Where to Buy Your Weed, fiction by Misty Skaggs

Her trail­er was a ripe patch of excess, bloomed con­spic­u­ous­ly at the base of a cliff on the edge of a bone dry, Bap­tist coun­ty in East Ken­tucky. The half-acre around it was lit­tered with fad­ed Moun­tain Dew cans glint­ing in the sun­shine and dec­o­rat­ed hap­haz­ard­ly with a half dozen bust­ed toi­lets turned planters. Mary had filled them to the brim with rich bot­tom soil and plant­ed stur­dy annu­als that burst forth in bright col­ors come spring­time. And you could hear her rack­et from a ridge over. Nev­er music, just the strained voic­es of lone­ly peo­ple seek­ing solace over air waves. Her reg­u­lar cus­tomers learned to lean in when she hollered them across the thresh hold and into her home. They learned to brace them­selves against the blast of cack­ling talk radio hosts crack­ling out into the hill­bil­ly breeze via AM radio, the reg­u­lars plant­ed their feet against deci­bel after deci­bel blar­ing through the stacks of sec­ond hand speak­ers that tow­ered and teetered close to the droop­ing, water-stained ceil­ing. If you were a brand new cus­tomer just look­ing for a qual­i­ty buzz, it could be down­right overwhelming.

Mary her­self was too much–too big, too loud, too self-assured, too self-right­eous. She’d answer the door in a muu-muu splat­tered with crusty, sausage gravy and tacky flo­ral print. She’d tell you how Jesus don’t mind pot, but you bet­ter stay away from that ol’ Detroit dope. She con­duct­ed most all her busi­ness out of the kitchen. There was always an abun­dance of food bub­bling over on the stove and her rum­bling old refrig­er­a­tor was always stocked with strange, left­over smells and cold beer. The mis­matched can­is­ters lin­ing the counter tops were stuffed full of prod­uct. On the rare occa­sion she wasn’t cook­ing when you’d show up to score, she’d take your mon­ey all flopped out and sweat­ing across the queen size bed crowd­ed into the built-on, back room of the mobile home. And she’d pro­duce a thir­ty bag or a sixy bag or even a whole ounce or two out from under the folds of her dress. Or maybe out from under the folds of her pale, fleshy body. Nobody ever dared to ques­tion the hygien­ic aspect once they real­ized that sticky, hairy, bud smelled even stronger and danker than the dealer.

No one knew where she kept her crop, but she gave the liv­ing room over to the house plants. The ivy grew up over the arms of the couch and she warned guests to avoid the moldy Lazy Boy. Not for the sake of their pret­ty, clean clothes or pret­ty, clean lungs. Because once, the rot­ting plaid arm­chair had belonged to her Granny, and now it belonged to the rosary vine. Her favorite. Her Granny’s favorite. Mary kept the room cool and dark so that the thick, durable foliage of it shone under the light of a sin­gle lamp that faked sun­shine. And the blos­soms were back lit, flick­er­ing red and waver­ing like can­dles at the base of a shrine to home­grown botany. Every­body on this side of the state knew she was thank­ing the good Lord for her green, green thumb.

Misty Marie Rae Skag­gs, 32, hard­ly ever leaves the holler anymore.

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