Evan Dunlap by all accounts is not your average man. He is good-looking, sharply dressed, and has a witty charm to the point where he is simply unforgettable, unless of course he wants you to forget him.
Growing up, Evan had always been stronger than his size lets on, he was always a bit taller than other kids his age, and he exuded a charisma that naturally seemed to draw people to him like a magnet. Most guys who knew Evan wanted to be him and all the ladies wanted to be with him. It was no secret that when around others, Evan seemed to always have the uncanny ability to know just the right thing to say and when to say it, the art of persuasion he had mastered early. Luck you could call his best friend—as loyal as they come. Yes, Evan Dunlap is like no other man on Earth—because Evan Dunlap is no man at all. Evan Dunlap is a demon.
But Evan hasn’t always known what he is. He had been born just like everyone else, grew up just like everyone else, and planned on one day meeting his creator at the entrance of the Pearly Gates just like everyone else. He bleeds whenever he gets cut. Feels pain when he gets hurt. And, at times, even questions his place in the world.
At other times he finds himself drawn into questioning God’s very existence—for throughout Evan’s life, he had felt no real spiritual connection with any deity. It never made him feel good to see a happy ending or to watch an underdog win. He never felt compassion for the sick or needy. Nor did he ever know why he always felt nauseated and disgusted at the sight of anything pure.
One thing he did know for certain was that he knew he had a gift… that much was indisputable. A gift of being able to create havoc wherever he went or whenever he just wanted to be entertained. Nothing could put a smile on Evan’s face faster than being able to manipulate people into letting their ugly side come out. And in doing so, he had a way about him that was ambient; hypnotic and encompassing, instantly able lower others inhibitions in his presence like flipping a switch. The vibes he naturally emitted worked like a well-oiled machine to create an environment where people were all too eager to hand him their cool. He could be considered by many as a snake charmer of men. His anesthesia he wheeled over them allowed him to transform even the slightest annoyance a person may harbor, bring it to a boil, and let it come rushing up to the surface in a torrent, exploding into unbridled hate and impromptu violence.
It was no secret to Evan what he could do. He marveled in his abilities to screw with people. He didn’t know why it came so easily to him. That had always remained a mystery. All he knew was that he liked it. He liked it a lot.
Drinking was another thing Evan liked, along with promiscuous woman, drugs, and anything else that was morally and ethically corrupt. Others who also found enjoyment in these debaucheries were always Evan’s kind of people. He felt a kinship with them. A natural comfort he could not explain. The more messed up they were, the more he enjoyed their company. And, they naturally loved him.
One knows that the lifestyle of a run-and-gun playboy doesn’t come cheap, though. Money was a commodity in which Evan needed a lot of, and fortunately for him, it wasn’t hard to find. Whenever he needed to score a little green, it was as simple as stopping off at any corner store. There he could line his pockets as if making a withdrawal from a bank.
“What will it be today, Evan? You prick.”
“I love how it just chaps your ass when I get to come into this shit hole you call a store and walk out with a fist full of cash while your grease ball ass has to sit here all day selling loosey cigarettes and malt liquor to the local derelicts for a living,” Evan said smiling, his coral-white teeth allowing him look even more debonair.
Placing his newspaper down upon the counter, the store owner looked deeply at Evan as he scratched his beard’s thick stubble that was just beginning to gray near his sideburns.
“I got a tip from a buddy of mine this morning,” the store owner said. “The sixth race at Calder, Sheppard’s Moon, the number eight horse. Morning line has him at ten to one.”
“Oh, yeah,” Evan said sounding dismissive. “Tell me, Adil, you filthy, disgusting slob. How many times has this buddy of yours ever been right?”
Adil looked at Evan for a moment before sighing and answering honestly, “Never.”
“I thought so,” Evan said smugly. “I’ll tell you what. Why don’t you pick’em for me today and if it’s at least five hundred… I’ll help you out, maybe?”
Adil gave thought to Evan’s proposal for a moment before saying, “What the hell do I got to lose… how many do I get?”
Turning away from the counter, Adil looked over the bank of instant lottery tickets that covered the wall directly behind him. “How about a Lucky Sevens, Cash to Go, Funky 5’s, and a… let’s see here, give me a Money Time,” he said as he tore away each ticket from its row.
“How much?” Evan asked.
Adil briefly looked over the tickets, “Looks like twenty,” he answered.
Evan pulled a folded pile of money from his pocket, slipped a twenty off the top and slid it across the counter to Adil. He then grabbed a penny from the community tray sliding it also over to Adil before saying, “Here, you do it. Get me my money.”
“Why not,” Adil said picking up the penny. “I might as well make somebody rich, sure as hell won’t be me.”
Adil commenced in scratching off the lottery tickets.
While Evan waited, he picked up the newspaper Adil had been studying. Daily Racing Form, he thought, Everything you need to know in how to lose a shitload of money fast.
Adil stopped scratching the tickets, muddled something inaudible and then looked up at Evan before saying, “How the fuck do you do it? Every Goddamn day you come in here and pull this shit off. You must be superhuman or something.”
Evan placed the paper back down upon the counter only saying one word to Adil. “Verdict?”
With the sound of trumpets announcing a prize to be awarded the state lottery machine acknowledged the winning tickets. Adel then studied the printed out receipt which summed up the total winnings.
“I’ll be damned,” he uttered to himself. “If I didn’t see you come in here and do this every day with my own eyes, I’d never believe it.”
“And?” asked Evan.
“And five hundred and ten dollars and…” said Adil.
Evan just smirked while looking sinister.
Turning from Evan, Adil then inserted a key into a cash drawer that sat below the state lottery machine, its lock disengaged with a pop as the key was given a slight turn. He then counted Evan’s money before handing it over to him.
Evan added the cash to the currency he already had on him and then he pocketed the entire bundle into the trousers of his seersucker suit.
“Where you off to now?” asked Adil.
Evan looked at his watch; a diamond-encrusted Rolex and said, “Just a little after twelve o’clock. I’ll probably head out to the Pussy Corps for a beer or two. I got a girl there, Misty, that I keep an eye out for when she dances. She supposed to be opening up the place.”
“Fuck, man, I wish I had your life,” Adil said with jovial shake of his head.
Evan walked to the door of the bodega and stopped just before heading out. He then glanced back over his shoulder at Adil.
“Hey, Adil,” he said, letting his voice rise a bit.
“Yeah, Evan,” the cashier responded.
“Hawthorne, race three, the six-horse, Devil’s Advisor…”
“Thanks, Asshole,” Adil replied.
“Don’t mention it. And, hey, who knows, if you win, maybe now you’ll be able to fund a real independent movie production instead of that kiddie-porn feature you started with your neighbor’s kid.”
Evan walked out of the store.
Adil just stood there frozen and ashen white.
A double shot of bourbon neat with a Labatt’s chaser was Evan’s standard drink of choice at the Pussy Corps. He had placed his order with the waitress after taking his usual seat at a little two-seater table that was nicely tucked away in a dark corner near the far side of the stage opposite the entrance. He then looked over the room as he patiently waited for Misty to take to her performance.
Not even 1 p.m. and the place already had nearly three dozen patrons. Most of them businessmen who were in their twenties and early thirties having stopped in on their lunch break to have a quick steak or partake in the twenty-five cent wing special the place had during lunch hours. Glasses of water stood before many of them. The more risky had a bottle of beer that they hoped they could sneak without their prick bosses ever finding out. It was a little taste of freedom before they had to schlep their sorry asses back to their pathetic jobs where they were wasting their lives in some cubical.
A group of bikers several tables over from Evan were already making a ruckus by the time he walked into the place. To Evan, they looked already fairly lit up as if last night hadn’t yet ended for them. Their bloodshot, dilated eyes pierced the dimly lit room like they were beings from another planet having stopped in for a visit and a shot of whiskey. Most of them seemed harmless and content, however, as they carried on fully absorbed in their one-sided conversations and seeming as though having been locked in their own world. A world where each of them could be annoying and oblivious in their own unique way while causing a mild disturbance in the place like some ball of energy.
Evan suspected as by their behavior that there may be more at play in their systems than just alcohol and nicotine. Perhaps coke, maybe even speed, he thought. No, that’s not it… Ah, here we go, meth, he then surmised as the skinny guy in the group had an uncontrollable nervous twitching that gave it away that it was undoubtedly crank they were all on.
With Sweet Child of Mine being queued-up on the speaker system, Misty entered the stage through the private staircase that led from the dancer’s changing room. She had on a hot-little-number, one that Evan had never seen her wear yet at the club. A schoolgirl outfit with white stockings, a red plaid miniskirt that barely covered her ass and a white dress shirt tied off in the front to hold back a set of tits so perfect a baby would stand in line for.
Evan sipped his bourbon and then lit a cigarette, letting the smoke exhale slowly from his lungs as he watched Misty dip-down and then swing around a brass pole at the northernmost point of the stage.
Most of the guys in the room took to being quiet soon after she came on, happy to enjoy their lunches while they watched her work her sultry routine. If she followed suit like the previous performers, her highly anticipated exhibition would conclude after the third and final song during which she would finally then show the crowd all the goods.
Less than thirty seconds in, and everyone had become fully captivated—mesmerized. Everyone, but the bikers, that was. They had managed to remain unmindful of the absolute work of art that was up on stage. The sheer beauty and perfection that was the closest thing Evan had ever known to her.
He took a large swallow of his beer; the bubbly liquid was ice cold and refreshing as it worked its way down his throat. Placing the bottle back down upon the table, Evan then glanced fleetingly at the bikers. They had moved on to harassing a few of the girls who had already finished dancing and were now working the room. Lunch time didn’t draw in the crowds that the evenings did so the staff was always light during the day. With not enough girls to go around for all of them, the alpha males among the bikers had become forced to exert their dominance over the weaker ones if they had any hopes of getting a little action in the lounge.
“Come here, baby!” one of the larger bikers said as he aggressively grabbed the arm of a dancer named Amber and forcefully pulled her to him. “Why don’t you bring that pretty little ass of yours over here and sit down on the lap of a real man.”
He was burly with long disheveled unwashed hair and a thick beard. The leather jacket he adorned had quite a few patches that suggested he may be the group’s leader or possibly had done a lot of bad stuff in his lifetime with the gang.
Amber made a little noise, a sort of squeak and winced in pain when he had grabbed her by the arm. The look that then grew strewn across her face was clearly shown for all in the room to see. It was one of disgust and loathing as she reluctantly complied with his wishes and sat down on the sleaze’s lap.
The scrawny tweeker biker appeared as equally upset. Evan, having caught his scowl over the loss of Amber could see that the scrawny lackey had thought he was making real headway with the dancer.
But in not giving a damn, Evan pushed the distractions out of his mind and focused on Misty, who was now topless and gyrating on the stage to Pour some Sugar on Me.
“I said, Fuck Off!” the alpha male shouted at the twitchy one which then pulled attention in the room and came much to the delight and laughter of the fellow gang members.
Evan’s concentration on Misty was suddenly broken by the outburst and now his patience was quickly being tested. He knocked back the remainder of his double and began to focus once again on the bikers.
“Awe, come on, Marty, she was mine first,” the scrawny tweeker protested. “That’s not right, man. Give her back.”
Marty leaned forward and gave a menacing look to his subordinate. “You want her back?” he asked. “Why don’t you come over here and take her from me then, you little bitch.”
The toady biker just looked at Marty ruefully, his face soured and contorted.
The rest of the group drew silent anticipating what would happen next, having known Marty wouldn’t be done humiliating the little bootlicker.
“Naw, I was just playin’,” the scrawny biker said backing down from a confrontation. “You know me, Marty. I was just goofin’. She’s all yours, not my type anyways.”
Marty’s demeanor didn’t change for several seconds as he continued to stare down the smaller guy. Eventually, there was a crack in his tough exterior and he smiled a psychopath’s grin before saying, “Alright, no harm done, I guess. Why don’t you take your ass over to the bar and get us all around of shots to make up for poppin’ off?”
“Sure, Marty,” the scrawny biker said looking defeated. “But, I’m a little low on money. I don’t think I’ll be able to buy shots for everyone.”
Marty snapped a scornful look back at him before saying, “Just me then. Me and…”
“Amber,” Amber said.
“Just me and Amber here then.”
With that, Evan watched as the scrawny biker scurried off to the bar to get the drinks. He then turned his attention back to the stage where Misty had been finishing up her third and final song, ACDC’s Shook me all Night Long.
A moment later, Misty collected her tips and headed off the stage while Evan finished his cigarette, extinguishing the butt in the glass ashtray on his table before then downing the rest of his beer.
Only mere minutes had passed before Misty reappeared back downstairs dressed in a completely different number, a little sexy two-piece—black with a netted floral design and lace around the waist. She pulled out the chair next to Evan and sat down gazing at him.
“How you doing, handsome?” she asked.
“I’m doing,” Evan answered, his voice strong, confident, and the way he looked at her crystal-blue eyes made her instantly feel comforted. “How are things going for you, Alex? Been busy around here lately?”
A waitress came by and replaced Evan’s glass. He tipped her with a twenty.
“Oh, all right, I guess,” Alex replied. “And, how many times do I have to tell you, it’s Misty? I don’t want any of these scum bags knowing my real name.”
“Sorry,” said Evan.
“Um, it’s alright, and I guess things have been just okay around here. The tips could be better, though, and Bert’s got us dancing up on stage at least five times each shift now. I wake up sore as hell every morning.”
“If you want, I can have a talk with him?” Evan replied and then glimpsed over at the bikers tables where Marty and one of his goons who was sitting next to him were really getting loud and handsy with a few of the girls. “I think I can get Bert to see things my way if I really wanted.”
“No, that’s okay, but thank you though,” Alex responded as she reached out a hand across the small table and rested it gently on Evan’s forearm. “It’s nice to know that somebody’s looking out for me, though.”
Selena Gomez hit the airwaves singing, Good for You, and the next girl then appeared on stage. She began her routine by slowly circling around the brass pole as she looked out over the audience as if getting a feel for the clientele.
“Speaking of looking out for someone, guess who’s back in town visiting me?”
Evan just stared at Alex, his eyes deeply locked on hers as if in a trance.
“When?” he asked.
“Oh, two days ago… She’ll be here visiting me all week with Liam. He’ll be turning four tomorrow, you know?”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Well, you should go see her. You should see him. You’re his father for Christ’s sake.”
“It’s not that simple,” Evan said as he thought pensively while staring down at his empty glass. “She won’t want to see me, not after the way I fucked her over,” he then said looking up at Alex, his eyes soulful. “I don’t know what it is about me. I just have this way of screwing up people’s lives. Good people. It’s just this drive, this… desire in me to create chaos where there isn’t any.”
“You’re not a bad guy, Evan.”
“Yeah, I am…,” Evan said as he let a small sigh escape. “I don’t mind so much when it comes to pieces of shit like this,” he then nodded his head in the direction of Marty and the rest of his gang of goons. “I actually rather enjoy what I can do when it comes to this kind of scum, but Angela… Angela didn’t deserve what I did to her, I just couldn’t help myself. I’ve never seen anyone like her before… so pure, kind, loving, absolute perfection.”
“Hey, we’re twins you know?” pouted Alex.
“Yeah, I know. Sorry. It’s just that… she was so flawless—uncontaminated—by this shit hole of a world. I had to destroy her defenses. I had to take that away from her.”
“You didn’t take that away from her,” stated Alex. “You didn’t destroy anything. If anything, you brought beauty to her world. You created Liam, the love of her life.”
“What the hell’s taking Worm so long with my Goddamn drinks?” shouted Marty. “Someone go and find out what’s taking that asshole!”
With the sudden outburst, Evan and Alex both turned their attention to Marty and the rest of his entourage. That was when Evan caught the very uncomfortable look on Amber’s face as she shared a worried glance with another dancer named Diamond who was being manhandled and passed around like a rag doll between two of Marty’s boys.
“Shit, I wish Tiny were here,” Alex said as she looked upon her coworkers sympathetically.
“Yeah, I didn’t see him,” Evan responded. “No more bouncer on the day shift?”
“Fucking, Bert… That greedy son of a bitch is cutting back on the staff and putting the screws to us dancers. No more bouncers on the day shift. Half the kitchen staff was let go, and the rest he has them now cleaning up the place on top of their duties because the overnight cleaners he eighty-sixed. Nothing like enjoying a burger that just got done being cooked by a guy who just got done fishing out a jizz-filled condom from the mens’ room urinal.”
Selena finished up and Katy Perry then came on the sound system just as Worm had finally returned with Marty and Amber’s shots of Tequila.
“It’s about Fucking time,” griped Marty.
“Bartender was on a cigarette break,” said Worm.
Marty handed one of the shots to Amber and said, “Cheers, baby,” before clinking glasses and knocking them back. But before swallowing the tawny liquid down, Marty turned to face Worm and in a show of utter disrespect he spit the liquor right in his face to a resounding roar of laughter by their fellow cohorts.
“Aw, c’mon, Marty… whatcha have to do that for?” Worm cried out with an abhorrent look plastered across his puss.
“Because I can, that’s why,” Marty replied smugly.
Worm just stared at Marty red-faced and embarrassed. He then walked abjectly off to the restroom to clean himself.
“Jesus, what an asshole,” Alex said to Evan, careful to keep her voice low. Evan just watched Marty.
“So anyways, I got to go out tonight and do a little shopping for my nephew’s birthday. That means my sister and Liam are going to be on their own tonight for dinner and I know she’s gonna end up taking him to Buffalo Jacks. It’s where our parents always took us when we were kids. Why don’t you go there and try to talk to her? Go see your son?”
“I don’t know…” Evan sighed.
“Look, what do you have to lose? If my sister is as wonderful as you seem to think she is, then I’m sure she’d be willing to hear you out. And being the smooth talker that you are, I’m sure you’ll be able to charm the pants off her again in no time.”
“Yeah, maybe you’re right,” Evan said reluctantly agreeing. “Maybe, I’ll go down there tonight and feel things out… but for now, why don’t you go collect your friends and get them the hell out of here?”
“What…? Why? Evan, what are you going to do?”
Evan swallowed the rest of his bourbon in one gulp before standing up from the table and saying, “Don’t worry about it. You just take the girls upstairs for now.”
“Evan, I need to finish my shift. I need the money, my rent is due at the end of the week and…”
“For the entertainment,” Evan said as he slipped a twenty down onto the table and then headed off to the restroom.
“Shit,” Alex uttered to herself as she looked around the room. She then snatched the twenty up off the table only to find five one hundred dollar bills underneath it. Having folded the notes and then stuffing them into her bra, she hurried off to Marty and his crews’ tables telling the girls there with them that Bert needed all of them upstairs right away. She then feigned a smile telling the bikers they would all be right back.
Evan took the middle urinal and began relieving himself as Worm stared at his reflection in the mirror, his face still damp from having just finished washing the alcohol bath from it.
“Pretty shitty what that asshole did to ya out there,” Evan said, looking over his shoulder at Worm.
“Yeah, whatever, pal, why don’tcha mind your own business,” Worm responded.
“Whoa, okay, bud… didn’t mean any harm. Just trying to be friendly is all. It’s your life, if you want to live it being somebody else’s bitch that’s fine by me.”
“I ain’t nobody’s bitch,” Worm sneered.
“That’s not what I saw out there,” replied Evan.
Finishing up, Evan put himself away before walking over to the adjoining sink next to the one where Worm stood before, gazing upon himself.
“All’s I’m saying is that sometimes you gotta take a stand in life,” Evan said, glancing up into the mirror and smiling at Worm. “Guys like that jerk out there who spit his drink in your face get whatever they want because they take whatever they want. And You gotta learn to take what you want, too.”
“Yeah, well, you don’t understand,” Worm said softening up a bit, but still self-loathing. “Marty will shoot a person dead just for looking at him the wrong way. A guy like me is no match for him.”
“That’s a loser mentality, pal,” Evan said sounding as slick as a salesman. “And you’re not a loser. So here’s what I want you to do. You’re gonna reach in your jacket pocket and stick a whole bunch of that white shit you got tucked away in there up your nose. Then, when it’s got you feeling pretty good, you’re going to march out there and take what you want. And, what is it that you want?”
“I want Marty to respect me.”
“No, think bigger, Worm,” Evan said, but then paused giving his head a shake. “Worm… that’s not your real name is it?”
“James, what is it that you really want?”
“I want Marty fucking dead.”
“I want Marty Fucking DEAD!”
“That’s it, James. That’s shootin’ for the moon. Now I have to go, but you remember what I told you.”
“Hey, yeah… hey, yeah, thanks pal,” James said appreciatively.
“Don’t mention it,” Evan responded before heading back out into the club.
Upon entering the darkened lounge Evan looked around searching for Alex and the other girls, but they were nowhere to be seen. The only dancer on the entire floor was the one on stage partway through her second song, evidenced by her being topless. Evan then made his way over to the bar and ordered a shot of bourbon neat before slipping the bartender a ten.
A moment later, James emerged out of the mens’ room all wild-eyed and full of energy. He looked over to his left, spotting a half drunken bottle of beer left abandoned on a table. Snatching it up, he quickly finished the rest of its contents. He then spun the bottle around in his hand so he had a firm grip on its neck. Evan watched as James then took a deep breath and wiped his nose between the fingers of his other hand before heading over to Marty.
“Hey, Marty,” James called out as he approached with determination, and before Marty could even fully turn his head to respond to his name being called, James slammed the bottle into the side of his skull shattering it on impact. Marty’s head snapped back violently from the sheer force of the blow, and with his neck now exposed, James rammed the jagged edge of the newly broken bottle into Marty’s throat, plunging it repeatedly.
“Jesus Christ!” one of the crew members yelled out while the others quickly got up and backed away from James and Marty.
After several blows, James stopped stabbing Marty and backed away from him catching his breath and marveling at his work.
Both of Marty’s hands were now clutching his throat as he tried desperately to stop the bleeding as the blood rushed out of him through his fingers. As he repositioned his hands trying to plug several gaping wounds, the crimson liquid shot out forcefully from his neck in thick particulates as it was aggressively pumped into the air by his heart. Curdled gags and moans could be heard coming from Marty as his voice drowned and he choked on his own blood.
With the crowd’s remaining patrons rapidly catching on to what had just taken place, shouts and yelps of terror could be heard emanating from them as they stampeded for the doors.
“Does anybody else want to spit in my face?” James shouted as he glanced around at his fellow bikers.
“Just take it easy now, James,” and “we’re sorry,” were the replies he got back, but most of them had remained taciturn.
James then looked over at the bar to where he last saw Evan, but he was gone.
Evan sat unnoticed while he smoked a cigarette in his ’67 GTO. The car’s midnight black paint job allowed it to disappear easily into the heavy shadows of Buffalo Jacks’ semi-full parking lot.
It had been nearly five years since the last time Evan saw her. Life had been good then. Not a care in the world ever crossing his mind, his thoughts floating in and out of existence as if barring no weight. If he had known then what he knew now about how she would change the course of his life, he would never step foot into that library. He would have remained perfectly content with the path he was partaking—a life of drinking and debauchery, wild women, and drugs. A life of doing whatever the hell he wanted, whenever the hell he wanted, and somehow, someway, never having to answer to any consequences for his actions or even having to give a shit about what he had done or who he had done it to. That all changed when he saw her. Life changed in that momentous moment when there she was restocking shelves with newly returned books at the local library. She had been just going about her day minding her own business; utterly oblivious to the twist of fate about to come her way.
Evan had followed a young girl in the library. He had first seen her out on the street just in front of the building and began studying her. College age and cute with short-cropped blonde hair, she appeared elfin-like as she paced back and forth. It was obvious she was stressed-out and irritable, arguing with someone on the other end of her cell phone that Evan assumed was the girl’s mother because of the way she was talking to this person. He overheard her endlessly complaining about all the pressure she felt was amounting on her by her upcoming finals. The girl told the person on the other end of the line that she had lost sleep lately over her anxiety and as a result started to develop migraines, and that taking summer courses was never her idea. Evan had surmised that the person she was talking with had unfairly forced her to take on the extra classes she was currently enrolled in when all she wanted to do was enjoy a well-earned summer off and be with her friends.
Instantly, Evan knew why he had found himself drawn to the location he now sat in his car parked at. He was there to plant the seed. He knew the moment he saw the girl he would show her that there was a choice. Open her eyes to the inspirational, What if? What if I don’t have to bust my butt so hard to make it into MED school? What if I don’t have to follow the rules like everyone demands of me? What if I could cheat the system? Get all the acclaim and accolades and reap all the benefits without putting in the work, without paying the price. Wouldn’t everybody do it? Maybe, I’m just smarter than everyone else…
It was simple. Evan had done it a thousand times before to a thousand victims or to a thousand benefactors depending on how people viewed them, and this girl would be no different.
After loitering out front of the brown-brick building as invisible as a ghost, he would follow the girl into the library and then wait in the aisles until she sat down to get to work on her studies. Then, as nonchalantly as a prowling cat, he would approach as benign as he could make himself and ask her a run-of-the-mill question he knew she would have the answer to—something non-threatening, like if she knew where the periodicals were kept. It didn’t matter what it was he would ask her. Just that it broke the ice and got the ball rolling. He would then seamlessly move their conversation to her studies, sympathizing with her about how tough it all must be—being so young and feeling like you’re lost and in over your head. And then, when Evan knew he had her eating out of the palm of his hand, that would be when he would introduce to her the existence of a friend of his all while slipping a business card across the table. This friend, whom Evan would unceremoniously inform her of, was in the business of providing undergrads like her with the answers to upcoming exams in exchange for a small fee, of course. Evan would then brandish the girl a comforting smile that would seal-the-deal putting any moral, ethical, legal qualms she had at ease.