COFFEE & WEED by J. Martin Strangeweather

The Bushdoctor, Monday, December 19, 12:48 a.m.

I’m stoned. Feeling comfortably dense, heavy. My mind, however, is soaring, tallying wrongs committed against me, flipping through the rolodex of life’s disappointments, beating myself up trying to work out issues that I gave up on years ago. Attempting to solve myself. Cannabis does that to me sometimes, especially the sativas. It’s past midnight, and the Russian kid working the smoke bar told me the place closes in ten minutes. He’s one of the nice ones. Asked me if I was alright and did I need any help getting back to my place. Not all budtenders are that friendly. Most of them are snobs. In their defense, they have to deal with greenhorn stoners all day long, people who don’t know their shit and can’t handle their mud. A few coffeeshops prefer to cater specifically to Dutch citizens, selling strains grown only from Dutch genetics. That doesn’t stop the line of tourists from overflowing out their doors. Boerejongens is one such place. Their budtenders wear old-timey outfits with gray vests over collared white long-sleeves, sporting curled mustaches and slicked hair neatly parted down the middle to evoke simpler, happier, more racist times. The grass is always greener, right? I wouldn’t exactly say the guy behind the counter at Boerejongens was rude to me, but he was a tad condescending.

The Dampkring, Monday, December 19, 1:26 p.m.

Mouths filled with slogans, heads full of commercials, hearts overflowing with Hollywood—the American tourists are out on the prowl in the Red Light, including me, but I’m looking for something else. The truest answer transcends our ability to formulate its question. Everything’s an illusion except for the way illusions work. The process by which illusions present their illusion is the only thing that’s real, meaning not an illusion. I used to think the answer would come from within. But now it seems to me that within is formed entirely from without. From things outside of myself, if such a boundary even exists. My bucket of a self, a bucket of near-infinite volume, able to hold the sun, the moon, the stars, whatever I fill it with. All my experiences. All my guts. All my bullshit. All my selves. None of which are mine. None of which are enough. I’m missing something. Something I must’ve overlooked. Like, maybe everything.

The Grey Area, Monday, December 19, 3:48 p.m.

I took another puff. This time it tasted salty, like sweat, or tears. Suddenly the joint called out to me, “Take another hit! Smoke me!” I’m not being figurative here. I’m serious. The joint actually spoke. It didn’t have a mouth or anything. It just sort of communicated telepathically. So did the ashtray, which said, “Deposit ashes in me!” Within seconds everything was vocalizing its desire. The chairs were saying, “Sit on us!” and the tables were saying, “Place things on us!” and the walls were saying, “Hang things on us!” and the ceiling was saying, “Seek shelter under me!” and my cottonmouth was saying, “Drink something!” and my soul was saying, “Appease me!” and the world itself was crying out, “Order me! Structure me! Figure me out!” Dropping the joint into the ashtray, it cried, “Nooooo!” in a high-pitched Mickey Mouse voice.

J. Martin Strangeweather is a poet, a painter, a teller of tall tales, and the Chief Executive Prognosticator & Oneiric Director of Thaumaturgic Research for the Santa Ana Literary Association. He graduated from UC Irvine’s MFA program in English and Fiction, also earning degrees in Philosophy and Art History. Magister Strangeweather resides in a secretive little art colony somewhere in Southern California, where he teaches ornithologists how to sing the language of the birds.