Judah didn’t give Dave his first toke. Nor did he supply Dave with any of his stash. On occasion, Judah just happened to be the connective tissue between Dave and the dealer. And every now and again they would put one up together. Judah was, however, guilty of never encouraging Dave to stop.
Judah was not ignorant. He was pretty sure that he wasn’t doing the best job of setting a marijuana-free example. He knew he was considered a sophisticated elder. Someone in possession of sound mind and reason. A reader of Alexandre Dumas. A recycler. A dry cleaning customer. So what he just happened to spend a lot of time smoking pot with a 19 year old who worked at Wal Mart and lived with his parents. Judah felt Dave was old enough to make his own situations.
Judah didn’t even know the guy was Mormon at first. He should have deduced from the trampoline in Dave’s front yard and the battalion of brothers and sisters. Judah, however, had not been privy to many interactions with Latter Day Saints at the time. He often noticed pairs of them clad in their white shirts and black pants, sailing down the street on their bicycles. He waved at them. They waved back.
To Judah, Dave was just another confused stringy-haired guy who had a habit of distributing any pornography he wasn’t comfortable watching at home to his various friends. Dave also hosted a monthly multiplayer game of Halo at his house. Dave’s mother seemed to be a cheerful lady who would come home from 18 straight hours of nursing and fix grilled cheese sandwiches for everyone. Judah only saw the back of Dave’s father’s head as he watched the big screen television in the living room. Judah wondered why their family couldn’t do a better job of keeping their huge house clean. All of the kids seemed old enough to know how to properly use a broom.
During their smoke sessions, Dave would get high and become contemplative and then giggly. They had a smoke session after Judah discovered Dave was Mormon. They passed around a spliff of Durban as Judah began lobbing a series of questions through the smoke. Who is Joseph Smith and what his significance to the faith? Just when did Jesus happen to travel from the Middle East to the Americas? What’s with the Mormon beef with black people? What’s with the magic drawls?
“I don’t fuckin know.” Dave’s reply.
“I’m sure neither Joseph nor Jesus would appreciate your potty mouth.” Judah’s counter.
Judah asked Dave where he planned on going on his mission and suggested that he choose Europe or New Orleans. Dave changed the subject.
Judah never thought to ask Dave about anything outside of religion. Judah later realized that his actions may have been insensitive. Oh well. He was high. Still Judah could have been just as offended by Dave never questioning his religious views. Although Judah never talked about belonging to any religious order, he felt that he had been prejudged based on his drug use. How dare Dave. Believers of all sorts dabbled in all manner of foreign substances. Just look at Dave.
Judah had come across more than a few potheads who believed that Jesus smoked. Those kind of cats were dismissed as blasphemers. Usually by others who presumed to have more knowledge on a savior they’d never actually seen or met. It was these other types of Jesus experts who seemed to Judah to be the kind of folks who were most likely to start a splinter branch of Christianity with its own leather-bound addendum to the Bible. Thus, Judah had to get to the bottom of this Latter Day Saints thing. They seemed to be friendlier and more devout than your run-of-the-mill Baptist. And they didn’t eat as much.
“Didn’t they teach you the history of your religion at church or whatever?” Judah was starting to get cotton mouth.
“Yeah.” Dave made a face like an angry troll smelling shit.
“So why can’t you tell me about it?”
“Because I don’t care and I don’t want to.”
“Wait. You’re Mormon right? Don’t you believe in spreading the gospel? For crying out loud, you guys ride around on bikes doing it. Really nice bikes!” Judah was determined to get something. Anything.
“Yeah, but you act like I had a choice and I’m supposed to be all excited about it.” Dave shrugged his shoulders.
Well, why wasn’t he? Judah had watched plenty of televangelists dance around pulpits to an audience of crying, shouting, singing, passing-out-with-a-prayer-cloth believers. They’d all won the lottery on life. Hallejuah! Were Mormons different or perhaps more reserved about beating eternal damnation? They decided to roll another blunt.
“Dude, you’re 19. That’s nine years past the age of reason. You are a Mormon by choice.” Judah was proud of his logical argument as he took a nice chest-burning inhale.
”As if I could convert to Islam while living here.”
“Your religion is your business, Man. Nobody can make you believe anything.” Judah recalled having a similar conversation in college with a classroom full of republicans. They were going to ride that elephant for the rest of their lives for no other reason outside of being residents of Orange County and having republican parents. It was the comfortable thing to do. Judah then pictured Dave wearing a long beard and a turban.
“So you’ve considered other faiths?” Judah said while spinning the ash tray like a top.
”No.” Dave said this with a half chuckle, half snort as if Judah had proposed three-way sex with a rabid porcupine.
“Okay, so then you’re not fully committed but you don’t want to believe anything else.”
“I’m just trying to get high, okay? You are seriously fuckin with my buzz.”
“All, I’m saying is to shit or get off the pot. Lukewarm doesn’t really work in any religion. Hell, lukewarm doesn’t work in life.”
“Maybe you’re right. Let’s go to the mall.”
Years passed and Judah lost touch with Dave. If Dave did go on his LDS mission, then he should have returned by now. It could be that Dave was married with his own brood of children sitting somewhere watching television while ignoring his overworked and underappreciated wife. Maybe, Dave renounced his religion and is somewhere sucking on a bong. Or maybe Dave was as much a believer as anyone could ever hope to be. It could go either way.
Judah gave up the pot smoking. He wouldn’t even know where to buy the stuff today. Judah tells his stoner friends to leave it alone or at least not smoke it every day. Guess he got converted.
Copyright © 2012-2013 Nikki Igbo. All rights reserved. Do not use or reproduce without permission.