Part Three: despair
by Rev. Sean M. Breen
South Coloradan Online Editor
This place is too damned clean for my tastes.
Not the valley as such -- dust materalizes out
of the void and collects on everything that has any sort of flat
surface. But this college and the town surrounding it are far
too goody-goody and Republican for a apprentice king-hell freak
like myself. I suppose that Frank Sanchez was right when he showed
me all of his facts and figures showing that drug use was passe
among the rabble of my generation. He was incredibly enthusiastic
on the subject, and unloaded a half-ton of paper on me that supported
his position. I read through about half of them before realizing
that they repeated the same numbers over and over again.
Eventually, the paper kept my house warm through
that early cold snap in November. A good large stack of paper
burns just as well as any log, and the ashes provided some amusement
when scattered in the proper occultistic patterns on the lawns
of various suburban homes. But I digress.
I have trouble dealing with Sanchez's "high
on LIFE!" picture of the world. It doesn't seem right that
a generation wouldn't turn to some form of counterculture, reject
the ideals of their parents. The idea of a "Niceness Revolution"
frightens me in the same way that George W. "Mini-Me"
Bush frightens me; something so nice on the outside has to be
hiding some twisted, mutant ugliness with venom-filled fangs,
waiting for the right moment, when complacency has gotten the
best of us. The last time I questioned Sanchez, he was awful cagey
about his past experiences with the fringes of the drug world.
After his impassioned spiel about the "D.A.R.E. generation,"
I kept wondering what a drugsucking Dean would be like...
Picture it: Late one night, a window shatters
on the second floor of Richardson Hall. A twisted, shaggy beast
with the head of a Pomeranian and the cloven hooves of a goat
drops nimbly down to the dry grass. Pausing only to tear out the
throat of one of Lanier's hapless rent-a-cops, the monster lopes
across campus, snarling in a drug-crazed frenzy, until it reaches
the KASF radio transmitter. Climbing awkwardly to the top of the
tower, the beast howls its lust across the flat valley floor.
Ah, nightmares, nightmares. But I kid myself.
The Vice-President of Student Affairs would never act that weird.
At least not during the school year. I hope. I don't know about
the rest of Richardson's denizens, but we can be safe in assuming
that none of them have the drive to go completely psycho like
that -- they would have done it years ago if they had it at all.
I wish they would go mad with power-lust; it
would give me a chance to pull this story out of the mire that
it's been sucked into. I can dimly remember back to when I got
my assignment; I was totally into the concept. Find the drug users
on ASC and report back all you can! It was a great assignment,
something to sink my teeth into.
Jesus! Has it only been three months since I
started this thing? It feels like I've been doing this for years.
What kind of strange madness have I failed to uncover? I found
the stoners, at least some of them. That turned out to be a bust,
since they had sunk into such a marijuana-induced apathy that
I doubt that they knew what the hell was going on most of the
I spent most of a week's worth of time combing
the sagebrush for the only bona fide drugsucker I've ever met
at ASC, and that turned out to be a complete bust. Of course,
for weeks afterward my colleagues at the Coloradan delighted in
taunting me with stories of having seen Raines in the vicinity
of Alamosa, but every lead I went out after turned up dry. I suspected
that my co-workers were deliberately trying to drive me batty
by casually mentioning Raines in my presence.
I ended up talking with my opposite number in
Canada, Dan Jones. Dan is one of those Objective Journalists that
you hear the professors talk about -- totally objective in all
things. It can get a little irritating in routine conversation,
but Dan has managed to keep his job in the backwaters of Alberta,
writing the occasional piece while pretending to keep his editor
happy. I spilled the whole story to Dan in a small bar in Wyoming
over Thanksgiving. I figured that Wyoming was far enough away
from Alamosa that I could talk without fear of retribution.
Dan was doodling obscene pictures on the napkins
and muttering in French while we waited for the beer to show up
and I related the story. Dan being the Objective person that he
is, he cut to the root of the problem immediately.
"Hell, man," he said through a haze
of cigarette smoke and the body odor of truckers, "maybe
the reason you aren't finding the drug dealers is because there
aren't any drug dealers."
The idea hit me like a rock in the chest. I flashed
back to my original talks with the Bobs and the overheard conversations
I took notes on. It made perfect sense; everybody who smoked up
was bringing the stuff in by themselves. The reason I couldn't
find a single source was because there was no single source.
So, in a blinding leap of intuition in a shithole
bar in Wyoming, I finally understood the riddle of the Alamosa
stoners. Of course, this left the Work lying in a smoking hole
in the ground. The riddle may have been solved, but without a
source of some sort, the Work would never be ready for publication,
or even ready to present to my editor before he had me killed
for missing one too many deadlines.
So, here we are, in between the sagebrush in
Alamosa and a dimly-lit saloon in Wyoming, with no drug dealers,
no stoners, and a glut of Niceness Freaks running around the campus.
I have run this particular quest into the ground, and have come
out with less than I went in with.
Somebody wouldn't be so kind as to loan me a
joint, would they?
To be continued. The subsequent
chapters will be published in Heaven.