For the first time, there was silence in the car as Hector floored the car through the neighborhood. When he pulled in front of Garty’s grandmother’s house, he killed the engine and turned to Garty. His eyes were watery and serious. “We had a good time, didn’t we? Keep your eyes open. I’ll call you as soon as I can. Take these, don’t worry about the money.” He pushed a small baggy of pills into Garty’s hands.
“Wow, uh, thanks,” Garty said, stepping out of the car.
“Eyes open,” Hector said and the car roared away.
Garty stood watching the battered little car grind around the corner and out of sight, leaving a hanging cloud of exhaust at the end of the street. Garty shook his head. He looked at the baggie of white pills in his hand: he counted eleven of them. He looked around, blinking. His grandmother’s house was at the dead end of the street; beyond that, there were trees and shrubs and the street descended into a drainage ditch. There was no one in sight. Somewhere distantly birds cawed, flailing in the trees. His friend was losing it. Whatever Hector had intended to show him, Garty thought, probably didn’t exist. He sighed and turned towards his grandmother’s house. He dug the key from his pocket and began up the cobblestone walkway through the yard. To his right, the bushes were overgrown, spilling over and around the crumbling cinderblock wall. The cat jumped up, appearing at the top of wall, and sat staring at him. He remembered Hector asking him if he’d seen a cat as his face twitched and his lip bled. He walked up to the front door, slipped the key into the lock, and turned the knob. He looked behind him and the cat had swiveled to track his progress, its eyes intelligent, its mouth half-open as if panting, showing him its pointed teeth.