19 Puffs of Smoke
©James Crawford, 2014
There wasn’t much point to trying to stop him, so I just took a few more hits off the Enlightened One’s noggin, and observed. A few minutes later, I heard someone calling my name from inside the house.
“Who is that?” Katsu asked me.
“I think it must be Brendan,” I answered.
“Yes. He owns this townhouse. He’s my roommate.” I split my attention between the vision that I was still having, and properly disposed of my ashes. “He’s pretty cool.”
The ghost of Shintaro Katsu grunted as if he didn’t believe me.
“Look, anyway, thanks for showing up and giving me a really interesting experience,” I told the man in my imagination, “but I have to clean up my shit and see what Brendan needs.”
“You think you can just un-summon me, now that I’m here?” Katsu turned purple again, and proceeded to rage at me a little more.
“I don’t know, but I figure I’ll sober up eventually. By then you’ll probably have faded away like most visions do.” I stood up and brushed myself off before I let myself back into the house. “Damned interesting talking to you, though.”
He didn’t like that at all.
My brain was like a split screen computer monitor, or some kind of screwed up overlay… it alternated back and forth. It was pretty surreal, and I hoped I’d come down soon. It made dealing with Brendan very, very weird.
“Jammy, how long were you out there?” Brendan asked me when I wandered downstairs and into the kitchen.
I blinked at him. He was wearing his tartan bathrobe, and making a pot of herbal tea. That didn’t seem right.
“Uh, I was meditating. What time is it?”
“Fucking later than you think, you aho,” the spirit of the dead actor shouted at me.
“It’s 9:30 pm,” Brendan answered, and pushed his glasses up.
“Yeah,” he said, and poured himself a cup of tea. “You need to sober up and get some sleep. You’ve got that wedding rehearsal tomorrow afternoon.”
Brendan was right, and even in my weedy haze I knew it. “Yeah. You’re right. Wow.”
“Have you eaten anything today? At all?”
I put Buddha Bong on the kitchen island, he winced at the smell, and I tried to remember. The vision of Shintaro Katsu’s spirit grumbled at me, called me an idiot, and told me that I hadn’t eaten anything since before I went to the dispensary.
“No, man, I don’t think I have.” I shook my head, and my dreads waved around like a silkworm curtain.
“Aren’t you hungry? You always binge when you’re high.” He sipped his tea and adjusted his bathrobe.
“Well,” I giggled a little, “the thingy on the jar said this one is good for people on a diet.”
“Wow. All right. Would you eat something, for me, before you go to bed?”
My friend is the best. I smiled with all my heart and let the love light shine all over the kitchen. I don’t know what he saw, but with all the stainless steel appliances, it was like being inside a disco ball for me… a big light show full of cosmic bliss… and one grumpy ghost.
He was floating above the coffeemaker, looking really annoyed that he couldn’t make it work.
“Sure, B!” I wandered over to the silverware drawer, grabbed a spoon, and floated over to the cabinets.
A jar of peanut butter and a spoon. My favorite. I dropped to the floor and plunged the spoon into the nutty delight.
“Okay, I’m going to bed.” Brendan told me when he got my attention. “Do you want me to wake you up before I go to work?”
“Weewee? Thawt wud beh so nife! Ah luf you, man!” I tried to hug his leg, but he skittered away.
He waved at me and took his cup of tea up to bed.
Sometime later, after I’d emptied the Skippy, the disco lights disappeared, and I fell asleep on the kitchen floor.
Brendan woke me up when he came down for breakfast. He gave me a disgusted look, and went about grinding coffee beans for our morning pot.
“S’up?” I asked.
“You’ve got peanut butter in your stubble,” he replied without even turning around. “Don’t forget to shave. The bridal party requested that you look as genderless as possible. Remember?”