Cindy was patted down for weapons and wires by the seller’s associates before having a canvas bag thrust over her head. It was difficult to tell where the minivan took her, as they’d also taken the precaution of spinning her to dizziness. After she was hustled into a location identifiable as indoor by the soft hum of air conditioning, Cindy heard an unfamiliar voice speak.

“I hear that you wish to purchase my product.” It was the seller, the dealer, the supplier that Cindy had been trying to contact since the withdrawal pangs had started.

“Yes…yes,” Cindy said. “I have money, and I can connect you with other interested buyers. Lots of us are jonesing bad since they started cracking down.”

“How do we know you’re not a cop, or wearing a wire?” snapped the supplier. “We have a network of people for distributing our product. They don’t come to us directly at our place of business.”

“Your dealers are scared, and they won’t sell,” Cindy replied. “If you can’t get the product out there, what good is all that?”

A thoughtful pause. “Fair enough. But if you’re not on the level, what then?”

“Something tells me that you’re smart enough not to get caught,” Cindy replied. “And if you’re too timid to sell to me, I’m sure someone else in your organization will come along who is.”

“Take off the sack.”

It took Cindy’s eyes a moment to adjust to the brightness of Mikayla Prouse’s immaculate house, with its polished hardwood floors. The eight-year-old herself sat on an overstuffed couch in her full Girl Scout uniform, flanked by her mom and three other girls.

“How many boxes of Thin Mints can we put you down for?” Mikayla asked with a confident saleswoman’s smile.

“Seven hundred and twenty one,” said Cindy. “Half in cash now, the other half on delivery to World Market on Adams, which will be our front to resell.”

It had been harder and harder to get Girl Scout cookies since the town of Hopewell had banned the sale and import of all products containing trans-fats, but Cindy, like many, had too big a monkey on her back to give them up.

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