I guess I should start by mentioning that everything I write here today is the absolute truth, and not the kind of truth which can be spread thin or thick like peanut butter. This is the absolute truth and nothing but the truth, down to the smallest most insignificant detail. From Ralphie & Evan, to the steel I see before me now, everything happened exactly as it’s told. And just because some of it may seem a little farfetched or even fantastical to you now, doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. It did, I sometimes wished it hadn’t happened so fast and escalated to the point that it did, but sometimes the things we have no control over are the things which shape us into the best possible person. That being said, if I’d been shaped a little better, I probably wouldn’t have ended up sitting in this particular room at this particular time. But enough of that now.
The best way to begin this story, is probably the same way most events in my life began. With a small plastic bag. You know the kind which you get at a DIY store when you buy specific nuts and bolts from those massive containers? Yeah, those same kind of plastic bags. But unlike a DIY store, most of the plastic bags throughout my life and throughout this story, were not quite filled with nuts and bolts, but rather a wide variety of whatever drugs were doing the rounds at that point in time, in the youthful city of Berlin, Germany.
From the softer stuff like Weed and Ecstasy, to the harder stuff like Meth and Crack, I’ve seen pretty much every drug ever scheduled by the DEA in one of those small plastic bags. And I know it might come across as though I’m proud of this ‘experience’, but I promise you I’m not. I’m still trying to figure out how it is I exactly feel about it, but proud is not one of my options. Intrigued perhaps, that my life ended up being consumed by the drug world, but even then, maybe just alright. Maybe, I just feel, alright with how things went and maybe I’m just coping and this story being transcribed to you, is just another way for me to cope. But f*** that, I’m getting distracted.
So a plastic bag, or ‘baggie’ if you will, filled with what was probably 0.7 grams of weed, but what both Ralphie and I believed to be a solid fair weighted gram. Why did we think it was a solid gram? Because that’s what the dealer told us it was, and when an adult, even a younger one, tells a 15-year-old like Ralphie that something weighs a gram, it doesn’t matter if it feels like 0.1, it’s a gram through and through of what must be the finest available s*** in Berlin. That’s important to remember as you follow the story. The manipulation and lies that dealers inflict on kids as young as 14 years’ old, is probably the key reason things went south so soon. For every dealer that sells legit stuff at fair prices in a fair environment, you’ve got at least five that will f*** you over, and stab you both figuratively and literally at any given moment. Ralphie’s dealer at the time as already discussed, was one such dealer.
The baggie was obviously too big for the small amount of weed Ralphie had acquired. 70 or maybe 75% of the bag was completely empty, no leaves or stems just barren emptiness, and as the bag lay there in Ralphie’s sizeable hand, it looked quite meager and unimposing.
“Are you sure it’s good? Like it’s not laced with hairspray or something? I really don’t want to smoke anything that’s covered in chemicals or some s***.” I tried my best not to sound as nervous as I felt while looking for confirmation from Ralphie that it was safe. I had never smoked before, despite being best friends with Ralphie who smoked on a regular basis with his older brother Greg. About 20 or so times, Ralphie had offered me a hit from a joint, and every time something inside of me said no. Sure I was curious, I mean what kind of kid isn’t curious about drugs, but I’d never made the leap to actually acting on the urge. Today was different.
“Do you actually think I’d buy laced f****** weed man? I’m not a bloody amateur Marc, I can tell if there’s something wrong with it. This s*** right here, best goddamn weed in Berlin right now. OG Kush. Flown straight in from Amsterdam, my guy doesn’t mess around!” responded Ralphie condescendingly as he sat down on the park bench and took out his rolling equipment.
I nodded my head and sat down beside him, going through my bag to retrieve a water bottle from the bottom. “Is it going to hurt my throat you think?”
“If you do it right then it’s gonna’ f****** kill your throat man,” said Ralphie as he laughed, “Just make sure you breathe it in properly and all will be fine. Drink some water when you’re done, you won’t even notice it when we’re high anyways.”
I nodded my head again subconsciously taking a sip from the bottle. I had been kind of drunk before, at a family wedding, when my dad had mixed up our champagne glasses, and proceeded to do so several more times. My mom was furious when she found out, but my dad was delighted with his staggering son dancing to music he didn’t like and hitting on girls twice his age. Yeah I know, I’m kind of a legend, but that was about a month ago, and since then I’d decided that I was ready to try weed with Ralphie, and see if it was similar to my half drunken (pretty drunken, fine you got me), experience.
I watched as Ralphie went through the step by step process of building the joint. Grinding the weed, mixing in a little tobacco so that it ‘would burn longer’, and then finally rolling the joint itself with calm hands and careful precision.
He lit the joint and took two hits, inhaling and exhaling slowly and long, before passing it to me and advising me to do the same.
“Puff puff pass bro, make sure to inhale that s*** no matter how hard it burns.” He winked at me and watched me closely as I lifted the tip of the joint to my quivering lips. I sucked on the joint for two or three seconds, feeling the hot smoke expanding in my mouth, looking for an exit. I took the tip away from my mouth and immediately inhaled. God I’d wished I’d done it wrong.
The burning sensation was pretty similar to inhaling any kind of smoke, so it reminded me of the time I’d accidently inhaled quite a bit of smoke from a campfire. I remember coughing and spluttering at the time and trying to block out the rawness of my throat with happy thoughts, but happy thoughts don’t work so well for physical actual blistering pain. I’d wish I could say that I didn’t cough this time, smoking the joint, but of course I did as I quickly passed the joint to Ralphie and lunged for my water. I didn’t care if the water would only cool my throat a little, to be perfectly honest I would have put pretty much anything down my throat just to make the tiniest reduction of pain occur.
Ralphie was laughing while holding the joint, pointing it at me as though I should take another hit. “I know the feel bro. Sorry I underplayed it. It’s just something you need to get done fast and early, the first hit is always the hardest. Take a second.”
I stretched out my hand and accepted the joint warily. The glowing cherry at the far end of the joint lit up even more as I took a second hit, coughing a lot less this time and reacquiring far less water to ease the pain. The first hit indeed was the hardest, but by the ninth and tenth hits I was starting to feel… well… stoned I guess. I didn’t know it at the time, it being the first time and all, but by the end of that joint I was so goddamned stoned, we literally went to McDonalds and bought eleven f****** cheeseburgers. I s*** you not, eleven of them.
Now I know what all you ‘real’ stoners are thinking. You never get high the first time you smoke. You’re a placebo p************, I’m gonna’ stop reading your story right now, because it sucks balls and you’re a liar. I’m not lying. I know I can’t prove it, but I was soaring like a kite and I was loving it. Oh and also, f*** you, you weren’t there to see the massive pupils and the reddened glazed over eye white of my eyes. I was stoned as s***.
That was the first time of many that I got high with Ralphie. Alone on that day we smoked at least two more joints, the last of which mainly consisted of tobacco and didn’t really get us as stoned as the other two, but still, it was a lot to take in, all in one day, and how could I have known how much my life was about to change, just because of one naturally occurring plant. It’s the weed, it’s the weed.
To be continued…