• Moriah sat in the passenger seat and stuck her hand out the window and rolled along with the air like a wave. Crystallized words from Ethan’s mouth made a tap on a new tambourine, but only when he wasn’t making fun of me and the only instrument I played. His annoying rant about the economy going to s**t underscored the grunge music from the radio. I laughed along while Alec and I sat in the backseat, enjoying Ethan’s annoyance and Mo’s space cadet stance.
    “You listening?” he asked her.
    “Yeah.” Her hand continued along the intense waved cutting through the air.
    “Better be.”
    And they went on with their game of Pretend to Listen to Ethan. It was a nice game, but the more he spoke, the harder it was to find something to like about him. The abrasive ******** You’s he fused with his ignored soliloquy made us drift off, and his raspy, four-years-smoking voice didn’t entice us to listen. All in all, he was a downer; except for the fact that he was practically God in human form.
    The light shade of blonde in his hair accented as the spaces above us shone from the sun. Every three seconds I’d catch a glimpse, and then a shadow would steal it back. I found it unfair looking at him from behind Moriah’s seat; but it was the better view to see him.
    As we winded up the parking garage of Hotel le Bleu. Alec dazed in and out of sleep beside me. I looked over at him a couple of time to try and catch his attention; but I only saw the half closed lids of a kid determined to get laid tonight.
    “What time are we going to the party?” I asked. I figured Ethan’s authoritarian speech deserved a breather after the thirty-minute rant.
    “When do you want to go?” Alec sprang up and asked. He felt our destination getting closer with each lever passing by.
    “Ten-ish?” And my suggestion was law. They went back to preoccupying themselves as the time clocked into Ethan’s mind for later.
    The garage had only a level left until we reached the top floor. We easily cruised to the open air and let all the windows down so the smoke wouldn’t trap itself in the cushions of the Pontiac Sunbird. Alec fixed himself to look awake as Moriah pulled her arm back in the car and straightened her skirt. Ethan smile; that was all he had to do for me to notice. And I, well I stayed the same. There shouldn’t be anxious preparation; only the scene clouded by smoke.
    For half an hour we debated where to smoke, when le Bleu was the place of ritual. All semester we’d crash up there and smoke until the sun settled; then the real party began.
    “Are you going to smoke this s**t like I taught you?” Alec stuck his finger at each of us with warning. He felt it wasn’t fair he spent months growing the best weed Washington had ever seen, just to be half-assed by his friends.
    Alec had a dream. It was to own a bakery in the middle of Washington and surround himself with customers who adored him and his peculiar business choice. But somehow he thought growing weed would get him there faster; build up the clientele before the business. Everyone was glad he did, though. Alec took lessons from the neighborhood thugs and learned to grow a nice plant in only three months. When he had to sell his babies to undeserving toadies ignorantly sucking his creation, was a sad occasion.
    “Did you guys drink the apple juice yet?” We all shook our heads. Apparently you get high quicker when you drink apple juice before you smoke.
    It was 5:15 and the sun began to set on the far off world it lived in. I got out of the car and gazed at the sunset as I heard the amateur clicks of Moriah lighting the bowl.
    Weed made everything lovely. The polluted air, the vigorous honking of the uncaring cars below, and even the crude song about ******** a girl until she ends up in a wheelchair playing form the car. Soon, it would all have its certain charm.
    “I needed this so bad,” the intense smoker said. It didn’t bother anyone that Ethan’s voice sounded like he’d been screaming nonstop for hours. Somehow, it became a right of passage to hear. His irritated bronchial tubes had its sweet side when he sang.
    “******** you. Ladies first.” Moriah snatched the pipe from his fingers and took a long drag.
    She literally lifted from her seat and eased back down when the pipe separated from her lips.
    Alec popped his body out the window and waved me in the car. It was evidently my turn. I walked over so Mo could hand me the pipe. The familiar shape called to me as it did all day. Like Ethan, I waited for this. I sucked on the metal piece to inhale a nice array of spice with the drug. The apple juice enhanced the flavor and let out a fine white smoke into the air. It was so professional; no way was it me toking with them.
    The pipe made its way to Ethan and he, blindly, toked to the best of his ability; which raked aristocratic for smokers like him. It was a firm and long drag that made its way to his brain and all the imaginings that inhabited it. He inhaled. And inhaled again. Finally, a stream of smoke floated from his mouth into the car. The filling first coat was done and Alec asked, “So how was it?”
    “Pretty damn good,” Moriah said, enthused.
    “Hella,” –cough– “amazing.” Ethan coughed and hacked a little phlegm out the window.
    “Marie?” Alec waited for my input because he knew I’d give him the truth and nothing but.
    “I liked it.” He slumped. “It was interesting, Alec. There was a certain tang to it, like a spice or something. This is a great blend. One of your best.”
    “Was it that good?”
    “No. It was great.”
    He grinned and let out a little yip. Moriah and Ethan covered their ears and smiled along with him. It was a triumphant rotation when Alec smoked his creation with delight, the grin turned into an easy smirk satisfied with the final outcome.
    “You’re a ******** God, you know that?” Ethan felt it was necessary to admit it to someone other than himself. On any other occasion, Alec is nothing but a sidekick for his perilous adventures. Only when he smokes something Alec “The Firefighter” is when praise and worship is called forth. But unlike “The Firefighter,” this blend was something I would smoke over again.
    The sun was on its way to the halfway mark and the potheads swung out of the car. We stood I order on the railing so the sequence wouldn’t break. Beside me was Ethan, and beside him was Alec, then Moriah. It was a b***h to have her ferry the pipe over two people. We continued to puff until the sun disappeared into the horizon and the bowl evaporated.
    “Round two?” Alec was ready to hear more good things when we tripped balls, but even Ethan knew his limit.
    “No more. The orange juice thing worked way too well,” he said incorrectly and peeked over the edge into the crowd below. “You know what? It’s corporate scumbags like them that make your gift illegal. Look at them.” We all tipped over to see. I saw ants; tens of them squirming around to find their next paycheck.
    I pictured my mom down there, bustling through a crowd in order to get a glance of someone else’s worldly good. I could see her running around. Ms. Janes running for no important reason -running to look important- in and out of buildings because her boss wanted to tire her out before firing. Then, again, she’d go to another job; bustling and running for that slice of cheese. It was her wildest dream come true.
    “It sickens me to think we’re going to grow up to be mirror images of those robots.” Ethan shuddered at the notion, but still he looked on.
    “We don’t have to grow up to be like them,” Moriah said.
    “It’s inevitable.”
    “Don’t they look like ants?” Alec asked.
    “Really? I don’t see it.” Ethan squinted down at the various passerbies. “They look more like CORPORATE SELOUTS!” The yell caught some attention and immediately we hid from anyone that might’ve looked up. The sudden rush jumped in our bones and kept us grounded for what seemed like forever. For a while we knew the coast was clear, but the pavement called us to stay a little longer.
    The cold pebbles caressed our skin, though we hardly noticed. We still conversed as if we were standing above the entire city. Trash talking our authorities, yelling at the sky to take us now; and then, there was the simple moment of appreciating the world for what it gave us. Marijuana.
    Alec began to push himself up, triggering Ethan to hurry before his opponent finished the race. Moriah and I climbed up wondering what the hell Ethan’s problem was. But it was Ethan; if there wasn’t a problem, he wasn’t around. He played it off by looking over the railing again.
    “Marie?” He looked at me from the corner of his eye.
    After we all stood and relaxed ourselves on the rail, I acknowledged him.
    “Do you think we’ll end up like them?” His nearly inaudible question pulled me closer to pay attention.
    “If we want to, we will,” I said.
    He nodded in the city’s direction and turned to me with a “What?”
    “The best we can do is try not to end up like them. Mostly, they do this for money. They doll themselves up so strangers will be impressed and maybe give them what they want.” I inhaled the pungent air deeply. “Dignity. But they lost it years ago.” I read straight from the manuscript of my mother’s life. This page read “Year Nineteen, Nine Months Later, and Baby Names Marie Janes.”
    God damn it of she ever found out that her last drop of dignity paraded around the city, getting high everyday.
    “********,” he said under his breath.
    The three of them spaced out into the image Alec’s new blend engendered. I kept composure and ate up the lights coming on from darkness’s arrival. It shone light on the corrupted life we stared at subconsciously. A slight understanding on the judgment we constantly passed.
    Ethan sighed and I turned to see what damage I inflicted. He appeared like the same sarcastic b*****d that rejected the government for kicks. So I went back to adoring what s**t-of-a-town we lived in; but a light brush hit my side afterward. The thought of what was going on paralyzed me; I couldn’t dare bring my fantasy to life by looking.
    His warm arm brought me closer to him in one swoop. I was his rag doll for the moment; whenever he wanted to go, I had no choice but to accompany him. Then, me lids slipped shut, and I began to feel warmer despite the October air. The thumping rhythm of his heart begged me to stay forever.
    The wind cried for attention when the disgusting hack of Moriah’s phlegm interrupted it, and my imagination alike. Ethan and I looked over at her peeking for where it would stop; or even better, who it’d stop on. She smiled, beckoning us to look at her target. An old man’s sweater got the short stick.
    He looked to his shoulder, and then searched for where it came from.
    “Oh, s**t.” She started to giggle.
    “You crazy brats!” Gramps yelled up at us, and we laughed in his face. Pointing at the hell we caused for him.
    It could’ve been the highlight of the evening if it wasn’t for the promising policeman inches away from the old man. He tapped the cop’s shoulder and pointed up. The armed man looked up and hollered for us to get down, but instead he figured it was easier to get up. He marched into the garage, heading up for us.
    “Oh, s**t,” Moriah repeated and we bailed into the car.
    I got into my seat, and she got into hers. It was Alec and Ethan who traded places for the speedy getaway; Alec’s mastery in drifting made him a worthy candidate fro the driver’s seat. Before all doors had shut, Alec started the car and skidded out of the parking space.
    The misfits barked at each other in order to make headway in our alibi if we got caught. I was quiet at the time went over sixty miles an hour; partly because fast cars made me nervous, and I knew we weren’t going to be apprehended. Alec would rather run over the cop than turn himself in, and he didn’t hesitate to throw that suggestion in the mix as they yelled at each other.
    “We’re screwed,” I heard someone say. The radio blared through their argument; turning it off meant that they’d actually have to listen to each other’s ideas for once.
    Alec ran the road off the earth trying to make it out of le Bleu’s garage before we had some planning to do. We had one level to go when we saw the policeman wave his club in the air for us to stop. We laughed at him and skimmed the curve with no damage to the car. Moriah squealed and kissed Alec for not getting caught. The night’s sky hit the car again, but before we thanked God fro that close one, we flicked off the old geezer that sent the cop on us, and cackled into the city.

    Next Stop: Alec’s house.

    (by Key Zen Wii)