Every week, we'll feature a story by Al Green, a writer living and consuming cannabis in NYC.
To read chapter two, click here
When Steve and I were seniors in high school, we told our parents we were visiting colleges in California. Instead, we flew to Vancouver, B.C., purchased 20 pounds of bud, drove it East across Canada, snowmobiled it across the Maine border, drove South to NYC, and we were back in time for prom. We continued selling weed throughout college, and we made a lot of money. When I graduated, feeling I had adequately tested my luck in the game, I got a real job. Steve, on the other hand, put his business degree to use and started delivery services and opened bars to clean the cash.
Steve was my only friend to visit me in the hospital after my brain injury. He talks a lot, which gave me terrible headaches, so I told him to not visit me again. He didn’t take it personally.
Post injury, every time I sat down to write I would become distracted looking at Instagram and porno. I slept all day, blowing my fortune on Seamless. With Steve’s encouragement, I transitioned from being an alcoholic, to a pot smoker, to an all day and night pothead, doing 25 miles a day on my bicycle. I only got into that one fight, but he was intimidating that woman in the bike lane and deserved it. I meditate in the mornings. I’m much more relaxed, healthy, and peaceful, albeit heartbroken.
Steve and I are sitting on a park bench at the Ft. Greene dog park, watching Goof terrorize the yuppy dogs and their yuppy owners.
“Whose dog is this!?” The distressed househusband pleads for Goof’s owner to come forward as he wrestles Goof’s red rocket out of the Vizsla’s anal cavity.
People treat their dogs like humans, becoming embarrassed by dog park homosexuality and property theft; I refuse to teach Goof to distinguish between holes & tennis ball ownership. He’s gender fluid, and as far as I’m concerned. The dog park is a jungle, survival of the fittest, and if your dog enters, it may get humped and robbed. The househusband and his Vizsla walk off drenched in sin.
“Everything will be OK, Randy,” he reassures his compromised pet.
“This isn’t working,” Steve explains. “We need to change things up.”
He’s right; business is down. With all the competition, the decriminalization, there are people handing out cards on every corner. New services are popping up every day. New York City has become a free for all. No longer are we marijuana sommeliers. It’s become more like pizza: if a service doesn’t have selection, deliver on time, and offer a good price, it’s hard to beat the other services that do.
“We’re going to have to start taking some risks, Steve explains.”
Historically, to join a marijuana delivery service, a potential customer must have 2 recommendations that confirm via text within 10 minutes. This promotes membership, a pyramid scheme of sorts in which 2 friends tell a third friend they can get them into a club, and so on. Most importantly, it assures us people know this person. Now, Steve is proposing we get rid of the approval process and deliver to anyone and everyone who texts. “Otherwise, we need to shut down,” he unloads.
Ft. Greene has become the baby stroller capital of the world, and Goof scared away all the dogs, their owners, and now someone has called the Cops to come restore rule to the Canine Club Med.
“Viene aqui!” I yell to Goof. Goof doesn’t speak English. I got him from these Dominican gangsters in Spanish Harlem; he only understands Spanish. Saying goodbye to Steve, we vacate the premises as I consider the prospects of this job getting even more dangerous than it already is.
With the new self-deregulation in effect I accept the fact that any new customer could be a trap. I develop a spidey sense. I call customers and small talk until I decide they won’t call us twice and aren't just in it for the 2 for 1 first time promotion. I turn down college students and their dormitories, anyone who sounds like a teenager. I don’t do streets with police stations, they're bad luck. I won’t enter buildings if there’s a police car for 3 blocks in each direction. I wait outside of unfamiliar buildings, watch the coming and going for 30 minutes before buzzing. When I go to a new apartment, but nobody answers, I spend the rest of the day trying to outrun a rival gang of couriers I am convinced myself are following me home. This notion is unfounded, but not out of the realm of what I would do if I wanted to rob a rival. Damn, I’m not making as much money as I could if I wasn’t so paranoid, and I got to stop smoking this Red Congolese which has me thinking I’m in a war-torn republic.
I’m desperate for cash. My financial situation has led to Goof eating regular dog food again, which he’s allergic to. Now I need to pay for expensive allergy medicine, so I will just continue feeding him the grass fed filet mignon he is used to eating, as I subside on canned tuna, one day closer to mercury poisoning. I can’t get Mercury poisoning. I need to ride a bike 25 miles a day for a living.