Tzvi's Trees: Stories About Weed
#01 - Primo
by Tzvi Peckar the Third, 2015
“Live your life,” he says.
“I don’t know what that means, bro,” I say to my skinny twig of a Neo-Los Angeles-Hippie pal, Kev, smoking in the front seat, engulfed in a hazy fog. He’s not driving, he’s sitting shotgun and the orange glow from the burning tip of the doobie he’s Bogarting illuminates his scraggly beard, his face covered in dread, “Pass it,” I say.
The vegan bone dried hand of Kev reaches the doob back to me, out of focus, the hand’s out of focus, so smoky, my eyes won’t stop watering. I’m trying to take the stick from his fingers, but the speed bumps keep shaking this ’72 Dodge convertible, and I’ve bent the joint like twice now. “Dude,” Kev barks, annoyed as shit, and I just swipe it, the ash just drops leaving a spotted trail along the upholstery. “Where you get this car?” I ask the driver, to distract him from me brushing the simmering ash off the white leather. “I restored it from my gramps,” the fat man says, cruising us through the Los Angeles valley, dead of night, middle of the summer, and all because Kev promised to take this guy to a grow house for Christmas.
“Christmas Summer,” Kev had informed me outside the American Airlines terminal, with me covering him as he rolled us a blunt waiting for the Fat Man to come around again to pick us up. I was burnt from the red eye, midnight flight from the Keys to Miami to LA, because I’ve never been to LA, but now I’m tired, and I don’t really want to go Christmas shopping in the middle of the summer.
“What’s your name again,” I ask the driver, passing the roach of the doob back to Kev. “Aton,” he reminds me. “Cool, thanks, man. Nice car,” I say—Zone out on the window—“What’s Christmas Summer?” I ask Aton.
“You tell him that shit?” Aton says to Kev through the thinning smoke.
“Tell him,” Kev says.
“All you island kids that naive?”
“What’s that mean?”
“There ain’t no such thing as Christmas Summer. Your friend just owes me,” Aton clears the air, and then rolls down the window letting the smoke escape into the warm night. “Hot here too,” I say.
The sun’ll come up in about an hour or so, I figure. We’re out in some warehouse strip of nothingness, everything is dark, closed, and empty; well, I imagine these buildings have businesses. The Dodge rolls over a paved bridge that crosses a fifteen yard creek that separates a strip of warehouse lots. Kev points out the last parking spot in the lot, “Way down there, kill the lights.”
“Anybody actually around?” I ask Kev.
“Bugs,” he says.
“Cops?” I ask, “FBI?”
“No dude, bugs. Buzz, buzz…” Kev says, shaking his head at Aton.
Aton cuts the lights a few yards before the spot and rolls in, cuts the motor, and Kev throws his arm over the seat, looks me right in the eye, clears his throat and says, “Do not tell them you’re from Jamaica.”
“I’m not,” I say.
“Dude, you’re fucking Jamaican,” he scolds me for lying, but I’m not, I’m not lying.
“I was raised in the Keys. That’s America, just like here. My parents are Jamaican,” but Aton interrupts me.
“Dude, you’re Jamaican?” he asks.
“See? That’s why I don’t want you saying nothing in there,” Kev says, and that’s it, that’s all the instruction bro’s got for me, car door opens, Kev’s out, door closes, Aton looks at me, “Gonna be dope. Ya man?”
Sometimes I think I’m alone in my ambivalence about weed culture. Aton is so impressed with the Hydroponic setup, Kev’s like a dictionary of strain knowledge, and maybe that’s why they don’t want me to say anything about my heritage? I’ve smoked since sixteen, but I don’t know, I’m not a connoisseur, like, that would be religious, and I’m not into that—“You grow inside 'cause LA’s so smoggy?” I ask Kev.
“This is primo shit, man,” he tries to defend, “Smog don’t get in here, see,” and points out the ventilation system. He pulls down a branch from a budding plant, right into my nose, the kief sprinkling off onto my goatee, does smell great, I sneeze, apologize, then simply ask the owner—
“Wouldn’t primo shit be found in the wild somewhere, totally free from anything that would impede its natural growth, and that place wouldn’t be suitable for just anything to grow, but a specifically designed place on the earth just for marijuana? A plot of soil sitting in the most opportune place for sunlight on a time schedule for the plant to flourish, and the primo amount of rain, maybe a small stream the keeps the roots tender and happy? The precise amount of moisture and dryness in the air per day, hour, minutes and seconds—and a perfect natural selection of plants and animals that would protect the plant from infestation, and this place would be beautiful, and the plant would grow there like the redwood it may have the potential of being, and we would call it a miracle, and that miracle would deserve the title: Primo Shit.”
“Damn,” the owner says, and I left with a pound of primo bud ‘cause he fucking liked me—~*