MINNEAPOLIS—Having exhausted several more conventional sources for illegal drugs, area copy editor Alex Henderson, 33, was forced to ask his 15-year-old nephew Kevin for MDMA Monday.
"My girlfriend Paula [Tanner] was talking about how fun ecstasy was the two times she did it," Henderson said. "She got really excited when I said I'd never tried it before, because I guess the first time is the best. She said we should take it and spend all night having sex. I told her I'd make some calls."
Although ecstasy use among young adults is on the rise, Henderson said he has been "out of the drug loop" for several years, and thus unsure where to buy the club drug. It was only after two weeks of intense searching that Henderson asked his nephew if he knew any dealers.
"Let me assure you, going to Kevin was my absolute last resort," Henderson said. "I explored every single avenue I could think of before I went to track him down after band practice Monday night."
Henderson said the first person he contacted before approaching the high-school sophomore was his friend Dean Holston.
"Dean and I used to party a lot in college, but he was always the one who took the money and got the stuff for our group," Henderson said. "It turns out he cleaned himself up and is just starting a job drafting legislation in Washington. I got him working late. He said no way. Then he said it was too bad I couldn't make it to his wedding last summer."
"It wasn't one of my finer moments," he added.
After he asked all of his friends and several of his more irresponsible-seeming acquaintances, Henderson decided that he needed to seek out a younger demographic. He said he spent three days cozying up to Christine Polley, the 22-year-old intern at his office, before casually broaching the subject of having the history major find him some ecstasy.
"Everyone from the office was having a couple of beers after work," Henderson said. "Christine seems pretty laid-back, so I didn't think it would be out of line to ask her if she could hook me up. She didn't freak out or anything, but she got a little evasive and told me that she didn't do drugs and didn't know anything about that stuff. She left kind of quickly afterward. I hope she doesn't think I'm the office narc or something."
Only after several more weeks of failed attempts did Henderson turn to his nephew.
"Let's just say it—I was desperate," Henderson said. "I can admit that much."
Although Henderson found it awkward to ask his nephew for illegal drugs, the prospect of pleasing his girlfriend convinced him to go forward with his plans.
"I tried to call at a time when no one else in the family was around, but my brother Jake answered the phone," Henderson said. "I talked to him for a minute, and then I was like, 'Yeah, so how's Kevin?'"
Henderson said his concern for his nephew seemed to confuse his brother.
"He was like, 'Kevin? He's okay. He got a B-minus on his research paper.' That was my road in," Henderson said. "I was like, 'B-minus. Hmm. Maybe I should talk to him.'"
Henderson's brother, though surprised by the request, put his son on the phone.
"Once I had Kevin on the phone, I told him he didn't need to worry so much about a B-minus, that it was just one grade, that he was doing great. I asked him what sports teams he's rooting for these days, if he thought that movie about the Alamo was going to be any good, and then if he could get me some X."
According to Henderson, Kevin initially did not understand the question, forcing his uncle to repeat himself several times.
"I was like, 'Ecstasy. Can you get me some X?'" Henderson said. "Finally, after like five minutes, he was like, 'Oh. Oh. X? Oh. Um, I guess I can ask around.'"
Henderson said he immediately had second thoughts after getting off the phone with his nephew.
"It kind of got me worried," he said. "I don't think my relationship with Jake would ever bounce back if he found out I'd enlisted Kevin as my drug mule. He's still a little mad at me because I took Kevin to see House Of 1000 Corpses."
Although Kevin's initial inquiries were unsuccessful, the high-school sophomore promised to keep his ear to the ground for his uncle, in spite of his apparent discomfort in doing so.
"Some kids might think it's cool to score drugs for their uncle, but it kind of gives me the creeps," Kevin said. "I don't really hang out with the kids who deal that stuff, so it's awkward to go up and ask them for it. I'm going to try, though. It's even worse to have Uncle Alex calling here and hanging up when Dad answers. We have caller ID."