The Hawaiian Connection: Puna Diesel, Sour Diesel and Dog Bud

Are Sour Diesel's roots in Hawaii?

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Hawaii laboratories set to test cannabis

With HB 1488 in the legislature right now, sources say that the passage is all but guaranteed  and will be signed by Governor Ige. This bill would open the door for laboratories in Honolulu to individually test patients' cannabis for potency, pesticides, molds, etc. The bill revises Act 329 in many ways.

The bill reads:

Amends the definition of "adequate supply" of marijuana to include seven marijuana seedlings. Amends the definition of "debilitating medical condition" to include lupus, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and autism as conditions that qualify for the legal use of medical marijuana. Amends the definition of the term "transport" to allow qualified patients and primary caregivers to transport up to one gram of medical marijuana for laboratory testing under certain conditions. Limits each location used to cultivate marijuana to use by five qualifying patients. Authorizes primary caregivers to cultivate marijuana for qualifying patients until December 31, 2020. Adds considerations for establishing marijuana testing standards and selecting additional dispensary licensees. Allows DOH to consider whether existing dispensary licensees shall be allowed to increase plant count, increase the number of production centers, or increase the number of retail dispensing locations. Requires retention of video security recordings of production centers and dispensaries for 45 days. Extends civil service exemptions and interim rule making authority to 2020. Authorizes an alternate medical marijuana dispensary tracking system for use when the DOH computer tracking system in nonfunctional and requires DOH to report to the legislative oversight working group. Effective 7/1/2050. (SD1)

    The bill also allows patients to grow up to seven seedlings in addition to the seven maturing plants in order to insure an "uninterrupted supply". Many of these changes are thought to be long overdue by Hawaii medical marijuana patients. The answer to the question "Where do I get seeds or clones" has yet to be addressed in session.

    With medical marijuana in Hawaii still unavailable to patients via dispensary, many patients are getting tired of the delays. It is still unclear who will be opening a dispensary and when after previous dates were  pushed back twice.

   The future of cannabis in Hawaii is still unclear as investors look for new markets to put their capitol. Hawaii has the best climates to grow high grade cannabis and there is plenty of old sugarcane land available. Until Hawaii legislators get caught up to the rest of the country, patients will soon get a little relief and will be able to get their cannabis samples tested on Oahu by one of three potential labs that have already passed many strict standards and qualified with the DEA and Hawaii State Narcotics Enforcement Division.

   What ever becomes of cannabis laws in Hawaii, the legend of the world's best weed persists as stoners come from all over the world to sample Hawaii's finest pakalolo.

Jason Lamoore 

Chapter 2 "Hawaii High" Rock and Roll

Rock n’ Roll

Chapter 2

 

As the small pickup cruised down Fremont Street, downtown shrank in the rear view mirror with Kalvin nervously checking for the cops in pursuit. Systematically he surveyed each of the three mirrors over and over again.

          “Dude, they ain’t gonna chase us.  We didn’t do shit. You’re paranoid.”

          “Don’t you know Zack, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.”

          “Just because you’re high doesn’t mean you should be paranoid.”

          “Better safe than sorry,” said Kalvin as he checked the mirrors three more times.

          Zack knew better than to argue with Kalvin about his obsessive idiosyncrasies.  They had been down that road before.  He knew that it was time to get serious about finding a place to live.  The answer to that riddle was easy to see. It was time to flip some weed and find another motel or weekly apartment to shack up in.  The process wouldn’t pose much of a challenge thought Zack.

          “So, you got this weed sold right?” asked Zack as a matter of record.

          “Oh yeah, easy squeezy,” said Kalvin with his trademark smile.

          “Okay.  Then we gotta get another place, like a.s.a.p.”

          “Well, we can run our total to about $250,” surmised Kalvin.

          “And still have a quarter for ourselves? You can’t beat that!” topped Zack.

          “Like a sore peter!” joked Kalvin.

           They busted out in laughter.  They were each others best audience.  They didn’t have the time or mental space to allow reality to bring them down.  It was all shits and giggles. There was no looking back. Well, except for Kalvin still checking his mirrors for cops in pursuit.

          As planned, they met Dave, sold the weed, and raised their net worth to $250.  It was enough for two weeks at the Gold Dust apartments. They were again downtown and they got just what they paid for.  It was another dive complete with a two-burner hot plate, tiny fridge, two double beds, and a crappy color TV on the fourth floor close to Fremont Street.  It wasn’t much but it was better than jail or the street.

          It didn’t take long before Kalvin left the apartment to hustle up some opportunity.  He would surely try to sell half of their stash, running it up into something they could work with.  In true Kalvin fashion, he returned within a couple of hours with a new friend.  Kalvin really had an acute ability to talk to anyone, especially strangers.  Maybe it was his sharp wit or perhaps it was the Hollywood smile.  Whatever the reason, Kalvin came through the door with his new associate.  He was unlike anyone Kalvin had befriended before.  Right behind Kalvin followed a black dude, slight of frame and a hairdo stolen straight from Buckwheat, complete with the large nappy Afro up and all over the place.  And there was that one gold tooth that screamed ‘trust me.’

          “Wassup dude?” said Kalvin.

          Zack just nodded back.  He already knew what was up, crack.  Along with the thought came the feeling in his stomach that always preceded hitting the pipe.    

          “This is…,” Kalvin had already forgotten the brother’s name.

           “Sidewalk” said the crackhead.

          “Sidewalk?” Zack had to get this one right as he stood in near disbelief.

          Kalvin could see Zack’s lack of enthusiasm topped with suspicion. “Right on Sidewalk.  Have a seat,” said Kalvin as he pointed to the small, round kitchen table and chairs.

          “So what’s up?” Zack got right to the point staring intently at Kalvin.  He just smiled, verifying that Sidewalk had dope.

          It wasn’t more than a second before Zack witnessed Sidewalk spit out three large, white rocks from his mouth, a favorite place to keep crack since it was not water soluble. Then, a long metal pipe that was formerly a car antenna came out. As fast as that, a huge piece of cocaine was loaded by the new visitor.  Zack and Kalvin just stood there memorized by the crackling and popping sound as it melted to the flame.  There were no more questions to ask.  It was back on the edge.

The three dopers smoked cocaine deep into the night.   A warm, safe place to get high was at a premium downtown and room 420 fit the bill.  Zack didn’t have to be coerced to smoke the crack but he was less than comfortable about the whole thing.  It was just more of the same, always ending broke and jonesing. Lucky for Kalvin and Zack they were already broke but there was no escaping the inevitable craving that ensued.  Along with the insatiable urge to keep smoking was the accompanying self-loathing.  It haunted Zack. He knew better. Yet, there he was again.  He wouldn’t even enjoy himself after the first ten minutes of the high but that wasn’t enough to keep him from that first hit.

          Fortunately, the two dudes still had a fat sack of that good weed.  At the end of the night they burned two fatties.  It eased the cocaine spell enough to eventually allow for sleep.  Sidewalk returned to where ever Kalvin had found him. The housewarming party was over Zack and his friend; they eventually dozed off to the lullaby of sirens and early morning traffic from Fremont Street.

          Sleeping in until noon was common for Zack but Kalvin was always a morning person.  Even with as little as a few hours sleep, Kalvin would be out of bed by eight o’clock at the latest.  Unbeknownst to Zack, his friend had already hit the street when he found himself brushing his teeth at one in the afternoon.  As he looked into the mirror, his reflection was anything but refreshing.  He had spent zero dollars the night before and that may have been a moral victory of sorts but the feeling of life wasted was not lost on him.  He began to assess the situation and it didn’t add up to a shining example of success.

          Zack was broke, that was the bad news.  The good news was hanging around his neck.  Gold was always cash at any pawn shop, and better news in that moment, was a fat roach in the ashtray that Kalvin considerately left behind.  He sparked it and took a deep hit.  As he exhaled, he pulled back the curtain and peered out the window. Squinting through the brightness, he saw life as usual on the streets of Vegas.  He was compelled to make a plan of action. Zack checked his pack of smokes, only three.  He stroked the thick gold rope necklace while he took another puff.  As the stone set in so did his plan.  His addiction to tobacco was a strong motivator and counting on Kalvin might not guarantee a pack of Camels.  He knew what he had to do.

          The walk to the E.Z. Pawn on Ogden Street took less than five minutes.  The transaction was quick and uneventful.

          “I wanna pawn this,” said Zack as he unlatched the diamond cut chain.

          “How much do you want?” said the broker carefully inspecting the rope through his reading glasses.

           “One fifty.”

          “I’ll give you a hundred,” instantly replied the clerk.

           “But it weighs 33 grams!” said Zack indignantly.

           Unmoved, the broker said “Take it or leave it.”

          “Fine,” exhaled Zack in resignation.

          He slid the cash into his pocket, smiling to himself.  The plan was to get a hundred dollars.  The whole haggling exchange was just a ruse.  Zack enjoyed playing the role of desperado in pawn shops.  He knew exactly what his necklace was worth and what he would get on a loan.  He knew if he asked for one hundred bucks the Old Italian pawnbroker would offer less, just as a matter of principal.  It didn’t make financial sense to the pawn shop.  Pawnshops are in the business of when they smell desperation.  Zack had yet to comb his hair or shave, and after a late night of smoking cocaine, he looked the part of desperado. The funny thing, it wasn’t much of a stretch.  In reality, living on the edge meant desperation was ever so close.

          On the way back to the room, Zack stopped at the Seven-Eleven on Fremont. This store was the busiest Seven Eleven in the world, complete with “7-11” decked out in hundreds of flashing lights just like the casino signs up and down Fremont.  After he picked up two packs of Camels, a breakfast burrito and a cold Nestle Quick he headed back to room 420.  He loved his cold chocolate milk.

          With his belly and wallet a little more full, Zack was kicking back on his bed watching People’s Court when Kalvin came rolling in.

          “Dude, you will never guess what happened to me!”

          “Don’t tell me…you sold our bag of weed, went back to the Horseshoe; put it all on 29…the black and we’re now rich?  No, no, wait…you got back the lab results and the test says you’re not related to yourself.”

          “Not quite Sherlock, I have a new career,” boasted Kalvin.

          “You got a job?”

          “Well, you could say that.”

          “Really, doing what? I didn’t know the carnival was in town.”

          “Funny…not.  It’s a job in a supervisory role,” he said smiling ear to ear.

          “A manager? You can’t even manage to keep gas in the truck,” poked Zack.

          Kalvin was not impressed.

          “Okay, okay, managing where?”

          “It’s not where so much as who?” said Kalvin, like the mouse that ate the cheese.

          “What the hell are you talking about dude?  Just spill it.”

          “I’m a pimp!”

          “A what?”

          “I met this chick.  She was workin’ just down the street.  We got a talkin’ and she tells me this story about how her pimp got busted and she needed protection.”

     “Dude, you for protection?  You must be joking.”

     “I know, right? I think all she cares about is that I have a truck.”

     “Are you serious? What are you gonna do when she has a problem with some John that beats her or won’t pay?”

          “I don’t know about all that.  All I know is she just gave me $40 and this rock!” said Kalvin revealing more cocaine in his hand. “That, and free pussy!” He was pleased with himself.

          “Dude, you know this is not going to end well right?” said Zack shaking his head.

          “Oh I know it’s not going to end well for her!” he said laughing aloud.

          “Dude, I don’t know how you do it. That’s some crazy shit man.”

          “I’m a pimp, I’m a pimp, I’m a pimp!” and more laughter.

          Zack just stood there shaking his head. Then, a smile cracked through. He had to acknowledge that his buddy just had a way with women.  He admired his friend on one level but just a little bit deeper he felt sorry for any women that would cross Kalvin’s path.

          “So Mr. Pimp, where’s your ho now?”

          Kalvin just turned his palms up and shrugged his shoulders.

          “What?  You don’t know?”

          “Well, I spoze she’s out fuckin” he said giggling.  “You want some pussy dude?  On the house!”

          “Thanks but no thanks,” said Zack proudly.

          “Dude, she’s pretty cute, sucks a mean cock too. What do I gotta do to put you in that pussy?”

          “What are you doing? You sound like a used car salesman, dude.”

          “Hey man, what can I say?” giggled Kalvin.

          “You can say that you sold that eighth.”

          “Nope, I was too busy pimpin’ my ho.”

          “Fine, let me call Pee Wee.  He might be lookin’ for a sack.  He might have some more of that killer acid.”

          “Good idea dude. That was some mean shit.  What did you call it?”

           “Flying eyeball.”

           “Yeah, flying eyeball.  Good idea, and if you get some cash we’ll pool it with Tracy’s cock money and get another ounce.”

          “Tracy?” asked Zack.

          “Well her street name is Summer.”

          “And I’ll bet she’s as fresh as a spring day,” said Zack chucking to himself.

          Fresh money!” said Kalvin.

          The news of Kalvin’s new line of work was a surprise to Zack but not shocking.  In fact, it was comical.  Zack was sure the whole thing would end badly for Kalvin.  How could it not?  He was sure that as soon as there was one problem with Summer, Kalvin would disappear faster than a rain shower in the desert.  Zack also knew the life of a pimp could be dangerous.  Kalvin was smart but Zack just hoped that his friend would be smart enough to keep his employee far from the room and that he would take cash over crack.  He also wondered how Kalvin’s new job would interfere with their sporadic moving jobs.  He knew that you couldn’t do a moving job high on crack.  Why do ass-breaking labor when you can just hang out and have someone else bring you cash?  The occasional moving gigs that Kalvin got from his brother were all the work Zack had for the last few months.  It wasn’t much but a day’s work usually meant a hundred bucks.   

          The future was as uncertain and life at the Gold Dust apartments offered little chance for change.  That, along with cocaine’s return made Zack uneasy. After months on the run he was now free to live a regular life and just what that would be was a question that needed to be answered.  Fact was all he knew was slinging bags of weed, waiting on tables and moving furniture.  He had partying down to an art and he knew there was little room for crack if he wanted to keep step.  Something had to give.  It was time for a something different.  Change was long overdue.  He was ready to make a move but Zack didn’t know which way to go.  All he knew was ‘the next task at hand’ and that was to sell another bag of weed and try to get some more of that good acid from Pee Wee. For Zack, LSD was a good way to reset his brain and gain perspective.

          As usual, Zack completed his mission.  He sold the bag for $30 and Peewee promised him 4 hits of the notorious Flying Eyeball tomorrow.  When he returned to the room there was no trace of Kalvin.  Something still bubbled just below Zack’s consciousness and it was not going away.  Maybe it was waiting for Kalvin that bothered him.  Zack preferred to be the captain of his own ship and having to rely on Kalvin was a little unsettling.  He fully trusted his buddy.  He knew that his friend was careful and meticulous almost to a fault.  Zack had little concern that Kalvin’s business with his new found prostitute friend would bring real trouble but he was more concerned that his longtime partner in crime might get infected with AIDS or something like that.  Zack was just getting tired of the game.  It wasn’t the lifestyle so much as it was where it led, it was a tiresome treadmill that headed nowhere fast.

          Whatever it was that was eating away at Zack he had to set it aside. There was little room for second-guessing while living on the edge. Kalvin could handle his shit; he has shown that repeatedly. Zack couldn’t afford any rent for doubt in his head. Again, he drowned out that little voice with thoughts of survival and the distraction of smoking another sweetie. The beat goes on, yada dada de, yada dada da.

         

          It was three days later when Zack came back to the apartment with some munchies to find Kalvin sitting on his bed watching TV eating cereal.  Something seemed out of place, different.

          “Yo, yo, yo. Wassup pimp daddy?” said Zack.

          “Nada lada,” said Kalvin matter-of-factly.

          “Shouldn’t you be out there workin’ your ho?”

          Kalvin didn’t respond.  He just kept staring at the boob tube.  Something was definitely going on. “She’s gone,” he said. 

          “Gone, as in dead?” said Zack sarcastically.

          “Gone as in, she left.”

           “Aw common dude, you gotta do better than that, Corn Pop’s?”

          “Naw... Honey Combs, she got burned from some john named Ricco.  She wanted me to take her to the West side to chase the money.”

          “The West side, are you serious?” Zack knew that meant trouble.

          “Well not exactly the West side. It was more like Stewart and Washington.”

          “So you took her?” asked Zack, stunned.

          “Hell no, I told her I was going to go get my gun and I would be right back,” said Kalvin with a shit eating grin.

          “And you came straight home, right?” surmised Zack.

          “Yep” said Kalvin with a mouthful of Honey Combs.

          Zack started shaking his head in disbelief. “So why did you say she’s gone?”

          “Well, I went back to where I left her about an hour later and she was gone.  I think she knew I was full of shit.”

          “Really?  So from pimp to pauper in four days flat?” said Zack.

          “Guess so,” replied Kalvin showing little emotion.

          “So now what?” asked Zack rhetorically.  He was actually relieved for his friend.  No harm, no foul.

          “You still got that acid?” said Kalvin with a twinkle in his eye.

          “You still got money to re-up?”

          “And then some, I got almost $300 from that whore,” he boasted.

          “Damn, pimpin’ pays! Let’s burn” said Zack.

          “It sure does.  I already got 2 ounces from Mary and still have $60!”

          Kalvin pulled out a joint he had rolled and ready to go.  It was a sweet celebration of sorts.  The best friends laughed it up as they passed the doobie back and forth.

          “Here…HO-ld this,” said Kalvin as he gave the joint to Zack.

          “HO-ly shit, this is some good weed,” replied Zack.

          “HO my God, is the joint running?” chuckled Kalvin.

          “I HO-pe not,” said Zack as he passed it back.

          “Ya know, pimpin’ has a lot of potentch-HO,” Kalvin thought that one was clever.

          “I guess HO,” and the laughter continued.

          Kalvin came back with “Dude, we should take two HO hits of that Flying Eyeball!”

          “Good idea Kalvin.  Let’s have a HO down!” they laughed almost to the point of tears.

           The two stoners finally calmed down enough to break out the LSD.  It was strong acid, rumored to contain 200 micrograms per hit.  That was double most other popular varieties such as Blue Dolphin, Black Pyramid or Musical notes. Peewee was a first class tweaker. His appearance suited his nickname. He could have been Paul Reuben’s brother. He loved his speed most of all and was the best connection Zack had for crank or crystal but somehow Peewee stumbled upon the Flying eyeball and it was the real deal.  There were four doses and the loadies put two, tiny squares under their tongue and waited for the journey to begin.  Just on time, the LSD express arrived 45 minutes later just before the sun started setting.  Once the acid kicked in, Zack felt compelled to start throwing a steak knife at the wall. Tripping and martial arts were a fun combo. He was sticking a high percentage of the tosses.

          “Bull’s eye!” touted Zack.

          “Bull’s eye? I don’t see a target.”

          “I can see it,” said Zack pointing to the wall.

          “I bet you do,” said the other tripper. 

          “Here, let me take care of that,” said Zack as he drew to concentric circles on the wall surrounding the gashes previous tosses had left.

          “How’s that?” said Zack.

          “Better,” Kalvin said with a nod.

          Zack aimed and placed the knife right in the center of the target.

          “Bull’s eye!” he proclaimed.

“Not bad, but can you do it again?”

          He did.  Then two more times before the knife bounced off the wall.

          “My turn, common…hand it over,” said Kalvin with hand extended.

          The knife throwing went on for nearly two hours but it seemed like only minutes to the trippers.  That was when Kalvin broke out his nun chakus.  Even though Zack was just becoming adept in his martial arts journey, Kalvin had been swinging nun chucks since he was a kid.  He moved the weapon naturally with speed.  The trails left behind from the moving pieces of wood were a spectacle.  As he swung the chucks they appeared as multiple sections of the weapon.  Like separate, still motion fragments super imposed over each other, Kalvin was putting on a psychedelic pectacle.  It was hard to keep up with where exactly the nun chucks were.  He quickly switched hands over and under his arms, legs and back. Bruce Lee himself would have been impressed.  Zack certainly was.  He was also certain he was very high and only getting higher.

          The Kung Fu clinic went on for hours with sporadic breaks for cigarettes, hitting the joint and uncontrollable bouts of laughter.  At one point the two friends were literally rolling on the floor laughing, complete with tears and sore cheeks.  It was good medicine.  There was the knock on the door.  It startled the trippers, but not in a paranoid way. It was more like a wake-up call back to reality.  Up until that point, Kalvin and Zack had been far away in their own world, far, far away.

          “I wonder who that is?” said Zack.  He then burst into laughter as if he just delivered a punch line.  Kalvin got the joke.

          Zack looked through the peephole only to see Sidewalk.

          “Its Stop sign!” said Zack.

          “Stop sign?” Kalvin was puzzled.

          “Yeah, you know, Slip knot,” barely left his lips it before more laughing.

          “Oh you mean Skid mark,” Kalvin guffawed.

          “Yeah, that’s the dude.”  Zack opened the door.

          “Sup” said Zack with his chin up, cool as possible.  He motioned for Sidewalk to enter.

          When he entered the two trippers couldn’t help it, they just busted out in laughter.  Sidewalk, high on cocaine, didn’t get the joke. It joke was on him.

          “Wassup Sidewalk?” greeted Kalvin.

          Straight to business “You wanna get high?” said Sidewalk.

          The two friends just looked at each other and the laughter went up another level.  They were already high, super high.  As they looked at the disheveled Sidewalk, his aura and energy screamed out dejection and desperation.  Zack felt sad for him while simultaneously thinking he was smarter that the crackhead for being on LSD. It was an enlightening drug, full of laughter and mental stimulation.  Cocaine started off with a bang but always ended with craving, depression and little laughing.

          “Dude…we’re already high,” said Zack.

          “You got some?” asked Sidewalk wide-eyed.

          “No, not rocks. We dropped some acid, man,” said Kalvin.

          “Oh acid, you white boys get crazy with that acid shit.”

          “If crazy means having a fucking blast, then yeah…we’re two crazy white boys!” said Zack. Again, laughter ensued.

          “You wanna smoke?” asked Sidewalk as he broke out his trusty straight shooter and spit out a fat rock.

Kalvin and Zack stopped laughing.  That was a serious question.  No, should have been the answer.  To ruin a perfectly good high by smoking coke would be less than wise; it would be straight up stupid.  LSD has a way of intensifying everything.  The craving for cocaine was strong enough.  To jones on acid could be a nightmare.  It seemed like a no brainer.

          “I’m so high right now, I doubt if the coke would even have much of an effect,” said Zack.

“There’s only one way to find out,” smiled Kalvin.

“Yeah right, but after that first hit? You know how it goes.”

“Then let’s do only one hit,” said Kalvin.

Zack knew that was a bad idea.  After the first hit of crack would come that wonderful rush of orgasmic ecstasy and then, the craving for more and the urge to smoke would only get stronger until all the money was gone. Nobody could take just one hit of crack.  That just didn’t happen.  On the other hand, LSD is known as the most powerful drug barring PCP or DMT.  An individual on acid could drink all night long and not show a single sign of being intoxication.  Smoking weed on acid was practically a waste of time because after fifteen minutes or so the acid high would dominate and it would be like there never was any weed smoked.

 Zack reasoned, perhaps with a strong will, and assistance from the power of LSD the crack jones could be nullified or at least mitigated. Crack on acid?  Crazy.

“Alright, let’s do it,” said Zack.

Kalvin didn’t need his arm twisted.  He had a taste for crack cocaine and had ever since Zack introduced him to it a few years earlier.

“Load it up!” said Kalvin.  Sidewalk handed Kalvin the pipe with a fat hit ready to go. 

It was a pivotal moment in more than one way.  Not only was it a party experiment of sorts but it would turn out to be a choice that would change Zack’s life forever.  Kalvin hit the pipe.  Zack looked on in anticipation as Kalvin exhaled a huge cloud of sweet smoke and nodded his head in affirmation.  Sidewalk touched the tip of the pipe to a chunk of that was sitting on the table.  It stuck to the end of the pipe and began to melt.  Immediately he handed it to Zack.

“Damn! That was an awesome hit” said Kalvin as he watched Zack pull on the pipe.

Zack held the hit deep before slowly exhaling. Then the rush, intense, warm and tingling complete with the infamous ear ringing.  He was sprung like a spring.  It was a hit like no other before.  He felt his pulse race and his heart pounding.

“Damn is right!” said Zack taken aback.

The rush was so strong both Zack and Kalvin had to sit.  It was everything they thought it would be and more. They waited for the initial intensity to diminish.  Sidewalk took the liberty to load his own fat hit.  He hit the pipe twice before offering another to Kalvin who declined.  Zack wondered if his friend’s refusal was genuine.  Sidewalk passed the pipe to Zack. The cocaine was still doing its job.  He really wanted to see if the Flying eyeball could kick the coke’s ass. He also declined.  He looked back at Kalvin who had his eyes on the pipe. That was a bad sign.  The jones appeared to be tugging on his friend.  He had seen it so many times before. Zack took the challenge to resist even more seriously.

He was still trippin’ balls out. The edges of the window were shifting. The curtains were lightly waving with no breeze what so ever.  The faux wood grain of the table looked to be alive, moving and swirling, as if I were breathing.  He chuckled.  He was high alright, high on LSD thank God.  He calculated he was probably peaking at that very moment and laughter returned.  He knew he had gotten the best of cocaine.  There was zero desire to take another hit.  Perhaps it was seeing his friend ready to give in.  Perhaps it was the distraction of the visual psychedelic, spectacle surrounding him. On the other hand, perhaps it was the power of his mind.  Whatever the reason, he was good.   It was one and done. 

The evening did not fare as well for the other passenger.  Kalvin eventually gave in and helped Sidewalk finish the fat rock.  Zack just took in the scene. It was getting on in the evening and eventually, with no more crack, Sidewalk appeared to be drifting asleep.  While sitting in his chair and nothing propping up his head, he somehow looked to be out right where he sat.

 It had been less than 20 minutes since he last hit the pipe.  Any other mere mortal would have been wired for sound.  Kalvin surely was, but Sidewalk was lights out.  Zack concluded that the man must have been up for days, and his subconscious must have known that he was in a safe place and just shut his body down.

It was hard to believe that someone could just fall asleep sitting in a chair like that.

          “Hey Sidewalk, you up?” asked Kalvin. No response.

Zack followed with “Yo, yo, yo, Stop sign…you awake?”

“Slip knot?” said Kalvin.

“Damn, I think he’s really out. Yo Skidmark!” shouted Zack.

Nothing.

As Side walk sat asleep, the strangest thing happened.  As if it had a mind of its own, Sidewalk’s hand started creeping along the table, one finger at a time.  Kalvin and Zack just stared awestruck.  They just knew the guy was asleep but his hand was wide awake. It was reminiscent of the creepy hand named “Thing” from the Adam’s family.  It crawled around the table as if in search of something.  There was nothing on the table except a paper napkin, and a few, scattered condiment packs of ketchup and mustard.  

Eventually, the hand came upon the ketchup and stopped.  Zack and Kalvin’s eyes met as they both realized what was happening.  Sidewalk’s hand secured the packet and he lifted it to his mouth, bit into the corner, and proceeded to suck on the ketchup until it was sucked dry.  Still, Sidewalk appeared to be fast asleep.

Then, the hand went back in search for more.  This time the hand took a more direct route to the pile of condiments and snatched another package of Heinz’s best.  And again it found its way to Sidewalk’s awaiting lips.  And again, he sucked it dry.  It was clear that the crackhead hadn’t had much to eat lately and his subconscious was picking up the slack.  The third excursion for food came across the yellow mustard.  Zack, still frying, knew what was next and couldn’t keep himself from laughing.  He was worried about waking Sidewalk but even when Kalvin chimed in laughing out loud, Sidewalk wasn’t fazed.  It was easy to predict that once he tasted the twang of yellow mustard, Sidewalk would awake.  The anticipation of sidewalk’s reaction had Zack and Kalvin on the edge.

He bit into the packet.  He sucked and sucked some more.  In just a few seconds, he emptied the mustard pack and was going in again for more.  There was not one thing different except sidewalk actually licked his lips clean after finishing the mustard.  Once again, they laughed, amazed and perplexed.

“Shit man, dude must be like real hungry” said Zack.

“Dude, he’s going for more! Slide over another mustard, quick,” said Kalvin to Zack who was closer.

          “I can do better than that!” said Zack followed with a dubious cackle.

          Zack dashed across the room and started digging into the trashcan below the wall mounted TV.

          “Ah ha!” he exclaimed as he found an old paper bag.  He reached in and pulled out a large packet of Arby’s horsey sauce.  Kalvin’s mouth dropped. He quickly covered it in an attempt to keep quiet.

As sidewalk’s hand ventured out over the table in search of more plunder, Zack strategically placed the horseradish sauce a few inches in front of Sidewalk’s meandering hand.  It took only a couple of seconds before he snatched the packet and lifted it to his lips.  This time when he bit in, it was a different story.  The twisted, contorted expressions on Sidewalk’s face revealed how strong the sauce was.   The reaction complete with squinting eyes, pursed lips and tongue sticking out, was over the top funny.  To their amazement Sidewalk continued to suck the sauce until it was all gone!  The laughter was so loud that it disturbed Sidewalk enough, to wake him from his slumber.

          He was dazed and confused.  The two jokers were laughing so hard that it offended Sidewalk, what for, he had no idea but he knew they were laughing at him. He didn’t like it.  If he weighed a pound over 120 he might have said something but the skinny, sucked up crackhead was powerless to do anything except sit there with a sour look on his face.  Adding insult to injury, Kalvin spoke up.

“Hey Stop sign, it’s time to go. It’s bed time,” Kalvin opened the door to let him out, all the while laughing his ass off.

          “Crazy, fuckin’ white boys,” he muttered as he left.

          “Aloha!” said Zack.

          Kalvin shut the door and no sooner the guys broke out into hysterical laughter to the point they couldn’t breathe.  If they didn’t witness it, they wouldn’t have believed it.  Sleep eating horseradish.  They thought they had seen it all.

          Seeing Sidewalk in his condition served as an example to Zack of how bad it could get with crack.  He knew this all too well.  He also was well aware that it could get worse. It penetrated deep into his mind.  His brain was operating on many levels thanks to the LSD.

On the surface, it was all good. In fact it was better than that.  He was in the cosmic groove, hanging with his buddy safe and warm. Even with his face hurting from laughing fits and feeling empowered from his victory over cocaine, there was something else, deeper in his psyche that was tugging on him, like a kid tugs on a parent’s shirt sleeve.  He had been ignoring it for months but it wasn’t going away. The kid’s name was Change or perhaps Escape.  Change from what and escape to where, were deeper questions.

He looked over to Kalvin and felt guilt and sadness.  The guilt was for exposing Kalvin to crack in the first place.  When his friend returned from the army, there were many questions about this “new” drug called crack.   Zack answered all of Kalvin’s inquiries with a $180 night of smoking.  The sadness was because as he looked over at Kalvin, he recognized the wide eyed stare of someone sprung on coke.  Three white’s they called it.  He knew that Kalvin’s journey down Crack Avenue still had a few miles to go. 

He loved his friend.  As a teenager, Zack always looked up to Kalvin as the cool kid.  Kalvin played the drums in a band, was loved by the chicks and always had an air of cool about him. Kalvin was the classic, long haired stoner that always seemed to have it going on. Zack had secretly always looked up to Kalvin. Now as he stood, he was looking down to his friend sitting at the kitchen table. He saw a different Kalvin and he felt sad. He had to do something.

“Let’s roll a joint dude,” said Zack.  He knew the weed would chill Kalvin out a little.

          “In the drawer,” said Kalvin pointing to the end table between the beds.

          The acid still had a firm hold on Zack as he broke up the bud into little bits. The weed seemed to have a special softness to it as he placed it into the paper for rolling.  He also noticed the texture of the Zig Zag.  It seemed strong and fragile at the same time.  He laughed.  When he looked over to see his friend’s reaction he saw Kalvin looking down on the carpet.  With a quick twist and a lick, Zack finished the job.

          “Dude,” he tossed the joint.   “Spark it up,” said Zack trying to distract his friend.

          Kalvin only took a couple hits from the joint before he got up and put on his jacket.  Zack knew what was up.  He didn’t try to stop him “What’s up?” he asked.

          “I’ll be right back,” said Kalvin suited up for his mission.

          “Save your money dude.  Enjoy the fry.”

          “I have man, all night long.” said Kalvin with a veiled smile.   “I’ll be back in 20 minutes.”

          “Alright dude.   Just be careful.”

          “20 minutes,” he said and was out the door.

          He was certain it was a dope run.   His partner had actually held out much longer than he expected.  The result was easy to predict.  It was a good thing that Kalvin had already bought the two ounces from Mary.  Otherwise all of the money would be at risk.  Zack figured it didn’t really matter that much since, after all, it was Kalvin’s money.  Zack still had some cash of his own from pawning his gold.  The whole scenario presented a certain disconnect for Zack.  The LSD had allowed Zack to gain a certain detachment from his reality.  His perspective was wider.   When tripping, its always about the big picture and that scene was less than comfortable.  He felt the tugging again.

Kalvin was always on time and in exactly nineteen minutes he came through the door of room 420.  He went straight to his duffle bag and pulled out his pipe.  If Kalvin was anything he was considerate.

          “Wanna hit?” he asked as he loaded the pipe.

          “Nope, I’m good. And that’s not just a rumor,” cracked Zack.

          Kalvin came back with, “That’s not what I heard.”

          The banter continued, “Of course your girlfriend would tell you that.”

          Kalvin didn’t respond.  He hit the pipe instead.  Zack went back to knife throwing.

In just over an hour the rock was up in smoke and Zack had started to make larger holes in and around the target on the wall.  Both the men were high but they were in two very different places.  Zack’s disconnect grew.  It didn’t take long before Kalvin was looking down at the carpet again.  He was scanning the floor for any little pieces or chips that he may have dropped.  Crack heads rarely drop or lose any dope but always think they might have. The carpet is the first place they look.   Zack had done it dozens of times.   It was sad.

          Kalvin expanded his search area.  He began to get closer to the foot of the beds looking for that one dropped piece.  He was over six feet away from the kitchen table when he found something.  He picked it off the rug and held it up with a smile on his face.

          “No shit, I can’t believe you found a piece,” said Zack.

          Kalvin wasn’t done.  He came up with another chip and went back to the table to load his pipe.  Zack watched in amazement.  The pipe was loaded, and Kalvin brought the flame to the pipe.  It only took a second and Zack knew something was off when he failed to hear the trademark crackling. The look on Kalvin’s face verified it wasn’t crack.

          “What’s the deal?” asked Zack.

          “I dunno, it didn’t melt, it turned brown,” he was perplexed.

          Zack looked at the pipe and verified what he heard.  He then went to the foot of his bed only to see dozens of small, white specks on the carpet.  He picked one up and rubbed it between his thumb and finger.  I crushed into a white, dust like powder.  He then looked up and started laughing.  He looked over at Kalvin and laughed harder.

          “You were smoking ceiling!” said Zack laughing and pointing at his sprung friend.

          “The carpet is scattered with pieces of the acoustic ceiling that you knocked off with your nun chucks! Ceiling, you just smoked ceiling!”

          “That’s not funny man, I still had hits in this pipe.  Now it’s contaminated with that nasty shit!” Kalvin was bummed and embarrassed.

          The affair was funny but also pathetic to Zack.  He realized it could have just as easily been him smoking ceiling.  But this time it wasn’t.  He lit up the roach and took it all in.  He took the time to savor the sweet sensimilia. Weed was so much better than crack, or beer, or speed he thought.  He thought about putting himself in Kalvin’ shoes, it didn’t take long for him to realize that he was in Kalvin’s shoes.  They lived together.  They hustled together.  They worked together and smoked together.  There was little difference in the life choices they had made.  They were both in the same boat and it was headed for an iceberg. Exactly when and where the disaster would occur, he no idea but he figured it was only a matter of time.  He felt the tug.

          Zack look over at Kalvin.  He was “pushing” his pipe, extracting the coke residue to get those last couple or few hits that were trapped in the pipe.  The morning light could be seen coming through the curtains.  It was a new day and there was something about sunrises on acid that represented a certain freshness and beauty of the new day.  He felt the tug and this time he looked down in his mind and saw the kid.   It was him.  Zack at seven was tugging.  That is when he made the decision.  He got up, grabbed a fat bud from the bag, put on his jacket, grabbed his smokes and turned to Kalvin.

          “I’m outta here” stated Zack.

          “Where you going?” asked Kalvin.

          “I don’t know, man.”

          “Huh? I don’t get it,” Kalvin had a puzzled look on his face.

          “I’m done dude. I can’t do this anymore.”

          “Do what?”

          “This man, whatever this is that we’re doing.  I’m over it”

          Kalvin didn’t get what his friend was saying and went back to his pipe.

          “I’ll be back for my stuff later,” declared Zack.

          “Okay.  See you later,” Kalvin either wasn’t convinced or didn’t understand exactly what Zack was saying.

          Zack opened the door and walked away.  The new day greeted him with a feeling that was similar to that first day at a new school that he had experienced so many times before.  As he walked East down Fremont Street away from downtown, he had no idea where he was going.   He only thought about what he was leaving behind.  After he got a few blocks away the sun began to shine from behind Sunrise Mountain.  He was facing East and the sun.  Into the light is where he needed to go.  He left his shadow behind, where it belonged.

With each step, he tried to place all of the pieces that had led him to this place in time.  He wondered to himself, how did he get here?  Where and when did this journey begin?  He thought about a seven-year-old kid named Zachary.  He still felt like that young boy somewhere deep inside.   He may have been 23 years old but he was a long way from grown up. It hit him like an epiphany.  It was like a fuzzy dream that he barely remembered just after waking.  But this was no dream.  It was his life and he didn’t know how he got to where he was.  It felt like he was led to this point, but by what or who, and why?  He tried to remember.  He tried to remember back when he was that kid with all that potential and life ahead of him. How did that innocent kid end up high on LSD walking down Fremont Street in not-so-fabulous Las Vegas?  Now that was the question.

Zack’s recollection of his early years was fuzzy.  It all went by so fast.  All he ever wanted was a place he could call home.  That was easy to remember because as he approached Civic Center Blvd. the heat of the morning sun reminded him that he was now homeless.  He didn’t know where to go, who to call and what to do.  The confusion made only more intense from the residual effects of the LSD still humming in his head. 

Eastern was a crossroad in more than one way.  North, the street changed its name to Civic Center Blvd. and led back to North Las Vegas.  There was nothing for him in North town except the hood.  Zack had enough of the hood.  Straight ahead Fremont Street turned into Boulder Highway and led to Henderson, of course.  He knew no one out there.  That only left south.  South of Fremont, Civic Center’s was Eastern.  Only a mile down Eastern was Kalvin’s mom’s house.  He thought of his friend cracked out back at the Gold Dust.  Kalvin always had his room at his mom’s to fall back on. Kalvin would always have a home.  He grew up in that house.  Surely without Zack Kalvin would end up back at his mom’s.  He felt bad for his friend who seemed lost and didn’t know it.  But who was really lost?

As he stood at the intersection, Zack knew he only had one place he could go really.  He was torn.  He didn’t want to go back, but he had to.  Everything he owned was in Apt. 420.  He looked at himself.  The tugging seemed to be gone, the kid had grown up.  He then decided that today was the first day of the rest of his life.  He would create change.  But he had to regroup.  He had taken the first step and dedicated himself to make a break and dream a new dream. Anything was possible.  He was re-energized with a new hope and  conviction, it may have meant he had to go back on the edge but this time, he was facing the uncertainty of living life on life’s terms. 

Las Vegas was a dead end.  The desert was inhospitable; the town was cold even in the summer.  He needed something new, something stimulating not from drugs but from his spirit, from his mind.  Maybe back to school?  He was a free man, his mom went back to school at 38, and he would be way ahead of her.  Maybe it was time for a big move? Anything was possible, anywhere was possible.  He just needed a goal, a destination. 

          ‘If you walk, you’re gonna get there,’ echoed in his mind.  He had walked enough.  He remembered the mountain and that long walk .  Where he really wanted to go, he could not walk.  It was surrounded by ocean.  That was really his goal.  Hawaii.

          First things first.  His mom’s words echoed in his head “Just focus on the next task at hand,” she would say.    That was easy.  Get out of the blaring sun!  Zack turned around and headed west, back to 420.  “One step at a time” goes the 12-step saying.  His journey would be a long one, but everything was different now.  He thought of the trip to come, and then he thought about the trip he was still on!  He busted out in laughter again.  The Flying Eyeball had taken him on a trip that had lasted twelve hours easily.  As he laughed aloud, he caught the attention of passersby on Fremont Street.  Zack looked like a mad man as he kept laughing uncontrollably to the point of tears.  What a long strange trip it had been. 

Chapter 1 Hawaii High (The Life and Times of Professor Potgrower)

 

         

Friends

Chapter 1

 

          “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.” said Zack.

          “Man, you always say that. One day you might just fall right off the edge, dude, and it could be a long drop.”

          “Don’t worry so much Kalvin, we’ll get the money.”

          “What the hell are you talking about?  If we don’t have $120.00 by one o’clock they’re gonna lock us out and then what?”

           “I know how motels work dude. We got nearly five hours…plenty of time.”

           “Plenty of time for what?” said Kalvin as he stood up from the counter and pulled out two dollars from his pocket for his meal. He placed it next to the check.  They always had the $1.99 steak and eggs special and sat at the counter avoiding the long line for a table.

          “How much money do you have left?” asked Zack as he counted a few crumpled bills he had left in his pocket.

          “How much? Are you fucking serious?” Kalvin was put off with Zack’s attitude.

          “How much?” repeated Zack.

          Kalvin held up his last dollar and stared directly into Zack’s eyes.  He couldn’t help but think that it was just a matter of time before that too would disappear like all the other money recently blown.

          “Damn…I got the same,” Zack admitted.

           “So, we got like two bucks to our name?” confirmed Kalvin.  It was a sad truth.

          After all the confidence Zack had portrayed, he knew reality was about to hit them square in the face like a stinging winter breeze. Zack had no plan B or C.   Approaching was an inevitable storm that carried an eviction from the seedy Sky Ranch Motel on Freemont Street.  The Horseshoe was their favorite casino not just because it was close and had a two-dollar steak and eggs, which you couldn’t make yourself at home at that price, but Binion’s Horseshoe was one of the original casinos downtown. Besides, they loved to play quarter craps on that one table, just feet from the sidewalk on Freemont Street.   The Horseshoe was old school Vegas and Zack and Kalvin were old school even at the ripe age of 23.

          There would be no craps today.  The two partiers had all the fun they were going to have for a while.  They loved to play but now it was time to pay and they didn’t have the cash for the seedy little motel mostly occupied by drug dealers, prostitutes and transients like Kalvin and Zack. It was crappy but it was home.

          After weeks nourished on little more than LSD, speed, cocaine and plenty of weed, the money had run out.  There was not enough pot left to keep the money rolling as it had for so long.  Too much partying, too many misappropriations and too little foresight had left the two young men with only two bucks and the side exit before them.  With bellies full and their future grim the only thing on their minds as they walked by the dollar black jack tables, was smoking the after breakfast bowl.  They usually took the elevator to the top of the parking garage but today they were simply going to slip out the side door of the gift shop, dejected and uncertain of what their future held.

          The men were less than twenty feet from that door when they came upon the one, lone roulette table.  Their gait was slow and reluctant knowing that once outside the warm, safe confines of the gambling house, the stark reality of the cold, hard streets of Vegas was all that awaited them.

          Like a subject reacting to the snap of a hypnotist’s fingers, Kalvin suddenly stopped and fixed on the silver ball circling the spinning wheel of fortune.  It then slowly descended, hit the wheel and took the usual bounces from one number to another before finally finding a resting place.

          “Twenty seven Red!”  Barked the dealer.

          Twenty-seven was Zack’s birthday as coincidence would have it, but the significance of synchronicity meant little to Zack.  He knew that roulette had the very worst odds for a table game in Vegas, only fools and tourists played that game.  Disheveled, he turned his eyes upon Kalvin who was already looking at him with his trademark grin.  Zack didn’t like it, but he knew what Kalvin was thinking.

          “Well…?” asked Kalvin.

          He rolled his eyes before considering Kalvin’s proposition.  There was little time to think it over; the dealer spun the steel ball.  As usual, it was a ghost town in the casino that Monday morning, nobody was playing roulette. The friction of the ball was deafening.

          “What do we got to lose?” said Kalvin.

           “Like everything,” said Zack as the ball circled for a third time.

          “Everything?  As in two bucks?  Are you serious?”

          The ball was on its sixth revolution, Zack knew it would soon drop as he pondered Kalvin’s logic.   

          “What the fuck” said Zack and handed Kalvin his very last dollar and without thought, Kalvin placed two bucks on number 29.

          “Money plays” affirmed the dealer.

          “Twenty-nine, why twenty-nine?” asked Zack.

          “It’s not just twenty nine, it’s twenty-nine the black.

          The black? What did that mean?

          The young gamblers and longtime dopers were tore up and had not slept in days.  They stared at the silver ball as it circled slower and slower, almost in slow motion, as they knew a penniless future was only seconds away.

          The centrifugal force that held the sphere on edge gave way to gravity. The ball fell.  It bounced, bounced twice more and popped to the other side of the wheel.  The steel sphere reluctantly hopped back and forth between several numbers before it eventually came to its final resting place before the bloodshot eyes of the scruffy stoners.

           “Twenty nine black!” shouted the dealer.

          “Oh my God! I can’t fucking believe it!” exclaimed Zack.

          The two slackers shouted out in exuberance, whooping and screaming as if they had just won the lottery.  In reality, they had only won seventy dollars.  It wasn’t all the scratch they needed but it was a good start.  The two ponied up to the roulette table and sat with a new attitude.  In just three more spins, they stacked their winnings to over $143.

          “Dude, it’s time to go,” he said nudging Kalvin in the ribs with his elbow.

           “Cummon man, we’re on a lucky streak.  We gotta ride this one out!” Kalvin had the fever.

           “Dude, we got the rent money plus. It’s time to cash out.”

           “Okay…just one more,” said Kalvin as he placed a stack of chips on twenty-seven, knowing Zack would have to let that one go.

          “Alright…common twenty-seven!” Zack shouted.  He turned to Kalvin and smiled.  It was mission accomplished just like he said, he wore pride his like a crown.  No matter what, they had the rent money and would be safe at home

          The shiny ball fell again and barely bounced twice before lodging in the green square that was marked zero.  In true Vegas style, the dealer swooped up the chips and politely asked the gentlemen “another bet?”

          “Nope” said Kalvin unfazed.

          “We’re going to color up” touted Zack.  That meant taking their pink chips used for roulette and trading them for real casino chips.

          “Cash out sir?” asked the dealer.

           “Yes please!” replied Kalvin. “Thank you sir!” he politely added gathering the chips.

          The two dudes walked to the cashier’s cage with a spring in their step. Everything was different.  Being on the precipice of certain desperation was a distant memory.  What a difference a hundred and thirty seven dollars could make. The stoners were feeling like high rollers with their heads up and steps deliberate. They felt like high rollers but were anything but.  The one thing they were however… was high, and it was time to get even higher.

          Instead of turning right at the gift shop and heading out the side exit, the potheads stopped short, stepped into the elevator, and rode it to the top.

          “Twenty nine, the black!” shouted Kalvin pumping his fist.

          Zack just smiled and held up his hand, the high five came immediately.

   “I told you we would get the money,” boasted Zack.  “I told you…do not doubt me.”

           “Yeah right Nostra-Dumbass!”

          “I’m just sayin…’”

          “‘I’m just sayin’…what does that mean?” said Kalvin

           The stainless steel doors opened revealing the crisp, cold air of that April morning.  As the two walked out of the elevator, the scent of charbroiled steak wafted to their noses.  Binney Binion had his own ranch in Montana that supplied the delicious New York steak two-dollar special at the Horseshoe. The fragrance was unmistakable coming from the vent on the open parking area.

           “Smell that?” asked Zack.

           “Steak?”

          “Not the steak dude, good fortune,” said Zack with an air of poise.

    “I’d rather be lucky than good.  You know what I mean?” Said Kalvin, he realized how close they had come to being out on their asses.  To Kalvin it was just dumb luck, emphasis on dumb.  To Zack it was more.

          “I hear you man.  But I am talking about something else,” said Zack as he came to the edge of the structure.  He placed his hands on one of the thick cables that bordered the outer rim of the parking area.  He leaned over, looking down at the street forty something feet below.

           “I’m just sayin’ dude, you think it was just a coincidence that we hit on that roulette table?”

          “You could call it that.  Yeah, a very lucky coincidence. Why, do you think it was something else?” said Kalvin as he also peered over.

          “Yeah man. I think it happened for a reason. I mean…didn’t you feel it?”

           “Feel what?”

          “I don’t know.  It’s hard to describe but right before that ball hit 29, ‘the black’  interrupted Kalvin.  “After the ball hit 29, it was like…it was like the whole thing was playing out like a movie and I was just in the audience.  It was like… we were just part of something bigger.  It was like just before it hit, I could feel it. You know what I mean?”

           “Dude, I don’t know what you’re feelin’, we’ve been up a long time.  Don’t get me wrong dude I think everything happens for a reason but sometimes the reason is simply coincidence.”

          “Yeah, maybe. But it felt like something else down there,” he said leaning over further.

          “I don’t know what you’re thinkin’ dude.  Do you actually expect me to believe that we were somehow destined to win that money by God?”

          “I don’t know. Maybe we were.”

           “I don’t think God approves of gambling dude,” pointed out Kalvin.

           As Zack pondered the idea that God did or did not approve of vices such as gambling, sex or drug use he remembered why he was there.  He reached into his front pocket and pulled out his trusty sneak-a-toke that was freshly loaded and ready to go.

          “Think about it dude, why did you choose twenty-nine?  I’m not too sure what God approves of.   I am not too sure there even is a God if you wanna go that far.   I’m just saying that what happened down there in the casino was special.”

          Zack lit the pipe, pulled hard and passed it to his best friend.  He was sure there was nothing wrong with smoking weed.  Especially this weed, it was good on so many levels.  As he slowly exhaled he continued talking with that stoner, ‘I’m trying to hold in the hit while talking’, dialect.

          “Either way…we got the bread!” was barely out of his mouth before the hit bursted out and coughing ensued.

          Kalvin followed in the same forced, stoner speak “Hell yeah, we got the dough!”

          That’s when the stress that had built up, transformed into uncontrollable laughter.  They giggled as if they had just gotten away with some dastardly deed.  The laughing didn’t keep them from finishing the pipe load however.   Kalvin and Zack were serious smokers.

          The clock/thermometer poised on top of the Freemont read 8:56 and 52 degrees.  The boys were stoned to the bone with bellies full ready to make their next move.  After lighting up their proverbial after smoke out cigarette, a plan of action needed to be discussed.

          As usual, Zack spoke first “So I guess its back to the Sky Ranch.”

          “I guess,” said Kalvin, with an unmistakable look in his eye.  Zack smelled what he was cooking.

          “You wanna call Mary, don’tcha?” he said

          “I’m just sayin’, the rent isn’t due till one right?” said Kalvin.

          “I’m just saying…,” smiled Zack. “Dave is still lookin’ to pick up?” he knew the deal.

          The two were like separate parts of the same mind even though the young men appeared to be polar opposites.  Kalvin standing at five foot nine, slender with long blonde hair styled in the usual feathered back fashion had light blue eyes and a big pearly white smile.  He was very handsome with sharp features. Whereas Zack stood a few inches taller, also thin, but with very short brown hair and green, piercing eyes. His softer face wasn’t hard to look at.  The two were charismatic but in very different ways.  Zack just put it all out there and let the chips fall where they may, confident in his observations and his wit.  He could offend or just as easily hit a funny bone the right way.  Kalvin was more thoughtful and discerning.  He always was thinking one or two steps ahead.  His wit was more considerate and dry. They were both ladies’ men but Zack wouldn’t realize it for years to come. Kalvin was a smooth operator and could easily talk a girl out of her prudence.

          “I’m just saying’,” echoed Kalvin.

          “Okay, let’s go to the room. If you can set it up, we’ll let it roll.”

          “As easy as cake” said Kalvin.

          “You mean ‘easy as pie’.”

          “Pie?  You ever tried to bake a pie?  Cake is way easier,” he said with an ‘I know something you don’t know’ look.

          Kalvin had been a cook and had gone to a trade school for culinary arts. Kalvin knew a few things well…weed, women and food.  As for weed, Kalvin wanted to take the roulette winnings and parlay the money on another sack of weed for Motorcycle Dave.  Kalvin’s dealer was the best connect in Vegas as far as he was concerned.  He could buy a half-ounce sack for sixty bucks and flip it for $120.  It was a great return.  The smoke was a tasty, sweet California red hair sensimilia.  Anyone could get Mexican dirt weed for $100 an ounce but sweet weed that Mary had could easily fetch sixty bucks a quarter.

          “You got me there,” confessed Zack.  “Let’s do it.

           “Right on dude, if Dave’s not around or already copped we’ll just pay the room.  We’ll be cuttin’ it close but I’m sure it’ll all work out,” reassured Kalvin.

          “If you’re not livin’ on the edge…”

          Kalvin finished, “You’re taking up too much space, I know dude, I know.”

The plan wasn’t risky.  Kalvin and Zack had been flipping weed for years, sometimes making cash, sometimes making smoke. They were well connected and in Vegas it’s not what you know, but who you know.

          Fact was Zack had been living on the edge for most of his young life.  After his parents divorced at age five, there was never enough room to grow roots. Change was the norm.  New towns, new schools and new friends were always the same old thing.  Soon after the divorce, his mom remarried and decided to pack up and head west to California leaving Chicago, the only place Zack and his little sister Rachel had ever known.

          Living in Las Vegas since age eleven gave Zack an unparalleled education. Back then, most folks found it hard to believe that people actually lived in Sin City, but in 1981 there were over 100,000 making their lives in The Meadows.  At 23, he had graduated from the school of hard knocks in a city of nearly half a million.  He majored in hustling with minors in adaptation and marijuana marketing.  Kalvin was the perfect partner in crime, meticulous, personable and thrifty, considering every dollar.  Even though both of them were smarter than the average bear, they were just stupid enough to often learn the hard way.

          The two dopers walked the few blocks to the dreary little hole in the wall.  It wasn’t much but it was a place to hang their hat.  The rent would soon be paid.  Fortunately, the room included housecleaning service.  The maid was a blessing.   It kept quarrels to a minimum between the roommates since they were a stoned out version of the Odd Couple.  There was obsessive/compulsive Kalvin playing Felix the hyper-considerate clean freak and of course, there was Zack who proudly starred as Oscar the often lazy and less than tidy partner.

          “Home sweet home,” said Zack as he entered the room.  Cheap renderings of desert landscapes were screwed to putrid walls colored in a pale shade of avocado. The matching green shag carpet reflected the age of the downtown dive probably decorated back in the seventies.

          Immediately Kalvin grabbed the phone and started to work his magic.

          “Wassup dude? You still lookin’?”   He paused.  “One-twenty?   Yeah, same ol’ same ol’. 

Right on, see you in a minute,” and with that, a deal almost done.

           “Alright,” said Zack with a grin. “So bust it out,” he urged .  He was referring to the last little bit of speed that Kalvin was holding.  It was hardly enough for two tiny lines but Kalvin had an adept ability to never waste drugs and always kept a little stashed for times like this.  Even though the boys ranked as hard-core partiers, they knew how to pace themselves and knew when it was time to eat or sleep.  Now, it was time to do one last blast.

          Kalvin pulled a small folded piece of paper out of his wallet.  He emptied the contents on the nightstand.  He carefully rubbed the paper against itself to secure every last crumb of off-white powder.  Then began the ritual; Kalvin’s chopping, scraping and re-chopping, always exasperated Zack.

          “Cummon dude, just make the damn lines. How much you gotta chop it up?”

          “Almost there…” said Kalvin but Zack knew better.  Two minutes passed before the two tiny lines of crank were ready, in Kalvin’s opinion, to be snorted.

          The speed disappeared with two quick whiffs.  Reenergized, Kalvin grabbed the keys to his truck and his hair brush.  When Kalvin brushed his hair, it was an affair.  He stood in front of the mirror and commenced the brushing ritual.  First, he brushed the left side ten strokes and then the right side, ten more.  He then put his head down brushing his hair backwards, ten strokes.  Then, he flipped his head back and with a couple more strokes on each side and the rite was complete.   Kalvin was as bad as any female when it came to his hair.  

           “I’ll be right back” whispered Kalvin.

          “Okay” said Zack with a hush “no funny stuff”

          “Easy squeezy” faintly replied Kalvin.

          “Why are we whispering?” said Zack

          Kalvin cleared his throat “Uh…hmm, I don’t know” he said with normal volume.

           “Whatever dude. I’m going to take a shower. See you in twenty?”

          “Yeah if that, in and out…nobody gets hurt,” assured Kalvin with a confident smile.

           “Alright, see you then.”

          “Later” said Kalvin. He exited.

          Zack jumped in the shower to wash off days of filth and debauchery.  It had all started with dropping acid with sweet Michelle.  She was the blonde beauty who worked as a bus girl at Arizona Charlie’s with Zack. Her jealous girlfriend; who happened to be his boss eventually fired Zack.  They had tripped all night long and eventually ended up naked in the room’s pitch-black closet.  It was Zack’s version of a sensory deprivation tank.  The lovers had traveled to some unworldly, magical dominion. The two trippers were about to attain an inexpressible state of celestial, consciousness…when Kalvin opened the door to reveal two lovers entwined in a psychedelic sexcapade.  Kalvin had notorious timing.

          Michelle left in a huff after Kalvin gave a less than sincere apology.  Kalvin thought it hilarious. Zack, like so many times before, let that one go. Soon after, the boys drove to hit the felt and score a little speed at the Cue Club, their favorite place to shoot eight ball.

          A couple of racks turned into four hours tweaking on beige felt. The only thing that stopped them was the unrelenting desire to smoke a joint.  One thing always seemed to lead to another with these two.  What started as a quick trip to the truck to burn a joint ended up as another stoned out odyssey. 

There was a mysterious clicking sound coming from somewhere in the truck.  It turned into an insolvable enigma. At one point Zack was hanging out of the truck giving repeated commands to Kalvin to speed up, slow down, turn left and turn right.  He had his head inches from the parking lot pavement listening for a  sound emanating from some unseen part of Kalvin’s little white pick-up.

           It was a spectacle.  The truck meandered all about the empty parking lot doing figure eights, large loops, stopping and going, going and stopping.  This went on for nearly an hour straight before Zack, high as a kite, finally figured out that it was a case of loose lug nuts coming from the passenger’s front wheel.  Duh.

          With the mystery solved, the tweekers were compelled to hit the Showboat Hotel and Casino for a little seven card stud.  They fancied themselves poker players extraordinaire but that was about as close to the truth as saying that Michal Jordan was a great baseball player.  Both of these fallacies eventually proved themselves false.  After an eight-hour session of average poker playing, Zack and Kalvin found themselves exhausted, depressed and less the money that had been set aside for rent.  At least Michael Jordan could fall back on basketball.  ‘Vegas Zack and Kalvin the Kid’ had nothing to fall back on.  In fact, they came teetering close to the abyss of homelessness when Zack suggested steak and eggs at the Horseshoe.

          He knew that he and Kalvin had been pushing their luck for a while.  He also recognized if not for twenty-nine, the black, they would’ve been in a world of hurt about now, as he finished rinsing the complimentary shampoo from his hair.

           “How did I end up here?” he thought to himself as he stepped out of the shower.

          “What the hell am I doing?” The thought had never really entered his mind before.  He had been cruising a road to nowhere and the wheels had just about come off literally. There was a loud knock at the door.

          After wrapping the towel around his waist, he looked through the peephole to make out the manager Ackmed, and he looked pissed.

           “I’m in the shower!” he shouted through the door.

          “That makes no difference to me.” Zack could see the furrowed unibrow of the immigrant.

          “The rent was due at nine o’clock! No rent..No room!”

          “What? The payment isn’t due until one!” shouted Zack.  He then opened the door as far as possible with the chain still secured.  He peered suspiciously at the bearded innkeeper.

           “Nine o’clock sir, if you do not have payment this instant you will vacate the premises immediately or I will call the police, sir.”

          “Just chill out man, my roommate is on his way with the bread man.”

           “I will not chill out man, Sir, do you have the money or not?”

          How this guy could be so polite while being such an asshole perplexed Zack. He also knew that when Kalvin came back he wouldn’t have the rent money.  It was tied up in weed.  This was going to require some smooth talking.

          “Look man, it’s barely ten o’clock dude.  We’ll have the $120 in no more than two hours, I promise man, sir.”

           “I have no time for your promises.  I will have this room ready in one half hour.  You will vacate now or I will be forced to call the police!”

          “What the…do what you gotta do Muhammad!” and with that Zack slammed the door in his face.

          “I am sure the police will be happy to see you…to see you and all of your drugs!” came through the door. He then mumbled something in his native tongue.   Zack was certain he was being cursed out in Pakistani or something.

          It only took a nano-second before he realized that wasn’t exactly smooth talking.  He had pretty much sealed his fate.  He surmised it was now a matter of time before he would be talking to Metro.  Big mistake.  If he could just call Kalvin at Dave’s to let him know the wheels had fallen off.  He didn’t have Dave or Mary’s number. He was screwed, and not the good kind of screwed.

           It was go time, literally.  Zack started packing their stuff and cleaning up any evidence that might even hint to drugs.  Metro didn’t play.  They would bust you for as little as two seeds.  Zack was all too familiar with the war on drugs and it was a game he couldn’t afford to play again.  And again, it was back on the edge.

          In ten minutes, Zack had the entire room clean and their bags readied by the front door.  He knew it wouldn’t be long before Metro would be knocking.   They needed to get gone, and fast. Kalvin would be back but Zack wasn’t sure if he was coming back before going to Dave’s to drop off the weed or after.  Timing would be everything.   The good news was that Kalvin had left the scale and if Kalvin was up to his usual tricks, he would get a larger sack insuring extra weed to smoke.  This would require him to buy more weed than planned.  Kalvin had pulled stunts like this before and it had been a point of contention more than once.   This time, Zack needed Kalvin to wheel and deal.    The irony was deep because after the miracle at the Horseshoe, they were unquestionably on the same page but now it seemed unlikely that Kalvin would again go rouge. Hopefully, Kalvin needed the scale.

           It had been less than fifteen minutes when unexpectedly Zack saw the little truck whip into the Sky Ranch.   Their stuff was now piled outside, in front of the room.

          Shock was plastered on Kalvin’s face before he even exited his truck.

           “What the fuck dude?” predictably came out of his mouth.  “Why’s our shit out here?”

           “I dunno man. They said we gotta go.”

          “Gotta go?  Are you serious?  What?  Ya told him we got the money right?”

          “You got the money?” said Zack, reanimated with hope.

          “I didn’t say that.  What I asked you is if you told him we had the money.”

           “So you’re telling me you don’t have the money?” Zack now deflated.

           “Dude…I gotta still drop it off at Dave’s.  I need the damn scale!”

          “So you went ahead and got more than we agreed, didn’t you?” he scolded.     He didn’t want to let on that was exactly what he was wishing for.

          “Dude…I got a killer fuckin’ deal. What the fuck?”

           “It’s cool man. I am actually glad you came back.”

           “Well gimme twenty minutes and I’ll go get the money. Simple,” said Kalvin with confidence.

           The situation was more complicated than Kalvin knew.  After the heated exchange with the manager, Zack knew that they were past the point of no return. Even if they had the cash at that moment and it was accepted, they were now under suspicion and it would be like living in a fishbowl with every move under certain scrutiny.  Zack decided it was time to lie.

          “Dude we don’t have that kinda time.”

           “What?” Kalvin knew the other shoe was dropping. “What the fuck is going on man?”

          “The manager said something like I know you guys are dealing drugs and if we don’t leave, like right now, he’s calling the cops”

          “What the fuck?” said Kalvin throwing his hands up in the air.  “He said something like?”

           “He said he knows we are selling drugs dude” said Zack, the lie was complete.

          “Well fuck man…we gotta get the hell outta here” concluded Kalvin.

           “Exactly dude.”

          At that very moment two squad cars pulled into the parking lot.  Zack and Kalvin instantly threw their belongings in the truck bed.

          “Did you get everything outta the room?”

          “Roger!” assured Zack.

          Three cops exited their cars and approached the manager’s office.  The manager could be seen through the office window smiling as he greeted the officers.  Before the cops had entered the office, the Chevy Luv was pulling out of the lot, exit stage left. 

Do you feel the heat?

  As I sat on my bed writing this article, I listened to the radio as Ferguson burned again. But there is much more to the breaking news. It’s wasn’t just Missouri, but in other states, other cities, people took to the streets. I heard about Seattle, Salt Lake, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, New York City…the whole country was boiling over. As urban areas bubbled with outrage I considered when this fire actually started. The freeway in Oakland had been shut down, when did we first get shut down I wondered. When did the ‘power of the people’, the people’s voice, our voice first get muted? In August 2014, the people shouted. They were screaming, Americans were screaming, but what was the message? I hear about racial issues, I hear of class issues but what speaks louder is the wailing of how we are being boiled alive, like the high pitch of a lobster dropped in its pot of death. 
  The people scream now but the pot has been heating up for decades. We are like the frog, you know the story. Put a frog in a pot of cool water; slowly and gradually warm the water, one degree at a time. Water boils at 212 degrees but the frog never notices the slow, steady increments of the warming water. By the time the heat is so high it kills, the frog never once tries to jump out of the pot. The frog never feels death sneaking up on it. The frog is cooked. 
  We are like that frog. Over the years the temperature has been rising. But who heats the pot? And why? The fire that burns is no accident. People’s rights, our rights have been used as fuel. Slowly they have been burning away. The flames are rising. Ferguson was not about race, it’s not about a kid or a cop. It’s about the pot, the pot we sit in. Our country has slowly, gradually, been turned into a police state. When once we revered our police, we now fear them. When once they served to protect us, now they oppress us. Before the water came to a boil, the police respected the people. Then, the power was for the people, of the people, and by the people. Now, the power is for the police, of the police, and by the police. 
  When was the heat first turned on, and by whom? To know how this story will end we need to understand how it began. 
Before Eric Garner, there was Rodney King, before we couldn’t “all just get along” there was turmoil boiling up across the country. Detroit burned, and Chicago burned decades before L.A. burned. Before there were four dead in Ohio, there were many more who suffered similar fates. Before the civil rights movement and Nixon declared war on “those hippies”, the South was the center of the fire. Much like it was in 1861. 
The roots of this fire go back that far. It may have started as a “race” issue or so it has been written, but the power of the flames began with the “power” itself. Before NWA coined “fight the power” the fight had been taken to us. Now we take the fight to the power, to the men of power. This is the fight. This is who started the fire that burns tonight. Yes, it’s time. The “man” has, in fact fueled the flames but like Billy Joel said, “we didn’t start the fire.”
  It started with the men of power, rich white men. Over 75 years ago, the power of the people began to evaporate as capitalism was highjacked. Those men, slowly, like boiling a frog, took power, our power. These men enlisted us against ourselves, dangling power like a carrot. These men made new laws (the “stick”) and like any other tool made by man, the “man” used it. What was once the whip of the master morphed into a billy-club. Eventually, these clubs were used to beat the people in Ohio, Detroit, Chicago, and in Mr. King’s neighborhood. Rodney King? Martin Luther King? As Ferguson burned I ask, who is the king?
  This war on the people has evolved over time. A war against blacks and Mexicans turned into the war on poverty, then the war on drugs. Do not be fooled, this is the same war, the same flames that burned in 1776 and that burned the White House in 1812, also burned in 1864, 1914, 1941 and 1968. The same fire burns in Ferguson and those flames have spread. Today it is “Big Brother” who controls the “man”, the Police State is here. It’s too late to jump out of the pot, the frogs are screaming and our goose is almost cooked. 
And what about the pot? This dish could not be served without the pot. How was the pot used to cook the people? The answer goes back to the 1920’s, after the country was roaring with wealth. Just after the war to end all war was “won,” the plot to use the pot to cook us was in its inception. Congress first had to give the real power of the people away to those rich, white men. Power was and still is money. When we (a small group of Congress) gave away out Constitutional right controlling our money to the Bankers, the recipe was written. Hearst, Rockefeller, DuPont, and the Rothschilds to name a few cooked the books and took the greatest country to ever grace the world, and pot was the ingredient. The “pot” was not called pot, it was called marijuana. And as it turned out, the recipe practically wrote itself. 
  “Marijuana” is not good; the word is a slur, as much as the N. word. Cannabis is perhaps the greatest plant, a God given plant, the single greatest plant in human history. Some may argue that wheat or rice or perhaps even corn takes the cake as the world’s greatest plant but those grasses pale in comparison to real grass. The seed has all the essential nutrients needed in a human diet. Wheat falls ever so short. Corn is Porn when Cannabis is like Shakespeare. It can be used as fuel, two barrels of oil per acre. Its fiber resists rot and is nearly as strong as steel. It can be grown where nothing else can. And its medicinal properties not only are greater than we have yet to learn, but our very biochemistry and biological systems use the plant’s essential chemistry. And its effects on the mind, on our consciousness may be the very thing that offers what we need to put out the fire that burned in Ferguson and all over the world today. Am I overstating the power of the pot? Even the D.E.A. ‘s own administrative judge called Cannabis the world’s safest therapeutic substance. Hyperbole from the D.E.A.? I think not. 
The plant dates back over 10,000 years at least. Found in the pack of an ancient Chinese grave, it has been essential as the stone tools this man carried with him. 
  To say Cannabis wasn’t known to modern man until it was outlawed in 1937 would be as false as it being listed as a Schedule 1 drug, dangerous and of no medicinal value.
  Fact is, the founders of this great nation grew Cannabis. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson didn’t just grow hemp for rope and canvas. George himself wrote about separating the male plants of his “Indian Hemp” as a regular agricultural practice. Indian hemp aka Cannabis Indica, has been used for thousands of years (in India) for its smokable resins, aka hashish. 
  The Native Americans smoked Cannabis Sativa (Sativa, Latin for “good tasting”) in rituals and is valued as a sacred medicine by nearly all tribes. 
It wasn’t until Afro-Americans, descendants of slaves used it in “speak easys” as they created and played the truly ‘American’ music called jazz that Cannabis first became vilified. Only blacks and Mexicans smoked the weed back then. When white women frequented these clubs, stories of “reefer madness” became American lore. Mary Jane’s bad reputation was by no accident. On the contrary, she was totally vilified by those very same white men I spoke of earlier. They were the ‘powers of industry’ back then. They were at the fore front of the Industrial Revolution. They singlehandedly, so to speak, built this nation. The real power was just being born, and Cannabis posed a very real threat to those men and their corporate machines. The very first car, the Model A, was made of hemp. The oil of this plant made the plastic fenders of this car just for starters.
William Hearst and Lammont DuPont together conspired to put pot in its place when oil, the petro-chemical was in its infancy. Big oil didn’t want big buds, the real “green” energy. And Hearst had hundreds of acres of forest to be used for pulp for his newspaper/media empire. Hemp pulp out performed any tree on the planet for paper. The Mexicans were bringing it up from South of the Border. Cannabis didn’t need the chemical process that DuPont provide as it only needs water. Hence, the beginning of Sativa’s smear campaign. 
  The rest is history. False stories of Mexicans on marijuana killing white folks were published in Hearst‘s newspapers. Stories of how blacks under Mary Jane’s spell had the nerve to think that they could have sex with white women. It didn’t take long before “Refer Madness” was in full effect.
  Backroom deals fed the ‘crony capitalists’ greed with some help from their government friends, Aslinger created the Anti-Cannabis Campaign in 1937 and the Marihuana Tax Stamp Act was created. Hemp was illegal unless you had a government tax stamp. Funny thing was the government didn’t issue the stamps. Cars were made from steel, ran on gasoline and Hearst’s empire grew into the media machine it is today. 
  But the blacks still smoked. The music got even better. Eventually growing into R & B and yes, Rock and Roll. All from Cannabis. Ganja becomes part of the black culture despite the legal lies. One of the greatest entertainers ever was quoted when asked if he used Cannabis and if it was addictive. Louis Armstrong replied, “I’ve been smoking every day for 30 years and I still ain’t hooked! The story of the war on weed continues.
As I write in my room, I look out my window and see “old glory” herself waving in the wind. The first American flag was made from Cannabis. The Constitution was written on Hemp paper. Today the Constitution is viewed as an archaic document by the progressives, out of touch with today’s society. Obama thumbs his nose at the greatest document ever written and those God given rights, guaranteed in that paper are eroded as the police state grows. Many today think the only rights we have are the ones the government gives us! The water’s getting hot, can’t you feel it? 
Well, “the heat is on wasn’t just a lyric from Glen Frye, it was a warning. Rock and Roll echos the wisdoms of weed to this very day. 
  As pot busts increased to 342,314 with the influx of cocaine came like an avalanche of South American snow. It was by no coincidence that inner city youth, mostly young men of color became victims of the war on drugs. Coke got cheaper and pot’s prices rose. Along with the advent of cheap ‘hard drugs’ and pricey pot, came the rise of para-military police. S.W.A.T. teams went from the exception to the rule. In North Las Vegas a new way to wage this war was invented. They called themselves ‘The Nasty Boys’ and they lived up to their reputation. Media jumped on the tactical train with a TV series of the same name. The Nasty Boys were a great success. Police all over the country adopted these techniques complete with cops wearing black ski masks and toting assault rifles. Busting down doors became old hat.
  Arrests skyrocketed; prison terms and prisons were filled by mostly poor, young men of color. Congress’ solution to the problem was mandated minimum sentences with crack cocaine sentences made even more severe than “regular powder” cocaine. Cannabis busts also rose. In 1995, 60 % of all federal inmates were for drugs. Cannabis arrests were 204,812 in 1999. Anyone who used Cannabis and saw a police officer felt anything but ‘protected.’ Fear was the whole point. But not just “potheads” felt anxiety from the bold actions from cops. The police were anything but respected in poor, urban neighborhoods across the country. If you were of color and poor, you fit the profile. 
  We all know about ‘racial profiling’ today. Why? Because it became easy to see the tiny bubbles in the pot. Police abuse runs rampant. After Rodney King, did Los Angeles burning settle anything? The answer was more S.W.A.T teams, stronger pepper spray, stronger Tasers, bean bag shotguns and more bullet proof vans. This accelerated armory was supposed to be in response to the ever growing gangs and their reign over the drug trade. Mind you, these gangs are real. And yes, they are really dangerous. Something DOES need to be done. We don’t want to become like Mexico. But who added the fuel to the fire? There are many social, economic and political answers to THAT question but what started out as a move to vilify Cannabis nearly one hundred years ago for big oil, big media and big industry has led us to where we are today. In 2014, there were more police shootings than ever before. And the most shootings of unarmed people ever by cops.
  When you see fully armored police that look like storm troopers, does that make you feel safe? The residents of Ferguson have let the world know how they feel. But this is throughout the Nation. Los Angeles, Seattle, Las Vegas, Denver, New York….
  I was there. I lived in Las Vegas as a youth. I was the class of ’86. In the summer of ’85 it was especially dry in the desert, but not the kind of dry you may think. There was little to no weed anywhere that summer. But in the mostly black neighborhood that I lived in there was plenty of crack. Later we discover that much of the cocaine served on Blake Street had arrived via the U.S. Government. Remember Gene Hosenfuss, Ollie North, and guns for drugs? George Bush and the C.I.A?
  The Nasty Boys style of para-military type raids was very effective. They came in ready for war with faces covered carrying assault rifles. They would cover the suspects heads with black hoods, this instilled fear. Soon after Nasty Boys the now infamous series “COPS” debuted. Then “America’s Most Wanted.” It was a full-fledged war. The “war on drugs” was a war on the people. Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble. 
Similar tactics of the Nasty Boys were employed utilized nationwide. And these ‘men in black’ were no longer the exception. The pot got a little warmer. The heat was on. It wasn’t long before innocent citizens felt the heat. A grandmother is shot when police raid the wrong address. Family pets are killed by cops when raiding someone “suspected” of selling Cannabis. Raids, busts and mistakes add up. The police almost always are not held accountable for their actions. 
  Chicago, Philadelphia and New York City all protested police abuse. It is portrayed by media as a black/white thing but we all know better. It’s a power thing. The government has known about the boiling pot. They have added all the ingredients carefully to continue the war they started. MRADs are given to small towns, new “no-lethal” weapons, developed by the military are being experimented on large “unruly” crowds. And then there’s the NDAA that can suspend our civil rights with the stroke of a pen. And it’s not by accident that a natural disaster now includes a “financial crisis” also deemed by the President. What happens when the people and their voices grow too large or too violent? It’s called martial law. But worry not my fellow people. They have “family relocation residences” for us. Complete with barbed wire to keep us in, nice and safe. And they are conveniently located next to railroad lines for easy transport. Sound familiar?
Most people in America today are clueless with suds coming out of their ears from CNN, MSNBC, FOX, American Idol brainwashing. These corporations that feed us these “products” are ever so powerful. The people know this deep down. Why else protest “Black Friday” at malls and Walmart’s across the country? They didn’t shoot or choke anyone.
  Fascism is the rule of the people/government by corporations. That was Nazi Germany. When the poetic song “The Revolutions Will Not Be Televised” was released in 1999, the message wasn’t that the revolution would not be on T.V. On the contrary, it’s on 135 channels of crap, in HD and with 7.1 surrounds sound. The message was that the revolution is to take place outside, away from the neo-comforts of your living rooms, beyond the lifelike play of Grand Theft Auto 5 and the NFL playoffs, of which I thoroughly enjoy. The “revolution” start in our minds and deeper in our spirit. The spirit of ’76. Remember that? Remember “don’t thread on me?” Remember “give me liberty, or give me death?” Today, the NSA spies on everybody in the name of the “war on terror.” Don’t be fooled. The pot is boiling. We are being cooked alive. Terror is induced fear. If it were a justified war, it would be called the “war on terrorism.” Be afraid, they tell us. Bad men want to do us harm, they say. We must get them before they get us, they say.
  Well I ask you. Who’s zoomin’ who? How does the water feel? Is it hot in here or is it just me?
Cannabis will soon be legal everywhere. The lies cannot continue. Common sense and the lure of the holy dollar have begun to right one of the most terrible wrongs and biggest civil rights violations ever. But it’s anything but time to “turn on, tune in and cop-out.” It’s time to wake up! Ferguson, MO is just a simmering, the police state is here. 
  The military once took a survey in 2009. They asked some troops if they would fire upon Americans if so ordered. Well it might be comforting to know, almost 80% said no. But 20% said yes. Who will be working for the man when the time comes? That’s a whole lot of yeses. 
So, light that doobie, hit that pipe, or clear that bong and think about it. Potheads are not lazy. They just figured out somethings aren’t worth getting up for. But one man, a prophet said it best, and he was a huge pothead. “Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight!” Even Vladimir Putin addresses the American people in a recent speech. “Keep your guns,” he said.
  First was the ‘war on weed’, then the ‘war on poverty’, soon came the ‘war on drugs’, and now it’s a ‘war on terror’. What’s the common denominator? It’s been a long war on the people. Obama declared America, this nation, the “battleground” officially a few short years ago. A 2006 document named “Civil Disturbance Operations” (PDF) outlines a US Army Military Police training manual describing the plans of the government. An updated manual released in 2010 entitled FM# 3-39.40 Internment and Resettlement Operations goes even further. These documents clearly explain “warning shots will not be fired”. Feeling the heat yet? Ever been bullied by a cop? Ask a friend or family member. If you’re poor, odds are you smell what they’re cooking.

Being a police officer today is more challenging, it’s true. But crime has been dropping for years. Cops are people too. They have families too. But power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Respect is a lost virtue across the entire spectrum of our society today. All people, citizens, cops, politicians, kids and adults alike, have been part of this stew of suffering. 
  Just remember, this is not about race any more. Yes, it started this way with the help of crony capitalists. But today, we are all at risk. Even the cops. Cops are people too. What is going to be the next war on the people? Do you smell what’s cookin’?
It’s us.

An essay by Jason Lamoore, March 6th, 2015