The Nark

It's 12:30 PM. Lunchtime in the school cafeteria. 

 I search frantically for Zack. Rumor has it he's carrying. Finally I see him. He's smiling a devilish grin, a good sign for my impending desire to escape reality. 

 "Did you bring the buds?" I ask him. 

 Zack gloats. "Yeah, I got them." 

 "Well pass them to me!" I demand. "I want to hold them until the end of the day." 

 "No way. That's too obvious," Zack counters as he sits down at the lunchroom table. Then he tells me very matter-of-factly, "You're lucky I brought them to school at all." 

 I sigh. "Everyone always tells me how lucky I am. I'd feel luckier if I was allowed to do as I please. After 16 years I feel I have earned the right." 

 "Not so loud," Zack reminds me. "Remember we're being videotaped as we eat. Someone might hear us. I don't want to end up like Freddy Hobbins and get dicked balls deep." 

 Zack was mostly right. Every school in America has a nark, a junior cop who pretends to be your friend. Then one day they bust you and parade you around the school in handcuffs like a prisoner of war. The poorer kids go to juvenile prisons to be beaten or raped. The rich kids go to rehab. The narks get fat bonuses and give feel-good speeches at D.A.R.E. conventions. It's the most unjust American social policy since slavery. 

 To be truthful, school is just too horrible to take sober. Phys Ed reveals a psychotic circus of homophobes. Study Hall is a time reserved for flicking paper. In History class they teach that Columbus discovered America. Math class is too dull for anything save sleeping and cheating. Science class is fascist— I can't write my research paper on LSD. The computer labs house ancient Intel 486's with censored Internet access. No one takes a stand for free speech. Everyone just covers his own ass. 

 What's the ulterior motive? School seems an ideal place for evil tyrants to express themselves in a free environment. For us kids, it's a fate of lifelong repression and ignorance. 

 My penultimate dream is to blow it up. To napalm it like Vietnam. Marijuana is partly responsible for the reason I never have. It allows me see the humor in the humiliation. I can take the endless days of boredom and futility without too much discomfort, but the narks are just too much. Yeah. They push my tolerance over its limit and undermine every last bit of trust in the system. 

 If my life were a bumper sticker it would read: "Ask me about my pain..." 

 After lunch, I sit in French class and stare out the window. The weather is changing from April showers to May flowers. It blesses me with a renewed rush of teenage hormones. I daydream I am naked and tiptoeing dizzy with joy through a large tulip garden. I am kissing a girl, my friend Lisa, who is also naked. We embrace and kiss tenderly, rubbing the tips of our tongues together. My hands explore her body. Her hands explore mine. I get a rise. She kneels and begins to suck my cock. I am in heaven. 

 Then I get called on by Madame Moroque. "Monsieur Yates, qu'est-ce qui ce passe dans votre tête?"

 "La sexe!", I respond.

 The classroom laughs.

 "Faîtes attention!", the teacher reprimands me.

 I sit up straight and try my best to pay attention, but within twenty-five seconds my mind again wanders back to sticking my dick in Lisa's mouth. I start to ponder the green stash sitting moist and warm in Zack's pocket. It makes me feel better and finally my boner subsides. 

 3:00 PM arrives. 

 On my way out the door I hand Zack fifty dollars for 3.5 grams of British Columbia's finest. It feels noble to be in possession of contraband again, like I am making a real statement against the draconian policies of my leaders. On the way out the door we spy Lisa and apparently she knows the score. The three of us want to get high immediately. We head for the football bleachers. I break a piece off from a big nasty fat bud and pass it to her. Lisa gets to work, shredding the bud into tiny pieces and arranging them expertly in a Zig-Zag rolling paper. 

 Lisa always puts a cardboard filter on the end of her joints. She says it makes them easier to smoke. She learned the trick from a Dutch boy in Rotterdam. I still can't believe her parents let her go to Holland by herself. Talk about progressive! 

 In under two minutes, Lisa glides her tongue across the glue strip and seals the joint with a princess' kiss. She hands me the perfectly formed, slightly conical spliff to light. I feel honored to receive the first blast. Is this some sacred ritual? 

 On my first pull of the joint I taste the strange aroma and anticipate the next two hours of bliss and escape. I feel nothing. On my second hit I feel the full force of the drug hit me. There can be no doubt that the high is in my brain. I am no longer a teenage wanker. Now I'm sexy, daring, and cool— the dashing young rebel out of his head. My stomach feels as light as helium. I pass the joint and collapse on the grass, watching the sideshow of life unfold. My eyes twitch as a more beautiful reality opens before me. 

 Lisa takes a few forceful pulls. She exhales, blowing out a lung full of smoke in Zack's face. She doesn't pass but slowly takes another drag. She exhales and doesn't pass. Mayne she forgot?

 Zack grows impatient. He can't wait any longer.  "Give me the freakin' joint, bi-yatch!" 

 "Keep it in your pants," Lisa mocks as she hands him the spliff. 

 "We both know you want what's in my pants..." Zack jokes. 

 "Not for all the reefer in the world," Lisa teases. 

 "You'd put out for a cigarette and a smile if I was a Senior," Zack taunts. 

 Now Lisa calls Zack her "little bitch" and challenges him to a karate fight. Zack calls her bluff and the duo fake karate kicks at each other. Or so I think. Lisa connects a roundhouse to the head and sends Zack to the ground. She is taller and more athletic. 

 Zack is clearly suffering but tries to laugh it off. Lisa bows and looks my way as if to challenge. I make it plain that I'm a pacifist. She can fuck whomever she wants, whenever she wants. 

 I hand the spliff back to Lisa. She takes a quick puff and hands it to Zack, who is still splayed out on the ground. Zack rubs his head and tokes at the joint lovingly. Lisa screams and fake drops a knee on Zack's stomach, causing him to curl up violently and the joint to falls from his mouth. I pick it up and raise it to my lips while they continue to wrestle playfully.  Or so I think. Suddenly Zack grabs Lisa's left tit and won't let go. She howls with anger and then makes several attempts to kick him the balls. Finally she connects and  I hear Zack scream, 


 Inhaling deeply until my lungs burn, I completely surrender my soul to this blissful herb. Free at last. But when I'm passing the spliff back to Lisa this narky-looking kid pops out of nowhere and says...  "What are you guys up to?" 

 We all freeze. 

 "Mind if I take a toke?" he says. 

 Lisa instinctually hides the joint behind her back.  "Go away asshole," she yells. "You look like a fucking nark or something." 

 The nark looks upset. "I am not a nark," the nark responds as he smiles. "And you shouldn't smoke out in the open if you don't want to attract visitors." 

 Lisa doesn't back down.  "We're under the fucking bleachers. That's not exactly out in the open." 

 The nark does not budge or back down. This doesn't surprise me. We do not comprise a fearsome trio. Lisa is a 16 year-old girl and she has already proven herself the toughest. 

 Zack rises off the ground and onto his knees. "Will you just go away?" he pleads. 

 "I know you guys are smoking marijuana," says the nark. 

 "Are you a police officer?" demands Lisa, raising her eyebrows. 

 "No, just a concerned Christian," the nark smirks. 

 This doesn't make any sense to me. The nark is fucking with us. He looks like a cop, not a Jesus pal. Someone devoid of love and friendship. One must always assume the worst. 

Narks are generally: 

- spiritually bankrupt 
- sans higher brain activity 
- dressed by their moms 
- disappointed by their dads 
- into ruining the lives of others at all costs 

 "Aren't you guys afraid of getting caught?" the nark asks rhetorically. 

 This irks me. Of course we're afraid. Why else would we be hiding under the bleachers? 

 "It's all a bad joke," says the nark. "I smoke dope too... for spirituality." 

 Words now flowed from my mouth, unafraid and coming as if from nowhere. 

 "Huh? I prefer the natural spirituality derived from friends and creating Art. And I feel my actions are an important protest against the cowardly and hypocritical ruling party. Yes, sometimes I need to separate myself from the cultural vacuum cleaner that surrounds me. I've never felt I was an enlightened being, but I think I know the ultimate truth about the Drug War. I thinks it's a ruse by neo-fascists to exterminate free thought in America. Parallel even to the steady slaughter of the Native Americans. The only good drug user is a sick drug user? No offense, Narko, but you have no right or reason to be bothering us. You should be out hunting down the tweekers and the junkies that need your help. Us harmless stoner artist types are no threat to your power structure." 

 The nark stares at me and approaches. Baggy jeans conceal my nervous and knocking knees. My heart is going 200 beats per minute. I seriously consider running away. Just before I wet myself with fear he stops and speaks. 

 "C'mon now people. I'm not a fucking nark. That's the worst insult imaginable. I got enough problems being the new kid and all." 

 "Smoke some then!" Lisa announces, handing him the spliff. 

 The moment is rich with fate. Will he or won't he take a hit? Slowly, The nark raises the marijuana cigarette to his lips and inhales. It's not a quick puff though, he keeps the smoke in his lungs for several seconds before exhaling and handing back the pipe.

 Shit, I think, maybe he isn't a nark after all! What the fuck? Narks can't smoke weed? Can they? Wouldn't get fired?

 Zack frowns. "We were was just kidding about the nark stuff. You can never be too careful nowadays. These waters are infested with sharks." 

 "Shut up!" Lisa shouts crossly to Zack. 

 "Tasty," says the nark. "No way this stuff is local. You know where I can score some of this?" 

 Lisa snaps. "No way, Jose." 

 "Um... okay. What's that supposed to mean?" the nark asks. 

 Lisa sighs. "It means that I am not going to tell you, a complete stranger, where we get our stash." 

 "Yeah," Zack adds feebly, "we know our rights," 

 A slight sarcastic grin appears on the nark's face. 

 "You guys are lame," he says as he turns and walks away.

 "Wanker!" yells Lisa

 The nark turns around. "We can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way."

 My stomach drops, leaving me searching for a personal foundation. Have we overreacted or have we just smoked out a psychotic vengeful nark? My reality crumbles like a broken soda biscuit. 

 The nark turns around and glances at Lisa, quite unsure of himself. Finally comprehending his catch-22 dilemma, he frowns, turns, and scurries off. 

 "That dude is such a nark," Lisa says. 

 "Even if he isn't a nark, he's still a nark," Zack says. 

 Lisa intimates a puzzled glance at Zack.  "Shut the fuck up, Zack." 

 Zack smirks. "Well at least he won't bother us now." 

 "There's no need to worry about us," I say as my heart rate returns to normal. "These days, I guess, even narks need to get smoked out after a bad day at school. Or work. Or whatever."