Back in the day, all we had to smoke was Mexican brick. At least I think it was Mexican. It could have come from the moon for all I know. An eighth cost 25 bucks; 45 for a quarter; 90 for a half and a buck sixty for a zip. For those born after 2000, a zip is a lid, an o, an o-z, an ounce. My friends and I would spend half the night breaking these flat, nasty buds apart with our fingers so we didn’t end up with stems and seeds in the bong. It often had an odor that reminded me of old feet, too. The kind of feet even Quentin Tatantino would say no to.
But beggars can’t be choosers, so we would happily puff away the night down in the basement throwing darts or playing pool. That was our official hangout; the basement. It wasn't as nice as That 70’s Show. It was as unfinished a concrete basement could get for one built in the 19th century. The building used to house a knife factory that was powered by a small, nearby pond. (The water still flows over the small concrete dam that used to house a water wheel.) However, when we hung there, the factory had been divided into four apartments. The basement of Apartment A wasn’t much, but it was ours.
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It wasn’t until the mid 90’s that we could begin being choosy. That’s when the west coast made it to the east. Overnight, Mexican brick was replaced with Killer Cali and BC Bud. We geeked out over the orange hairs that covered the flowers and lost our minds over the trichomes we called “crystals”. The catch trays of our brand new grinders would be full of something we had only heard of in the pages of High Times magazine; kief. We were no longer buying nameless bags of product with questionable origins. These flowers had names like Hydro, The Chronic, Chemo, and God Bud. The mental experiences and changes in perception provided by brick paled in comparison to the bounties one was likely to receive from the best coast. Back to back games of Zonk became less frequent as people were more inclined to pass their hits or simply call it a night.
But as the bud got better, our group got smaller. People moved away, graduated college, got married, or reevaluated their relationship with cannabis. The basement went from being the collective meeting place of our weird tribe to a place spoken of with reverence by the remaining few. From the refrigerator that was kept closed with duct tape, to the misshapen lumps of concrete that protruded from the walls and pierced the skin. From the bristle board and 25g power point darts, to the bar-rescued pool table and warped cues. From the endless parade of friends and strangers alike through the basement door, to having to climb two flights of stairs to use the bathroom. Nevertheless, we always have those memories of going from the brick to the bud.