the two competitors fade politely just long enough for me to hear "we're the survivors, the black survivors."
"go in the fire but you never get burned."
there is a part of me that remembers flying through a grocery store in a red polo shirt and a black apron stuffed with a hardcover copy of fear and loathing in las vegabeing used as a photo album and jammed with a minidisc recorder as for the first time in life i woul;d come to know the lyrics of bob marley through the single earbud i would wear during the later hours of our shift.
that was a long time ago, at least three lifetimes before today.
i went to chico on saturday for a "hemp day."
the capitol wellness colective staff was talking about how this redhead guy (he loves being a redhead, whiny) was to head out for the jack herer book signing day in chico to setup a table, by himself. my help was offered, and after some debate between ten and twelve it was decided that high noon was to be our departure time.
when i arrived on saturday we must have hung around burning fatties for at least ninety minutes before we left. we arrived for the last hour of the event, just long enough to find the wolfe.
"feel it in the juan drop" "and if you go, no one may follow"
"we got something they can never take away. it's the fire."
"no water can put out this fire."
"panic in the city wicked weeping for their gold."
chico was the first day i really began to understand what eddy said to me about hempfest.
i asked him what he expected me to do for the ministry at the event, and despite all the discussion of freedom flour wafersb and going underwater, he says simply "you'll be attracting young pussy."
that was before eddy started calling me "baby boy," one of those petnames he uses for folks who seem to fill certain roles without making much of an attempt to become part of the family, from what i have seen.
i'm part of the family now.
chico was also the first day that i began to feel seriously behind the scenes.
a man rolls a joint with a king size paper, i'm wearing 100% hemp so there are no questions about who i am and what i am chasing.
he mentions that it's 9-1-1, and i know him.
he also mentions that the other is tripe-ex, and he grows sweettooth#5.
i think eddy was in asterdam when jack showed up with four bags of AA G.R.A.S.S. of the same names. when the redhead makes his way to us and asks if this man is a good grower i explain without hesitation that he is among the best i have ever met. the man with the 9-1-1 was no stranger to the owner of the capitol wellness collective, and when i would explain to her that doug sends his love she would explain that she remembers no doug.
"doug grows 9-1-1- and triple-ex."
"oh. yes. doug."
i mention that i'm looking for the peop[le who brought jack to chico. they weren't from the upper lake crowd, but they were "fellow reverends" of the ministry.
there was a manic woman with posters of her posing with jack and in front of a closet setup. she claimed to have brought jack to us. this woman had no idea who i was. terraspin.
she got to know jack through hanging out at eddy's when eddy was still in jail. the purple G.R.A.S.s. she grew was below OG standards.
after i felt as if i had a pretty good idea of who was in charge and what was being brought before us i made my way into the bookstore to check in with jack. it was 1611 and we were going to want him outside with us as much as he needed to be. after finishing up the last two requests we packed up the table and began to leave when an employee of thw bookstore asks to have two coloring books done. he draws a cartoon face of himself, these take between ten and twenty minutes each. i stand with him as he works these out, hiding the cigarette-sized spliff i brought under whatever was availible.
when we finally made it accross the street and with a chair for jack i lit the spliff with a raylight crystal, i was out of practice and it took long enough for one or two people to notice.
a nice girl with a short mohawk said something from a blindspot and i chose to ignore her. after i passed the joint to the circle i grabbed a bag of G.R.A.S.S. from the redhead.
at this time i noticed a joint at least as thick as a nickle being passed on by a man with one arm. i didn't understand the significance of this until later on that evening.
i found the mohawk girl by the maniac terraspin table. terraspin said she signed off two posters to me, i failed to grab them.
the mohawk girl, kelly, asks if everything i am wearing is hemp, i reply in affirmation and she blurts out "there should be more people like you!"
i showed her how to focus the raylight crystal. i noticed the scars on her left wrist as she held the lens up to the ra, carpeted. she was in an incredibly cheery mood, it was the GR.A.S.S
we burned two or three bowls as members of her "family" would approach to take two or three hits and wonder back off. they were from somewhere "north" of chico.
it didn't make sense to be sharing godsend GR.A.S.S with someone from the north who had been deprived of sacrament, but things were strange that day.
much of the world had been turned upside down. i was wearing andrea's ring on my left hand, now replaced by the rose crest and stowed away on my lanyard.
i felt bad about leaving the redhead alone with table and made my way back to him after having medicated kelly to the edge of theraputic width. the redhead warned me that he was worried about losing some of our paperweights to the crowd. i sent him inside the bookstore to get a copy of emperor for jack to sign. this table was wear we had set jack up for the ccircle, and was no a bad place to be in proximity of the fatty rolling one armed man and doug the 9-1-1 hero.
as things wind down there is talk of a party near chico. as jack left the redhead suggested that i ride along with them, a little late..
he was headed back to his daughter in sacramento, and i was on a mission. i had seen an amtrak station on the drive in, i knew i wasn't too far from being on the way back no matter where i was.
i grabbed the note with the address from my driver and took my other bag out of his car. he said "you have no idea how you're going to get home, do you?"
i acknowledged this. explaining that if jack was going home i could get a ride to upper lake, and if i can get to upper lake i'll be at eddy's and i will be safe.
he sent me off with the rest of our gram of "super cross" and i made my way back to the one armed man to arrange a ride.
i gave the instructions to kelly's family not expecting to see them follow along, the one armed man told the skater crowd of boys to meet him at his house before heading out to the rest of the evening.
this one armed man is mike from that point on.
the passenger side of his car only opened from the outside. a two seatier with spider webs where i might have stretched my legs forward.
we made it to his property without using any freeways. there was a house, but he lived in a temporary building placed in the backyard. he talked about how he grows giant plants. i mentioned that i was from eddy's and he said that he thought i looked familar.
linda and erica said that i've been photographed as much as either of them, it made sense that he had seen me somewhere.
at the top of his room was an old poster from eddy's, the same one i had seen at the berkeley patient's group.
he mentioned that he believes in doing things differently than eddy does, somethign i've heard many times from many personalities.
eventually i begin to understand that this is the man from eddy's story about his trimming staff. this was the man who disappeared from the ministry for two long and reappeared minus one arm. he worked past the point of exhaustion, as the story goes, eddy approached his wife about asking mike to slow dow. eddy explains that mike's wife is a lady, and when she told eddy to go fuck himself he was quite off guard.
the woman explained that was the only time mike ever got out, and to tell him to slow down would seem insane.
this might have been the first real glimpse eddy had of the effect that medical cannabis has had with the disabled isolated community.
i've heard audre rtalk of folks who lived decades indoor by themselves before finding the communities of oaksterdam and san francisco compassion. i know that story from experience.
chico was the first day i began to understand what eddy said about hempfest.
it was also the first day that i began to see thefield from a bqackstage perspective.
when i was in san francisco for their million marijuana march i was recognized by folks who had met me ithrough the dispensary communities. this was nothing new.
chico was much different.
the entire thing was like a strange dream. nothing about it felt real, i had never been to chico before but it was full of people i know.
people i had heard of isd the strangest thingto come accross.
once in a while there will be a cat who says something like "you're hyperseth" and it's kind of chilling, , i'm finding the big world to be much smaller than the internaet.
i sense the dynamic of these stories changing.
i see that more and more i will be meeting the reputation of long before ever imagining that i would be meeting them. by the time i'm twenty-five i'll be one of the old guys., someone who everyone knows how to approach.
it's pretend out there. everyone knows exactly why everyone else is present, and no one knows anyone.
i managed to get over a week's worth of ghanjah that day. this time of year the trick-or-treating is good, events local almost every weekend.
beyond the handful of G.R.A.S.S given to me by mike there were two of my king size spliffs left on the counter by doug. i've been using the ghanjah from those two joints in my pipe for five days now.
the choclates i bagged up from his collection were also of top quality.
it's good to have family.