SoHumBorn Sunday: I’ll Take Two
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 hates clipping in town, but this late spring snow has foiled her plans. If not for it, she and the girls would already be caravaning on up the road. Instead, she is covering the floor of her little home office in plastic, unfolding a cheap card table, and squeezing as many chairs around it as the little room will bear.
The girls are happy. No long commute, a home cooked lunch, and a flush toilet right across the hall. In a trimmers’ world this is luxury, but it makes her nervous. The smell is uncontrollable. It will permeate her home, ooze into the neighborhood, and force her to wash her clothes each morning she has to go out to her “real” job. She also worries about the girls’ cars parked at her home day after day; it seems so blatant. One day is a party, two a GOOD party, three…. somebody harvested.
She is frowning as she places the pile of cardboard trays on the table. Glancing around the little room, she marks off her mental checklist - cups of oil and alcohol, trays, bowls, paper towels, and a buttload of brown grocery bags - time to make coffee.
The women drift in - three in a car, one in her man’s big lifted truck, two each in the Toyota and Pathfinder—and the day begins. They settle in like women have throughout time—working to better their lives and the lives of each other. They could be canning, quilting, cooking for a sick friend. These things that bring women together. But today they are helping her. They are going to spend the day earning aching backs, stiff fingers, and a decent amount of money breaking the law, and they’ve been looking forward to it all week.
They’ve brought a variety of chairs, clothing, and food to share. New seating styles and Breast Cancer Pink scissors dominate the initial conversation then are rapidly replaced by recipes and breakups. The conversation wanders as they prepare to labor, hopping from topic to topic. Unfettered by the linear progression desired by men, the women’s minds and mouths surf the seas of their lives, rolling with the tides.
The marijuana is inspected and commented on. The Kush AK cross is nice but a little too pungent for such an enclosed work space. The Blue Dream is too sticky. “It slows me down.” This many girls in one room is bound to lead to a little whining. She smiles as she listens.
Beverages in hand, glasses on, (years ago - they didn’t need those) temperature and air flow adjusted to suit, they begin the work in earnest. She takes the larger branches and begins a process made swift by practice. The branches are denuded of the flowering buds as they land on the table, while larger leaves and anything deemed unworthy land in the burn bag.
The oldest pair of hands at the table came onto this earth in 1934. She supplements her Social Security and supports her older brother by working with her children, their children, neighbors and friends.
The youngest pair of hands are just 18. Today the youngest Brook, asked the table of women, “Caleb wants me to conversate with you guys about some recipes and cookin’ stuff.”
The request by the boyfriend and the mangled English spark laughter, kind… and perhaps a little less than.
The girl is playing house for the first time with the son of another woman at the table, and looking at them their hostess thinks - This room - these days together they don’t bridge the generational gap, they fill it in.
When the women begin to give advice and recipes, the girl’s ” Mother Out-Law ” retrieves a stack of lined 3x5 cards from her bag and passes them around the table. Her thoughtful preparedness always makes her hostess feel a little inefficient and sloppy and somewhere in her mind she hears the phrase “The Woman who does everything better than you” this makes her smile as she takes a card thinking “Yup…”
When lunchtime comes, they eat at the work table-laughing and picking pieces of leaf from their plates. She’s enjoying her company and almost forgetting it is a workday when her phone plays a funky little song, indicating her sister is calling. Still laughing at an “inappropriately timed release of gas” story that has some of the women in tears, she picks it up.
“You don’t sound like you’re working too hard.” The background laughter has drawn a smile from the caller immediately.
“Shut-up. We’re killin’ it, you better hurry or we won’t have any left.” She grins.
“Really?” Now her sister sounds a little alarmed.
“No, not really. Don’t worry this is gonna take days.” She eases out of the chair to stretch as she talks and wanders into the living room. “Could you bring some bubbly water?”
“Perrier or Calistoga?”
“I don’t care, just don’t get anything with calories.” She laughs.
“Okay, see ya in twenty.”
Touching the phone’s smooth face and making sure the connection is broken, she strolls back in the office.
“Courtney’s on her way.” The statement causes the conversation that had made her so diligent about the phone being disabled.
“Did they get back together?”
“Yes,” the answer comes out like a moan, as she sits back down. She picks up the little snips. She doesn’t pick up her tray.
“Oh, My God!”
“Are you kidding me?”
They can’t believe it.
They always knew this would happen. They know exactly what she should do.
“Oh no, not a joke. I’m not even going to tell you how bad it is.” She leans the chair back on two legs. Scissors in hand, she rubs her eye with the back of one knuckle. “Wait till she gets here. You’ll hear it.”
Across the table the youngest pops first. “I can’t believe it. WHY? Why does she put up with his shit? She’s smarter than him. She’s prettier than him. She’s nicer than him. He fucks everything that doesn’t have a dick, treats her like shit and she goes back!”
The rant is on. The back and forth sounds like an argument as the women take turns on the witness stand, but they’re all on the sideof the prosecution.
The knock at the front door brings a startled silence, broken when the youngest whispers, “I hope she didn’t hear us.”
They look worriedly at each other as their hostess rises. She’s worried too as she opens the door and it takes her an inordinate amount of time to realize that it’s not her sister she is looking at on her front porch.
He’s short and round and wearing a white button up shirt.
Her heart breaks loose wildly pounding, its rhythm erratic. She steps right out and into him, pulling the door closed behind her as he stumbles back. She’s in shock, her hands are shaking as he reaches out to shake one.
“Are you the lady of the house?”
He’s got a huge smile and he’s looking her right in the eye. “Is this your home?”
“Yes.” Now she notices the little truck in her driveway with some kind of camper unit on it and and a logo on the side.
“My name is Ben, ma’am, and I’m here today with a special offer.” His forced cheeriness is overwhelming, and all she can manage is a nod. “Today only— I have a special deal on an assortment package that will save you over $150!”
“An assortment of what?” She still can’t calm her heart and is trying like hell to act normal.
“Steaks, Mam, the finest Angus beef in the world. It comes with 10 steakburgers, 4 filet Mignon wrapped in hickory smoked bacon, 4 flat iron steaks. And I’ll tell you what - those are my favorite, a lot more flavor that your New York cut.” He goes on listing the contents and she feels the fear sliding away.
“Normally, this package sells for $279, but I’m trying to build a good customer base and the best way I know to do that is to get the product in your hands. Once you taste the quality….” He smiles real big. “I know you’ll be back.”
She gives him a sad smile in return. “I’m a vegetarian.” She shrugs.
His smile fades only slightly. His eyes slide from her face, to the front door, and back. “Sure smells good.” The smile is huge again.
It hits her like someone has kicked her in the belly. She knew better, knows better. She is not safe, she is never really safe. In the broader view, what’s one more little extortion?
“You know what, my husband eats meat. I’ll take two.”