Buying Drugs: LA vs. NYC

My drug saga began when I landed in New York City for college. Everyone had mourned the loss of their one sketchy friend who used to sell them ditch weed & speed/baby aspirin mixtures under the bleachers back home in Indiana, and now the quest was on.

The first lead I got after making out with a few thirty-year old bartenders was a number for a delivery service. You would call and say that you wanted your dog walked. The deliveryman for my neighborhood was a middle-aged tub-ball, with long hair that was always wet. I called him Drummer Dad because he seemed like the type of guy who was a drummer and a dad. My time with Drummer Dad abruptly ended though after he had a nervous breakdown in my apartment. Apparently he was under a lot of stress at work. As I shoved him out the door with one of my Xanax and as friendly of a smile as I could muster, I knew it was over.

After a lot of time spent deliberately hanging with Manhattan townies (people from places like Connecticut and Maryland) I finally got my hands on a new phone number which rang to a Dominican gangster named Tony. I couldn’t understand his accent over the phone, neither could he grasp such a white name like “Chloe,” so I told him he could call me Rainbow, and I began referring to him exclusively as Bro.

Bro was steadfast and true. He also usually took forever, and any order was accompanied by a few hours of calls every thirty minutes where he would say in his sultry swagger, “Ima halfta call you back. He’s ons way. Be on the co’ner.” It was extra exhausting when he’d send someone on a bike and you’d be anxiously pacing the block not knowing which pizza delivery man also had your shit.

Occasionally Bro would come himself in some kind of exotic car. He’d always make me hit his everlasting blunt, give me a heavy bag and try and push some other drugs that I really didn’t want. Then we’d do a silly little dance in which he’d suggest I come hang out at his drug lord town house in Queens later, and I wouldn’t directly decline.

Time couldn’t withstand mine and Bro’s relationship though, and we had our first and last fight the week I graduated. I had stopped in at a bar after my thesis reading to drink off four years of anxiety, ran into a few other kids from my department, and next thing you knew we were placing an order.

Bro and I did our usual pantomime, but this time he suggested he come back to the bar when he was done charioting drugs to New York’s elite. Assuming there was no earthly way Bro would ever want to get drunk in the west village, I thought it was safe to just giggle and agree. Before I knew it 3am rolled around, and Bro came romantically barreling in. The bartender saw how uncomfortable I was, but I couldn’t easily proclaim, “Worry not! This is my trusted drug dealer who I lead on for the good deals! Harmless!” So Bro was kicked out and some very weird text messages followed.

Unfortunately there was no time to patch things up with Bro. I was too busy packing up to head west. But since moving to Los Angeles about once a month he texts that he misses me, just got a great new shipment, and he’d take special care of anyone I refer to him.

Now in the land of hanging loose, or hanging ten or whatever I know the grace of legal marijuana, no Bros necessary. Since I’d never lived in a state with any modicum of lenience for drug use, I initially was paralyzed by such a foreign concept. Ironically after so many years of riding in cars with drug dealers (the sequel starring Drew Barrymore’s daughter) I wanted nothing to do with legally acquiring the goods. I was convinced that putting my name on that government-documented list was far more dangerous than closely associating with felons.

I eventually gave in though, and on that sanctimonious day I went to see the legendary Doc 420. A stern bouncer carded me and escorted me into an Arabian Nights-esque shrine. White Chicks was being screened for the “patients” waiting anxiously in gilded Chippendale chairs. The receptionist pointedly reminded me that I was on a spiritual journey and that Doc 420 would never contact any doctor that I listed on my paperwork.

Doc 420’s Sports Illustrated-style calendar was pasted up for sale, so when I went back to talk to the goddess herself I was a little star struck. She accessorized her physician’s coat with five-inch Lucite heels and a practical low bun. She accepted my desire for alternative medicine over chemicals for my fake amalgam of diseases I told her I had. She wrote my name and birth date on a craft store certificate like the ones they give you in elementary school for not pissing yourself anymore.

For the next year I can frequent California’s darling medical marijuana dispensaries, always demarcated by a subtle green cross. At my favorite location Tammy, a bottle-blonde-fake-boob-neon-clothed-tanning-bed maven from Florida always guides me through my experience. Now it’s hard to believe I spent so many years smoking overpriced fat people weed, when now it’s so easy to enjoy the medical marijuana of the tan, fit California masses. But I’ll always remember Bro and my journey to and away from him fondly, especially when some L.A. dubstep rat offers me ketamine instead of cocaine and I just wish Lindsay Lohan would waddle up to expedite the process, or Bro was there to put a handful of ecstasy in my little hand.


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