Tommy and Brig emerged from their cheap hotel room somewhat rested and refreshed. Tommy led, followed closely by a jubilant Brig. They reached the pharmacy without incident. Just before they entered the store, Tommy suggested that Brig hang back and wait outside for him. Tommy explained that he didn’t want to make the shopkeeper nervous. Brig peered through the store window, watching in eager anticipation as the pharmacist handed Tommy a plain white plastic bag and returned to his work behind the counter as if he had just completed a standard transaction.
Brig smiled and excitedly rubbed his hands together as Tommy exited the store. As the shop door closed behind him, Tommy thought he saw someone suspiciously watching him, but the man quickly disappeared around a side street corner. Brig held out his hands to receive the bounty, but Tommy walked straight past him as though they were unacquainted. Brig followed close behind like a child that was trying to be good for his parent. After walking several blocks without stopping, Brig beckoned Tommy to stop. Tommy slowed.
“Not here. Just follow me and keep up.” Tommy was ready to dump the pills in the trash if he saw anything more out of the ordinary, but he had seen nothing that would suggest trouble.
Brig was dying for a bump and his frustration at following Tommy like his pet dog had worn thin. “Stop!” Brig demanded. Tommy stopped.
“I’m tired of your superior attitude. Now give me the pills and start treating me like an adult,” Brig said to Tommy’s back.
Tommy turned slowly, looked around to see if they had drawn any attention, and then whispered menacingly to Brig, “If you would act like an adult, I may treat you like one. Do you know how illegal these are?” he spat, holding up the bag of pills. “Trouble with the local police is something we need to avoid.”
Brig looked around incredulous, “Cops? Here? Are you shitting me? Do they even have police in this shit hole?”
As if on cue, two official looking men in uniform turned a nearby corner and locked onto Brig and Tommy. Tommy realized immediately that they had been set-up by the pharmacy clerk and handed the bag of pills quickly to Brig.
“I’m warning you. Put the pills in your pocket now and follow me quickly.”
“Fuck you. Dad!” Brig replied angrily and reached greedily into the bag.
Tommy turned to walk away and noticed yet another uniformed man walking towards them. “You,” the man pointed at Tommy. “Stop!”
Tommy briefly considered running but knew he would lose Brig and the chance at the ransom, if he did. He turned back to Brig and in perfect English said, “Brig you have to trust me. Whatever you do, do NOT tell these men anything. Do not tell them who you are and do not speak Chinese. The only thing that will keep you alive is your ignorance and white skin.”
Brig’s mouth dropped. He hadn’t noticed the policemen walking towards them. He was too stunned to absorb anything but the fact that Tommy had just spoken English.
“Say nothing,” Tommy warned again as the three officers formed a circle around them.
Finally noticing the officers, Brig closed his gaping mouth and tried to conceal the bag of pills behind his back. He stared at the ground in front of him.
“Show me your hands,” one of the officers demanded. “Foreigner. Show me what’s in your hands!” The officer ordered again.
“He doesn’t speak Chinese,” Tommy offered.
“When I speak to you, you will know it. Until then keep your mouth shut!” the officer warned. Each officer brandished a crowd control baton.
The lead cop, the one giving the orders, nodded towards the officer standing behind Brig, who then quickly tried to snatch the bag out of Brig’s hands. Brig, sensing the movement, resisted, causing the plastic bag to rip open, spilling its contents on to the ground.
“Oh fuck! You stupid fuck!” Brig fell to his knees, trying to recover what he could of the drugs.
“Fuck?!” he heard the officer yell, and then felt the crack of the baton at the base of his neck, just before losing consciousness.