Why It’s The Green Line…

April 6, 2016 at 10:31 am (Cosmic Encounters, On the road again..., One Particular Angel)

Bathtub Plants
“What you doin tomorrow?” It was a text from Angel.

“Oh, this and that. Off work. Why you ask?”

“Because I have to come downtown for court, and I’ve missed you. Thought I’d say hi, and maybe even reapply to work with you…”

My heart hit the ceiling of my brain before bouncing southward to my crotch and back to chest level. “Angel back in town? I’m stumbling and stuttering with excitement already!”

“My court is at 1 PM. Want to meet before or after?”

“Do you have someone to go to court with you?”

“No. I’ve never even been in a courthouse, don’t even know which one to go to.”

“Would you like me to go with you?”


I was grinning ear-to-ear. “Text me the address of the courthouse. I will be happy to go with you. But… I have some marijuana to deliver first…”

Steel Rod is one of our favorite cussed-dumbers. He plays Keno, smokes weed, tips incredibly well, and gives old hippies a good name in general. We’ve become work buddies, and I trust him enough to give him my cell number. That doesn’t happen often in my world.

Many years ago, someone gave me a tomato plant. Not having the foggiest idea what to do with it, other than kill it, (my specialty) I chose to pass it off to Steel Rod. As the summer went on, handfuls of tomatoes would appear. They would anoint many a sandwich, and it reassured me that Rod’s thumbs were as green as his weed.

Then, someone gave Steel Rod a seed. He grew a pretty nice plant a couple years ago, so he tried the next year. Big, bushy trees and gallon jars of stinky homegrown soon followed, and when October came last year, so did the gifts. I received a baby-food jar full of tight Indica buds, which were my Sunday Morning-back-to-sleep medication. I finished it off a month or so ago.

When I hinted around that I’d swap a little of mine for a little of his, he was all over it. (Switching strains refreshes the mental palate.) I got another baby-food jar, along with the comment, “If you know anyone with a good strain, get me a cutting and I will make it worth your while.”

All righty then.

A call to my caregiver was met with amusement. (“Aah, silly stoners, thinking weed is easy to grow…”) “Sure, I’ll come up with something. Give me a few days.”

Sunday afternoon, as I was standing in line at Voodoo doughnuts (but not buying doughnuts, sssh…) my phone rang. “Are you home? I have something for you. Three plants.”


I made arrangements at home to have them dropped off, then had to decide how to get them to Steel Rod. I didn’t mind if he came to my house, but I had to find a time we’d both be available. (My family trusts me, but even though weed is legal we still keep it under wraps as much as possible.) After “this won’t work, that won’t work” volleys, I came up with, “Would it be okay if I just dropped them off at the shop?”

“Sure! If you get ’em here, I’ll get ’em the rest of the way.”

It oughta be no problem, hauling three live plants on public transportation, right? Right?

I assessed my situation. The littler ones were perfectly-sized to fit in a handled brown paper grocery bag, doubled. The big one? It was about three feet tall, and the bamboo shoots directing them heavenward about four feet high.

I pulled out the granny cart, reserved for small grocery runs and trips to and from Rain’s. Inserted a garbage bag, put the tall plant inside, and cloaked the plant in black plastic. Good enough.

It was noon, the perfect time. If school got out, I’d have snotty teenagers sticking their noses in my business. I was less worried about law enforcement. I fantasized about the cops with K9s scanning the trains, and how that would go down:

“What ya got there, sir?”

“Just some plants. Here are my papers, and there are only three plants. I am allowed to be in possession of four. The law doesn’t mention whether I can carry them with me or not.”

The cop would sneak Fido a liver-snap and say, “Carry on…”

I nestled into a corner, putting the small plants between my legs and the big one as far out of the aisle as possible. I stared out the window. Of the hundreds of non-eventful commutes I make each year, I prayed this would be one of them. A couple old hippies and a housewife figured out what I was up to, everyone else seemed oblivious. I rolled through the transit centers, and one by one I relaxed, until I got downtown.

I carted my goods down 5th Avenue, loud and proud. I saw a couple of the older black dudes that hang out at the gambling parlor. They smiled as I passed, saw what I had, and really smiled. I’d figured they were as cool as they looked.

One of the tweaker girls hollered from across the food carts, “Got any weed?” She does this all the time, because I once gave her a joint. (Sorry, but I don’t have issues with pregnant women smoking a joint. Especially if it’ll keep them from smoking meth.) I wish she’d asked me a bit more privately, so I pretended not to hear. But it almost gave me the giggles.

I arrived at Rod’s shop. Mrs Rod came and opened the door. “Welcome!” She was in on it, like all good wives should be. Her customer? Maybe not so much. When she saw what was sticking out of the bag, she pulled out her phone and began typing. Hopefully this won’t end up on a Yelp review.

I went directly into the back, unloaded, thanked Mr and Mrs Rod in advance for their future cooperation, and was off like a shot.

It’s Angel time!

* * *

She met me coming out of the mall. It was hugs and kisses and lots of caressing. It had been a while, but we catch up quick. She has a boyfriend again, a newer one, so I wasn’t particularly hopeful about getting anywhere with her. I had been missing her, our brief, clandestine visits, giggly texts, the temptation always hanging in the air. Courthouse be damned, I’ll spend time with her wherever I can.

We talked on the way to the courthouse. Romance for her hasn’t been what she’s wanted. Work has sucked. She got into pills, like me, a little bit, and has been dealing with the side-effects of that. We had plenty to talk about.

I’d dumped most of my weed, folding knife, box-cutter, brass knuckles, one-hitter pipe and lighter in the back room at work before going to court. It wasn’t until I was putting my safari vest on the X-ray belt that I realized I still had two containers of weed (and two joints) in my chest pocket. I’m always forgetting something!

The conveyor belt stopped. Oh shit. “We got a heavy one,” said the deputy. He lifted my vest and rain jacket off to the side. Oh shit. Shit shit shit shit shit.

“Did I overlook something?” I was about to offer to take my vest back to work and can we just do this one more time?

“Apparently not.” Whatever the deputies saw on X-ray wasn’t enough to bother with. I wonder what it was?

I put vest and coat back on, and we went to the check-in window. The nice Russian woman said, “Your ticket is $175, but you can pay now, $90, or you can see the judge. The officer wrote nice things about you, so I would recommend. Room 112.”

Soon we were sitting in the front row of a small courtroom, watching other traffic and TriMet scofflaws. Angel had quit her job, and forgot to validate a new ticket in the ensuing mayhem. Of course Spare Infectors got her.

We held hands, whispered in each others ear. After a few minutes she brushed something off my coat.

A bedbug.

Oh shit oh shit oh shit. Where the fuck did that come from? She knocked off two more, and I was ready to freak? WHAT THE FUCK???

I have always been very careful about not infecting others with bedbugs. Having dealt with them, I know the heartbreak. And Angel is bug and germ phobic to the extreme, so I’m double careful when I’m seeing her. While she went to the bathroom, I picked through every inch of my coat. Where did they come from?

I’ll bet it was the X-ray machine. There were no more critter sightings, but I caught Angel looking every time she would look my way. Great.

After four or five cases, It was Angel’s turn. We’d seen people come forward to “explain”, with not very good results. (At one point, I heard the court clerk tell a defendant, “Tell that to the judge and we’ll see if he believes you.”) Angel wanted to tell her side, hoping for a dismissal or at least a fine-reduction. Soon it was her turn.

“Looks like we have simple fare evasion. The officer says you were very nice and polite and cooperative. Thank you for being civil. How do you plead?”

“No contest, your honor.”

“$75 fine, and the admonition to always pay your fare.”

“Yes, your honor.”

Angel was giddy at the thought of being out of there, and suddenly the last hour was worth the $15 she’d saved by waiting around. I made a beeline back to work to grab my weed and weaponry, and we met back up by the Waterfront Store. Festus was just coming on shift, and she got to say hello to the crew. Sadly, Master P had hired three new people that day, so Angel’s reassignment to my work will have to wait. We got the hell out of there, immediately running into Angel’s boyfriend.

I don’t know what he saw between us, but he wasn’t particularly lovey-dovey with Angel. And she didn’t take it well. As we walked our old path down the train tracks, passing my joint and her blunt back and forth between us, she pondered aloud dumping his ass. I listened, thankful that my grieving process is already in motion.

Pleasantly stoned, we boarded a train eastbound. After a few stops, I decided to leave Angel to her thoughts and reroute back downtown. I had one more night of weekend, and a nap was in order.

Back to the Green Line. I got a lot done for a day off…

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