“Let Me Finish” column by Dave Reeves
Illustration by Arik Roper
Originally published in Arthur No. 33 (Jan. 2013)
It was me that killed Arthur. I kill all the little joys that make life worth living. Brooklyn. Those three Motorcycles. The Master Cleanse. Burroughs quotes an account of the black plague: “Never yet has the plague come but one has first seen a ragged, stinking boy who drank like a dog from the village well and then passed on.” I am that ragged boy, passing villages, expensive coffee brewing in my tracks. And I am still thirsty.
If you’re reading this, you are one too. Takes one to know one. Twitter dat. Now there’s three. Then it’s like rabbits. Within the day they’ll be a hundred thirty of us at the coffee shop competing to write this very article about how our presence erases “ethnic enclaves” with precision worthy of Robert Moses. Detailing the fact that within the passing of three summers of sighting Us in Echo Park the Santeria temple turned to cafe, attracting the record shop, the stench of which summoned the Thrift Stores, The Shops of Obscure Purpose and The Second Coffee Place. Cue Upscale Grocery. Wham! Yoga mats. Suddenly, Doug Aitken is Art and Chloe took your parking space in front of a restaurant so cool it doesn’t have a sign. Rents blow up faster than a Gaza Strip Club. And we can’t go home. Again.
Which is fine. Big rents means it’s time to take the show on the road. But, this time, ragged boy is thinking, “what if we visits a well in a town that sucks, instead of killing the thing that we love?” And in the course of thinking things he hates, thought of Texas. Specifically, a little “Atlas Slouched” sort of a town where artist types claim the light is great, forgetting to mention that all there is to see in the great light are a bunch of Texans drinking beer and taking ten-pound shits.
Ragged boy figured he could take a little sip from the well and the place would be strip malls full of people making coffee and tattooes in no time. But first the ragged boy had to work into the fabric of the place, which essentially meant that he had to, you know, buy some weed.
First problem is people don’t have any. Turns out that the laws are so strict in Texas that people turn to other sources for their buzz like huffing gas, shotgunning beers and abusing analogue drugs with names like Giggles or Mr Greenvibes.
The analogue drugs are packaged for specious purposes like bath salts or plant food, designed to fool the FDA of the manufacturers’ intention to jump the blood-brain barrier. In the course of juking the FDA, they also sidestep any sort of lab research, leaving the testing to be done by teenagers in garages all over this land.
I watched a guy, my age, two kids, purchase some fake drug called K2 from a case in a headshop in which also were kept those horrible things that stretch earlobes out. The man behind the counter said that this particular potion had the Border patrol guys waiting at the door in the morning shifting from foot to foot like they had to pee real bad. My friend figures if it was good enough to null the pain of government work, it was good enough for him.
I knew by the click click of the razor on the mirror and the insistent scrape that this was no cheerleader drug like salvia or that thing where you hold your breath until you pass out. No, this “plant food” was dangerous stuff, resulting in the total loss of sanity. As a bartender, I’ve seen what real drugs can do: blind-eyed alcoholics, weedheads dizzy and coke fiends whose jaws keep clacking long after you cut their heads off. But this plant food stuff was bananacakes.
My “friend” was stupid, paranoid and sensitive to light. The bath salts made all of these afflictions even worse. Whatever evil force was in this powder drove him to rant about how when Texas secedes something called the “Posse from El Pusso” would attack California. He did this while trying to nail “shadow people” to the doorframe. It was horrible. We can only hope that no real plants were given this “food.”
My friend’s actions and subsequent loss of job and embarrassing himself in front of his family forced me to deduce that the ingredients removed from these drugs to make them legal are the same things that God put in the drugs to keep us sane. Stopping people from smoking Mexi-press weed with analogue drugs is like giving someone rabies so they won’t take Advil.
Furthermore, if we damn our border patrol jocks to abuse fake drugs in order to pass a piss test, is it any wonder that there are immigrants everywhere?
Shudder to think how many Christmas gifts have been tainted by the unwitting addition of psychedelic bath salts. How many half-eaten pets must be buried late at night by confused bloody grandmothers before someone lets these poor Texans have the weed that God (okay, it was most likely Jesus) put on earth for us to use? While I’m on the Jesus — Why would Texas bust a state mascot like Willie Nelson for smoking weed? It’s not like he’s driving the tour bus. Marijuana, like Mexicans, was native to Texas before this bunch of asshats showed up and started putting everybody in jail. This fact exonerates All, as neither The God nor The Willie Nelson I believe in are capable of mistakes, mister.
I’ll say it here in Arthur magazine, fresh from the dead, that until Texas allows the Border Patrol to use the real drugs, this ragged boy is going to hang his hat somewhere that is not Texas. Also, fuck Arizona. Good luck trying to gentrify your ethnic neighborhoods without me.
Dave Reeves has an article in this month’s Man of the World Magazine and an article about him in the Russian Travel magazine Mir. He spends his days working on movie drivel, gets fired or quits, it’s hard to say, and then works on other movies. The cycle repeats itself until the magazine industry comes back from the dead. Also, Dave is working on the perfect lamb vindaloo, jogging and listening to WFMU.
Arik Roper is an illustrator and designer who lives in New York. He creates record covers, screenprinted posters, animation, comics, and other vehicles of visual flight. arikroper.com