A Hard-baked Case

The world is changing, folks. Used to be, we worked our minimum wage jobs and we went home happy to have employment and we didn’t say peep about nothing going on in the world. But nowadays, burghs like Los Angeles are bringing about the end days by paying a so-called “decent” wage. Illicit drugs are turning legal. And soccer is becoming America’s sport.

sam spadeThese changes are the reasons we need a defender. I am not that defender. But I do own a fedora. So I will go undercover to see for myself what is behind these nefarious plots to ruin good citizens like myself.

That’s right. I’m a private columnist patrolling the mean streets. But not in Los Angeles. I can’t stand traffic. And not anywhere with a soccer team, because I cannot begin to understand the offside rule. Instead, I will venture into the seedy underbelly of the Colorado dope syndicate.

I have lived in Colorado since before the dawn of retail marijuana. As an inside observer, I have dutifully noted how every aspect of society has changed not one whit. Except that weed now comes with itemized receipts.

As a hardboiled columnist, all this not-changing is not something I can write about. Time to find out what’s really going on. I’ll be a tough guy, I will. I won’t even ask the tough questions. I will demand the tough answers. I will scrape to the bottom of all that is rotten with this world so you don’t have to.

It might get rough. It might get tumble. I might need backup. So I am bringing my dad.

Pops is tough. In a pinch, he can run away really fast. But he might need additional backup. So he is bringing his friend, too.

And this friend is REALLY tough. I personally witnessed this friend ride a bicycle up a mountain without Gatorade. Let’s call him “Studs McGuffin,” because his wife doesn’t know half the things he does and I won’t be the one to get him busted.

We three cased a local marijuana dispensary. The inside was camouflaged like the lobby of a particularly posh hotel. But I know better than to be fooled by a pretty façade. This front was masking some flop house or Grateful Dead shrine. I felt it.

white widow flippedWe surrendered our driver’s licenses at the front counter and were ushered to our own private shopping experience. Behind the door, this place was gussied up with fine wood paneling, glass countertops, and tasteful lighting. A young man introduced himself as our “budtender.” He shuffled display jars of whole-flower marijuana. What deceptive little plants these were. Satan Incarnate, according to the D.A.R.E. crossword puzzles I solved in fifth grade, yet as unassuming as dumplings.

The selection was a bit overwhelming to certain members of our party. Fortunately, none of us could actually buy anything. Studs does not partake, in case his wife finds out who I mean when I say “Studs.” Pops is an employee of the federal government with a high-level security clearance that allows him to visit the restroom by himself. And I am an objective fly-on-the-wall reporter, which means I have no money.

But that didn’t stop me from applying my stranglehold interrogation tactics. I demanded tough answers to every question Pops asked.

POPS: “Where do you grow all this stuff?”
BUDTENDER: “It’s all Colorado grown. I’m not able to tell you the exact location of our grow, though, for security purposes.”
ME: [cants fedora at an even more skeptical angle]
STUDS: “Duuuuuuude! Check out all this stuff!”

I refused to let this slippery employee wriggle away from all the facts. So when my lean’n’mean stares failed to reel in tough answers, I dropped my own choice lingo that I picked up by reading labels in the display case. “What’s the sativa CBD of your chocolate hybrid glassware contents?” I demanded.

“Well… CBD is often an excellent aid in reducing pain and inflammation without the psychoactive effects,” the budtender said, cloaking his answer in so much ignorance that I knew he must be just a low-level lackey in the ganja syndicate.

mcdonalds workerThat’s when it struck me. Peddling marijuana is just like peddling pints, or peddling pizza, or peddling any other wares at wages marginally acceptable only to tongue-chewing young adults. Nothing, not even middling customer service, can stop people from buying the things they love most.

America may not be in good hands, but it’s at least in the same low-level lackey hands that brought it this far. And those hands deserve a respectable wage, considering how much stuff Studs McGuffin is so not buying from them.

 

This Fool’s Gold originally appeared in The KC Post.

(Featured image, “White Widow Trichomes,” copyright Theo/CC. Striking worker copyright Wisconsin Jobs Now/CC.)

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