stoner adventures, vol. v

	The world split like a windburnt lip opening beyond
the crack of my door.  It was safe to go outside, so I 
did; the sunlight exceptionally bright momentarily teared 
my eyes and staggered me back for the safety of the 
doorway, but I had lost that haven in my blind wandering, 
and so like someone seeking shelter from the downpour I 
ran into the bright Saturday. Fourteen Christians who 
were picketing my apartment building screamed at me that 
I was a user of evil weed, a servant to Satan, and that I 
would go to hell if I didn't accept my father. My father 
who? I thought, and then wondered if these people knew 
they were already acting like my parents.  
	I met Spike at the bus station and together we went 
to Spike's buddy Miles' apartment, at which we arrived 
after much climbing over air-conditioning units, steam 
pipes and forgotten rusted ladders over the collected 
roofs of several drearily similar apartment buildings.  
When I asked Spike why we were doing this, he said that 
it was the result of Miles' landlord being upset at his 
nonpayment for some days, and if we went in the front, we 
were going to get a lecture (Miles' landlord is actually 
a middle-aged woman who would scream at the minions of 
Satan for a buck they owed).  Climbing down the ultimate 
fire escape, I wondered why I always thought of Miles as 
Spike's Buddy Miles.  Maybe it was because when I was 
introduced to him, Spike threw his arm over Miles' 
shoulders and said something like, "This is my good buddy 
Miles."  It wasn't until a few years later that I 
realized how often that phrase means absolutely nothing, 
and how Spike with his traditional clairvoyant bravado 
had ridiculed the traditional superficial usage and known 
that Miles would someday be a good friend, all in one 
cartoon-character sentence.  Sometimes I forget how sharp 
Spike is, and sometimes unforgivably I forget how kind 
Miles is, how much of a great friend he is to me.
	Miles has never had much money, but I suspect that 
comes from his outrageously profligate habits.  All of 
his money flowed like blood into his dope buying or bong-
making, and so much more brushed off onto his friends 
like gold dust at a carnival, scattering in the snow 
outside his door when they left.  His apartment had two 
rooms, both a sallow shade of milky chalkboard green, 
with wide white windows clumsily stuck in their frames in 
various stages of aperture.  Next to his one-mattress 
worn bed was a large old-fashioned gas pump, with six 
goldfish swinging complacently in aqueous breezes over 
some form of purple light, which gave the entire setup 
the appearance of having emerged from beyond the upper 
limit of our planet's atmosphere.  Something was vaguely 
strange about the actual hose and nozzle, but the rest 
looked legit, although I knew Miles too well to suspect 
that this was anything but what it was.  "Okay," I said, 
when Miles came into the room, "Where does the dope go?"  
Miles smiled broadly, the resounding nature of his 
personality echoing through the halfshut-eyed haze that 
announced his state of being a high-ass, or someone who 
has smoked well enough to be visible, which for stoners 
like us can be quite an effort to attain.
	"I'm obvious, aren't I?" he intoned in his gentle 
voice, much like his gentle fingers working overtime on 
the gaspump bong to make sure each seal was tight, each 
fixture working.  By the looks of it, he had worked 
doubly hard on restoring it, bringing it even to the 
level where it could be converted, resurrected from its 
decrepit state.  "I wanted something big, with flair," he 
said, issuing his two customary statements for announcing 
the creation of his latest oddity.  "And I wanted 
something glass --it's easier to clean, and shows you a 
prettier hit -- something (if glass) big and stationary, 
so that it wouldn't be broken immediately.  Also, it had 
to have some means for quick inhalation, and this caught 
me, from the junkyard south of here," he said, opening 
the top where to my amazement, flowed a slender glass 
tube into the glass cavern beneath.  Crowned at the top 
with a large wooden bowl (a veritable dope altar) mounted 
on a metal proboscis resting inside of the glass tube, 
the gas pump bong was conceivably the greatest invention 
for mental destruction I'd ever seen.  Another tube, much 
wider, ran from the open-air part of the glass bowl to 
the main part of the pump, presumably to the opening of 
the hose, and still another tube ran into the water from 
below, which Miles informed us aerated the tank and 
scrubbed the water, so that the six fish -- Huey, Louie, 
Dewey, Sleepy, Skewey and Screwey ("I'm Dopey," Miles 
explained, when asked, smiling under red eyes) -- 
wouldn't choke on water clogged with vitiating dope 
sludge.  As this explanation wound down with Miles left 
staring absently out a window, I heard Spike rustle 
behind me and reached out my left hand for the best bag 
of our bestest homegrown I knew he would be handing me.
	"Miles, we brought you a present," said Spike, 
wiggling a corpulent bud inches from Miles' protrusive 
nasal organ.  "This baby's gotta go, or we're over the 
legal limit carrying this bag around."  Miles snapped 
back to us, eye to eye.  One of the most ferocious 
stoners I know, Miles is an exceedingly gentle man who 
has no luck with life, but needs no gods except his own 
two feet and his unfathomable good will.  Another volume 
will be written when I see Miles turn down a bong hit, 
especially off of one of his new creations.
	Stuffing the green bud into the large bowl, Miles 
told us he was glad that we had come along.  "I'm bored, 
and there is a need for movement," he said.  "This body 
wants to journey to the end of the boredom, wants to 
move.  It has a thirst for energy expenditure, just to 
make the universe spin around and around, before death 
comes sagaciously to spittle us," he said slowly. Not 
having smoked since the day before, I was essentially 
sober, and also sort of bored, so I agreed.  "Where do we 
wanna go?" I asked into the stilled air as Miles took his 
first hit.  This was an amazing spectacle in itself, with 
Miles sucking until his face became red on one side of my 
vision and the chamber filling with opaque smoked dyed 
purple swelling out the other side, with Spike's face 
leering over the glowing bowl somewhere in the middle.  
Miles leaned back, sucking in a huge flow of smoke as 
Spike yanked out the dimming bowl, with its shining stem 
trailing out after it like a sword pulled from a 
scabbard.  Spike motioned me to go next, poking the 
faintly smoking contents of the bowl with a blackened 
finger.  Spike lit it for me as well, and I drew in an 
expanding breath to fill the chamber, watching it grow 
milky and then fill with solid violet smoke.  I signaled 
Spike to withdraw the bowl as I performed the inverse of 
a howl, drawing in as much smoke as my lungs could hold, 
seemingly not enough but yet almost and now enough, then 
the hotness swelling like sweat in me, the magma I had 
swallowed into my lungs, but I able to hold it, keeping 
the painful constriction feeling good as the velvet 
creeping fingers of dope overwhelmed my brain.
	I leaned over to look at Miles.  His face cherubic 
in its serenity, he was about a tenth of a bong hit from 
passing out. "Miles?" I said, and he blew cheerful smoke 
into my face, making a circle with his thumb and 
forefinger to say he was disturbed by no unruly gods.  
Miles lived a life like that; he gave a shit about what 
mattered to him, like friends and making things and doing 
nice things for random people, it seemed.  He wasn't one 
of those cheesy smiley people who go around pretending 
everything is great and good and fine and well, who 
always smile at babies and hold open doors, but a person 
who would do solid things, sometimes insignificant in 
anything but the emotional significance, and would do 
them so wholeheartedly that you never doubted that he was 
doing them only because you and not he absolutely needed 
them done.  
	Once when I was suffering a long day in the quiet of 
the rain in my apartment, sort of distressed after a 
girlfriend had left me (after which I had vowed to become 
an asexual, one who sleekly avoids entrapment with either 
sex, but you see what became of that) whom I had sort of 
cared for, not really but kind of yeah I think so now 
that it hurts-ishly.  My door took two knocks and swung 
open to my yeah, and there was Miles, his traveling grin 
on (his traveling grin being his drawn-out absent face 
which barely has a smile on it, giving him the impression 
of being a careless traveler, but in fact means he is 
observing everything, ever watchful, even if it happens 
to be the good chance that he's royally high) and a brown 
bag in his hand.  The framed High Times centerfold I was 
hanging fell immediately, and I yelped an obscenity, this 
falling-short being been the last small failure on a 
giant stack of them towering over my head. Miles started 
talking, doing what the Californians call "talking shit" 
when they're in a good mood, that is, randomly speaking 
about various trivial topics of amusement, assigning 
pretended value to often the most mundane and 
inconsequential things in trade for a laugh.  
	I was so fascinated by this bizarre entity whom I 
barely knew at the time (Spike must've told him about my 
difficulties) that his oddball talk about things most 
would never have heard in their heads in a few millennia 
that I forgot to notice that he was aligning my picture 
with a pencil produced from somewhere in his workshirt, 
and carefully nailing it in.  He punctuated his last 
sentence, something about the amazonian javelina, with 
the final hammersmash to put the nail into the aging 
plaster.  "And so..." he trailed off.
	"Thanks," I said.  "Want a beer?" I asked.  Miles 
shook his head no thanks, in a way that said I would if 
possible but I must abstain.  At the time for me, that 
made a lot of sense, having experienced a few alcoholic 
difficulties on my own, in the same staggeringly 
dangerous way children find lightsockets and crease their 
brains with electric fingers, in the way that is almost 
as dangerous as some people with their gods.  
	I opened a cheap local beer and turned around to see 
Miles sitting at the table with his nonchalant 
noncommittal look and a children's walkie-talkie in front 
of me, complete with some form of decoration declaring it 
to be from alien worlds.  "What's that?" I asked, sort of 
foolish-looking (mainly because the beer I had thrown out 
had to be number thirteen or more for the day). "Partner 
to this," he said, drawing out another one from under the 
table.  I almost laughed, then wondered am I taking the 
world way too seriously? and so thanked him, and brought 
out my bong. Miles and I smoked a large bowl, and he left 
me the walkie-talkie.  "S'got this neat jobbo," he said, 
"that turns it on when the other one is calling.  So if 
you're bored, gimme a ring."  He left it with a fatty, a 
jay wrapped from whole paper and lusciously ripe green 
bud.  From then on, Spike and I used the little walkie-
talkie to summon Miles.  I've never seen another one like 
it, or even anything close.  I'm not sure that the 
cartoon character that endorses it even exists.
	I had been lost in thought, but returned as Miles 
got up. Something like that happens with dope:  you'll be 
walking into the bathroom and thinking how pretty the 
tiles are and how neat the toilet dispenser is and how 
rad the mirror is and then suddenly, like a lightning 
bolt out of nowhere, it will hit you that you have 
absolutely no idea what you're doing in the bathroom.  If 
you don't panic, you might remember the pressure in your 
bladder and figure out why you were there in the first 
	Spike Miles and I went into the other room, which 
was a bathroom, kitchen, and sofa-room all in one, mainly 
because the sofa fit between the toilet and the stove.  
Somewhere in a corner were some crates, upon which rested 
some random tools (although Miles was able to borrow most 
of his, even in areas where he knew noone) and some 
random tinned food.  Miles had never been much of a cook, 
and I doubted the presence of much cooking paraphernalia 
in the room.  However, we all fit on the sofa, except 
Miles who pulled in a battered chair stolen from a hotel 
lawn some years ago.  We talked for a while, saying 
dreamy things and enjoying our freedom to do nothing, and 
then smoked some more, and talked, and played endless 
games of Centipede on the video machine Miles had found, 
bought for scrap for $15 and repaired, setting it up next 
to his toilet.  "Capacitor in the screen," Miles said, 
firing it up and yanking once on the screwdriver taped 
into the coin slot.  Spike was up first, and played a 
good game, and then I was up, and then we played against 
each other, and soon it was very dark outside, and we 
were smoking once again, all of us very so sweetly high, 
drifting in a cloudless sky like puffy lambswool 
mistballs.  Miles was saying something to Spike about a 
place owned by a good friend of his no cover drinks 
cheap, a band occasionally pretty good and not too far 
off, and so when my game was finished Spike tapped my 
shoulder and we went, out into the chilling night but 
only for a few blocks, with a door blown open by the 
smell of whisky cigarettes and sweat being the portal 
into this new quickly-moving and blurry place.  
	I took a seat at the bar, and immediately noticed a 
large green and muscular snake sliding between six 
glasses placed like a spread-out Olympic symbol, but I 
turned on my elbow to ignore it and looked over the dance 
floor, where thousands of sleek women shimmied up and 
down, glistening in green sequined dresses, next to men 
in shining silk suits softly seguing to the music, and 
all of this beneath a blazing green and red interchanging 
lights display, all of it almost blinding but intensely 
occupying for my eyes.  Miles and Spike took a booth, and 
I was long in joining them, for they sort of laughed at 
me and said the word "highass" and I said something sort 
of like "fuck yeah baby" and they laughed even more.  We 
got drinks, and listened to the band, which was a weird 
carnivorous eclectic blues, drawing us in like smoke to 
the face of a stoner, tugging on our souls like the knife 
of a surgeon under anaesthesia, sort of a resonating 
heart-mumbling type of thing.  Spike spotted a slight 
blonde and went to talk to her, bringing her back for 
drinks, and Miles (being not great looking but a very 
amiable guy with a knack for excellent smalltalk) 
returning with a woman from Ohio with brunette hair and 
an intriguing wide mouth, and I staring out into the mass 
of bodies and not wishing to be a drag excused myself 
readily to go suck on a drink and spent a few more 
minutes warming the bar, dragging on a Dos Equis, a beer 
made by miserable expatriate Germans in the heartland of 
Mexico.  Maybe that is what it takes to find something, 
isolation and misery, alienation and perseverance.
	Life sort of drifts by you when you're stoned, and 
the "sort of" is as necessary to the meaning of that 
phrase as the "drifts."  I can never exactly peg the 
feeling of being stoned when I'm not, and when I am, I 
never think to really define it, just to record it.  I am 
not the serious type when I am stoned, as much as Spike 
or Miles would be.  By "serious" I mean that they believe 
in leading functional lives while stoned, doing the 
mundane and the extraordinary while baked halfway to 
oblivion, and although sometimes I enjoy that, with the 
gritting life I lead as a film student, always under that 
"am I not good?" and "will I make it?" conundrum balanced 
against my own feelings of pure genius (ego-induced 
sustenance) and self-doubt and life-angst-weariness, my 
main purpose when stoned it to be stoned, to be 
driftlessly aimless, to observe and contemplate, to feel 
and resonate, but not to try to do anything but be 
stoned, but be useless.  This is my highest and best use 
when stoned anyway, because I'm not as hardcore as Spike 
and Miles and am usually pretty detectable.  It was 
somewhat wearing off.
	I didn't notice when the woman sat down next to me, 
nor when she ordered a drink, but sometime after her 
first sip I turned to catch a look at her (luckily as she 
looked away burrowing purse money for bar tab).  My eyes 
fortunately drifted away before she looked back, and I 
heard her speak, a mellifluous pleasant yet strong voice, 
like the chin of an ancient warrior teaching his 
children, and so my eyes drifted back to her.  Dark, dark 
brown hair, almost black, and brown eyes soft and bright 
without overly reflective lustre, giving her the look of 
someone attractive yet less suited to this antipensive 
plastic place than even I. Physically, she was admirable, 
although not a goddess, with a face that was beautiful in 
many lights, I supposed, but was uncertainly so now.  It 
felt like rain.  I was attracted, and there was tugging 
in my chest, which put into my mind the idea to inform 
Spike and Miles that I was leaving, to grab the bag and 
go, when I turned to spot them and caught her eyes 
immediately. Sudden shock, and all my mouth could form 
was "hi" and some kind of introductory apology, and even 
more sudden shock when I noticed her purse slung to her 
hip and her drink pushed ahead on the bar, as mine was.  
	She responded with her pleasant voice, and her purse 
relaxed, sliding resignedly down her back.  She picked up 
her drink, and quietly asked a few question, if I came 
here often, and I managed to acceptably interact with 
her, answering her questions, introducing myself more 
fully than name and mixed drink preference.  I was not 
out of shock for the night:  she mentioned she'd seen me 
leave the table over there, and suggested shyly we 
adjourn there, as maybe we could hear ourselves think? 
Laughter, glasses up into the air, and we over the waxed 
sliding floor back to the table.  On the way over I think 
I caught the eye of the guitarist, who must have winked, 
but I am not sure I saw it.
	Now the booth was closing in, etc, but I wasn't too 
afraid, but really curious and immensely out of reality, 
barely able to mix introductions.  Laughter flew like 
swallows above the heads of the band, who had increased 
their tremendous speed-blues attack to resound entirely 
through the hall, widening it and sending it shooting 
afar like thousands of electric sparks showering around 
the amazed human, catching him, spinning him, flinging 
him into the deep and probeless depths of space, sending 
him rising in those, or maybe falling, as with no 
direction given there can be no ascension or descent.  
Their guitarists played with their fingers singing along 
the cable, moving like fighting birds or maybe mating 
birds, sending out waves and sheets of flowing tones, 
covering out heads in still-glowing sparks, warm and 
cold, life in all.  Behind the drummer even crouched 
their vocalist, the feral life of dawn alive in his 
halfshut eyes, his mouth murmuring so many phrases like 

	our child we cradle
	ending our nights alone
	singing our blues so softly
	rising waking eyes, to-day morning
	unbroken bringing us the dew
	why not why not why not
	flowers spotted with our blood
	so much ocean for today
	here is this our love
	it dares the gods in their slumber
	not to kiss the eye of the sun
	vengeful spitting death retiring
	coral sea running to the sun
	on those dovewings we sail away
	watching as the day grows long
	our love is chancing, rising, limitless
	unquenchable and deep, and immortal
	like the depth of sinking night

	It was a lovesong that didn't make sense, gibberish 
to the wearied and fearful, and soon I returned to the 
table, hoping that I wasn't appearing to be too much the 
dreamy stoner.  I seemed to have held her interest, and 
the entire group talked for some time, until Miles had 
left with the attractive blonde whose blue-painted 
eyerims made her look much like a dove, but whose soft 
voice spoke a sad loneliness.  The women at the table 
thought they were going to an apartment somewhere to have 
sex, but Spike and I knew that Miles saw in her eyes 
pain, and would grow to be someone maybe days from now 
maybe years or months she would cry to, would be aided 
by, and would probably never have sex with except in her 
mind.  I could tell he wanted to end the reflection of a 
scar inside of his chest in her eyes, wanted to help.  
Miles knows too much of this world to be of it.
	The woman with Spike who called herself Simone 
excused herself somewhat after that, leaving Spike a 
phone number on a napkin, and a promise.  Spike grinned 
behind her back with the smile of the doubtful, but he 
tucked it into his wallet nonetheless, giving under his 
eyelids the querying look of possible departure to me, 
the unsaid male equivalent of should I leave you two in 
this carnival land?  carnival, or carnal, I wasn't sure 
which.  The woman with me caught the look and nailed 
Spike with a counter-request to stay, not in an 
unfriendly way but hurriedly, as if fearful of 
abandonment, or maybe of interest.  I didn't wish him to 
leave, and wasn't sure about the sex thing, or even the 
stay thing, and so my look was blank but amiable, which 
she checked before asking him to stay.  Somehow in her 
voice there was approval which told me she now feared me 
less, but in a way so much more.  I couldn't fathom it, 
so we spoke of trivial things, Spike talking to her about 
basketball, her sitting between me and him, I carrying on 
occasionally about making salsa, one of my favorite 
culinary adventures.  
	The band wailed on, increasing in tempo, as the 
darkest part of the night arrived.  I looked at my watch 
and realized we had talked until the hour before dawn, 
the hour of death, or the hour of life.  A single blast 
announced a drumstick slamming into rim: I heard blues 
merge into some form of deathly noise, and saw the band 
members grappling with demons on the stage, the steely 
green bodies of the demons grasping instruments with 
their claws and running the metallic nails down each 
string, sending out the harshest howls and screams heard 
ever by man.  A guitarist grasped his instrument back, 
clutching it like a precious child, and the demon 
extruded his protrusive face and spat a tempered tongue 
through the man's body, letting him slide off it howling 
blood out his throat in his agony.  An amplifier 
exploded, letting the stale sunlight of fire and insanity 
peak the stage. Smoke poured over demons' shoulders as 
they ripped the arms from the other guitarist, slashing 
him with claws until one finally fired a tongue through 
his skull, dropping him limply into the flames.  This is 
the void of your insanity growled a demon harshly 
delivering a potent backhand to the drummer's face, 
crushing a potentially handsome set of features and 
sending him through a wall.  Spike and the woman next to 
me wheeling, in the background of my eye, helpless in 
indecision, knocked out of their matrices of being able 
to deal with this by the shock, me slow-motion, focused 
on the scene erupting.  A serpentine woman in her green 
glowing dress at the front stared helplessly into the 
eyes of the first demon, who tore at her dress, slashing 
her skin, and leaving her blood on the burning stage, she 
screaming and him howling, the entire scene blurry as I 
heaved a cheap chair through the window behind us, 
leading first Spike and then my new acquaintance through 
the jagged hole.  Behind us, the club erupted into 
	In a small cafe, one of the few left in our city, we 
discussed the club's incineration abstractly.  The end 
result figuring left the police at as much of a loss as 
ourselves, but no desire to go back.  "I don't want to 
see that again, to see what's left," my companion said, 
shivering outwardly as I was inwardly.  Dawn rose above 
us, over her shoulders coming beautifully, and we talked 
a bit more before Spike introduced the concept of sleep, 
and suddenly I was tired and Spike was gone, and I didn't 
really know what to do, and we talked a bit more, I paid, 
and we left splitting to go to our locales.  I spent the 
trip home thinking of a word, and came up with nothing 
for her but delightful, or maybe fine, perhaps even 
exquisite, for the evening, feeling foolish for using 
formal and dated words, but so incapable of expressing it 
with something similarly vague.  She left an impression, 
that of being as in a hazy blue springsky day way, 
carelessly beautiful, and I was attracted to her, which 
frightened me as I fell asleep in a softborn morning, 
with thoughts of words spoken out of the mouths of the 
	Rising at noon the next day, I went down to the 
newsstand and bought a paper with no news in it.  Nothing 
had happened in the city but a tax increase, and it was 
all editorials, a few for it, a few more against it, but 
most indecisive, as was the style of journalistic 
decisiveness during that time.  I sat in another small 
cafe, drinking coffee as last night, pondering my next 
option, when something in sunglasses sat down next to me 
and there she was and I looking like hell.  A flowing 
deepsea blue wispy skirt and an aqua t-shirt of the hue 
of the Indian jewelry they sold near my house when I was 
a child.  "Good morning," I said, and she returned the 
thought, and said very politely that I looked like hell, 
and I said yes and how did she look so very un-hellish?  
I think that received a blush and she may have almost 
left, but instead she answered that she had just risen, 
and was walking by when she noticed someone looking a lot 
like me looking like hell and stopped in for a chat.  She 
ordered coffee, and I expressed my gratitude to 
unspecified powers that she had, as I hadn't remembered 
to get her number last night oh er sorry this morning, 
and she laughed and said I had her name, did I need a 
number? to which I blushed and concurred, shaking my head 
with a touch of the incredible feeling of similarity to a 
sunbaked brick after smoking mounds of dope the night 
	We talked for a while, and then she said she had to 
run on to work soon, but I caught the word soon and asked 
where she worked and she said well oh she worked as a 
writer of scripts for television and I asked more, and so 
she sort of relaxed and admitted she had no office 
schedule but was behind, and then asked what I did, and I 
said film student, which was true I explained although I 
was enrolled nowhere as film school was too far from 
reality to even think of art and I expected a bad 
feedback but her nod didn't look like a yeahsure nod, but 
something too far entrenched in her belief in the same 
not to expect it from me.  She said something about me 
not looking like a film student and a beret, which we 
both laughed, and then she mentioned a question that I 
liked beer (she'd noticed that I had picked a Dos Equis 
the night before, asking the bartender especially if any 
was handy) and invited me up for one. Delightedly I 
	Work was a typewriter crouched like a faithful dog 
on the dining table next to her kitchen, amidst piles of 
paper, and she suggested we move out of her dark and 
sharply square apartment to the balcony, which caught so 
much sun, and although bright on my eyes was so much 
nicer, with all of our skin and eyes shining in the 
light.  I asked why she didn't bring her typewriter out 
to work, and she said she couldn't when working on real 
work, but I noticed on the small glass table the marks 
left by the rubber feet on the bottom of it, and almost 
said something but realized the importance of not 
stabbing into the guarded portions of someone's life.  We 
had beers, beautiful Simpatico pouring like cold molten 
gold into long thin glasses, and talked some more, making 
some jokes about coming home, and trying to find some 
excuse for ourselves for being out so fashionably late, 
acting like college kids.  Many jokes in that, and we 
were drinking quite a bit of her beer, and I asked if she 
was really going to work and she denied it, said no, so I 
suggested we find a place for lunch and she laughed 
saying dinner is more like it, and so I said hold and 
I'll be back and went out noticing I had a good buzz not 
just from alcohol in the hall, and went back home to get 
money, a shower, and some new clothes, and then hit some 
small markets for good beer and the careful preparations 
for a chicken barbecue, having noticed the paucity of 
edibles in her refrigerator, which reminded me of mine 
when I actually worked, which made me feel somewhat 
shallow.  I also remembered three lost cheap plastic 
beads, huddling around the edge of her glass table, which 
reminded me of something in the mouths of the past.
	She was still on the porch when I returned, a good 
forty minutes gone by, and seemed almost surprised to see 
me, but only surprised at that moment, as if knowing she 
would see me again. I carefully mixed mustards and sauces 
and produced chicken in a pan of hers (unused, part of a 
set lost or broken) and we had more beers, she admiring 
my taste (I had guessed a stretch and chosen Warsteiner) 
and I admiring her movements which seemed to stretch out 
of her as a center of energy into the world around her, 
adding energy to it and thus creating more, defying all 
of conventional science.  We ate with the setting sun, 
and made jokes about nocturnalism.
	The night slipped over the daytime earth's orb 
quickly, finding us casually engaging in light romantic 
gestures on the couch until we awakened to head out, and 
she said something about that Spike guy, and so I sort of 
called him, not really wanting to but feeling the 
pressure of her eyes on me to screw up, wondering if he 
was competition or protection.  We all showed up at a pub 
hidden behind a large laundry, one of our favorite 
habitats for us impecunians, and found a table made from 
the hood of an Edsel, suspended in glass and bolted to a 
base made from the engine block.  Spike and the Marquis 
had showed up, each with a female companion, Spike's 
being a somewhat traditional dreamy film student type, 
and the Marquis bringing a woman with wild red hair like 
a lash, who spoke fervently about the difference between 
greens in nature, and the power and beauty of each with 
its moods.  I was on the end, my companion next to me, 
and Spike beyond that, which worried me as he would lean 
over to her and speak in half-whispers, often them both 
laughing and then sort of smiling at me, which then led 
me to get up from the table presumably to visit the head 
but she intercepted me some time later as I was standing 
by the phone and asked me what's wrong? i said nothing, 
literally, and she apologized but more explained, just 
joking, but then said it would not happen more and gave 
me a sweet and deep kiss which I returned, and then she 
vanished, and Spike was over in a little while, and said 
look man i know what's up, would i do that?  no (both of 
us), a smile understanding, just goofing around.  
	Spike called a friend of ours named Ernest, who was 
an old stoner, who possessed a bong (water-pipe) made 
from a Ming Vase an employer had left to him, him wishing 
wondering what it was, bored, tired of life, made it into 
a bong.  When told of its value (about six grand i am 
told) Ernest swore, and said that he had thought love was 
greater than money when he made it, but now wished for 
money.  I spoke to him after Spike and Ernest howled out 
in much the same voice, "I'm not sure anymore now.  I 
don't know what love is worth, and I'm pretty sure money 
is convenience, or at least dope, translated.  I do know 
I value my friends -- my men friends -- as they are the 
only thing I can hold onto like a saddlehorn, and ride 
out the times when they sling me up and down."  I 
sorrowfully excused myself from the night's festivities 
at Ernest's, and asked Spike to give him some of the 
Malachi's homegrown.  The Malachi is an astronomer, who, 
when his observatory ran out of cash, chased everyone out 
and used the giant telescope (modified) to focus 
starlight on his plants, producing some beautiful 
("cosmic" was the joke) green bud that you could smoke 
for hours and not pass out, but be so high that your 
highness translated everything with precision into 
beauty, and truth, and the lack of the search thereof.  
	Our table being somewhat far off from the main, and 
in a darkened corner, someone produced a rolling paper 
and someone else some fluffy green bud, and soon we had a 
monster three-paper jay floating around the table, smoke 
rising like a wedding dress from the gleaming block.  She 
smoked with us, cautiously but obviously enjoying it, 
sort of drifting among us, laying her head on my 
shoulder.  "Red rain..." drifted by on the stereo, past 
the swerving laughter of our companions.  Beers went 
around many times, and some food arrived, and we all 
spoke and laughed and had some trouble coughing up the 
cash for the bill before we left, dispersing like a 
shattered bottle upon hitting the curb.
	She and I ended up together, which we sort of knew 
would happen, and wondered where to wander next, it being 
relatively early versus our last night, only three a.m.  
I was desperately looking for an excuse not to go by my 
domicile, as it was in its customary condition -- my 
fridge hung open, shot nights before by the retired 
federal agent down the hall who had run into my room 
fired seven wild .45 rounds into the kitchen before 
collapsing under the collective weight of two bottles of 
tequila, after which I let him spend the night, and there 
being a broken window and most of a Ford Pinto on the 
floor, me being "holding" the parts for a friend until 
all suspicion was clear, and mainly, there being massive 
fingers of watermark stain dripping down from the 
ceiling, leaving the walls looking like slices from a 
cave, and the broken lights and dense moisture leaving 
little doubt that one was in a cave, and sofa literally 
burned in half by Amon and I some months ago when stoned 
so much we passed out leaving the burning cherry to 
neatly gut it until the smoke became so thick we awoke to 
put it out with our stale beer, only later realizing that 
it made the apartment unlivable -- but she intercepted 
that with the suggestion that we return to her apartment.  
I accepted.
	Incredibly dark within her apartment, me reaching 
for the switch but my hand stopped simultaneously with my 
lips opening, us intertwined and then falling for the 
couch.  Both begging for what must happen and the 
softness yet ferocity of it surprising both.  It started 
with a kiss exceeding the cool depths of ocean, moving us 
backward with the gentle touch of a wave, then the 
unfrantic hurried removal of clothing, somewhat graceful 
like falling in the moonlight.  I took a nipple into my 
mouth and massaged it with my tongue, then running the 
warm wet tip up to her soft parted lips, black in the 
darkness, but red with warmth and energy, grasping mine 
like the hands of an old friend, and tongues tackling and 
tangling as we joined in ecstatic motion. After her 
pleasure peak and sighfallen exhaustion, she joined me 
once again in the agony of excessive sensual joy as I 
came, holding me and caressing my ears and soul with 
whispers and moans, not of the pornographic cartoon type 
but the true satisfied yearning, like our ferocious deep 
kisses.   An hour's light sleep left us up, in the mood 
of frankness such a thing does to two interested human 
	We talk more, and I tell her I have no parents, that 
my first father was gone and I was a bastard, and that 
the grandparents and uncles and public institutions that 
raised me didn't care until I did what they all expected 
(I fucked up: busted, Jan 22, 19-something, carrying an 
ounce of best Zoroastrian bud, but she didn't mind, said 
something about stupidity of drug laws quietly so not to 
stop me) and then they released me and I could go to film 
school and drop out and make odd abstract movies, 
although right now I was between films. Jokes about art 
films around.  I got up to go to the bathroom, bent back 
down to give her a kiss, and then went into the white and 
clean can.  As I was pissing I looked down at my penis, 
quietly hiding softly in my hand, and realized that 
although the sex had been really very nice I hadn't 
wanted it so much as to need it, and that we both didn't 
need it at all.  I saw some of that in her eyes when I 
returned, but not the entirety, which sort of scared me.
	I got the impression that she had been very still 
while I had been gone because her left hand had only 
moved slightly, to pull up the sheet and tuck her hair 
back behind a small soft ear. She pulled the sheets aside 
for me, and I pulled myself in and kissed her once, 
softly, and she was sad seemingly and so I pulled her 
over and asked and she said something about parents, and 
I said I'm sorry if I hit a nerveness and she said, no, 
but that she had had a father once, and he had been a 
drunken bastard, and that he had thrown her and her 
mother out, and that she knew her father, and was sorry 
she did.  I said I was sorry and she said it wasn't my 
fault, and that it didn't matter much, myself 
interrupting with a query about the nature of her crying 
and she saying no no that's not it, it's just me being 
emotional trying to laugh it off.  It was like joking 
about art films.  I smoothed down her hair, trailing it 
down her smooth back and running my hands around her 
shoulders like a sculptor, willing her and moving her 
into gentle sleep, which she lapsed into after maybe a 
half hour and slept with her hand and wrist in mine until 
she stirred into a small ball an hour almost later.  I 
slid blankets down my legs and went out onto the balcony, 
pulling a towel over me, smoking the joint I'd left in my 
wallet for this purpose.  It's always a good idea to have 
one when you want to think.  I stared out at the night, a 
swimmingly shimmering night, all stars flying high over 
shifting clouds, reminding me of the way someone's eyes 
suddenly snap open to find you looking at them.  Miles 
had once said how reflective the night is, but I couldn't 
find it.  There was no resolution to that night, except 
that the depth of it must be beyond measure.  I could 
almost feel the heaviness of the clouds, and fearing 
their birthright would soon come.
	Back inside I found her still asleep, so I left a 
note and went home.  A note tacked on the door reminded 
that I hadn't seen Spike in some time, and mentioned 
something about some fine Thracian bud he'd inherited 
from a friend going to jail for a smuggling offense.  A 
friend of mine had once compared jail to marriage, saying 
that both reduced all of your outward options, leaving 
you only the ability to lash out or to take within, 
making you either an angry young man or a bitter old one.  
I never understood either -- it was like having a child, 
being married.  No matter what, eventually you'd fight.  
No matter how long, eventually the child or lover or 
whatever would age and die, and you'd have to watch, 
unless you were dead first.  Or unless the relationship 
died on its feet and you didn't mind watching the other 
die.  And even as the head emerged in birth, how could 
you tell it would love you, and even more frightening, 
that you would love it?  
	In high school, my best friend Tony and I double-
dated two sisters, who if they weren't twins were very 
close to it.  We split up after dinner, and Linda and I 
ended up at a secluded outdoor location talking, necking, 
and almost making out. Halfway through it I realized that 
Linda and I were probably equally inexperienced, and 
neither really interested in each other but in the 
incident, and when I asked her if this was true, she 
replied with the look of the glumly bored that it was, 
and so I walked her back to my house, where she borrowed 
some clothes and we played an exhilarating game of one-
on-one, mainly because she was an all-star teen athlete, 
with a future and desires for children and office jobs, 
and I was a stoner with hopes for making odd films and at 
best dying alone as the first light of public scrutiny 
hit my work.  When we returned for her sister and Tony, 
he was gone and she was in copious tears, having made out 
with him, assumed there was some real interest and not 
just inexperience, and then hit the root nerve of 
desperation when she learned somehow that he had done the 
same, neither knowing or sure, but both hoping too much 
to make sense.  There was much screaming, and the sister 
wanted to see neither of us again, so I took them both 
home and left Linda with a "please call me" but never 
heard from her again.  I then went back and spent twenty 
minutes calling Tony's name to bushes, before I found 
that he had vanished into a nearby phone both to observe, 
and there had fallen into a troubled sleep.  From then on 
in high school I had given up pretty much on the romantic 
process, sticking to sex as a commodity when I could get 
it, and dope or beers when I could not.  There was one 
exception, but that is history too vital to relate here.
	Falling asleep, I thought I dreamed of her, 
silhouetted and then swimming with me through the night.  
It was a dream where nothing was real, at least in the 
sense that nothing stayed the same for more than a few 
seconds.  A doorknob twisted as a pretty silver-pink 
little snake around my hand, and then bit savagely into 
the pinker flesh.  She cried out, beautiful in the 
moonlight, and I saw it was not my hand, but then it was 
my hand that had been bitten, but she was feeling the 
pain.  And then she was bandaging it, and telling me it 
was just because she had never felt pain before, and was 
curious to see what it was like. But I saw in her eyes 
that that was not true.  I awoke to the feeling that I 
had never slept, and made a large cup of coffee to get me 
moving.  I felt motion, the kind of motion that breeds on 
motion and motivates, a continual going, something 
unknown to me for weeks.  I called a few people whom I 
knew I needed to recruit for my next film, something I 
was planning about the nature of power, and how it is so 
much like sculpting from gold (props were going to be a 
problem), and then called her up, and the phone rang on 
for a while but noone answered and no answering machine 
snatched the line from the grasp of faltering hope, so I 
hung up. I went into the kitchen and opened the 
refrigerator, but a four-foot green mamba snake encircled 
my last beer, leaving me to slam the door and head back 
to the other room to pick up the phone.  I grabbed it:  
six pauses before a drumbeat and her voice floated onto 
the line, like vibrating water as the ripples drift out 
from a penny thrown in, for luck, for remembrance, for 
hope.  "I thought you'd called," she said, sounding 
younger but more isolated than I'd ever heard her before.  
"I did," I said hesitantly, which I think she heard in my 
voice because she quickly embarked on an explanation, 
talking about showers and doors and everything else, but 
I saw in my mind a silverpink snake wrapping around a 
phone handset, frustrated at being unable to get inside.  
Halfway through, she cut off with an inhalation like one 
about to cry, and then asked straightforward with the 
force of an army if I wanted to do dinner.  I was in 
accord, she named the place, and the phone went down 
without either of us listening to say if the other said 
goodbye, except that I may have lingered softly singing 
out my customary "take care," an epitaph to many an 
illstarred conversation.
	I had some hours to kill until eight in the evening, 
so I showered and wrote out a basic outline of a script, 
the kind that is all full of notations like "that 
character meets that other character (the one with the 
mohawk) and goes to the special bar mentioned before, 
where they fall in love" and really means nothing other 
than a desperation to get to work but a lack of materials 
or thoughtpath, the direction shooting uncontrollably 
into the air.  This left me with about two hours left, so 
I showered again, and thought of her as I had been doing 
all day, leaving my unable to work, and called again, but 
got nothing but more ringing.  This time I couldn't feel 
if she was there, listening, hoping, fearing.  It was as 
if the silverpink snake had let me go, allowing me to 
drift in the listless night.
	Six flags sagged limp against giant swordlike poles 
daring the sky to revenge as I left the front door, 
starting out into the relentless heat.  The night was 
beginning, so full of potential, and I was retreating for 
some sense of backup.  I crossed the forehead-like sidewalk
with a quick gait, but stopped for some reason, driven back
by the heat, or maybe a dream, and turned back toward my
door.  The sight of a tiny glassine lizard, red eyes like
jewels under water, twitching his brazenly sharp tail three
times before quickly disappearing into a bush by the door.  I
could feel his tiny red needle-eyes on my back as I retreated
toward my objective.  Insecurity shook my shoulders and
weakened my ankles.
	Reassurance came willingly with a stoner shaman like
Spike at hand; we loaded his custom-made bong crafted 
from eighteen inches of marble, and smoked out a bonghit 
to level the gods.  The gods of night, and the gods of 
day, all in retirement, with the sky smudged as it often 
is in the indecisive period before the skin of the sky 
slits and the water falls, the troubled instant silence 
before a death or a tempest.  The door opened with an 
afterthought knock, and Ernest stood before us.  
Something was wrong, Ernest's eyes told us, but he 
wouldn't tell us and so us all stoned and unknowing and 
helpful gave him a bonghit, which must have been the last 
thing he needed.  Ernest collapsed onto his knees, and 
the breath of alcohol soaked in smoke covered our faces 
like raindance masks.  Vomit spurted from his mouth, 
filtered by teeth, and Spike and I dragged him through 
vomit like his own blood to the bathroom, where we 
learned in some sadness that his youngest Amelia had 
fallen to the mischance of a bus, misguided in confusion 
at the end of a Friday, its front bumper killing her 
instantly on her sixteen-dollar secondhand trike.  Ernest 
had done what we all do; crying is like an accumulation, 
a certain number of things that on every level of your 
life build up until nothing can resolve them, and then 
the sky explodes throughout your eyes and sadness takes 
over until you are made ill with it, and then it recedes, 
and you retreat back into the world, a little unsure but 
hopefully somewhat purged, as nature sculpted you, to go 
on, with all of the functional choices of a paramecium or 
earthworm, surviving for the sake of itself.  This was 
the last great tragedy Ernest could take for a while, but 
he would not cry, and so he left his weeping wife and 
drank a bottle or two of red whisky and halfway through 
his last drink looked down and saw it was all blood, and 
ran to the only place ("good friends they will keep you") 
he knew was safety, and we were the only gods there.
	Spike and I sat Ernest down, gave him water and more 
smoke (this stops the puking, it keeps it all down, which 
at this point was okay because the toilet was red as 
blood, within it small demons swimming, their cackling 
calling of laughter annoying and frustrating in anger and 
pain, and so I flushed them down deep to the sewers, but 
here they resided, as their echoing calls came up through 
the pipework and into our souls) and let him cry, and 
when he cried himself to sleep and looked safe I pulled 
an old blanket from camp (back when home was home and 
things were simpler but much more oppressive, when camp 
in its myriad fears was so much a release) over him and 
hurried to her apartment. Noone answered to my ring, so I 
went to a side window from the hall, where I could see 
her on the balcony, a single fragile wineglass held by 
the stem.  I called her name and she set it down, 
unshaking when I expected a collapse, her stern strength forcing me
into retreat in the hall, but I called again, and she 
turned away, gesturing with a finality words couldn't 
say.  Finally, she went inside and closed the door, and I 
knew as I battered the door that the lights were going 
out, the sobs receding, and that I would probably not see 
her again, as a silvery snake was guarding her lonely 
phone.  A manager of the building came up and told me 
that I couldn't carry on like that no more, sorry buddy 
can't let you disturb the clients, and I walked past 
eighty doors with old ladies in white hair each head 
retreating as my footsteps came near but each set of eyes 
still catching my hurt and delighting in mercy that I was 
not them.  
	I walked down in the warm night, the cicadas and the 
traffic building a wall around me without me, feeling the 
immense potential even beyond the immediate weighting 
sadness which pulled me down.  I wandered into a 
playground and sat down, on the nearest object which I 
could find, a child's merry-go-round, the kind I would 
ride when younger, with noone else to push it having to 
run and run and run holding the handholds and then jump 
on at the last minute and spin, spin, singing in the wind 
until dizziness knocked me into the center, and I would 
look up into the vibrant sky away from the sun and the 
entire world around me flashing, converging, but 
unthreatening.  I sat there afraid to cry and in the 
summer darkness some children came by, and I was aware of 
them by their laughter and then by their work; they 
pushed me around until it was too fast, and as the world 
spun upon me I crushed my eyes in tears, and woke up 
running quickly out of the rain of their laughter.  
	Spike's place with dried eyes, Ernest in the next 
room, Miles, Amon, Michel, Susan, and Mel clustered 
around a large bong, a huge head of plastic over the 
bowl.  In it glowed homegrown, Spike and my best, and 
congratulations flowed from the rest.  I asked Spike 
where's Ernest he pointed away; I found him all peaceful, 
asleep and safe.  Ernest is a warrior.  I talked for a 
few minutes to his sleeping face, then left that 
disturbed pleasant countenance to go with my friends.  At 
this point most couldn't speak, this being killer kind 
bud that Spike and I had perfected from the beginnings of 
our smoking, cross-breeding to achieve the heaviest 
impact of any kind bud ever created.  We didn't know the 
THC levels, and joked that they couldn't be measured.  
This was our choicest stuff, like the sacrifice for some 
prodigal son come home, smoked in Spike's newest 
instrument of obliteration. 
	People chanting for me to take a big hit I inhaled, 
and sucked down a world or two of lifetimes, and fell 
back immediately hearing the background voices that's so 
big a hit oh he will be so stoned so stoned, and then I 
felt empty and hollow the way a cheap car drives, and 
lightheaded and sat down, and I was so stoned I couldn't 
think, but beyond even thinking there was knowing, and I 
wondered why I'd taken the bong hit, since I was still 
here, so stoned I couldn't remember that I was stoned, 
and sort of knew that I hadn't stepped out and gotten 
stoned at all, but was just here living as if 
uninterrupted.  I took another, got a beer, sat down and 
stared out the window, which I'm sure produced giggles 
but soon those subsided as the killer bud took over and 
everyone found themselves too stoned to realize or to 
relate but too stoned to be anywhere but here in this 
world, watching it flow like the world beyond a merry-go-
round, watching it much as a goldfish must perceive the 
outside of the bowl.  
	I left after a while, and went back to her 
apartment, but I couldn't knock, almost feeling her 
breathing, but not feeling her mind.  Then I started; I 
couldn't even feel the breathing, and she was probably 
out at a club.  Borrowing some paper from the desk I left 
a note, the night clerk not being the same ejector who 
had removed me before.  I called from a payphone on a 
desperate whim, but an answering machine came on with a 
voice that wasn't hers, saying hell-o leave a message and 
i will be seeing you, and i left in my best choked voice 
an explanation, but halfway through realized what i'd 
seen in her eyes and just hung up, with an oh shit from 
the desperation of lips abandoned hanging on the tape 
before the crash.
	She probably knew it was an excusable thing, and she 
probably wanted it to continue, but it was the same 
inexcusable fear that I had felt in the bar, in her 
apartment, on my own; what made me leave a note and not 
spend the night, what made me forget her number and have 
to look again at the wrinkled paper in my wallet with her 
slender script streaming across it.  Whatever the case, I 
could almost feel her pulling out of me like a knife out 
of a wound, although she had been the balm, and the wound 
was only now created.
	I went back to Spike's and the party was winding 
down, people abandoning cups and beers and going to sofas 
and talking and smoke pouring out windows and given a 
chance I took another hit and Spike smiled and patted me 
on the back going by like a movie screen image, not 
something to smile at but just to observe.  Out on the 
porch I stared into the sky, an unusually bright night, 
and unusually cold.  Breezes of the coming winter mutedly 
flickered through leaves, and below me the horns of the 
cars and the traffic noise were tugged into the faraway.  
All I could see was the clarity of stars, observers of 
millennia I couldn't even count aloud in my lifetime, and 
I realized this was abandonment, being left to the 
realization that the night is your soul, and that out 
there in the soul sometimes it is so lonely and cold and 
yet so beautiful that you figure the misery is part of 
the beauty, and maybe thus is art, and the last sad joke 
of the evening "maybe I should make a film about this" 
hangs in the air.  I sat.  Staring into the unfathomable 
night once again, I realized she was out there somewhere 
under it, running, never to get the explanation, demons 
from the past following her with the horrible ringback 
echo of their clicking nails on concrete (throwing up 
sparks) singing her ears in terror.  And somewhere 
tomorrow she would be all run out, and would return back 
into a life under a dawn with shadows rising in the 
brutal raw pinkness of soulsides exposed.  Left on the 
balcony I realized the perfection of it all, and 
unleashed my mouth into a tourniquet burst, sending the 
scream of the denied echoing up to the dispassionate 
moon.  In the silence only one thought fell:  "How 
beautiful this night like any other night is, and how it 
wells up with freedom.  How beautiful this night is, and 
how free..."
	She of course left the apartment shortly before 
midnight to spend the night with a girlfriend, who told 
her all about men and the horrors of them, and the next 
day she rented a cheap motel at the beach and wrote a 
brief outline for a screenplay, made a few calls and 
talked of the flu, promised more detail and began jotting 
down notes before the phone was cold.  There was no 
movement, so she rented a car and drove even farther 
away, rented a cheaper hotel, and wrote more on her 
typewriter, that astounding beast.  Halfway through her 
last day there she found it completed, and to celebrate 
her ecstatic state of accomplishment bought a chilled 
bottle of champagne, and without thinking once she was in 
the door put in the refrigerator and forgot about it.  
Two days later she was apartment shopping.
	Being intelligent and sensible, she wrote many good 
screenplays, and soon had an LA house, and children and 
many contracts.  Somewhere in the eastern part of a 
forgotten city, a merry-go-round swung with its handholds 
removed, part of a demolition crew's best efforts before 
the new week's construction.
	I took a cigarette on the porch of Spike's sagging 
apartment during the second night of my residence, 
staring out into the inscrutable darkness and watching 
the lights smear by, and then drop from my eyes, only to 
reappear.  The city with all of its multitude of cars and 
machines and people hung silent but not stagnant, as if 
just paused, and then the sky broke, and a tremendous 
heaving downpour blasted across the ground, above it 
lightning crossing in dread warnings.  I felt my heart 
heave, and reached out a hand past the wrought-iron 
barrier of Spike's balcony to catch some rain.  When it 
returned, there was ruby blood in the cupped fingers.
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