Malcolm was broke. It was his first thought of the day, the moment his mind had started functioning after a troubled night’s sleep. It hadn’t been the case so two days ago, when his account showed more than three fourths of his stipend left.

He had blown all of it last night.

And he wasn’t depressed about it, just slightly anxious, since psychologically his mind was still conditioned to function smoothly subject to constant financial availability. He looked at the goods he had bought last night, all twenty bags translating into two kilos of herb. Now he smiled.

He was waiting for his phone to ring.

The calls would come, the voices anxious and eager and the same time, spewing quantities or cost based on their group’s requirements. The range would vary, from a few hundreds to thousands. For a week he would be busy, then the range would become stable, due to scale.

He was still waiting for his phone to ring. He could buy food only then.

His doorbell rang. Malcolm jerked out of his herbal stupor, and went to the door slowly. The bell rang again. Stooping slightly to access the peephole, he saw his girlfriend standing outside. He cursed her timing, after all he still had some strategizing left to do.

He had to drop snide hints about herb availability to a select few, so that news could spread around the nearby educational institutions. He had to make sure his finances worked well enough to pay for his rent and utilities, since last night’s pickup had been an exception, a chance too good to pass up.

He opened the door, and his girlfriend beamed at him. She strode past him, noting his blood red eyes and the hazy smile. She settled on a chair, and passed him some Snickers and a spring roll.

Malcolm felt like kissing her just for the food.

His phone started ringing soon after. She frowned.

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