A Goat By Any Other Name (by Ian Hilltop)

GD

A Tale by J.T. Hilltop’s Son

Growing up in the 90’s was quite a challenge. I mean the generation before had it so easy, Rock concerts every weekend, smoking weed wherever they wanted, and the only threat they got from their parents was a haircut. I’ve been told by my old man that my Grandpa used to chase him around with scissors. I mean shit dude, I can’t get away with half the shit my Pops did. He told me he used to roll joints during study hall but I can’t even carry rolling papers anywhere near school. Which brings me to my first brush with the law and the night my Dad had to come pick me up at the police station. Funny thing is my old man looks more like a criminal than I do. Oh sure my pink Mohawk looked rad and bad and all but my Dad used to be a biker outlaw. Well maybe not an outlaw biker exactly but he was a hippie tree hugging Harley owner and he still looks the same, just like a fossilized version. He’s still got a ponytail but not much on the top so he covers it with a bandana and he’s an ultra liberal peacenik. My step Mom on the other hand is not quite so liberal. Dad calls her his counter-balance, like he brought them close to the edge and she kept them both from falling over it. So I’m glad the cops called him first and not my step Mom. That night my rebel Dad came to pick me up from the cop station in a beat up VW. I had the distinct feeling he was no stranger to cop stations back in his day.
So what was my big infraction that led to handcuffs and a free ride to the cop station? I was busted for what I mentioned earlier, carrying rolling papers on school grounds. And what is significant about being on school grounds? Why it’s a drug free zone of course. Apparently that makes the crime of possessing paraphernalia for the purpose of having a good time a major offense. Dad came in looking all concerned and worried talking to the cops as if I had broken some felony weed law or something. I was praying it was just one of his little tricks to get us out of there.
Once we were out of the precinct parking lot he asked me in his calm hippie Dad voice what happened. I told him my version of the truth because we have always had a very honest relationship like that. I explained to him how we were smoking a joint before the dance at the High school and the cops came running over. Camron through his bag of weed and Stephanie tossed the joint long before they got there and it pissed them off. Not finding anything they searched us all and I had rolling papers in my pocket so they took me to the precinct for possessing drug paraphernalia on school property. A drug free zone. Straight away he gave me the like it or not its still illegal lecture, and the not ever on or near school property lecture. We drove in silence after the semi-lecture for a minute until he said, “ You mean drug free zone isn’t where you get free drugs?” He scoffed then continued, “Paraphernalia? Rolling papers? Are they fucking kidding?” The two of us laughed and my old man ran off some of his corny old cop jokes, like someone stole the toilet from the cop station and they have nothing to go on, or he points to the back seat and says he picked up a dozen donuts in case I was in serious trouble. He always admitted he felt pot should be legal like alcohol even though he doesn’t smoke it anymore. That is to say he tells me he doesn’t smoke but I have my suspicions, every once in a while I feel like my stash is a few bowls light. Anyway, bottom line my old man wasn’t a big fan of cops busting kids for having fun. I suspected my step mom Jenny felt different.
When we got a block away from home and he said, “I’m gonna have to act all mad at home cuz I gotta at least pretend to be a responsible adult and Jenny will be expecting me to ground you. I’ll need to issue some form of punishment, she’ll think that’s important but I mean fucking A, rolling papers is a fucking crime now? Look Ian, I get that it seems unfair. In fact is unfair, but that’s how the games of the establishment are played little cool man, you don’t try to beat the law, you work around it. You gotta fool them at their own game. Give them enough of what they want and let them think they have the upper hand. If you fight them they just use stronger punishment, that’s their warped mentality, to punish you harshly until you break. So here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna tell Jenny that you just made a small mistake because you were unaware of the consequences of smoking marijuana. You haven’t committed any bad crime and no one got hurt and education will work better than punishment. So you will write me a four page report, two pages on the physiological consequences, and two pages on the consequences marijuana can have on society. That way you will learn the err of your ways!” That man was a fucking genius!
We drove home and I went straight to my room. Dad explained to Jenny what was up and downplayed the incident. She apparently agreed that the report would be the best punishment and so it was set. He used that report when he and I had to go in front of the town board and they were so impressed they dropped the charge and expunged my record completely. Man I really adored that man. He could spin a story like nobody’s business. So I knew that night when he came into my room to talk about the whole situation it was a perfect time to distract him by asking him about his youth. He loves talking about his younger days in the “turbulent sixties.“ One character in particular I had always wanted to know more about was his best friend. I only met him a few times when I was young but Pops tells me he came over all the time when I was a baby. I didn’t remember that and I don’t even know his real name. My big sister and I just called him “Uncle Goatleg”. That alone had to be a good story.
“Hey Pops, you know you’ve always been so honest with me and I know you smoked back in your day, but whenever I think about what it must have been like for you growing up the one name that keeps coming to my mind is Uncle Goatleg. All I remember about him is this really nice guy with long hair and a very long beard who rode a motorcycle and drank a lot of beer. I think I remember you always being happy when he was around and I figure you call him Goatleg because of his limp. I assume it was caused by a motorcycle accident or something cause I vaguely remember your motorcycles and the two of you giving me and Molly rides wearing football helmets. Why was he called Uncle Goat-leg?” I could see a huge smile on my dads face as he reminisced. From what I recall Uncle Goat-leg was as tall as my dad and very muscular. He had very thick curly reddish brown hair that danced down over his shoulders. My dad always had a short beard, but Goat-legs chinstrap was very long. The full rust colored hair sprouted from his chin and went clear down to the middle of his chest. The hair on his face was so thick I can’t say for sure if he even had lips. Santa would have been jealous at how beautiful that beard was. Like I said, he has a bit of a limp, and he walked with the assistance of the coolest walking stick I’d ever seen. A dark red hardwood cane carved with the most magnificent black and yellow cobra snake. The head of the snake lay right at the handle with it’s mouth wide open and fangs showing so he could hold his hand inside the snakes mouth. I recall the detail of the snake as almost mesmerizing, the tiny scales, the flared head and sharp teeth were kind of menacing and I’m sure I stared at it every time he came over. Without really ever knowing Uncle Goat-leg I admired him greatly and wished he had come around more often.
“Holy shit uncle Goat-leg! I’m surprised you remember him. His biker name was Redbeard, his real name was Kevin, and we called him Uncle Goat-leg because of you and Molly. He injured his leg in a motorcycle accident. Yeah, he and I rode together a few years before I had to sell my bike. Kev had a gorgeous tricked out Harley shovelhead. What a beautiful bike. Me and Kevin go all the way back to kindergarten where we got into a fistfight over some toy or something. It was the first fight for both of us and we got sent to the principals office. While waiting, we glared each other down still pissed, and then Kevin says “I hear the principal looks like a grasshopper. A fat bald grasshopper.” I broke out laughing because he really did and we both making cricket noises and acted the fools. All through school we called him ‘Grasshopper’. We became best friends instantly and learned we only lived three blocks away from each other. Stayed best friends until he left. We did everything together rode bicycles, went to the beach, dances, girls, rock concerts, everything. We were together all the time just about all the way through school. We even learned to drive in the same car, your Uncle Jack’s Barracuda. When the time came we went to buy our first motorcycles at the same place.” I wasn’t sure what I wanted to hear more, the story of their friendship or the story of why Uncle Goat-leg left but I opted for the latter. “When did he leave and where did he go? Why did he go? Did he ride away on his bike? Do you know where he is now?” Pops chuckled, “Slow down son, it’s a bit of a story. Let me get us something to drink.” As he got up he smiled and his chuckling voice trailed off, “Always with a million questions Ian.”
When he came back a few minutes later he had a large mug of beer for himself and a soda for me. “Hey, can I have a beer?” I got the you know better than that look as he smiled. “Not this time Ian, but someday soon we’ll share a few. Tonight is all about how Uncle Goat-leg got his name. I perked up instantly. “Who started me or Molly? How old was I? Did he have the cane then?” Dad took a long swig of his beer and shook his head, “One question at a time Bud. He came over one night and you were like two and a half years old. You were full of questions even back then. You asked him over and over what happened to his leg, why does he limp, was it from the motorcycle, non stop questions. Kevin laughed and rolled up his pant leg to show you his disfigured and scarred leg. You said ’Ew gross, it looks like a goats foot.’ We laughed our asses off and then he roared, ‘Yea Ian, Uncle Goat-leg, that’s my name. I’m your Uncle Goat-leg.’ Every time he came over after that we called him Uncle Goatleg. You and your sister are the only two people in the world he’s let call him that.
TBC

High Crimes and Mister Meaner, A Tale Noir (pt1)

high crime

by J.T. Hilltop
The story I am about to tell is true, the names have been changed to protect the guilty
Prologue
The year 1971, the town Centerlawn, a thriving little Long Island community in the suburbs of New York City where four youths chose to show blatant disregard of the law and engage in the heinous crime of sharing a marijuana cigarette. In an attempt to prevent these youths from throwing their lives away down the illegal drug drain two police officers arrested the four miscreant hoodlum youths and took them to the precinct for some instant “wake the fuck up” real world advice dispensing. That’s how things rolled in 1971 suburbia.…

My name is JT Hilltop and I was one of those miscreant hoodlum youths who narrowly averted a lifetime of penal institutions for a taste of the forbidden fumes. We weren’t hardened criminals or anything, just a couple of teens out on the prowl hunting for some fun. Me and my three cohorts were typical suburban kids looking for some cheap kicks to break up the boredom of living in our mundane cookie cutter neighborhood. Our way of escaping the doldrums of our mind numbing existences was to engage in the mind altering practice of smoking anything containing THC. Opting to gamble our futures away for a few puffs on the magic dragon we engaged acts of refer madness that can only be described as….One helluva crazy fun time! This is our story:

Part I
“Hey look, here comes Monty, he got his car back.” Monty, short for Montebello, was one of the cool kids in high school who had a car. Me, Streak, and Jimbo were just hanging around “The Stores”, a local meeting place where youths gathered to plan their evening of hijinx and carousing. Rolling across the tedium of a warm summers eve Monty pulled up in his recently repaired Plymouth Valiant. Not an especially hot car but it beat the Hell out of anything we had, which was actually two sting ray bicycles and a ten speed. In our defense though the sting ray bikes were tricked out with Ape hanger handlebars and Banana seats. One even had a sissy bar. Monty pulled up alongside us rolling down the window, “Hey man, you guys got any buzz?” Buzz! That’s what we lived for, a taste of escape from the unified conformity in Centerlawn that shaped our lives. Buzz was how we described anything that got us high, marijuana, hash, colored capsules from our parents medicine cabinets, or whatever we could get our hands on. “I got some weed man, you got papers?” Streak had some weed. Streak almost always had weed, I could never figure out how he did it but it wasn’t a surprise when he spoke up. We shared buzz all the time because none of us felt like getting high alone. I guess relief from misery loves company as much as misery itself. From the tiniest chunk of hash to the biggest five finger ounce of pot if one of us was holding, all of us high. “Of course I have papers. Get in guys.” Streak got in the front, because with having buzz comes privilege. Jimbo and I filed into the back. “Where ya wanna go to get high?” Streak was already rolling a joint, “Lets go up to the school parking lot man, we can hide in the back corner.” The sound mind of Jimbo, the most rational thinker of our crowd (actually the only rational one) broke in quickly, “No man, not a good idea. There’s no way to escape from there.” Streak overruled his objection, “No ones even gonna see us Jimbo, we can puff all we want, no one will ever know.” Monty and I agreed so Jimbo gave in reluctantly.
Now if we had seriously thought this whole thing out we would have realized that Jimbo was absolutely correct. “The school” was our old Elementary school and far beyond the parking lot in the corner of the playground was where we first learned the virtues of partying. It had been a safe place for us to guzzle Budweisers, or Schlitz if we were low on cashola, or Ripple or Boones Farm wine when we felt all upscale suburban. The cops patrolled it periodically but we were located in a perfect position to run in different directions into the woods. No one ever got caught there and it must have pissed off the cops because they never gave up trying. Or maybe they didn’t really care because it was only beer but there in lay the real problem. We had graduated to the hard stuff, smoking the devils weed, which puts everyone Heroin Highway, a dead end road for drug users. Now we were not just sneaking in a little alcohol to get drunk, we were committing high crimes that suck the soul of youth out of every neighborhood. That only made the police more desperate to catch us. But Hell, we were indestructible and would never get caught. Did I say never? Despite our dark out of the way hiding spot and being unseen by any passing traffic we failed to realize that the cops still made periodic runs through the school. Maybe we were too eager or too stoned but it never occurred to us we were far from the corner of the playground without our safety net. In hindsight the cops had to get to the corner of the playground somehow, and as we would shortly find out, they used the most logical path, straight through the parking lot.
“Just got my car back from the shop, cost me fifty bucks man. So what you guys been up to?” I always liked Monty so I answered him then gave him an offer, “Work mostly man. Keeping it real at the Nursing home, hanging at the beach when I’m off. But I was vacuuming the floor in the nurses office and noticed the medicine box unlocked. I five fingered a dozen Darvon man, got two with me now man, you want?” Monty accepted the two pills and placed them in his pocket as he slipped Jethro Tull’s Aqualung tape into his eight track. We had already passed the joint three times and I was flying, “Fuckin A Streak, where’d you get this shit man, its killer?” Streak took a deep hit answering without exhaling, “It…sss…we chair wee igha fra mahbaath Bobba” We all understood stoner speak, the language spoken while trying to keep your hit of weed in your lungs. He said “its wheelchair weed I got from my brother Bobby” Any weed that was super potent we called wheelchair weed, because after puffing it you felt like you couldn’t walk. The kept the car was full of smoke with the windows up because we didn’t like to waste the smoky sweetness and thought if it hung around it would continue to ply its magic on us. Mistake number two!
Streak took out his baggie of herb getting ready to roll another joint when we noticed two blaring white lights right in front of us bearing down like mini rockets. Because of the smoke we couldn’t tell it was a cop car sneaking up on us but in hindsight it wouldn’t have mattered if we did. The cops were on us within seconds so we reacted in typical stoner fashion. We totally froze trying to make sense of anything while wondering what the Hell was happening. After a few seconds we all three noticed two men running out from the two glaring lights. The message finally made its way past all the smoke and up to our brains so we instinctively began a frantic attempt to roll down the windows. Streak in a fit of panic tossed his baggie of weed with seeming super strength across the lawn. The doors of Monty’s car were flung open and the sight of two men in blue uniforms pointing actual guns at us made us damn near shit our pants. “Get the fuck out of the car and put your hands on the roof!” The voice was scarily authoritative and our “highs” were the only things that had a chance to run away. Now straight and shaking we obediently placed our hands on the roof of Monty’s car. “Hmmmm, smells like you boys are smoking some of that marry-wanna. You boys getting high here?” Desperate to find an excuse Streak replied weakly, “No, ah no, we were just, ah um, we were just talking and listening to music.” As he spoke we all saw the cloud of smoke rolling out of Monty’s Valiant making good on its attempt to completely discredit the story. One of the cops grabbed Streak by the arm and forcefully walked away with him. We could pretty much make out what the cop was saying, “You some kind of wise ass punk? You think we’re idiots?” I prayed Streak didn’t answer truthfully to that question because we considered the cops dopey drop outs. It was obvious he was really just trying to scare the shit out of us. Thinking back, he was pretty successful. The other three of us stood like petrified mannequins with our hands Velcroed to the roof as he pushed Streak back up against the car. Then the other cop came walking over holding something in his hands. He held up the baggie of weed Streak had tossed like it was a prize twelve point deer in a hunting contest, “Well lookie here Finch, seems we got us some Mary Jane here. Are you boys reefer addicts or something?” Then he walked around talking in his ‘I gotcha ya little fuckheads’ voice meant for us, “This here is what we call felony weight boys. Any of you young hoodlums know what felony weight is? I’ll tell you what it is, its over one quarter ounce of a controlled substance like this here bag of marijuana which raises this heinous crime from a misdemeanor to a felony. That means some hard time for whoever owns this shit and I aim to find out which one of you punks owns the dope!”
I was shivering like a naked beachcomber in January despite it being a beautiful warm summer evening. The cops took each one of us for a walk and talk and when returned put handcuffs on. Shit was getting real and I was no longer feeling any kind of buzz. That is aside from the paranoia buzzing in my ears. I was the last to go for the perilous perp walk and by this point they knew my brother was a cop. “Son your brother is gonna be real ashamed once he finds out what a low life criminal his hairbag little brother is. You putting him in a bad spot.” To accentuate the point the had been squeezing my bicep muscle between his thumb and forefinger like he was crushing a peanut shell. “You know what a felony is there Justin?” A million thoughts were flooding through my mind, jail, big bad strong criminals in jail, big bad strong horny criminals in jail, going to jail as fresh meat, and facing Mom and Dad. Jesus I was in deeper shit than ever before. I was hoping he was nicer than Mr. ‘Lookie what I got’ over there so I tried to sound remorseful as I pleaded, “Please officer, I’m not a bad kid, its just a little weed, we weren’t hurting anyone. Have a heart sir, I’m only sixteen and I” He cut me off as he now pinched my arm hard enough to cause a bruise. Apparently he wasn’t the nice cop, he was Mr. Meaner. Not fully satisfied at my wincing he then pushed me hard making me take a few steps to keep from falling on my stoned face. “Have a heart? You’re a cimm ee naal boy, you broke the law! This here is illegal and you did it anyway. Your brother is gonna get a lot of shit for having a felon for a brother. Tell you what though, since your brother is on the job I’ll cut you some slack. All you gotta do is tell me who’s stuff this is and we can work something out.” Shit! Jesus H shit! A rat. He wants me to be a rat. Well there’s no way man, I can’t turn on Streak. “I-I’m sorry officer, I never saw that baggie of weed, all we had was this one joint one of us found, I can’t even remember which of us….” The pain shot through my arm up into my shoulder. Now he was twisting and squeezing my arm pinching the bone as he literally tossed me back towards the car with the others. His voice was trembling he was so angry “Bunch of fucking idiots, all of you. I want to know who’s pot this is and you’re gonna tell me you little shits. Each one of you hairbags are going to jail.” They were rather well versed at intimidating four teenagers with bully tactics that fell just short of abuse in those pre I’m calling DYFS days. The one asshole cop, Mr. Meaner, who had a particular problem with me ruining my brothers cop reputation was eyeing me with evil intent. I saw him move his right foot and the moment his government issue hard leather flatfoot shoe found its target I yelped like a beaten puppy. I could tell there was already a huge lump as I fell to the ground in pain. My calf was throbbing as the other cop, Fitch or Finch or something grabbed both of my arms lifting me up. He flung me like a rag doll against the cop car. I could hear the slight clinking of metal as the criminal containment bracelets slipped around my wrists locking in place. The sharp pain of metal stunned me and I let out a gurgle. “Oh I’m sorry, is that too tight?” Finally some compassion, I nodded and managed a squeaky “A little”. With the ease of a man who more than likely has trouble in bed but found courage and a sense of real manhood wearing a badge of authority, the douchebag tightened the cuffs digging into the flesh at the outer edges of my wrists. Tears welled up in my eyes while they loaded us into the back seat of the police car and proceeded to escort us to the fourth precinct. Apparently what we had here was a failure to communicate.

A Festivus Visit (Twas the night before….)

night before

 

T’was the night before Festivus
When all through the house
No computer was working
Not even with the mouse

The stalkers were hung by their necks with such care
In the hopes that the end of their peeping was near
The children ate Nestles they,d snuck in their beds
And bounced off the walls banging their heads

Mom in her sexy teddy straddling my lap
Had just bound my hands with a Festivus strap
When down in the kids room there arose such a clatter
Got dressed and untied to see what was the matter

Away to the window I flew like a flash
Dropped my baggie of weed losing my stash
It fell on the breast of the new fallen snow
I watched as my reefer was falling below

When what to my bloodshot eyes should appear
A hallucination of eight tiny reindeer
With a leprechaun in red so lively and quick
I knew in a moment my eyes played a trick

A rainbow of unicorns his coursers they came
He yelled at all eight as he called them by name
Yo Bashful yo Sleepy yo Doc and yo Sneezey
Hey Dopey and Grumpy and Happy and Sleezy

He opened the dresser where Mom hides her thong
Now dash away dash away and put back my bong
Then in a twinkling they all climbed up on the roof
A sled full of presents, this must be a goof

As I drew in a big toke and was turning around
I opened my hand my bong dropped to the ground
The dude dressed in fur from his head to his foot
Was laughing so hard and he was covered in soot

Bundles of medicinal buds were on top of his back
Just like a drug peddler he was carrying a sack
His eyes how they twinkled and dimples they sank
His cheeks red as roses yet his stare was so blank

His droll little mouth drawn up like a joke
His hair on his chin was snow white from some coke
The stump of a chamber pipe he clenched in his teeth
Second hand smoke circled my head like a wreath

He had a big broad face and a little round belly
I aired my first grievance and said he was smelly
He was also too chubby that right fat old elf
And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself

With a wink of his eye and a twist of his head
He rolled a sweet fatty he’d bought from a dread
He spoke not a word but played his big Festivus role
In the middle of the room placed an aluminum pole

With a feat of strength placed a finger to his nose
An sniffed up more coke through a dollar bill hose
His grievances he aired till his team blew the whistle
And feats of great strength had broken the thistle
But I heard him exclaim the illegal drugs out of sight
Happy Festivus to all, and to all a good night

Enjoy whatever holiday you celebrate and take time to smile an share some love
PEACE

Camp Stoned-Henge

cheech-and-chong

Fresh shipment of skunk weed just hit town and I rolled the mothah of all joints. I fired that bad boy up, filled my lungs to capacity and passed it to Mario. Its been dry for almost two months now with nothing around. No red or gold grass, no Jamaican Ganja, no hashish, no Canibinol, not even any shit Mexican dirt weed. We’d resorted to puffing seeds and stems or the occasional resonated tar like lump of whatever the hell we were able to scrape out of our pipes. The first real hit in weeks and its some of the finest wacky tobacky skunk weed we around. Skunk weed, as its name implies, stinks like shit. Not shit exactly, closer to its namesake skunk, but either way when you stick your nose in the baggie it stinks of ass. But the smoke tastes sweet as could be and more importantly this shit FUCKS YOU UP!! The marijuana drought of 72 was now officially over so we were puffing our stone free asses off. “Oh my gawd JT, this shit is kickin’ my ass” Mario exhaled as he was exclaiming what we all were thinking after only one hit. When my turn came around for seconds I inhaled even deeper and held it as long as I could until my lungs waved the white flag and I surrendered a cough agreeing whole heartedly. “You ain’t shitting pickles my man, this is some killer ass weed. I am so stoned! I just wish Jimbo D was here to share it with us.” Jimbo D was a good friend and the fourth musketeer of our gang who moved up to the Catskills. He dropped out of school because his girlfriend was pregnant. They opted to move to Monticello to work for Jimbo’s uncle so now it was just me, Mario, and Shadow hanging around town struggling to finish school. Out of nowhere Shadow blurted out “Hey, my old man has a four man tent.”
The three of us broke out laughing wildly each holding our sides as if they may actually split and continued until we realized none of us knew what was funny. Shadow recovered first, “Haha, what in the hell are we laughing at?” I composed myself a little and looked back at Shadow to answer. “I think it was you Shadow, something about your old man pitching tents in his bedroom.” Shadow laughed again but Mario scratched his head in confusion, “Pitching tents? No he said his Dad has tents, like four of them.” At that point I understood how stoned we were as our conversations were lacking any semblance of lucidity but I needed to know what Shadow meant. “You say you have a four person tent? What did you have in mind?” Shadow exhaled another cloud of sweet second hand smoke, “Well, maybe we could drive up to Monticello to visit Jimbo and Debs and camp out in a tent. That way it’ll just cost us money for food, beer, and weed. We can split the cost of gas.” Amazingly sound proposition from someone so buzzed, and it was almost instantly that all three agreed. A plan began incubating.
That gave us three days to gather together as much drugs and money we could rustle up on short notice and get out of work or whatever else we needed to do. Shadow said he’d call in sick, Mario didn’t work, and this is my weekend off so it was perfect. We chose to leave early Friday afternoon so we would still have enough light to set up the tent. Shadow researched and found a state owned campground just about fifteen minutes from Monticello where we could campout for free. So off to the upstate New York town of Sundown we go.
“Checklist guys. I got a half ounce of weed, a full tank, and a cooler waiting to fill up with beer before we split.” I looked over at Shadow who was supplying the tent, “I got the tent, a coulpa sleeping bags, and a gas lantern. Plus a hatchet and Swiss army knife.” Shadow had a smug proud smile because like most times it was he that thought of the practical shit. Like some kind of real boyscout or something. We both looked at Mario not expecting anything but he shocked the shit out of us. “Well, I got a little cash here, and I also managed to score 6 hits of Bounty Acid.” He held out his hand and in it was a ripped up sheet of what looked like a stained paper towel. Shadow and I let out a simultaneous “Bounty Acid?” Mario chuckled, “its some clinical LSD dripped on paper towels, kinda like the new sugar cube LSD. I got it from my brother and he swears it’s some really good shit man. He’s never let us down before right? When we find Jimbo and Debs we can all trip our asses off.” Me and Shadow exchanged elated approvals. Our weekend was gonna rock and roll.
Monticello was only three hours away in normal traffic but it was Friday afternoon so it took us over an hour just to get on the Throggs Neck Bridge. But once we got through the Bronx it was clear sailing and we located our free campground area just around eight. We surveyed our temporary home, a mountainous forest with a few large clearings and an ice cold stream. We figured out what a preserve is. An isolated place in the woods with no bathroom, no shower, not much of anything but that running ice cold communal stream and a lot of wildlife. Not like Lions and Tigers and Bears and shit, but woodchucks, raccoons, possums, beavers, and foxes. Not the beavers and foxes we were hoping for, real ones. WTF, at least we may find out how much wood a woodchuck can chuck. No matter, its free, we are always open for an adventure, and we had lots of shit for our heads so we worked together and got the tent set up.
Shadow was beaming with pride over our accomplishment and I gotta say the tent looked professional. I stated happily, “All the comforts of home.” Mario was not as enthusiastic not being much of an outdoorsy kinda dude, “Yea ‘cept television a kitchen and a place to shit in peace. JT, light up a joint will ya?” I reached into my cigarette package for the ready to puff fat doob and struck it up, “Capital idea my most awesome brother, lets commence to getting stoned.” Before the joint even reached its destiny of being fastened to a roachclip I lit a second one and Shadow got us each a cold Pabst Blue Ribbon. Now we were feeling good and buzzed and not caring about the lack of amenities in our camp, which we baptized as “Camp Stoned-henge”
Time to begin our search for Jimbo. We had an address, no idea what part of Monticello it was, but being naïve young stoners we believed if we drove around town we would eventually find the street, surprise Jimbo and Deb with some weed, LSD, and beer an have a big ole party. That was the plan anyway. Mario was by far the best driver especially when we were all stoned so I handed him the keys to my little red Simca “La Bomba”. “Okay Mario, the coolers is packed, I rolled eight doobs, and you got the acid. Here’s the keys bro, take us away.” With that the three of us headed out into the higher regions of the Catskill Mountains smoking joints and having fun. We laughed and drove and drove and laughed and we all three were in a great mood. The sun had just gone down to what they call sunset, but sunset way up in the mountains can be very different, and with the thick fog settling in it was more like horror movie cliché at dusk. It was nearly impossible to see but fortunately not many other cars were out on this foggy eve. Then we hit the road that would alter the complexion of our trip in ways we could never have foreseen. Twist Run Mountain Road. The road was long, with many a winding turn, that leads us to who knows where. Mario was doing his best to negotiate the twists and turns but between the fog in the mountain and the fog in his stoned out head his driving was far more erratic than normal. More than once he crossed or straddled the double yellow line and we couldn’t see more than ten feet in front of us. We kept moving, but at the speed of an old man in a wheelchair. We prayed we would not be noticed.
Prayers are funny things. Sometime they are answered, and sometimes they act like they are intercepted by the Karma police. None of us were very religious so instead of being answered they became some kind of karmic retribution, some sort payback for being evil Long Island suburban kids smoking devils weed. With the bright white headlights being refracted in the fog it was easy to see the contrasting rays of red strobe like lights which bounced off of everything. “Oh fuck man, I’m getting pulled over.“ Paranoia can make you freeze or give you paranormal quickness of thought. My panic first kicked in frozen as vision of an upstate New York prison until intuition filled my brain. Paranormal quickness took center stage as I immediately pulled the remaining joints out of my cigarette box and handed each of the boys two, leaving me with two. “Quick Mario, take out the cid an toss it out the window.” As Mario grabbed them from his pocket the always frugal and efficient Shadow pulled them from his hand and yelled “No wait, lets eat the acid first then the joints. We don’t wanna get busted tossing shit out of the window way the fuck up here. Besides Mario spent good money on it, hate to waste that.” At the time it seemed like a great idea. Mario stalled by pulling over slowly and we each ate two hits of LSD then began chewing the pot. Funny thing about skunk weed, and a fact I had previously been unaware of is it not only smells like skunk ass, it tastes like skunk ass too. Not to say I have eaten skunk ass before, but using my imagination that’s what it would taste like. I chewed and swallowed my two rodent shit tasting big bamboo sticks, Shadow ate his two, but Mario could only finish one. “Hey man, I can’t get this down it tastes horrible. JT, ya gotta take it man.” I grabbed the stick shoved it in my mouth and began chewing just as the cop came up to the window shining his flashlight on us. “Whatcha boyz a dewn up here, eh?“ He shined the light around our eyes and I stopped chewing, allowing the skunk ass flavor to proliferate around my cheeks awhile. Mario took control. “Um, sorry officer, we, uh we’re like here looking for our friend who lives up here in Monticello and like we got like lost in the mountains, he he, and well like the fog is like I mean like I can‘t like even see” Suddenly realizing he told a cop he couldn‘t see yet was still driving Mario made an attempt at a save and blurted, “I mean not like CAN“T see, but like not like really well, I mean this fog is like I mean can’t.. How do you do it officer?” The cop began searching our faces using his flashlight like a spotlight while I frantically tried to swallow inconspicuously the last of the skunk weed and rolling paper. He looked directly at me and suddenly that was me in the spot-light, nearly losing my biological functions. “Y’all looking fer a friend ya say? In Monticello? Well you boys’r in Ellenville now. I think maybe Y’all aughtta step on out the car.” He stepped back and shone his light on Mario and I took the opportunity to swallow the last of the wad of pastey skunk ass saliva soaked crap in my mouth. I was sure my breath stunk like a skunks ass and that’s something I wouldn’t want to try and explain to a hick cop way up in the Catskill Mountains. I wished I has a mint or something but at least we had no drugs to get busted with now. The cop frisked each of us then made us open the trunk of the car. Inside we had a cooler and my Moms wicker picnic basket. The lawman focused on the basket and said, “That’s a helluva nice basket there boys. My wife sure’d like something like that.” I said nothing, but Shadow was quick on the draw. He picked it up and handed it to the cop, “Well officer, why don’t you take this back to the Mrs. We’d be honored if you would take this as a token of our appreciation for helping us figure out where we are and how we can get back home.” Between Shadows charm and my Moms basket the cop took the bribe, smiled and said, “Well thank you boys, that sure is awful nice. My wife is gonna be right happy tonight. Now why don’t y’all get on back in your car, don’t move for about one hour an let the fog settle down. Make sure y’all go straight to where your staying” I looked at Shadow then at Mario and thought about how pissed my Mom was gonna be when she finds out I, or rather Shadow gave away her wicker basket. Anyway the cop was leaving, both Shadow and I mumbled good bye but Mario thought he would add to our new found friendly relation with the officer. With his goofiest big smile he added “We call it Camp Stoned-henge” The cop stopped glared in our direction and paused for a brief moment, then just shook his head as put his prize in his car. “You boys just get on back to your camp whatever, I sure don’t wanna run into y’all again tonight. Unnerstand?” No answer was necessary, we got into La Bomba, waited until the cop was out of sight and split.
Now there was some considerable silence in the car, each of us processing what just happened, and wondering what two hits of acid was gonna be like once it kicked in. Mario was driving and spoke first, “Lets just do like he said and head back to camp. Maybe tomorrow in the light we can find Jimbo.” As obvious and sensible as that was I still wanted to talk about my Moms basket, “Man, why the fuck did you give him My Moms basket? She’s gonna fucking kill me!” Shadow was already prepared with his answer, “Dude chill! It got us out of trouble, what if he kept us there and we all started tripping? We’ll chip in and get a new one, just tell her you left it somewhere.” Satisfied but not happy I had to agree, and off we drove back to Camp Stoned-henge in relative quiet.
No sooner did we get back to our tent did the tingling feeling of an oncoming LSD trip began. We popped open some brews, and waited. I don’t think I ever hallucinated so much before. I was seeing animals that weren’t there, probably not seeing animals that were, and we laughed for about three hours straight all the time having no idea whatsoever why we were laughing. Trees grew extra branches then bent over and kissed the ground. The sounds of the wilderness were symphonic, and even in the dark the colors were magnificent. Time seemed suspended and life looked distorted as if through a kaleidoscope tube but it was okay, even humorous for some bizarre reason. The acid changed the complexion of the evening and we had a blast.
We knew we were never gonna find Jimbo and Debs now, but we were high as shit, tripping and laughing away. We got lost in a mountain fog, had to eat almost all of our weekend supply of drugs including two hits each of acid, got pulled over by a corrupt hick cop almost getting busted, gave away my Moms wicker basket, but at least we’re safe, and happily tripping. Would be for at least the next 5 or 6 hours. We were laughing uncontrollably, happy as clams and the worst was over. Then something fell on the top our temporary canvas abode. Maybe a small twig or something. Then another, and another. Shadow peeked through the tent opening and gave us the news, “Oh oh, looks like rain guys” As the words began to sink in the rat a tat tat on the tent picked up speed and decibels. Within seconds the light rain morphed into a mountain downpour and I felt the earth move under my feet-I felt the sky a tumbling. Before we knew what happened we had wall to wall mud carpeting. Mario began freaking out, I began laughing harder, and Shadow stared out to tent opening and with a prophecy told us the wind was kicking up which reminded him of a time he and his Dad were camping, got caught in a storm so bad that the wind yanked the tent spikes out and one stuck in his leg.
The last lucid memory I had was Shadow showing us this little scar on his calf. Less lucid is a memory as vague as the mud carpet, of three tripped out stoners laughing with a mixture of delight and horror as we became part of a canvas blob of a soaking wet mudpack. We managed to pop our heads out of the openings, Mario found some cans of mud crusted PBR’s and we partied until well after sunrise. At some point we finally fell asleep.
We slept clear through to Sunday morning and when the Sunday morning sun menacingly shook us awake we looked like burnt and crusted Woodstock wash outs, completely covered in dried mud and probably woodchuck piss. We rummaged through what was left of our campsite, the weed was MIA, the cooler had tipped over but still had a few warm beers in it, and the sleeping bags and everything else including the tent were a damp collaboration of musty half dried shit. We tossed it all in the trunk where my Moms wicker basket once resided, went down and bathed in the ice cold stream. We set out home to Long Island and despite having a ton and a half of fun each vowed to never return to Camp Stoned-henge…..PEACE

Devil Dog Day Afternoon

I’m Stoned, Lets Go On A Hunger Strike ( are you gonna eat that?)
I’m Stoned, Lets Go On A Hunger Strike ( are you gonna eat that?)

Legalize marijuana. Simple enough concept but due to the fear of repercussions it wasn’t getting much support back in the day. I’m talking back in the olden times when we had to walk barefoot in the snow uphill in both directions just to buy rolling papers. In the days when carrying Visine got the red out and confirmed your status of stoner. Society deemed marijuana to be the devils weed back then. It was a weed alright, but a weed that turned into a flower in our minds. It was okay for fathers to numb their dull lives with an afternoon martini but smoking pot was a crime of grave concern They also complained that pot was an evil drug and was the gateway to heaven. Oh wait, I have that wrong, the gateway to heroin is what they thought. My bad!
It was hard back then to get people together to take a stand on legalization. Cops were arresting stoners and sending them away for as much as 15 years. Near about everybody puffed the magic dragon but we inhaled the heavenly herb hidden in corners or behind trees and the like. We ruined many a buzz straining hard to look not stoned and we came up with very creative ways to hide our baggies of bliss. Punishment for enjoying a joint was pretty harsh and no one wanted to get locked up in jail with rapists, child molesters, murderers, mother-humpers, father-humpers, or any violent shits.
But god damn it man we were the generation that lifted protesting to an art form. So a bunch of us got together and formed a think tank to come up with some ideas for a proper protest rally. Once together the first thing we did was light one up. A soon as soon as we got tanked in the tank we were able to think clearly. Sort of. It was T-Bone that came up with the best idea. A hunger strike for the legalization of marijuana. Brilliance to the tenth degree. We smoked another J to celebrate and decided we would start the strike tomorrow. Right now we needed to find a box of Devil Dogs.
The next day we started the strike in the cafeteria in school at 12:15. No eating until pot is legal, or at least decriminalized. Some more of our friends joined in and before long we had a band of 25 stoners all starving ourselves in protest. The movement was growing so we snuck out side and lit up a few bowls. When we returned to the cafeteria we were all smiles, or shits and giggles whatever that means. Its now 12:45 and we had a full fledged protest going on. The bell rang at 1 o’clock and in force we all walked out of school in unison bound by the determination of changing the culture surrounding that magnificent Mary Jane. We were now 40 strong all stoked up on determination and a shitload of THC! At 1:10 an ice cream truck passed by ringing a bell and like Pavlov’s dogs the majority of protesters began to salivate and then chased after the truck in search of some sweet munchables. Feeling dejected and deserted we were now only five left standing strong to make pot legal. T-Bone suggested we jump in the car and head to 7-11 for a box of Devil Dogs and by 1:20 the hunger strike was officially over.
We protested many things back in the day, Viet Nam war, nuclear weapon disarmament, civil rights and a whole slew of unethical activities that we were forced upon an innocent nation of humans. We arranged sit-ins and rallies of all sorts but we learned one very valuable lesson that day. If you’re smoking pot never-ever for even one second engage in a hunger strike. Oh yea, and always keep an extra box of Devil Dogs nearby cuz ya never know when you’ll be attacked by the munchies on a Devil Dog Day afternoon…PEACE

Why Cupcakes? Blame It On The Munchies

WTF is in my cart?
How does one change their culinary discipline from making killer sauces to top on exotic sautéed fish to baking sweet sugary cupcakes? Why from having the munchies of course. The change hit me like an epiphany on roller skates speeding down the snack aisle of a supermarket. Devil Dogs to my left, Little Debbie’s to my right, and mallow mars dead ahead. No iceberg in sight. Not a single healthy choice within ten feet. Not that it mattered, I had just finished a bowl of chronic and I had an unusually advanced case of munchy-itis! That maddening after effect of herbal induced euphoria that has one believing they haven’t eaten in a week. And worse, the antidote for the unbearable hunger pains lies only in sweets, not in health foods. I remember my Mom staring at me suspiciously when I came home at 1230AM with my foolish smile and vacant stare as I loaded up my bowl with cocoa puffs. Ironically, a cereal bowl after an evening filled with many bowls of blissful herb.
Of course she had good reason to suspect foul play, I was friggen stoned off my ass. When I finally moved out on my own it was completely different. Mostly because I never had any foods in the fridge. Well nothing that didn’t resemble a science project on mold growth anyway. So instead of being smart and shop the next morning to fill up the cupboards, I did what any self respecting stoner would. I went to A&P. The Ho-Ho’s were singing sweet melodies and the Ring Dings were ringing and rocking directly at me. Chips Ahoy jumped in my cart by themselves. Nothing of interest in produce, meats, or dairy. Wait!? I spoke to soon, there in the dairy section, amongst various types of % milks, half and half, whipping cream, and creamers at the most beautiful sight. Chocolate milk!!! Oh sweet heaven, milk made tasty. Where ever those chocolate cows live is where I want to move. But for now, IN THE CART! When I got to check out I watched as everything made its way down the conveyor, and it all looked great. The cashier looked at me and I knew she knew I was high, but then I feared everyone did, and she said, “74.23” WTF??? How could I spend that much on just crap foods? That my friends, was the epiphany.
That’s when I knew it was right to switch my area of cooking expertise from regular foods to sweet treats. And what better than cupcakes? So now, at the bakery I am “The Cupcake Dude.” Here where I use up my leftover creative juice I am “The Existential Baker”. Names are important. But more on that next time when I introduce my next new cupcake, “Sins Not Tragedies.”………………………PEACE