Monday, September 23, 2013

Dandy Candy

[Note: The indentation for dialogue doesn't always work here.]

Harold Marks stared at the pink cube. It said nothing to him. He, of course, said nothing to it, except perhaps, in his brain, What are you? Not that he expected the cube to speak. Or reply. It was obviously something to eat not to converse with. It was a pink cube. Nothing more. Nothing less. Resting on a crumpled corner of aluminum foil.

Aldy Hampshire started at Harold Marks, his friend. Harold was always good for some kind of surprise and Aldy had one this time.

Harold sat back in his chair. Let his hands lightly slap on his thighs.

“I give up,” said Harold. “What is it?”

“What’s it look like?”


“That’s ‘cause it is gum.” Aldy nodded eagerly. “Try it.”


“Go on,” Aldy said. Coached. Prodded.

“I don’t know,” said Harold. His reluctance shown on his face.

“Why not?”

“Well, for starters, what’s in it?”

“Gum stuff.”

“No kiddin’?” Harold said. He smiled faintly. Insincerely. “Can’t be a little more vague?”

“Well, it’s got all the same ingredients plus an extra or two of regular gum. Except the shell. You know, grocery story stuff.”

“I’ve tried the gum at the health food store. Too expensive, pardon the pun, for my tastes. Okay, but, what’s the extra ingredients?”

“Nothing that’s gonna hurt you. Try it.”

“Tell me what’s in it, first. Laxative?”

“Of course not. What do you think I am? Cruel.”

“Hold that thought, I’ll get back to you on it. I asked first. What’s the secret ingredient?


“Marijuana? No!” Harold jumped up from the kitchen table. “Dude, I don’t need to get in trouble with the law. Okay? I got a respectable job. So do you. What’s wrong with you?”

“Harold, old friend. Would I do something stupid like have some weed on me?” He held out his hands in surrender. “Would I?”

“I don’t think so, but, you know, people change,” said Harold.

“I ordered a tincture of hemp. Alright? It’s legal. Okay?”

“Who says it’s legal?”

“Cost about fifteen dollars for two fluid ounces. I put two drops of it in that cube.”

Harold Marks thought about for a moment. He wasn’t dumb. He knew enough to know that this was different, kind of exciting, maybe even fun. But, this was perhaps a bit dangerous.

“Have you tried it,” he said.

“Yes,” said Aldy. “I can’t say that it did much.”

“What did you expect? Talk to Budda. Or Bubba?”

“I don’t know what I expected except nothing happened.”

“Didn’t talk to the ceiling or contemplate your navel or someone else’s navel? How did you know to do this? Where’d the idea come from?”

“It’s the future, man! We can’t sell marijuana in Tennessee and we can’t open a clinic here either. But via the internet I could sell products with less than one-percent marijuana because that last percent is not required to be disclosed. It’s the ‘flavorings’ item on the contents list.”

“Oh, fiddle,” said Harold. “Illegal is illegal by any amount. Even a trace.”

“No one’s gonna prosecute for a trace?”

“Not the point. The law doesn’t say ‘below such amount is legal.’ Where are you getting that idea? From the web?”

“Tincture,” said Aldy, “is just a solution. In this case a few marijuana leaves, not even the seeds, soaked in water. It’s harmless.”

“Says who? You? The supplier? It was probably the DEA. You better flush that stuff, right now.”

“Then they run a lousy site. It kept crashing on me. This is the new rage. All kinds of products made with a touch of jupe in them. One of these days you’ll be able to go to a vending machine, put in a pre-approved credit card, type in a code and get back an item with a medicinal does of marijuana in it! Gum. Candy. Licorice. Chocolate-chip cookies! It’s the future, I’m telling you!”

“Oh, sure, LSD brownies. Right? Not for me.” He pushed the corner of foil away from him. “Besides, if it’s harmless why would anyone want to buy some? If it didn’t do me any good I’d be throwing away my money. If I’m gonna get busted I might as well have fun, right?”

“Sure, ol’ pal. Go on! Try one. You might like it.” Aldy put his index finger on the the foil and slid it in front of his friend. “That’s what I need to know.”

“I failed guinea pig in grade school.”

“Yeah, right.”

“How do you know it’s safe? What’s the flavoring? Huh? Maui Wowie? I dunno, pal. I”m a mint kind of guy, you know? ”

“See, that’s just it. No one knows what it ought to taste like. Just because I couldn’t taste it didn’t mean it wasn’t in there.”

“That’s my point. I don’t want to get high. I came over to see if you wanted eat supper! Not t’get mellow and contemplate my navel. I’m hungry. Let’s go eat.”

“Try this first, okay?”

Harold’s shoulders sank. His nose was nearly in the gum. It looked like gum. it smelled, sort of, like gum except it lacked the sugar coating that maybe gave gum its smell. It was just a cube! Nothing special. He looked up at Aldy. Aldy seemed expectant. Harold picked up the cube with this thumb and forefinger. Stuck out his tongue and dropped the cube on it. Pulled his tongue back in and letting the cube dissolve on his tongue. He stared straight ahead as if waiting.

Waiting for some signal from his mouth.

Waiting for some clue what to do next.

“What’s supposed to happen?” said Harold Marks.

“I’m not real sure,” said Aldy Hampshire.

“Well, so far, nothing. You could put some sugar and flavoring in it, you know.”

“Yeah. I could call it ‘Genuine Fruit Loopy’ gum.”

“Or, loopy fruit gum.”

Harold stopped chewing. Made a face.

“Not much here, dude,” he said. Looked for the trash can to spit it out.

Aldy Hampshire looked downcast.

“How do you expect to make some money on this stuff,” asked Harold.

“Well, I figured the new wave of marijuana legislation would open some new markets. Gum. Patches. Drinks. Vitamin supplements.”

“Vitamin supplements? You’re kidding? Right?”

“Why not? Have your one-a-day-aroma-therapy-mellowing agent. Chewables for those of us who still have our teeth.”

“Was I supposed to see visions or something?”

“Heck if I know. I just thought it’d be wild to make a product that had marijuana in it!”

Harold Marks’ eyes were being to go out of focus. He sat quietly. Mouth slack. Slight collection of drool on his lips.

“Buddy? You alright?” said Aldy Hampshire. There was a genuine concern bordering on fear, in his voice.

Moments passed. Harold Marks didn’t blink. Didn’t swallow. He stared at the dinner table. Let a string of slobber run off his lower lip onto the table.

“C’mon, pal,” said Aldy. “Snap out of it. You’re worrying me. This is not funny.”

Harold Marks blinked. His face, his eyes, regained control and focus. He sucked in a jaw full of saliva. Swallowed. Looked up at the ceiling and down at the table. Smiled.

“I”m hungry.”


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