Wednesday, May 18, 2016

In the Early Days

      Lucky Tailor and I couldn't find any grass, if you can believe that, but the reefer scene wasn't always what it is today. Things are better now, but we still have a ways to go. Thirty years ago we suffered dry spells in the Midwest, usually in late summer and worsening before election cycles. It wasn't classic rock then. It was just rock.
      I can remember back in the Park Layne days, going to the park in August and giving the High Sign and somebody telling me it's dry. That sinking feeling. Days of searching, looking for the friend of a friend. Sitting by the phone, sitting down the road while a friend went to check the prospects at some third-or-fourth-party's house. Pay phones and parking lots and suburban streets. Trying to look like I wasn't waiting on a drug deal.
      I remember one particular summer in Muncie, 1989, and the trials we endured looking for a bit of smoke. We went from Crawfordsville to Dayton and the story was the same. Waiting and driving and waiting some more and it never panned out. A sure thing was never a sure thing and eventually somebody would try and sell us lettuce opium. Sometimes we bought it.
      The fucked up thing is, this was how pot was a gateway drug. You know how they tell you Marijuana is bad because it leads to harder things? Well this is how.
      When it dried up, you'd ask everybody you knew where to get some pot. Eventually somebody would say “Everybody's dry now, but I know where to get some coke”. I lost friends to this every year. They'd think “Well hell, they lied to me about pot. Told me it would addict me and make me an ax wielding maniac or at the very least grow titties like a girl. Maybe they lied to me about the blow too”. Next thing you know they're selling blowjobs on Penn Street in Springfield or popping their collars and listening to Billy Ocean.     Like I said, I lost friends to this every year.
      This is why I started selling pot. It was never about the money. Selling pot for the money is like running a pizzeria for the money. The risk is greater than the reward if you do it right and don't take advantage of people. You do it for the love of it.
      In the dry spell of '89, the Connersville boys called and said they had a sure thing. A friend of a friend who lived on Jackson Street had the hookup. I picked them up and they took me to a guy's house who had us drive him to Whitely. He took our money and walked in the front door of a house and fifteen minutes later I saw him go out the back wearing a different jacket and hat.
      I was all for storming the joint, but the Connersville boys talked me down. We waited fifteen more minutes and then I went and knocked. The residents claimed a total stranger entered their house, exchanged jackets, and escaped out the back way. I knew he couldn't have made it back to Jackson Street yet by foot. I assumed he would stop for crack somewhere 
      I had the Connersville boys drive me back to his house where I kicked in his door and stole his color TV and a box of fried chicken from his freezer. I got my fifty bucks back on the TV. We ate the chicken.
      The next day they called and had another sure thing in Connersville. They had a friend holding a half ounce for me. They dragged me 46.1 miles to their “sure thing” where I waited at a railroad bridge, hunting geodes. They arrived and gave me three thin joints and thirty five bucks back. Lucky and I smoked one with them, on the 46.1 mile ride back, and dropped them back in the village where they came from.
       It was Wednesday night, so we smoked a second and went to the “Skin to Win” wet tee shirt contest at The Golden Fox. It was a good way for Ball State girls to make rent.
       I tucked the last doobie behind my ear and we returned to my place on Wheeling to smoke it. When we got there, my girlfriend who didn't live there, had locked us out. She would do that. She said she was never trying to keep me out of my own house. She just wanted to feel safe and wanted to know when I got home 
      I had ways around that.
      I had a window I liked to keep unlocked for such situations. Failing that, there was a door behind the refrigerator I could jimmy and push through. This particular night the window worked well enough. I climbed in, and opened the door for Mr. Tailor.
      Once we were safely inside and Amy not woken, I reached behind my ear for the last hardworn joint and it wasn't there. We panicked. We searched the car and the gravel and bushes outside the window and nothing. There was a rack of albums below the window I had climbed in. LP's. Vinyl records for you youngsters. Zepplin and Halen and Rush. Kansas Leftoverture and Frampton Comes Alive and Journey Escape. 
      We dumped them all out looking to see if the spliff might have fallen inside when I climbed in.
We searched the gravel and bushes again, flicking our bics until they melted down and we eventually gave up. Lucky made me promise to call him if I found it, and he was headed out the driveway in the Tercel when I ran my hands through my hair...
                                              ...and found the joint behind my OTHER ear.

(We were joyful. We might have hugged).

Let this be a lesson. ALWAYS check behind the OTHER EAR.

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