April 22, 2016 - H3 - Cheech & Chong

 

Still hoofing along in the same general vicinity, half the day gone, Brent and I trudged up Dixie Highway with our droopy thumbs, aching to get out of stinking South Florida. After an hour in the hot midday sun, a white panel van rolled up alongside our sweaty faces. Feeling a little bit of Déjà vu and a whole lot of nervous, I flinched back from the open window.

A wrinkly face with a giant black mustache bobbled out at me.

“Hey man!”

I gave the passenger a scrutin’-EYE and gazed past him at the man behind the steering wheel who had even more thick hair on a crinkly face, this one with rose colored granny glasses.

Holy smokes…

They looked just like Cheech and Chong.

I glanced over at Brent and his Florida Southern tee shirt, nodding my approval.

“Dave’s not here, man… But we are.”

Brent recognized the reference to that old stoner comedy shtick and beamed at me as the man with the handlebar mustache and matching eyebrows leaned out the window.

“We’re going all the way to West Virginia but we gotta’ make a stop in Daytona, first.”

That sounded like music to my ears and we climbed in through the sliding side door, dropped our backpacks and plopped down on the white metal floor, Kumbaya-style. The van wobbled out of the grass, back onto the highway, and off we went, blue smoke billowing out the exhaust pipe.

I looked around the back of the van at creaky fishing poles, vintage garage signs, moss covered garden statues, and rusty tools vibrating around on the floor. Geez… This was some sort of junk store on wheels. The art-deco-demolition-driver glanced over his denim shoulder, his thick black beard breezing about his face.

“You guys hungry? We was just fixin’ to nibble.”

The guy that looked like Cheech grinned and pulled out a bag of Purina Dog Chow, rattling it with anticipation. He must have noticed my shocked face.

“What? This stuff is goooood, man, like, real good… And cheap, too.”

He fisted out a handful and shoved it under his bottle-brush of a hair-pie and gleefully crunched away.

“I particularly enjoy the meaty fiber texture going on, here.”

He offered up the gaping bag and I felt compelled to try him at his word so I plunged my fingers into the brownish crumbles and scooped out my own serving. Brent plowed a five finger backhoe into the bag as well and we all munched away on Purina Dog Chow, quite noisily, I might add… At least that’s how it sounded inside my echoing head.

Um… Err… No.

I could not concur with Cheech’s appetizing assessment and I politely declined further portions. To me, it tasted like chunked-up granola homemade from aging dog turds but I had the foresight to keep that one-star review under my fake captain’s cap.

However, these guys acted pleasant enough and when the Wooly-Mammoth Hair-Lip lit up a doobie and thumbed it over the seatback towards me, they became even more pleasant. After we smoked their weed, they seemed as humorous as the authentic Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong and we laughed at their gags and chuckled at their jokes.

A bag and a half of Mongrel-Morsels later, we rolled onto Daytona Beach and I caught my first glimpse of the famous seaside. Cars, pickups, vans and campers parked willy-nilly across the sand like some sort of hippie concert with psychedelic paint jobs over here, dune buggies over there, and hordes of motorcycles every which way. The crystal blue ocean crashed with sparkling backdrop and the sea breeze whispered with coolness across the setting sun.

“We’ll be back in a while… Make yourselves comfortable.”

And off they wandered, those Cheech and Chong lookalikes, drifting into the shadows of all the weird people milling about. I kicked off my sneakers, stretched my legs a little, stuck my toes in the Atlantic Ocean, and eventually sprawled out in the shady sand in front of the van, cool and dark in the late afternoon. Brent joined me and we listened to the pounding waves and admired the frolicking bikinis. 

Chong’s rose colored glasses peeked around the front fender.

“Here… Merry Christmas, man.”

He pinched two sugar cubes towards us and Brent immediately cupped his hands to catch them. I had heard of LSD, Lysergic acid diethylamide, because, back in 1977, who hadn’t?

But…

I never saw any before…

And I certainly never planned on dropping any acid… Ever!

Yet…

Here it was.

Plus…

I was on a QUEST to compile some life experiences, now, wasn’t I?

So…

I popped one in my mouth.

And…

Dave’s not here, man.


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His eyes as wide as Kongming Sky Lanterns…

His frown as stony as an angry gargoyle…

- TURTLE ISLAND