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PLANT REPLANT by Jon Berger

I smoked Bubba Kush with my cousin Will. He got it from a guy who grew hydroponics.  It was my first time smoking anything other than midgrade. Will had this evil clown hookah thing with hoses hanging out of its head. His friend Joe got so stoned the clown gave him a panic attack.

On the drive home I kept checking myself because it felt like I was pissing my pants and driving felt like a videogame. I got home and went to the bathroom to find out I was totally dry.

The next morning I’m driving back to my Grandmas still high and cozy, speeding down the bumpy road in my 98’ Bonneville with too many miles on it. Gridded up farm fields on all sides. These giant white windmills were being built in the middle of the fields to collect energy. Looking like Godzilla seagulls waving around lost with nothing to break.

Me and my cousin were working on repo houses in the city. This rich guy bought up a bunch of abandoned homes from the bank and hired us to fix them so he could flip them for a profit. I was supposed to be in school but I’d rather be making money.

I pulled into my Grandmas driveway. Will was sitting on the front porch, tying his shoes while smoking a cigarette. He’d been living with Grandma since his mom died of cancer. So like 4 years.

“We got a problem,” he said as I was walking up.

“What’s up?” I said.

“Grandma is fucking with my shit.”

He stood up and I followed him to the back yard where he was growing an 8 foot tall marijuana plant. It was sativa, his baby.

“Grandma has some of those windmill guys coming over to inspect the land next week. She’s pissed and says the plants gotta go.”

“Can’t we just cover it up or something?”

Will shrugged. “I don’t know. Grandma wants it gone. We’ll get like four grand for having the windmill on the property.”

“Four grand? That’s it?”

“Wind ain’t oil, bro.”

“Fuck, man. You serious?”

“I’m thinking we can replant it at that house we’re working on in Sanford,” he said exhaling smoke.

“Can we just harvest it now? I mean at least we’d get something out of it.”

“No, it’s too early, it’d be no good.” He grabbed a branch, “Look, these buds are all tiny and green still. Don’t even got sugar on ‘em.”

“You think replanting will work?”

“Shit if I know, but we gotta try. I’m not about to just throw it away.”

We grabbed a five gallon bucket from the barn, put some water in it and started digging out the plant with shovels. We lifted it up the best we could, keeping the roots intact while lowering it into the bucket.

Will drove an S10 truck without a topper.

We laid the plant down in the bed of the truck and packed more dirt into the bucket. Marijuana leaves were poking out everywhere and the plant was hanging out over the tailgate. Will jammed the tailgate up and bent the top of the plant. We took a blue tarp and tied it down over the plant, tucking in all the branches. We stood back and looked. Will did this thing with his hands that Hollywood directors do to get their camera angles right or whatever. You could definitely tell we were hauling some type of vegetation.

We got into the truck and I grabbed the clipboard to roll a joint on the way. We stopped at the corner store to get energy drinks and cold cuts. It had a big gravel lot and the store used to be a big farm house. It was all white with newish siding and a black roof. The upstairs of the store was apartments.

Misty was working. She was friends with Will and would sell me beer on the weekends. She moved out here a couple years ago. She had weird line and dot tattoos she did herself without giving them much thought. Misty laughed her ass off when we showed her the weed tree under the tarp and then wished us good luck.

The Sanford house was on the other side of town. We drove through thick traffic, high as ever. I put on sunglasses and just sat back. A cop had a guy pulled over. A new Cadillac. Will laughed saying that’s why you don’t buy flashy cars. My stomach jumped to my chest as we drove past them. We were normal. I thought about how normal we must look, but maybe we were too normal. Will tapped his brakes, pulling over slightly, giving the cop standing on the side of the road more room. It felt like forever to get past him but he never gave us a look.

We pulled into the driveway of the house. It was a big two story house on a backroad. Not very old. Someone with money had built it. I had to paint over the height lines on the wall where the parents measured their kids growing. We only had half the roof shingled. The roof was peaked and we had to nail in 2-by-4s into it so we didn’t slip off.

There was a patch of woods in the back with some good shade. The soil was sandy. Not that farm field clay the plant grew in, but we didn’t have a choice.

We dug a hole and put the plant and dirt inside of the bucket into the sand hole in the woods. We gave it some water and got a ladder to cut some tree branches off so the plant would get more sun. Will didn’t think if it would help but like he kept saying, “we had to try.”

***

The leaves turned brown after two days. After a week it was dead. It just fell apart. Will said he could get more seeds from the same guy he bought his weed from. It just cost money, but we had work. He said it was a setback. He said these repo houses were good money. He said buying more seeds and not giving up on growing bud was like investing your money and yourself into something bigger.

***

Grandma got a windmill built on the farmland. She got her check from the energy people. Grandma and Will started saying how late at night the windmills were making this noise that you couldn’t really hear. I didn’t know what they were talking about until I was out there late one night. It kinda sounded like a low static but still plugged your ears with a deafening emptiness. You couldn’t hear the bugs or a passing car or anything. Everyone who had a windmill built on their land was complaining about it. The company who built the windmills wouldn’t do anything about it. Everyone started sleeping with earplugs in.

All windmills had a red blinking light on top of them. All the lights blinked at the same time. At night you could see all across the open sky, hundreds of floating lights blinking at once, going forever looking like laser stars that spied on everyone in their old farmhouses that didn’t really farm anymore.

***

Will installed electricity in the barn, so we could always have a fridge full of booze. He threw a party to celebrate the new electricity in the barn. He let me invite some of my high school friends.

It was late and everyone was fucked up off good weed and Boones Farms and cheap blue cans of beer with white mountains on them.

Joe had been doing cocaine. At around midnight went to his car and came back with an AK-47. He was drunk too and giggling with a red face. Will didn’t let Joe work with us because he said Joe was an idiot.

We all went out to the edge of the field and started shooting at the windmill. The bullets had tracers on them. So you could see where you were shooting by watching your bullets that looked like mini comets. The trick was to wait for the red windmill light to blink so you kinda knew where to aim. The gun was heavy and solid. All metal and wood, it kicked like crazy, the stock jabbing into my shoulder. The muzzle flash made me see spots and the sound of the gunshots made my ears ring. I pulled the trigger so fast that the gun started to kick up and I lost control of it, the tracer bullets flying up into space. Every time a bullet hit the windmill you could hear this sharp ping that echoed off it. Everyone cheered and drank when that happened.

I noticed Misty was standing back smoking a cigarette, watching all of us with her arms crossed.

I walked over to her. “Misty, you going to shoot the gun?” I said pointing with my beer hand at the new person shooting. I was pretty wasted, leaning as I pointed, still seeing blue, green and yellow spots from the muzzle flashes.

“No, I don’t do guns.”

“It’s just fun though.”

“I think you need a better approach.”

“Like what?”

“Like climb up there and spray paint a giant dick on it.”

I closed my left eye to see straight and said, “I like how you think, but how would I get up there and do that.”

Misty tossed her head back and laughed, showing all her teeth. She said it wasn’t a big deal and that she did her thesis in college on the social implications of erotic street art and that we would climb the windmill and graffiti a giant dick on it together.

Read Next: I HOPE THERE’S NUZZLING by Marisa Crane

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