This is the life of a drug dealer

David Yochum

His head is next to a pounding nightclub speaker.

And Dan is sleeping.

His girlfriend doesn’t know why.

His friends and family don’t know why.

Nobody knows – but us.

It’s funny – Dan and I used to think nobody was like us.

Two 21-year-olds with minds beyond 30.

He wore the Armani necklace, I drove the fancy car, and we would both live the lies.

Hell, we could handle it.

We’ve handled everything together since seventh-grade.

We figured out how to make people laugh, make people trust.

We figured out how to attract pretty girls when we didn’t have muscles or money.

And we figured out who was real – who gets to see behind our fronts.

One thing I know – our social success was all about reading people.

But misread your best friend’s closed eyes and you lose.

You lose like Edward Norton in the 25th Hour.

Like Johnny Depp in Blow.

Great movies about drug dealing – but fantasies.

In reality, your heart pounds inside an identifiable ’94 Camaro, circling a block.

You feel anxious waiting in a motel, talking with a kid from your highschool who put $70,000 and a Mercedes-Benz up his nose.

And you are absolutely floored when you learn how unlucky drug dealers are.

Well, a drug dealer to police.

A best friend to me.

You learn that kid in the motel, the one Dan dealt to, is dead.

He shot himself in the head after unsuccessfully robbing a Pittsburgh pharmacy, leaving behind an open cell phone.

Then you learn a friend from grade school, someone you had Nintendo 64 parties with, set your best friend up to save himself.

Set Dan up to deal to an undercover cop – twice.

Then Dan and a former co-worker got careless.

They met in a church parking lot, exchanged products and the police showed up.

And when the police show up, it’s all over.


There are no warnings, no build-up to a climax.

From then on, you grab lunch with a depressed best friend facing felonies.

Facing rehab.

Facing prison.

What do the two of you talk about?

Not the good old days.

What do you turn around and say to his family and girlfriend?

You could stop lying and lose the trust of your best friend.

You could keep lying and lose the trust of everyone who finds out your lies are covering his.

I chose the latter – and failed.

I never accounted for my lies not matching his.

Or worse, looking devastated loved ones in the eye.

And as for Dan, I don’t even know where he is today.

All I know is drugs put him to sleep.

David Yochum is a senior magazine journalism major and guest columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].