I have a day off today so i am in a cafe catching up on things and trying to get into contact with people. somehow i racked up a $234 phone bill even though i lost my phone 2 weeks ago. that hurts. AT&T really takes it out of my ass. thats 234 i did not think i would have to pay …
speaking of pay.
i worked the past two weeks on a weed ranch in the hills north of San Francisco. We spent the first 10 days or so cutting down massive weed plants in the corn garden and pond garden (all outdoor weed) and wet trimming them into manageable chunks. What that means is, we take the plant and cut it up and remove all of the big leaves and useless scrapple weed and then take the buds and classify them according to a “hanger” and “tray” system. Hangers are large buds — often the colas or tops of the plant — and they can be hung from metal cages or hooks in the drying room. Tray bud are smaller buds that need to be placed in trays with screens to dry. So we took all these plants and brought them into a room and 6-8 of us trim them down and slowly move them to the dry room.
At the same time, it seems that the couple running the farm are in need of cash (yeah right, i’ll get to that in a sec) and so they have a few guys dry trimming as well. Dry trimming is the trim process that happens just before the bud gets (hopefully cured) and packaged for sale.
After about 10 or 12 days of this, we moved into the greenhouse to wet trim that bud.
the owner is a 60+ year old man who drives around on a four-wheeler from 5am to about 2am doing all sorts of stuff. moving piles of metal from here to there. digging holes over here and filling others over there. stacking bikes. erecting roofs and digging new outhouses. running pipes and installing septic systems. all sorts of shit. he has barrels and barrels filled with every type of screw and nail you can think of. He hammers out bent nails and stores them, feel me? he can’t stop moving and i firmly believe the day that all the work is done on that farm is the day he drops and dies.
but it goes so much deeper and weirder than that. it twists and turns around a history of secretive scandalous behavior that ropes in young meth addicts turned indentured serf asking tentatively over a walkie talkie if he can have some cereal.
“No” crackles the gruff old geezer.
meth and porn in a Spartan Mansion spray painted on the outside (Pikey Camp) and oozing with cigarette butts and stiff yellowing tissues inside. armless Hulk dolls with big black dildos stuffed deep inside and lubes and douches and boxes of Ramen and 12 packs strewn about in the aftermath of a drug hazed rage session involving binding oneself and bonding a shred of a soul to the ranch and its horrors and insanities. he was alone with all of that stuff and only a small candle or a dying fire was there.
A girl’s voice haunts us sometimes and some of us think we heard it down in the valley between the trailers and the horse barn. others in the house next door, empty save for boxes of the mistress’s cloth. Or in the barn itself, the horses twitch strangely in the dusk as if ghostly hands stroke them. she argues with someone.
the old man braves the darkness of his land to be with his little girl but he is not really with her so he keeps the tasks coming. when all is silent his chest implodes and he is ripped apart by deeds farmhands whisper about. all we really know is that the engines are still running when sleep catches up to us.
The woman of the ranch is a skeksi. she sucks the blood of the farmhands and her face, sweet and old and haggard and dripping out of the corner of a farmhand’s eye becomes a howl of fury and poisonous festering vengeance the undead dying hold for the undying life that can withstand any bombardment as long as the pay comes in — even if the skeksi bitch takes her 10% tithe of hatred and gurgling mucus covered greed. her eyes bulge when our backs are turned and her clawed old bones grasp at my neck. i turn and she smiles with an old cookie in her hand and unsalted lentils raised up from a dripping spoon i swear i saw black shit drip but i slurp anyway cuz the paycheck the paycheck the paycheck is freedom in a satchel.
you think i’m playin dontchu. She brought in a rabbi to exorcise the ranch. some farmhands saw her standing above the old man shaking a finger and screaming in old Hebrew. She wants the ghosts to finally stay dead, but the old man would have to stop moving. If he stops moving she has no funds to support her grasping clan and her trips abroad. they find a way to live together.
so we swerve in and out of the work and waves of resentment content with “hey, she is really being sweet” and “i see the good in him” cuz we have to believe that no matter what anyone can be turned. anyone.
A 51 year old father of seven handyman with fingers missing and a heart of gold takes the place of the runaway meth addict porn hound chain smoking delusional and now he spits and screams when anyone is watching and bows and scrapes when the old man’s four wheeler comes wheeling into pikey camp or when his voice says
“Dave where are you?”
“where do you want me to be?”
This compulsive old workaholic and his skeksi wife with their secrets and hatreds and schemings neglected the greenhouse so we humble farmhands had to cut the branches of diseased no flayed weed plants as little white carcasses drifted down like god’s dandruff into our eyes, ears, nose, mouth, shirts. Worms dug deep into the bud and became something else. aphids marched and sucked and bled the plants brown. earwigs lurked and scattered. mold infested to boot.
So we took these fetid sores and broke them down in an isolated quarantine spot and atomized each branch with water to wash the filth and neglect and rot off of each bud. hung them to dry. we wait to trim them down so this old man and his womanthing can sell it off and bury their loot and tilt their dishonest scales further in favor of a life here, in hell, rather than face the demons of the night and the voice of the girl and the lonely torture of the serfs that get caught in the web and the boiling resentment and determination of a crew of farmhands who have always managed to escape.