A buddhist that loves cocaine…REALLY??? (part two)


By Kenneth Justice

Part II (If you missed part one click here

~ So there we were standing outside an abandoned concrete commercial building with Weird Suit Guy pounding on the door,

“So how do you know these people?” I asked. Weird Suit Guy had said he was taking us to a local party but so far all he’d successfully done was park our cars in the middle of the ghetto eight blocks down the street and walk us up to a sketchy looking abandoned building and for the life of me I couldn’t hear any music or sounds coming from inside; if this was a party perhaps it was a cloister of monks meditating or something.

I met these guys at a bar last night” he said. Of course I couldn’t be upset at Weird Suit Guy’s lack of real meaningful connection to these people because looking in the mirror; I had only met Weird Suit Guy an hour or so before thorough Barista Girl (and Barista Girl I’d only known a little while longer than that). At this point Barista Girl was tripping out big time, I have no clue what pills she had swallowed while we were still driving, she’d offered me some but I politely declined.

You’d think a twenty something coffee barista would be a little more concerned standing in the middle of an abandoned commercial section of the city in the dead of night with two guys she barely knew; but she wasn’t concerned at all. Instead she just had this goofy grin on her face that made her look like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland…..although her demeanor was more like the Caterpillar since she was so stoned out of her mind from whatever drugs she was on.

After what seemed like an eternity Weird Suit Guy broke the silence, “Maybe we’re just supposed to go in” he said

Really dude? In my experience when you’re at a rundown building in the middle of the night on the wrong side of town and nobody answers it usually means you’re supposed to leave” I said

You’re really starting to get annoying” he said, my humor appeared to be lost on him.

I thought Buddhists don’t get annoyed; I thought you guys were always at one with the universe” I said

And with that he pushed on the door and we walked in. If ever there was a good place to get robbed and murdered this place was it; outside of the building we had the luxury of a single street light that gave us a small glimmer of connection to the rest of the world, but inside the building it was pitch black, I could barely see anything. We were in some kind of entry-hall and my imagination ran wild with crazy vampire movies in buildings like this who throw parties to entice mortals to come and get eaten. Yet at least in the movies the parties that the vampires throw seem to be pretty cool and off the hook; I think the vampires have a little kindness in them in that they want you to have one last good party before they suck your blood and take your life.

Of course, I could have turned around and left, but at this point I felt a sense of obligation in protecting Barista Girl because every time I had suggested we leave, she kept wanting to press on, and I wouldn’t trust Weird Suit Guy to protect her whatsoever. In fact, he seemed like the kind of guy that would sell her into slavery if it meant protecting his own fake-Buddhist skin.

As we walked down the corridor, I could make out a flickering light in the distance and eventually we came into the great room; it was a huge concrete cinder block room that looked like it used to be used to store cars owing to the fact that there were oil stains all over the place. You could probably fit more than a hundred automobiles in this place, but now it was entirely empty and littered with beer cans and crumpled up pizza boxes…. and I imagined extremely rat infested; I always assume empty buildings are rat infested, don’t ask me why. In the very center of the room there were two small card tables set up with a small lamp that was connected to some car batteries. Five guys sat at one of the card tables playing poker, and three girls sat at the other one doing lines of coke and drinking cheap booze. The eight of them stared at us and didn’t say a word; they clearly didn’t know who Weird Suit Guy was and were on edge that the three of us strangers had suddenly walked in on their little soiree.

All of a sudden it finally hit Weird Suit Guy that this idea of his was probably not the best of ideas. Yet wanting to be the cool guy he walked confidently towards the guys sitting at the table and began engaging them in conversation, I had grabbed Barista Girl by the arm and wouldn’t let her walk over to them, “Look sweetheart, we’re staying right here by the door and if they decide Weird Suit Guy is an idiot, then we can at least get out the door before they can get to us” I said

Oh, okay” she said, she was so out of it I could of told her we were waiting for Space Aliens to take us to Mars and she would have acquiesced.

To say that the situation felt awkward would be an understatement. Everyone sitting at the card tables were dressed in typical downtown urban fare, yet there was Weird Suit Guy trying to mingle with them and remind them how he met them, all while dressed like Don Johnson from Miami Vice. I was wearing my usual ripped designer jeans and T-shirt and was probably dressed more appropriately for our surroundings than Weird Suit Guy; but I had no desire to strike up a conversation with the dudes at the poker table. At this point I was getting tired of the whole situation and was ready to get out of there.

After a few minutes Weird Suit Guy came over to us with a big smile, “Hey, I told you I know these guys!” he said, “They’re totally cool with us partying with them, and they said we can do coke with them too!” he looked very proud of himself, like a school boy who just showed his parents a well-marked report card.

I turned to Barista Girl, “is this your idea of a party? Hanging out with a handful of people in the middle of nowhere doing coke and playing poker?” I asked. She looked at me with her spaced-out eyes and then turned to Weird Suit Guy, “I don’t know how to play poker, can we just go to a bar now” she said

Weird Suit Guy look deflated, “C’mon, I went to all the trouble to get us to this rocking party and now you both want to be straight-edge’s and bust out of here?” he said. Barista Girl was about to open her mouth and say something but at that point I had enough and decided to take control of the situation, “Look, we’re taking off, you can either come with us or not. It’s up to you” I said

I actually love poker. My dad raised me on poker from when I was very young and had drilled it into me that poker was not about chance, “Kenneth, poker is all about playing the statistics and most importantly, always make sure you play with people that you know”. Well, I definitely didn’t know these dudes in the empty building and wasn’t about to buy into their game. Hey, I’ve seen the movie Rounder’s with Matt Damon and Ed Norton and I know what happens to you if you beat a bunch of guys who don’t take kindly to losing to a stranger.

Well can I at least do a couple lines with the girls before we leave” asked Weird Suit Guy

And with that I kept a firm grip on Barista Girl’s arm and ushered her out of the place. Weird Suit Guy stood there for a few minutes not sure what to do, but eventually he ended up following us out of the building and on to our next adventure of the night. I could lie and say that was the end of the night, but it wasn’t. We ended up going to a bar to get a night cap, but that’s a story for another time.

For now I think I’m going to finish the coffee on my table and get ready for the start of my day,


Categories: Culture & Society

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54 replies

  1. Geez, if I were your wife and read this, my head would explode. Being open to new experiences and people is one thing. Getting your ass blown off or ….. Is quite another. This actually reminds me of a couple of “adventures” I had when I was in college, but you’re several years older than I was and I thought not as naive. Please don’t get your ass blown off, Sweetie.

  2. Having been the one counting street corners, looking at exits as others are ‘going with the flow’ I’m sitting here with a big grin on my face. If you write a book one day, I’ll buy it 🙂 I got up this morning just to see what happened in Part II

  3. People are strange when you’re a stranger..

  4. I was trying to come up with something bloviatingly kool to say about the image in my mind as I read your post. All I could come up with was, gnarly dude! I had this overwhelming urge to scan my sectors of fire, come up with a movement to contact plan, look for dead space for cover and concealment, and hope for alternate routes of hasty egress. Great post!

  5. Really awesome that you took care of that girl. Poor girl. I’m sure you must of felt so totally uncomfortable and annoyed. You certainly got a taste of something very prevalent in western culture though, don’t you think?

    • Staci! Exactly!!! The night I shared is extremely common in western culture, perhaps the average person isn’t aware that this is pretty much your standard fare in every major city around.

  6. Ahh Kenneth . . . take it from a guy who has been around a whole lot . . . not good.

    Personally I would not have even gone for the party routine at the very beginning. and then the dudes empty apartment ? . . . not unless I at least had a weapon. . . .

    the rest just foolish. . . you want to get through this tour bro you gotta do better than that . . .

  7. Ok, Mr. Justice, do you have a CHL? Cause I’m OLDER than you, but you are OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER than this post indicates! I really can get into your outlook and insights most of the time… I totally LOVE your takes on Latin America… But if you are going to insist on venturing out to the edge of SKETCH in this country…I’m gonna pass…

  8. He he sounding so familiar.
    Sometimes we are out of our minds and yes drugs does that to people.
    On the other hand being the sober one can be fun as you see people do the dumbest of things. and you wonder how the hell they survived.

    Today I would walk away while they pop a pill. i done enough experimenting in my time. ::D
    She was off this planet. Was very chivalrous for you to take her away. I tip my head sir

  9. Life is full of opportunities, not all of them turn out as well as we’d like. Venturing out into the unknown always comes with a risk, yet each risk you take teaches you a valuable lesson. It’s nice to know that you are still open to meeting new people and not letting fear prevent you from taking a chance, even if some adventures seem like questionable ideas in hindsight. I’m glad that this venture ended safely for you.

  10. Yeah… I live such a sheltered life, and while it’s never bothered me, there are several times that I’ve been very thankful for it! I’m feeling very thankful that I’ve never been in the situation where I was in a warehouse empty of everything except rats and folding card tables! LOL.
    Glad you made it out and who says chivalry is dead?

  11. Oh my god, this post had me rolling with laughter. 🙂 “ a cloister of monks meditating or something”, has got to be THE best description ever!….on the serious side though, I’m glad you got out of there with those two numbskulls; talk about a dangerous situation. I know, I’ve been there. I love how you weave your awesome sense of humor through this post, great job!

  12. The hero lives to fight another day.I get the feeling if you’d have played a hand and lost- it would have been a hand.

  13. Don’t never step in where your not invited; might not always be harm and so you playing ur luck. Strangers might let you in, but refuse to walk you out.
    A good man like you sticks around for a strange barista girl. Would have love to see her face.. Lol
    “her face that made her look like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland”
    Play it smart; y’re like the joker in the poker. 😀

  14. This is weird. We always push our limits a bit further and the unknown can be exciting but you better not take a chance Kenneth.

  15. You should ask these people where they go for coffee. 🙂

  16. LMAO @ cloister of monks meditating

  17. Been there, done that. And maybe on the wrong side of the party to you. But I never trust a poker player, so be careful from now on.

    Beautifully written piece, that accurately reflects a part of society most people think only exists in the movies or on TV.

  18. This was a strange adventure….

  19. LOL! Very funny. Crisis averted!

  20. This adventure may possibly be awakening from a motivation?
    What, I wonder, is going on in the subconscious… to be continued; eh.
    Blessings Kenneth.
    ~ Eic

  21. You have talent. Let’s keep you around long enough to experience more of it. Please. Exhausting. Keep writing, I’ll keep reading.

  22. What a great ending to your adventure. You had us all a bit worried there. I love how you looked out for that girl, that was so sweet. I’m glad you got her out of there.

    I’d lecture you on the importance of being careful and avoiding such things, but I’ve done far worse myself and seldom listen to my own advice anyway.

  23. Awesome story ^^

    I wonder if you’ve seen Barista girl again, after she’s sobered up and if she had to say anything about the matter? Perhaps this was her usual Friday night routine, you ruined it for her and she didn’t treasure your chivalry at all?
    Would love to read the “story for another time”. Take care.

  24. Since more happened, I still can’t rule out the Kenneth-has-been-kidnapped scenario. You could still be trapped in a bunker somewhere, writing your blogs on a smart phone that miraculous found a strong enough single from a nearby Starbucks (those things are everywhere). I’m going to say I’m glad your okay, but know that you have my email address if you need my help……

    Also, I laughed at “ripped designer jeans.” Sorry, I’m one of those weirdos who doesn’t understand why people buy jeans with holes in them already.

    But seriously, I’m so happy you’re alive right now.

  25. Maybe I’m just jaded.

    Many years ago, before I was married, I dated a pothead.

    I think my experience was rather pattycakes compared to yours in some ways, but I still see some parallels. I think Weird Suit Guy is about as sincere about Buddhism as Ms. Pothead was about Rastafarianism. I figure they perceive the belief system is okay with their actions, if not outright sanctioning it.

    I’ve never been comfortable with the “party” euphemism the way Suit Guy used it. There’s no real party with ambiance, certainly not in the digs you described. There’s only “I’m gonna get real high, and maybe laid.” Dear Charlie Sheen, that’s not what I call “winning”.

    I appreciate being well-mannered, but I disagree with the others in calling your actions for Barista Girl “chivalrous.” I’d call it maybe “saving a cow or a sheep from the slaughter,” or “saving a wind-blown leaf from the mulcher”– but “chivalry” would imply unforeseen danger or peril, and she at least half-knew what she was getting into, if not the magnitude of it.

    Again, I figure you’ve seen plenty of this, so, gonzo reporting, shades of Hunter “Duke” S. Thompson, and all that. I will agree with the others you took a dangerous risk going this deep.

    • Jak, I really appreciate your observation because I agree with you that calling my actions chivalrous might be overstating things, and yea, ive seen “plenty of this” I was never really scared at all 😉

    • I’m sure your profession gave you plenty of training, but I think many here would agree having some backup of a law enforcement persuasion would have been helpful if things had gotten too crazy. It’s not about scary, it’s about secure support… I’m sure you get the idea.

  26. OK, so when I was in Costa Rica, I wanted to feel… something. Just whatever. I was having a bit of a “finding myself” crisis. So I went to this club and drank for real for the first time ever and was taken out on the dance floor by some random nameless faceless guy who screamed his name in my ear about 25 times and I just couldn’t understand it. I gave up and just kept.. dancing? I’ve never been much of a dancer. I even walk like a duck. Anyway, he lead me away from the noise and had me up against a wall when a classmate came to my rescue and put my sorry drunk ass in a cab with another classmate instructing him to put me in the shower and then to bed to sleep it off. I think I was saved from many things I would have regretted that night. Young people are not always smart in their learning about the world. – the wifey

  27. Good story, but not the sort of thing I would want to experience routinely. There are adventures, and then there are adventures. My idea of a good adventure is what most people call a vacation. Going into a drug joint is a good adventure. Getting into such a dangerous situation, one where I might feel obligated to protect a young woman from her — well, who knows what drove her take “recreational” drugs? May our Lord have pity on her.

    I have to congratulate you for taking charge of the young lady. Not sure I would have had the nerve. Nonetheless, I suppose the fear you felt is not something you will forget any time soon. There are certainly easier ways to find something to blog about. 😀

  28. The scary part of this story is that it was not of your imagination…there are a lot of people out there doing some pretty risky stuff. I know I did my share of stupid stuff when I was you…it just seems people have less concern for their own personal welfare nowadays.

  29. From curiosity in a coffee house to cocaine … “children remember, do not follow these steps”.

  30. Indeed, vampires have more style and a lot to talk with, count on me 🙂 I must admit, you are good at thrillers too but please stay away of troubles.

  31. It’s incredible that these things happen in real life. It reads so much like a work of fiction but sadly I know how real this other life is for many. Great blog. I can’t imagine how you found yourself in this situation but I wouldn’t advise a repeat 🙂

  32. Kind of sad…Really! Spaced out eyes and goofy grin; I wonder who will be there to protect her next time 😦

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