Excerpt from the great american novel

Zen and the art of Culinary Maintenance
by JT Hilltop
We all had our demons. But sometimes I felt as though I had a lion’s share of destructive self abuses. It’s not like I grew up in a dangerous town or a bad situation. Centerlawn was a sprawling, suburban paradise beach community. It was once my father’s summer retreat from the perils of his Brooklyn childhood. A sleepy Long Island town of great cultural diversity. Irish, Italian, Jewish, German, and various Latin ethnicities flocked to the small north shore town, to escape the growing fears of living in the tough neighborhoods of New York City, The Bronx, and Brooklyn. It was an innocent and pioneer like community of urban sooners and boomers. They formed close nit and diverse neighborhoods where families looked out for each other. Too close for my comfort because it made it very difficult to get away with anything. Who saw whose son smoking a cigarette, or sister with a boy much too old for her. You couldn’t flirt with the next door neighbors daughter without the entire block asking your intentions. It was always a bad situation if my Mom said, “where have you been?” Do I run the risk of telling a lie and hope no one saw me, or fess up with the strong possibility that my nosey neighbor told Mom she saw me at the mall? If only these were the tough decisions, then I may have lived a mundane life, gotten a good job, settled down, raised a family. The American dream was right in front of me like a brass ring and all I had to do was reach out and grab it. But alongside that brass ring, was a tempting seductive lure far more dangerous than any forbidden fruit.
It was a world filled with money, drugs, crime, and the promise of sex in exchange for just a piece of your soul. If you put up your innocence as a down payment you were promised thrilling high speed ride with many twists and turns. It wasn’t hard for Ken and I to choose to take that ride. Adventure was in our blood and it thrived and tickled our adrenal glands, especially when we were high. Ah yes, getting high. More than just a kick or a pastime, we had turned it into an art form. Bongs, water pipes, chamber pipes, and assorted “drug paraphernalia” at the tips of our fingers. We could get rolling papers right up the road at the stationery store, or hitchhike into the village and go to a head shop for an assortment of pipes and rolling machines. We had special names for our smokes, Panamanian Red, Acapulco Gold, Green weed, Skunk weed, wheelchair weed, and on and on. One friend even had a six foot bamboo two person pipe that filled the whole length with a one hit shot that could challenge the lungs of a fucking elephant. That was my favorite, but it didn’t come out that often. What the hell, I guess I would have had an impossible time sneaking something like that out of my room. But Patricks parents were pretty naïve and he got away with all kinds of shit. Me and Ken had to be careful, our parents were stricter than most. That’s why this hiding from the cops is so much more alluring. If the pigs catch us we will be in all kinds of shit.

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