The Tell-Tale Joint

True! Nervous – very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The desire that seized me – that gripped me – was natural. Many a mortal man has felt the same yearning. So – pray – I urge you – attend to my tale. And then – then – tell me if you really believe me to be mad!

I cannot say what caused the idea to take root in my mind. Only that, suddenly, it had. The idea was thus: I resolved to steal my father’s weed. Madness – you say? Insanity – you cry? Yes, yes, I know my plot was dangerous – dastardly. But listen – listen to how carefully I proceeded. No mad man could have masterminded such machinations.

I knew exactly where my father stored his stash, but I knew I must be clever – so clever – to purloin the trove that I so desired. And so, one night, at midnight, I made for my father’s room. I stepped over his threshold. He did not stir an inch! In fact – he smiled! The smile of a man who trusted his son! The smile of a man who knew nothing of the evil unfolding in his very house. The smile of a fool! HA! My gleaming eyes lighted upon the desired target. A black box resting serenely on the bookshelf. I felt myself tingling with anticipation, shaking with lust and covetousness. I opened the black box, revealing the aromatic treasure inside. I plundered all of the Mary Jane, plunging the entire contents of the box into various pockets on my personage before absconding into the night.

Once alone in the safety of mine own room, I reveled in my success. I trembled with the knowledge that I was soon to be ensconced in a warm cocoon of marijuana. One would have thought I was Afroman himself, so skillfully did I roll that joint. It was uniform in shape – perfectly cylindrical – and not a single drop of weed fell to the floor. The perfect crime. The perfect blunt. Then – ever the careful criminal – I opened my window by a fraction of an inch. The cool night air wafted into my room. But I felt no chill. My success burned inside me like a talisman against the night – like an eternal joint that never roached.

With the click of my lighter and a flare of orange flame, I lit the joint. Ecstasy – at last! I touched my lips to the filter and breathed deeply. A breath of relief. My aim had been achieved. All lurking and plotting could now – at last! – come to an end. The lustrous tip of the blunt glowed in the darkness, tendrils of smoke curling into the night like phantoms en miniature. And – in contemplating that night now – it is exactly those phantasmagoric plumes that ruined all. That sealed my fate. Ah – my cruel fate!

For – unknown to me at the time – those little puffs of perfidy floated along the midnight air to the open window of my neighbor’s house. You shall see – oh, you shall see – how my neighbor’s keen eye and even keener nose came to be my undoing.

But that night after smoking most of the joint, I was as yet unaware of the mistake I had made. I cautiously lifted the loose floorboard beside my bed, placing the extinguished half of a joint and all else that I had pilfered beneath it. I fell asleep in a blissful haze, triumphant. Oh friends! If only I had known! If only I had known I was passing my last sound night of sleep. I have never slept so well since, and I fear that I never shall again.

I was awoken from my slumbers by a knock at the door! I leapt out of bed in shock! A knock at the door at this hour? But – I looked at the floorboards, surveyed my room, sniffed the air. What had I to fear? I had carried it all off so perfectly. With a renewed confidence, I opened the door. My parents stood in the threshold.

I welcomed them in – the picture of ease – the picture of innocence. They informed me that they had received a text message from our neighbor just this morning. I feigned complete ignorance! I gestured towards my futon, encouraging them to please sit. I myself sat on the edge of my bed, placing my feet firmly over the floorboard which concealed my trove.

They seemed encouraged by my ease and they divulged that our neighbor had smelled marijuana wafting from our house in the late hours of the night previous. Marijuana – I exclaimed! I really was in that moment a paragon of stunned disbelief and disapproval. Well – I said – I am sure you are aware that I would never engage in such illicit activity. And in saying this I darted my eyes quickly at my father. He was rather red! And as he should be – the filthy hypocrite! But none of my internal outrage was evident. I spread my arms wide – encouraged my parents to look round – to search high and low. No drop of marijuana would they find in THESE quarters!

They gave my room a cursory examination, but so convincing was my display of surprise and innocence that they ceased their search quite soon after they had begun. HA! I had fooled them totally! But as we discussed our meddlesome neighbor, my nose twitched. A faint smell began to tickle my nostrils. I scratched my nose and continued to converse. But the scent grew stronger and stronger still.

The aroma of hash was filling my room like a malediction, the odor pointing one fragrant finger right at me: the culprit. I gazed in terror at my parents, but they chattered on, ostensibly unaware of the smell. While their visages showed no change, I could feel that mine own had begun to grow deathly white. And then – as the scent seemed to reach a crescendo – I saw – before my eyes – a plume of smoke rising up from the floorboard at my feet.

I endeavored to continue our conversation, but my voice was erratic. I sounded shrill, hysterical. I leapt from the bed and began to fly about the room, hopping from foot to foot. The tendrils of smoke were now pouring from beneath the floorboard. Smoke swirled around my feet, and the odor of marijuana filled my nostrils. I held my nose, yelling violently. My parents became alarmed. Why did they not acknowledge the smoke?! I coughed and spluttered! They must smell it! It grew stronger! Stronger! Stronger still! And the smoke – oh the smoke!! It began to cloud my vision. I waved my hands desperately in front of my face, trying to part the thickening smog. I coughed! I choked! My hands scrabbled at my throat! I stared in awe at my parents who still rested on the futon – though their eyes had indeed become wide at my display! I tore at my hair! I gnashed my teeth! The smoke! The smoke! The loud, pungent smell!

“Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed! — tear up the planks! — here, here! — it is the smoking of this hideous joint!”


by Caroline Beuley

Caroline Beuley

Caroline Beuley is a writer, high school English teacher, and student based in Washington, D.C. Caroline has had comedy writing published in Belladonna, with forthcoming fiction publications in Schlock! Webzine and Maudlin House. When she’s not teaching or writing, she enjoys reading, taking her dachshund, Dumbledore, on walks, and throwing bits of paper around for her cat, Eloise.