|Inside the waiting area, a large black guard behind the counter practically yelled at them to sit down and don't move, don't go anywhere. It was like they already knew. Like they had some special agent watching them at the head shop, knowing what they were up to and just waiting until they hit the border to slam them with some good American justice. Steve felt sick. The big chance, the big job, everything now shot to hell. No way they were going to keep him on, knowing that he was trying to smuggle drugs into the country. It was all gone. What would he tell his Dad? Ollie merely sit solemn. He was sad, frustrated, browbeaten. There was no way out now. His fate would be one that he could only imagine in the movies. Neither said a word to each other. They just watched in silence. Watched through the large glass windows as at least four guards approached the truck, began pulling out bags, floor mats, papers. Then they brought out the dogs. Steve lowered his head, closing his eyes (not the dogs). This is just a dream right? Some surreal experience that will pass? He relented to the fact that life will be a bit different. The knot in his gut twisted something fierce. The same knot that kept him from eating when Sara left a year ago. The same knot that let him know when Dad was going to give him a beating for breaking something that shouldn't have been broken.
They were closing up the truck, now. Putting the tailgate up. Walking away with the dogs.
One of the guards carrying a flashlight and Steve's set of keys walked through the doorway. He looked at Steve, glaring. Steve could feel the moment of truth approaching and everything raced through his head and into that swollen knot. All that he had worked for would be dismantled with one fell inhale from the BC Buds bong.
"Is that your truck out there?" he asked.
Steve almost wanted to lie. Say it wasn't his and make a run for it when no one was looking. He thought about for what seemed like five minutes.
"Yes, that's my truck."
The guard nodded and pitched the keys into the air. Steve caught them, probably looking a bit confused.
"You're free to go."
And with that the guard turned and walked back out into the night.
Ollie looked at Steve, they both had that same, bewildered look. Steve felt the knot loosen. Is this a dream? They got up and back into the truck, Steve driving as carefully as possible back out onto the highway so as not to draw any more attention. He was almost laughing as they picked up speed, watching the border trail off in the mirror. Ollie was still panicked, though. He was back at his frantic search mission to find the lost vials.
"I got to find that weed!" he exclaimed.
Steve smirked, condescendingly. "Are you crazy? Fuck that weed. We got through, man! I don't believe it!"
"You don't understand," Ollie continued. "I HAVE to find that weed. Pull over!"
"Alright, alright. Calm down."
Steve pulled off on the next exit and eased into a 7-11 parking lot. He got out of the cab and watched with astonishment as Ollie relentlessly tore away at floorboard of the cab.
"Something tells me if the dogs couldn't find it, you're not going to find it," Steve said to Ollie, trying to save him some effort.
Ollie stopped in mid-flail. He looked up at Steve, eyes wide as if a revelation had just passed.
"You're right," he said.
"I know I'm right."
"No. It couldn't have fallen out in the cab," Ollie was deliberating. He stood up straight, staring at the ground. He had a sudden epiphany.
"The gas station!" he exclaimed. "It must've fallen out at the gas station." He smiled slightly, reveling in his discovery. But his smile quickly turned serious. "We have to go back."
"What!?" Steve said with shock. "Are you crazy? I'm not going back. You're out of you're mind. They'll know we were up to something for sure. They can see who's coming in, you know."
"You don't understand," Ollie said again.
"Ollie, it's just pot. Let it go. We'll get you some more in Seattle. I'm sure they sell it all over the place. I might even know a guy who can hook you up. I'm not going back across that border."
Ollie was now poised to tell him everything. He'd hoped he wouldn't have to do this, he always held an immense admiration for Steve, for his ability to accomplish things, his ability to move up in the world, be responsible. He always hated when Steve thought he was a fuck-up. He only wanted to believe that Steve had confidence in him, looked up to him, maybe.
"They're gonna kill me," he whispered. "They'll do something crazy. Break my legs, go after my Mom. You don't know these guys."
"What the hell are you talking about, Ollie?"
"That weed cost me over two grand and. . ."
"What!?" Steve interrupted.
"Just let me. . .just let me finish," Ollie asked. "It was this super high grade shit. It cost a lot because it's really good and you can sell it again for even more. Anyway, I don't have that kind of money, but there's these guys that I know, I think they're from DC, they heard I was coming up here and they gave me the money to buy it. If I go back and tell them I lost it somewhere, well, they're not going to believe me! They'll think I ripped 'em off, stole their money. You don't know these guys. They're kind of crazy. I think they'll hurt me. I have to go back."
Steve had never seen Ollie this serious before. He was silent in shock. Ollie was serious from time to time, but it was nothing life affirming. He was always ready to cut back into his sneaky, smart-ass persona and let you have it, keep you guessing. But this was different. The air had suddenly dropped and the night felt heavier.
"Ollie. . ." Steve began. "I don't know what to tell you, man. You shouldn't be messing with dudes like that. You need to get off the drugs. Quit doing that shit."
"Yeah," Ollie sighed. "It's not going to help me now, though." He stared at the pavement. Steve could feel his fear, his anxiety.
"Aw fuck, Ollie. Let's go."