I've written 5 published novels, ghostwritten 2 further novels and continue to write fiction and observational articles.
I was seventeen when I landed in Laguna Beach, California, to stay with my friend, Sean from school. His mum lived back in England and his dad lived here.
Everything I was looking at had been in some movie I’d seen. It was warm, I had work (unofficially), I had the use of a ‘73 Nova in rust brown and it could not at any point have got more awesome.
I was going to work on the boats for Sean’s dad’s business. They designed, manufactured and sold catamarans, big and small. Sean had been doing it since we left school.
Sometimes I’d be in the urethane shop, making parts, sometimes I’d be out at sea, cruising round Catalina Island, selling the things. It was the English accent. Sean said apparently it gave it the seal of approval and he was selling a lot of boats.
The day after I arrived, it was Saturday. We had the weekend before work on Monday. We crossed the PCH and went down the steps onto a warming beach. Sean seemed to know everyone down there and we settled into a little alcove on the beach just as the sun was coming up behind us.
The folks there went in and out of the water on various floating devices and, as one should probably do religiously at 6am on a beach on the other side of the world, everyone came out of the water and started rolling joints.
I saw what they were putting in it. No tobacco, just pure weed. And this weed wasn’t the seedy, stalky, flat, dried-up rubbish we’d had from time to time back home. These were big fat juicy buds the length of album covers.
Sean had told me to expect a very different high to what I was used to and so it was. I thought maybe it was the setting, the excitement of being there, but it was way more than that.
I’d been smoking splif, hash, doobie, ganja, smoke, puff or dope since I was 14 at school. I had my first spliff with Sean, in fact. It had always been pretty much the same. Lebanese Blond, Moroccan Black, Gold, Afghan and other types of hash. Whether you crumbled it or rolled it into a little sausage, whether you bonged it, canned it or hot-knifed it, it was the status quo. People didn’t know anything else.
Hash was awesome but it always kept me sedate, grounded, a little anchored compared to this. This weed they grew a few miles inland on sun-soaked hillsides, this weed gave me wings.
Something happened in my neural pathways. A big metal gate opened, the sun shone brighter, the air tasted sweeter. It felt like my teenage years were culminating in a general awakening.
Laguna Beach that first morning. Brad and Steve were laboring to get me to stand up on some ironing board thing they used to put in the water. I wasn't a natural and they were but their patience was endless.
Brad and Steve managed to be amused at most everything life threw at them, everything from how this guy’s hair moved in the wind, how guilty a dog taking a shit looked and this Englishman with pale skin, someone who called their vehicle of choice an ironing board, this was amusing to them. I guess is it really patience if you're being amused?
What Brad and Steve and eventually everyone on that beach showed me was humans are good, we're close, we feel each-other properly, we relate and we can quite easily merge with each other on a level that sends arrogance and hatred, differences and dents to the back shed for burning. Steve called it Pakalolo purity.
Smiling into the sunshine that first morning birthed me into my second phase of existence.
My second phase of existence was to save the world but when I got back to London, I wasn’t sure how. Terrorism, hacking, just shouting a lot. What I did know was, for the first time in my life, there was something to guarantee my total investment, something to use those new pathways to do good.
But none of it was going to work without that Hawaiian Pakalolo weed. It held me firm on a plane I wanted to be on, not slip back into the world of “greed is good” around me.
And then I thought it also filled a gap in the market. I knew all about the gap and now I knew what I was going to do to fill it, how I’d fund my mission and keep my head straight in one go.
The risks were weighed up. Now eighteen, what would jail be like
But what do you want, some sort of soft pink terrorist? No, you want a black one, guided by the universe, come what may. If it meant going down for a few months, so be it.
We checked into a hostel just down from Dam Square and accepted the free reefer they offer you on check-in. The guy warned us to be careful, his Thai weed would surely fuck us up. In defiance and because it was free, we smashed together a neat five-skinner and retreated canal-side and lit it up.
Seven hours later, one of us had been sure they’d gone blind, another had got naked and jumped in the canal and we’d ended up fuck knows where, playing pool with these Dutch folks.
I asked one of them where we could get Thai seeds just like this stuff that had my mate dripping wet, still half-naked in this bar. The guy just pointed to the bar. The thing about Dutch folks is they know English. They know Engish really well and I knew this guy understood my question. I asked the barman and he brought out a little book, a menu with dozens of breeds and brands and strains of weed and seeds and hash and pollen and all sorts.
One word shone out at me for some reason. “Skunk2”. I got ten grams of that and 50 seeds and I went back and took my shot like that surreal transaction hadn’t just happened.
The evening went on and we smoked some of the Skunk and life became so easy, so beautiful. Everyone was beautiful.
And something became very clear. The folks back home are going to fucking love this.
We were too stoned to worry much about getting searched on the ferry so us and our weed and our seeds landed back home and I started reading the book I’d got the day before we left. The best book ever written. Simple and precise with loads of pictures. “How to grow Marijuana.”
SEE PART TWO
© 2019 Dominic Schunker