Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Hashish Tree

Once upon a time, our two cyclists went hiking into the rugged Robledo Mountains, which sit all hunkered down like gigantic brown hills in southern New Mexico just west of the legendary and historic Rio Grande between Las Cruces and Radium Springs.

Way back in a hidden box canyon (off the side of a side canyon, really), the cyclists spied a gnarled old tree growing at the bottom of a gnarled old cliff.

The first cyclist (who was also an excellent botanist) immediately recognized that here they had no ordinary tree! Its dark-green leaves—2” in diameter, thick like live oak leaves, and perfectly round—were like none they had never seen before. The short fat trunk, about a foot across, was covered with thick scaly bark, like a cross between a cedar and a screwbean. Although the tree stood no more than 12 feet high, it gave the appearance of great age. Little lumps of crystal amber resin sparkled an invitation from deep within the bark.

The first cyclist scratched a finger into the bark and brought forth a hunk of the strange substance. Less crumbly than mesquite resin, it had a brilliant orange kool-aid color which held the first cyclist spellbound.

The second cyclist, more to the point, immediately produced their pipe with a cry, crying, “Let’s smoke it!”

(Now we must tell you about their pack, a cheap blue K-Mart day pack, which contained a small cactus which the first cyclist had uprooted with a wayward foot. (Cyclists, like sailors and cowboys, aren’t used to walking on solid ground.) The first cyclist, feeling vaguely guilty, rescued the cactus, which, its connection with the Earth having been ripped loose, faced certain death under the coming summer suns. The pack also contained a “dinosaur tooth”—a strange-looking lump of sandstone which the first cyclist had spotted, fixated upon, and “brought to life.”)

So the cyclists laid their pack against the foot of the tree, filled their pipe with resin, and, before they knew it, became carried away with visions and dreams into the secret and unspoken hearts of the wilderness.

“Hunnh!” grunted the second cyclist hours later, reaching for the pack (which contained two hershey bars and a small jug of water, as well as the cactus and the dinosaur tooth).

“Whaah?!!” the second cyclist cried, upon discovering that the cheap blue K-Mart day pack, the pack which contained two precious hershey bars and a jug of water, as well as the cactus and dinosaur tooth, was gone! It had plum disappeared!

The second cyclist reached over and nudged the first cyclist on the back of the neck.

“Definitely other probability modalities!” cried the first cyclist, bolting upright with a start. A split-second glance over to the base of the tree triggered a torrent of concern. “Our precious hershey bars and jug of water!” the first cyclist cried.

And though they searched both high and low, their efforts were all in vain, for the pack was simply not to be found!


It was a dry and hungry hike back down that canyon, lemme tell ya! but fortunately the cyclists were still partially spaced into another causality and didn’t mind too bad. But nevertheless, by the time they reached their bikes (cleverly concealed within the inner reaches of a saltcedar thicket), they were like to croak!

So it was with some jubilation when lo! two sets of eyes fell upon a pack hanging casually from a handlebar... the same cheap blue K-Mart day pack (containing a cactus, a dinosaur tooth, two hershey bars and a jug of water) which had disappeared from the foot of the Hashish Tree!

“By what mechanism?” wondered the first cyclist, as they second cyclist, giving little squeals of delight, tore into the first hershey bar. Soon, and with appropriate appreciation, the hershey bars had found their ways inside, along with nearly a quart of water per stomach. Then the cyclists walked their bikes through the bosque over to the levee road, hopped aboard, and beat a bouncy retreat from the scene of their adventure, leaving the Hashish Tree, its destiny now unleashed, to basically just continue to sit there, alone, high in the hills.

Next Installment: The Cyclists Build a “Nuke”


Anonymous Jacques Conejo said...

Great Storytelling!

And by the way, uh..this tree is where?

9:40 AM  

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