The black pen falls into the journal’s centerfold, and Albey closes the notebook.
Albey’s writing desk is the apotheosis of all writing desks: littered with flakes of weed, dotted with stains from ashes spilled, scrawled with absent-minded symbols and doodled pictures, gouged with little divots dug with the dull tip of a pocketknife as if Albey was trying to chisel through the writer’s block of rhymes written past. There are levels to this desk, as there are to most things; two to be specific. Well, two and a half. At bottom is the desk itself, the writing surface which, these days, is used more for prepping joints and packing The Peace Piece than it is for writing a poetic piece to bring peace to the invisible landscape of Albey’s mind; standing on the desk is what Albey can only describe as a miniature television stand, because that’s exactly what he used to use it for.
It’s only attached to the desk by four screws and two bars, and right now it’s not attached at all – the last time Albey came home he took it down and used it to prop up his little flatscreen television, and when he left for school again he left in a hurry, as he always did. This time he has no flatscreen television, nor the PS4 he once plugged into it. Weed costs money, and selling shit brings it in.
Standing on that upper level these days, making its owner very proud, is a jar full of herbs, herbs which have been known to cripple a hippie. There’s also a rolling tray, a box of Elements rolling papers – not one pack but a box of packs, truly a lifetime’s supply so long as Albey doesn’t live to see the end of this year, which isn’t looking like it will be the case. Smoking cannabis is good for you, after all; it only extends one’s lifespan, just ask anybody who smokes it – a few clips of Raw authentic original tips, some brass screens he should use but rarely does. They’re nice and all, but there’s really no need for them. Balling up a stopper works just as well, plus, you can smoke a stopper. Can’t smoke a brass screen.
Between the lowly writing surface and the pedestal upon which the cannabis stuff sits is a half-level, a cubby hole of sorts, and this is where Albey keeps his Dark Tower books. They are not new, nor are they in spectacular condition; Sidney Blake is not a wealthy ‘man, not in a monetary sense, and on the off chance he buys books, he always does so through an online used book racket called ThriftBooks. The Gunslinger is the least abused out of the eight of them; scratch that, The Wind Through the Keyhole takes that title, Albey decides as he puts his grinder down and draws the book from its half-shelf.
“Scribner International,” he says to himself as he flips through the lightly-thumbed cream pages. “I guess folks from other countries like when the gutter swallows the words.”
Albey returns the book to its family, but not between books four and five. Instead he closes that gap and makes a space to the right of book seven, then slides book eight into its rightful place. The story book eight tells might take place between the events of four and five, but the book’s place belongs at the end of the cycle. It just doesn’t hit the same when it’s read in the middle.
The cap of the grinder lands flat with a metallic smack on Albey’s desk. Using a toothpick he sharpened down to a dull point over the months at school, Albey scrapes the stickier bits of cannabis that got smushed against the grinder’s teeth and walls and guides them into the holes leading to the catch chamber. He replaces the cap, reveling in the click as it falls into place, then unscrews the top half and lets it land where it may.
There isn’t much in this world that Albey appreciates more than the sensations which come along with a freshly filled grinder. The delicious, earthy aroma floating up in a tactile cloud and bombarding his nose with pot terpenes and delight; the pillowy appearance of the fluffy flakes just begging to be packed together and burned to ash; the sticky residue left on his finger and thumb from the first pinch, only getting stickier with each subsequent clump he loads into The Peace Piece’s bowl. He feels high already, as if his brain was so ready for the THC that it started reactivating some of the old supply stored in his fat cells.
The bowl is full and ready to be smoked after six pinches of herb, but he’ll get much more than six hits out of this bad boy. It’s just like Roland’s big irons with the unfading sandalwood grips: six bullets in the cylinder, plenty more bodies felled.
“I am the gunslinger,” Albey tells himself, feeling his head inflate like a balloon. He laughs then, placing the bowl down and drawing The Gunslinger from its half-shelf like a six-shooter from its holster. He flips intently past the introduction, past the forward, past the page which gave away the ending for him, and stops on page one. It reads THE GUNSLINGER, and below the title is an illustration of a stubble-cheeked badass ‘man with a black bird on his shoulder. “I’ve always wondered who that was. It should be Roland, but Roland didn’t have a black bird. He had a hawk named David, but that black bird has to be Zoltan, so… it’s Brown? I guess?”
He puts the book back on its shelf. Looks down at the pipe.
“If I’m the gunslinger, then you must be David.” But that isn’t right, David dies when Roland becomes a gunslinger. How could The Peace Piece die? Plus, Albey is already a gunslinger, isn’t he? He shrugs it off. “You’re not literally the gunslinger, Sidney. The Dark Tower is not the story of your life, get rolling already.”
Sidney gets rolling already. Over the course of the next nineteen minutes Albey rolls three bombers, each one slightly longer than the last, using the pencil method, a technique of his own design as far as he is aware. He uses an old D.O.P.E. pencil he got in elementary school – that’s D.O.P.E. as in Drug Obstinance and Persecution Edumacation, admittedly one of the better acronyms forced upon him in his youth – to make the preroll, stops it up on one end with a RAW authentic tip, and fills the rest of the space with those sticky flakes of Hippie Crippler he keeps grinding up. The first joint is packed down twice with the dull chopstick, the second joint four times, and the third joint six. The third one will be a tad bit more taxing to smoke, but it’ll last longer. It’ll be worth the extra effort. Rolling them this way takes a little bit longer than doing it the standard way, but it too is worth the extra effort, that’s for sure. Back at Louberg University in the CO Albey got many and many’a compliment for his joints, how they look more like cigarettes than jammers, how they always burn so smoothly, rarely canoeing like the little pinners his peers would throw together at the last minute. One girl told him he should package them and sell them back home in NJ when pot inevitably becomes legal over there, but he just laughed. Albey did a lot of laughing back in college, but the world moved on since then.
A few moments are allowed to pass in mellow silence. Nobody’s home with Albey at the moment, it’s just him and The Peace Piece. Just Albey and his weed. Just Albey the Mad Poet, sitting alone in a world that moved on.
“Welp,” he says with a sigh, pushing himself away from his desk. “Might as well get going.”
He takes up the three joints, holding them between the fingers of his right hand like little weedy claws, and takes The Peace Piece in his left. The lighter’s already in his pocket, there’s probably a water bottle in the car. The floor creaks as he stands up.
“Yeah,” said with a slow nod. “Guess I might as well go.”
Hello Commons, this has been the first subchapter of the second chapter of 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.
Be well Commons~