Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Dealing with it

No hell but what they make
The only time that I've been involved in drug dealing it was with the Director of Communications for the Church of Scotland. Let's call him John to protect the guilty. We were both at Corpus Christi college, Cambridge university. I was doing a law degree and going mad, he was doing a sociology degree (widely considered to be a drinking degree) and getting laid a lot. We both smoked a lot of weed. He was into out of body experiences and history. I was fairly convinced that whatever career path he wandered down "diabolical genius" was the job title he would end up with. I wasn't too far wrong as it turned out.

One of his acquaintances had come into "quite a lot of weed" and we were both aspiring entrepreneurs and fed up of paying retail price for weed.

The standard unit for buying "not small" quantities of weed was still a nine-bar, nine ounces imperial units. This was about 1994 or thereabouts. A nine-bar usually referred to a nine ounce slab of hash. The hash in Cambridge in those days was glorious, sticky black, morrocan, gold seal, lebanese. All Indica and brought with it the heavy blanket of night, starless and void. Hash cost £15 for an eighth of an ounce. I smoked it with rolling tobacco or neat in a pipe. When I smoked cigarettes it was Marlboro with their distinctive red and white packet, now gone in the UK, and their harsh but distinctive taste. It was rumoured that Marlboro was partly owned by the Ku Klux Klan, the white triangles in red on the top of the packet conceivably making a KKK. Smoking was clearly evil and if you were going to do something evil why not go all out.

It was harder to roll joints with cigarette tobacco, but I was proficient with both.

Weed was rarer, usually Sativa and prized and £25 for an eighth of an ounce. You could usually score an ounce for £120, a great deal of weed. We could get a nine-bar for £700 and knock out seven ounces at £100 each, below retail, and score a free ounce bag each. Knocking out seven ounces of weed at a discount in the hallowed halls of Cambridge was pretty easy.

We went to collect the grass. It was a large flat in the Cambridge suburbs, term time home to several fairly well off students it seemed. The multi-windowed living room on the first floor was laid out with blue tarp and about six foot by six foot by six inches of compressed weed still left on the tarp.

The dealer, a pleasant guy clearly in it purely for the money, the drugs and the lifestyle, made small talk whilst he carved out nine ounce bags of weed for us.

Having made the collection we retired to John's third year college room at Botolph court in the early afternoon. The logical thing to do was skin up a joint and John had a cold so I did the honours and as we had two ounces of weed between us I rolled pure grass joints. Normal in the US, extravagant in the UK. We talked the normal crap we talked whilst getting stoned and I rolled another joint.

By the third joint it was nearly time to go down to the college bar, centre of our social lives and source of cheap and free alcohol until the fired the hippy barman who made favourites of his hippy customers. John started to roll another joint, and then we realised. We were hammered already and the evening was only just beginning.