Storytellers: Daughn Gibson
Oil in the Tap Water by Daughn Gibson recounts one example of how “weed hunts are often the best way to meet people”. Read Daughn’s 2009 memory below:
Me and Kro broke down in Van Horn, Texas. Dead between El Paso and Midland. That’s West Texas. That’s nowhere, blank and flat-chested earth, West Texas. It smells like an over-cooked hamburger in West Texas.
The white E350 cargo van with an 18 foot enclosed trailer attached sat coughing in a Dairy Queen parking lot. We opened the hood and stared at the insides and then tried to reset the van’s computer memory so the faulty throttle light would turn off and the van would go faster than a limp. It didn’t work.
5 miles an hour down the main drag of Van Horn. Creeping like a small town’s bicentennial parade, goofy looks from two passers-by, mouths open and heads tilted. We crawled past an abandoned gas station, and then an abandoned pool hall, and a dumb horse in the dirt nearby chewed and gazed at us, and the town’s only super-market closed by 6pm, and we debated sleeping arrangements in the back of the van but then our luck turned and we began passing automobile repair shops, tow-truck facilities, Autozones, trailer repair shops, big-rig towing facilities, a NAPA and at the edge of town sat a large Days Inn.
In the morning, two Mexicans named Javier and Juan towed us the 250 miles to a Ford dealership in Midland. They said they knew of a place for us to pick up some weed.
We stopped by Javier’s cousin, Sal’s, apartment in Odessa. A beautiful 20 something girl named Lola opened the door and waved us in. Sal was sprawled out on a mattress in the corner of the living room and Lola climbed under a blanket with him. Javier was a large guy and really had to anchor himself as he bent over to slap Sal’s hand.
“Whats up man”
“Nudding man just stopped by with these guys, they’re from Pennsylvania or something.”
Sal dropped his face into the pillow and his arm shot up like a rocketship, waved erratically in our direction and dropped just as quickly to his side.
“Nice to meet you, Sal. So you think you can get for us?” said Kro, always forthright with a weed query.
“I dunno maybe how much do you want?” Sal mumbled, his face still in the pillow.
Juan sat next to Javier on the couch, grinding the cloth of his extra huge t-shirt with his thumb and middle finger. He was staring at Lola’s ass crack which was hanging out of her pajama bottoms.
“Are you still working at the Toybox, Lola?”
She turned over onto her back, her face now toward the ceiling. She ran both hands through her messy black hair. “Yeah I gotta work tonight,” she yawned.
Kro and I returned to Sal’s a week later. His daughter was there. She was about 6 years old and looked just like her mom, Lola. She was wearing crazy looking pajamas, with all kinds of fruit intermixed with Mexican kids’ faces, floating in the white space of the fabric.
“Who the HELL are you?” she blurted.
“Oh we’re just friends of your dad.”
“You’re just here to smoke all my dad’s WEED, ain’t chu,” not asking but telling.
“Nah darlin we’re just stopping by to say hi!”
The daughter threw her hand on her hip and shook a finger at both of us. She appeared completely exhausted, a darkness lightly smeared under her fantastic brown eyes, though she behaved like she had just snorted a thick line of gas station uppers off of her Betsey Wetsy Doll. As her finger shook continuously in rhythm, her head synchronized and flashed back and forth at us and soon the rhythm caught up with her legs and she blasted off, out the door to the staircase outside, only to return minutes later as her father Sal was barfing up a giant cloud of pot smoke.
Two more 20 year old dudes entered the apartment. They both had neck tattoos and chain wallets.
The room soon engulfed with exhaled smoke. The cream colored bong passed from one stranger’s hand to another. A show was on TV about parents who choose blind dates for their gay sons because they hate whomever their son is currently dating and everybody hollers at each other, a young man fake cries, and somebody eventually gets a blow job.
Sal’s daughter, once more, disappeared outside and then reappeared again with a small, pink blanket. The blanket hung in her right hand, touching the floor, her left hand held a fist high in the air and after a deep and loud breath, she peeled one finger at a time from her fist into a four-count and was off and running. As she dramatically crisscrossed the room, she threw the blanket at the lingering pot smoke, pushing it away from her with every carefully placed step, on her toes and twirling, covering her face momentarily with the blanket and deliberately unleashing it onto the hanging, dead, white trails, cutting a path like a machete in the jungle, the swirled smoke split apart by blanket slices of a young dancing matador. Seeing the clear path of fresh air, she ran into the kitchen and hopped onto a stool beneath the sink, clasped the knob and cranked, lifted one leg, dropped her mouth in the faucet’s running water and drank.
One of the dudes bellowed “YEAH!” and he clapped twice. Sal passed us a zip-lock bag filled with hardened brown foliage and winked.
As we were walking out the door, the daughter materialized from the fog, the small pink blanket held over both shoulders like a cape. She glared at us through the smoke, and I said “See-ya sweetie!” and Sal smiled weakly at me as his daughter buried her bottom lip beneath two yellow teeth and mimicked the sound of a long and unruly fart.
Curated by Verb/re/verb.