SHORT STORY SATURDAY: Going to Pot
For the last few Saturdays, we’ve been posting some tales by local writer, Charles Wilson. He takes a nugget of local color and adds some imagination (maybe a lot of imagination–you be the judge.) Before this series, we hadn’t posted fiction for a long time (since the well-received SoHumBorn stories–go here to check them out.) Let us know what you think about adding a touch of invention to the world of fact. If you have a story you would like to submit, send it to email@example.com.
This is the last short story we have on file. Anyone else want to submit one?
The title, “Going to Pot,” could refer to the countryside being taken over by “turkeybaggers”
or to the character arc of the narrator… .
I guess the last straw was when that slavic bastard knocked my neighbors’ kid Sophie off her bicycle with the fender extension that covered the dual rear wheels on his F350. The glancing blow sent her sprawling onto the edge of the dirt road. She had picked herself up crying as the truck rattled away in a cloud of dust without slowing down-let alone stopping. One of her mothers came racing out of their garden swearing a blue streak and helped her back off the edge of the road and onto their property. As the other mother started treating a few scrapes and bruises the first one called me; absolutely furious, and that’s how I got into this.
I hopped on my ancient dirtbike, kicked its motor to life, and rode over to Sue and Johnette’s place. Sue and Johnette, Johnnie to her friends, were wife and wife that lived 2 miles closer to the pavement than I did. Johnnie’s dad had been certain they were having a boy and he was going to be named John the second. So much for that conviction. He was sure the universe had been created 10,000 years ago too…
Johnnie was a tall willowy woman with a quick quiet smile, Sue was shorter, quick with an wicked grin and a fondness for puns. She was also much more hot tempered! It was Sue who had been yelling into her phone so loudly I couldn’t understand much except that something happened and she was PISSED! When I got to their place Johnnie was still putting bandages and antibiotic cream on little Sophie’s cuts and scrapes while Sue paced the kitchen and swore with passion. She could swear as well as any man I ever met! Better in fact because she had a wonderful imagination when it came to profanity. It gave her the rare talent of being able to make your ears burn and sides ache with laughter at the same time.
A few years ago a group of hard looking men from the former USSR had bought a place near the end of our long private road. It turned out they were serious businessmen-and crime was their business! It was one of these assholes than knocked Sophie onto the ground as he went barreling by.
Almost immediately after their purchase, a parade of heavy machinery had crawled up the road and proceeded to level a few acres of forested ridgetop. They turned it into a dusty, brown plateau with dirt and pushed-over trees spilling down the hillsides below. It was ugly! When the machinery had left, seemingly endless truckloads of growing soil began laboring up the hill. For almost a month they rumbled by my place 4 or 6 times a day making the dishes rattle on the shelf while coating everything outside with a thick coat of dust. Those guys were planning a mllion dollar grow up there.
And unfortunately for the rest of us they made it…
The year after they showed up, their immediate neighbor, another old homesteader, disgusted, left appalled by what had just blossomed on the 80 acre piece next to his. Another group of cannabis capitalists swept in, snapped up that one and the sad process began to repeat itself. These guys were from upper middleclass southern California families and had been raised to think that making and spending money was their holy obligation. And that however you made it “it’s all good.”
These were scenes that were being played out all over the so called emerald triangle. The old hippies source of income, growing fine weed, was being usurped by turkeybaggers, people attracted to the area only by its reputation for growing that excellent reefer and by the siren song of money.
Machinery operators and merchants selling growing supplies were raking in big money as they serviced the growing greenrush. Whatever naïve dreams the old hippies had about living in harmony with their land were being washed away by the growing flood of money.
I had been growing more bitter by the year as I watched my friends being faced with the choice of getting huge or getting out. Either way, the land and rivers suffered, as did the few remaining neighbors that hadn’t succumbed to the seeming inevitability of it all.
I stayed over at Sue and Johnnies for a couple hours that morning sharing some strong coffee and even stronger pot while we turned joked about various fantasies for getting rid of the new breed of canacapitalists. It was Sue’s wry joke about bombing the bastards that made the light bulb come on in my head. That and a recent trip I had made to the local motorcycle shop to get some parts for my bike. On the wall behind the counter had been arrayed several quadcopter drones, some of them pretty big and fancy.
If the military could use Predator drones to bomb suspected terrorist what could I do with one of the ones on the wall?
After Sue’s joke I decided to find out. I drove my pickup into town and bought the biggest, baddest drone they had. I told Danny the parts man that the drone looked like too much fun to pass up. Cheaper than another motorcycle too…
“You can definitely have a blast with one” Donnie said. “And this one has a camera turret that revolves 360 degrees so you don’t have to rotate the copter to look around. It comes with VR goggles too so you can see what the drone sees as you fly it.”
“I can hardly wait” I said then I walked out of the shop with my new weapon.
It was too late in the season to do what I wanted to try but that just meant I had time to prepare well and practice…
The next spring I built a sizable hoop-house in the garden, a cheap temporary greenhouse made from plastic. I had tilled up the soil and fertilized the hell out of it before erecting the greenhouse. And I planted hundreds of seeds I had gotten from friends around the area. I’m sure they all assumed I was finally getting into the game like everyone else. I was getting into a game alright, just not the one everybody assumed.
By June the greenhouse was filled with hundreds of plants exploding upwards towards the sun. I examined them every time I watered and started yanking most of the ones that showed they were female, the exact opposite of standard practice. By August the greenhouse was full of big male plants starting to shed pollen in earnest. By the beginning of September I had harvested every one, cutting them down and gently beating the pollen off the plants and onto a huge sheet of plastic. When I was finally done I had a sizable pile of yellow dust, several pints of it.
And my drone had been equipped with a couple features the manufacturer hadn’t thought of. It was time!
It was early morning when I launched the first raid. I started with the eastern Europeans since it was one of them that had sent Sophie to the ground. I also knew they all were heavy drinkers and I didn’t expect anyone to be out of bed at dawn’s first grey light.
The drone came in low, scarcely 2 feet above the ground as I watched its progress through the on board camera and the goggles. A huge greenhouse loomed closer, its 4 foot diameter fans already running fast to keep air circulating through the place. I flew the copter to within a couple feet of the end under the fans, raised it to just above them and activated my modification. BOMBS AWAY! For a few seconds what looked like yellow smoke poured from below the copter and was sucked into the greenhouse by the fans. Mission accomplished!
I dropped the copter back down to the 2 foot level and got it the hell out of there. I was having a hard time flying it I was laughing so hard. I could hear a chained dog barking furiously but by the time the first hung-over head emerged from the trailer door the copter was out of sight. The head looked around, shouted a Slavic obscenity at the dog and withdrew. Carrying my drone I silently withdrew as well.
The next morning I repeated the process on the second huge greenhouse there, then flew a bombing run on the turkeybagging pot-yuppies next door. My pollen stash was going fast but I was going to to be costing these clowns a fortune. Nobody was going to buy their seeded pot. This year’s crop would be worthless. I used the last of my pollen on the turkeybagger’s second greenhouse and counted it a successful mission.
A few days later I had an inspiration. A couple days work on the quadcopter, some practice, and I was ready to try to start a war. I sent the copter on another series of dawns light raids that left a couple empty IPA bottles by the end of the Europeans greenhouses while an empty cheap vodka bottle was left at the end of the bigger of the 2 pot-yup’s greenhouses. These guys disliked each other already and I didn’t think it would take much more to start open combat.
As it turned out, I was right. The discovery of the bottles sparked several shouting matches where each side protested their innocence while the other pointed fingers and threatened to use pointed guns. And they hadn’t even realized their weed was ruined yet. A month later carloads of women started to arrive, clippers hired to process the crop.
And that’s when the shit hit the fan! A couple days later the clippers all left.
There’s no sense spending good money clipping seeded weed, it’s virtually worthless. 2 days after the clippers left I sent the drone over the ridge with a homemade 22 calibre zip gun mounted below it. I pointed it at the dirt in the general area of the eastern Europeans greenhouse and sent the signal that fired it. The bang was followed by a whine as the bullet richocheted off the ground and away. By the time the bullets whine had faded the drone was diving for low altitude and cover. My priming shot was followed shortly by the staccato sound of open warfare. The gunshots swiftly grew in number then slowly died out. Silence returned, broken only by a few cries for help.
Ambulances, the local volunteer fire crew, and the law all arrived in a convoy about an hour later.
One of the cops was later heard to say that it was too bad most of those guys were such bad shots. They could have saved the taxpayers the trouble of arrests and prosecutions.
Shortly after the start of our war in Iraq President Bush the second stepped out of a fighter onto the deck of an aircraft carrier to the sign of “mission accomplished”. This proved to be political theater at its worst!
I knew my personal war with the new breed of greedy grassholes would never be over as long as pot remained a black market commodity. There were just too many of them.
But it felt damn good winning my opening skirmish!
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