Poughkeepsie + New York

There is no money in rehab, not that you can hold. Exchanges, which are common, are conducted with meds that people have cheeked (Klonopin) or wiped onto the side of a frictive styrofoam cup (Suboxone). Condiments are also valid tender, especially sugar (easily stashed) and hot sauce (not easily stashed because it’s poured loose into a tiny cup). The more enterprising patients connect with people during the half-hour “nature walk.” Text your friend on the phone you’re not supposed to have, wander to the perimeter at the appointed time, and get a quick hand-off of vape cartridges or cigarettes or anything else small enough to pocket.

I needed money when I got out, so I decided to sell my iPhone X and buy a flip phone. The flip phone cost $189, so I downgraded to an iPhone 6—free from AT&T along with a confusing bait and switch offer—which defeated the original purpose of staying away from smartphones. Some missions are better in modified form, though, if it’s time you’re saving.

My Craigslist buyer came promptly and texted me “come out,” which was very dealery of him. I should have made better note of that. I met him in the lobby of the apartment building across the street. It’s well-lit and visible from the street and a doorman is watching, sort of. The buyer came in and took his grey hoodie off. The exchange was unremarkable. He wanted to pop out the SIM card for me. He asked the doorman, in full sight of the surveillance cameras, if he had a pin or something sharp, for the popping out procedure. The doorman did not. I let the whole SIM card thing slide and away the nice man went with my phone. I gave the “$600” to Heidi and we resumed our dinner at home.

A friend spotted them immediately. You will, too. Looky here at the real and the unreal.

What you can do is this—call the secret service or hand them to a cop. Ew!