"I guess we could just bring a bag." He finally said, driving from the supermarket and periodically looking over his shoulder at the nothingness of the road behind us.
"I could call Paul?"
"Is that fine?"
"I don't think he really cares."
Paul was an awkward choice for a dealer, being Caddie's father, but he was reliable and consistent. An intricate system of law-breaking ends with Paul. On a nearby Indian reservation, which one he will not say, a 47-year-old woman sells him half-pounds of cheap marijuana and gives him cartons of cigarettes which she says she gets for free. This could be a lie, but either way it's a great story.
"Let's try someone else," Neil said "someone new."
"I got some kid's number; he came into town a few weeks ago. I guess he lives up north most of the year."
"What's his name? Do I know him?"
"You don't know him."
"It's good, it's cheap. It's on hand."
The radio broadcasted a hellish moan. We came to the town's sole stop-light.
"I might just go home tonight."
"I thought you'd say that."
"I have a bad feeling about this; nothing good comes of these things."
"I knew you'd do this."
"Well, I'll pack a bowl for a ride home."
"Is that all you have to contribute? Why didn't you tell me you had weed?"
Keeping secrets from friends is a great thing. Choosing the time to expose these secrets is key to the experience.
"I knew you'd say that."
"Fuck off. And fuck that spic. You two are probably doing this together."
"Let's just go somewhere."
In any town, there are a multitude of public places frequently used to smoke marijuana, huff glue, sell pills, dump trash, fuck in cars, snort prescriptions, or anything else one can, for any reason, not do at home. These places are all ultimately destined to become places to get arrested. As enthusiasts of these activities grow wiser, they find new places. These places often begin to penetrate the tree line. In our minds, we had catalogued and mapped most places in town to do these things, and our recent favorite was a vacant, upper-class housing subdivision: a handful of two-bathroom, often three-story, and attached-garage look-a-likes. They had appeared one summer, for the most part, out of nowhere. A short debate with the zoning board and they appeared like they descended from tractor beams. Nobody in town could afford them, and nobody out of town had a reason to purchase one.
It was relatively close to where we were, so in a short time we reached the perfect boulders that framed the evenly paved road into the subdivision. Bethel Hills was painted in perfect gold on the maroon signs. We drove slowly down the salted streets of the dead neighborhood. Nobody was eating dinner inside of these homes. These subdivisions were becoming unsettlingly common. One could make a series of random turns and ultimately find themselves on a dirt road in the middle of a burgeoning neighborhood. The mailboxes had no numbers, and the two streets had no names. A light snow fell across the icy lawns. We pulled into the driveway of the house at the very edge of Bethel Hills. Neil turned off the car, and turned on the radio. He cracked the windows and turned on the overhead light. A few songs came on the radio, neither of which I had ever heard. I thought I hear someone singing about blood in tea.
"This is like a cemetery, or really the opposite of a cemetery." He said. All these houses are like headstones, but they're not devoid of life because it was never here."
"Crazy." I broke up the dry, seed-filled pot between my trembling fingers. He continued on about the houses, the street, and the people that would live in them. I didn't really listen. One of the songs twisting with the other mentioned cut off fingers.
Neil lit a cigarette. "Do you ever hear your name in songs?"
"Sometimes I think I hear my name in songs. I don't know. It can be points when people aren't even singing, and I think I hear 'Neil.'"
I don't know if I believe him or not. Sometimes he does this, sometimes I do this. Make up filler for conversations. An interesting lie is much better than silence.
"HILLS OF BETHEL!" He yelled into the dark. I passed him the pipe.
I blew out smoke. "Keep it down. It's Bethel Hills, anyway."
He blew out smoke. "Fuck that Boris bitch. I don't even know how I got his number, I barely know who that fucker is, and he steals my money? Bullshit."
I looked out the back window. I thought I saw one headlight coming at us.
"Who is that?"
"It can't be a cop, it has a headlight out. Right?"
He didn't say anything.
"If it is, we can make a citizens arrest."
The car slowly crept down the road perpendicular to us. It stopped abruptly in the road. The other headlight flashed on.
"What the fuck, shit, wait … did that just happen?"
"It must have been behind something."
"No, that headlight was out."
The driver, now with both headlights on high, spun his tires. Smoke clouded up from the pavement, captivated in the headlights. He went in reverse, out of Bethel Hills, going at least sixty mph. Past the nameless streets, numberless mailboxes, and empty homes.
Neil turned the car back on, hit the bowl, and backed out of the driveway. Even though there were no houses in at least a half-mile radius, nobody to call the police on whoever just scared the ever-living-shit out of us, we left. Supernatural machinery is nothing to hang out near.
As Neil drove toward my house, we saw a deer in the road: the side of the road, to be exact. Its legs were twisted up in the guardrail and its head rest pristinely in the gravel as if it had fallen from a wall. I told my parents about the deer when I went home, and they asked if I was high. They sat together, wordlessly watching headline news. I went into my room, and fell asleep.