Photo via Flickr user Jennifer Peyton.
There are very few valuable items in this world that are shared enthusiastically among both friends and strangers—in fact, it seems that weed might be the only one. It's inexplicable that asking someone for a cigarette always elicits a grimace, but asking a stranger for a hit usually leads not only to stonedness but also to conversations and new acquaintances. I'm the sort that shares without a caveat, and most of my friends are the same way, leading to a democratic system functioning purely on good vibes. That's why it's especially unsettling when one friend accuses another of being a sneak.
Many summers ago, I was crashing at my buddy Prik's place in New York when I got a call from Shoob, a friend I had known even longer than Prik. My mom and Shoob's mom were friends. They were pregnant with us at the same time—in fact, our maternal grandfathers were buddies since they were like eight years old. We were close as kids and then friends again as teenagers. With Shoob on guitar and me on the drums, we'd play “Say It Ain't So” and “Brain Stew” in my dad’s attic. We'd drifted apart after high school, but our relationship is the kind of friendship that requires little maintenance—it's always a pleasure when he pops back into my life. This particular summer, Shoob was on tour with his band. As soon as he mentioned he was in town, I invited him over to Prik's place.
When he finally got to the place, Shoob asked if he could invite his bandmate Bas over. I overheard them on the phone; Bas asked if we had any milk. Prik and I thought that was pretty fucking weird, so I told Shoob we didn't want any more people over. I suggested we blaze.
Prik was kind enough to furnish the weed since I had none (good vibe democracy at work). We chilled for a while before Shoob left to meet his crazy-ass bandmate. About an hour later, when Prik went to roll another joint, he couldn't find his weed. He frantically went through the couches and looked under the magazines and checked the kitchen, finding nothing. Exasperated, he shouted, “Your fucking friend took it!” I was deeply offended. “That's my friend from way back, Prik. Like way, way back. Way backer than even you. He wouldn't steal from me. Don't blame him because of your own forgetful ass.” Prik wouldn't let it go. He insisted I call Shoob and at least ask if he pocketed it by accident. For the sake of mollifying my host, I placed a call to Shoob. I laughed and told him that my friend was missing his weed and was wondering if he'd mistakenly grabbed it or if his nut ass bandmate was asking for some. Shoob sounded shocked at the insinuation, and I immediately apologized. I quickly got off the phone and scowled at Prik—he had made me look like a dick to my old friend. We argued about it for a while, did a deep search of the place, and finally broke down and ordered more weed. I was still pretty annoyed that Prik would even suggest my old friend was a sneak, and he wouldn't budge on his theory despite the courtesy phone call. Being homeboys, we eventually dropped the subject and played video games.
I didn't see Shoob for at least another year and pretty much forgot about the whole thing. About seven years later, through an odd and random chain of events, I ended up in a band with Bas, the milk-thirsty guy who used to play with Shoob. By now I had learned that he was most definitely a nut, but I turned out to be a little off my rocker too, so we got along just fine and still do. We were hanging out in Philly when he mentioned that he wanted some milk. Something dinged in my head, and I burst out laughing. I told Bass about the time I told Shoob not to invite him over. As I told the story, my memory became clearer. I told Bas that the weirdest thing happened that night—I had hollered at my other friend for blaming Shoob for stealing weed. Bas stopped laughing and looked at me with the most serious look he could muster. (It wasn't very serious by normal standards.) He said, “That fucker totally stole your friends weed.” At the time of the incident, Shoob was going through some addiction issues that led him to compulsive behavior. Bas told me that on tour, when they were being handed tons of drugs, Shoob would gank all kinds of shit from unsuspecting people, most of whom were friendly and willing to share in the first place. Apparently, he got a kick out of stealing. Bas said he didnt remember that particular night, but that Shoob was almost definitely responsible. I still didn't want to believe that I was one of the people Shoob enjoyed screwing over, but the evidence was just too compelling. I promised myself I would wait till I saw Shoob in person and then I would confront him about it.
Not long after learning this truth, Bas, some music friends, and I met up with Shoob while he was passing through Philly and staying at a friend’s place. When he opened the front door of the building to let us in, I couldn't hold my tongue. Without a greeting, I launched into it: “Summer of 2004, a Tuesday…” As I laid out the whole scenario for him, a look of admittance came over his face. He stopped me and told me that he had taken it. He was in a dark place and did a dickish thing. He apologized deeply and sincerely. I looked at my old friend's face, put my hand on his shoulder, and said, “OK, fuckface. You owe my homeboy Prik a cube of weed.”
It's been years since that conversation. Today, Shoob and I are cool. He's doing fine and doesn't smoke weed anymore, but when he comes by my place, I still have to check if my weed is safe. I hate that I have to do this, but that's just what the fuck happens when someone breaks your trust. I don't care about the money that weed costs me when I'm sharing it or whether or not I've been smoked out as much as I smoke out—that's why it's shitty when someone takes advantage of the good vibes. I did my part to mend the infraction by apologizing to Prik, who by then was back in Thailand. But the cube of weed Shoob stole has yet to be replaced.
Previously - Jummy's Infinite Stash