Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Growing up can be weird. Especially when it comes to the bizarre world of so-called “peer-pressure”. I say so-called because peer-pressure works both ways. Sure, when you’re young and impressionable your friends can get you to do something you wouldn’t normally do. But it only happens if you are willing to be pressured in the first place. What a lot of parents don’t seem to understand is that the boogie-man of “peer-pressure” is simply a ruse to cover up the fact they don’t want to admit: their kid likes to experiment.

Four months before my 13th birthday my parents moved from Maryland to Virginia. I still lived in the same DC metropolitan area, but being just 12 years old, it meant going to a new school and finding new friends. This was something I never had to do before, and I was pretty clueless about how to go about it.

This wasn’t my only hurtle. I was in the 6th grade, and my parents moved during Christmas break. In Maryland 6th grade was part of elementary school. In Virginia 6th grade was Middle school. So one day I found myself going to school with a crayon box filled with crayons, while curious students asked me, “what the hell do you have crayons for?” as I tried to explain to them it was for a non-existent younger sibling, while the math teacher told us to start taking notes. I was wondering, “notes? What the hell are notes?”

It wasn’t long before I realized that the Middle School I was attending was a ghetto hell hole, and I soon found myself tormented beyond belief. The only friend I had was an overweight kid named Kevin who seemed to be obsessed with The Civil War. He was tormented as well, but he managed to avoid more of it than I, just by being overly goofy and stupid.

If he didn’t like what the teacher was teaching, he’d spread his arms out and pretend to be a World War II combat plane, complete with engine and machine gun sound effects. After a while we learned to do this in tandem, while the teacher would take him out into the hallway to yell at him, I’d stand up and recite the Gettysburg Address, which seemed to make my fellow classmates laugh enough to give my teacher a problem when she got Kevin back in from the hallway.

One day after school Kevin brought his older brother Kenneth over my house. He was 17 and into music, and I was just learning to play guitar. Since Kevin and I dug Black Sabbath and Nirvana, Kenneth seemed kind of like a God as he could actually drive our asses around and we could bum his CDs from him.

At some point around this time Kevin got it in his head that the most awesome thing in the world would be to score some weed and smoke it. We were rebels now! The only problem was that it seemed nearly impossible for two 12 years olds to get some herb.

We both talked about how we’d manage to do this, and not get into trouble. Kevin came up with the perfect plan: he’d get his brother Kenneth to score some herb for us. Next, on a Friday night I’d plan to sleep over at Kevin’s house. Once the parental units were asleep we’d sneak out back and wonder into the woods behind his house. Then, under the cover of night, we’d both smoke the weed, and come back to the house and sneak back in.

Finally, after much pleading with my mom, she allowed me to spend the night. Friday came along and I packed my sleeping bag and headed over to Kevin’s place. He had told me earlier that day that Kenneth had indeed managed what we couldn’t do: scored some mighty herb!

As we watched some TV waiting for the parental units to go to bed, my nervousness and anticipation was peaked. As we sat there watching Ren & Stimpy I kept whispering to Kevin, “so Kenneth’s got the weed, right?” Kevin kept reassuring me that he had.

The hours seemed to last for days. Finally 10:30 came and the parents managed to head to bed. Finally, the coast was clear. I asked Kevin to go fetch us the weed, and so he waddled over to Kenneth’s bedroom door and softly knocked on it. Kenneth opened the door and screamed, “What?!?” This was a typical thing for Kenneth to do at all times: loud and obnoxious, and it made me wanna pull my hair out of my head out of fear of waking the parents and spoiling our plans.

Kevin meekly asked, “hey Kenneth, do you have that herb you were gonna get us?”

“Christ!” Kenneth answered, annoyed that we were bothering him. With his eyes rolling at us, he waved Kevin and I into his bedroom. Once we were in, he closed the door.

“No, I don’t have the herb. I smoked it earlier today.” Both Kevin and I were devastated. Kenneth added, “but I can just bring you over to Steve’s place you can buy some from him.”

Kevin and I looked at each other and gulped. Steve was the herb dealer on this block, and we both didn’t know if we wanted to go directly to the man himself. Being the pre-pubescent kids we were, we thought this was about as dangerous as going into a dark cave with a rabid wolf and asking for a piece of meat.

Kenneth added, “do you two fuckers have any money on you?” Kevin and I gulped again. Kevin didn’t have a dime. I reached into my pockets and managed to pull out seven dollars in small bills and change.

With our measly seven dollars Kenneth marched us over to Steve’s house where we nervously asked him to sell us some herb.

Surprisingly enough, Steve said, “sure,” and he took us to his bedroom where he rolled us a big fat blunt for us. Steve and Kenneth kept giggling for reasons that we didn’t understand, and as Kevin eagerly handed him my seven dollars he gave us the blunt, and we were ordered to scram.

We got back to Kevin’s bedroom and we both eagerly opened up the blunt to look at the goodies inside. We soon discovered what Kenneth and Steve had been giggling about. The blunt was filled with dirt.

I was devastated. Here I had put so much effort into getting my mom to allow me to spend the night, and Kevin had reassured me that he had the herb and everything was good to go. Then for all my troubles, and my seven bucks, I had been made to look like a fool.

That’s when I decided that I would have my revenge, and revenge I had.

On Monday I met up with Kevin in school and told him not to worry about anything, because my God Father was a cool guy and he’d hook me up with plenty of herb for sure. Kevin seemed floored by this.

“Really?” he asked me perplexed, not really wanting to trust his own ears.

“Absolutely!” I answered. “Where do you think I get all my Pink Floyd tapes from? He’s even told me he was gonna give me his guitar. I’m gonna visit him this weekend, and I just know he’ll give me some herb.”

Kevin was ecstatic. By the time Friday rolled around Kevin was practically drooling in anticipation. Saturday afternoon came and I gave him a call.

“You never guessed what I got!” I exclaimed.

“No way, dude!” Kevin answered.

I asked, “Do you wanna come over and hang out with me in the woods?”

Before I knew it Kevin was over at my place. Once I knew the coast was clear of my parental units, I opened my drawer and pulled out an absolutely massive blunt.

“Holy shit!” Kevin exclaimed. “That’s like Bob Marley huge!”

“Fuck yeah” I told him. “And I already smoked my half. Dude, that shit is fucking strong! It’ll totally fuck you up.”

Kevin was so excited he was practically pissing himself. I suggested that we head back into the woods behind my house and smoke up by the creek. Kevin concurred and we both headed out.

Kevin sat down on a large rock and eagerly lit the blunt up. As soon as he inhaled he began coughing uncontrollably. He passed the blunt to me, but I declined.

“You know, I had so much of it last night, you can just have the whole thing dude,” I told him.

Kevin looking ever more pleased, continued to suck the blunt down, coughing ever harder and muttering in between gasps of air, “damn dude, this is some good shit.”

Kevin’s eyes began to turn beat red, tears began to flow from his eyes and down his puffy cheeks, and his entire face took on a crimson hue. Still, he sucked down on the blunt and cough, stopping only to spit when he could.

After about a half hour of Kevin working on this massive doobie, he finally said, “dude I can’t smoke no more,” and passed it to me.

I said, “well it’s about all gone anyway,” and tossed the minute remains into to the creek.

We got back up to the house, and I asked my mom if I could walk Kevin home and spend the night. This time she simply said, “sure”.

As we sat on the couch watching TV, I kept asking Kevin, “do you feel anything yet?”

“Dude, I think so,” he told me. It wasn’t before long that Kevin and I fell asleep.

In the morning Kevin’s parents went to church, and Kenneth offered to make Kevin and I some cheese omelets. Kevin was absolutely beaming to his older brother that he had indeed finally smoked some herb. I concurred with Kevin, adding just how strong the shit was. Kevin couldn’t agree more, adding just how much it made him cough.

Kenneth seemed a bit taken aback by this and was quite surprised that his little brother had managed this. Kevin spent so much time exclaiming about how amazing it was, that Kenneth and I both finished our omelets before Kevin had even taken a bite of his.

As Kenneth started heading down the stairs, and Kevin was out of ear shot, I waved over to Kenneth. As I heard Kevin put his plate into the kitchen sink I whispered into Kenneth’s ear, “It was parsley.”


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