Despite the many antics of the summer of 1996, I could honestly say that I hadn’t smoked pot at all the whole summer. Sure, there had been a fairly excessive amount of drinking, and an arrest, and my cigarette smoking habit had certainly not been abated. But it’s almost as if I’d forgotten about the ol’ Mary Jane.
We entered into 10th Grade. It was September of 1996. “Down” by 311 had just hit the charts, and the hard rock reggae sound they blasted into the airwaves was rivaled only by bands like Sublime.
I was still listening heavily to the Beatles. I got a hunger for 70’s rock like never before as well. I was feeding myself on the sounds of early Deep Purple and Alice Cooper. The album “Frizzle Fry” by Primus also became a personal favorite.
Mitchell, Duane and I were reunited as our band Mulberry Tree took off again. Duane had profusely apologized for the previous summer, where he had disappeared into a haze of partying and chasing after an older girl. We began to write music and play as a band religiously as we once had before.
September once again introduced the annual nerve-wracking homecoming dance. Me and the boys of Mulberry Tree had hidden in a cave of rock n’ roll throughout that entire month, and we had no female companionship to claim. Around this time we were beginning to be dragged into a strange party scene, led by the likes of one Kacey Jordan. Kacey loved to drink, she loved to smoke marijuana, and she loved to try and interlink people into a vast chain of social chaos. Her parents were constantly on business travel, so she had weekend parties more than anyone we had ever known. Again, I hadn’t smoked pot for months, but began to get to know Kacey and her band of wily vagabonds. Kacey really dug Mitchell, and asked him to homecoming. He said yes, and she swore she would hook Duane and I up with blind dates for the dance. We agreed in our typical passive-aggressive fashion.
We were paired with two girls from the neighboring rival town of Stow, Ohio. Elysia was my date- a deeply sweet, intelligent hippie girl who had a strange mysticism about her of which I didn’t understand. Duane was paired with a girl named Jaen, who was a senior in high school, and yet appeared to have more of a Middle-School-esque disposition. Jaen had a knack for mocking people in a chiding sort of fashion. I at times felt that she was going to punch me in the shoulder and yell “charlie horse!!” Or pull my hanes his way up high and yell “wedgie”!
We had a fun night at homecoming. Afterwards we ended up at an outdoor party with a bonfire. Elysia asked me the magic words, “Do you like to smoke the good green?” I had a moment where I thought, “no, no… I shouldn’t do this…” But it was as if an unquenchable love for this little green female plant that produced psychotropic effects had taken hold of me. I couldn’t resist. Elysia pulled out her rather large black and silver metal pipe. She packed it full of dope and we smoked it together.
The high that took hold of me after not smoking for months was intense. It was intense enough to flip me out a little bit. But from that moment it seemed there was no turning back.