Features // February 6, 2020 // UrbanAroma Staff

Al Green: Chapter Five

Al Green: Chapter Five

Chapter 5

The streets are swarming with police cruisers on a warm winter day in February. Something must be going on at the United Nations for these waters to be this shark-infested.  I’ve got my boom box blasting at an obnoxious level, and I can’t stop listening to DEVO, “I’m going under.” I’m riding as if the cops are after me, which makes it much more exciting to be able to justify the high speed squeezing between buses, taxis and people crossing 42nd street after work.  There must have been 10,000 people on that corner, making their way home.

I hit East 57th street where this Brazilian kid lives with his parents in a luxury high rise.  The lobby has a koi pond and walls filled from top to bottom with exotic plastic plants.  The mirrors, polished floors and large polished silver table en route to the elevator amplify their reflection. I smoked so much of this Strawberry Haze that I feel lost in the Amazon.

Anthony is one of the only customers I hang with. He’s 23, works in finance, doesn’t want to work in finance, but his parents told him to work in finance.  His parents are usually in Brazil, but he always acts like they could show up at any time.

“I just want something that will change my mind.  Shut it off, ya know,” Anthony says in response to my weed display.  He just explained how his aunt and uncle and their infant daughter were killed in a tragic automobile accident in Orlando yesterday.

“Forbidden Fruit,” I suggest while pushing the dark purple buds towards him to deal with the darkness.

We talk for another 20 minutes, and he tells me how the force majeure altered his perception; tomorrow he’s going to quit his job.

“I worked at a bank for a few months before never coming back one day… And look at me now,” I say.  I tell him it was the best decision of my life.  Was it?  I think about it every day as I see the people getting off of work.  I just never liked wearing a suit.

I have led Anthony to believe that I am the proud owner of this delivery service.  I tell many of my customers this, as it makes them feel closer to the source.

“Maybe I’ll work for you?” Anthony says halfheartedly.  We talk about what he should expect, and after explaining the $200 daily pay, Anthony says he’s in.

We agree that he will call me when he’s back from the funeral, at which point he will realize that he was overreacting and would rather stay at the bank than ride a bicycle in the snow.

“Sorry for your loss,” I say, taking the elevator back to the jungle with a woman and her poodle.  I make sure to avoid coming in contact with the poodle.  Goof hates poodles and would be pissed if I came home smelling like one.


I clear a one-hitter of Forbidden Fruit walking down 8th Ave. with Goof.  The Indica high will last me an hour.  It releases any anxious images of IRS agents have followed me to this Western Union where I trade my cash for a money order to pay my rent.  While high on Forbidden Fruit, one might insult me, and I would keep walking. Forbidden Fruit turns me into a compassionate man- which was my intention tonight.

I promised my ex-girlfriend Jamie I would paint her new apartment.  She has much higher ceilings now that she left me, so high that I can’t tell if I missed any spots. I’m using 6-foot paint sticks and rollers while staring up at the walls and asking myself in a hundred different ways “what am I doing here?”  I guess I feel bad that Jamie is alone. I’m her closest thing to family.

After doing a single coat across the 2,500 square feet, we watch Alex Gibney’s Bobby Sands documentary in bed.  Jamie is puzzled by the conflict. “Why is England in Ireland?” I’m quickly reminded that after 6 years together, we don’t have a lot in common.

Jamie is a master furniture designer and builder.  She knows everything about architecture and design. She uses her hands, works with wood, and she’s brilliant in ways that are out my own personal interests too.

I explain 800 years of Irish history. England invaded Ireland, and an hour later as I get to Brexit, I wonder if I should find a woman capable of debating the future of post Brexit Ireland.

Jamie was a successful model and is incredibly attractive.  She looks and acts like Mary from Something About Mary. When I make a move, kissing her, putting my hand gently around her throat, she hesitates. It’s been 5 months since we last slept together.  We kiss, but she stops me, making it clear that she doesn’t want to jump back into things.  She doesn’t close the door.

Goof and I make a Jamie sandwich, spooning her from 2 sides.  It’s like she never left. I momentarily convince myself it would be good to get back together, for our dog, only to realize how ridiculous it sounds.

I can’t sleep.  I don’t like her bed.  It’s too soft. I hear Jamie crying in the bathroom.  My backpack is open.  One of the buckles of the pelican case broke, emitting the faintest odor of the 12 strains of marijuana bottled into 1/8s.  She must have smelled it.

I walk into the bathroom.  She’s sitting on the toilet, sobbing. “You’re selling weed?”

“It is what it is,” I tell her.  “Not forever.”

“It’s illegal,” she says.  “You don’t want to go to prison.”

I realize that she’s not crying because I changed my name to Al Green. She’s detracting from something.  I press her for answers, and she finally admits that she’s pregnant.

I’m thinking “what are we gonna do now?”

“It’s not yours.” She says abruptly.  Not letting my mind race anymore.

I do the math, and it’s been forever since we slept together.  It’s not my kid.

I start screaming at her, trying to cry.  I’m not sure how I’m supposed to react to this.  When tears fail, I realize it’s not about me, and we spoon ‘til we fall asleep.

The following morning, Jamie and I smoke an extra-large cone of Forbidden Fruit as I accompany her to Planned Parenthood.

The fact that I never got her pregnant makes me wonder if all these years of typing on my laptop, on my lap, could have left me sterile.

Jamie is my best friend. It was a one-night stand. She’ll never see him again. She learned her lesson.  I hope she joins a convent.


Just after noon on Thursday, there’s a faint knock on my door. I swing it open and question the energy salesman’s legitimacy.  We’ve had a lot of packages stolen from the building.

“Sir, can we help you save money on your power bill?”

15 minutes later, the young Italian kid and I are out front of my building, waiting for the cops to come.  “Tie your dog up so that I can beat your ass,” he threatens me.  I tie Goof up.  He changes course, “You throw the first punch.  I’m not trying to go to jail, man!” We trade insults for another 10 minutes.  He calls me a “crackhead.” I remind him, “I’m not the one going door to door with a clipboard, pretending to work for Con Edison, defrauding pensioners.”

This scam does in fact happen, but when the Cops arrive, they explain he does work for the power company, and he actually may be able to save me money on my power bill.


I do a few runs and realize I’m out of Sativa, and now I need to re-up in Brooklyn, the most difficult part of this job.

My manager, Tutu is a raging cokehead.  I didn’t schedule this pickup.  He’s pissed when I arrive.

Tutu is giving me shit verbally, and now he’s handing me a bag of Indica.  I did not come here for Indica.  He’s just trying to fuck with me.

“Fuck you gonna do about it, nigga!?”  Tutu says to me.

As per our usual interactions, I pick up my phone to call Steve so that I can simply explain to him that I work on a commission basis, and I’m not going to make or sell as much unless I get some Sativa.  People don’t like to chill in Manhattan.

Before I can respond to Steve’s “hello” Tutu slaps my iPhone out of my hands, shattering it against his wall.  I run towards him, tackling him into his record collection.  What feels like several hundred LP’s fall down on top of us.  He tries to pin me down.  He must weigh 100 pounds more than me, but I had my bike lock in the back of my pants in case anything happened, which I am conscious not to hit him in the head with.  Instead, I hit him in the ribs with my entire force as the ABUS folding lock unfolds across his midsection.

Having knocked the wind out of him, Tutu can’t speak.  He rolls over vinyl records, clenching his side, trying to catch his breath. I take my Sativa and leave.


I run 5 miles with Goof on the Hudson River.  He’s tired for the first time in weeks.  On the way back to my apartment, I see Lottie working at the German restaurant, her other job.  She’s wearing lederhosen.  I knock on the window, and she comes outside.

“You want to go to a wedding with me tomorrow?” I ask her.

“Sure, why not.”  Lottie has a very sharp canine tooth.

Read Al Green: Chapter 4 here

Read Al Green: Chapter 6 here