Tar-man sat, slumped in thought. He pondered a
skinny guy with no ass and a bad complexion who lived, as he had
since high school, in the basement of his parents' suburban home in
Lakewood, Colorado. In spite of the Motley Crue posters on the walls
and the trippy but uninspiring to any but the stoned feel of the
décor in this tomb, he had been able to keep his parents in the
dark for lo these fifteen years about his drug-related activities.
It was clear that they did not want to know. Too bad, really,
because he was therefore unable to share with those who brought him
into the world the substance of who he thought he was, the very
fabric of his current life. He made his living working as the
manager of a Domino's Pizza franchise, an excellent opportunity for
an enterprising young stoner who had no desire to join the Army but
was frequently afflicted with the munchies. His true passion,
though, lay buried deep within the bowels of his parents' house in
Lakewood, hidden away in a black trunk with a heavy padlock against
intruders and industrial spies.
For it had come to pass that from the very
beginning of his pot-smoking life he had realized that he had a
special relationship with paraphernalia. His aptitude lay in the
invention of more convenient ways, more easily concealed ways, more
ways which had no virtue except to rival in sheer beauty of concept
the most fantastic imaginary machines of Leonardo da Vinci, to set
fire to and transport the smoke from his beloved cannabis to the
eagerly waiting lungs of the inhaler. He had created water pipes
that couldn't spill, smokeless pipes, bongs piped into sink plumbing
that automatically changed their own water, roach clips decorated
with every conceivable American Indian artifact, a joint case with
all of the known alternative uses for hemp carved in miniature low
relief in bands across it like the stations of the cross, a built-in
overhead car lighter which flared when the sun visor was lowered or
one of the air-bags inflated (figuring that after a bad accident he
would definitely need to smoke and might have limited space to move
around), a chillum that converted into a pocket-watch, rolling
papers embossed with Indian tapestry motifs, a music-bong that
played "Smoke on the Water" when it was lifted off the
carpet (a feature that doubled as a spill alarm), ashtrays with 26
letter-identified slots for parties, and so on.
The first time Tar-man entered the suburban
lair of this inventor/artist he had just created a roach clip welded
to a car antenna so that the host could pass a joint all the way
around the room without moving or letting go of it.
"Very impressive," said Tar-man, not
wanting to get off on the wrong foot.
This skinny no-ass personage was called Jim.
Only Tar-man knew that he was, in fact, the Supreme Ruler of the