Behind the Curtain 1

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Caitlin fumbled in the dark for the light.

“Jake, where did you leave the light?,” she yelled from the darkness of the hallway. He was always walking off with it behind his ear, then leaving it somewhere else.

It was his turn to dump the humidifier, but it seemed that lately she was the one doing it in the morning when the lights were off, and there was no light to be found. She would have to disturb the ladies this morning by turning on the room lights – a big, resounding “not allowed” from Jake, but she was tired from being up late feeding, after cramming for finals. She wanted the chores to be finished.

It was just days before Christmas, and she had good reason to celebrate. This year her life was changed by being with Jake. This year she would be able to fly home for the holidays on Christmas Eve with gifts for everyone. She would even be able to go to Willow and get whatever she wanted. Forget about that, she could go to Hot Knots and North Soles without even looking at a single price tag. But, most importantly, she would be able to pay for next semester, in full, without taking out another loan.

“Sorry, babe, here it is,” Jake said as he came up from behind her with the ear light. “Hey, don’t turn the room lights on,” he said, heading towards the front door. “I’m taking Buddy to pee on the totem pole.”

Sometimes she felt like hired help.

Outside, Jake slipped Buddy’s jacket on and they headed out of the neighborhood, across Central and over to Ramone’s for something hot. After an unusually warm spring and summer for Humboldt, it was now biting cold.

“Be right back Bud.” He noted yet another in a series of bright green pot leaves on the front of the Times-Standard as he tied Buddy to the news stand leg.

It was early and his neighbor and friend, Kelly, was the only one inside. Kelly grew too, everyone he knew grew, but nearly all of them had to have jobs to cover.

Jake knew he was lucky. His parents had money, so everyone assumed he was a “trust-fund” baby and could take a million years to finish school. This thing is, five years at university felt like a long time. Sometimes he wondered if he was a student growing, or a grower going to school. And, once he graduated, would he be able to stop?

Once inside he picked up a copy of the Arcata Eye and the North Coast Journal, and glanced at a freebie of the Times-Standard already on a table. The leaf on the front page meant one thing only: something had gone down.

“Morning, Jake!” Kelly said from behind the counter. “Polar bear cookie?”

“16-ounce Soy Chai latte, Kel. Thanks,” Jake said, putting a fifty on the counter.

“Read about those two houses?” Kelly said, motioning to the pot story in the daily on the table. “I heard they left bags of soil out in front of the house. Not-so-smart-guys, eh, Jake?.”

“It’s not legal yet, Kel,” Jake said as he headed out to get Buddy.

“Let’s go check out the pole, eh Bud?”

Next week: Eric and Kristen, Arcata

About this series

Behind the Curtain, a fact-based fiction series detailing the lives and consequences of growing cannabis indoors and out on the North Coast, will appear weekly in the Arcata Eye for some time to come. The series, written by a non-staffmember, will look at how the cannabis-growing life and industry affect all involved, directly and otherwise. – Ed.

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