map High School Drug Friends

by Robert St. James

Published in Issue No. 3 ~ April, 1996

There was Molly overdosing on Kamchatka vodka and LSD somewhere down the hill below Fairview High School, down towards Viele lake, somewhere out in the tall dry grass. I can hear her screaming again and the other girls talking about whether they should call an ambulance or just let her ride it out so she wouldn’t get busted.

The thing was to go smoke a few bowls and stare out over the lake and talk about music. Sixties and Seventies music, even though this was 1982. ELP, Yes, Pink Floyd. We ignored punk and new wave. Punks were too weird even for us. Pet shop stuff and black lipstick–the girls were all ugly and the guys too damn hostile. The new wavers were all prissy coke fags who spent more on their clothes and hair cuts than we did on Thai Stick and MDMA. We were stoners, hanging out getting stoned and talking about the cosmos and hippy bullshit. Listening to Xeppelin and the Dead and whatever as long as it was spacey. Jesus we were lame.

I had a lot more in common with the punks. For them it’s all screeching hatred and burnt-out depression. Sex with girls who are too drunk, anti-psychotic medications to come down from kerosene- tasting bathtub meth. Throwing bottles at cars on the Mall on Halloween, getting arrested for breaking into houses and stealing shit that we tried to pawn at DEs on the Hill. Beating the fuck out of my friend Johnny because he said some shit about how I didn’t have any friends. Shooting holes in the floor of this house with a .22 between songs during band practice. Lame sex with my best friend’s girlfriend that felt more like masturbation. Vomiting on myself for my 21st birthday and having to be carried out of Tulagi’s because I’d overdosed on Flexeril and Long Island Iced Tea. Smoking pot and looking out over the lake, talking about the Beatles Sgt. Pepper.

The water is so dirty in Viele lake; overgrown with some kind of underwater weed that chokes the lake. I’ve heard it’s because of the fertilizer that washes down from the lawns of the gigantic houses above the lake. Sure, whatever. It’s more of a swamp than a lake. You wouldn’t want to swim in it. Some turtles and a billion ducks live there along with crawdads, bullheads and sunfish. Geese show up all the time. There’s probably a few wild house cats around and of course squirrels, little vaguely black birds, crows, grasshoppers, lizards, spiders, crawly things, and a few otters, rraccoonsand the occasional mule dear down from the mountains. One time, when we were smoking a few bowls of khack weed down by the lake, Rick nailed a duck with a rock and broke it’s neck. It just kind of laid there in the water.

We were sitting outside on the porch during some party, kissing and pawing each other. Me and Molly, I mean. She used to dress like something out of Dickens, like the Artful Dodger, and she was really drunk on whatever we were drinking that night. We must have been out there for hours. Later we went back to my parent’s house to have sex. They were out of town. I couldn’t get it up so Molly eventually left. Like 5 years later we tried again and fucked in the shower. It was still an effort to come. Molly stayed the night and left in the morning.

Dorsey and Rodney were these crusty hippies. I used to hate their drop-out arrogance and stoner bullshit. They seemed to have this desperate need to explain everything to everybody–like how to land after a kung-fu kick, or how to draw weird Jungian patterns on huge pieces of scrap paper with 50 dollar German drafting pens, or the different qualities of THC in Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. “Sativa makes you more pumped like, stoked, dude. Indica just mellows you way out.” Where did they get all this shit from, books? But of course I listened to them and believed them. Dorsey moved to Carbondale which is near Aspen trying to get close to this one chick Dedi who spaced him out. He tried to commit suicide by slicing his wrist open with a key. The last time I saw him, he was outside the liquor store carrying a quart of beer back to his Econoline van. Rodney got a job as a janitor, I think, after he broke up with Molly.

Shirey had his little stereo set up on a chest of drawers that was missing half the handles. He played a Lou Reed album while we smoked khack weed through his little water bong, the kind that always splash bongwater up into your mouth when you take a hit. Bongwater tastes like sewage. I didn’t even get high. I’d come over to talk Shirey into joining us for a rumble against some jock dudes. He spaced us out, of course, fucking little coward. The rumble never happened anyway. I remember his parents sitting around their living room, couch covered with newspapers and empty cans and whatever kind of trash. His father, like sixty years old and retired from the coal mines, or something–there aren’t any coal mines around here–drunk as fuck and passed out in front of the TV. His mom looked like 80 or something and just kind of stumbled around and made some kind of squeaking noise.

George and his 7 or 8 or 15 cousins, brothers, sisters and 2 moms and whatevers lived like a bunch of crusties in this one house down on Moorhead. They lived like fucking street people or squatters. George never seemed to take a bath or comb his hair. We smoked khack weed in his basement room and didn’t listen to shit because he didn’t have a radio that worked. His sister used to smear food on her face and then cry. She was 17. Their house burned down one Christmas Eve. The papers said it was a malfunctioning Christmas tree.

Molly had some really good Thai weed and we sat out smoking it with Sherry by the bridge over one of the little streams that led down to the lake. The weed was so good we spaced out the next class. It’s hard to describe the passive sense of ecstasy and fulfillment that comes from being incredibly stoned and relaxing in the tall grass. We just stared at the little waves come washing up on the mud and sand. Sherry started talking about New Hampshire or some other depressing place back in the East. We didn’t say anything. She shut up again. Molly picked up a stick and kind of waved it in the breeze. I looked at the stick and then looked at Molly’s stoned face. She could barely open her eyes.

Jason scrounged dollars from people until he had enough money to buy a gram of really good Jamaican. Then he’d smoke it bit by bit, like a drunk with his bottle of Night Train. When he got stoned he talked about disgusting shit like fucking girls in their brown starfish and how Frank Zappa used to eat his own shit on stage. Then he’d smoke some more and start talking crazy, nonsense phrases like “FIPE is the organistic supercharger hobo” or some fucked up stuff. He liked to poke people and do that shadow boxing kind of thing. I could easily have picked up a rock and simply caved in his skull without thinking too much about it. But he had dope and connections for stronger drugs and he lived right on the other side of the lake, so I could kind of be his friend, despite his fucked up laugh and jokes like “how do you recondition an old whore? Put a ham up in her and take out the bone.” He laughed for what seemed like the entire afternoon at that one.

David was just a criminal. He broke into stereo stores, liquor stores, pharmacies, whatever. He always had money and he drove this ’69 Mustang Fastback painted Army green that could do over a hundred in the mountains. His girlfriend Didi was the hottest girl in the stoner set. Me and David were going to open an abortion clinic some day. Right after he got back from the Navy where they were going to train him to use nuclear weapons. That actually happened. The last time I saw David we bought each other drinks and he told me about his adventures in the Gulf War.

“Tuborg Gold, the beer of Danish Kings and teenage alcoholics,” Tony said as we slammed a few cases and looked out the front windshield of his van, the same van he’d filled up with stolen stereo equipment last week. We got completely trashed and then Tony drove off to his 5th DUI.

Another Saturday night. I had to puke again. Peter, Rick, Nick, Todd were sitting around the table getting pounded on Budweisers but I’d been drinking Old Crow and taking Vicodin again so I was spinning by 10:30. I puked, went back, drank some more, puked again, went back to drinking. I forgot all about Dennis’ sister that I was supposed to go fuck. She made me ill anyway the way she kept grasping at my penis as if it were some clay she could mold into something hard. The LSD finally started kicking in and then I could drink like holy fuck. We went through the two cases in less than two hours. We made the liquor store at 11:45 exactly, bought two more cases and a bottle of Old Crow for me. Rick said he had to go and we sprayed him with beer until he got pissed off. “Fuck you guys, you fucking losers. Just because you don’t have shit to do on Saturday.” “Fuck you, Rick. You lagging sorry ass wuss!” Todd went off to puke after a while and didn’t come back. Nick horped on himself and didn’t notice it for another half hour until Peter pointed at him and went “Fucking Nick fucking puked on himself!” Nick looked down and laughed like a walrus, took another slug of Old Crow and gurped it back up on himself. He laughed some more and then fell off the keg he’d been sitting on. He kept on barfing as he tried to get off the floor. Finally, he gave up. Peter went over to look at him. “He’s fucking fine,” he said. Peter opened another few beers, finished the Old Crow and took another tab of acid. We slammed the beers, slammed more beers, did Gilligan impersonations. I went to puke again. When I came back, Peter was on the couch, snoring like a motherfuck. I bailed.

We were down by the lake, talking about life again, smoking some killer Christmas bud, the green sticky kind with red hairs. Molly was drawing pictures in the sky with her hands. She had her Irish orphan’s cap on. I think she got the idea from Rickie Lee Jones. I looked at Molly sitting on rock by this bridge that led across one of the little creeks flowing down into the lake. There was dead grass and yucca growing so thick that it looked like she was out in the country someplace. I kept looking at her hair that she kept pushing back underneath her cap. My ears started to pop and make that sound that makes you feel like you’re in a tiny room. Molly looked up for a minute. “What are you looking at?” she asked.