Thursday, April 13, 2017

The ganja dealers always walk awhile on the beach with their marks, or their johns, or whatever you call a drug tourist customer. A paunchy white American and a young, fit Jamaican, walking side by side: It’s not a gay couple down from Baltimore. You could see the white man trying to play it cool. Listening and nodding and laughing a little too hard at the dealer in the middle of his habitual rap, not even thinking. Then the dealer would nod toward an alleyway or a parking lot and the pot would appear out of the trunk of a car or the hand of an accomplice, or maybe it was just rolled up in the guy’s shorts the whole time anyway. What was the purpose of this runaround, in a land where the sale of marijuana had to be considered an essential part of the economy? Maybe the theatre of it was essential. Make the buyer feel like he’s engaging in an illicit or even risky act. Where we going? Who’s that over there? Make scoring feel like a personal victory. They won’t even think about the price. The dealers seemed to know they were selling ritual, not just product. A ritual of connection and belonging, of peril and survival.