The 2020 Event |The Sideshows|

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Universe W-420: Stoner Problems 3
F(r)iends

Bronology

Ripping down the street going thirty-seven in a twenty-five, Chet Skylark’s mindstate is the same color as his eyeballs: bloodshot red. An excruciatingly sleepless night spent neurotically and maniacally searching through his house for a reason to not clean his room just recently ended in a much-needed bowl of weed. His clothes reek, his hair is so greasy that it’s sticking to the back of his neck, and he keeps going cross-eyed for some reason, but Chet’s not about to let that crap stop him. Hours late to work is not a look he needs to repeat two days in a row, especially with the Bronager’s ultrachic taste in scheduling.

As Chet turns on to the last stretch of driving between him and the job that affords the gas he feeds his car, the 822 MiniMart begins to shine in the distance like a golden palace among the clouds. The Grand PM’s clock reads a solid 8:55 – today just might be Chet’s lucky day. Then, a shrill sped up reggae bonanza reminds dude that it is never, ever, Chet’s day.

“Hello?”

“Yooo, Chit!” says a raspy voice, the speaker of which hasn’t woken up yet. “What’s goooood kid?”

“Uh, it’s Chet, and not much. About to get to work. ‘Sup Jim?”

“I know ya name, Chot. Yo, we’re smoking later today, right?”

Chet slows to a stop at the most inconvenient traffic light that was ever installed within the fifteen feet between the exit and the entrance of the 822’s parking lot.

“Yeah, you texted me before. I’m working until fiveish, but we can chill after.”

“What?” Jimmy says, sounding insulted. “I didn’t fuckin’ tex– oh wait, hahahahah yeah I did. I just woke up, word. Catch ya later, Chatter Cheese.”

“Dude, it’s Che–” click

The phone flies over Chetter Cheese’s shoulder and lands in the groove between two of the back seats. Oh that Jimmy, that Jimster, that Jim-jam-a-fuckin’-reeno. What a guy. As soon as the delayed light turns green, Chet slams on the gas and banks the turn on two wheels before drifting into one of the many open spots in the parking lot of the 822, sliding in just one spot over from the only car in the entire town of Mundon with tinted windows. After very attentively taking the keys from the ignition and pocketing them, Chet hustles inside the minimart with the bustle of a bus full of TLEs.

He did it! The car’s clock said 8:58 when he got out! Our boy is at work on time! He might be high, but let’s be real, if he wasn’t, he probably wouldn’t be here at all right now! All that matters is that Chet’s here, he’s present, and he’s in a good mood, ready to face the day and all of its consumer-based challenges.

“Skylark, you’re late. It’s nine’oh-one,” booms the loudspeaker, alerting all zero of the customers that Chet is a minute late.

A burly red-haired woman with not nearly enough freckles on her face, arms, legs, and every other part of her body that she doesn’t have covered up by clothing, walks out of the doors leading into the back. She stands before Chet with folded arms, towering over his otter-like build, and looks him up and down before taking a deep, loud inhale of the air emanating in his immediate vicinity. At first, Kath shakes her head in disappointment, but then she just chuckles to herself.

“A minute ain’t that bad, all things considered. You look like hell Chet, you livin’ okay?”

Chet smiles. Good ol’ Kath. “Yeah, I just didn’t get much sleep last night, my brain wasn’t behaving. I’m sorry I’m late.”

Kath motions towards the absence of a line at the register. “Well apologize to all the customers you’ve held up with your tardiness! You’re lucky Mistress Bron isn’t here today, she’d chew your ear right off for this blasphemy. Nah, just kidding kid, you’re all good. Your shirt’s on backwards though, fix that. Also, we have a new employee, she’s in the break room. So uh, don’t change your shirt in there. Or do, I don’t know how confident you are. I’m goin’ back to my she-cave; try not to burn the place down, okay?”

“You got it, boss.”

“Good. The girl’s name is Isabelle, you’re going to train her in the ways of Bronology one-oh-one. Soun–”

“Did someone say my name?”

Chet and Kath both turn towards the counter and see the new employee. It’s that girl that came into the store to buy cigarettes yesterday, the admittedly attractive but not remotely Chet’s type girl. Chet’s stomach turns to a lump of metamorphic rock.

“Isabelle, this is Chet. Chet, Isabelle. Now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to my cave. Call me if yuh’s need me, but uh, don’t need me.”

Kath turns and leaves the children to play. Chet, attempting to avoid eye (and every other level of) contact, circumnavigates the counter and slips into the break room to fix his shirt. When the cloth is draped over his eyes, he hears the door open and freezes.

“So hi!” Isabelle Portman says to the side of Chet Skylark’s shirted head. “I came in here yesterday to buy some ciggaboges and you checked me out, do you remember me?”

Chet slowly brings the shirt over his body and turns to face his first adversary. “Oh yeahhhh, hi– uh, hi there. I’m Chet. I’m also really stoned, so I don’t know how much help I’m really gonna be for you, uh, fer you today.”

“Oh, its cool!” she beams, bubbly as the Creature energy drinks cooling in the fridge. “This job is pretty basic, just don’t steal all the money. Hey, you know, it’s kind of funny, um, you look so much like my brother Tyler!”

‘Shit.’

Pack The Bowl

“Yo, so I had an idea. Let’s go camping tonight!”

“Camping? Fuck it, I’m down. I haven’t been camping since… well, it’s been a fuckin’ while. I’ll grab my stuff after I get out of wor–”

“Nah nah nah,” Jimmy corrects him, “you gotta pick us up right after you get out, it’ll already be five o’clock.”

“But all my camping stuff is at home, I–”

“So just run home during your break, it’s gotta be lunch time soon, doot.”

“Well… that’s not a bad idea, actually. There’s this new gir–”

“WOAH!” Jimmy shouts, coming a little too close for comfort. “Woah, Chatter Box, I didn’t ask, ‘cuz. You can tell us later though.”

A pause. Then, “A’ight man, sounds good. I’ll run home in like an hour.”

“Wort. Yo we got you on the weeds, bee-tee-dubz.”

“Dope, thanks Jim!” said with a sudden change of inflection. “I’ll hit y’all up when I get out of here.”

“Wort. Peace.” click

As Jimmy lowers the phone to the cup holder, Kris passes him a cherried bowl over the console. Jim takes it and draws, inhaling until the little red glow flickers out. He exhales the smoke through the pipe and scatters the ashes of his cashed bowl all over the car, which only adds to the slight haze the boys already have brewing. The bowl, and an expecting look, is passed back to Kris, who takes said bowl and leans back in the driver’s seat, dodging the look and all of the world’s expectations. Jimmy holds the look as Kris closes his eyes and soaks in the hot box.

“Dude,” Jimmy croaks in a raspy, burnt-out voice. “I can still see you through the smoke, pack the bowl.”

“I can’t though, dude,” Kris slowly drawls back. “We smoked all the weed. Oh yeah, I wanted to, like, ask you and stuff, man. How are we gonna have enough for the camping trip tonight?”

“Fuck, already?” Jimmy says, tuning out the noise after hearing the word all. “A’ight, whatever, we needa go to Chad’s house. You know his address?”

“Maybe, but…” as he pauses to contemplate why one parks in the driveway and drives on the parkway. Then, “Woah, sorry, I uh, I think I’ve only been in his driveway before.”

“So what’s the address?”

“Umm… either, uhh… um… twenty-four Kodey Drive, or… yeah, either forty-two Kodey Drive or twenty-four… no, forty-two Kodey Lane. Or… I forget man, they don’t like, they don’t name streets in this town too good at all.”

Jimmy forcefully leans his head back and gazes up at the burn marks in the ceiling of Kris’s car. “Okay, you go to Kodey Drive, I’ll go to Kodey Lane. Call me if Chad shows up, but don’t let him see you.”

Jimmy hops out of the car and slams the door, leaving the stoney Kris with his mission. The afternoon air is cool and, as he takes a big drag of it through his nose, Jimmy can hear his lungs whistling.

A moment later, the tinted driver-side window opens and Kris leans out. “Why can’t I let him see me? Aren’t we, like, meeting him there? And stuff?”

“Dude,” Jimmy dudes without turning around, “just do what I said.”

Off they go.

The Qic Is Flicked

Jimmy’s high starts to fade after fifteen minutes’ walk between the parking lot of the 822 and what is hopefully Chet’s driveway. He’s hidden in the bushes, and branches keep poking him in the sides. The sun’s too hot, it’s making him sweaty. There are freaking bugs crawling all over poor Jimmy. He thinks to himself, ‘There better be some good fuckin’ weed in this house after all this shit.’

Forty-four minutes later, a vaguely familiar Grand PM pulls into the driveway. Chet climbs out and Jimmy silently sucks in a breath, not about to get peeped after all this bullshit. He watches Chet walk into the house through the already unlocked door. The man damn near screams and blows his cover but no, this is his chance, he can work with this. He waits for the twenty seconds it takes the thumps to summit the staircase, then Jimmy makes his move.

Lying in wait on the stairs leading down to the basement, Jimmy peers through the crack under the door. Seconds go by, then minutes. What the hell is taking Chot so long to get his camping shit and get out of here?!

Eventually he hears feet slapping down a flight of stairs followed by a door being shut. Jimmy emerges from the basement and a slight waft of Cannabic odor graces his nostrils. He breathes deeply, taking it all in. ‘Very well,’ he thinks to himself before running up to Chet’s room, gingerly stepping over the skid marks at the bottom of the stairs.

Surprisingly enough it’s actually pretty clean in Chet’s bedroom. Jimmy notices a pile of toothpicks or something next to the door, but other than that it’s spotless in here. He’s not here to judge Clint’s cleanliness though; sitting on the foot of the bed in a neat little pile ripe for the pilfer is a big ol’ bag of weed, more pieces than anybody would ever need (let the record reflect that there’s only one glass bowl on the bed), and a bunch of papers and other stuff that Jimmy doesn’t care about right now. Without any hesitation, Jimmy goes into the bag and pinches a couple nugs, breaking them up with his fingers like a caveman as he stuffs the bowl of Chet’s pipe with the crumbs. At long last, party time – Jim leans back, slaps the pants of his pocket… the pocket of his pants, and grimaces when nothing cushions the blow.

‘God dammit. Of course he forgot a lighter! Looks like it’s time to call Kris, buddyguy Jimmy the Jim-Jam Jamster.

Fortunately, Jimmy only has to wait a few minutes for Kris to bring him the lighter.

He told Kris that the door was unlocked, but the moron knocks on it anyway. Obscenely annoyed and not nearly high enough, Jim-jamboree stomps down the stairs and throws the front door open.

“Dude, I definitely, like, didn’t go to Chet’s house. I knocked on the door and some lady answered, right? So I ask for Chad, and she starts flippin’ a dip on me, like, accusin’ me of being sent by her daughter to mess with her. Dude, I didn’t know what was going on.”

Dumbfounded and slack-jawed, Jimmy stares Kris in the face. “I… I didn’t ask, Kristoff. Where’s the fuckin’ lighter at, dawg?”

Kris pulls the lighter from his back pocket and Jimmy snatches it before it’s even presented. Jimmy sprints back upstairs with Kris following close behind and he jumps onto the bed, wildly grabbing at the bowl as it bounces back and forth, as if Chet slept on an old hippie-ass waterbed or some shit.

Then, the Qic is flicked.

An hour or two later, Chet’s herb supply is half depleted. The dynamic duo decides they’re probably high enough for now before smoking one more bowl together and packing up the weed supply. Kris, still confused over where they’re going to get the weed for tonight’s camping trip, starts to take his last toke, but stops himself when Jimmy get up and walks out the door. Opting to not get left behind, Kris rises and ejects the red-hot charcoal cherry of their umpteenth bowl into the air above that random pile of green-tipped toothpicks next to the door. Better to have loved and lost to never have loved at all, he supposes.

Party Favors

Jimmy flicks the spent roach of one of the many joints he rolled from Chet’s weed into the street. The afternoon sun is glaring down at the boys as they soak up their high on a bench near the town’s sole patch of forest. It’s not deep enough to get lost in, yet it’s dense enough to lose yourself in; perfect for a camping trip.

“Duuuude,” exhales Kris, his eyelids more than half of the way shut. “They call it a park because you park your car to get out into nature. Maannn, the, like, English language, I sweeeaaaar, duuude.”

Jimmy rolls his eyes, thinking, ‘This fuckin’ guy.’ He checks his phone. 5:17. Why is Chet not here yet? They can’t really smoke any more until they get to the camping spot. Too many humans out and about, watching them, observing them, keeping an eye on the two misfits sitting on their bench, plotting the downfall of the town of Mundon. This day has been a chore and a half, and it only seems to be getting more inconvenient for our buddy Jim.

Then, the sound of a crying puppy erupts from Jimmy’s pocket, nearly causing Kris to piss himself.

“Finally!” click “Hello?”

“Hey Jim, it’s Chet. Where should I pick you guys up?”

“Nowhere lipshit, me and Kris are already at the park. Hurry up, I wanna get stoned.”

“Whuh– I thought, erm… didn’t you say it was gonna be me, you, and Steve?”

“NO, I fuckin’ dih– oh wait, yeah ahahahah, yeah I did. Yeah he couldn’t come, bummer bro. Why you always gotta bring the mood down, man?”

“HI CHET!” Kris screams from a foot away.

One dirty look from a stroller-pushing father later, Jimmy says, “Kris says hi.”

“Hey Kris. A’ight, I’ll be there in a few. Sorry I’m late, that g–”

“DUDE!” Jimmy spews, garnering the attention of the passersby (other than the dad of the year) that weren’t paying him any attention until now. Then, perhaps a bit more quietly, “You aren’t late, dude, you’re not even here yet. Huuurrrrryyyyyy!”

click

Jimmy turns to Kris and says, “He’ll be here soon. Try to sober up a bit, okay Kris?”

“Okie dokie.” Kris takes a few deep, intent breaths, but remains as stoned as ever. Oh well. “Dangit, I tried man. Hey, it was awful nice of Chad to let us burn at his house before, man. Like, in his bedroom and stuff.”

Jimmy shoots his compatriot a look that goes way over his head. “Yeah, dude’s great. Just don’t mention it to him, cool?”

“Okay man. Hey, can I mention that he’s super cool for letting us smoke his weed tonight? ‘Cause tha–”

“No, Kris, speak when you’re fuckin’ spoken to. I swear to god, you’re a brick wall.”

A few minutes later, Chet pulls into the parking lot. Kris springs from his seat to help his buddy unload while Jimmy sits back and enjoys the show. It’s incredible that they’ve trained circus monkeys to work like humans, really stunning.

Eventually Jimmy approaches the two dudes he’ll be smoking with tonight and holds out what used to be a big ol’ herb sack.

“Yo. Got the party favors.”

“Dank!” Chet exclaims, maybe a little too loud. “Dude I need it, that freaking new girl at work I was telling you about? She kept trying to convince me that I was her older brother who apparently ran away a few years ago. Fuckin’ weird, right? Like, is it just me or is that weird as shit?”

“That’s just queer, chick was probably into you. Lots of humans into incest shit now, with that fuckin’ porn on the internet and shit,” Jimmy explains before hocking a horrific loogie right next to Chet’s shoe. “Doesn’t beat our story though, a firetruck nearly tee-boned us on the way over here.”

“Yeah man,” Kris says, shaking the PTSD from his thoughts. “It was crazy irresponsible of him. Like, where’s the fire, right?”

Kris has a laugh, offering to share it with Jimmy and Chet. They silently decline.

Then, Chet picks up the slack. “Well damn, dudes. Sounds like we could all use a burn, then.”

And with that, the three wander off into the woods on a search to find a nice spot to smoke themselves silly and settle down for the night. Yes, they’re all going to settle into place, just like the charred remains of Chet’s rental house. It’s a good thing his landlord swung by to demand an early rental payment, or else the fire department never would have gotten called!

Fin


Mystic Shit

“What do you mean you can’t discern the cause of the fire?! I need to make an insurance claim! What am I supposed to say, that the shit got struck by fuckin’ lightning?!”

“Not if you’re Jewish!” the fireman chuckles, patting himself on the belly. “Look sir, I–”

“Tyrone, please. You know my name.”

Tyrone sighs. “Fine. No, Lemmy, we’re not totally sure what started the fire. We think it could have been a tossed cigarette butt or something of the sort, but we found this in what might have been his bedroom before it caved in,” as he holds his hand out. Sat in his palm is a melted glass thing, a paperweight but warped, disfigured, and totally unrecognizable.

Lemmy takes it and holds it close to his eye, the glass still warm from the fire’s touch. “What kind of mystic shit was this kid into?!”