By John Hanson
Published on October 28, 1993
“Hey, I know where you can get a good deal on a quarter pound,” he said as he took a hit off the joint. “Oh yeah? How much?” I asked as I took the joint from him.
He blew out the smoke from the hit he had taken. “Probably $550, but it’s good leaf,” he answered, half coughing.
“Yeah, let’s do it tomorrow,” I said.
I got up at about eleven o’clock the next day. It was the usual sunny Saturday morning in Southern California. My cousin Jeff was picking me up in a half-hour around the corner. We weren’t supposed to be hanging out with each other but we had been smoking pot together for the past year. It was great because he always had bud. He worked at the Arco gas station from eleven o’clock at night until eight in the morning. On school nights I would sneak out and we would get stoned out of our gourds. One night we locked the doors and a friend of his, Richie, came and brought his guitar and amp. We were drinking, smoking, and rocking, all in this little minimart. I thought it was so cool. He had good connections for pot as well, so I was going to empty my savings account and buy a quarter pound. That just about guaranteed that I would be stoned out of my melon for the next two months. Yahoo!
We went and emptied my savings account and then drove straight to his friend’s house. He went in and came back out with a brown paper bag. We then drove to Richie’s apartment. His room, the size of a dorm room, had a bed in one corner and in the other corner two huge Marshall amps stacked on top of each other that reached the ceiling. He had all kinds of heavy metal posters. One huge poster stood out that had Ozzy Osborne with Randy Rhoads on his shoulders playing guitar.
Jeff took out the brown bag. Inside was a large baggie stuffed with marijuana. “Wow, that’s the most bud I’ve ever seen,” I said after looking at the baggie.
“Let’s get ripped,” Jeff said with a twisted smile on his face. He started rolling joints, one after another. Then we started taking bong hits. We were smoking non-stop for about a half-hour. Richie started jammin’ on his guitar.
“Hey, this is a killer pad, is all this stuff yours?” I asked Rich while he stopped playing to hit the joint.
“Only the stuff in my room is mine, the rest is my roommates.” Rich squinted his eyes from the smoke as he talked.
There wasn’t even a dent in the bag of pot, and we had been smoking for an hour. Rich was just going crazy with his guitar. “This is so cool,” I had thought. These guys just partied. No school, no teachers, no parents, no head aches, just a non-stop party.
I had been smoking for at least two hours straight when I began to hallucinate and I couldn’t even walk right. I finally passed out and woke up an hour or so later to the sound of Richie’s guitar.
“Hey, don’t your neighbors get mad at you for playing so loud?” I yelled.
“Only the old lady downstairs. She hits her ceiling with a broom. I just crank it louder,” he said as we both began to laugh.
I finally got dropped off at my grandmother’s house. I was living there now, after leaving home about four months earlier. I came home to find my stuff on the living room floor. “You have to find a new place to live,” my aunt had told me.
So, I started to walk to my cousin’s apartment. He was living with Richie now. They had kicked Paul, Richie’s old roommate, out. They said it was no problem for me to stay with them. This was too cool. I was in charge of my life for the first time. I loved it. I slept in till two in the morning. I smoked pot in every room of the apartment. I was loving life. I even cranked up the stereo as loud as I could, just to hear the old lady downstairs hit the ceiling with her broom.
About a week went by and I ran out of money. Jeff told me that I was going to work with him, then. We woke up at midnight and took off in the car. Jeff said we were going recycling.
Our recycling job turned out to be taking the aluminum covers off of underground fuel tanks and turning them into the recycling center. That first time we collected ten covers and got about $110 for them! We did this for three months and lived off the “recycling industry.”
People started coming by the apartment at the strangest hours of the night. They would show up in groups of three or four and ask for Jeff. They would bring cocaine and have him mix it with some water and baking soda, heat it up and make a “rock” they would then smoke. I have never seen people change so rapidly in all my life. They would talk about killing people as if it was not a big thing at all. They often asked me if I wanted a hit, but I declined. These people were different. I realized that they lacked compassion and any sense of love.
They were different then my friend at school who I did drugs with. We were just trying to be cool and defy our parents with our drug use. They seemed dark and lost, evil. They would smoke their crack and talk about people they could rob. Or even people that owed their friends money, whom they could kill for cash to get more rock. I was scared and I pretended to be asleep whenever they came over. Once a guy pulled out a gun. I just closed my eyes. I missed the security of my parents’ house, my brother, and the fully stocked refrigerator.
I thought back to the first time I had smoked pot. All this time I thought I was so cool, such a rebel. What a joke. Reality set in, and I saw who I really was. I was a scared 18-year-old punk, pretending to be asleep while “crack heads” argued over the last rock.
“Drugs are real cool, aren’t they?” I whispered to myself.