……

20 December 2012

At noon the weather was pleasant. At ‘the heater’ were Jacques, Shakes, Wolf and his dog Shaggy.

“Dennis,” Wolf said, “I was at my usual place panning this morning and from seven o’clock to ten thirty I made more money than I usually make in a week, I made three hundred and forty dollars — in just those three and a half hours. It only happens at Christmas, that’s the only time people feel generous.”

Jacques said, “That was the same with me when I first came to town. I was panning with my dog, near Christmas time. I made seven hundred dollars. It’s never happened since.”

“Jacques, do you have any plans for Christmas?”

“No, I’ll be here. For me, it’s a day like any other.”

I asked, “Will you be going to any of the special Christmas dinners at the Shepherd’s or at the Mission?”

“The Shepherds had their big meal last week, and the one for the Mission was yesterday. I always hear about them a day too late. I may go to the Mission for breakfast on Christmas, that’s all. When Pikpik was around we used to celebrate, but he’s not around anymore. Maybe we’ll go to Shakes’ new place. It’s big. I only have a room and I don’t like cigarette smoke. All these guys smoke. I don’t even have a window that I can open. There’s plywood where the window used to be. Shakes has a big patio door that he can open. The smoke has a way out then.”

“Jacques,” Shakes asked, “If you smoke pot, why is it that smoke doesn’t bother you?”

“It’s just different. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I smoke it from a pipe.”

Shakes said, “When I was fourteen, I was in a juvenile home. The guy who ran it had a collection of maryjane pipes, really nice ones. I stole one of them one time. He knew exactly who took it. He came knocking on my door. ‘Shakes,’ he said, ‘I know you stole my pipe. Now give it back.’ I never gave the pipe back to him, ha, ha, ha.”

Jacques said, “I used to have about twelve pipes, but with all the moving around I lost most of them. I make them out of river rock. I find the nice smooth ones, then I drill them until they break. All I have is a drill. To make the sides smooth I rub it against a concrete wall. It acts just like sandpaper.

“You see here, a pot pipe has a larger hole in the stem. Resin collects there. even after the last of the pot has been smoked, holding a flame to the bowl will light the resin. You can get a buzz just from that. This pipe has been broken, see the crack, so I fixed it with glue. It works fine.”

“Dennis,” said Shakes, “Will you do me a big favor? When you’re ready to leave, will you walk with me to the World Exchange and buy a forty of J.D. for me. I’ll give you the money.” He is barred from the liquor store.

Shakes is barely able to walk at the best of times. His knees give out on him, so I agreed. When it was about twenty minutes before I had to be back at work I asked Shakes, “Are you ready to go now?”

“Dennis, would you mind going by yourself and bringing the bottle back to me?”

“I guess I have time. Sure, Shakes.”

Wolf said, “Are you going to the World Exchange? Would you mind bringing me back six cans of Old Milwaukee?”

I hadn’t thought about the Christmas line ups I’d have to face in the liquor store. I made the run and was only five minutes late for work.

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Comments
  1. Authoress51 says:

    Jacques could have made real money by making marijuana pipes and selling them. It sounds like he had the talent.

    Like

    • He certainly has the talent, grinding river rock on a concrete wall is very time-consuming. I’ve tried it. I’ve also tried his pipe. The craftsmanship is excellent and the pipe never overheats.

      Like

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