My First Illicit Prescription Drug

Thursday 07:00 I load the 4wd vehicle for a long car trip across Colorado and Kansas for my grandmother’s 99th birthday. I plan to stay with my aunt and surprise my father by showing up unannounced at the party.

Thursday 21:30 The morning culminates with a safe crossing of the continental divide at Monarch Pass. I follow the Arkansas River past bighorn sheep and continue out of the mountains into the plains towards odoriferous and navigationally perplexing Dodge City. In the evening, I cruise through a series of festively lit small towns.  After 14 hours in the car, I stop at a picnic area near El Dorado, KS and pitch my tent.

Friday 09:00 I awaken to a cold but clear morning and drive toward a filtered sunrise. I arrive at my aunt’s house in Ft Scott as she begins her at-home day care of half a dozen rambunctious 3-5 year olds. I am automatically recruited as her assistant and barely survive the exhausting eight hour ordeal.

Saturday 13:00 My aunt, uncle and I drive across the state line to the senior care center in Nevada, Missouri. The old building with the Metropolis architecture used to be the insane asylum where my uncle worked as a young man.

As we pull into the parking lot, we see my dad arriving behind us. I quickly hide behind a brick wall and wait until he walks up to spring out and surprise him. His shocked expression is priceless.

All of us carry our party supplies to the solarium where my grandmother is expecting us. An additional aunt, uncle and cousin arrive. We have white cake and juice as we watch grandmother open dozens of birthday cards. Dad pulls out his autoharp and we make an embarrassing attempt to sing Christmas carols.

Sunday 16:00 After a bittersweet family farewell, I haul ass south through Kansas and Oklahoma to Sherman, Tx where I meet my friend Thomas for a TexMex lunch. We catch up and talk hydroponics.

Before going our separate ways, Thomas hands me a cardboard box containing an ounce of his latest harvest. He also recommends an Adderall for the long drive home and pops one out of an orange prescription bottle. I bite it in half as I drive into a blazing red sunset.

Sunday 20:45 I stop in Amarillo for a potent cocktail of caffeine, mary jane and Adderall.

Sunday 22:00 In Dalhart, I get a high octane injection of gasoline and caffeinated energy drinks to boost me across the state line. My head feels like a hot, prickly balloon.

Monday 00:15 Before turning north on Interstate 25 at Raton, N.M., I pull into a vacant cul-de-sac for a midnight toke to smooth out the next few hours of highway hypnosis.

Monday 03:15 On an unseasonably warm evening, I finally wind down and crash at an empty campground along the Arkansas River.

Monday 08:30 I find a quiet bakery in Salida, CO where I learn that Monarch Pass will not open until 10 am. After a leisurely breakfast burrito and cinammon bun, I park at a nearby picnic area where I build up a solid buzz that carries me along the slow-moving parade up the pass and down the western slope to the grand junction of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers.

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