This is a complete fiction without the intent to hurt any particular sentiment. It is neither an anti nor a pro marijuana piece.
The love for cannabis spreads through a family like a happy epidemic which nourishes the tired overworked modern minds. Also known as ganja or hemp, this plant has been a part of human life for centuries. Generation after generation marijuana has served the common and intellectual minds. Devotees treat weed as a gracious gift of Lord Shiva just as Christians treat wine as the blessing of Christ.
Marijuana gives us company during the evenings, after a hard day's work, sometimes as a slim white stick, sometimes in a mud pot releasing thick white gusts of smoke, and at times in clear glass cylinders with round bottoms.
Our story is of an old man and his family who have been in the cannabis business for 3 generations. Let's call him and his wife Mr. and Mrs. Green. They have a son and a daughter called Bottle and Olive. Bottle helps their father with the farms while mother and daughter take care of the stores selling edibles and their special strains.
This line of work wasn't always so smooth sailing. There was a time when weed and hashish were illegal all over the world. But now, after years of struggle and legal battles the dawn of legal marijuana has shown its light.
Mr. Green was a very hardworking man and took immense pride in the fact that he was always very involved in the farming. He did not simply depend on his farm workers, instead dealt with constant supervision and process observation. He never hesitated to get his hands dirty, he always remembered that he too had begun as a simple farmer who rose in stature with extreme tenacity and sincerity. So, he was a proud man, but also had the humility to continue working alongside his men and made his son work in the land doing elementary farm work.
In addition to selling the various products, the family loves to consume the fresh clean green of their farms. It is a popular custom to sit together during the evenings and smoke some pot.
One day during one such session, a brilliant idea struck Mr. Green. The idea of cultivating a unique strain, so potent, and emitting so beautiful a fragrance that would blow the minds of the green loving town.
The next day he set to work and soon enough the first buds of this new invention began to pop out. After months of hard work and incessant testing and tasting, the crop was ready.
To Oz I say!!!
The produce once harvested was ready for its first trial. The Green family sat near a row of strawberry bushes with a beautiful crystal bong - a long glass chamber, a hand carved designed carb and the slender downstem with a handsome bowl at its top. Bottle’s friend, who worked with glass had carefully carved it for the special occasion. Crushed and stuffed in the bowl, water filled in the carb, Mr. Green did the honor of lighting and inhaling the first puff, followed by his wife, son and daughter. At first, nothing extraordinary happened. A light buzz and a warm fuzz. After a while the world around slowly started revolving, then faster and then very fast. It was like being in Dorothy’s tornado steering across fields and clouds towards Oz.
Mr. Green held on to one of the strawberry branches for dear life. What was happening? This was completely unprecedented and quite scary.
The Terror Begins
After what seemed like hours the tornado began to slow down and Mr. green was dropped harshly near a large patch of what looked like tulips. Head still spinning, he tried to look around for his family. But not a single soul was in sight. After getting himself together, Mr. Green trying his level best not to panic started to make his way across the field of tulips, only when he came near the flowers began changing forms. If butterflies were square shaped that’s what they looked like. Bemused by this fantasy he bent forward and plucked out a flower. As soon as he had done so loud painful screeching sounded from the field. So sharp and piercing was the noise that Mr. Green immediately dropped the flower and shut his ears tightly with two hands. Immediately, his ears started to freeze. As he tried to remove his hands, he realized they were stuck to his ears. Scared out of his mind, the old man started wheezing as his palms turned green, his face a particularly ghastly shade of purple and his ears frozen looked like icicles peeping out.
In a while he realized his legs were still functional and started scampering through the field. But no matter how much he walked the ground never seemed to end.
Bottle, just like his father had been caught in a tornado and transported to a hillside in front of a dilapidated castle. He, being young and naïve got quite excited, not even suspecting any grave mishap. He ran into the castle and looked around for his family. No one was there, just an unusual looking black ivy growing all over the castle walls. The structure was huge with pointed tops, a pungent smell owing to the mossy grounds and a pathetic silence with not even a single tweet of the birds, not a single evidence of life. Bottle noticed a rickety staircase leading to an upper floor and started to climb. As he climbed up, he looked back to see the used steps disappear into thin air. Now panic started seeping into the young lad. There was no way to climb back down. Not knowing what else to do he climbed the rest of the stairs and reached the second level of the castle. Frightened and lost, he entered the first hall that he came across. The hall was ornately decorated under cobwebs and grit. It had a green marble carved plafond and ivy-covered pillars separating parts of the hall from each other. In one corner was a piano, surprisingly not covered in dirt. It looked like the only thing in the castle that did not remain unused. Bottle was very fond of music and had taken piano lessons from Mr. Teedlestar.
The Weed Parade
Olive’s destination was that of an uncanny fashion show where the models floated an inch above the ramp in their haute couture collections of gorgeous clothing. The ombre samples of candles hung from the ceilings fading in and out of light and displaying an unlimited assortment of colours. Olive, in her faded jean and baggy t-shirt felt quite out of place. Her head was still spinning a tad from the tumble-toss of the tornado when she was pushed violently by a tall male model. However, the model or anyone else did not seem to take notice. ‘Hellooo, do you mind?’ cried out Olive. But nobody glanced towards her. A bit offended, she made her way through the massive crowd of glitter. Everyone was dressed in high-end fashion. Headdresses that twinkled in the light and shadow of the candles, shoes that she could never hope to purchase, heels, slim stilettoes, boxed glass like Cinderella and make up probably those of the most expensive kind. She reached the bar and ordered the attendant for a glass of water. But the man behind the counter payed no attention and continued serving the rest of the glistening clientele. Olive began to dread that she had in fact become invisible for some odd reason. Why wouldn’t anyone notice her? Can none of the other hundred people see her? Is she dreaming? Did the pot make her fall asleep? But it did not appear to be a dream. She could see and feel things that were very real indeed. As she sat in a corner lost and baffled, a jazzy music started to play, and a new line of clothing began to be exhibited by the models. They floated along the ramp in clothes that were made of handmade fabric and a variety of precious stones. Olive made her way across the hall towards the stage area.
Memories of the Past
Mrs. Green found herself facing her childhood home, standing on the perfectly mowed lawn. She could see Rodante watering the flower beds at a distance, her little sister Pistachio moving high up and low down on her swing set at the furthest corner of the property and she could hear the clanging and banging of pots and pans from inside the house. Mother must be making her famous pot roast, she thought. And then it suddenly struck her. She was with her family, her son, daughter and husband. How did she transport herself to her little girl self? She looked down at her feet and found they were those of a young girl. Her hands were smooth, and her hair tied in a neat plait, just like her mother did it. She was wearing her favourite pearl blue sweater and a red-white plaid skirt. Mrs Green started walking towards her sister on the swing. But the nearer she drew, the further the little girl seemed to get. She walked fast, jogged and finally ran, but none of her actions got her close. Fed up and exhausted she gave up and walked back to the house. As she got near, Rodante was no longer visible near the flowers, the clashing sounds of utensils were not heard anymore, and her house seemed to have changed significantly. The fresh paint had been replaced by an old worn out outer shell. The roof was vastly damaged, and the heavy wooden door was off its upper hinge hanging precariously. Mrs. Green walked in slowly and a look around told her that no living soul had resided in this abode for years. She glided from room to room trying to salvage the long-forgotten memories of her young days. But nothing seemed familiar anymore. Her mother’s spotless kitchen was covered in a thick layer of slime and dust, the bedroom walls were falling apart, and her little brother’s nursery looked like a ghost’s den with its wallpapers torn down partially and the wall behind flaking off into powdery bits. A nauseating heat began to grip the flustered lady. She started feeling faint and as she turned towards a half-broken mirror on her bedroom wall, the young teenage girl transformed into an old crone-like figure in a matter of seconds.
For the love of Wolfgang!!!
Bottle was playing Mozart’s Turkish March in an attempt to lift the spirits of the somber surroundings. He felt like a young Wolfgang in the king’s court, his robes had changed to white breeches and a brick red waistcoat with large frilly cuffs. The ceilings were covered in beautiful frescoes, the asymmetrical curvatures of the platformed room, adorned in theatrically sculpted moldings. As he looked around, the curtains kept switching from a gorgeous silk to the tattered upholstery of the old castle and back again. The hall swayed to and fro with flashes of the real cobwebbed ceiling and then back again to the mural paintings of Bottle’s fancy.
A curious pathos swept over the young pianist as he tried with all might to keep his fanciful creation from getting buried under the depressing castle’s prosaic mundaneness. He played hard, and he played harsh, hitting the notes with gusto and grit, his eyes shutting tight for conviction of changing reality. But time destroys everything. Even our utmost fortitude cannot enable us to hold a utopic idea long enough to transform it to reality. So however long Bottle played and tried to keep his world of treat stable, time began its tricks and the strength of his mind failed to uphold his longings. The ornamental king’s court faded away and the broken treacherous castle hall with its scrappy walls and spider inhabited ceilings settled in. Tears flowed down the boy’s cheeks. His fingers shivered, and his melody grew soft. But he didn’t stop playing, simply changed to a different piece, this too a cheerful one. The soft notes grew stronger and his tears gradually vaporized. The euphoria was gone but his will to change the mood of the ambience didn’t.
He noticed a blue bird on one of the window sills slightly swaying to the rhythm of the beautiful notes. A climber stretched its twine through the hinge space and a lovely peach flower at its head opened the lips as though to hum the tune as Bottle played. A light warm glow entered the hall through its open door and slowly engulfed the entire space with an ethereal gold. Bottle felt the air get cleaner and the tone of the old piano seemed to respond in a butter-like smooth vibration. A light comfortable breeze riveted the castle walls and more birds began gathering to accompany the little one. They flew into the room and danced in a circle around Bottle, their wings spread wide and their colours twinkling in the golden hue. The fear vanished, the stiffness of solitude dissipated, and Bottle began to feel carefree and happy. As he finished the piece with a final ring of the key, the birds continued their dance along a melodious hymn they now sang and followed the young boy out of the hall into the corridor. As he neared the vanishing staircase, it reappeared one step at a time which he climbed down still accompanied by his twittering companions. He walked out of the castle and waved goodbye to the pretty birds. The light breeze grew stronger and he soon found himself drowsing away and waking up next to the pink strawberries.
The Fear Paralysis
Mr. Green had given up walking as the piece of land seemed to have trapped him into a rather unfortunate ordeal. He sat down beside a large brown bush battered and helpless. His hands on his ears had begun to swell up like a balloon and the agony was killing his might to battle this odd impossible event. He lay down staring at the sky and thinking about the whereabouts of his family. They too were probably in some perilous situation stranded and vulnerable. He looked at a flight of birds returning home after a hard day’s work all together in symmetry like a closely knit family. Suddenly, the pain in his ears and hands started waning and with a crackling noise his body gradually began to turn to stone. His hands, torso, waist, hips, legs and feet all turned a green marble-like statue. The only thing that remained free of this cursed encounter was his head. He could breathe barely just. The panic heightened a hundred folds and his body lay limp, his eyes wide in devastation, his skin frail and a chilling shudder ran by his spine. Never in his life had he felt this helpless, the futile attempt at moving his feet simply indicated his utter uselessness. The sky was getting blood red, the birds were no longer visible, everything around him shouted out a supernatural sense of fatality and morbidity. The old man who had once held together a strong independent family, never having to require anyone’s assistance felt completely sunken as a hot wind blew over his face turning it red. The crackle of the stone transformation continued as he sensed his organs freezing up one by one.
As the malediction neared his heart, he knew there was nothing to do and a sense of calm failure grasped him. The realization of the vainness in effect seemed to numb away his horror and he closed his eyes.
As he let go of his emotions, something miraculous happened. First, the hot air on his face cooled off, and then slowly the feet loosened as the stony cast started breaking off. He could feel his toes again. Soon the rest of his body came loose and finally the hands freed themselves from his ears. Still slightly shaken, Mr. Green sat up. It was quite dark now, only a sharp glowing spot of light showed itself from a distance. The man got up and slowly began moving towards it. He did not get his hopes up but simply walked on. As he reached close to the light, he realized it was the sun’s rays and a familiar thin branch filled with sweet pink strawberries lifted his spirits. Smiling, he knew he was home.
Olive watched the fashion show with a mystified expression as a stream of models began to soar across the ramp wearing clothes made of plush green buds of weed. With every model coming forward, someone announced the name of each strain and a panel of four judges scored them while smoking preperations made from the particular variety being exhibited. This is the most uncanny fashion parade I have ever heard of, she thought. Glued to the stage sight, the young girl wondered about the potential outcome of the competition. 'Father’s strain will be tried out soon and we will definitely win. My jealous college friends, always mocking me about the nature of our business, will get a tight smack across their faces when I take home the award.' But one after another a diverse range of marijuana kinds were tried by the judges as the models walked in their elegant swagger. But Olive’s strain did not seem to heed recognition. Night strains and early morning ones, strong strains with vibrant lifts and mild ones with a mellow high, wild floral aroma and fine woody ones – so many sorts and so many different effects, but the newest of them all, the thrilling most discovery of Mr. Green was not announced. Olive started getting anxious. How is this possible? None of these have the incredible upshots of our creation. The sheer originality of it should have stirred a profound chatter.
As she lost herself in contemplation, the final strain was announced. The voice behind the scene turned grave as a crucial warning was sited. “Our final exhibit is a cautionary notice to all our cannabis lovers. This so-called special invention has been causing terrible havoc amidst consumers. It has very dire side-effects that have caused smokers to lose their minds and some of them have even attacked people. Doctors and scientists have put forward their test results stating it a hazardous substance. Authorities are working hard to try getting rid of every ounce of this product from the market. The grower in question is missing at present but we hope he’ll be tried and brought to justice soon. Please do not smoke this product. It is called Pink Bliss. It is being distributed by none other than the family of Mr. Green.”
With the mention of the name, Olive’s hair on her neck rose. She could hardly believe it. Her ears grew hot and her face turned red. This was a lie. Her papa has made the ultimate crop. There is no way it is harmful. Someone must be trying to bad-mouth him. It could possibly be his envious competitors. She had to do something. She had to set the records straight.
Olive ran through the crowd in front and jumped up on stage. She faced the judges and with a flustered tone in her voice cried out, ‘Hey!’ The judges or anybody else took no notice and began wrapping up. “You all are making a massive mistake. I am from the Green family and I can vouch for our product. It is absolutely not harmful. My father went through a lot of experimentation while creating this amazing strain. We tested numerous times, correcting and improving on the temper, making it perfectly suitable for our customers. It has been a greatly successful venture. Why is everyone condemning us? Hellooo, is anyone listening? Please hear me out!” The helpless figure of Olive, tearful and restless, continued shouting at the top of her voice. But none of the people around could see or hear her.
The event was over, and the audience had disintegrated. The few remaining employees were bringing down the decorations quickly, in a hurry to get back home. Olive’s knees gave way as she sat down on the stage with her head between her hands, sobbing uncontrollably. She was invisible, miniscule, immaterial. Her words were simply sucked in by the air around. Not a single soul noticed her. She felt alone and insignificant. The negative connotations of her family name had struck a heavy blow on her heart. Her head felt heavy and her hands shivered with trauma. Jail time. She pictured her father in handcuffs being drawn away by some burly policemen. Her mother hysterical and her brother crying out for mercy. How did it come to this? So much care and diligence had been put into this invention. All for nothing. Suffocation engulfed her as she looked around at the massive vacant hall. The surrounding emptiness echoed her depletion. The glittering lights had been snubbed out just like her hopes and dreams.
After what felt like hours Olive slowly got up and moved towards the exit. She tried to wrench open the large wooden door, but it was locked. She pulled and banged but it did not budge a peep. She yelled with all her might but of course no one came to her help. She ran across the hall looking for some point of exit but to no avail. Finally, she gave up and plopped down on a chair near the bar counter. A narrow stream of light flowing in from a skylight gradually died down as the sun set. The hall was a dark dungeon, wretched and stifling. The nothingness of the ambience made the young girl’s mind wander to macabre consequences. She shuddered to imagine her limp engorged body serving food to a hoard of hungry rats.
Olive sat in the dark for a while before recalling the perks of her phone. It had a torch. She lit it and searched desperately for a bulb switch or some candles. There was nothing to tackle the gloomy blackness. She sat waiting for a miracle, hoping her phone battery would not defy her. She played about with her torch light when its spot fell on a set of glass racks at one end of the bar.
A bottle of the finest whisky sat on one end of the upper shelf. She poured some into a clean glass that she found below the counter. Olive drank the first shot and then another and again one more. After the first four drinks she lost count. She wanted to forget all her worries and that she did. With every gulp, a bit of her fears melted away. A slack vein set in and the tumultuous upheaval lessened. She hardly noticed as the torchlight extinguished. The moon felt kind and a stream of silver crept in through the skylight. The bar top shone like a spot light and the lone customer, lightheaded and peaceful forgot her plight. Quite drunk by possibly the tenth or eleventh glass, Olive started losing consciousness. Her terror ran out and her throbbing heart settled. She could hear at a distance the faint notes of Mozart’s Turkish March which alleviated her anxiety and soon put her to sleep.
A rigorous shake woke her deep slumber. The sight of Bottle’s face against the pink strawberry backdrop brought back life to her numb feet and she sprung up to hug her brother tightly. She felt her absent breath return to her gradually as a rush of relief spread throughout her shaking body. As she released Bottle, Olive noticed her father at the other end of the bushes anxiously staring at her still unconscious mother.
The reflection in the mirror was ghastly. Wrinkled skin overtook the smooth shine of her teenage, the eyes drew in into a pair of spectral dots and the neck looked like a twisted piece of old white towel. Mrs. Green stared in horror. As she lifted her palm to her face, she noticed the bony fingers trembling under the heap of extreme age. Ragged clothing had swapped the pretty blue top and the head looked like a small balding canvas ball. Terrified out of her mind she looked away. The strength seemed to have diminished into frailty as she moved rather slowly to a rickety piece of furniture covered in tatters. Her aching bones and shaking knees sounded a loud crack as she sat.
The very short movement from the bedroom to the present spot had drained her and the old woman panted and coughed before taking large gasps of air to settle her lungs. Years of smoking pot must have caught on rendering her quite sick she imagined. She looked at the door which was about ten steps down wondering if she had it in her to make the distance. A feeble familiar sound came through the crack calling out her name again and again. It was her husband, wasn’t it? Then another voice, a female one echoed through the hall as she recognized Olive’s shrill call of ‘Mom’. They were here, somewhere beyond that wooden door looking for her, anxious as to what might have happened. Will they find this house? And if they do, are they ever going to identify her? They might get scared of this skeleton figure and simply dash away in fright. Mrs. Green tried to shout back but instead of words a rush of severe coughs shook up the ailing lady. She continued to wheeze and cough violently eventually collapsing on the floor her tiny skull hitting the ground as she did.
Transmuted into an ugly obscure figure she saw the reflection of a spider-webbed collection of white threads bound together with knobbly mounds of flesh. It had a pair of blood red eyes bulging out from where the head might have been and two scrawny arms holding a large pot emitting thick smoke and sweet whiff. The creature had strands of white hair coming out of the fleshy bits and a pink runny nose in the middle that it kept wiping on its web before taking in big puffs of smoke from the pot. After every drag it coughed profusely, wiped its nose and continued the process all over again.
Mrs. Green’s subconscious was in a muddle with a crisis of remembrance and character. She was stuck at the border of real and unreal and had no clue of the way back. She was not sure of her real age, she could not gather herself to exact the truth of existence. Her mind was acting an enemy as she tried to infer whether she was a young girl, an old woman or a creature of the mist. The choice in front seemed improbable but the only concrete explanation. She had lost her mind. Not only her internal organs had failed drastically but her senses were compromised. She was unable to gain structure in her thoughts, lost at a level of no return.
As the gusts of smoke rose above her head, the ugly distorted being floated away from her reflection and closed the distended tissues of vision to allow herself some respite of shade. She felt her painful joints relax, the threads that bound her loosen and the large marijuana pot leave her hand to fall with a bang somewhere far below in a crevice. Significant changes were felt as the threads began to solidify into shapely hands and legs. Mrs. Green opened her eyes to see a beautiful body wrapped in white silk, feet adorned in gold shoes and skin that of a creamy smooth colour with a slight blush to melt the heart. She soared back towards the pool and the reflection now was that of an angelic form, a slim bronze crown around a lovely head and eyes bluer than the deepest ocean. The sight relieved her of any little stress that was left. With the sublime awareness of a positive turn of events her body relaxed as she passed into a comfortable torpor.
Mrs. Green was back in her parents’ house sitting at the table eating a hearty lunch of pot roast, vegetables and lumpy mashed potatoes. Her mother was serving, dad was reading the newspaper absent from the conversations and Pistachio was running around the table with a slice of roast in her hand dripping gravy everywhere like a barbarian. Mrs. Green smiled at the picture and relished her mother’s scrumptious meal. After a while of bantering she excused herself from the table and walked out to the garden. She knew what she had to do. She approached a lovely row of strawberry bushes that Rodante had carefully grown, picked one out and bit into it. As soon as she had done so, she woke up with a jerk to see her family surrounding her, their tensed muscles easing off as they saw her eyes open.
The Final Battle
The experiences were not shared. Everyone was too fatigued to relive the deadly happenings that had left them traumatised. Take-in was ordered as kitchen toil was not an option after the day’s terrors. The pretty glass bong lay beside the bushes as the family huddled inside beside the fire place. No words were spoken, a chilly silence prevailed as everybody whirled in the harrowing spill of their trip. The night did not bring any sleep.
The next morning was a sunny Sunday and the unpicked strawberries shone bright and plump. The women did not attend the store. The men stayed back, away from the farms. The proceeding hours were uneventful. After a simple lunch of corn and bread Mr green filled his pipe and informed, he was going to take a walk. His wife sat in the patio chair knitting something blue and Bottle played a silent game of chess with his sister beside the vegetable garden.
Bottle’s friend dropped in after the evening. He was excited and curious to know the final verdict. “How was it? How was the high? Oh! I am eager to try it. I hope my bong worked alright.” A continuous rush of words and queries hardly gave Bottle an opportunity to reply. Finally, as his friend paused for a second he feigned an inimitable experience of unique ingenuity. “It was much more than we expected. A completely wholesome series of blissful progression beginning with a lightness of the head and then eventually a creative diaspora of the mind. You will have to feel it yourself. Nothing I say can justly illustrate the workings it creates. But we are out of stock at present. The bulk will be harvested soon enough. Then you can smoke it. Your bong was perfect by the way.” His tone was accentuated, and his words mummified with careful coats of organised speech. The falsity in his voice was however unnoticed by his friend’s vivacious energy. With the choice of drug presently unavailable the two boys settled by a couple of joints of an older invention along with a pot of steaming tea.
A table was set outside where Olive, her brother and his friend played a few rounds of poker. The presence of an outsider helped the siblings deviate their minds from the occurrences of the last day. Just as the third game had begun to hold a suspense, one of the farm workers came running towards them panting and frantic. The new field! Fire! Can’t find the master! All gone! All gone!”
Bottle was dumbstruck for a few moments. Olive shouted out to her mother and pulled her brother running as fast as they could towards the field followed by Bottle’s friend and Mrs. Green at their heels.
As they got close the twirl of black smoke became visible flashing the tornado of previous day’s rigmarole in Bottle’s mind. They stopped in front of the burning greens, the wild red raging through, engulfing the plants rapidly. The fire men worked efficiently but the crops were beyond salvage. Suddenly Olive pointed towards the field drawing his brother’s attention. Mr. Green emerged from the smoke completely covered in soot coughing severely.
© 2019 Tiyasha Maitra