Jer @ SBS Presents 15/30 – 005: Cory

 Jer @ SBS Presents 15/30 – 005: Cory

Jer @ SBS Presents 15-30 – 05 – Cory

In most of, if not everything I’ve written in this series and will ever write within it, I have changed the names of those involved out of respect – but not Cory, nope.  This motherfucker can go by the name that he gave me – because honestly I have no idea if that was ever even his name to begin with, or just what he told me at the gas station window while I worked at a Petro Canada for the late-night in my early twenties.  Cory told me many stories…none of them credible – in fact, incredible by its most rigid definitions…and equally mind-blowing, every time.  Spit towards my window through his long strands of stringy blond half and five teeth in total, this guy had the best job I’d ever encountered – doing nothing.

You’ve never seen someone make so much money doing nothing.  Cory was the void, employed.

I do not know where he came from, and I do not know where he’d been, though the battle scars of scuffles-past were certainly displayed in the wear & tear upon his face.  You could see the outline of different cuts, current scabs & sores…typical junkie shit that would have had most people crossing the street, yet he had this friendly aura, maniacally welcoming smile, and multiple personas that somehow put folks at ease.  He looked extremely unpredictable, but truly harmless all the same.  Soaking wet, he might have been a buck thirty-five at max…you’d assume a heavy gust of wind could blow him over given that he stood about six-feet tall.  Well…probably closer to my own height at 5’8.5” given that he was always hunched over like he came from the bell-tower of Notre Dame – and yes, that extra .5 inches is an important thing for a short dude like me to make sure that I’ve distinguished here.

Not because it relates to this story in any way at all, but because I’m so very, very small & need to seem as big as I possibly can, lest the meatheads & larger mammals sense weakness & come to stomp me out.

To be fair, I didn’t really know how I made it behind the glass for that job at Petro Canada either, and wondered about that nightly.  A form of self-imposed punishment – I had already left more lucrative jobs and positions…I suppose I put myself there to have a hard think about my future and what I wanted to do with it.  In the process of working there between the hours of ten p.m. and six a.m., LIFE came alive at that little window of mine – the entire store was essentially a glass fishbowl, but locked up tight with a savagely strong door magnet during the hours that I worked.  A high-crime location of little ol’ Port Coquitlam – I ended up communicating safely to the customers through faulty speakers at the gas pumps, and shoving items through a drawer, for roughly eight hours a day for five days a week.  I was also coming into work by bus from two cities away, for about an hour’s ride – every day was exhausting, but given the jobs I’d had in the past, everything about working the gas station window was way too easy.  At the end of the day, all that had to be done was some basic inventory, and clean the place up – the space of about a big master bedroom with a whole bunch of knick knacks that all need to be properly faced forward & whatnot, but still just the one room to tidy up.  It wasn’t rocket science, that’s what I’m getting at – and in truth, the physical part of the job took about less than an hour in total time.

So I’d read yesterday’s newspapers – all of them – and wait for the next ones to come in, while gazing out at the unoccupied streets and the occasional person milling around…at least, for the most part.  Between the hours of ten to twelve, that’s basically the last rush of the day…people filling up their cars & trucks for work the next morning, and it’s pretty tame during the week.  The weekends however, were an entirely different animal, and you’d never know what might come at you – could be drunk customers, could be people looking for a bathroom at 3am to bang in, it could be the police looking for surveillance footage of the area because some crackhead stole something earlier…and here at this particular station, for about a good three month stretch at least, it could also be Cory.  For a guy that did nothing, Cory hustled his skinny little ass off – and to this very day, I’ve still never met anyone with his work ethic.

Being locked into the gas station for my own safety for the graveyard shift, I could see things, but never really be a part of the action in a way that was ever too involved.  Every now & again, or towards the morning, you pop open those doors to sneak out for a moment or two…it was not a complex job – the real truth is that I spent a very large portion of my time smoking joints in the bathroom, or just outside it.  It had doors on both sides, one from the inside, one from the outside…a portal into the weirdness and never a fun thing to open on the late-night shift, that much, I can confirm.  From needles to used condoms to shit on the walls – I have not only seen it all, I have unfortunately had to clean it all up too.

No one really questions the late-night guy at the store window – I think deep down, we all assume this person HAS to be high to want to work during those hours, or at least needs to be in order to function.  Those heavy doors of the bathroom created quite the seal when it came right down to it; I could smoke weed freely in there, still hear the chime of the bell if someone needed service at the pump or at the window, and generally, the smell & the stank would remain locked in there waiting for the next person that needed to write their name in shit on the walls to enjoy.  For the astute…for those that DO smoke greens…the signs are not only obvious to begin with, but the slightest smell confirms their suspicions and usually emboldens them enough to strike up a conversation.  Keep in mind y’all – this is long prior to the days of legalization talk…we’re still on the underground of the weed scene and it’s kept relatively hidden…for some more than others of course – living in British Columbia made it pretty easy to smoke about as freely as you wanted to at any time, but it still wasn’t like you’d just start a conversation about weed with someone else unless you knew for an absolute certainty that they probably smoked for sure.

What they don’t tell you at the late-night gas station attendee mega-gala training sessions, is that your window will become access to the world in a whole new way.  It becomes a trading post of sorts – like if you were the dude with that infamous red paper clip, you could probably trade yourself up to a mid-level sedan by the end of the night if you played your cards right.  I was offered just about everything under the sun in exchange for this or that on the inside of the window, like I was running some kind of jailhouse commissary.  Stolen goods of all kinds from cell phones to DVDs, sweaters and skateboards – all of which I generally said no to – but there was always one product that could get my attention, and especially if I was out of it at the time – weed.  After about a month of me working there, I don’t think there was a single night that I can recall whether it was the weekend or not, where I didn’t get the offer; I got to know my city in a whole new way, only knowing it previously in the daylight hours from having run the video store across the street as an assistant manager years earlier.  I covered the entire set of corners with the exception of one, as I’d even worked at the pizza parlor straight ahead of me on the opposite side.  I knew the area and all its shady characters well…it was fun to watch them crawl around during the nighttime hours & see how things operated outside what I’d previously seen.  Working at the video store, I saw the theft side of the equation – during the late night, that’s when the selling starts.

Living outside of Port Coquitlam for a stretch had me missing out on who a few of the new local shitheads were, but the Petro Canada helped fill in that gap for me.  I didn’t recognize Cory before I saw his greasy blond mop of hair for the very first time, and so for my first couple of shifts, I didn’t bother the guy or really even pay him much attention, other than noticing he was hanging around the parking lot of the station for much longer than most.  He’d stand non-threateningly way over to the side, and it seemed like everyone in town knew who he was – I’d look over, and Cory would be standing there with someone else, talking up a storm about whatever the fuck.  No big deal to me, and not affecting anything I had to do in my day – I would have let him slide forever if he had stayed over in the corner of the lot and never crossed my path.  I could see there was more than a good chance he was some kind of grifter based on the amount of smokes he was smoking and what appeared to be people forking over their change.  He’d chill there for a couple of hours on the weekend nights mainly for about a month or so, and then pedal off on his bike, back to score whatever he was fixin’ on and get ready for the day ahead to do it all over again.  I’d clean the station, do my damn job, and think nothing of it.  Why would I?

One night as I arrived to work for the shift-change, Cory was standing right outside the window as people started to use the drawer instead of the door for the late-night hours.  People would come up, he’d ask them for change for whatever crazy reason he came up with, and while most folks would tend to pony up something, it was clearly an uncomfortable scenario for all involved.  Already locked inside tight for the evening, I buzzed the intercom and tapped the glass after everyone had left, and said, “bro – you can’t be doing this here, you know that right?”  Cory looked like Mark Arm from Mudhoney had taken even a harder beating out there on the road over the course of their career – and he turned to me, smiled his barely tooth-filled grin, and walked off into the night, simple as that.  Back to my job, back to cleaning the space of a single room at lightning speed and reading newspapers until morning.

The next night it was the same thing – he was right there at the window, as bold as ever, racking up coins and dollars from anyone that could spare some cash.  This was clearly going to be a thing.  The wolf was inside the henhouse now, as they say…and this guy knew he’d found someone that probably didn’t give nearly enough of a fuck to stop him from his grift.  I wasn’t raised to take shit from anyone – and I wasn’t about to start with Cory – I jumped on the intercom and told him to get moving once again, which he did, without hassle, once more.  More or less just shifting back to his spot on the corner, he panhandled his way through the night, and eventually came back to the window to purchase a Coke.  “How much?” he half-growled…not in a mean way, but in that like, Bobcat Goldthwait way that sounded like he was trying to suppress the atomic rush of the high that was taking over – frantic.  I told the guy whatever the price was, and he proceeded to pull out a pocket full of gold…coins of all kinds, collected throughout his short couple of hours of work.  Keep in mind, I’m Canadian, workin’ in a Canadian place – half of what’s generally in circulation is coins – so when I eyed up his stack, I could see there was at least about fifty, maybe even sixty or seventy bucks worth of money in his hand.  That’s when I got interested.

Dude!  Did you get ALL that dough from tonight, just standing there asking people for change?” I asked, practically amazed.  You gotta understand – if that WAS seventy bucks I was looking at, I was basically seeing the equivalent of my entire night’s wages or more sitting right there in his hands – all earned, by doing NOTHING.  Is this guy a madman, or a straight-up fucking genius?  I couldn’t quite figure him out.

He smiled and laughed.  “Yep,” he said with his big weird grin and strange squeaky voice, “sure did.”  With that, he turned with his Coca-Cola and disappeared back into the night, his job finished for the day.

For the next month or so it became standard to see Cory milling around the station’s parking lot – and many of the locals were starting to catch onto him, now becoming outright pissed off at the guy for telling them the same hard-luck story that had them forking over a fiver just the week before.  Can’t say I blame them for feeling how they did – but at times, it looked like Cory was about to take a punch or two – and from the look of his rearranged face on many days, clearly he was at points along the way.  I suppose it’s all part of a never-ending routine of rinse, wash, repeat for guys like him – personally I do not want face-punches to become a regular part of my day and I’ve been cautious to avoid such a fate.

We also had good days too, where he wouldn’t get harassed or he’d be high as a kite, offering to wash windows for people while he stood there.  All-in-all, I never actually saw anything that made Cory any kind of ‘bad guy’ – for the most part he was just broke, desperate for that next fix of whatever he was smokin’ or shootin’ that week, and yet somehow equally annoying for how successfully entrepreneurial he could be, just standing on a random corner of a city street.  There were memorable highlights, like the night that some rando came crawling out of the woodwork trying to sell a pair of pants from an Adidas track suit at three o’clock on a Saturday morning.  Cory wasn’t interested in the mystery pants, and neither was I – but believe it or not, there was a lady that was at pump number one filling up her car, who overheard the conversation, and shouted over to the guy running fashion week at my station – “HEY!  I WANT THOSE PANTS!”  Cory giggled, I giggled, the obvious pants-thief giggled too – we are the same.  You have to understand – these pants looked like they were for a relatively mid-size frame – and no disrespect to the lady in this story, but she lowered the car by three inches just by sitting in it – she was MASSIVE – and the idea that she was going to somehow squeeze into these pants was downright comical.  This guy had been trying to hock this pair of pants for hours and this was the least likely source of revenue – and I honestly, for the life of me, could not tell if this wonderful lady was actually serious.

Ever the professional, this young man took a hard swallow, looked at the pants, looked at the lady, then back at the pants, and said, “well…yeah…they’re for sale but…I don’t know if…they’re gonna fit everybody.”  It was by far and away one of the most diplomatic moments I’ve ever seen from a thief.

She motioned for him to come over to where she was standing, and as he made his way there, she yelled out, “THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY TO FIND OUT” – and ripped off her pants right there at pump #1.  The clothing-thief turned back to look at myself and Cory, who stood there separated by a thin glass wall of a window mouths agape, seeing this incredible wall of human ass flesh and the tiniest little string thong mostly hidden between the crack.  Gorgeous!  And obviously, entirely unexpected – the look on the thief’s face said it all, but he still mouthed “ARE YOU SEEING THIS SHIT?” with his eyes buggin’ out of his skull as he pointed towards her.  We were indeed, seeing that shit – I’ve seen much crazy shit at that window in fact, but that moment still ranks up there with the most memorable without question.  She wrestled on the pants, which were made from a very forgiving & stretchy fabric, cased herself inside them forevermore as far as I could tell, paid our thief his hard-earned twenty dollars, and drove away.

My favorite night of ALL nights however, was the one time I really saw Cory have to earn his money.  Port Coquitlam is very much a kind place on the surface…in passing, people you meet say hello, and they’re generally the friendly sort even on the sketchier north side of town – Cory had relatively had it extremely easy for those first couple months, and every shift I saw him put in, seemed progressively harder.  This would be why you never see these people hang out in any one area for too long a stretch – eventually it all catches up with you, and you’ll get called on your bullshit by someone soon enough.

Cory himself, had taken his grift to the next-level…like…I had to admire the amount of hard-work and effort he put into not working at all, it was truly beautiful to watch.  This was a man that was living in his own world, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and if any of us were lucky enough to cross his path, maybe we’d interrupt the cosmos for a second and bring him back down to earth…but probably not.  Cory was always on something, always high, and always looking to be HIGHER than he already was.

I do not know HOW he got a car…I cannot imagine this guy pulling a regular 9-5 shift at his job and then going home for the day, parking his ride in the driveway before heading to the study to put his feet up by the fire on his ottoman whilst preparing his pipe with the finest of crack sprinkles – no; but somehow, he had one.  It wasn’t anything to write home about – I’m not even remotely kidding when I say that it looked like he’d practically glued on the doors and taped half of it together.  A rusted-ass brown piece of mechanical hot-garbage on wheels, you could almost see this car begging to be put out of commission.  Cory parked it off to the side of the lane that headed into the gas station, just slightly awkwardly enough that you’d question and wonder why on earth someone would leave their car there.  To look at it straight on, you’d swear the car somehow had a LIMP…it looked like only three wheels were touching the ground like they should be and that it probably rolled like the worst shopping-cart experience ever.

By the end of that ONE night, I was practically convinced he’d earn enough to buy a brand-new ride.

There are no words to properly describe how annoying and soul-crushing it can be to watch someone outside of a thin glass window earn so much more than you’d ever make on the inside of one.  Cory set up shop, right outside my drawer where he always was – only this time, he had a visual prop that people could actually SEE with their own eyeballs, making it almost impossible to not sympathize with his grift.  He’d point to his busted-ass car, turn his usually-insane grin into contorted pitiful sadness, and say, “look – can you believe it?  I broke down RIGHT there on my way to get gas, and I completely forgot my wallet when I came here I was in such a rush – is there ANY way you can help me out with just a couple bucks so that I can put enough gas in the tank to get home, get my wallet, come back and do this all over again?

Even though Port Coquitlam has a shiny & friendly appearance to its people, they still react in the same ways that most do when approached by a random stranger – at first they’re as guarded as anyone else, and in many cases, nearly turn their noses up like a classic snob from an old Charles Dickens book would.  But SEEING this car was something else…something as mystifying & magical as it was mortifying – and combined with Cory’s regular near-homeless attire so far less fashionable than the pair of track pants he could have had for twenty bucks not so long ago, the empathic sincerity gears kicked-in quickly for most.  If they did or didn’t believe his story, I do not know – but SEEING that god-awful vehicle so clearly on its last go, had people forking over fives & tens & twenties in record numbers.  Cory hit the bloody jackpot with this new ploy, and for the vast majority of the night, made more money than I could have counted.

Not so responsible of ME to let all this happen though, is it?  Give ME a break – ME was making just a little over minimum wage at the very best – ME was not paid to be law enforcement or social services.  Instead, I took a slight joy in watching the mechanics of the grift at work in full bloom and a bunch of idiots be separated from the money they worked so hard to earn…and all he had to do was ask them.  On a busy Friday night at one of the busiest corners of the city, even though it’s a small town, that’s a whole lot of traffic passing through to get somewhere much more important – and our hero was raking it in like he was running a going out of business sale and this was everyone’s last opportunity to get in on all-things-Cory.  Person after person opening up their wallet, reaching for a five, looking back at that sad, pitiful excuse for a mobile, and pulling out a ten-spot instead, satisfied that they’d done some good in this world after seeing Cory’s extreme gratitude, which I’ll readily admit, always seemed every bit as genuine as the rest of the routine.  To a degree, I’m sure it was – I mean, that was WHY he was there – anyone handing him money was a mission accomplished, and he was going for a mother-load so massive on this night that he might even be able to retire until next month with all the cash he was pulling in.  I could have put a stop to it, sure – but why?  Where’s the fun in that and what’s in that scenario for me?

So I watched and I learned and I laughed, all night long, until FINALLY someone had the balls to put an end to it.  Usually, for as crack-headed as he was, Cory had an authentically discerning eye and a knack for knowing who the right mark was…targets with big hearts and even bigger wallets…and he didn’t really waste a whole lot of his time with anyone else as far as I could see.  This wasn’t most days though – he was rolling so hard with victory after victory that everyone became fair game, and that was where he went wrong.  A big bodybuilder-type sauntered up to the window and paid for gas, and Cory hit him up like he had been all night long with the same spiel as he’d been giving to everyone else – no reason to assume that it wouldn’t work, given that it had throughout the entire night…I don’t recall anyone he asked saying no, and to be fair, neither did this enormous mountain of a man standing in front of me.  Cory pointed at the scrapheap once considered to be a car parked on its lilt on the incline coming up towards the pump just off to the side, shook his head slowly with his eyes down low, and said, “I’m just so embarrassed and feel so stupid about this whole thing.  If you could just help me out with five bucks…

This guy looked like five football players in ONE body…but he was still one of those dudes that went red in the face with the slightest bit of conflict or rage coming to the surface.  He lifted his tree-trunk of an arm and pointed at the beat-up hell-beast on wheels, and said, “That’s YOUR car right there?” in what you’d actually have to consider a threatening tone.  Like I wouldn’t have blamed Cory for being scared to even respond, or just politely apologize for interrupting this large mammals day before running away.

Behind his awful mullet of long hair, he shrank about two full sizes, and responded meekly with a “yes.

Much to both my surprise, and Cory’s as well, the big guy seemed to have a heart all of a sudden.  He reached for his wallet out of the back of his way-too-tightass jeans, and said, “Welllllllllllllll. I guess I’ve got a fiver for ya.  That seems like the right thing to do here.  That’s what God would want, right hoss?”  He pulled out a five dollar bill from his wallet, crisp as the day it was minted, and flicked it in the air.  “This right here is all yours partner – will five be enough for you to get home?”  Such kindness!  This whole late-night window job will BREAK a person if they’re not careful…you either get with the weird or the weird will take you over – but to see THIS…I mean…fuck – it was truly straight-up heartwarming.

Cory thanked him profusely and stretched out his hand to receive the donation – and that’s when things took a complete 180-degree turn.  The big guy’s face contorted into a scowl and he looked at Cory with disdain, growling at him in low menacing tones – “What do YOU need the money for?  If you need GAS, that’s what I’m BUYING for you – there’s no need for you to even touch this five dollars, you feel me?”  He went from being the nice guy to seething anger within mere seconds, and Cory was melting from the heat coming off the man’s forehead & sending steam lines into the summer night sky.  He was busted.

Ummm.  Yeah.  I mean…that’s right,” he managed to stammer & stutter out, now visibly shaking.

You do NEED gas, don’t you hoss?” the Incredible Hulk said, looming over Cory like a mean shadow.

I…uhhh…” he seemed to take a brief moment’s pause right here, considering the outcome of what he might say next and exactly how hard the beating from a man like this would actually be.  It’d be a bone-breaker…that much I can tell ya – this giant of a man would have pummeled him into the next weekend.  Summoning what was left of his courage, he got the rest out…”yeah…I need gas so that I can get home.

That’s what I THOUGHT!” yelled the human-mountain at the top of his lungs, likely heard about seven cities away like a wolf howling in the night.  He was even smiling again.  “So let’s get you some then!

Cory looked at me through the window with his saddest eyes, then back towards the not-so-friendly giant – “again, I’m truly grateful for anything you can spare, it’s appreciated so very, very much…

The big guy chuckled.  “No problem at all chief!  I’m happy to help you out.”  Cory reached out for the money once again – his second mistake.  A massive meat-hook reached out and clamped down on his wrist, and I swear for just a moment, the lights of the entire gas station seemed to flicker with menace.

I’ll pay this guy right here,” he said maliciously, nodding the last inch of what was left of his neck in my direction, “YOU go and pull the car in, and we’ll get you all gassed up hoss, how does that sound?

Cory turned as white as a ghost.  Presumably because he was scared, but it could have been the lack of circulation in his veins caused by the clamp of human flesh upon his wrist too, I do not know.  He looked like he was about to piss his pants and was currently wishing he’d spent that twenty bucks for a spare when he could have just days before when the opportunity was so clearly there to do it.  Think about it Cory – you could have had TWO pairs of pants…if only we had the power of foresight, eh there friend?

Umm,” he squeaked…”it doesn’t move…that’s where it ran out of gas, right there at the bottom of the incline,” he said, not daring to look up at the raging eyeballs of the beast standing only inches from him.

With a malevolent Michael Madsen-esque calm, the big man said, “Oh I heard all about that bulllllllllshit, but thankfully that’s not what I was talking about.  You pull your car in here, and we’ll get you your gas.

At the end of his rope, Cory finally caved in.  “Hey man, that’s okay…you know, I’ll be alright…thanks anyway…I appreciate it but I’ll just wait on my friends to get a ride or a tow-truck or something maybe…

And here it was…we arrived at peak intensity.  “Go get your car, and pull it into the station, so that we can get you your gas,” said the biggest man on earth in the quietest, smallest, gentlest, whispered hush.  It remains to this day, one of the scariest things I’ve ever heard anyone say with my own two ears – his tone said everything that needed to be said – if Cory didn’t do this, he was about to get POUNDED on.

When you grift, and you grift as well as Cory does in life, you can’t EVER give it up, or reveal a crack in the story – and he knew that.  You have never seen a man drag his feet with such sadness, over to such a god-awful piece of machinery passed off as a viable vehicle, knowing that he was forced to keep the tale going strong now, or face a beat-down of mammoth proportions.  He cracked up the driver’s side door, and began the instant struggle to push it all the way into the station, with that tiny little incline now working completely against him and ensuring it took all the strength he had to move it forward.

The giant, still at my window, laughed out loud and I couldn’t help but laugh along with him – this moment was entirely too-fucking-deserved and had been so long in the making.  Cory might have walked away with a ton of cash and his face intact that night, but this one moment, was priceless.  Grimacing with real pain from the moment he started pushing until he finally got it into the station, you could see the satisfaction on the big man’s face – he wasn’t stupid, but he was kind.  He slid over the five bucks into the drawer, looked down at me through the window from way up above and said, “THAT my friend…was the best five bucks I’ve ever spent.  Hope you enjoyed the show hoss – have a good night.

I’m a decent writer, but even if I was a good one, I swear I couldn’t make this shit up.

As to where our friendly neighborhood crackhead ended up…this I also do not know.  Cory and I really only crossed paths a couple of times after that fateful night – I don’t think the guy was actually capable of being embarrassed anymore within this lifetime, so I don’t think that’s what kept him away.  I suspect it was just a grifter, knowing when the grift has truly reached its end and when it’s finally time to move on.  We did end up hanging out for one day, briefly – on a day off for me no less.  It was every bit as strange as you would assume it would have been, and I was there for much more than the mere purpose of trying to win Cory over as my new best friend.  For you see…there was a night somewhere in the middle of knowing this dude, that the weed smell crawled its way out of the backroom and through the window, straight into Cory’s awaiting nostrils, and he immediately became as happy as a clam just knowing there was another potential revenue strain for him.  Ever since that incident, he’d be one of about five or six people that would try to sell me buds through the drawer between the hours of ten p.m. and six a.m. – and hell ya…every now & then, despite knowing better, he’d be my chosen vendor.  Ever disappointing, every single time – most of what came through the window from any of the many sources out there ain’t worth smoking, that I can tell ya – chances are it’s being sold by guys just like Cory, and if you’re even lucky enough for it to actually BE weed, there won’t be much of it there.  The greens were always just a quick turnaround for cash that led these guys to bigger & better drugs, or at the very least, bigger & better by their own definitions.  Me…I’m still happy to ride alone with my bong.

One night he slid his phone number through the drawer – an act that also surprised me.  Not the giving of the number of course, Cory was a friendly enough guy – it was the fact that he actually had a phone that threw me for a loop.  He just never seemed like a guy with any real worldly possessions of any kind.  Same light blue jacket, same skinny jeans, same haircut, same state of dishevelment, every, single, time.  I took the piece of paper being slid at me, saw it was his phone number, and asked, “What’s this for?”  He smiled and told me he had a good line on weed in big quantities if I was ever interested – and I was.

Of all people in this world that could have ever sold me my first pound-sack that I ever bought, it was Cory.  My buddy and I picked him up at some random field, drove him out to another random field, gave him waaaaaaay too much money to be comfortable with just leaving him with, and he went into another car to make the deal for us.  Thankfully, he returned, good to his word still, and we had ourselves the most gigantic bag of buds to enjoy that summer that we had ever purchased.  Terrible weed, no doubt about that – I’m sure Cory charged us a premium price for what was basically shake – I know that now – but at the time, quantity kicked all the ass over quality, and we were on top of the world.  I remember driving him back to the field we picked him up from…which was technically the last time that I ever saw the guy.  From the back seat he squeaked one last time with his Bobcat-esque voice and asked if there was like, you know, some kind of finder’s fee we could part with…as in, could he get some weed for free?  He wasn’t looking for money – because chances are, he just got paid somewhere as the middle man from us buying a pound – but he was smart enough to know that with so much weed in that bag, we’d never complain about giving over a handful or at the very least, a nugget or two.  To Cory, that’s like seed money for the next project…that next red paperclip he can trade & trade again until he’s got exactly what he’s looking for, whatever that may be.  You gotta admire the man…he knew how to get ya both coming and going…and I’m sure we reached into that bag to leave him with some greenery even though we knew we had just been ripped off by the very same guy whose hands those greens went into.

There is no moral to this story.  It’s certainly not ‘be like Cory’ – and it’s not a ‘be like me’ story either.  I suppose I think about people like this zany dude and recognize that there are so many people out there who have stories that will never be written.  Cory isn’t the kind of guy that people write about – I’m not even sure that he READS – but there’s still something to be said for a person that you can meet, only for a brief part of your life, that you know you’ll remember forever – and that’s who he became to me.  He was that straight away in the moment, but as the calendar continues to flip and this whole interaction remains as fresh in my mind as if it had all happened yesterday, I realize how special that time actually was.  Not BECAUSE of Cory…though perhaps…for the uniqueness he brought to LIFE itself at that point in time, straight outta the random and into the mainstream of what was every day for quite a while.  I think about how everyone that’s likely ever met Cory for even five minutes has probably done their best to forget him…yet I chose to remember.  This is likely all projection – I do not want to be forgotten, by anyone, ever.  It’s the battle that I know I can’t win, that I fight every day anyway.  We are all forgotten in the end…history books and stories might carry our name for a while, but eventually even that fades right along with the lineage of the people that once knew who we were and kept pictures & keepsakes that documented our existence.  For this tiny space in time…this slightest sliver of my life, Cory EXISTED – and was maybe seen in a way no one had ever really seen him before.  His memory is no benefit to me – this story is no benefit to you & HE is not even going to read it!  Bless the man anyway goddammit.


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