay I'll hook you up."

She was good with that. We sat on a sofa near the front window and watched the foot traffic and listened to music. I gave her a beer. She wasn't old enough and she didn't like it much, but she finished it. She slid over against me and put my arm around her. I hugged her up and she felt and smelled amazing.

"Are you going to kiss me?" she asked.

"I want to," I said. "Do you want me to?"

"I've been waiting all night. I'm glad you're a slow mover, though; I'm sort of new at this."

You couldn't have told by the way her lips moved. They were full and puffy and soft, and they were the sweetest lips I ever tasted. She had braces and they kind of got in the way, but it was a very nice and very long kiss. She moved around to straddle me and kissed me some more. I could feel her breasts against my chest and it was very sexy. They were small, almost hard little cones, but definitely there and definitely female. When she sat up, I could see her nipples trying to poke through her thin shirt. She obviously didn't have on a bra, not that she needed one. I wanted to touch one, but I definitely didn't want to scare this little angel away.

"Will you go to the basketball game with me Tuesday?" she asked. "I'll make sure we do some cool stunts."

"I'd love to. Is it a home game?"

"Yeah, I'd love to show you off. Our colors are green and white. Will you wear something green?"

I would have agreed to go naked. She wasn't done with me. The thought made my heart pound and I wrapped her up in my arms and squeezed her to my chest just to get the memory of the way she felt. It was getting late and I didn't want to worry her parents so they wouldn't let her go out with me again. I took her home and her folks asked me to sit with them at the ball game on Tuesday. They attended every one she cheered at, it turned out, and it was obvious they thought she hung the moon. I did, too, but some of that affection for her transferred to me and they were very nice to me.

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