Gold, Chapter Nine

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“What can I get you?” asked Justin.  “I have a few nice Sativas, but if you’re looking for something soothing I have an Indica.  Or maybe a bit of both!  I’ve developed my own combination that stipulates the mind and the groin…”

He looked toward Stephanie, who was standing in front of a life size painting of a naked Jesus, depicted as a worn out old man.  Instead of nails he was pinned to the cross with hypodermic needles.  Justin shifted his gaze to Jordan, who was sitting on the sofa, facing the television, flicking through the options on the Playstation.

“Awesome array of games you got here,” said Jordan.  “I’ll have whatever you’re having.”

“Nothing for me,” said Stephanie, who had pivoted towards the window, overlooking Pier 70.  “What’s that big ship down there?”

“Lemme see,” Nash had walked in from the kitchenette, really an alcove appended to the small living room, holding two glasses of water, one of which he handed to Stephanie.  “That’s the Splendor,” he said.  “It’s a Carnival cruise ship, in for repairs.”

“Careful what you ask,” said Justin, who held two blown-up plastic bags full of vaporized marijuana.  “Nash is a bit of a Shipspotter.  He’ll tell you everything, everything, about anything on the water.  He likes big though, the bigger the better.” 

He handed one of the bags to Jordan, who grasped it in one fist and sucked in the haze while playing The Phantom Pain. Justin sat next to him on the couch, huffing at his bag.  Nash joined him.  For a while it was silent, except for the sounds of sucking, exhaling, and the clicking of an animated soldier running through low brush. 

“So, about that dot,” said Stephanie, who remained standing, her arms folded around her chest.

“Kind of foggy in here,” wheezed Jordan.  “I’m having trouble seeing the screen.  I think we need a fog horn.”

Justin handed his balloon to Nash, sat up straight, and placed his hands next to his mouth like a funnel.  “Wooooooooo, Woo, Woooooooo, Woo,” he bellowed.

“No, No, No.  More like this,” said Nash, as he struggled, unsuccessfully, to standup.  “Bleeeeet.  Bleeeet.”

“Okay,” said Stephanie, as something caught in her throat.  “I can appreciate the Dumb, Dumber, and Dumbest routine, but we’re here for…” She interrupted herself with a short coughing fit, waving the air in front of her face.  “It is kind of foggy in here, actually,” she said, slumping into an oversized bean bag chair under the window.

“Why do you want the property so much, anyways?” asked Nash, blowing out more vapor.

“What?” said Stephanie.  “Is a contact high a thing?  I thought it wasn’t a thing?”

“It’s a thing,” said Justin.  “At least here in fogland.  Wooooooo,” he started again.

“Okay. Stop,” said Stephanie, holding up her hand, limply.  “We just need to get the dot back, and go.”

“Yeah, yeah,” said Nash, struggling to get up again.  He paused.  “But why the property?  You and those other guys are lobbying the mayor pretty hard.  Why?”

“Yeah, why the property,” echoed Jordan.  “Even I don’t get it.  And I’m chief technical officer!”

“Need to know basis,” said Stephanie.  “Geez, I seem to be getting higher.  Could you guys stop breathing?”

Jordan giggled, patting Nash on the leg.  “She wants us to stop breathing! Hee Hee!”

“Oh, yeah,” Stephanie muttered to herself.  “We want you to put the dot in the Mayor’s office,” she said loudly towards Nash.  “Back where you found it.”

“Dot in Mayor’s office,” said Nash, rubbing his chin.  “He’s more an explanation point kind of guy, or maybe a period.  Still, it makes sense, I suppose, that’s where I found out.  But, what about the property?  Why’s it so important?”

Stephanie sighed.  “If I tell you will you put the dot in the Mayor’s office?  And not tell anyone else?”

“A secret pact!  I love it!” exclaimed Justin, straightening himself on the sofa.  “Gentlemen, and woman, put your hands in the middle, and we shall make a sacred oath of secrecy!”  Justin thrust his hand out, as did Nash and Jordan, followed reluctantly by Stephanie.  “We swear, by Hypodermic Homeless Jesus, that what happens in this room stays in this room.”

“Except the dot,” Stephanie giggled.  “That goes to the Mayor’s office.”

“Right!” said Justin.  “All those agreed, make like a foghorn!”

Justin, Nash, and Jordan cupped their hands on the sides of their months, and hooted, moaned, and bleeted.

“Woo, woo,” said Stephanie.

Each month the View publishes a chapter from Gold, a serialized tale of politics, capitalism, and corruption in San Francisco.  Previous chapters can be found on the paper’s website,