Mr. Carolina, The Okie, Lil C, and I had made it from Santa Nella, California to Kansas on a wing and a prayer. We had no money, but kind strangers fed us and put gas in the van’s tank. We got on the Kansas Turnpike–a toll road–with no money to pay the toll upon exit. Mr. Carolina told us not to worry.
We pulled into one of the Turnpike’s rest stop/gas station/convenience store/fast food joint service areas where drivers don’t have to exit and pay a toll in order to get their needs met. I immediately started poking around in trash cans, and soon found a gallon Ziplock bag about one-third full of a homemade snack consisting of candy corn, dried cranberries, peanuts, and white chocolate. I brought it back to the boys, and we all started munching on it. It was delicious, but quickly moved into the realm of too rich, too sweet, TOO MUCH! We tossed it into the van.
It was at the next service area that we got our break.
The four of us were lounging on the edge of the sidewalk when a car pulled up with the passenger window rolled down. The driver leaned over and handed Lil C a bill through the open window. After we thanked the driver profusely, he drove off, and we looked at the bill. It was a 20! We had enough money to get an always needed quart of oil for the van and to pay to exit the Turnpike legally.
We made it to Kansas City, Missouri, where Lil C’s mom greeted us with kindness and homemade cookies, and his little sister greeted me in the hallway after my shower with, “Hi! I love Justin Bieber!”
The next day several of Lil C’s friends came over to sample his special Cali weed. The group consisted of several men in their early 20s and one young woman of about the same age. I tried to be friendly to the young woman by telling her I liked her sparkly boots. Before I could add that I’d seen some just like them at Target, she informed me she’d paid $200 for them. My foot just missed sliding into my mouth.
The whole group circled up in Lil C’s mom’s living room, and Lil C packed the bowl of the bong. The fact that he gave me the green hit (the first hit of a freshly packed bowl–a sign of respect among polite pot smokers), was not lost on me. I was glad I’d decided to partake with them. (Sometimes people looked at me real weird when I was the only one in the room not smoking weed.)
When the bowl was smoked (which didn’t take long, considering our large number), I was most amused to find I was not the highest person in the room. Usually, I am the most stoned person in any given room of stoned people, but this time I wasn’t. One guy kept talking about how high he was, saying how good the weed was, all the things I usually say when I’m the highest person in the room.
I began to feel overwhelmed in the crowd, so I went out to the van….where I found the dumpstered bag of homemade candy. I dug in and it was so delicious. I was so pleased with the candy and realized I should share.
That’s when I had the moral dilemma. I knew I should share. The boys and I shared everything the Universe provided us with. Sharing the candy was the right thing to do!
But…should I tell folks that I’d rescued the candy from the trash? I was afraid if I said up front I’d gotten the candy out of the trash, these new folks wouldn’t try it. (And it was so tasty, if they did try it, they were sure to like it.) If I didn’t tell them the candy had been found in the trash, was that a lie of omission? Was it wrong to keep my mouth shut?
I sat in the van for a time with such thoughts tumbling through my head before I decided to take the candy inside and share it (dammit!).
When I went back into the house, several people were still sitting around the living room. I put the bag of candy near some of Lil C’s friends and said it was really good and anyone could have some. Folks started digging in, soon saying how delicious it was. One guy looked at me and asked what all was in there. I started stammering as soon as I tried to answer.
Well, I wasn’t really sure. I hadn’t made it. The Universe had given it to me.
I suspected I was sounding really weird (The Universe had given it to me?), so I just blurted out, I don’t know…I got it out of the trash.
The young woman immediately placed the piece of candy she’d been holding in her hand down on the bag and told the guy next to her that he could have it. She was absolutely done with the dirty, stinky traveling kids’ trash candy.
The guys bucked up and kept eating it. We could tell they were trying to impress us.
The little party broke up soon after that, and all the newcomers slipped away.I told Lil C I was sorry if I had offended his friends. I explained I had only wanted to share. He wasn’t upset with me. Mr. Carolina hugged me and said he was so glad I’d shared the candy and admitted it had come from the trash. I Love You, Blaize, he said.
That was good enough for me.