The Stoners

I’ll just come straight out with it: I inhaled.

In fact, my inhaling, on the morning of Tuesday, March 2, 1976, cost me a world of hurt, although my diary hardly reveals that.

First, let’s back up to a month earlier, Feb. 7, a Saturday.

My brother, his neighborhood buddy Joe, and I were walking up to the metro bus stop, planning to hit Ridgedale shopping mall or downtown Minneapolis for the day.

Suddenly a car pulls up. It’s my high school friends Mike and Steve, with Mike’s stoner sister Cheryl at the wheel. So, I ditched Brian and Joe to join them on a trip to the local record store, Third Stone Music.

Cheryl was a year or two older than us, overweight, with stringy dark hair and that goofy smile that comes from smoking a lot of pot. We separated kids into different camps that first year of high school: sophs, dweebs, jocks, nerds, stoners and burnouts. What’s the difference between a stoner and a burnout? Well, a stoner may be a habitual pot smoker, but a burnout is pure career-criminal material. They’re burnt out. Mere ashes. A lost cause. With a stoner, there’s a whiff of a chance of reforming them.

While the diary entry that Saturday doesn’t mention smoking, I’m certain Cheryl (and maybe Mike and Steve) reeked of it. I hung out with them at the record store, then raced back to the bus stop where I caught a later bus to the mall.

The following week, back in school, I joined Mike and Steve to watch The Guns of Navarone prior to American History class, then hurried to Biology Lab where we had begun cutting into our fetal pigs.

On Monday, Feb. 23, there’s a diary entry that is distinctly different from the rest, with wild handwriting and incoherent thoughts. It begins: “If, when I am writing this, this doesn’t make sense, it’s probably because I am drunk out of my mind! ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ is on the radio right now. You know I haven’t heard that in such a long time.” Thing is I’d worked at the Lafayette Club that night and ended up switching with a busboy who always worked downstairs in the Grill.

Unlike the banquet facilities, the Grill was hit or miss—some nights busy, other nights dead quiet. Usually two busboys worked any given shift, except the banquet, where as many as half a dozen busboys could be working, depending on the size of the event.

That Monday night the busboy on duty and I filched cheap red wine from the tap during breaks. By the time I’d punched the time clock to leave, I was hammered. No doubt I’d called the parents to say I was walking home—just three miles from the Club.

The folks were in bed when I got home, with Dad shouting from the bedroom, “That you, Mike?” I probably gave a fake yawn and said, “Yeah, headin’ to bed, g’night!” So I must’ve written that diary entry before going to sleep.

Tuesday morning, March 2, I went to the library as usual, remarking in the diary “it’s so nice and quiet in there.” Later, after reviewing a test we’d taken in Algebra, I ran into Steve and Mike, along with three other friends from the music resource center, Jeff, Greg and Chell, who were stepping out with Cheryl to smoke “some kickass Rainbow” in her car over the break period.

It was briskly cold outside, so we all piled in—emerging moments later in a haze of smoke. Waiting for us at the school door was Mr. Fred “Sarge” Wagner, the gruff, crew-cut hall monitor. Sarge immediately hauled us to Mr. Raven’s office, the assistant principal, a stout, smartly dressed black man who always wore a blue blazer and tie.

Parents were called, suspensions were issued, but we were told to return to our classes for the day.

I went to Art, then to Biology Lab, where I sliced my fetal pig’s heart in half.

I was now, officially, a stoner.

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~ by completelyinthedark on July 16, 2011.

2 Responses to “The Stoners”

  1. How on EARTH did you ever get a photo of Sarge?? Yearbook I guess 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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