My Night as a Dope Runner

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My friend Brandie* came to me because she wanted to try pot. She had never smoked before. I’m not sure if she ever even drank. We were 25-year-old PhD students, and she was devastated by the recent conclusion of a long-term relationship. Her otherwise-neat-and-orderly life was spiraling out of control, and she wanted to hit rock bottom and get it over with. So she came to me. I suppose I was that kind of friend.

“Sure,” I said. “I don’t have any myself, but I have friends who might.” I paused to think. Most of my friends were also responsible grad students. I thought about wandering into East Palo Alto and asking around. Then I called my friend Hideki.

“Um, hey, it’s Elaine. My friend Brandie is here, and she’s never smoked pot before and really wants to try it. Do you know where we can score some weed? We need it tonight.”

“You’re calling me this late at night because you want drugs??”

Oh, I guess it was after 11pm. Where were my manners?

He continued. “Yeah, I can hook you up. Give me a few minutes, I’ll call you back.”

Minutes passed. Hideki called back.

“Okay, I talked to my friend Winston. He lives in Oakland. He’ll meet you guys in the parking lot of McDonald’s on Telegraph at 12:30. He’ll be in a black BMW.”

“So, am I supposed to like, give him money?”

“Ask for an eighth. It’ll be $40. It’s good shit.”

Hooray! But there was one caveat.

“You guys have to bring it back to my place and share it.”

Brandie and I hurried into her car. Neither of us had ever been to Oakland before. After we exited the freeway, we drove past an endless string of pawn shops and check cashers, lit up with the vibrant color of rattlecan paint.

We arrived and parked at the McDonald’s a bit before 12:30am. Despite the late hour, several skid row migrants milled about the lot. A scruffy minority figure strode over to the passenger-side window where I sat.

“Drive!!” I shrieked at Brandie.

Brandie started the car and peeled to the other side of the lot. A man holding an empty cup looked up at us.

“The drive-through! Go into the drive-through!”

We pulled up to the menu board to place an order, safe in the bath of fluorescent light. Brandie ordered a chicken sandwich. While trapped behind the line to the pickup window, another transient materialized on Brandie’s side of the car.

Brandie jammed her fingers onto the power buttons, simultaneously locking the doors and rolling up her window. She then turned and white-knuckled the steering wheel, probably hating my guts at that moment. The man tapped her window. He thought she somehow hadn’t seen him. He tapped again. And again.

After we picked up our order and pulled out of the drive-through, a black BMW pulled into the lot and parked in a conspicuously isolated location.

“That must be Winston!” I said excitedly. “I’ll go get our weed!”

I hopped out of Brandie’s car and ran to the driver’s side of the BMW. I tapped on his window just as the homeless guy had done to Brandie. Winston gave me an odd look and pointed to the passenger seat, motioning for me to go to the other side.

Winston leaned over and opened the door. “Get in.”

I was confused. “Are we going to drive somewhere? My friend is waiting for me in her car. Should I get her?” If we drove off and left Brandie alone in the parking lot, I was pretty sure she would wet herself.

Winston ignored me. “You want an eighth, right?”

Oh. I handed him my money, and he slid his hand across the console, dropping a ziplock bag in my lap. I stuffed it in my coat pocket, and dashed back to Brandie’s car.

Giggling like schoolgirls with a sack of jellybeans, we continued our journey to Hideki’s flat in San Francisco. We greeted Hideki with a barrage of accusations.

“You sent us to the depths of hell in the middle of the night, you asshole!!”

Then we got stoned. I don’t remember much from the rest of the night, but I never forgot Hideki’s response: Get your own damn drug friends.

Ah, how difficult it is to leave the confines of your friend circles to try something completely new and different. That’s where smopf comes in. Smopf enables users to reach out to other reputable members for assistance in trying something new. It’s an easy and safe way to step out of your routine and expand your horizons!

*Names changed to protect everyone’s identity but mine.


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