John and Billy Ray were just climbing out of the kiva as they returned.
"The moon's moved from over the hole and it was getting dark down there in the kiva again, so we lit the lanterns so's you could see," said John proudly. He liked to advertise it anytime he showed a little initiative, and he lived to be stroked.
"Good thinking, John," said B.T. like an approving master. "I appreciate that."
"Yeah, I might be tired, but I ain't so stupid," said John as he laughed loudly and slapped five with his trusty sidekick.
"No, you certainly aren't." B.T. pulled a leather pouch from his jacket pocket. "And I think I can help you with the fatigue factor, my little compadre." He removed a small vial containing white powder.
"Is that what I think it is?" asked John hungrily as he sniffed.
"It's uncut blow," replied B.T. as he produced a small spoon and offered the grinning troll the welcome surprise.
"Now you're talking, boss," said John excitedly.
John expertly snorted the cocaine up his left nostril. He squinted as his eyes teared and passed it on to his lumbering friend who stared expectantly with big eyes and an open mouth.
Billy Ray clumsily repeated the process and then the two men went into a dance that involved hopping around and grunting like fiends. Snorting pure coke was like inhaling a combination of Drano and fire ants. It fogged one’s vision and instantly tripled the heart rate. By the time the burn subsided and the user could focus clearly again, he was zooming at the speed of light and anything was possible. The feeling would last for an hour, when the drug-ravaged body would feel fatigued, and the process would have to be repeated.
"That should do me," said John. "I better get going now."
"Here's a couple grams to get you through the night," said B.T. before turning to Jenny. "This will help you do the dig, Red."
Jenny declined graciously. "No, thank you. I don't do drugs."
B.T. laughed. "No, I'm sure you don't. But you see, we don't sleep. Not tonight. Not tomorrow. Not the next day. We have until Friday morning to get this shipment ready and we won't have time for anything more than short rests like the one we just had. There's no way you can stay with the program unless you're coked out like the rest of us. It keeps you wide awake for as long as you keep firing up. I went a fucking week in the jungle without sleep once when I was doing counter-intelligence north of the D.M.Z. It makes you feel superhuman, and superhuman is what this operation demands. So do a couple of lines, like a good little girl, and we'll get back to work."
Jenny shook her head. "No. I really don't want any. I can keep going without it."
B.T.'s eyes went dark as he narrowed his gaze. "I'm not asking you, Red. I'm telling you."
"Maybe later," replied Jenny as she retied her tangled hair in a tight bun.
"Billy Ray?" said B.T. as he rolled his eyes at the stubborn lady.
The hulking biker got the message. He grabbed both of the Jenny's arms and turned her around to face B.T. It was pointless to thrash. She raised her head and stared into the cold green eyes of her tormentor, ignoring the roaming hands of the deviant who held her captive.
B.T. could not get over how noble this woman was. "Hold her tight. But you don't have to milk her."
"If you have to rape me with your drugs, then just do it. But don't pretend you care about me. Okay?"
B.T. closed his eyes for several seconds, then nodded his head. "You're probably right, Red. But so am I. I need you to be hitting on all cylinders for the next forty-eight hours. So snort the fucking coke and save yourself the discomfort of having it forced into you."
"Tell him to let go of me and I'll do what you want."
"You heard her, asshole," hollered B.T. "Let her go!"
Billy Ray dropped his hands to his sides like he was giving up a valuable prize. He stepped back from the woman and stared at the ground, his nose dripping from the strong cocaine he had just snorted.
The archaeologist took the vial and spoon and sniffed a large dose up her left nostril. B.T. had failed to show her how to do it and she had taken too much. Billy Ray howled with laughter when she threw her hands up to her nose in shocked pain and screamed. The two men slapped five as they watched Jenny slowly slump to her knees, rubbing her nose in a struggle to keep breathing. She leaned her head back as stars of agony danced inside her head. Her eyes shut tightly and she clawed at her nose like a bear who'd gone sniffing in a beehive. After thirty seconds, the burning sensation in her head gave way to a metabolic power surge that almost burst her heart. A shocked cry escaped her lips as she fell forward onto all fours like a pilgrim at the gates of Mecca. She desperately fought for air, causing herself to hyperventilate.
As she started to black out, her mind suddenly flashed a picture of the smiling Magician. In that brief instant, Jenny had a premonition that she was going to die. The last thing Jenny heard was the sound of men laughing loudly. It reminded her of ravens at play.