When Lips found out that he had hot‑wired an auto, he advised him on ways to raise some cash without so much risk. He told him that it was far easier and less perilous to unload electrical goods through the nightclub, rather than a stolen car. He said that one of the best times he found to lift goods was on Sunday mornings. He smiled as he said,
"Almost every houth ith empty becauth people are at church!" When Lips needed cash for his habit, he would carry a bunch of fake circulars in his hand and go door to door. It was easy to check if anyone was home. He said that many religious people didn't even bother to lock their doors, so he would just go right on in and take cash and things that were small enough to hide under his jacket.
But Lips had a better suggestion for Johnny. He could work for him, selling smack. He said that it was real easy and the money was good enough to support his habit and give him a very comfortable life. What's more, he would trust him with credit with the first shipment, and give him his own risk-free territory. Johnny could take over the college district, where there were no worries about undercover narcotic agents. He said that it was an easy market. All he had to do was befriend some prospective buyers by showing them a little porn, gain their trust, then give them their first hit free…and they will be back for more. He laughed and said,
"It's sthoooo good to be able to have that thort of confidenth in your product!"
Two weeks later, Darlene walked up to Johnny as he sat at the club. She would normally have crept up behind him and rubbed his shoulders or stroked his hair, but this night she simply called him to a corner table. He sat down opposite her and said,
"What's wrong? I haven't seen you for three weeks!"
She frowned and said,
"I need $600 quickly. I'm pregnant. If I don't get rid of this, Jack will fire me."
Johnny was stunned. It was the last thing he expected to hear. Also, he didn't like her "If I don't get rid of this" attitude. As far as he was concerned this was a potential child she was speaking about, and there was no way he was going to pay for an abortion. He reached out, put his hand on hers and gently said,
"Darlene, I care about you. I also care about our kid."
Darlene winced as though he had just slapped her face. At the same time she pulled her hand from under his. Her voice became a little louder,
"Don't be stupid. I told you that Jack won't like this!"
She then rose from the table and walked away.
Later that night when Johnny returned to his apartment, the door was unlocked. Darlene was the only other person with a key, so he hoped that she had changed her mind about the abortion and was waiting for him inside. When he opened his door and walked through the small apartment, he found that she wasn't there. Neither was the new stereo he had lined up for sale the following day. He rushed to his room and opened the drawer where she knew he kept his cash. The $400 he had left there was gone. So was his .38.
To be continued.