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Cloud Nine

             "Do you think I"m stupid, Henry?!" Keisha yelled as she dug her nails into his forearm, staring at the tracks fabricated love left him.
             "I told you before, I will not tolerate anymore of this! It's one thing to sit here and watch you do this to yourself, but another to watch you do this to us. I said to you, if this happened one more time it was over, no talking about it first. You did this, you must suffer!" And just like that, she took her bag from the floor, her keys from the table, and stormed out of the apartment, leaving a whole world of pain behind her. Heroin had built this home for the two of them and now it had destroyed it. Henry once stood strong and solid, a man and a genius, oozing with street knowledge and with more connections than a telephone operator. Today, and for the last 4 months, he stood tenuously, shaking almost, not at the words that had just been shouted at him, not at the fact the woman he referred to as his "love" had just abandoned him, but at the drugs that flowed through his system. It numbed him to a point where the world was his oyster, Henry knew best. He had known best when he made his income triple, tax free. He had known best when he took that fateful oath with the rest of his "family". He had known best when he made others take that oath and it was not going to die that easily. The oath was more important to him than anything he had ever been exposed to. It certified him for respect, love, family and security. The oath he took said that he shall never stop making money with the family and never turn to authorities or speak another brother's name when questioned by outsiders. The law knew for a long time what had been going on, officers visited Henry on frequent occasion, leaving business cards by his table at the front door. It would never occur to him that ratting his way out of his problems would solve anything. Breaking the oath was as good as suicide, not just that the rest of his family would turn on him, but that his financial situation and his addiction would eventually kill him.

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