IT had been dry for the last month and everyone had exhausted their shake over the past few days, individually, reduced to resin scraping. “Smokin” Todd Parsons had been MIA for a few weeks ever since he had received ten large. This was his first payout of a structured settlement that would see three more large payments. He’d been off buying all kinds of stupid shit like video game systems, jewelry and watches.

Needless to say, when he finally did surface with not only a weed hookup but an offer to buy an ounce for the group’s regular Friday night meetup, everyone was pretty happy and looked forward to an evening of rolling around Washington county until daybreak. Maybe we’d end up in a field staring at the Milky Way or maybe driving through yards.

Petty vandalism and pranks. This night was ours.

THE 300 SDL Turbo, fully loaded, crept to a seedy house in a shitier side of Washpa. Todd jumped out and Atom, our pilot, started to panic as he disappeared into the house surly to be overtaken by the smell of stale beer, cigarettes; old dog piss and too many cats. Atom was prone to delusion and conspiracies and the 10 minutes that Todd was gone must have seemed like a lifetime. He passes the prized Sacajawea around. The buds were huge and tight; squeezing them through the bag revealed that they were sticky. The smell was skunky but pretty typical. And while I can’t remember the price that he got it for, I do remember that it was considerably higher than the going rate the month prior. So we headed off the beaten path and onto roads less traveled. I remember the taste was weird, best described as a cross between copper and iron. I also remember it as slightly acidic. After a few bowls, it left my lungs feeling unusable.

SUFFICIENTLY stoned, we merged onto a tertiary artery of the city’s outskirts leaving behind the roads without lights or lines. There was a pulse here, a weak one, of trailers, western gear, Harleys and fuel. That is when it hit me – this wasn’t like any other time that I’d been high. This was different and didn’t feel relaxing or numb. It felt tense and fed off of Atom’s paranoia aura. I looked at my hands to calm down, away from the lights, grasping for anything closely resembling an unaltered state. My stomach was churning; I could hear it and the oscillation of that sound transformed into sensations that rippled into my limbs and travel to my fingertips and radiated out. I could feel it as it left my skin and vibrated out through each individual hair and – “Guy’s we’re here…” I leached forward headlong into the seat as the car came to a stop and my body, still in motion, stopped against the now stopped seat.

Looking up, I noticed that the lights were trailing blues and greens from the cigarette signs in the windows. As I stepped out of the car I felt light and almost floating. Entering the store with a stark bright florescent glow, I again looked down at my hands. They looked different under these harsh lights. They were dark and powerful with every scar perfectly defined as patches of flesh slightly more pink than the background skin. I almost felt like I was floating just above my physical self. Everything had a weird outlined doppelgänger; it was as if I was apart from myself and in the third person watching this all through a frosted eyes.

As I became aware of this detachment, I noticed the clerk. His skinny neck and protruding Adams Apple; his sad balding head that revealed a constellation of liver spots. I thought to myself, “I could overpower this guy… I bet I could twist that little fucking head right off of that pencil thin neck…” It was a real feeling – I wanted to kill him. I approached the counter and waited as my friend, Dave, ahead of me was being checked out for a water. As the cashier took His money and opened the door, I knew I was going to kill this clerk and rob the store. I had never been so sure of anything. Ever.

In one motion I reached around Dave and slammed my drink down onto the counter and stormed out of the store. I went straight to the car and slammed my face into my palms producing those geometric constructs from the physical pressure on my optic nerves. I’d never felt so out of control and psychotic.

The car was completely silent. I wasn’t even aware that Atom had pulled out of the lot and was driving. He’d been quiet for the past hour. “I’m fucked up guys. I need to find a field and pull over; stretch out and let this wear off…”

Todd, who’d been grinning the entire time from ear to ear, broke his silence.

“So how do you guys like it? Good shit – right!” You could hear his giant pained smile reflected in his voice.
I answered, “To be honest, I fucking hate it! I’m never getting high again. I guess I can’t handle really good weed… I seriously wanted to kill the motherfuckin’ clerk and rob that place!”
Todd sat in the middle, next to me, and Dan was beside him.
Dan quickly interjected; “Me too! I had to get out of there, I felt like destroying the place and murdering that fucking guy – I could barely control myself!”

“Come on guys – you don’t like being dusted?”

AT that, Dave and I both snatched up on hapless Todd who seemed genuinely confused by our response. There was a bit of chocking and knuckles in ribs until Atom freaked out.

“Chill the fuck out guys! I’m trying to drive here! Jesus Christ – I feel like I’m going so slow…”
I leaned between the front seats and looked at the speedometer. It was just below the 10 mile and hour mark. As I looked around, it took what seemed like a few minutes before I realized that we were not heading out into the country; we were heading into town, slowly passing the Alpine bowling alley toward the town center and behind us was a line of traffic that probably stretched nearly a half mile.

“Atom…” I said “You’re only going 10 miles an hour and you’re headed toward town; not Hickory…” Atom slowly began to realize where he was at…

“Fucking Todd Parsons!”

.