I always moan that there's not enough creative writing posts on Steemit, so when I see one come up, I can't help but bite. @jgvinstl invites us to write about our first experience with cannabis in this post for the chance to win Steem, Creative Coin and Weedcash. I'm going to tag a few creative writers here as well, hoping they'll write about their experiences too (if they've had them, of course - and I'm guessing if it's creative writing, it doesn't necessary have to be totally true, right?). So, @owasco, @meesterboom, @ginnyannette, @trucklife-family, @honeydue, @blacklux - hope you don't mind this little invitation to write? I'm afraid I go a little dark in this one - but then that's how I remember it, if if it's not entirely the truth - or is it? In the end, I couldn't write about my first time, but a moment in a collective of first times. The first time didn't inspire me, creativity wise. Oh, and I can't recall these times without this song, so I dunno, maybe you wanna play it when you read it.
The house is what they might call a den, you know, the 'they' that don't appreciate those dark caves that young people make when they first move out of home and have the freedom to just be in their own bedrooms without the folks telling them to come and talk to people, for god's sake, and what is that godawful music you are listening to. The door is a cheap plywood door with dog scratches on the lower left corner and a round hole exploding with splinters from where Wes had headbutted it the month before because he thought it was a far better option than knocking. After about an hour, someone had got up off the couch to see who was at the door and found him passed out next to his dog, who was using him as a pillow.
I am admitted into the den by a lanky guy I haven't met before, that goes by the name of Tallboy, which is another name for a King Brown, which is another name for a tallie, which is another name for a 750 ml brown glass bottle of Victoria or Melbourne Bitter, which is cheaper than buying stubbies, which are short brown bottles of beer. I am learning the language of adulthood, you see, and it is important to know the difference, so that I am to be admitted into this space of tall boys and short boys and boys with long blond hair with salty eyebrows from surfing all day. Tallboy doesn't say hello but stumbles down the corridor. He isn't wearing shoes. None of us wear shoes. Shoes are overrated, unless you have a job as a chippie or a concreter and work all week in Melbourne before coming home to party on the weekend and spend all your money on big bags of weed.
Someone has been sweeping the carpet. There are cigarette butts and empty tally-ho packets and a torn wrapper of a Chiko roll behind the broom, which is propped up against the dark walls of the corridor that lead down towards the loungeroom. Kai is here, and the boys love Kai, because he's a Maori with tattoos, and kinda cool. I don't think he's cool. I've never liked mullets. Years later Kai will be dead at 32. Cancer. But Kai doesn't ignore you, like some of the boys do. He packs a bong, screws his thumb firming into the brass cone, still exhaling, sounding like a steam train slowing down, and passes it to his left. Nods at a seat. The telly is on. I'll never understand why the telly is on but the volume is down. Then, I didn't grow up in a house where the telly was always on and I didn't eat Chiko rolls either, who were invented by a guy from Bendigo who was inspired by a Chinese spring roll but made something quite disgusting that emerged dripping from deep fat fryers to be held in one hand at the football. I didn't know anyone who ate Chiko Rolls.
No-one asks why I'm here, but then I see these boys out in the water all the time, either incommunicable, or hooting their way through a barrel and floating off the back of the wave to land elegantly on white boards emblazoned with the brand GASH. I didn't ride a GASH board. Girls didn't. But I spent as much time if not more time than these boys in saltwater and that had earnt me a right to be part of the furniture, unquestioned. Even if it was velour chocolate brown furniture with garish orange swirls that had been found on the side of the road and had a broken leg propped up by chunks of two b'four. I lean against said couch and tap a durrie out of my pack of Longbeach, the cheapest, nastiest cigarrettes on the market, but also the only ones I can afford, and they come in packs of 40 and I can afford to give them away. I offer one to Kai, he takes three. One is tucked behind his ear, one slides into the empty cardboard pack next to the mull bowl, and the other is instantly torn apart, it's golden insides erupting. He passes me the bowl and leans back.
This is my favourite part, the part I will miss in years to come when I no longer play with boys in dark rooms who mull up and watch soundless television. I prop the wooden bowl in the nest between crossed legs, tap out three buds and slide the tiny silver scissors off the coffee table, a home made job that someone had made in high school likely the year before. The trick is to hold the bud and not slice your fingers off with the scissors at the same time and make deft little actions that machinally chop it into perfectly even crumbs, and just the right amount of baccy so that it's Goldilocks right. I then make a quick whirlpool and lift it up and sprinkle it between my fingers, checking for seeds that if left behind will pop and burn unpleasantly. Kai likes the way I chop a bowl and he's far too stoned to do it. It will take him too long. I put the bowl on the table and stand up, reaching for the bong. It's disgusting and I say so. Thick black crud lurks at the bottom of the glass like a brew of newt's tongue and eye of frog or whatever it was the three hags toiled and troubled over. I don't quote Shakespeare, but I do make off with the thing and head for the laundry. Here's where my little housewife takes over. Girls can be good at this, and it's this that earns them admission into dark rooms full of smoke.
Victorian bongs in the 1980's are made out of Spring Valley juice bottles, which are the perfect size for plastic pipe to be melted over their necks. Green garden hose (is there any other colour?) forms the pipe, and either foil is formed into a cone or a brass bought one, which often disappear after parties. I tip the crud down the sink, run some warm water and soap, push the bottle brush down the neck and scrub violently. Rinse and repeat, until the thing is shining. I fill it to just the right level with cool water and plunk it proudly back in the centre of the table. No-one notices. But I've earnt the right to the next bong, and at least I won't get crud on my lips, which I hate.
The house is filling up, because it's Friday night. Some come in, hand over money in the corridor, disappear. An older man arrives with two slabs of Carlton and opens one into an esky of ice, standing over them protectively. Two grommets come in via the back door, having slung their wetsuits over the back fence. Every time the sliding door opens I can hear the ocean. It is getting dark. Someone puts on a record. The bass line is immediately recognisable. I can smell surfboard resin and know the shapers are home. They go straight for the esky before sitting down. The night gets darker. I'm grateful Kai knows I only like a pinch, and knows to look after girls that are probably too young to be smoking bongs in rooms with older guys. He is subtle about it, doesn't make a big deal over the fact that I can't smoke a huge cone. I still inhale it with one breath, let it out slowly, and pass it back in one liquid, easy manner. Every cell is trying to be cool. Like I do this all the time, and not just the nights I can sneak out of home without the window creaking and giving me away.
Clive is perched on the end of the modular like a frog. He's making these ridiculous sounds with his mouth, a kind of childish tweeing where his lips vibrate, and it just keeps going. I don't think he's aware he's doing it and I'm trying not to laugh. In fact, it takes all my composure to keep a poker face, as if I'm not even listening, but my insides are cracking up and falling about over the floor. I think he must be completely baked but he gets up, slides a record out of it's white sleeve, and puts it on the turntable and it doesn't even scratch. It's the A side to Unknown Pleasures because we have already listened to the B, plus Warsaw, and Closer.
These sensations barely interest me for another day,
I've got the spirit, lose the feeling, take the shock away.
It's getting faster, moving faster now, it's getting out of hand,
On the tenth floor, down the back stairs, it's a no man's land,
Lights are flashing, cars are crashing, getting frequent now,
I've got the spirit, lose the feeling, let it out somehow.
It's loud and my heart is beating a little too fast to the bass. On the way back from the esky Johnno knocks the bong over and no-one notices. A guy is passed out on the couch, his fag burning between his fingers and a sausage of ash about to fall. Someone takes from him, punches his arm and crushes the butt in the fake crystal ashtray. A carload of boys leave for the clubs. The room empties out. The boy I'd come for finally speaks to me.
'You coming?' he says, and takes me hand. He leads me down a dark corridor to his room and I taste resin on his lips. I can hear Ian Curtis singing his sad ass melancholy, and the front door slamming.
I'm sixteen, don't you know.