Adventures Through the #Chalice Glass (PART 1 of 2)
by Tzvi Peckar the Third, 2015
I put myself on assignment: San Bernardino, a Cali-affordable-vacation to the Chalice Cannabis Convention. I’ve been at this convention center before; I piggybacked with a Kevin Kerslake video crew for an EDC offshoot, a full blown molly-nation event a couple years back, six or five years ago if I want to be precise. Back then, we had to hide our weed from Security, now it’s a whole new world, a sharing everything social network of a world. The security guard just smiles at me as I pass, offering her a hit from my pre-rolled 6” top shelf.
“All yours,” says the beautifully sun roasted African American security guard dressed in a yellow and black uniform, here to keep the peace—not here to confiscate your weed.
I rolled us out of LA, Westside, Beachfront, Santa Monica, in my red and beige 1984 Eddie Bauer Bronco, fully equipped with custom thick roll bars, 2/3rds of the exterior damaged, and I’d buy myself something new, but I can’t flip something new; guilt free at least. Besides, I like The Brick. The Brick has stayed the course, and guzzled a horrid amount of petrol.
“You should get a Prius,” Jaffer, my middle-aged Hebrew 240+ pounder sitting shotgun Bogarting the tree, says. From the backseat, Kim, the fair skinned, golden haired Puerto Rican who was rapping along with Dre over my robot faced boom box just says, “Buzz kill, dude.” Jaffer randomly suggested the Prius midway through re-explaining the reason for this jaunt east we’re all taking, a jaunt I wasn’t totally sold on when he first pitched it to me.
“Just a pipe convention?” I questioned him a night or so ago. I like pipes, I can check out a few crafty pieces, but just a pipe convention, how much $?—
“My kid’s gonna be there, he’ll give us his passes,” Jaffer tried to tame my desire to hold on to the priceless $70 bucks they might be asking for at the door.
I can admire a finely blown glass pipe, the intricate twist and twirl. I’m all game to eating a whopper of fun, putting the riot gear to use, up close and personal, getting loud, let the flames burn against the plastic shield as the artist does his thing; get in there, you know?
“Can I do that? That’s what I want to do,” I remind Jaffer for the third time, poking his belly booty as I take a quick swerve into an empty fast lane on the 10, spooking Kim, forcing the Jaffe to drop the joint. “You got a medical card for that?” I ask him as he curls over his bulge of a belly, scouring my pile of garbage that is the passenger’s foot room— “Careful with the plastic, I’m recycling,” I say.
“Did you drop the joint in that?” Kim asks leaning forward between us. I pet her thick golden hair, “Sit back. He’s a pro.”
“Ouch!” Jaffer jumps back scorching his fingers on the cherry, but then he whacks the back of his head on the dashboard. “Fuck!” Jaffer blows on his burnt fingers, stomps the smoke down; smoke rises from the heap, “Pull over!” he yells, but I already have the Sunny D bottle open and tipped, extinguishing the car fire between his toes, “Voila!”
“You don’t care much for your car,” he judges.
“I care for my life,” and I look back at Kim, “Comfy?” swerving into the other empty lane forcing the riot helmet to roll right into her, “Turn around!” she yells, and I do, sparking a second joint, “Don’t drop this one,” I say to Jaffer as I pass him the bone—
Jaffer’s story about the event has changed today as he explains it to Kim.
“My kid’s been harvesting for these growers in Humboldt.”
“He’s not transporting for them is he? No felonies, bro.”
“No, listen. He’s totally into this. My kid’s found something.”
“That’s nice,” Kim interjected.
“That’s what I think.”
“Jaffer. Tallis! (Yiddish for Bottom Line).”
“They got a cabana or something, and I guess they’re trying to sell their Dabs?”
“So we can smoke in there?”
“I don’t see why not?”
“Did you ask?”
“We’ll see when we get there.”
“You have no idea what we are going to do, don’t you?”
“Did you look at the site I sent you?” he asks me as I turn off into San Bernardino.
“No. Why would I do that?” and I hand him the filter, “Here, toss it.”
But he tries to take a last drag, all ash, he’s spitting on my dashboard.
“Gross,” Kim lectures.
We don’t pay to park. Instead, we walk the mile long San Bernardino sidewalk, paved blocks to the National Orange Show Events Center. “Who named this place?” I ask Jaffer and get no answer. I look up to the sky. There are no clouds. Jaffer’s consumed with the thoughts of his son making good and Kim just wants to get there already. “You could have dropped me off,” she says as she passes me by, giving me a whack at the back of the head. That shit hurt. Jaffer rubs my head and just starts jabbering about the kid, “I’m really proud of him.”
“So, it’s okay he’s not in school? The court’s cool with this?” I inquire, well aware we got two more blocks to kill.
“I guess. He told the judge that home up North with his Mom just wasn’t an option, and he took the GED,” he vaguely explains.
“What about your place?”
“The new wife won’t have it,” he says, then zones out and finally completes the thought, “Not with the 6 year old there.”
Kim’s gone with Jaffer to the Ticket takers to see if they can get in without calling the kid. I figure that’s because his boy’s got no passes. I’ve got a better plan to score free tickets that was shot down on the drive because they think I’m too honest of a guy to be trusted. I stepped to the head of the line and approached a booth, “Press Passes?”
“Uh, yeah. What publication?”
“SmokingCannabis dot com.”
“Not on the list,” he tells me.
“You’re stoned. I need two, one for me, and one for my photographer,” I say without a blink, well knowing we never called it in.
“Now you want two?” he asks; I still do not blink.
“Fine,” he says handing me a couple of wristbands.
I step up to my comrades, as I wrap the backstage wristband over my hairy hand, not paying attention, hungry, asking, “What did you guys score?” and watching Jaffer show off some paper wristbands, two of them, but I’m not paying that much attention as I hand Kim her backstage pass, snapping mine closed on the biggest loop; ah fuck. The band is loosey-goosey, and I watch it slide down to the width of my forearm, then south to the thickest point of my hand. The plastic band won’t fall off on its own; that much I did right.
“So, can we smoke in there?” I ask again.
The Jaffe is on the call with his son and Kim and I follow him around a looking-glass lake-pond with a spritzing four beam fountain. He’s a few feet ahead of us and the place seems empty, empty for noon-thirtyish. I smell weed everywhere. I see weed nowhere. “Dude, JAFFER!” I yell up to him, “Ask the kid if we can smoke in here?” only to be shushed by the Kim—“What? Smell that?”
“Just be cool,” she says, and I am humbled; I just smell so much weed, like way much weed. “They’re in the cabanas,” Jaffer yells back holding the cell away from his face, then he’s back doing the talky-talky as he waddles his cowboy gait over the mini-bridge. “Cabanas, you’ve seen your share,” I say to Kim the Puerto Rican. She smirks, “Let’s get high already.”
Passes for the Cabana too? Please.
We’re with them, who be with them, who be with—Thanks.
Hello. Hello. Hello’s with everyone, like four guys, three kids, and one old dude. “This is Jobe, my son,” Jaffer informs Kim and I.
“Hi Jobe,” I say and reach over to the squirt, giving him a good handshake and cutting into his Pops, “Nice name, Jaffer. Is that why you gotta smoke so much weed, kid?” I ask this seventeen ex-family-patriot. He doesn’t get it, so we move on,
“So, Dabs huh?”
Jobe is all about it. Cannabis is his everything. “Nice to play in a legal field huh?” I poke the baby, and make the old man laugh. They were here all day yesterday; the Cabana costs like three grand for the weekend, good shade, four couches surrounding your own coffee table, no coffee, just Dab machines, bongs, pipes, no papers?
“Oh I got some for ya, Tzvi,” Jobe eagerly offers as he digs into his backpack filled with grow literature, “Here, Hemp papers.” One of the other late teenagers, new hip-hop, classic Nor. Cal. harvest jock, stepped up to bat with Kim, handing her their farm’s sticker, hoping to impress. “Big Sky Fire Farms? That you?” Kim addresses Jobe instead of the baby-faced doper as I slide into place beside the metal cash box of bud on the coffee table and make an unconscious choice, “Grinder?”
“Nah, man,” Jobe says, “We don’t really smoke joints so much.”
“All Vapes and Dabs now, huh?” I ask as I tear into the bud with my nails, dropping fine bits onto the Hemp papel, and there’s no breeze, but the sweat is killer, dripping off my forehead already, in the Cabana, my finger tips do not like the sticky weed right now, this joint is never going to work. Kim sat herself down across from the first batter, now beside Jobe’s bag, corner to the old man, the Boss man of Big Sky Fire Farms, a smiling man in his mid-sixties, light beard, white hair. He’s not interested in hitting on Kim, he’s consumed in prepping us all some Dabs, one each, everyone’s own machine, “This is the one we entered into the contest: Platinum Sour Diesel, Non-Solvent / Rosin,”—FSSSTttttttttt-PHECHHHWHOOOF sparks the mini-blow torch.
“Backstage’s this way,” I lead Kim towards the massive banner, invisible to the blind.
SNAP, SNAP—Two snapshots of Kim and I against the Weedmaps / Hitman backdrop by the photographer, and it’s a vast empty lot beyond that, with an early eighties pull trailer in the far back corner, no buses, no bodies, a tent in the middle with bottled waters. Farther down along a curved sidewalk path we find a community hall, all half sphered out, tinted glass doors, another Weedmaps backdrop, but without a photographer. “After you,” I offer Kim, opening the door, the flow of smoke chilled by the air condition breezes against her hair as she passes entering the dark VIP lounge.
At first sight there’s nothing in here. The circular hall is set up like a wedding banquet— round dining tables, black tablecloths instead of ivory print. Bright white couches like the ones in the cabana have been lined up to face a community hall movie screen. There are a few baseball-cap-wearing-partial-hip-hop-clubby-LA weed boys absorbed in their phones while the vape instructional video plays on a loop. Neon light Weedmap projections splatter the hexagon roof decorated with these wavy, dust catching, white drapes. “Looks like TP,” Kim whispers into my ear, “What’s that? Samples?” and she takes my hand and leads me to the back. “Wow, like, everything,” she says as we eye tour the table. “Says don’t touch?” I say, but I’m not sure if it means everything. “I think it’s only those boxes,” and some thick dude in an aqua green jersey steps up and takes like three edibles from one of the seven various punch sized bowls. He raises his chin to us. “Hey,” I say, and I check out his imaginary nametag with my Super VIP eyes and he’s nobody, got that wristband just ‘cause. He ain’t in a band, not a rapper, just a vaper, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that. I bullshitted my way in here, sort of... “When Busta-Rhymes on?” I ask him before he disappears on us. “Don’t know. Schedules all backwards,” he mumbles away off to join one of the more crowded Knights of the Stoned Tables. There are signs all over that read No Smoking, and that’s why the gift table’s filled with edibles, vape packs, vape pens with disposable rubber tips, nothing to light on fire. We try them all, starting with a chocolate brownie bite for me. Kim has a Fruit Loop square, scooping up a few more of each treat for later. I fill my pockets and Kim drops her stash into her Hemp side bag as she picks up a vape pen and offers me first dibs. I grab another complimentary v-pen and insist, “Together.” We toast and we vape, nod to each other, vape again, clink a second toast, vape the third, and Kim slides a Jolly Rancher into my pucker, and it’s bitter, strong. Got a real bite to it. Kim shows me the label, it’s nearly too dark in here to read, so I gotta get close, illuminate the sticker with my phone, 170+ milligrams THC per individual candy, and she tosses it to the trash before I take a photo, “Hey what gives, girlfriend?” I protest as I start to dive into the trash for that label. “I’m not your girlfriend and that’s gross, stop. Let’s motor, this place is dull,” she says swiping a few more candies of some sort, more foody bites, and I swipe, complementary take, a vape pen well knowing it’s not to take home, and then I put it back ‘cause I’m so vaped I know someone saw that—I’ll find more, I’ll buy one, I’ll be cool.
PROP. 215 AREA
“I’m sorry, you need a wristband.”
I show my backstage, she nods, “Medical wristband.”
(to be continued)