So there I was a young man, reeling from the stench of partially digested moldy marijuana porridge that my companion in experimentational debauchary belched from his foaming green lips.
Had I been of sound mind I would have thought “What series of decisions led me to this point where I now stand? Holding a small pink tuppaware container to catch the barf of my compatriot. The main constituent of the barf being a concoction so vile, that even my useless bastard self, a scalawag so debased that I had once supped on my own hallucinogenic urine, could not stomach?”
Yet I did not think such thoughts.
I was not capable of such musings in my state, having traveled to the land of automatic responses, survival instincts and the diligent following of mystical superstitions and crazed hunches.
All in the driving seek of the womb of the infinite.
Or the birth canal of oblivion.
Instead I thought “Wow. He got a lot in. This container is probably gunna overflow…yup …there it goes.”
What series of decisions had brought me to that moment?
It is the purpose of the following tale to attempt to piece that together.
So there we were … young men on a particular path as I have mentioned.
One of the way stops on this path was an oasis of ill repute. The Purangi Winery, located on the east coast of Coromandle.
It was a haven where a young man could while away the hours staggering through the undergrowth looking for good places to fall unconscious in the recovery position.
We had drank our fill of the place and the weasels were closing in. I could smell the dirty brutes.
I decided we had to “go to ground” and hide until the storm blew over.
We had to find a good place to lie low which was comfortable and secure from the ravages of all and any semblance of responsibilities, dirty looks, worried glances, concerned parental conversations about facing life, or any chance of running into school friends from a year before and having them ask “Bro are you ok? Cause you look really munted.” *
The compatriot had a place in mind. Great Barrier Island. – The promised land.
A haven for people like us seeking respite from the ravages of reality. People there would understand us. They would not judge us and they would leave us alone if we just wanted to hole up and gibber.
The hut he had grown up in was in a very secluded place, an oasis in that utopia like land, where marijuana plants grow wild and so large they had to be harvested with chainsaws. We could stay there. There we would be safe.
The hut now belonged to his uncle but he was living in a far away city and thus the hut would be ours for the entire summer or more!
Scrounging together the funds for the journey we purchased two large boxes of food. Sardines, Crackers, apples, porridge, raisins, powdered milk, cans of beans, rice and 400 bags of Earl Grey tea. Which we called EARL. The drinking of the EARL made us feel as if we were some how connected to the royalty of England and thus upper class drifters, the royal seal and the words “By appointment to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II” in one millimeter high caps under it completing the delusion.
We made the 14-hour journey to the island on the weekly ferry. We arrived at the wharf and hitchhiked across the island carrying our meager swag ** and the two boxes of provisions, to a friend of his families from way-back who would put us up in his backpackers hostel for free if we played the poor lost teenage wastrel -looking for a disaffected wastrel father figure role, well enough.
We arrived at this place and when I saw the guy I saw a glimpse of a possible future for myself. Forty-seven going on seventy, bitter, divorced, unhealthy, and so throughly damaged by drugs that it was all he could do to speak in a harsh rasping whisper and gaze about in a perplexed fashion. I immediately blocked out the portent and encouraged my friend to harass the old guy for drugs. We had been without for a day and the dark fairies were starting to pull at my insides as reality threatened to come creeping back in on me like some sort of swift spreading fungus. Or a storm.
Or maybe some kind of fungus storm.
He told us in his wheezy voice that he was trying to give up – yet he would not give us any from his dried store of poor quality leaves in the cupboard ( so I had to steal it, creeping like a shaking sock-clad ninja into his kitchen at 1:00 a.m. ).
The next day, suddenly feeling unwelcome ( it probably had to do with the nourishing muesli breakfast he kindly brought us ) we started the 8-hour hike over the island to the hut with the intention of beginning our experimental isolation which I had subconsciously named “Operation – Hide from the world. ”
We were nearly there when we met with quite a surprise.
Exhausted, dirty, stumbling and numb from the frenzied and guilty smoking of the parchment tasting stolen leaves, we rounded a forest bend where we saw HIS UNCLE AND FAMILY GOING ALONG THE PATH TOWARD THE HUT WITH A FOUR WHEELER MOTOR BIKE LOADED WITH FOOD AND OTHER HOLIDAY STUFF.
SURF BOARDS AND PLASTIC BUCKET AND SPADE SETS SPARKLED IN THE SUN AT US IN AN ACCUSING MANNER.
We dropped to the ground and hid ninja-style.
We stashed the boxes and groveled forward in the dust peering.
Yes it looked like they had just arrived and were gearing up for quite a fun couple of days/weeks/months/years . . .
We shuffled back into the wilds and hid, stunned and mullet like pondering what to do.
It was decided that we establish some sort of “base” from which to “spy.” Then as soon as they moved away we could move in. The last time we had seen his uncle he had given us a simple choice, a 180-degree life change, forsaking our warm cozy numb lives of eight hours of being “awake” per day or being beaten like the insolent children we were and then dragged out onto the street not necessarily in that order . . . so actually going and seeing him was not an option.
We were the types who were heavily biased in favor of subterfuge and thought that if you could trick someone into giving you something, or steal it then there was no need to ask. Because we thought nobody really owns anything anyway as it’s all just made of energy and perceived by us because we believe it’s there and thus it’s not really real and so nothing exists.
So stealing is ok.
We found an old abandoned boatshed, roofless and empty except for a few old polystyrene buoys and leaves. You could crawl underneath into a sandy hollow where there was a bit of space and this became our new home. We constructed crude beds from our packs and clothes and hollowed out spaces in the sand and lay back to plot.
We would hole up here and explore the wilderness, spying on the houses maybe doing a bit of Viking style “raiding.” And gathering shellfish to live on, while searching out Marijuana crops to rip and smoke.
We plotted into the night. The companion remembered some friends from his childhood who may be into drugs now and we would call on them to receive the “HOOK UP and KICK BACK” as soon as he remembered the way there.
We slept in sandy lower level abandoned boatshed darkness.
We woke at the usual time of around three and hiked into the wilderness across the island looking for small trails that would lead us to a huge dope plantation – yet wary of traps that growers use against “Rippers” . . . Traps like fish hooks dangling at eye level from tree branches and hidden boards with rusty six-inch nails – coated with infectious fish guts – sticking out of the ground also razor blades embedded in the plant stems to rip eager ripper hands . . .
We had only gone for a few hours on the trail when we were confronted by a wild and angry looking beardy man who burst out of the bush and growled at us “What are you doing here!” My compatriot said
” Hi! Paul Albright right? I remember you from when I was little, Im Joeb I used to live not far from you . . . I used to play with your kids Jess and Danny… … … you live over the hill there . . . your wifes’ name is Marge and she does Yoga . . .
The Wild Hill mans eyes narrowed, yet he seemed between deep worry – that he had suddenly been hit with so much information about himself (something that only a true surfer of the wave of paranoia can know the terror of) – and slight recognition, of the boy Joeb, who had grown into the grizzled hobo he saw before him.
He demanded to know what we were doing. The compatriot told him we were just missoning through the bush on the way to some guy’s house.
He said “THAT’S HOW YOU SEARCH!.”
I thought “Mental note: That is how one searches.”
His eyes narrowed again almost disappearing into his beard. He told us to follow him and he would lead us there.
He led us there along the trail not allowing any deviation, stops or meanderings and then told us if he found us in the bush again there would be trouble.
I wasn’t scared. I was too dumb to be scared. Lamentably my myriad addictions had long overridden all sanity in their quest for satiety.
We found the long lost friend in the nice big house and after introductions were made and the required amount of childhood reminiscing attended to the question was asked.
The childhood friend who had grown into a large and healthy candidate for acceptance into middle class New Zealand still was keeping the BAZ dream alive. And when he had been given a huge 20 liter paint container of dope a year ago he had diligently stashed it up in the woods behind his house.
It was there he led us.
It was there we received the PAIL.
It was full and heavy – there was at least 5 pounds of dope in there. Crammed in and solidified.
We fled with it before he could change his mind.
We dashed into the bush and along the path – then down a bank to survey the prize.
Tearing the lid off we were met with a huge cloud of whiteish yellow spores.
Waving away the spore cloud the pail seemed to be filled with large yellowish lumps of mold . . . questing fingers discovered that the dope was hidden INSIDE the mold!
What a score! A huge pail of marijuana with bonus (maybe toxic) mold.
We raced back to our boatshed palace shed to blaze up a storm.
A storm of fungasuarial proportions was blazed and we sat in the shed looking up at the stars rolling fungus joint after fungus joint.
This weed was indeed “different.” As one took a big pull of the filthy stiff stale sock and sporefilled dank bonfire taste, an equally strong pull occasioned from the back on ones head. Pulling it back with a whip snap and a teeth grit . . . followed by a pained silence, then a bout of serious hacking, ( dry at first – but to be a cough of grey, sooty phlegm and later still a greeny black sooty mold smelling festaspaste ).
The drugged feeling …