The alley was getting darker as the sunset. I lent against the wall and watched the streetlamps flickering on. The rain had stopped a few minutes ago, water dripped off the broken guttering and the overfilling bins. I had no idea how long or how much longer I’d have to wait but it was going to be worth it.
I tried to look casual, perhaps acted like I was looking for a lost kitten or something but it was hard to be so normal in a place like this. I hadn’t seen any police or soldiers or anyone else who looked suspicious. The only other sounds were from the cramped houses either side of me; babies crying, children talking, adults shouting and a lone dog barking.
A rattling of the broken wire fence at the back of the alley and the shuffling of feet drew my attention. It could be him or it could be someone else… I cast about and made clicking noises as if I was looking for a lost pet.
A hacking coughing stopped me and I looked up at the small man standing in the shadows. He was wearing a massive coat that covered him from head to floor, a floppy hat that covered the top of his head and give his face more cover. He might also have been wearing a woollen mask but it was hard to tell.
I walked over to him nervously but trying not to show any fear. There was enough light from the streetlamp to aid us and I tried not to stand in front of it. We both looked and listened, giving enough time for anybody watching us to jump out. Everything seemed normal.
Slowly, the small man opened his coat and there was a soft rustling sound. Light flashed across something shinny. He held his arms wide and coat high to reveal the many pockets sew inside which were stuffed full of bootlegged products.
I licked my lips and stepped even closer. Forgetting for a moment that we had to be careful. Someone could still be watching us, waiting for either the handover or the completion.
‘What you got?’ I whispered.
‘Whatever you want,’ the man hushed back, flashing a smile that showed off his golden teeth.
‘Left side, down.’
I looked then pulled out a small grey packet. I felt the weight in my hand and decided that was fine. I put it in the secret pocket in my jeans.
I pulled out a small box and looked quickly inside. I nodded and slipped the box into a pocket inside of my coat.
‘Right middle. I got dark, white or milk.’
I selected a small paper wrapped bar of milk and eased it down the side of my left boot.
‘How much?’ I uttered.
He named his price and I handed over a few packets of cigarettes, painkillers and ketchup.
Satisfied we both walked away as it started raining again.
(This story was inspired by my fiance wondering what it would be like if chocolate was banned. This scene came into my head and I had to write a short story about it!)