Image by Tau Zero via FlickrI put down my pipe, and the phone rang. What perfect symmetry. Don't call when the pipe is in my hand (if you can help it). Wait til I'm done.
"I go by that name sometimes."
"This is a stoner buddy of yours you haven't thought of since we last toked together 12 years ago. Except the other night, when you suddenly thought of me during a bong session. How have you been? Ain't it funny how the unconscious mind works?"
"Would you mind putting emphasis on that?
"I'm a friend, so I have to reappear in your life now and again."
"A true friend ... one that can track down my unpublished cell phone number."
"There you have it."
"How have you been?" I was remembering now.
"Name is Ben, you're close."
Oh, god, his name wasn't Frank.
"We toked...?" I asked.
"Yes, 12 years ago. Technically, 11 years ago and 311 days, but that's 12 to me."
"I provided the pot. Remember?"
I remembered him. He was into some heavy stuff then.
"That's right. Hydroponics."
"I remember ... it was great ... had black curly hairs on it. It was nicknamed 'Pubes.'"
"Exactly. Someone crossbred it that way."
"I remember coughing, and not because it was harsh."
He laughed. "You were disgusted, but a connoisseur of a high."
"It's always the high that counts," I mused, "not what brings us there. What brings you into my world?"
No response. No response. No response.
He was toking?
"You," he finally answered. His voice was an octave higher; I could tell he was holding his breath.
"I wanted to see what you were smoking nowadays." When he exhaled I could sense the quality.
"The economy is causing me to smoke stems and seeds," I admitted.
A pause, then: "You can't be serious."
I rattled my jar. "I used to pick them out and throw them away but now ... they're gold."
"I'm serious," I continued. "I don't even use a screen anymore. I inhale the ash."
"Jesus." I had his complete stoner attention somehow. "That is a tragic story."
"This is," I agreed.
"Let me send you my seeds and stems."
"You don't have to."
"I don't have many."
"Top grade stuff doesn't have the urge to reproduce, I understand. I'll take whatever you've got."
"I'll take good care of you."
"Thank you." I did my own kind of exhale.