On the drive back from picking up Kevin, it was difficult to get answers. He was still a little bit fucked up, even after the “buzz kill” of watching friends get arrested in his ride home, and realizing they collectively lost $6500 worth of drugs in a single outing. The story changed every time I prodded him for details. At first, everything was Brandon’s fault. After I drilled him on how that was even possible, he realized he had to take at least partial credit for getting Brandon involved in the first place. So, then the story became “Janice did it!”, despite the fact that Kevin would’ve had to introduce Janice and Brandon, and also convince her that Brandon was worth trusting, and it didn’t explain his original story that Janice knew to only dole out the baggies to Kevin (when I asked him “was she giving Brandon the bags?” and he said “no, no, she only ever gave them to me”).
It was of zero consequence why this whole shit-show went down. I was just curious, as I tend to be, because I like to have the full story. I hate a partial story. I couldn’t “punish” him, of course. I couldn’t magically retrieve either the money (which magically disappeared) or the drugs (ditto), and frankly all I did was spend $12 on the lacquer wood tabletop for cooking and cutting up the K in the first place. Technically, I didn’t lose anything. Except a girlfriend, which was far more her fault than mine and only marginally Kevin’s fault.
I don’t mean to be flippant about the loss of Janice. She was a good woman, and we had some big plans together. Hell, she moved into my apartment not 2 weeks after we met. But, I wasn’t able to actually help her in her current state – and I didn’t even know how to help. I sure as hell knew I wouldn’t be her “one phone call” from the joint. All I could do was wait and see.
Kevin (and Janice) had, prior to this plan, acquired jobs at local fast food and retail establishments. I don’t recall which ones, but Kevin was goodly enough to call Janice out for work for an indeterminate period. He took the liberty of doing the same for himself, and never returning to the job. He just told me “I’m too depressed to work right now”.
I did end up getting a call from Janice about a week later, during her weekly allotted phone call time. She explained that since she was a minor (she was 17, about 3 months away from 18, but was also living on-campus at ASU prior to our involvement. Keep in mind I had just turned 20, so I wasn’t a super-creep), and because Brandon was a fucking disaster — who also took most of the drugs out of her purse on their drive home — she got off pretty light. She only had to serve 6 months for her involvement, but she’d be out in 4 on good behavior. We exchanged a few letters, all of which I still have in one of my boxes of memories, and of course she blamed the whole thing on Kevin.
Shortly thereafter, Kevin introduced me to this guy Andrew that he’d known since high school. Andrew and I hit it off pretty well, and I introduced him to LSD, which he got very intellectual about. He was a tinkerer, and a nerd like me. He was moving to Seattle with his family and friends in a few months and said I should come along, and we’d start a web design/development firm. We gave Kevin a series of tasks, to see if he could be a worthwhile addition, but he failed at all of them or just fucked off too much to even bother trying.
I spoke with Kevin about a year and a half later, and he was working at some startup company in Phoenix and seemed to be doing well. I haven’t spoken to him since, but the few people I’ve talked to that have interacted with him pretty much say “ohh.. y’know.. he’s good. workin’ at some place…”, so I’m sure he’s just hanging out and working like most folks. No worse for the wear, as they say.
As for Janice, she was released around 4 months after the event but she was pissed at me – either genuinely, or because her family beat it into her head that I was the problem – so we didn’t really talk much, and the one-or-two times we did, it was just a series of judgments from her about what I was gonna do with my life. Within a year, she was dating my best friend Sean. That’s not to say anything bad about either of them, however. They had a great relationship. You might think I’m lying, but I never once felt weird or jealous about that, and I stayed out of their affairs entirely. They were together for a few years, and I can’t remember why they broke up, but it was amicable and civil. I’m sure they still talk on occasion.
Some years later, she moved to CA and we hung out a few times and had some good laughs about the past. She regrets our post-jail discussions, as she said “I was in no place to cast judgment on anyone”, but we both agreed it was all for the best anyway. She’s now some kind of executive at a snowboarding company, and has since married a man I can only assume is a wonderful guy (she didn’t have a habit of dating assholes, aside from me).
As for Brandon? No one I know has ever mentioned his name outside of the context of this story. As far as we all know, he’s still in prison. If he’d ever gotten out, I’m sure he’d have just made another giant fuck-up and go right back in, fighting every cop along the way.
As for me, I ended up moving to Seattle for a year, and living in a house of Communists.
But… y’know, that’s a story for another time. Here’s that story.