CHAPTER ONE – STONED-BAKED PIZZA
There wasn’t anything particularly special about Daniel Jones. He was just your average, twenty-something kid trying to find love and happiness in a world he was desperately trying to understand. He wasn’t good looking, there was nothing striking about him, and his personality matched his physical appearance. He had no real ambitions to speak of, and spent most of his time trying to work out what it was he was going to do with the rest of his life. If you met him – not that you’d probably even notice him – you’d probably say he was a geek. He’d agree with that statement, he was a geek. He liked StarWars, and SciFi in general, computer games, the Internet, and weed. Oh, yes, he really liked weed.
In fact, weed was a very big part of his life. He’d discovered weed when he was a teenager, and it just ‘fit’ his lifestyle. He loved everything about it: the smell, the buzz, the culture, the fact that all his problems melted away when he was stoned, everything. He was stoned most of the time, which wasn’t a problem, it helped him cope with life. Although they didn’t notice at first (it took a year for them to actually realise) his weed habit was of great concern to his parents at the time, as his weed-induced cloud of apathy meant his grades were slipping and he didn’t really engage with anyone or anything.
In stark contrast to their son, Daniel’s parents were over-achievers. His Dad had charm and wit, and had made a name (and an awful lot of money!) for himself in sales. He had ‘the gift of the gab’, as they say. Likewise his Mum was attractive and popular, which helped in her role as a medical consultant for a large pharmaceutical corporation. They both worked a lot, an awful lot, and growing up they weren’t really very active in his life. That was all immaterial now, as they had both died tragically a couple of years back in a hit-and-run car accident. To many people that would have been a hard event to overcome, but because he was stoned when his uncle told him the news, and the fact that he’d just inherited a ‘small fortune’, all he could say was, “Cool…”
The small fortune turned out to be a very large windfall: two life insurance policies, investment portfolios, the house and other assets almost amounted to 8-figures. As an only child, it was all his. His uncle, being a financial consultant, packaged everything in such a way that Daniel would never have to work a day in his life, if he didn’t want to. An allowance check was deposited into his account every month from the interest of the collective portfolio, a check larger than most people’s salaries. This was very handy for a geeky stoner like Daniel, as it meant he could indulge his passion for pot without distraction.
That is exactly what he was currently doing, and had been for a good few hours. He was lying outstretched upon his couch, staring up at the ceiling. The ashtray – or ‘hashtry’ as he liked to call it – balanced on his chest, where he occasionally tapped the ash from his joint. He blew smoke rings up to the ceiling as he watched a very large spider crawl along upside-down.
‘I wonder if the blood ever rushes to its head?’ he mused, wondering if the spider was as high as he was. As if sensing his thoughts, the spider stopped directly over him, and very slowly started to abseil towards him on a tiny spidey-thread.
“Cool…” he said, exhaling a plume of smoke.
The spider stopped about two feet from his face and just dangled there, as if doing some David Blane trick.
Daniel toked the remains of the joint and stubbed it out, as the spider climbed all the way back up the thread and continued its upside-down walk upon the ceiling.
“So, what are you going to do today, Dan?” He often talked to himself when he was alone. A little more worrying was that he often answered himself.
“What time is it anyway?”
He moved the ashtray to the table as he slowly sat up and looked around the room. He’d sold the family house shortly after the funeral and bought a smaller property not far from the beach. It wasn’t grand, but it was large enough: a few bedrooms, a great deck to the back, an adequate kitchen, and a huge living room. The couch was in the middle of the room, a large plasma TV on one wall, a coffee table, beanbag seats scattered around the room, and his pride and joy: a classic pinball machine. He rummaged in his pocket and retrieved his phone: 16:02.
“Fuck! No wonder I’m hungry.”
He stood, felt totally stoned, and collapsed backwards onto the couch.
He burst into uncontrollable laughter.
“Let’s try that again, shall we…”
This time the head-rush wasn’t so intense and he maintained his balance. He shuffled towards the curtains and slowly pulled them open. A brilliance of Californian sunshine exploded in his face. Like a paranoid vampire, he immediately drew them shut again.
“Not a good idea, Dan…”
He blinked and felt rather confused. Like an amnesiac searching for a memory, he wondered what the fuck he was doing standing in front of the curtains.
“Oh yeah, food…”
As he turned in the direction of the kitchen, he caught a glimpse of his weed paraphernalia upon the coffee table, but thought better of skinning up again, and shuffled towards the back of the room. Because he didn’t like shopping, and he certainly didn’t like cleaning – and he could afford it – he had a cleaning lady that came twice a week, and he had a part-time house keeper that stocked the kitchen with food, so there was always stuff to eat.
The refrigerator doors were wide open still from that morning – the last time he’d remembered he was hungry. It was packed full of food: meats, cheeses, milk, juice, yoghurts, and beer – a lot of beer.
“So, what do you fancy for…” he paused, thinking, “is it too late to say breakfast? Is there even a specific time for breakfast…?”
He caught sight of the beer bottles and decided he really should have a beer while he pondered the question. He popped the lid and took a refreshingly long drink.
“Breakfast of champions!”
He closed the refrigerator doors, and stared aimlessly out of the kitchen window at the deck and yard. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d actually gone outside. He was sure he’d had a deck party not long ago, but it could have been weeks past. That was the problem when you spent every day smoking weed and just chilling out: life just blurred into one long foggy memory. Most of his bills were paid automatically through the trust, and about the only thing he had to worry about was that he had enough weed to smoke.
The thought of running out of weed terrified him for an instant, and he forgot about food, and rushed as fast as he could (which wasn’t that fast) back to the living room. In a paranoid daze he surveyed the coffee table and took inventory: there was his pipe, his papers, a number of lighters, half a pack of smokes, and – thankfully – half a bag of weed.
He flopped back down on to the couch and took another swig of beer. His heart was racing. Pulling out his phone, he checked the time again: 16:32. There were no messages, which was a little odd, as he usually got a call or a text from one of his stoner buddies asking if they could come round and hang. Finishing the beer, he realised the buzz from earlier was wearing off, and he probably should skin up again.
He took a long, hard drag on the joint, held it for as long as he could, then exhaled a huge plume of smoke, and watched it merge with the semi-darkness of the room. The more he smoked, the more he drifted into the ether. He leant back into the couch, and connected with the extreme relaxation that flowed through his body.
“Have you ever wondered… if we really are spiritual beings having a physical experience, how come we don’t have super powers…?”
When Daniel finally woke up and came back to Earth, his living room was filled with ambient music mixing with the aroma of weed and incense, and three of his stoner buddies had materialised.
Nick the Hippy, so called because he looked like Nick Nolte and was an aging hippy, was posing his usual questions about existence. None of them were sure how old he was, as he knew so much about life and the world, but didn’t look old enough to know what he knew. He was a cool dude, and always had some amazing shit to smoke.
“We do,” replied Paul, “well, I do… I’m Blow Boy… I become invincible when I’m high…”
Paul was the youngest of the group, and a polar opposite to Nick the Hippy. He still lived with his parents, worked at the local coffee shop, and knew a lot about nothing. He was always good for a laugh, because you could guarantee he’d say something so ridiculous at some point and have the room in stitches of laughter.
“Blow Boy?” said Mike, chuckling, “You sound like some character in a gay porno!”
The room filled with snickers and laughter as the rest of them joined in the joke. Mike was probably the most ambitious of the group. He’d been a young entrepreneur and had created some really cool app that made him a lot of money at the time, but had since become obsolete. He’d never quite regained his former glory, but still believed his next best idea was just around the corner.
As Daniel slowly came to, he glanced around the room. Cartoons played on the huge TV screen, with the sound off, casting strange shadows across the walls. The two lava lamps ‘glooped’ like alien jelly fish in their tanks. Two large pizza boxes lay on the floor.
“What time is it?” he asked foggily.
“Hey dude!” said Mike, offering his lit joint, “Hit…?”
“Welcome back to Earth…” Nick the Hippy always said that when someone came back from a trip.
“I thought Blow Boy was a good name,” said Paul, trying to regain some credibility and rekindle the conversation. Instead it just brought more giggles, which Dan joined in with this time, as the weed took root.
“Is it a bird…? Is it a plane…? No, it’s Blow Boy!” Dan’s comment sent them all over the edge, and laughter echoed around the cavernous room once more.
“Faster than a speeding blowjob!” added Mike, which stirred up even more laughter.
“It’s not that funny!” said Paul, the only one not joining in the laughter. “I’m getting a beer… anyone want anything?”
As he left the room Dan reached over and grabbed a slice of pizza, remembering he’d not eaten all day. He checked the time: 21:12.
“Fuck! No wonder I’m so hungry.”
“That’s the munchies, dude,” said Nick the Hippy, packing some weed into his pipe. “Try this. It’s some new shit I’ve been cultivating…”
Dan took a good, long drag. “Wow! That’s really smooth…”
“Wait until it kicks in…” said Nick the Hippy, a new moon smile beaming across his rugged face.
Ripples of serenity washed over Dan’s body, and he closed his eyes, it was like floating, like being a warm wave, like being vibration, like nothing he’d felt before.
“Good, right?” said Nick the Hippy.
“Oh yeah…” sighed Dan, as he drifted deeper into bliss.
Paul appeared in the kitchen doorway, an unopened beer bottle in his hand. “Has anyone seen the bottle opener?”
“Why don’t you use your super powers Blow Boy!”
As Nick and Mike fell into laughter, Paul turned back to the kitchen, irritated, and continued his quest for the allusive bottle opener. Dan opened his eyes again and looked admiringly at Nick the Hippy.
“That’s some seriously good shit, man!”
“And you recon that’s gonna be even better in a couple of weeks?” Mike had tried some about an hour earlier, and was still buzzing.
Nick the Hippy had barely moved from his Buddha-like stance upon one of the beanbags, legs crossed, his distended belly exaggerating the colourful tie-die t-shirt he was wearing, a bead headband holding back his slightly-greying long mop of blonde hair.
“These are just some leaves I pulled off and dried, just to try it. In about two weeks I’ll try some again and probably harvest the whole plant…”
“Cool…” said Mike and Dan in unison.
Paul stormed back into the room still holding the unopened beer bottle.
“I give up!”
“Not much of a super hero Blow Boy if you can’t even open a beer.”
Finally joining the conversation, Dan said, “Oh, you need the beer opener…? I’ve got it here in my pocket…”
He took a long swig of beer and sat back down on his beanbag.
“Can we please stop with the Blow Boy shit now? It’s not that funny!”
Dan looked around the room again, and realised someone was missing, “Where’s Tram tonight?”
“Oh, didn’t you hear, he got a new job,” said Mike. “He’ll be by later with more pizza… that’s where the pizza came from… he’s delivering for Pronto Pizza now…”
“What happened to his last job?” inquired Nick the Hippy, loading up his pipe again.
“He failed the whizz-quiz…”
“Yeah! Who knew you had to take a piss-test as a delivery boy, eh?”
“This world’s fucked up!”
“Amen to that, brother…”
Realising he was still very hungry, Dan asked, “Speaking of pizza… is there any left?”
“You took the last piece, dude.”
“Shall I order us some more…?”
“Your kitchen is full of food, mate…” said Paul, glad to finally get back into the conversation without the mention of Blow Boy.
“I went there this morning… and this afternoon… I didn’t fancy any of that…”
Taking a huge hit off his pipe, Nick the Hippy said, “Food, food everywhere, but not a bite to eat…”
“I’ve got the latest StarTrek DVD! Anyone want to watch it?” Paul wasn’t sure why he’d changed the subject from food to StarTrek, but he brandished the DVD like he’d won an Olympic medal.
“This really is great shit…” exhaled Nick the Hippy.
“What time did Tram say he’d swing by?”
“After his shift…”
“What time’s that?”
“I don’t know, it’s his first day… Probably after eleven…?” Mike said, questioningly.
“What time is it now?”
“I’ve not watched it yet, but it got really good reviews…”
Everyone was ignoring Paul, the failing Olympian.
“Time is an illusion…” plumed Nick the Hippy.
“It’s almost eleven…”
“I’ll just pop it in, shall I…?”
“Time is as real as you and I… the ancients knew that…”
If the spider on the ceiling was still around, and had the ability to understand, it would have been completely disoriented by the disjointed conversations happening in that room. It might even have fallen off the ceiling in confusion, or it might have realised that it didn’t exist and disappear completely. But it wasn’t, so it didn’t. Instead, the door bell rang, bringing them all back to ‘reality’.
“It’s the door,” said Paul, “shall I answer it?”
Before Dan had a chance to respond, Paul was on his feet, DVD in hand, and had opened the door wide to reveal their nocturnal visitor. In the darkness of the porch all that was visible were two overly large white eyeballs and an enormous toothy grin. The gunshot laughter immediately revealed who it was.
“Anybody order pizza?” said Tram, stepping into the room. “Oh, cool, the new StarTrek DVD, I’ve been meaning to get me a copy of that…”
Tram was a hybrid of Cedric the Entertainer and Chris Rock, all teeth and eyes, and an infectious laugh, very loud, until he got stoned, then he’d mellow out.
Strutting into the room, brandishing the insulated pizza case, he repeated, “I said, any of you niggas order pizza?”
“Perfect timing, Tram,” said Dan.
“Fer yo masser, I bringin yer favorit: Quatro Staggione…” he said, feigning a black slave, and handing one of the pizza boxes to him.
“An which one of you animal eating motherfuckers wants the meat lovers…? Fuck it, you’all can help yerself… I needs me some canna-bliss…”
He dumped the pizza case in the middle of the floor and started skinning up a massive joint. Toking strongly on the huge doob, he said, “Now that’s what I’m fucking talking about…” Flopping down on one of the beanbags, he added, “So, what you sad motherfuckers up to…?”
Tram was a new addition to the group. They’d met under very similar conditions as that night. He’d been delivering pizza for another company about a year ago, and rang on Dan’s door in much the same way as tonight. As Dan swung the front door open, Tram was hit with a cloud of weed smoke and an extremely high Dan.
“Damn motherfucker! No wonder you’all ordered so many pizzas! You must have the munchies of a motherfucker!”
Dan just smiled at him, holding the door for support. Tram stepped into the living room and looked at the motley group of stoners: Mike, Paul, and Nick the Hippy, who offered up his pipe.
“Would you care to join us…?”
“My kinda niggas!” he said, putting the pizza case down and sparking up the pipe. “Oh… now that’s some real smooth shit, man!”
The other four just nodded knowingly, and started tucking into the pizza.
“Yo having some kinda party or something…? Where the girls at…? Oh, this really is good shit…”
“It’s just us, it’s pizza night!” said Paul, which wasn’t particularly funny, but the rest were so stoned it set them into convulsions of laughter all the same. As soon as Tram started laughing with them, he had them rolling on the floor.
“You wanna hang?” inquired Dan, “Or do you have more deliveries to make?”
He didn’t, and the rest, as they say, is history. Tram became their delivery boy of choice, and a regular nocturnal visitor and toker.
“It’s pizza night!” said Paul.
“Shall I put the DVD in?”
“I thought you’d done that ages ago, Blow Boy,” said Mike.
“Blow Boy…?” asked Tram, pulling the last remnants of the pipe.
“Yeah, it’s his super hero name…”
“Blow Boy? Sounds like some gay porno or something!”
“That’s what we said!”
Laughter filled the room once more.
Trying to ignore them, Paul put in the DVD, mumbling, “Alright, I’ll put it in now…”
“Nah! That’s the other guy’s line!” Tram snorted, sending them all into more fits of laughter.
The movie started, but nobody was really interested except Paul, who tried desperately to engross himself in the film and ignore the comments and laughter of the others.
The Blow Boy comments dried up, and finally Tram remembered, “Didn’t you say you were buying a gravity bong the last time I came round?”
“A gravity bong? Serious shit man…” said Mike, curiously.
“Yeah, I ordered it today… I would have ordered it sooner, but I got stoned and forgot.”
It’s just Chapter One… there’s more to come, but I’d really like to know:
- Did you enjoy it? Why? What?
- Would you read more? Likewise.
- Which character(s) do you like most? Why?
- Can you see this as a film?
I’d very much like to hear your comments below, and everyone that comments will get a signed copy of the final book.
I thank you all in advance for your help!
Anthony James Donnelly is an author, motivational and business coach, and life guide. He has spent over 20 years working directly with individuals and corporations to adjust their perspectives on life. In his latest book, “My First Goal-Setting Book: How To Effectively Set & Achieve Your Life Goals”, he concisely explains how to get whatever you want out of life.