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Archive for November, 2009

h74306In September 1958 seventeen years old just out of navy boot camp I ended up  in Long Beach California reporting on board my first ship a troop transport the USS Talladega moored to a buoy off the fleet landing. It was late in the day so they just checked me aboard gave me a liberty card pointed out my bunk and locker.
“Make sure you are at quarters 0600 Monday”
As I waited for the very next boat back to the beach I met two of my new shipmates  Kenny and Letch
“Hang with us; there is not shit to do here unless are you twenty one”.
“Im not”
The street from the landing ran in and out of a waterfront amusement park
Soon we were standing outside the greasiest window in the world…
“Star café this and the pike we just walked through are all of it”
Inside the star  jumped the juke box blasted a even mix of rock and soul and a light breeze of jazz and blues, packed with moving dancing bodies, the air is foggy with smoke, smelling musty and exotic. I lost track of Kenny and Letch. A woman popped up in front of me flashed a sandwich bag of something at me.
“MARYJANE”
She disappeared and Letch appeared in the sea of bodes and faces.  
“Take a walk?”
I followed him out the door and we walked down to a bench right on the seawall.
Letch held up a brown roll your own.
“Its grass do you smoke it?”.
“Ah you mean dope?”.
“No just weed; cheapest drunk you will ever have, wanna try it”.
“Will I be addicted or nuts from it?”.
Letch just laughed and lit up.
“Its called a joint, inhale deep and hold it in”
I did and choked coughing and spitting all at the same time.
“SHIT oh shit!”
“Try again”
This time I held the smoke in.
“I don’t feel any thing”
Letch took his toke and handed the joint back to me the lights of the harbor got sharper and brighter as we finished I stood up and felt 30 feet tall the voices and other sounds from the pike were super clear as we walked back to the star my senses seamed so fine tuned I could hear all the pistons pumping and firing in ever car on ocean boulevard. Back in the star I picked up on the music right away a woman stepped up and stared dancing with me then I saw her along the wall Mary Jane.
“How much”
“Ten a lid”
She flashed the Baggie, I handed over the bill she pushed the bag in my pocket. I have smoked a lot of pot in the fifty years since then and I have never regretted it, never been addicted to anything except coffee I still smoke it today

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