Aug the Seventeenth
Do you remember the other day when I flipped out about being stung on the tip of the nose by a yellow jacket? Yeah? Well you may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned it since. Here’s why: I completely forgot about it. My nose isn’t swollen, isn’t itchy, it’s hardly even red. There’s a little red circle about the size of the head of a thumbtack – the ones with the plastic hourglassish grip, not the plain metal ones – and that’s all. I completely overreacted to that… but what happened tonight? What happened just now? I don’t think I overreacted at all. I think I reacted in the absolutely correct way, given my circumstances.
Journal, I have another story for you, but it’s not a story I can tell just yet. My hands are still trembling and I’m still catching the last of my breath. I’ve been smoking all day and I need to smoke once more, then I’ll tell you the story. Then, and only then, will you understand why I’m putting the pot down for a little while.
That’s right, I’m taking a break. Maybe I’m even quitting… I doubt that, though. No, I’d like to come back to it after a while, maybe after I’ve accomplished something grand; until then, Albey the Mad Poet is taking a breather from the Reefer Madness.
But first, one last joint. One I’ll smoke here in my bedroom, where it’s safe.
… … …
I don’t know when I woke up, but when I finally crawled out of bed it was 10:09. That’s a good time – I’ve been reading some nonsense about numerology and angel numbers and that kind of stuff lately, and having the number 9 appear to you means that you’re at the end of a cycle, which I am, as I finished work on The True Commons yesterday. So I had a big, hearty breakfast, rolled a myriad of joints, filled my backpack with water bottles and the hammock, and set off.
It was one of those preemptively autumnal days where the sun is warm but the winds are cool; my favorite kind of day. I debated walking all the way there instead of driving the roaded half of the journey, just for the fuck of it, but quickly gave in and decided to drive after all, and thank goodness I did. The way that thing was moving, I have no doubt in my mind it would have followed me all the way home. Hell, I doubt I would have even made it home, but I’ve gotten ahead of myself. We’re still coming up the back half of Sawblade Lane, and I didn’t pass a single car on that drive, either. I don’t really remember the traffic patterns of Sawblade before I left for college, but I can say that I’ve yet to see another car on this road ever since I’ve been home, aside from the cops. Maybe it has to do with whatever those cops were scrambling over the other day, maybe it doesn’t. Regardless, I pulled over onto the little dirt shoulder, parked, killed the engine, and I was feeling myself, y’know? I was feeling a little ballsy because I was rolling up to venture out to a spot that I made, from scratch, both by myself and for myself, and I had all those joints rolled and I left my house without smoking first, which should speak volumes about how excited I was to get back to The True Commons and spend some time. It should speak volumes.
Lowering my windows to get some cross-ventilation going, I cranked up my music (¡MAYDAY!’s South of 5th, an absolutely fantastic album to smoke to), leaned back, and lit up. Not a single car went by, although I attracted a few curious birds and squirrels. One came right up to my door, too, just stood there twitching its tail and watching me smoke. I winked at it and I shit you not, Journal, the squirrel winked back.
I was done with my happystick just as Magic in the Smoke was wrapping up. Windows closed, doors locked, pack on my back I set off into the forest. The leaves seemed to radiate a brighter green than they normally do, it was like the entire woods had that mystical energy that’s commonplace at The True Commons; it felt more like I was floating down the trail than walking it, but that may have had something to do with my burning down of a few many joints during said float. The more I smoked the warmer the sun felt every time I walked through a shaft of its light, the cooler and more refreshing the winds felt as they embraced me and rose goosebumps from my flesh, the deeper and bluer the sky looked every time I caught a rare glance at it through the rumbling canopy, the softer the ground felt beneath my bare feet once I came to my senses and dropped my footwear into my pack. It felt astoundingly primal, Journal, I felt in touch with my true human being for perhaps the first time in my life.
The first thing I did when I got to The True Commons was… well, the first thing I did was toss a few roaches into the little firepit I dug out yesterday – that was the icing on the cake, the crown on the king’s head, the title at the top of the page where I scrawled a poem – but then I set up my hammock. Doing so was an ordeal, as the wind kept catching the hammock as if it was a sailboat’s sail, but after thirtyish minutes and a joint and a half I got it done. Then I built up a giant fire in the pit, brushed all the dirt and arboreal detritus off my feet, and laid down in the hammock. The way the smoke billowed up into the shafts of sunlight was absolutely ethereal, really entrancing. Part of me forgot I was in the hammock, it felt like I was floating on the air, it felt… it felt utterly divine.
Now I don’t know exactly how many joints I smoked up to that point, but I do believed I smoked enough, because I don’t remember taking more than one, two hits max before I blinked and found myself smothered in dim twilight. I must have dozed off, although “falling a’slumber” would do more to accurately describe what happened; I must have been really exhausted from moving all that weight and smoking all that weed, because I slept for more than eight hours straight out there. I didn’t have my phone on me, of course, that shit’s been off ever since Harrington douched me at the library, so I don’t know exactly how long I was asleep but the firepit wasn’t smoking anymore, and the joint I was nursing before my little catnap was no longer in my inventory, so to speak, which I was grateful for. Had the embers made contact with my hammock after I went under, I could have burned alive. I could have burned the forest down. I could have killed whatever that thing was that was making all that noise out there in the darkness… wait, what?!
I was alone when I arrived at The True Commons, Journal, but when I woke up after the sun had gone down, I had company. A visitor, an interloper of sorts. A big interloper, from the sound of its footfalls. It sounded like moving around wasn’t an easy thing for it to do, like it had a lot of weight, you dig? A lot of pounds to haul every time it lifted one of its legs, but I could be wrong. Could have just been a raccoon, or a fox, or a bobcat, or an innocent baby bear who lost its mother and was now all on its lonesome, but I’m pretty sure it was none of those things. I’m pretty sure it was a bear, a fully grown black bear, a likely hungry and pissed off black bear who was in no mood to play silly games that didn’t end with its belly full.
So I’m laying there in my hammock listening to this whatever-the-fuck move around behind the trees and I think to myself, ‘What if it doesn’t know I’m here? What if it smelled my fire, came to check it out, saw smoke rising from a hole in the ground, and decided to wait at a safe distance just in case some demons were escaping from hell?
“Well if that’s the case,” I whispered to myself, “then it doesn’t know I’m here.” I gracefully swung one leg over the edge of the hammock, then another. “Maybe I can leave before it finds out.”
First I got my backpack and socks and shoes on, then I check out the firepit. It’s actually still smoking a little bit, I could still see little flecks of scarlet hiding in all the blacks and grays and other various shades of ash, and it made me feel safe. The forcefield was still in effect, y’know? The puddingstone barrier was still protecting me, Journal, so instead of leaving immediately I decided to see if I couldn’t find whatever was left of that joint I was working earlier. I failed at my mission, too, found the thing balanced on a flat-topped rock beneath my hammock. Feeling like the universe, god, Odin, and everyone else up there was on my side, I sat back down on the hammock and lit that puppy up.
That’s when I heard the branch break. The big branch, the big branch that sounded like it broke ten yards behind my back.
I’m up on my feet like I never sat down. The joint’s between my teeth, as I needed my hands to get out of the hammock, and every breath I take comes with a hot plume of pot smoke. This is wake and baking on a different level, Journal, my mind is racing faster than my heart is beating, my arms are trembling like I have an acute form of Parkinson’s, but the forest is quiet. Well, not quiet – there are bugs, birds, the normal Logger’s Pond soundtrack, but there’s no more weighted lumbering going on outside of The True Commons.
“Hello…?” I ventured through clenched teeth. No response, no steps taken. “Maybe I just imagined it,” I say to myself as I take another hit of my first wake and bake of the day. “Maybe my brain was still dreaming a little bit when I woke up.” I take another hit, then another hit, then yet another hit, this third one rousing a coughing spell that’s not quite strong enough to eject the crutch from my chompers, then a fourth hit. I’m feeling good now, Journal, I’m feeling confident, maybe even a little cocky, and a memory pops into my head. A memory of me smoking on the back porch after the campfire with the “Pact” boys the night I got home: I heard noises in the woods and I started freaking out, I started getting really uncomfortable. So I asked myself something along the lines of, “What am I afraid of, fuckin’ bigfoot? Come on, grow the fuck up, asshat.”
I should be nicer to myself. Anyway…
Then I heard another branch break, this one even closer, and the memory suddenly doesn’t seem so silly. Then I take a very deep breath of air (and only air, as the joint had gone out during my reminiscence) and everything starts to feel silly. My hippie ass came out here to chill and I fell asleep because I smoked too much weed, and now I think there’s something stalking me. In Logger’s Pond, New Jersey, the one place on Earth where the wild animals actually are more afraid of the humans than the humans are afraid of the wild animals, and would you like to know why that is? Because the humans are wild animals around here, they’re totally undomesticated, but that’s a story for another day.
Riding my wave of cockiness, which has grown into a full-blown tsunami at this point, I enact Big Mistake Number Four. Journal, I crush my roach between my teeth, cup my hands around my mouth, and WHOOP into the darkness like one of those guys on that old Finding Bigfoot show on Animal Planet or the History Channel or something, I don’t even know. I WHOOPed, though; I made fun of myself for thinking there was a bigfoot out in the woods, I WHOOPed as if to contact that suppos’ed bigfoot, and for a moment there was a tense, gut-churning silence. Then I screamed, because I heard footsteps again. Heavy, fast footsteps, footsteps that were coming towards me with a vengeful fury.
I took off. I could hardly see where I was going – there was light but it wasn’t very bright, just bright enough for me to not collide with any trees – but I could hear just fine, and whatever the fuck it was that was chasing me was right behind me. It wasn’t gaining any ground – in fact, it seemed to be losing ground, thank Christ for that – but it was still there, and if I told you I had so much as an iota of hope that it would give up its chase, I’d be a damn dirty liar.
I could still hear the footsteps when I got back to my car, but they were about as quiet as they were when I woke up, not that it mattered at that point. That fucker could have been breathing down the back of my neck for all I care, it still wouldn’t have stopped me from getting into my car. I slid over the hood, Journal, I successfully slid over the hood of my sedan, threw myself into the driver’s seat, smashed the push-button start with enough might to jam my finger (it still hurts), and peeled the fuck out of that dirt shoulder.
Both of my folks were hanging out on the porch when they heard the screeching of my tires as I drifted around the circle and skidded into my driveway. They also heard me shouting FUCK and GOD FUCKING DAMNIT and WHAT THE FUCK and other stuff along those lines, so they came running around the side of the house but I turned them around and literally shoved them back up the back steps and into the flimsy screened-in porch that wouldn’t have done shit to protect us if the bigfoot (I don’t know what it was, almost definitely a bear, but for comedy’s sake let’s go with bigfoot) had somehow followed my car all the way home, and it was at that point when I started crying.
Yup. Fell to my knees and wept in front of my parents, just like that. I don’t give a fuck about it, a ‘man’s got’a cry every now and then. I could have died out there, Journal, either by forest fire or by animistic intervention, but I survived. And the best part? I still had that roach pinched between my teeth. I totally forgot about it in my spastic frenzy, and the crutch was crushed into a single gooey mass, but I still had it. And I smoked it, right in front of my parents, and they didn’t care at all.
After the weed was smoked I eventually calmed down and became more reasonable. My parents asked me what happened. I told them. To keep a long, droning conversation short, they pointed out that I have been smoking a grandiose amount of cannabis lately and, while the jury is still out on whether or not that’s a healthy thing for a human to do, the one thing everybody can agree on is that weed has the tendency of making its smoker a tad bit paranoid. So, my folks suggested that perhaps I take a break from burning the bush, that I give myself a little breather so my body (and brain) can balance themselves out a little bit. And I agreed.
That’s my story, Journal, and I’m sticking to it.
… … …
Here we are. I don’t know what chased me, but I do know something chased me. That means that there’s something big living in these woods, something that only decided to make itself present after I finished building what is essentially a spot for me to leave my scent out there, a piece of territory that I’ve marked as my own. That means the whatever-the-fuck is at least a little bit on the territorial side, which could prove to be dangerous if I’m not careful. That’s all pretty tough, but the part that really sucks? I left the hammock out there. I love that hammock, but it’s as good as gone now. I slept in it, after all, the thing reeks of me more than I reek of weed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if whatever chased me was shredding it to pieces with its big, black, sickle-shaped claws right now. Oh well, acceptable loss I guess. I’m just glad I didn’t get caught, and that I’ve stopped shaking. The “last joint” helped, I think, but something is telling me that writing the experience out helped more. I don’t know, I’m higher than the asteroids right now and I think the weed’s only playing a supporting role in that. Regardless, that was a lot. I just wrote out a whole lot. My hand hurts, I need a minute.
… … …
All right, hello.
You know what just occurred to me? More than once in these entries I’ve been like “I need a minute” or “Give me a second” or whatever, I’m always like, “Hold on Journal, I’ll be right back.” But I’m only doing that for my sake; a break in the writing doesn’t mean there’s a corresponding break in the reading. Not that I’m going to read this journal back to myself… well, maybe this entry I will, because of the story, but in general I’m not one to read my own journal entries. I feel like I’ve said that before.
I feel a lot of things right now, actually, and I’m not sure what all of them are.
Moving on: so yeah, I’m putting the pot down for a little while. I’m anxious about doing so, of course, because everybody knows How Albey Gets When He Doesn’t Get To Smoke His Weed, but my parents think it will help and honestly, so do I. I’ve been thinking about taking a break for a little while now, I just never wrote about it because I didn’t want to make it real (just like the THC book, which I don’t think I’m ever going to tell you about, not anytime soon at least, quitting weed is enough to worry about). But I think it’s time to act on my sobriety thoughts and make ‘em real.
What I’m anxious about is what I’m go’n’a do instead of smoking. Like, smoking is my main pastime, it’s literally how I make the time pass. When I’m sober everything is just, like… there, y’know? Like, everything is up front and real and in my face, it gets really overwhelming, so I’m go’n’a need something to do, I’m go’n’a need a man in black to follow across this desert I’m about to wander into, you feel? I need something that I can’t just rush through in a day, something that’ll occupy all of my time and attention so I don’t even think about smoking – that means poetry is out of the question; I can bang out a poem faster than I can roll myself a joint – because I haven’t even stopped yet and it’s all I’m thinking about. Hm… I don’t know. Maybe something will come to me in the morning when I wake up sober.
Ugh, I’m going to be sober all day every day. God damnit, this is going to suck so fuckin’ much. Whatever, it’ll be worth it. I guess.
I don’t know, I’m having mixed feelings now. But I know it’s something I have to do, and even if I don’t have to do it, it can’t hurt, right? Not inhaling combusted plant matter can’t be the worst thing in the world for me. Of course, inhaling it on the daily can’t be the worst thing in the world for me either, but… whatever. This has been a very long journal entry, and after today’s activities (despite the hours-long nap I took, which I must have really needed), I’m exhausted. Like, dumb exhausted. So I’m go’n’a go to bed now. Maybe I’ll have a dream that’ll tell me what I should do with my time so I don’t start smoking again, that’d be nice.
Thank you, Journal. I appreciate you. Good sleeps and good dreams… and watch out for bigfoot xP~
Hello Commons, this has been the next journal entry from Untitled Bigfoot Project, a novel about a writer who writes a novel about bigfoot.
Untitled Bigfoot Project 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.
Untitled Bigfoot Project 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 Untitled Bigfoot Project 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 OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.
If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~