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The Scampi


My pal had married a wealthy woman and they’d moved into a rather large house in Marin County. Big place, lots of big rooms, and the garage would hold five cars, easy. When he showed me the garage, my first thought was. ‘where’s the rest of the tunnel?’ The house also had a racketball court, and I’d been playing the game with another friend in the City, and when Tom showed me around the place the first time, he said, “Let’s play racketball sometime.” I said, “Sure,” and we left it at that for a few weeks.

It had started to bother Tom that he had this facility, he’d told his wife that he was going to use it, he never had, and I was his guy. So we set up the play date for the next day, I got off the phone and it rang again. There was hashish in town.

I hadn’t seen hash in a few years; it had always been a favorite. The sweet, earthy flavor… hadn’t seen any in years, and now it was back. I could taste in on my tongue. My friend asked if I wanted him to come over, and of course I allowed it, saying something like ’hurry.’ He did and it was excellent and I wound up with a souvenir. Which I brought with me to Marin the next day. Tom had a studio in San Rafael, and we’d meet there, as it was right off the freeway exit. I couldn’t wait to show this to Tom.

As I knew he would be, Tom was, uhhh… enthused. As he should be, so he said, “Let’s smoke some now!” As he should. As I wanted, but I knew better. I told Tom that while that was a great—not just a good, but a great, idea—the reality was that if we smoked it then, we’d never play racketball. We can smoke it after we’re done. Eh? Tom did not see it that way. Tom wanted to smoke it now, as I knew he would, but I persisted. I said it’ll still be there in an hour, and…

Tom opined that, sure we’d still play racketball if we smoked now. Experience told me not to believe that. I demurred. Tom persisted. I resisted. Tom insisted, saying, “No, man, we’ll smoke it and really get into it!” I doubted it, and then Tom asked the question I could not find a way around. Tom asked, “How will we know?” The logic was irrefutable, and so we agreed on a compromise. We’d drive to his place, smoke it there, and either get into the game or go have lunch. There was a new Italian restaurant near his studio and we’d both talked about going there. So I agreed, and we drove to Tom’s place. I had my pack with my gym clothes, so I changed in the changing room while he went to his bedroom to change. When he met me at the court I already had the hash in a pipe and we were ready to go. 

Man, that was good hash! So we smoked a little more and Tom said, Okay, let’s play some!” Great. That sounded great. But getting up was more work than I had a plan for at the moment, and we both sat there, looking around. We had our backs against the wall and were pretty comfortable, and ruining that sweet buzz wasn’t in the cards. We thought about playing again, but Tom said, “It’s sort of cold in here, isn’t it?” and I said, “Yeah, and it’s really bright…”  

So we went to the new Italian restaurant. I had the scampi.