"Do hippies even do coke?" Jesse asked.
Scott laughed, "Dude, hippies will do anything. They smoke fucking banana peels for christ's sake."
Tony was seeing the car full of himself and his friends from a strange sort of third-person perspective. As if he wasn't actually there, but spectating somehow. The throbbing pain in his arm was gone. He wasn't particularly noticing any pain or discomfort, but when he slid his hand up under his sleeve, he felt the skin around the wound crumbling, falling onto the seat between he and Mark. This pulled him back into himself and flooded him with embarrassment, but as he glanced to Mark for his reaction, it seemed to go unnoticed.
"There's a concert in the park this weekend," Scott explained, "a shit-ton of bluegrass. Some folk shit too, probably."
"My favorite joke ever," Lucas interrupted, "is this: What did the hippie say when he quit smoking pot?"
They had all heard it before, Lucas told it frequently. It wasn't only his favorite joke, but clearly the sole joke he could remember.
"This music sucks!" They all said in unison. Except of course, Tony, who said something like 'mmrgghghhrhhgm'.
"Anyway," Scott continued, lowering an eyebrow at Lucas, "I think on Sunday we should crash the camping area and do a little cleanup. That many fucked up kids are bound to leave some shit laying around."
Jesse found himself curious about the 'festival'. He wouldn't admit it, not in this car, but he sort of wanted to attend. Not so much for the music, mostly for the drugs. And girls. Running around the woods with a thousand fucked up chicks was more his kind of weekend, but this camping trip was annual for these guys, and this was Jesse's first invite. He desperately wanted to be a part of this crew, and for his BB guns they were happy to have him.
Jesse's father, Isaac, was a marine. Jesse was raised in a strict, military household. He was taught to fire various guns at an extremely young age, and was one hell of a shot. His father now, however, was anything but a General. When Jesse's mother died a few years back, Isaac had hit rock bottom and tried to kill himself with a mountain of pills. Jesse found him too soon for the attempt to succeed. The day Isaac got out of the hospital he picked up a bottle of whiskey, and has not put it down since.
Last year, his father made another effort at ending his life when Jesse told him he would not be joining the military. Apparently this time he was victorious, in that he ended his heartbeat for nearly a minute. Unfortunately for him, they had rented a house next door to a gay couple, both EMT's. With Jesse's almost sixth sense for his father's lack of breath and the idol ambulance parked right next door, they once again thwarted Isaac's mission.
Jesse had collected many airsoft guns over the years, and sometimes he even participated in staged operations. They would dress in full camoflage, make teams, and stage various missions of search and destroy. The guns fired small pellets from their orange tipped barrels, which hurt like hell when they struck bare skin, but just enough to know you had been hit if you were wearing the proper gear. A torso shot knocked you out of the competition, but Jesse preferred a sniper role and often blasted the enemy right below the goggles. Once he even lodged a BB in some kid's cheek.
Lucas put a Gwar disc in the player to get the thought of peace and love out of his head. They all sang along at max volume, and even Tony's unique harmonizing seemed to fit. They smoked a huge joint in an attempt to flush the patchouli scent from their nostrils.
The ride ended at the start of a trail, and for the first time in hours, Tony felt something. Panic. The reality hit him that he was going to have to pry himself from the back of this car and walk a trail for over two miles.
They parked the car and everyone poured out, save Tony. He remained in his seat, searching for an excuse to get him out of this trek. As the other boys ran around the car removing backpacks, rifle bags and camping gear, they quietly discussed the possibility that they may have to carry Tony.
It was Mark who said, "Give him some of that blow, that will perk him up."
"Shit, we should all do a line." Lucas agreed.
Tony heard this, and with a never-ending passion for getting fucked up, motivated himself to slide out of the car. He found this extremely difficult, however.
First, his legs would work. He wasn't sure his arms were going to provide enough strength to pull himself out of the rear of the hatchback vehicle, but he did manage to gain some momentum and clumsily dove face first into the dirt outside. His legs still stretched into the car. His face had dirt ground into it, and blood was seeping from his nose, but Tony was oblivious to all of this. He rolled himself over, belly up, looked at Mark and said, "Grhddddd msssshhhppp." (Which translates, 'Cut that shit up.')
The four of them were laughing hysterically at Tony's mishap as Mark set out a small mirror on the hood. He never went anywhere without his mirror and a sheathed razor blade, though in actuality he might have done cocaine once or twice a year.
Jesse was the one to help Tony up. He had to balance him on his feet like a toddler. Instead of any consoling or sympathy, he simply asked, "What the fuck is wrong with you?", not expecting an answer.
Tony swayed on his feet, but did not fall down.
When five three-inch strips of powder sat on the mirror, Lucas handed Tony a rag.
"You might blow some of that blood out of that honker before you try and sniff this shit up. Man, you are a fucking disaster."
After blowing his nose in the rag, leaving it crusted with blood and snot, he shuffled himself to the front of the car and bent over the hood. He pulled an already-rolled bill out of his pocket and sucked up all five lines, then fell backwards hard onto the ground.
"Holy shit dude!" Most of them said.
Again Jesse helped him up, even more handicapped with laughter this time than the last. Lucas shook his head. I need to party with this fucking kid more often. He then grabbed the tools from mark and chopped out another four lines, which the other guys were quickly on top of, like buzzards.
Tony felt the adrenaline momentarily, just long enough to know he had done the drug. His body tingled slightly for a moment, then nothing. But he could see better. He could hear the birds now. The cocaine had made its way through his nasal passage clearing everything in its path. He inhaled deeply a breath of air, smelling like he never had before. Underneath the marijauna-reek that spilled from the car, the pine-scented air, and the smell of animal shit, he could smell blood again. Blood that this time, however, was real.
He looked at each of his friends and smelled them out. It was definitely their blood. The scent of it stirred up another feeling in his body: hunger. He did his best to ignore it as everyone around him started loading up their backs and hands with gear.
"Don't suppose you're gonna fucking carry anything?" Scott asked Tony.
"We're lucky if we don't gotta fucking carry him." Lucas replied.
When everything was gathered up, Lucas clicked his keychain and the car let out a slight, single honk to let him know it was locked. Then they started on the trail.
Tony was walking considerably well for his condition. He still had dirt in his face, and Jesse, who took up the rear and followed Tony, could see a matted section of hair in the back of Tony's head, wet with blood. He must have cracked his head when he fell after blasting his brain with the cocaine, and he seemed to be completely unphased by it. There was never a reaction to that fall. Jesse doubted Tony even knew of the injury.
They walked for a while, chanting various Marine cadences that Jesse had tought them. Lucas' favorite by far was 'Napalm Sticks to Kids'. As the trail went on, the sound of a banjo got louder, until they forked off in the opposite direction of the music festival. As the banjo faded in the background, Lucas made another joke, "Sure are a lot of pretty mouths over there I bet."
Tony fell quite a few times, and Jesse was always there to help him back up to his feet. Each time Tony would turn around and grunt an unintelligible 'thank you'. Tony was very easily distracted by sounds all around them. Whether it were leaves blowing along the ground, or twigs snapping in the forest, he was constantly turning his head to listen further for something. When he smelled the moose, without thinking he wandered out of the line of hikers and down an off-path, marked for sight-seeing at a nearby pond.
Jesse stopped, the others kept walkin.
Finally Scott turned around, "What the fuck, where's Tony."
Jesse pointed down the side trail. "He went down there."
Mark sighed and sat on a log on the side of the main trail. The other three followed Tony.
"What the fuck is he doing?"
Tony was up to his knees in the pond, walking out towards a moose that stared back at him chewing some grass. Tony's nose was sort of in the air, and he waded in the pond with his arms up and out, as if simultaneously trying to keep them dry and reach for the moose. He could smell the moose. He could smell its blood flowing through its veins. As he got closer, he could hear its fucking heart beating. He was starving. Mindlessly he closed in on the moose, not at all processing his actions. Instinctively, he was hungry and he could smell food. Without thinking he intended to wrestle this moose down with his bare hands and eat it right there in the pond.
It seemed not only like a great idea to him at the time, but his only choice. From the moment he stepped off the main trail, leaving his friends behind him, he had forgotten where he had even come from. He had no awareness of where he was. There was only him and the steady pumping of blood throughout the moose.
Jesse took a shot, catching him in the shoulder with a BB. Tony did not feel it at all, but the moose heard the firing and fled into the woods on the other side of the pond. Tony stood there for a minute, completely unsure of what happens next. When he picked up the scent of the life of his friends, he turned around. They were all standing there laughing at him with confused looks smeared across their faces. He was able to work out the situation in his head. He was standing in a fucking pond, being ridiculed, while Jesse stared down the scope on an orange tipped CheyTac Intervention A200, pointed right at him.
He started his way out of the pond, and he really wanted more of that coke.