An anecdote. Plain and simple.Submitted by Spam at 2008-09-16 17:52:14 EDT
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I was talking to somebody at a party recently when they remarked that I seemed to have a story for every occasion. This I feel, is not a compliment but still, it did lead on to a great icebreaker as everybody present was asked: What, out of all of your stories and fables, is you absolute favourite anecdote?
This was mine.
Reading Festival 2001: 19 years old.
Kermit strolls out of Sainsbury's with a smile on his face as wide and bright as his are pupils are shrunken and dulled and I move to pass him the joint before I realise that he's got his hands full.
"What the fuck is that?" I ask pointing to the football sized tinfoil wrap in his mitts.
"Chicken." He beams.
But it's not wings. Not nuggets or even a breast that he's got, no, this motherfucker, floating around on his hazy green cloud has decided to buy a whole fucking chicken from the rotisserie on the deli counter. I sit there for a long few seconds and appraise him with a withering glare while he just stands there swaying slightly with a beatific grin on his weed-whitened face.
"Gimme some of that spliff" He says after a time.
I take a long pull from the joint and hold it in my lungs as speak.
"Are you seriously telling me..." A long exhale as I blow the smoke in his face "that you want to walk along Reading High Street, past all of the local law enforcement and then through the main gates past festival security while smoking a joint in one hand and holding a whole rotisserie chicken in the other?"
"Why don't you just tattoo 'I'm a Stoned Fuckhead - Search Me, I Got Drugs’ on your fucking forehead? you do remember that you've got the better part of 4 ounces of skunk in that back-pack of yours right?"
"Relax, This is Reading, anything goes" He waves dismissively, "And anyway, It's 2 Chickens... I got one for you."
We're not drug dealers, Kermit and I, never have been. We are however, serial opportunists. We learnt our lessons last year when we were forced to buy cigarettes and weed for around 3 times what they would be outside of the festival compound and decided there and then that that would be how we funded our trip this time around.
I've gone for the safe option and my rucksack contains a hundred packs of Benson and Hedges picked up from duty free for about £1.50 each: RRP (Reading Retail Price) £7.50 on day one, £10 on day two, and whatever the fuck I want to charge on day three when all legitimate on-site sources have dried out.
Kermit, bumbling fuck-up that he is, has decided to gamble and gamble big. He's carrying half a bar of high grade skunk picked up in Bedford from some Indian Gangster types on possibly the scariest pre-festival mission I've ever taken. Our only connection to the dealers was a tenuous link via a friend and a phone number and of course they dicked us hard on the deal: 4 and a half ounces bought for £500 - £50 over the odds and a fucking joke when you consider the stuff was wet and the bag almost certainly a few grams light. That's what you get when you buy off strangers though and fucked if we were gonna argue, I strongly suspected the lead guy was carrying pistol under his jacket and I'm such a white-boy retard, I actually use the word 'pistol' instead of Gat or Glock or some such so it's fairly obvious to all concerned that we'd be punching above our weight there.
It doesn't really matter about the deal though, 4.5 O's of skunk shifted at £30 per 2 gram bag is gonna net Kermit just shy of 2 grand for a few hours work and believe me when I tell you that it's gonna take less than half a day to shift this stuff. On the flip side, if he gets caught with 63 individually weighed and sprayed baggies, we're both fucked. No question of personal usage: he's going straight in for possession with intent and I'm along for the ride with aiding and abetting.
Other than the fags, weed and tickets, we've bought nothing not even money - Tents, food, spare clothes and booze are all to be bought with the profits of our enterprise.
And I guess if you've read my calculations above and talk of weights and baggies and such, you could almost be forgiven for thinking that we know what we're doing but remember guys, we're a couple of nineteen year old pot-heads who have decided to get unbelievably stoned while on our way to selling more drugs then either of us has ever even seen before and one of us - called Kermit for fuck's sake - is carrying 2 rotisserie chickens because he's got the munchies. Everything about what we were doing and how we were doing it screamed amateur hour.
I'm thinking about all of this as we stroll past 40 or so local police on our way to the main entrance when I start to worry as The Fear grips me.
"Kermit mate, you've gotta put out the joint and lose the chicken."
Words I never thought I'd hear myself utter.
"Fuck you man, I PAID for this shit" he says between greasy mouthfuls. After a second or so of my silent gaze though, he capitulates slightly and throws the butt of the spliff into the gutter. "Tell you what, I'll put it in my bag for when we go through the main entrance."
And I relax a little because the main entrance is the only real hurdle we have to cross, once you're in the festival compound you can do what the fuck you want as long as you aint hurting anybody, and even that’s pretty cool as long as you do it quietly. All we have to do is hold things together long enough to get past security, show our tickets, get armbanded and we're free and clear. It doesn’t even matter if we seem too fucked up, cos let's face it, so is every other fucker here. The only thing we've gotta avoid is looking shifty. Which as soon as I think about it, I'm totally convinced we do.
Off the road and onto the grassy dirt-track to the festival the crowd starts to get thicker until technically, it's no longer a path but just a big fucking queue. People start piling in behind us and for me, that's it, the cut-off point, no going back now – you’d have to push your way through a couple of hundred impatient greebos. So we just wait our turn to show our ticket and walk through the gate. Sweating.
And it takes a long fucking time man.
And then it's our turn to go next and my whole world falls apart when the person in front of me moves aside and reveals the line of police sniffer dogs waiting on the other side of the turnstiles.
"Kermit!!" I whisper frantically.
"I know" he says.
"What do we do?!"
But it's too late and we both know it because the security guard bulls his way over and roughly ushers me through the gates before I can even come up with a plan. Ticket's checked, armband’s on and I'm past the dogs within twenty seconds that seem like hours because I daren’t look back at Kermit who has to run this gauntlet stoned out of his face with two thousand quid's worth of skunk strapped to his back.
I walk a safe distance away before turning round to see what’s going on. Sure enough I see Kermit bump his way past security and through the turnstiles. Even from my distance I can see that he's shitting himself. He's so scared he can barely stand and instantly he's covered in a thin film of terrified perspiration that already, has started to seep it’s way through his clothing. His eyes are everywhere as he shakily hands his ticket to the man on the turnstile and it’s fucking obvious there’s something wrong with him and he’s gonna get pinched.
But no. The man rips the ticket and slaps a wristband on Kermit with a smile and gestures for him to move on his way.
Past all of the sniffer dogs.
I watch as he takes a deep breath and adjusts his bag before trying to affect an air of confidence and march past the police.
And there’s a second there, about halfway along the line, where I thought he was actually gonna make it, that maybe the rancid stench of thousands of unwashed goths and overflowing Portaloos wafting across from the campsite may have actually drowned out the odour of the huge amounts of marijuana in Kermit’s bag.
But my hope turns to devastation when one dog, the last fucking dog on the line, starts going apeshit as Kermit totters along. I’m so fucking scared for what’s about to happen that all of the strength ebbs from me and I sink down onto the floor where I end up sitting cross legged with my arms behind my head and tears in my eyes. I’ve not known Kermit that long, fuck, I don’t even know his real bloody name, but I’m gonna miss him man, and sure a shit this is gonna be the last time I see him in a while.
A fluorescent jacketed smug bastard of a copper steps up and gently steers Kermit to one side. He mouths something and with complete horror, I see Kermit pass him the rucksack looking totally distraught. There’s no need to check the bag, I think, anybody taking one look at Kermit would know instantly that he’s been caught. The dog continues to bark.
Copper places the bag on the floor and slowly, so fucking slowly, opens that bastard up to the world to expose my partner for the dumb fuck-up that he is.
Straight away I can see the look on the coppers face change when he looks inside, surprise turns to anger which turns to amusement. An eerie silence seems to wash over the scene and I can just about here the “What the hell have you got in here!!?” when it’s spat out from Copper lips.
Kermit, drenched in his own terror now and with all the colour draining from his stoned face doesn’t reply. Just stands there swaying in the breeze.
“Jesus Christ” the copper says, straightening slightly. “No wonder the fucking dog went ballistic”
And it is no wonder, those fuckers are trained to sniff out the merest gram of hash, let alone 4 ounces of skunk.
I’m almost covering my eyes when he reaches into the bag with both his hands.
“Hey guys,” Shouts to the other handlers, “Check what the dogs found on this kid”
And everybody’s watching when he stands up and holds up the dog’s find.
A fucking whole rotisserie fucking chicken.
And the copper just holds it aloft, steaming in the cool breeze, marvelling as the dogs, all of them now, start barking the shit out of the place.
And I’m sitting there starring open-mouthed as he puts it back in the bag without even checking the rest, pats Kermit on the head and sends him on his way with an apology for wasting his time.
A fucking apology!!!
And Kermit, too stoned, too dumbfounded to actually move just stands there for an awful ten seconds before he realises that he’s got away with it and damn near runs over to me with the biggest fucking grin on his tear-streaked face.
“Good thing I bought that chicken eh?” He says.
And I’m too appalled to even argue with him,
what a fucking weeknd..bmp