(Illustration by Dan Evans)
Provided you don't have designs on being a Scarface-level operator or the cold, ruthless ambition it takes to control a city's drug trade ala Marlo Stanfield, dealing drugs in real life isn't at all how it's portrayed in the movies or on TV. And rightly so. Because that show would be a fucking snooze. Mostly it would involve getting text messages from a stable of established clients, setting up delivery times, and then making said deliveries. There'd be a lot of cross-city travel, but most of it is pretty ho-hum too, because you basically want to keep your head down and do your best not to be noticed. Every once in a rare while—let's say, during sweeps—you might hook up with a client. It'd mostly resemble High Maintenance, but only on its most interesting days. It's typically really boring.
Like any job, it can be a tedious slog loaded front to back with tasks you do not want to complete, but must. You are in the business of delivering happiness, after all, and if you don't do it someone will take your place. We spoke to a dealer who's been in the game for years, and who slings a variety of goods, and asked her about how she makes a living. One of the most surprising perks of the job, it turns out, is that it forces you to interact with a wide assortment of personalities. As such, over the years our dealer has seen lots of clients come and go, and typically they can all be shoehorned into distinctive categories. Below, she breaks them down for us. Don't be one of these people.
THE FIRST TIMER
It's so annoying when you get a text from a new number that is so specific that it basically screams DRUG DEAL. Such a dumb rookie mistake, and usually the first and last a Newbie seeking a bit of a pick-me-up or bring-me-down makes. I used to just ignore texts like that, but now I usually text back with a stern reply demanding they lose my number, along with a couple colorful name calls. But if they play it cool, and don't step in this pile of shit out of the gate, I typically like this kind of doe-eyed client. They're usually pretty petrified, and that's cute—until it gets very annoying. They are also pretty malleable and don't know exactly what things cost, so you can charge them a bit more. Not too much, because you don't want them to find out you've completely ripped them off down the line when they've got a bit more knowledge, but maybe $10 or $20 more than I'd otherwise charge. I call it The First Timer Tax. Everyone's gotta pay.
BLUE COLLAR KILLERS
This buyer has an intense manual labor job that requires various extremes of physical discomfort—anything from standing on their feet all day, to hauling or lifting heavy things, to general construction jobs that can punish your body. I like Blue Collar clients, because I feel like what I'm selling them is an internal massage they can enjoy in the comfort of their own home.
THE NEW YORK FASHIONISTA
The Limelight era in New York City was so huge and covered so much in the media that it tainted my view on what I thought the typical drug user looked like. I thought they'd all be super cool model types, club kids with impeccable fashion sense who could cut you in half with a look. Instead, as I've mentioned, I'm more apt to deal to a schlubby office manager who wears pleated khakis or a guy who lays cement and hasn't seen a vegetable in a few years. But sometimes I'll get a client who exudes the kind of cool I was fooled into believing was the norm back in the day. I thought I'd be dealing to people who looked like David Bowie (RIP), and instead I mostly deal to people who look like Kevin James. So when a cool kid comes along, I relish it, because it doesn't happen very often.
The Power Broker oversees a ton. Screen grab from 'The Wolf of Wall Street.'
THE POWER BROKER
This is a fairly big umbrella, and underneath it are people who have lots to do in their work lives. They are in charge of a lot of stuff. The Power Broker typically runs the show in their daily lives, and so are looking for help decompressing or giving up control with the use of a substance. I've had both doctors and lawyers as clients. I see a lot of boss types looking to cut loose, and recharge in their downtime.
THE TRUST FUND ASSHOLE
I definitely charge this kid more because he's such an affront to everything decent. In his early-to-mid 20s, he lives in a condo his parents purchased and spends most of his day, as far as I can tell, playing video games. Almost without fail, he seems patently lonely, and invites me to stick around and smoke. The few times I have, I almost instantly regret it. I'm usually all for hearing about someone's hopes, fears, and dreams—especially if we vibe and I am genuinely interested in them as a person (you get pretty close to some clients). But usually the Trust Fund Asshole reveals himself to be a know it all who has done nothing, aka the fucking worst.
THE PARTY STARTER
This guy has been given the task of getting the substance for him and all his friends for a big night out on the town. Usually he's pretty hyped up, excited about the party that awaits him and eager to help facilitate the most incredible night of debauchery he and his group of D-bag friends can conceive of. He overuses the phrase "It's lit!" (Pro tip: saying "It's lit!" even once is overusing it.)