cover illustration by William Pollard
Trial by Fire – Handling Snakes in Kentucky, Marijuana & The Inbred Court System
I was down from the mountains of Colorado, driving through my old home state of Kentucky with mild sounds of Bob Dylan playing the radio and the goal to cover a few stories for The Stoners Cookbook and one on the 142nd Kentucky Derby, all to make a bit of extra cash I planned on using to take a trip out of the country. But here I was, back to see that old ugly evil that existed here on the dark and bloody grounds. I was sure that I needed to lay low after all I had learned about true freedom in the mountain, otherwise some of these heady Kentucky bastards were bound to do me in. I feared some bad shit might happen.
There is something confusing about the political shift between Colorado and Kentucky, that rural stretch of 5 and 600 miles of Kansas Jesus Freaks just giving it away. Yes, the old bible belt madness, the untrustable law enforcement that had doomed me to jail on several occasions for light tokes on a joint, and a time or two having one or too many beers, among the other fucking greedheads who were sucking the life out of this country. . .
I’d decided to go out for breakfast. It was about 7:30 a.m. in the small town where I grew up, when suddenly I was pulled over by the police and cited for not wearing a seat belt. He had me made. It was the damn custom designed sunglasses with round frames in a wild hippy, fire-orange color that had tipped him off that I smoked the reefer. Godddamnit. These fucking commonwealth flagsuckers- I knew this pig was eating the same sloppy shit they fed him years ago!!. It was the top of the month: Quota Time, High Ranks among the Boys on the Dispatch, smashing the hands of a southern writer-poet-artist and claiming it bold. . I was truly fucked. My hands were shaking. I knew right away this wouldn’t be pretty.
“Colorado, huh?” he said when I handed him the license.
“What are you doing with a Colorado license and a Kentucky plate? Don’t you know you have 10 days to change your address?? Is there dope in that car???”
“Yes. I’m simply visiting for a month. I’m here to cover the Cosmopolitan Decadence of the Kentucky Derby,” I said.
He assumed I was high on something. . .but it was too early, I’d just woken up to get some cheap breakfast sandwiches and write a clean and sober piece for the weed magazine about how to go into a comatose state on dabs for a straight 48 hours. No need in mentioning that to this fucker.
“Your pupils are as small as tiny pinholes!” he said.
“When and What have you Taken??”
“I…uh…smoked a joint in the mountain 3 weeks ago.” was not what I should have told him, but it was honest, and the only thing I’d done since before arriving. But it didn’t matter, I was baited because pot doesn’t clear the system for up to a month, so he had me. The info of the past was deadwood — lost time, memory, mood, highs — however, the drug test pitted me against the state and Kentucky’s court of law, and they would presume I was high anyway. Continue reading