Chapter Excerpt

Dope Sick AER

Chapter One

My arm was hurting bad. Real bad. The bone could have been broken. I couldn't tell. I just knew it was hurting and swollen. I felt like just taking the gun out and throwing it away and giving up so I could get the mess over with. I opened my mouth so I wouldn't make so much noise when I breathed. Down the street I saw the patrol car was still at the corner. He had his lights flashing. I didn't know if he'd seen which way I was running or not. I knew I was too tired to keep running much more.

I started to lift my arm to look at my watch and the whole arm just lit up with pain. The bone had to be broken. I figured it was two or three o'clock in the morning. Skeeter had called me just past midnight and told me they got Rico. I knew Rico was going to punk out. In a way I was glad they got him, but I knew he was going to blame everything on me.

I was in the shadows in a shop doorway and I knew I couldn't stay there much longer. I had to lie down or sit down or something. Had to get my head together. There was an old building across the street, and it looked like the front door was open. Maybe some juiceheads was in there. I didn't know, but I couldn't stay on the street much more. My arm was hurting too bad, and if that cop had really seen it was me, there would be more cops coming soon.

I felt like crying, like just running down the street and letting them shoot me—anything and everything at the same time. I was messed up big-time and I knew it.

I saw two women walk over to the police car. Probably hookers out doing their stroll. The cop in the car was talking to them and then he got out and went around the back of the car. I looked to see if he had his gun in his hand. From where I was in the doorway I couldn't see too clear. He might have. I could feel my heart beating fast and my right hand was shaking in my pocket. The cop and the two women walked a little way down the street, and he was up on his toes, trying to look into one of the building windows. I took a deep breath and moved from the doorway to behind a parked car. The street wasn't big and half the buildings didn't have nobody living in them, so it was dark except for the streetlight, and that wasn't working right. Nothing wasn't working right in my life.

I got across the street and into the doorway of the building I had been scoping. Looking down the street, I saw the cop and the two women were still together. The sound of another siren scared me. I couldn't tell where it was coming from. Keeping my eyes on the cop down the street, I pushed on the door behind me with my foot. It opened and I eased into the house.

The smell was terrible. Like somebody had been using it as a piss hole. It was dark except for the light from the cracked-open door. I saw some steps and started thinking about the roof. If I got to the roof, I could come down in another building, maybe even on another block. My left arm was pretty stiff and I didn't want to move it too much. I let go of the Nine I had been carrying since I left my house and fished around in my pockets for some matches. When I found some, I was scared to light them. Maybe the cop had seen me come into the building. Maybe he was just waiting outside for some backup before he came busting in the door.

I put the matches in the pocket with the Nine and started up the steps, walking close to the wall so they wouldn't creak too much.

The smell wasn't no better, but it changed a little as I got near the second floor. It was just that musty smell that old buildings have sometimes. I smelled some vinegar too, so I thought there might have been some dopeheads shooting up in one of the rooms.

I stopped and lit a match, holding the book in my left hand and striking the match with my right. There was garbage on the floor and some piles of old plaster. I seen where the next steps was and started for them. I was being quiet because I didn't want to run into no dopehead or crazy homeless dude.

When I got to the third floor, I heard a sound. It was people talking. I held my breath, trying to figure out if it was somebody who had come in after me or somebody already in the building. My heart was pumping big-time, a mile a minute, and I was feeling sick to my stomach as I leaned against the wall.

Maybe there was a way to figure out where the sound was coming from, but I didn't have that way in me. I was too scared to think good. I knew that if the sound was in the building, it wasn't no cops, so I started up the stairs again. Halfway up the next flight I saw a light coming from under one of the doors. Then I heard the sound again and knew somebody had a television on.

If it was a homeless guy, it would be okay, unless he was crazy and had a knife or an axe or something. If I had to shoot him, the cops might hear it. If it was a doper it would be better. A doper might just be on a nod and might not even wake up.

Dope Sick AER. Copyright © by Walter Myers . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from Dope Sick by Walter Dean Myers
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.