"Make a cup with your hand," he says as a wry grin ripples across his face to reveal the glimmer of a gold cap covering some no-doubt rotten tooth in the top left quadrant of his mouth. I hadn't ever noticed that glimmering feature about him before, maybe it was something new. As I comply with with his request he pulls a foil packet from his right trouser pocket and furtively pours out the contents into my hand. He tells me the yellow powder now resting squarely in the hollow of my hand has a little bit of a sour taste and then adds, "But it's great stuff. Go ahead and try it."
That's when I realize I've completely lost my marbles because I do exactly what he tells me. I bring my paw to my mouth, tilt back my head, down the substance in one gulp and then lap up the powdery residue left on my palm with my tongue. Just as he warned, it's a little tangy but I don't feel any immediate impact. For some reason I trust him. He's been my drug dealer for years, ever since I moved into Temple Valley.
Gold capped tooth aside, he's really not your typical drug peddler. I guess he's kind of like the pharmaceutical version of the Fuller Brush man. He hawks medicine door-to-door for a relatively big pharma company and the business at my doorstep is usually booming. Today he is pushing powdered vitamin C.
After taking inventory of the little medicine chest we keep on hand in our house, he replenishes it with all the basic antidotes to an assortment of ailments but mostly he fills it with aspirin and a couple of different cold remedies. Adding up the damage on the little Texas Instruments calculator that's permanently fixed to the interior of his huge shiny metal suit case containing everything for what ails you, he hands me the bill. It comes to five thousand yen, about fifty bucks. It pinches a little but looking the record over in my hand I realize it's been a mild winter.
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