Copyright Ken Brady. No reproduction without express permission from the author.
(Originally published in DAILY CABAL, 2009)
So it’s 4/20, and you know you’re supposed to be somewhere, maybe somewhere important, a meeting with someone significant, a major life event that decides the trajectory of the next decade, but you can’t remember where the place is, who you’re supposed to meet, whether you’re supposed to show up in jeans and t-shirt or if the suit you’re in is apropos.
Not amnesia or anything so dramatic, not that you’re so stressed out you can’t concentrate. It’s just that date has rolled around again, when you feel you have to show solidarity with your alternative friends, be a good little strait-edge and not toke up for as long as you can handle it.
You’re not stoned out of your gourd, and it sucks.
You didn’t have your usual 11 a.m. bowl – third of the day – that takes you from a nice, chill buzz to a dizzying, awe-inspiring, almost-falling-down-the-fucking-spiral-staircase noodle-bag. Instead, you’ve got this vicious clarity invading your mind. Sure, you do this on occasion anyway, once in a while, at parties maybe, sometimes before sex if your partner is into it. But this is different. You wonder if someone can O.D. on abstinence. You’re getting paranoid.
So when Bob comes through the door waving and telling you you’re late, won’t make it to the meeting, going to lose the deal, you just sort of stare at him. He stops mid-rant, eyes red, clothes disheveled.
“Dude,” he says. “You aren’t stoned.”
“Hey, you know me. It’s 4/20.”
Bob smacks his forehead. “Man, I forgot. But…uh, the meeting, you know?”
It’s one of those circular dreams you’ve had a million times except this time you’re not dreaming. Something important. No pot, the meeting, Bob. The meeting, that’s it. You begin to panic.
“I need to change.” You practically rip off your tie and jacket, search for fleece or tie-dye.
“Look, man,” Bob says. “You’re freaking. I’m thinking you smoke some weed so you can prep for the meeting. After we get the account, you can detox or whatever, you know?”
“Just a joint, OK?” you say.
“Cool,” Bob says. “That’ll take the edge off.”
So you’re dressed down, light up in the elevator on the way, feel your mind wander. Familiar territory, and as you walk in the boardroom, you’re greeted with a stack of charts, graphs, and a blown-glass bong.
You hit the points you need to and it only takes 5 hours. But as 4:19 hits, you get edgy. You can’t take it anymore so you duck out of the smoke-filled room and into the hallway.
You check your watch.
It’s time. You inhale.