17. The Handoff

Stanley is waiting for me in a parking lot on the old campus, feet propped up on the dashboard of his ’67 Olds. He’s staring at the Physics building in front of him, but he sees me coming. By the time I pull up to his car, he’s leaning out of the window. I stop and hand him the knapsack, then get in the car.

“How much was it?”he asks, pulling a bank envelope out of his shirt pocket, face eager behind his glasses.

“One seventy.”

He takes a five dollar bill out of the envelope and passes me the rest. “Thanks, Danny. I really appreciate this. What’s it like?”

“About the same as your other stuff.” I realize I don’t even know. A joint of commercial weed between four people–I’d be lucky to even feel it. And, thinking about it, I guess I do.

I want to get going, but Stanley is rummaging through his glove compartment for his car pipe. He finds it and opens the knapsack and the bag inside.

“Will you look at that,” he says, chuckling. “Let’s smoke some.”

He scoops the pipe full of loose pot, seeds and stems included, and lights it. The seeds make it smoke like an industrial chimney.

“Bound to have a lot of seeds in it,” I say. “It’s got a lot of buds, too.”

“It does have a lot of seeds.”

“Thirty-five an ounce Colombian it’s not. It seems ok. What do you think?”

Most of the time, unless the weed is outrageously bad or outrageously good, the seller’s presentation determines the buyer’s acceptance. Most people will not turn down a friend and most pot is sold between friends. I don’t think I ever sold pot without telling what I honestly thought of it. I never made a lot of money selling dope.

This stuff, this stuff is commercial weed, it exists just to take people’s money. I want to give the $20 back to Stanley, but that would only make things worse.

“It’s OK pot. For the money.” He nods sagely.

“I’ve got to get to work, Stanley. I’m late as it is.”

“Do you want me to drive you?”

I shake my head. He thanks me again. “Don’t mention it,” I tell him. “It was nothing.”

I get on my bike and go. As I pump, John’s money makes a stiff spot in my pocket. I should be sad, but for some reason I’m not. It no longer matters. I check John’s money to be sure it’s safe, and lean into the wind.

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