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The Horse's Ass Issue

It Happened

It was autumn of 2005 and I was 18 and unemployed. I lived in a sleepy little town called Whakatane (pronounced Fuck-a-tar-nay by most ignorant whiteys who can't pronounce Maori names correctly) in New Zealand.

Photo by Daniel Pilkington

It was autumn of 2005 and I was 18 and unemployed. I lived in a sleepy little town called Whakatane (pronounced Fuck-a-tar-nay by most ignorant whiteys who can’t pronounce Maori names correctly) in New Zealand. I’d spent most of the summer broke, passing the time binge drinking a particularly ulcerous brew made by a moderately psychotic, borderline white supremacist named Jack. We’d become friends the previous year via a shared sense of boredom, so it wasn’t exactly the closest of unions. He had booze, I didn’t. 80 percent of the time, Jack chose unemployment and alcoholism over working, however in a rare display earlier that year he’d got a gig as a pruning contractor on a pine forestry block neighboring the Urewera National Park. One morning Jack and a couple of his workmates were up in the forest taking to a few branches, when they crossed paths with a pack of enormous Maori dudes wearing their Mongrel Mob gang regalia and bearing firearms. It was blatantly obvious that these lads weren’t there for the peaceful ambience of nature and after a ‘polite’ exchange of words, Jack and his team vacated the area. When I arrived home that day, Jack and his friend Bazza were wasted and I took it upon myself to catch up as quickly as I could. As the night went on, we started to discuss the possibilities that Jack’s encounter could offer a bunch of broke guys like ourselves. During the 2004 weed-growing season, the Whakatane District police had undertaken extensive operations to prevent the cultivation of the crops, which, once harvested, flooded the town’s streets from April onwards. These operations involved extensive aerial spraying, which had resulted in a lower total volume for the upcoming harvest. With a lower supply, yet no drop in demand, the price of weed was set to hit the roof. If this is what the Maori’s were hiding, we decided we had to be part of it. I then vaguely recall vomiting on myself before falling asleep in an awkward position. The next morning I was woken up to a boot in the chest. It was still dark. “Time to go steal the nigger’s weed,” barked Jack. Still mildly drunk and not alert enough to be thinking clearly, we piled into Bazza’s unregistered Mitsubishi Mirage so we could make it up to the forest by dawn. After an hour-long drive we arrived at the forest and parked down a dirt track adjacent to a pine block. Jack then set about retracing his previous day’s movements and we begun scouring the area. After 30-odd minutes of chain-smoking, birdsong, and endless fucking pine trees, we crossed over into a tract of native forest, where we soon located a worn track cutting up the side of a tree-lined ridge. We hit the top and it became apparent that his impulses were right on the money as a pungent wind of cannabis aromatics hit our nostrils. We looked down into a steep valley surrounded by dense bush, to see a fucking field of marijuana smack bang in the middle of it all. According to Jack, the crop was a few weeks off harvesting, but beggars can’t be fucking choosers, aye. So we proceeded to rip into it, cramming armfuls of large purple-headed buds into our backpacks. In only a couple of minutes we’d grabbed as much weed as we could possibly carry, and set off back to the car. The load all but filled the rusty old hatchback’s boot. However, this wasn’t enough for Jack and he insisted we head back and grab more. When we came to the top of the ridge again, it all started hitting the fan. Standing in the partially pillaged plantation were four big dudes in gang leathers holding massive, loaded shotguns and looking straight at us. I think one of them said something along the lines of “You cunts are dead” before a resounding rifle shot echoed throughout the valley. That’s the point I literally pissed myself. Luckily this didn’t stop the mind from switching into danger mode, prompting the legs to sub-consciously do their best imitation of Ben Johnson at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. More gunshots followed, coming way too close, as we screamed like bitches and ran towards the car. Being reasonably fit, we managed to put some distance on the uniformly obese mobsters and piled into the car just as they lurched out of the pines. As we sped off down the track, the Mitsubishi’s 1300cc engine screeching like an infant in a meat grinder, the Mongrel Mob guys fired at us repetitively, shooting out the back windscreen in the process. When we got to town we immediately unloaded the drugs at Jack’s place. Paranoid about everything, we hid it in six black plastic rubbish stacks in the roof of Jack’s garage. Next we took the car to a place outside of town where the road runs parallel to a river and pushed the rusty piece of shit off a 20 foot bank into the murky waters. Then we shaved our heads. Two weeks later I moved to Auckland and I’ve lived there ever since. Given that both Jack and Bazza were scared shitless of anyone knowing what we’d done, they kept all the weed (we estimated about $5,000 worth) hidden in the rubbish sacks, where it subsequently started to rot, becoming worthless in the process. The moral of the story? It’s a stupid idea to steal drugs off hardened criminals with guns. Even if you get away with it. TEXT & PHOTO BY DANIEL PILKINGTON