People never liked me but I always won them over, one way or another. Life was one big bully and I was its favorite punching bag. I kept to myself, minded my own business and I did as I was told; until I grew old enough to realize I didn’t have to. And why should I? Most functioning adults barely even know what they are doing some of the time. I didn’t have that many friends and those I called friends were acquaintances at best. Over time, the friends I accumulated would become the reason why you are reading this.
As I mentioned before, I was the type of person who would keep a distance from the crowd. It is better to walk alone than with a herd of people going in the wrong direction, or so we are told. I kept to myself and minded my own business. Because of that I was teased, humiliated and beat by those who viewed themselves as important. Their words never phased me because that’s all they were, words. Their fits, on the other hand, left burses but those faded eventually. Psychologically, what was meant to break me only made me stronger from within.
I took their beatings and swallowed their words but in the end they knew they couldn’t break me, though they tried relentlessly. As we grew older, they realized I was unbreakable, so they hung around. Made me a part of their team even though it was they who hung out with me and not the other way around. As much as they wanted a taste of my company, I kept them at a distance. I was cordial with those who once were my enemies because I’m not an animal, I raised myself to be better than that.
Once I graduated into the real world, fear feared me for I was molded to be that way. People like me, those who have deep roots, can’t be shaken down. We don’t submit or bow to no one. Someone like me doesn’t last long out in the real world, for that very reason. My family told me, my relatives (who I thought cared about me) told me. Even co-workers told me. I was forewarned of the future that lay before me but it didn’t matter. I had but one reply to all the nay sayers, “And why not?”
Why can’t someone like me last in this crumbling, self-destructive world? Do people not pray for miracles? Are those in need not pleading for salvation? Why can’t someone like me make it to the end? Others have done so in the past, many in fact. Not just a hundred few or a selected million, I’m talking nation wide numbers. I knew that their warnings were just their level of consciousness that had nothing to do with mine. I am no one to change their mind but my own. The world is changed by our example not opinion.
All of this came into synchronicity the moment I met La Maldición, more specifically the moment they met me. It happened like any other day, nothing unusual or random. There I was, minding my own business at the park; on my only day off. I sat by the bleachers since no one was using the court, munching out on junk food when a group of juveniles approached me. I figured they were going to play some ball so I left but one of them called for my attention.
I paid no mind to his holler but he was persistent. They reeked of weed and their eyes were blood red. “You gonna share some or what?” I was surrounded before I could make an exit, so I sat back down where I was. “Those are my favorite too, man. And I’m starving as fuck.” I tossed him the bag of chips, thinking nothing of it. The bag was passed around and mid empty by the time they gave it back. “What you doing out here by yourself? Don’t you know it’s dangerous to be out here on your own?”
“Man you got some jokes,” I laughed.
“Now I’m serious!” He commented, with a serious face; high as ever. “There’s a war you don’t know about. One of our homs got caught in the middle of it.” He sat beside me, “I’m telling you because someone like you can be next.” He examined me, sizing me up, “You look like a walking target, don’t get me wrong. I’m sure you are a good person and that’s why I’m telling you this. Good people don’t last long in this world.”
“Well I’m still standing.”
“The hell you are.” He laughed, the others joined in. “You alright. Listen, we gonna hit up one of my boys crib and turnt up. Let’s go.” As much as I should have said no, no matter what I said, the invitation was more of a demand. Every time I dismissed his invite, he didn’t acknowledge it. I had to join them as if I had no other choice. On the way, I got to know their names. For the most part, Anton was the leader. The rest were just sheep.
“You read and shit don’t you.” Anton repeated as we got to know each other. “You some scholar hippy? You look like one. You gonna die once you meet Soul. He knows about everything to do with psychedelics. He has connections, knows people. His mind has been awaken to everything and everyone. He’s been out there, man. Touched the sun and bathed in the moonlight. He lost his mind long ago, he’s balanced as fuck and enlightened.”
I laughed, outside and in, because all I wanted to do was leave but somehow I figured they were meant to cross my path. Anton hyped Soul so much, I felt as if I knew him and we were barely half way to his house. Soul lived far from the city and isolated from everyone else, it seemed. Most of the kids who hung out with Anton went their separate ways during the journey. It felt as if they didn’t make the cut or weren’t welcome to met the famous Soul Anton kept preaching about. I laughed even more realizing they were all Souls friends.
“What’s so funny?” Anton spoke, agitated.
“My bad,” I replied, “I do that a lot.”
“What? Laugh at yourself?”
“Yeah,” I answered. “It’s who I am. I’m weird like that.”
“Man Soul is gonna fuck you up with his shit, I’m telling you.” Anton commented. “Real funny dude too.” The cab made a few stops as more of Antons friends left. By the time we arrived to Souls house, it was just me and Anton. The cab driver didn’t know where to go for there were no roads leading to Souls home. Anton paid the driver as he stopped in some dirt road. I watched the cab disappear back into the city, amazed at how far I’ve traveled.
Trees consumed most of the city from where we stood. Lights peeked above the tree tops while the tall buildings blinked as the wind revealed them occasionally hiding among the branches. Few homes scattered down the road, leaving acres of land between them. We weren’t completely isolated but it sure felt that way, real peaceful too. As the sun set and the night rose, Anton lead me to Souls house. Anton beamed with life the more he talked about Soul. Its as if Soul woke something within Anton for Anton to marvel at Soul. Its almost as if Soul was Anton’s God.
We followed a trail deep within the trees, leading up to Souls house. “Just be yourself, you know.” Anton suggested. “Soul will know if you’re full of shit. I may not see it, but he will. He knows everything. And don’t bother lying, he’ll know if you do. He’s woke like that.” We stopped abruptly, “Listen, you seem like a chill dude. Knowing Soul, he’ll probably be chill with you too. He’s not the type of person to be chill with just anyone. If things go right, he’ll even open up and tell you shit you never dreamed of. He’s dope that way.”
Anton took his phone and sent a message to, I’m assuming, Soul. Minutes later Anton received a text message informing him to head to the back. Souls house was big and made of wood. His porch was the perfect spot to sit and chill during any day. Peaking through the open windows, I noticed Soul had collected many fancy things. His couch were made of leather. A huge flat screen TV was surrounded by stereos and movies. I couldn’t tell more because we never made it inside his home, but everything seemed expensive.
The backyard was even more luxurious than the front porch. Christmas lights hung in the patio of his backyard with a pool big enough for a community. Lights trailed around the pool and underwater, perfect for a romantic swim. Soul sat under the stars as he smoked a blunt. I envied him for his life seemed perfectly balance. “Anton, what you brought for me today?” Soul began. Anton reached for his pocket and took a fist full of hundred bills. “And the goldmine you talked about?”
Anton turned to me and introduced us, “This is Mil, the scholar hippy I told you about. Written books and shit.” I was stunned for it took me a while to piece the subtle hints. Goldmine? Was Anton talking about me to Soul while we were getting to know each other? Why Anton hand Soul that much cash? How did Anton get that much cash? I didn’t believe it at first but I was in the company of a drug dealer. Not just any drug dealer, at that.
Soul gestured for us to join him as he rolled another blunt. “So you got any Acid? Mushrooms? Or is weed all you have?” I blabbered, not realizing who I was in company with. Soul turned to me in amazement. “I mean, not that it’s bad if that’s all you got I’m just asking since there’s drugs present and I wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity for some.” Soul laughed, making Anton join him unexpectedly. “Is that Stativa or Indica?”
“This will help you hear what others don’t.” Soul answered as he stopped what he was doing and took another tray. He picked up an already made blunt and sparked it up. He took two deep hits before passing it on to Anton. Anton did the same while I remained fixed on the stars above us. “You into all that spiritual journey shit too?” He took his hits and passed the blunt to Anton again. I nodded, not sure what he was referring to.
“People like that sort of high.” I replied. “I like it because it’s calming and it makes me laugh.”
“If you’re not careful,” Soul warned, “People can take advantage.” There it was, that same forewarning I keep ignoring. Souls comment made a shift of my perspective about him, along with everyone else. “I tell you this because things like that happen.”
“True.” I agreed. “If you’re with the wrong crowd. That’s why it’s important to be with people you are comfortable with when doing those kind of drugs, or so I’ve been told.” Soul and Anton glared at each other. “I’ve been witnessed to that too, luckily I was with responsible people at the time. Like I said, you have to be with people who will lift you up and not drag you down.” I paused, “Besides, no one wants to be around negativity when the acid hits.”
“One must be shaken, frightened, in order to experience the unimaginable.” Soul regurgitated. “Let me tell you something,” he leaned in, “Where I’m from, people take those kind of drugs you’re looking for to have some sort of vision, trip. The kind of people I roll with dabble in the arts. You, you’re just a kid playing with fire. You have no idea of the things people are capable of. You’re ignorant of the magick around you.”
“Why be forced to see things when you can be encouraged to see them naturally?” I replied. “With a sober mind. I hear what you are saying, and I’m not saying you are wrong. I’m just adding a different perspective on your ideology. Yes, when forced into climbing a high you’ll eventually get there but the results will be based on someone’s inception.” I continued, “But when you are encouraged to do it on your own, just imagine what results those will be.”
After a few skips, Anton turned to Soul for confirmation to hand me the blunt. I simply stared at the night sky, not knowing or caring whether Soul would approve; I wasn’t there for anyone’s approval. Anton handed me the blunt after his turn and I took two small hits. By the third round, I was beginning to feel out of place. My body relaxed, my mind spaced out and my surroundings synchronized. The high was everything Soul had mentioned prior to the beginning.
Shapes took form in the darkness beyond where we sat. The howling wind whispered things in my ear. Anton and Soul kept looking at each other as if they were plotting. My paranoia took the best of me so I laughed, I couldn’t help it. Soul mentioned he had a bad full of acid and from what I could remember, he might have offered some. At that point, my mind was gone so I wasn’t too sure. “All I know is,” I ignorantly answered, “Is that every time I take acid, I’m constantly laughing and in a good mood. Mushrooms just relax me.”
“So what do you think?” Anton spoke to Soul as if I weren’t there. “Do I beat the shit out of him?” I laughed again, not knowing what he was referring to. “He’s beneficiary. Could know more than what he leads us to believe. We gonna have to baptize him.” Soul turned to me seemingly lost at what they spoke about. My smile reflected onto him and said nothing. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was making good with the boss of drug dealers; or at least the alpha in the city where I live.
“Beat the shit out of me?” I blurred out. “Right, because life hasn’t done that already.” They both laughed unexpectedly.
“He’s chill.” Soul told Anton. “You’re a good person." He said to me. "Good people don’t last long in this kind of world, be thankful you’re still around. Someone like you doesn't exist at all. People will be after you, just know that.” He took a hit. “Keep winning them over and you’ll eventually find your way to where you want to be. It’s all about persistancy but you’ve been through some things, I see that about you, and you’re still here. Laughs and all.”
We ended the night with one last blunt. We hung out at Souls backyard for a while, talked more about the trips he’s been through, all the kind of substance he’d devoured. It was then when I knew who he was and the kind of business he deals with. I wasn’t phased at all, for the most part I gained a source to my kind of poison. I left without his number but I knew I left them wanting more of my company. I was welcomed to visit Soul any time, as a matter of fact.
One thing that stood out the most from that night was Souls warning that I’ve been receiving from everyone else. People will be after you, Souls comment kept repeating in my head on my way back to my apartment. People have always been after me, that was the funny part; or at least to me. Yet, I’m still alive, grateful and humbled as ever. I grinned as I climbed the stairs to my home and I thought to myself. Don’t all alphas have that problem?