SoHumBorn Sunday: This is Humboldt

SoHumBorn writes about the secret world of marijuana growers and the people who love them.  She prefers, like the people she writes about, to remain anonymous saying, “Who am I… I like to think it doesn’t matter. Who cares who wrote something? You either like it or you don’t. The name of the author is of no relevance. Plus, I do enjoy the privacy of writing anonymously.” The stories she writes are funny, scary, sweet, sad, and sometimes violent.  Read more of them here.

She was exhausted. The customers at work were usually nice, but not that day. Every one of them seemed to be suffering from emotional issues and they had been more than willing to take them out on her. All she’d wanted was an Orangina, but when she’d pulled up to the liquor store, the front door was flanked by those she liked to call “housingly challenged.”

The smaller one she recognized. In her own mind she often thought of him as “Travelocity.” (The gnome character from the internet travel commercials.) The little joke at his expense sometimes made her feel crappy about herself, but it had stuck in her mind. The other young man was one she hadn’t seen around before. His dark hair and sullen expression made her pause.

She debated whether or not she was up to turning down their appeals for change. She didn’t like to hand out money any more. People had taken the joy out of giving, so now she only gave to local charities, never to individuals. As she sat wavering between driving off thirsty and braving the flanked doorway, a large blue Dodge Ram pulled in beside her. The back of the bed was piled high with bags of soil and the cab held two young men. She watched as they climbed out and, smiling at the driver with his long blond dreads, she made her choice, and stepped out of her little Honda. The three of them approached the doors of the liquor store together and the question came.

“Hey, man, can you spare a smoke?”

She was almost disappointed. She wouldn’t have minded fulfilling that request. It’s not like it would have been used in a way she was uncomfortable with. She felt like an idiot sometimes for still being a smoker, so much so that she never carries them. It’s now a habit she indulges in at home, alone, because she can’t quite let it go – the longest relationship she has been able to maintain.

She paused behind the two young men as the driver fished in his pocket. She watched him pull out the bright orange pack of American Spirits and smiled at the young man’s kindness. Because she was watching so closely, she noticed something. The pack was filled with cigarettes of the hand rolled variety. When the odor hit her, she knew exactly what kind. Young Dread held two of these out to Travelocity’s companion. Sullen Boy looked at the joints and one side of his mouth turned down. He looked back up and grumbled at Young Dread.

“Dude, this is Humboldt. I got weed. I asked for a fuckin’ cigarette.”

Young Dread, his companion and the woman are all momentarily stumped.

Then her laughter bubbled up.

When Young Dread heard her, he looked over his shoulder and she watched the irritation in his eyes turn to laughter, too. The three of them entered the liquor store laughing out loud. “Can you believe that shit?” chortled Young Dread’s buddy. She got the big bottle of Orangina and headed to the register with her new friends close behind her. They had another laugh together as they told the story to the checkout girl.

Then she said it,  “I’ll take a pack of cigarettes, too.”

For a moment she worried about what the others thought. Then Young Dread smiled at her. “That’s cool, man.”

She pushed the door open and stepped out under the gray skies. Looking over at Sullen Boy, she wordlessly held out the pack. He looked at it and then up at her face. She saw that he needed some affirmation that this was for him. She smiled at him, “Take care, man.” The pack slid from her hand to his pocket and he gave her a small smile. In that smile was a boy, not much more than a child really and that made her heart tighten.

She got in her car and, as she watched Young Dread and his buddy exit the store, she was surprised and touched when they gave Travelocity and SullenBoy each a slice of pizza.

In her head she heard Sullen Boy again and she thought, “No, Dude. THIS is Humboldt.”


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