Saturday, April 12, 2008

Big Time Drug Dealers

No, not the 2 in this picture.

A dear friend I only get to see about every 15 years called me from L.A. the other day.

She said my blog made it sound like we grew up total druggies. There was quite a drug culture back then but we also were actually learning about art, literature and the sciences.

I remember Tony turning us on to Marcel Proust when I was 16 or 17.

We were throwing lines from Finnegan’s Wake at each other while Captain Beefheart and The Bonzo Dog Band blared from our record player (and I do mean record player, not stereo).

We had good friends going into a Christian order “The Brotherhood of Mans”. (Tony please let me know if I’m not getting this name right). A. turned me on to Maxfield Parish which led to Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Post Impressionism, Da Da, Expressionism, and Surrealism.

We were reading Joyce Carol Oates, Herman Hesse, Richard Brautigan, and Carlos Castaneda among others.

In spite of all this I’m about to tell another drug story. This is in response to a comment I received from my “Suburbs” entry.

I was 16 and had just gotten my first car. It was a black Pontiac station wagon I called “Wild Life” after a Capt. Beefheart song. I was living in Soulard over Suzy, Mark, and Kent Gray (Suzy Q for those familiar with the name).

My apartment was always filled with my friends. My mother worked at night bartending and we were left to our own devices.

My buddy J. decided we could make a lot of money selling drugs. At first we experimented trying to grow our own marijuana. J. was learning about hydroponics and we tried growing seeds in toilet paper mulch. We tried all kinds of crazy experiments. As a practical joke J. used to push seeds into my mother’s potted plants. I would find the little sprouts coming up everywhere and have to dig them out before my mom found them.

This ended up being the only thing we could grow until several years later when we had mushrooms growing all around the house. You could order mycelium legally through High Times magazine back in those days.

One day J. got a line on a pound of dope and a few hundred hits of acid. J., M. and I decided to go into business together. We had fantasies about big runs up from Mexico. We were going to be rich!

The big deal went down in an apartment in the Central West End.

I can’t remember how much the LSD cost but the pound was $100.00. I can’t even imagine how much it would be today.

After spending an entire evening cleaning the pot we discovered the acid was very weak. We gave all but a hundred hits back and turned everyone else onto the rest. M. decided she couldn’t in all good conscience sell dope because she was so heavily into it herself. So one evening it seemed all the kids in South St. Louis were tripping. We lost all our money.

I remember J., M. and I cruised up and down Gravois all night in Wild Life. We watched the sunrise at the riverfront and went back to my apartment to sleep it off.

We woke my mother and she could tell that we’d been up to no good. She started barking orders and my friends and I found ourselves washing dishes and cleaning house.

The noise woke Suzy up downstairs and she came up. With my mother yelling at us in the background Suzy looked up at us from her cup of coffee and asked, “Why is she doing this to us?” She seemed to identify more with us than my mother.

M. and I got out of the business immediately. J. didn't and ended up doing 5 years in prison when his field was discovered. That is actually a fascinating story I’ll tell later. It should be made into a movie.

The picture is Kent and Suzy in her Afro wig in front of our Soulard home.


tonpatti said...

Drugs were almost obligatory back in the seventies. I try not to think about how the delusions of drug use contributed to my own educational decline.

Our only hope was to educate ourselves, which you talked about in terms of books and authors. Later on, I became hooked on history books, too.

Doggie said...

History and science.

sharon said...

Books and art. Art with tens of thousands of teenie, tiny dots. Staying up for three days at a time to get through it all; only to sleep and awaken with another dream and needing to start all over again.

Doggie said...

Hey, snap out of it!