So this thing we're talking about doing—you know, the thing. Well, I'm not sure going on the straight and narrow with it is our best option. I mean, sure, we could do it by the book and get exactly what we want up front without any complications. But what if I told you I've got a connection that could get us the same goods for twice the price and then screw us over when it comes time to deliver?

See where I'm going with this?

Listen, listen, just hear me out. This is the guy Gordy used. You know Gordy. Hangs out behind the car wash, filed for bankruptcy twice last year? See, Gordy says this guy'll take us for at least a couple grand, easy. He already gave me the guy's pager number.

No, seriously, a pager. That's how you know we're really gonna get fucked over bad.

I'm telling you, this guy is the real thing. He knows exactly how these kinds of deals work, which is why he can tell we haven't got a clue what we're doing. Probably has a disposable cell phone and a whole bunch of Chinese mob connections or whatever that he can call to get us anything we need, but he won't, unless he wants to tell them about these stupid college kids he ripped off and have a good, long laugh. All we have to do is trust him and he'll take us for all we've got and then disappear forever.

It's a sure thing for him.

Come on, quit being such pansies. This guy is totally, 100 percent, legitimately going to screw us backwards and forwards.

Oh, oh, so, you remember that story about Jody's cousin's old van? This is that guy! The guy who bought it. Well, not like bought it. More like said he was just taking it to show to a guy who could get her cousin a new stereo system for free and then never came back with it. I heard he eventually settled things with him by giving him nine tape decks that were new in the box but were obviously actually stolen. That's the kind of underground, off-the-books shit this guy can get done, and if we all act cool, he might just tell us at the last minute that it's going to cost $600 more than he expected.

If we're lucky, when this is all over he'll have us so angry we'll go at each other's throats but not even think about calling the cops on him. That's why this guy is perfect, just perfect.

It's perfect.

After all, there's a lot of money at stake here—probably a lot more than we would have spent doing a straight deal. Because this guy is the type who'll tell you there's only like a dozen of these in the United States and he can't say much else about it, other than that he usually charges twice as much for them, but he likes our style so he's going to give us a break. And we'll drive him around in our car from one ATM to another, getting the max allowable withdrawal, until he asks if we couldn't get him some Long John Silver's, and we agree, since he's doing us this favor, after all, and then two weeks later when we realize we've been scammed it'll be that $9 that hurts the worst because we just handed it over like a little bow on top of all the other money he took from us because we are such fucking saps.

So I guess you have to ask yourself: Do you want the real thing with a warranty and a receipt and all its parts? Or do you want a bunch of cinderblocks stacked inside the box the real thing comes in?

We don't even need to argue about it, because I already called him. Only way to get these things rolling. I told him how much money we had and that it was all in cash and that you had it with you. We're supposed to meet him tonight at the U-Store-It on Lindener Road—the one that's like a poorly lit maze?—and he told me to bring my SUV, which he knew about somehow. I guess he must be actually bringing the stuff, or at least hoping we think he's bringing it.

Let's do it, man. I don't want this to be a repeat of that stress-free time we just went and got a decent deal on that pretty good plasma TV from Best Buy that actually exists, works perfectly, and doesn't smell like it was packed in a shipping container with a half ton of fish. Let's go with my guy. You'll see. He won't let us down until the very, very end.