Had more sense. Whether his neighbors were cool or

not was notreally the point; Derek was a private person and did not like to
feel that his comings, goings, and doings were known to just
anyone. Oddly enough, Derek could justify the volume of his
music because it served to mask his personal actions. He looked
at Arthur who was eyeing him, fists on hips, with a sardonic
grin. Derek ignored it. “You want some?” he said. It was more
of a statement than a question; Arthur was an avid smoker of “the

“Sure, if you haven’t already smoked it all.” Arthur was
trying to joke, but Derek suddenly did not feel like responding.

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He was vaguely aware that he was not being very friendly, but
Arthur’s exhuberance was suddenly bothering him. Only a couple
of minutes ago Derek felt excited about Arthur. But now Arthur’s
energy, as much of it as there was, seemed stale.

Derek disappeared into his darkened bedroom and pretended to
root around, trying to clear his head. I’m just being moody, he
thought. I can’t relate to him ’cause he’s not stoned…yet!
Derek soon emerged carrying a bag of green powder and a packet of
rolling papers. He did not look at Arthur, but went into the
livingroom and turned on the lamp in the corner. He left the
candle burning and turned down the music a touch. Then he set
about rolling a joint.

Arthur surveyed Derek’s livingroom with his permanently
curious eye. It was rather bare: there were only a few prints
hanging up to take away the starkness of the white walls, and the
furniture was limited to a coffee table, a few chairs and a
beanbag scattered over the cheap indoor/outdoor carpeting on the
floor. Hasn’t changed since the last time I was here, he
thought. Arthur liked to spend a lot of time making his place as
homey as possible. When he saw the lighted candle, Arthur raised
an eyebrow, and he began to wonder.

To Arthur, the use of marijuana was a social thing, an
experience to be shared with others. He did not understand how
Derek could sit all by himself in the dark, alone with his
swirling and scattered thoughts. That was because, though he
would never have admitted it, Arthur was afraid of his thoughts.

Despite his boisterous, energetic and positive front, deep down
Arthur did not trust himself, and his thoughts and desires often
haunted him. He tried to drown them out with constant movement
and action, and the idea that Derek was doing what he dared not
do made him worried. He did not realize that Derek was even more
uncomfortable among his peers, when stoned, than when he was

Arthur crossed the room and turned down the music so he
could talk to his friend. He was trying to think of what to say
to get Derek to leave with him, to get out of these oppressive

“So what’s new, Bud?” he asked. Derek did not look up from
the floor where he was carefully rolling the joint.

“Not much,” he said in an uncommunicative tone. Derek held
the joint up to the light and eyed his handiwork critically.

Satisfied, he set about rolling another. He was preparing to be
in a better mood, but he wanted a few moments to think about
something else entirely. Arthur, knowing his friend well,
recognized this and kept silent. Scanning the room he noticed a
pencil and notepad on the coffee table in front of him. Curious
as always, Arthur reached for it and saw that it was covered with
wandering doodles and almost illegible scrawls.

Derek was aware of Arthur’s movements. He said nothing, but
wondered what Arthur would say, and waited in anticipation.

Often when high Derek would try to write down some of the random
thoughts which occured to him, thoughts which at the time seemed
like indisputable Truth. He took his time rolling the joint and
cleaned up thoroughly afterwords. Then he carefully re-rolled
his bag of pot and sat back watching Arthur’s expressions as he

Unfortunately for Derek, Arthur’s face remained impassive
and he finally threw the notepad down without a comment. Derek
was disappointed and stared at his friend, feeling lost. He had
thought that the few lines he had scrawled were quite good, and
he wondered that Arthur could remain unmoved by them.

Not that this was anything new. Derek often felt frustrated
by what he saw as the insensitivity of others to what he
considered Truth. Statements like “The Oneness of All”, were too
easily seen as being corny,


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