I blushed and put my head down for a moment, but eventually headed over to the cloud of smoke and was greeted with a chorus of laughter.
“That’s what I thought,” the bearded guy said with excitement.
I joined the group and took a hit before passing it to a girl with a shaved head and long eyelashes in a camo jacket.
The townies had some really good weed, not a huge surprise in Northern California. It hit me like a freight train after a few more passes of the pipe.
The group had been talking about a nice little “kick back” the entire time I was with them. Based on the steady eye contact they all kept making with me, I figured I was invited to said “kick back.”
Not surprisingly, their sweet “kick back” consisted of sitting around someone’s mom’s dog shit-infested backyard in the run down part of town, smoking more weed, drinking some cheap beer and listening to the bearded guy play a ratty old Epiphone acoustic guitar (poorly) and cover Pink Floyd and Bob Marley songs (also poorly). The only thing that kept me around the gathering into the night was the conversation between me and the girl with the shaved head whose name I discovered was Loralei.
Loralei made it clear she lacked respect for me since I was enrolled at UCSC. The townies hated the disrespectful rich kids (especially the out-of-state ones) they believed made up the student body. However, she respected my mutual distaste for my colleagues. She also said she liked my accidental, lazy style. I had been reduced to wearing my dead step-grandpa’s slacks, smoking jackets and never combing my longish hair out of pure laziness and only Loralei’s fondness for my attire made me realize my get up actually probably made me look like some kind of aloof indie rocker.
The two of us slipped away from the group and a tone deaf version of Redemption Song to have a quieter conversation on the steps of the house where we could hear the sounds of someone’s mom hacking smokes and watching Wheel of Fortune.
“This shit’s pretty disappointing, isn’t it?” Loralei asked.
I was so high, I could barely speak, but managed.
“It’s better than what I usually do here, I guess.”
“Lay around my house by myself. Sometimes buy some beer and get a little messed up.”
“Doesn’t sound that bad, you have your own house? I thought you said you were a freshman here? Shouldn’t you be in the dorms?”
“My family has a house in town, I’m staying there.”
“Then let’s go there. This shit is boring. I do this every day.”
Loralei was interrupted by the bearded guy, guitar in hand. I was alarmed to turn and see his eyes intensely glued to mine.
“Hey bro. Can I ask you something real quick?” He said and sent a nod in the direction of a quiet corner of the yard.