“See ya when I see ya! Have a nice afterlife!”
Haze not in front of but inside of his eyes faces Howie as he comes to. There’s not much to see in the first place, as the only light down here is runoff from the distant crack under the door at the top of the stairs on the other side of the room, and what little he can make out between here and there is shrouded by the driest contact lenses to ever shrivel into a pair of eyeballs on this side of Shit’s Creek, and that’s all the way over on the Atacama side of town. Wincing as the grit and whatever else migrated onto his hands last night slips beneath his eyelids, Howie rubs at his peepers until they water up enough to rehydrate his contacts. The feeling of lillies opening in force across a warm pond brings Howie to his feet.
The air is humid, but not overwhelmingly moist. It’s not warm but it’s not cold either, so there must be some sort of air conditioning that doesn’t get used very often. From what Howie can make out this is a cellar, likely one with stone walls, that doesn’t get a whole lot of use yet is kept clean enough to not smell of mildew.
“So some hole in the ground,” Howie says to himself. “Yeah, sounds about right.” He searches his pockets and pulls out an unlit joint, one with a deep bend in its belly, and a book of matches. He looks at them in his hand – well, he looks at the vague shapes he can sort of see in the dankness of this cellar – his eyes a’squint, his lips pursed and slightly parted. “I thought I smoked this…”
Howie sniffs the air with virile, clearing his sinuses in one fell swoop and swallowing the haul. “I must have, it smells like pot smoke in here. That can’t just be me.”
Howie sniffs himself, then shrugs and nods a couple times. He pops the crutch in his mouth and thumbs open the matchbook, bringing his hand up to get lit, but stops halfway there. Half of the matches are missing from the book. Chills move up and down Howie’s spine.
“I definitely smoked a joint last night… I smoked a lot of joints last night.” He rubs the greasy back of his head and winces when he feels a pulse respond from up front. “Right. A lot happened last night.” Hot fangs of pain bite down at the gentlest touch of his fingers to his forehead; Howie stumbles backwards in recoil. He tries again and it doesn’t hurt quite as badly. “Jesus, that was fuckin’… Jesus.”
A sore head, an unlit joint, waking up in a dank and cavernesque space; this is all so familiar to Howie, why does it seem so familiar…?
“Ah, you know damn well ya sloppy bastard,” Howie cusses under his breath. He kicks at the floor, hoping to scare up some rocks or something, but there’s only the echoes of his swipe. “God damn it. This is… well I’m just annoyed. This is too fucking ironic; I could write a joke about this. Smoking pot, right now, is like living in a cold dusty cellar where the only light is the crack under the door at the top of the stairs. There’s a stove down here, too, why not? A woodburning stove, that’s the pot, and I can only use it so much before it chokes me out with the smoke and I have to wait for the room to vent out so I can smoke up again. Meanwhile, up there behind the door is a warm and loving home with food and blankets and all sorts of lovely creature comforts, and for some reason my dumb ass is sitting down here making up jokes about it. There you go, folks, I’m the ‘man you’ve paid to entertain you tonight. All this is what y’r in f’r, ladies’n’germs.” He shakes his head and laughs almost nervously. “Man… I ain’t never thought about it like that before… heh. Hah…” He pushes his chin this way and that, cracking his neck only once. “Well… guess I should get on home.”
Dark, empty echoes come as Howie’s only reply. He takes the wormy joint out of his mouth, does his best to straighten it out without tearing the paper, and puts it back into his pocket with the matchbook. Nothing but clammy old air and dark space to accompany him down here, he finally concludes after looking about the cellar four more times after the first time.
“Guess I should get home.” He nods once to himself. “Yeah. Time to get home.”
Hello Commons, this has been the second subchapter of the first chapter of Flowers, a novel about a man who smokes the last of his pot.
Flowers is part of the Third Spiral, an anthology of sorts called The Here and Now which is comprised of stories told from the various planes of Existence.
Flowers is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
If you like Flowers and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here.
Be well Commons~