The Couch


Comments on CHRONICles II

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Joined: Apr 19, 2005

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Total Comments: 1518
Posted 05/08/08 - 7:14 PM:
Subject: CHRONICles II
Weed is a dirty mistress.

She isn't as demanding as coke, doesn't steal your soul like heroin, nor burst your blood vessels like booze. She just gets into bed with you, quietly, calmly, with a perfectly mediocre, knowing smile--the kind an older woman might have when guiding a much younger, eager lover. She caresses you slowly with experienced confidence, and takes you to a place where you feel just right--comfortable, not anxious, full but not satiated.

She leaves without much talk. When you wake up she's gone, with only her faint scent still on the pillow. She knows she'll be back, but isn't bothered about when or where. The soft certainty of a carefree hippy lets her float from place and place, from time to time. Her breath gets in your body though, and even when separated from her for a great long while, you can still feel a slight tingling, a distant craving for her embrace.

She's hard to get rid of. Because of her easy nature, her ambivalence, her benevolence.

I see her around, various places.

One day, I found weed in the stairwell.

Not any old stairwell, not the lush carpeted stairs of my mother's home, no. This is a concrete stairwell of a parkade. A stinking fuggy stairwell bounded by metal fire doors. A brief pause between levels of parked cars, over which countless leather bound boots have strode in haste to make their mundane appointments. Here, scattered up and down the stairs, I found her.

I was immediately leery of the situation, because I knew where it had come from. But my attention tighened, my heart raced, as the prospect of marimana falling from concrete heaven soared through my mind.

At the time I was playing the role of parkade security, so patrolling these stairwells was something of a daily (if not hourly) routine. The most pressing issue we faced was in trying to combat TFAs, that is, theft-from-auto under $1000. What this usually constituted was a broken car window and a ransacked interior. Poor saps with no ambition to rise above the gutters they crawled out of with the morning sun would sooner shatter glass to grab a handful of pennies than work an honest day. And yet, there was little room for sympathy for the foolish communters who would leave their parked cars unattended for hours upon hours with tempting lures lying all about the seats and trays. Cds, cassettes, change, insurance papers, backpacks, clothing--they took it all. And despite public awareness campaigns, people always seemed surprised that it happened 'to them'.

Legally, we were covered, since one could hardly miss the huge sign that says 'Do Not Leave Valuables Unattended in Vehicles' to the effect that management was not responsible. But business is business, and no one wants to park at a lot where blatant vandalism was the norm. So we tried to reduce the threat. That meant more patrols, more often. And it brought us in conflict with the second issue--vagrants.

A vagrant is a euphemism for a dirty no-good bum. They're called bums because that's what they do--sit on their boney asses all day long--when they're not breaking into cars for petty change that is. Mind you, the old timers with the 'wounded leg' routine were usually harmless as they begged for change on the street corners. They retired to comfortable (though not quite decent) appartments at night, with a nice handful of disposable income. They weren't the problem. Nor were the begging homeless, also fairly benevolent, because even if such a one was sleeping in the stairwell, we had no problem getting them to move along. They knew the drill just as we did.

And the drill was simple: Vagrants be gone! No exceptions.

The trouble makers were the same scourge that had be-plagued the entire downtown core: Hard core drug abusers.

They smoked crack like cheap cigarettes and shot junk right in the open. We found them slumped in corners, in basements, on rooftops, behind cars, in empty stalls, behind corners, inside 'locked' gates, and just about anywhere else they could get into. They often left us nice surprises like steaming liquid feces and used and bloody hypodermic needles. There is nothing, I tell you, more bracing than the smell of junkie shit in the stairwell first thing in the morning. You open the stairwell door and WHOOF! you are poffed with the thick fug of human depravity.

And when the yellow coats showed up (security) they all knew it was time to leave. You don't have to do your drugs at home, but you can't stay here. But it was always a major drag. They knew, as we knew, that security guards had no real enforcement power. We were not legally allowed to carry weapons, and could not make any arrests without calling the police in first. So we worked largely through verbal judo, trying to maneouver our charges out the door with minimal confrontation under threat of 'trespassing' charges and other nonsense.

You see all kinds in that environment, but mostly it was young kids. Kids, you think, that ought to be at home in the suburbs, kids, whose parents are wondering if their children are alive or dead. Its hard not to be cyncial about it, after hearing them go on. You get the idea that many were there for a lark, to avoid 'the real world'. And avoid it they did, if their junk-induced graphitti was any indication.

You see it all. And, not surprisingly, temptation lurks around every corner.

For some guards it was the temptation to be militant, to rough up vagrants under the illusion of 'authority'. Those failed military wanna-bes made out situation all the more precarious by skewing the perception of the average vagrant, who found security guards to be assholes. It took a constant negotiation to dispell that image and deal with these people as people, which they too, in their humanity, were also trying to do.

For others the temptation was more fleshly. There were plenty of homeless women and girls among the hordes, many of which, in their varied states, would do just about anything for a packet of cigarettes or a 20 dollar bill. Although the risks are obvious and intense, it was not unheard of for a guard to receive 'payment' to let some poor tramp stay under the dry parkade roof during the rainy or snowy season. Indeed, there was something less than human about some of these girls. It was as if their flesh was just hanging there to be grabbed, kneeded, and carved up like a roast by a hungry guard's desires. They were at once distgusting and provocative, a potent combination.

For still others it was drugs. Crack was particularly prevelent. We had a 'former' crack addict on our 'team', and were always leery about giving him the night shift where he could 'work' alone. It was easy to make street level connections it you buddied up to the street level dealers that used the parkades as offices and whorehouses alike.

So it was that I had on occassion discovered the secret to street-level cannabis. I came up some ultra-grubby dudes in the stairwell with a pile of 'fresh' green weed. Or at least, a pile of swag. They were 'making' hash. I had rather romantic ideas about how hash was made from movies and books on the subject, and this was nothing like that. They grubs were manually pressing their weed on the dirty concrete steps. It turned deep green to black and left a stain across the floor. This wasn't 'hashesh' at all--this was just shitty weed squished in a stairwell by a couple of ne'r-do-wells. (Nice guys, though.)

I thought, shit, I will never buy hash again!

Other times I ran into folks cutting up greenery and bagging it, still using the floor as a desk. I don't know what was more dirty--the floor or the grubbers sitting on it.

So, when I saw the fresh green stalks scattered around the stairwell, I knew they had come from one of the regular no-good-niks who populated these wells and sold street swag to other poor souls scrapping to live another day.

But hey, free weed.

I examined the weed more closely. I had as much leisure as I needed. I was at the top most level of a stairwell, and the upper and outside roof had no cars on it, so I was garuanteed solitude. I collected the bigger pieces. There was a handful of stems and stalks with some buds still left on them. Not the real prize colas to be sure, but a few remnants that looked palatable. The stuff was still wet. It was green as spring. What a slapdash job, I thought. Some beggar probably swiped a couple of live plants from some guy growing them in some run-down appartment block they went to to score. The guy probably got roughed up or at least a broken window, while these punks ran off thinking they'd hit the big time. Unfortunately they knew nothing of picking and curing marijuana, nor how and when to remove the broad leaves and clip the flowers. In a way, I felt sad for the plant itself, since it would not now have a chance to live up to its full genetic and flowering potential.

Still. I found a sandwich baggie in my satchel and stuffed the lot in. When I finally got home, I placed the wet green in a nice paper box to slowly dry for the next few days. When it finally reached its peak, I rolled that shit and smoked it.

I was, of course, leery about this. Who knows if they had cut this shit with some freaky chemicals, or what was fed to it when it was in the pot. When I smoked it, I thought there was a slight windex-y aftertaste, a sure sign of molestation. But for me, at the time, free was better than nothing.

I got a few buzzes out of the deal. But the real thrill was finding the stuff, even knowing where it came from. The danger and depravity made it all the more exciting.

And that's how I found weed in the stairwell.

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