While sitting in a high school class, I noticed someone had begun smoking marijuana. A joint was passed around the room until it reached me. I greedily took several hits from the joint and then extinguished it. The effects of the pot were immediate: my mental abilities immediately deteriorated. I couldn't think well and I didn't even know what I was doing. I remembered I would soon have to take some exams, but I couldn't recall the subject matter. My only clue was a Latin book lying open on my desk. I read a few lines of the Latin, which I mostly (but not completely) understood. However I still didn't know what I was supposed to be studying.
The class ended and I shambled out. Just as I exited the school, I ran into one of my teachers. As he stopped and spoke with me about Julius Caesar, I recalled I had once begun reading Caesar's Gallic Wars in Latin, but I hadn't finished the book because it had seemed rather trite and because Caesar had seemed so egotistical to me.
The teacher soon left and I continued meandering aimlessly. I was becoming very tired, and when I spotted an empty car, I climbed in, lay down and fell straight to sleep. When I finally awoke and opened my eyes the next morning, my thoughts still seemed scattered and hazy. I struggled to remember where I was and what I was doing. I knew I was in my last year of high school, but I couldn't recall the subjects I was taking. However, I realized I should be concerned, because my final exams would be coming up soon.
While I had been in the car, I had taken off my pants, so I had to pull them back on. Once I was fully dressed, I opened the car door and stepped out. I still didn't know where I was. but I could see a circus had been set up across the street. Since it was still so early in the morning, practically no one was there.
Once again I began walking. I hadn't ambled far before I encountered Hurley (a classmate whom I knew for a short while in junior high school and high school). I had never known Hurley well, and I hadn't seen him in many years, since the time he had dropped out of high school and joined the military. As I approached him, I noticed he quickly discarded something which looked like a joint. As soon as I was close enough, I told him I had something I wanted to ask him. Then I asked him if he had any pot.
Before Hurley could answer, a vivid image suddenly formed in my mind: a red bust of Julius Caesar, his wizened face plowed with wrinkles. The stark image seemed to represent my own mind; specifically the bust seemed to illustrate what marijuana was doing to me, aging and wrinkling my mind. The bust also seemed meant to convey a message to me from God. Since I had once again begun smoking marijuana, I felt God was telling me that I would never be able to stop using marijuana, that I would have to smoke marijuana for the rest of my life. Although I would be free to determine how much marijuana I would smoke, I would never be able to completely stop. This rueful message was extremely disconcerting to me. I knew that every time I smoked, I would be unable to function properly and that I would be incapable of remembering things well. I thought perhaps I would only smoke once a week; but I knew even that would be painful. Shaking the image from my mind, I turned and walked away from Hurley without obtaining any pot.
I crossed the street and headed toward the circus, where I could see some people gathering, all of whom appeared to be strong and healthy. Next to the circus stood a bar named "Cellars," a place where people drank booze and played music. Although I wasn't interested in drinking anything, I thought I would like to hear some music. As I changed my course toward "Cellars," I suddenly heard a voice – not my own – saying, "Steven, this is where you ought to live. You need to go there before it's too late."
The voice startled me. I instantly understood its import. The voice was directing me to go to Cellars because of the music there. The voice didn't merely want me to listen to the music. I understood the voice was a strong commandment for me to go to Cellars to learn to play music. The idea of learning to play music didn't please me, but I knew it was exactly what I ought to do. It seemed my destiny was to play music before it was too late.
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