Dream of: 12 October 1998 "Too Much, Too Fast"

In Portsmouth, about a block from my old high school, was a small grocery store called "Schoonover's," the kind of store which usually displayed baskets of fruit and vegetables stacked on the front sidewalk. I was sitting in a chair in front of the store, nonchalantly facing the street. I wasn't paying any attention to several black people who were gathered about a meter from me, until one finally spoke to me. When I looked at the fellow, I realized I knew him. I hadn't recognized him at first because he was dressed up like a woman. He was probably in his late 20s and gave the impression he hung out there a lot.

He asked me if I had come there to buy some dope. The thought hadn't occurred to me, but now that I recalled that I had smoked some marijuana with this fellow long ago, I thought perhaps I might like to smoke some now. When I asked him if he could get any pot for me, he told me he just happened to have some "red" for $25 a joint. As he extolled the strength of the pot, a spindly black girl standing nearby said she could get high with just one hit of the pot. But $25 a joint seemed completely outrageous to me, and I told him I was used to paying $2 a joint.

He continued talking and finally pulled out a joint and showed it to me. I could see the red pot, about the color of tobacco, sticking out both ends. The joint was definitely tempting, but I still wasn't prepared to pay that price for it. Finally the fellow caved in and told me he would sell the joint to me for $2, but he didn't want to conduct the transaction right there on the street, and he directed me to a building which looked like a barn on the other side of the street. I recalled that I had been in the barn-like building before and that part of the building had been filled with hay. I thought I might be able to find a safe place somewhere in the hay to smoke the joint.

When I reached the building, however, I discovered that the part of building which had contained hay was no longer there - only a bleak warehouse-like structure remained, empty and desolate. I walked inside, climbed up to the second floor and waited. In short order, a black woman showed up, approached me, and quickly told me that she would need to see some identification to make sure I wasn't a nark. Even though this procedure seemed a little ridiculous to me, I pulled out my billfold. When I opened my billfold to a section containing pictures, I was surprised that the first picture was of the black fellow who was selling me the pot. His wife and child were also in the picture. I handed the picture to the woman and told her I had kept the picture all these years, since the time when I had met the fellow. I then handed her other pictures to prove who I was.

As I did so, she mentioned that the fellow was willing to sell me two joints for $5. That sounded reasonable enough to me, and I told her I would take two. I saw some bills sticking out of my wallet, among which was a five. I thought I would give the five to her, but I didn't want to give her the money until I actually had the joints - I was unsure I could trust her. Feeling a bit apprehensive about being alone in this barren building with my wallet open, I suddenly noticed two or three other black men standing nearby. Since I hadn't seen them before, I thought they must have walked in with the woman. Thinking I might be in danger, I quickly closed my billfold and before anyone could do anything, I slipped back downstairs.

The woman followed me and when we reached the street, she told me I could wait in a bar which was right next door. I stepped into the bar and saw it was filled with black clientele. But that didn't bother me much and I stepped up to the counter to order a drink. At first I was just going to order one drink, but when I saw the prices, I decided to order a whole fifth of whiskey. I was handed a green-bottled fifth of something called "Crown Seven." After I was given a glass, I poured myself a drink.

I wasn't in the mood for drinking. I wanted the pot, but since I now had the fifth, I began slugging down one drink after another. The liquor wasn't difficult to drink, even though it was rather strong. It didn't take me long to finish off about a third of the bottle. I began feeling more at ease, but not intoxicated, and I thought about how well I seemed to be able to handle my liquor. But suddenly I began feeling a little light-headed, as if I weren't completely sure what I was doing, and I thought to myself, "Too much, too fast."

The black woman was also in the bar, waiting with me. She mentioned that I might want to order a pizza. She said the pizzas were only $5 apiece and she suggested that I buy two. At that point I didn't really care. I handed her the money and she left for the pizza.

By the time she returned, I was sitting at a table with a half dozen or so black men who seemed to be playing cards, although I wasn't paying close attention. I was more preoccupied with trying to figure out whether I was drunk. I couldn't seem to decide. I had drunk a lot of the fifth, from which I was now drinking straight from the bottle, but I still felt as if I were sober.

The woman set the pizzas on the table, but the toppings weren't yet on the pizzas. All the toppings were in a separate bowl and still had to be put on the pizzas. Some toppings looked like vegetables. Some sliced cucumbers looked good. There were also some delicate-looking pieces of meat of which I took a few bites.

I hadn't intended to share the pizzas with everyone at the table, but now I didn't see how I could refuse. Before I knew what happened, however, the other men at the table scooped up all the food, without even asking, and gobbled it down. I didn't even get one piece of the pizza for myself. Now the atmosphere seemed to have changed. Now that they had eaten all the pizza, the others didn't seem so friendly.

I was feeling confused and uncertain what to do. I just wanted to get my two joints and get out of there. The place was looking less and less safe by the minute.

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