I smoke pot often enough. Not as often as I eat watermelon, but with the same fury. It helps me slow down the often needlessly racing train along my brain-rails. When I’m stoned, not only do I think more slowly, but life is a drama. My microcosm becomes a magnum cosm, starring me as the protagonist. Only it’s me as a seven year old. I talk to watermelons as I eat them, delivering lines like, “I’m gonna devour your pink jelly if it’s the last thing I do,” my rigid finger pointing at its green shell. “Seeds?” I roar to myself. “My spoon can handle your seeds, you silly, juicy bastard.” Sacrifice is made by both sides, but in the end, there’s nothing left but its bitter, thick rind. If I also happen to be drunk during these productions, then my common sense, which is already fluid at best, has to wear a helmet.
I’ve been burning plants at Wesleyan for three years now, and I’ve never encountered a smoke detector that wasn’t totally fine with me getting high next to it. This year, I’m living in an enormous senior house. Now, I don’t know if everyone feels this way, but for years I’ve been dreaming of smoking in my own mansion, and a few days ago, my dream came true. For thirty seconds. Then the fire alarm started shrieking like a Cantonese opera star. I was like, buddy, you are a cold-hearted abomination.
After the alarm went off, firemen and P-safe officers arrived within a few minutes. In the meantime, I was so drunk that I would be heaving liquor at regular intervals the next afternoon. I was confused and stressed, and my tall friend told me to “burn some toast or something.” I didn’t have any food because I’d just moved in, so I threw two playing cards on the stove. It almost made sense, but in retrospect, it was a shameful decision. I burnt two playing cards to cover the smell of smoking about a deck’s worth of drugs, all the while completely convinced of my heroic cunning.
The P-safe officer told me that it sounded like I was maliciously burning household items, which would constitute the crime of reckless burning and endangerment and, though he couldn’t say for sure, “You might be spending the night in jail, son. Uh police lock up, that is. Not too comfortable a place to sleep.” He paused. “You should probably stay here.” Then he went inside to examine the scene, and I finally exhaled. Waiting on the lawn with my housemate, it immediately made sense to me that I should be arrested. I was drunk, high, and pyromanic inside a house made of wood that didn’t really belong to me. I was the villain now, and I shivered in arousal.
After a few minutes, the officers came out of the house. “There seems to be a problem with your fire panel,” they said. “We’re calling the manufacturer to send a guy to fix it.” Feeling what I thought was a hernia, I could only nod.
“Wait. Was the alarm messed up before, or did we break it?” asked Susan, my housemate.
They glanced at each other, then one of them mumbled, “No, well, you see. It’s, uh, my understanding that. Just hold on.” He turned to talk into his radio. “OK, that’s what I thought.” He looked at me. “Yeah, you can go inside now.” I was suddenly reminded of an ice cream sandwich I had in the fridge. Fuck, I thought. I’d have to offer them all some.
As they left that night, one of the firemen told me not to do it again, but also to have more beer next time. The P-safe officer called me stupid but said I didn’t seem like such a bad guy. As I closed the door, I turned to Susan and said, “This night was awesome.”
She narrowed her eyes. “You’re so fucking annoying. I had to get out of bed for this.”