Tuesday, July 30, 2013


The bus is mumbling along, everyone staring out the window forlornly, or talking too loud about not getting a raise at work. I step off at 72nd & Franklin and make an immediate bee-line for the 7-11 across the street. Inside, I head for the medicine aisle, eyes keeping a lookout for cameras, mirrors, employees. Scan the shelves--where the fuck?-aha!--bottom shelf, perfect. I crouch down, grab two boxes of Drixoral Cough and Congestion liquid gel caps, and shove them down the front of my pants. Standup and walk to the counter to buy smokes.

A large black man is ahead of me. His big belly stretches his wide-collared fake-velvet shirt taut in the middle. Brown slacks and beat-up two-toned wing-tips. Dude has style, and presence. In a booming baritone, to the nervous adolescent behind the counter, he says, "Box of Newports, please."

"Excellent choice," I say.

The man turns and casts a bemused eye. He smiles, showing impeccable white teeth.

"I like my cigarettes like I like my women. Smooth......with a classy touch."

"Shouldn't that be 'glassy.'"

"Haha! You're funny, son. They call me Chocolate Chip, it's painted on my van."

He points outside, and through the double-glass doors is a late 60s Chevy van painted a deep scarlet. Emblazoned on the side in large, crisp block letters is CHOCOLATE CHIP. Directly beneath, in smaller, shaky stencils, is MOTHERFUCKER.

"Verrrrry cool," I drawl, "They call me PJ, but you can call me James."

"What's that stand for?"

"Pill Junkie."

"Ha! Ha! Ha! You some kinda wack cracker, aintchu?"

"Damn straight," I smile.

"Wanna cruise around for a bit, shoot the shit?"

"Sure. Hold on." I run and grab a bottle of Gatorade and pay for my cigs.


The van is plush and smells like a fresh roll of toilet paper. Chocolate Chip grunts as he starts the van, coughs, farts, pushes in a tape and hits the gas. The bass is deep and wide like an ocean trench.

"Who we listening to?"

"Trouble Funk, punk, muthafuckin' Trouble Funk!"

"Yeah!" I yell and get as funky as I can. I fish the Drixoral boxes out of my pants, pop 'em one by one out of their blister packs, and start downing them, chasing with the Gatorade, grimacing as each soft, smooth gel cap slides down my throat. The pills are bulbous, and although I try to avoid it, the outer edges always manage to graze my pipe and leave their evil, lingering taste. It's so artificial it's like drinking liquid soap.

"What the hell are you doing?"

"Taking my medicine."

"Cold medicine? What's it gonna do, make you immune?"

"Yeah, it's gonna fuck me up and make me immune to reality, the worst kind of sickness. This shit's got Dextromethorphan, which is synthesized codeine, and ephedrine, which is speed, in it. Take about 10 to 15 and hello sunshine.

"So what's it do?"

"Well, first you might puke, then, for the next 8 or 10 hours, everything either speeds up or slows down, I can never figure out which. The closest equivalent is an acid trip, but it's different. A sort of milky haze settles over the world, eyes searching with wind tunnel vision, trees dancing like epileptic ballet figures....."

"Uh huh."

"Yeah, well, it's purty cool. Oh, you might also itch a lot, although that's common with most narcotics." I lift up my pant legs and Chocolate Chip stares at the dozens of scabs around my shins and ankles. "My favorite spot," I chuckle.

"Lord, you are crazy. Me, I stick to nature," he says as a massive joint materializes in his hand.

"Hey man, grass and Drixoral go together like ham and eggs, Iggy and the Stooges, Mork and Mindy, Peter and the Test Tube Babies...."

"I have no idea what you're talkin' about."

"Yeah, most people dont."

"Shut up and hit this."


The grass is good and the Drixoral starts making its presence known. We're driving around some faceless neighborhood exchanging lost love stories when it hits me: there is only one suburb. All suburbs are cloned from this original like an atom splitting or a virus multiplying, and all its inhabitants are created in the same petri dish like bacteria. All the streets are the same length and all the street names are anagrams of the originals. The same house in every suburb has the same cheesy plastic lawn decorations and the same mailbox is blown up every couple weeks by the same kids with the same haircuts. Every year at the block party the same people people get drunk and the same complain about it to their friends. The same husbands fuck the same secretaries at the same motels on the outskirts of town...........they even use the same room number!

I'm trying to explain this to Chocolate Chip, but he grew up in the city and cut school everyday to hang out with his 24 year old girlfriend. They would go down to the corner where the MCs battled, and drink 40s of Olde E and try to score some weed.

"Did you ever battle?" I ask.

"Naw. Well, a couple few times I would bust some rhymes, run over MCs like the March of Dimes."

I couldn't stop laughing for five minutes, and not until I'd opened the door and puked all over Woodhaven Drive.


".......break it down jazz style/wear it with a fag style/undone in the meanwhile/countless enemies of freestyle/words rhyme/backwards in time/step without precision/someone screamed -- "Hinckley had a vision!"/velour pinafore penetrate the core/nothin but a sucka multiplied by four/I see a light in the distance/but it ain't in the attic/so I ignore it like so much radio static........too many goddamn vital statistics/flyin thru the air like homicidal ballistics/paper spread thin/in my wallet again/ can't even afford a ten/dollar bag/get lifted/throw in the rag.........I'm sick with the non-stop betrayals and portrayals/kick 'em down like so many guard-rails/don't save the whales/save yr fuckin mind/yr gonna need it for the perfect crime/a set-up--a stakeout--a late night--freakout.......don't forget to take pictures or regret to read scriptures.......hit the blunt 3 times looked around and my mind reeled [beat cymbal beat beat cymbal] runnin from cops thru soccer fields soccer fields....."

I look over. Chocolate Chip has a huge grin on his face.

"I like you, man, I really really like you."

(the bass said boom and the drums said twack)

"So, PJ, where you from?"

"Where am I from? Who the fuck knows, y'know? I've been around forever. I'm what you call an archetype. I existed before there was anything to exist. You know the story of Cain and Abel? I made that story up, y'know what I'm sayin'?"

"Not really."

"It's like this: this planet, it ain't a planet. There's no such thing. It's a vibration. Right now, I'm at about five vibrations. Between the Drix, the dank, and the T Funk, I'm aiming for about eight, maybe nine or eleven."

"This ain't Trouble Funk no more, it's fuckin' Zapp!"

"Sorry, sorry. What I'm trying to say is, we don't need this," I wave my arms towards the endless rows of manicured lawns.

"We need this," I pop some more Drixoral, close my eyes, and clench my teeth into a smile.

Chocolate Chip whistles and it stretches out into infinity.........echoes among the stars.......feeds back upon itself............

A new universe is born.

{pic by Flash}

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