Authors: Kenya Wright,Jackie Sheats
“The paper also fills up your lungs with gold, apparently,” Coco snapped. “Am I the only one who thinks that smoking gold is dangerous?”
I put her hand down. “Would you just let him finish, please?”
“I’m asking the questions that need to be asked,” Coco argued. “The man is telling us to smoke gold. That can’t be healthy.”
“There’s no way to truly smoke healthy,” the server offered.
“That’s your response?” Coco widened her eyes. “Really? Hey, smoking is already unhealthy, let’s add gold, and then later let’s pour on some ammonia—”
“Coco, please,” Mary begged.
“Fine,” Coco said.
“I do know that the papers are made with edible gold,” the server offered as Coco loudly snorted. “And that the gold doesn’t go to your lungs and sits on the ashes after the joint is done. I had your same concerns too and then I researched it.”
Coco tossed him a skeptical look. “
I shook my head. “Chill out.”
“I’m just saying.” Coco shrugged. “Well, then, let’s hear your research.”
“I read that rats were tested and there was no gold inhalation.”
“So someone’s got poor rats high for the purpose of testing out gold rolling paper?” She shook her head. “With all the things happening in the world, unarmed black boys getting shot by police, the economy raping everyone, the government playing toddler games in D.C., and here we have rats now being forced to get high.”
“Perhaps, you would feel better if I provide you with your own rolling paper and leaves,” he said.
“No, thank you.” She pulled out her vape pen that looked just like a normal e-cigarette, but held high-grade hash oil. “I’m about clean inhalation. With this, at least the smoke to my lungs is eliminated, and instead I get lovely THC vapors.”
“Hash oil is the crack of marijuana,” Mary smirked and took the joint from the server. “That stuff is too strong.”
“Better than getting gold in your lungs.” Coco pressed the button on her vape pen. A blue light glowed. She sucked. A fruity-scented steam escaped her nostrils. “And joints are so ten years ago.”
Mary smirked. “This from someone who used to roll their joints with Bible paper in college, when she was out of money.”
The server handed me my own golden joint.
“Ignore them, please.” I studied the crisp paper. It shined between my two fingers and smoothed against my skin. “What is this rolled with?”
“Oracle,” he said.
I brought it to my nose and inhaled. A fruity fragrance hit my nostrils—sort of a citrus mixture of squeezed oranges and lemons. “God, that smells good. What are Oracle’s strains?”
Coco rolled her eyes “Red always turns into a botanist when the weed comes out.”
I stuck out my tongue. “Oh, shut it.”
The server cleared his throat. “Oracle bud has a forty-five percent THC level and is a three way stable cross between Euphoria Unlimited bud, Elephant Bud, and Ultra Fast. Euphoria makes the high long. Some have reported an eight-hour high from just one joint—”
“Me likey.” I clapped again.
Coco blew out more vapors. “Someone may need an intervention. Who needs to be high for eight hours straight?”
Now, barely a half an hour later, I wondered if I would’ve still been walking upstairs to some rich guy’s roof, had I not smoked the Oracle. Granted, I needed a commission. While my fame grew, my funds had not.
Relax. It will be okay.
Fame and fortune didn’t go hand in hand, but it was nice when they did. Someone could easily be known and celebrated all over the city, yet broke as hell. I was hoping to not be in that situation. Bills needed to be paid. Rent would be due next month. I always had to get new colors of paint.
Almost at the top of the stairs, I gazed up at the man in the blue suit. “What type of name is Dr. Sheep anyway?”
Pierre said, “I believe it is a. . .family name.”
“Where is his family from, Australia or maybe he’s British? I think I know a guy with the last name Lamb from London.”
“Dr. Sheep will have to explain the origin of his name.” Pierre approached the top of the stairs and held the door open. “He should be out shortly.”
I stayed on the top step and didn’t walk through. “I’m just going to wait on the roof?”
“Yes. He should be here soon.”
Unease sat at my gut, but I walked onto the rooftop. Granted, the high helped. Everything seemed more relaxed.
The door shut behind me with a slam. I jumped and then laughed.
The ganja whispered in my ear, “Hey, it’ll all going to work out, man. No worries. Oh look, snacks.”
And sure enough, a table sat at the center of the rooftop covered in silver plates and bowls with decadent dishes. Bushels of roses filled the vases on top. Candles surrounded each one.
Candles and roses? That’s a first for a commission meeting. Maybe, he was already going to use this space for something special and then decided to have a quick talk with me up here?
In a darkening violet sky, stars glimmered above. The penthouse was in the center of Brickell, and its nightlife had just woke up. The beginning noises of luxury partying rose and met my ears—taxies honking, men laughing, high heels clattering against pavement, live music drifting out of five star restaurants.
On the roof I approached the table, searched for anything coated in chocolate, and devoured several pieces of heavenly treats.
A dark voice sounded behind me. “Hello, Red.”
Munching in pure enjoyment, I twisted around with my hand holding a brownie in mid-air and spotted a tall man in front of me. “Murmo.”
Great. You look like an idiot. Note to self, don’t smoke and then do business. Better yet, don’t talk business with your mouth full.
I swallowed down the food and hoped chocolate wasn’t smeared over my front teeth. “I’m sorry. Hello.”
“That’s fine. I’m Dr. Sheep.” He smiled, and it was in that moment my chest tightened.
He wore the same marijuana leaf mask I had on, but instead of hiding him away, the mask added an air of mystery. That mouth of his appeared even tastier than the treats on the table. His lips were full and curved like the pout of one of those cherub angels, yet they were mounted within a hard jaw.
He’s a bad boy. I can tell. I bet he has a stony mug of some sorts, all clenching and firm.
I didn’t do bad boys, or men in general these days. My art demanded a higher priority. My murals kept me clothed, eating, living under a roof, and mentally happy. From my past love life I’d learned that men didn’t do that, and especially not bad boys.
Just business with this one.
Yet. . .I continued to study him.
He’d said nothing else as I painted every inch of his image with my gaze. I had a thing for doing that. Just staring at a particular person for long moments at a time before even saying hello. Mostly, I was just imprinting their features in my mind to use for something later. People had unique expressions and details that others didn’t share. Some faces and bodies triggered creation.
This man. . .well. . .this man served as a buffet of inspiration.
He was tall, at least six feet. Tanned complexion. Long, dark brown hair that hung around his forehead, but both sides of his head were shaved. He wasn’t bodybuilder huge, not like the cross-fit addicts that probably jacked off secretly to old posters of Arnold
. He had a medium-sized frame, one that probably resulted from a decent concentration on what he ate, and at least three days in the gym.
I loved his style too.
Miami fashion symbolized sunlight, beach time, and partying. Comfortable and light clothes trumped tight and heavy fabrics. That being said, he had that sexy, effortless chic. He wore a blue-green linen top with half sleeves, and tan pants.
Then there were the sandals.
I must’ve stared at them for several seconds. Another consequence of being blown out of my mind. Everything around me garnered more concentration and had more meaning. Everything was a source of creation, even something as small as a pair of men’s shoes.
They were definitely leather with double straps over the top of his feet. However on the surface, images were carved into a design. I squinted and tried to get a better look.
His dark voice broke my concentration. “You like my sandals?”
“Yes. What’s the image?”
“Wolves eating each other.”
I took a step closer and examined them some more. “You like wolves?”
I snapped my attention to him. A smirk sat on his face.
He’s lying. Why? Wait a minute. Stop thinking. You’re high. Stay in the present moment.
“There called monk shoes. Hand-stitched. Each pair is $7,350—”
Annoyed, I waved away the rest of the information. “Who did the wolves?”
He parted his lips for a second as if I’d caught him off guard. “Uh. I don’t know.”
“For that much money, they should tell you who did the design. It’s amazing. Anyway.” I extended my hand. “Hello, Dr. Sheep.”
“Hello to you too.” He chuckled to himself. “Did you enjoy the Oracle?”
“You sent the gold joint?”
“Thank you.” I nodded. “It was heavenly. Remind me to return the favor one day.”
He said the next words as if it was a funny question. “You’re going to smoke me out one day?”
“Yes. It’s only fair.” I shrugged. “It won’t be Oracle. It’ll probably be
, truthfully. I don’t have the money for the high-end stuff.”
“That’s fine. I’m definitely going to take you up on that.” He smiled and captured my hand.
I could’ve sworn he licked his lips like a wild beast ready to take a bite, but that had to be my own high imagination. At the appropriate moment, I attempted to pull my hand away. He tightened his grip just a little and kept my hand encased in his. A warmth spread through to me.
It couldn’t have been him inciting my body to react. It had to be something else—the marijuana, brownies, the electricity in the air between us, the bright stars glowing around the moon, my lack of love life, my feeling at peace.
It couldn’t have been this man making me ache between my thighs.
And they ached,
so bad I squeezed them together and bit my bottom lip.
The server should have added that Oracle makes you horny too.
Still holding my hand, he seared me with a heated gaze. “I’ve been waiting to meet you for a very long time.”
“You have?” I pulled my fingers away and stepped back.
“Yes. I’ve seen every mural that you’ve done in Wynwood. Each one I’ve visited at least three times.”
Skeptical, I asked. “What’s your favorite?”
“Your foreboding ode to hip hop. That was the first one to make me fall in love with you.”
In love with me? Okay. In love with my art. That’s what he meant. Really, Red? Just drink some water and take your behind back downstairs.
“So,” I cleared my throat. “I’m pretty high right now. I don’t like to do business this way. Would it be okay if we met on another day to discuss your mural? Plus, I should really get back to my friends, especially Colleen. Well, we call her Coco. She’s like the grandmother.”
Babbling some more I went into a harsh impression, scrunching up my face, wagging my finger, and speaking in a scratchy voice. “Red, stay away from strangers.”
“Well, I’m not a stranger.” He licked his lips. “I’m just Dr. Sheep.”
He did lick his lips! He did. I’m not that high. Or wait, did that happen? Or do I just want that to happen? God, I liked the way he flicked that full lip with his tongue.
He leaned forward. “Red?”
“Yes.” I stepped back.
He moved forward. “Don’t rush off to grandmother’s house yet.”
I wrinkled my forehead, thought about what he said, and giggled. “Awww. Little Red Riding Hood. I get it. Funny.”
He inched closer. “I like that story.”
His intoxicating scent swarmed around me. It was odd for Miami. He smelled like a man should. It was rich with fragrant hints of cedar and leather as if he’d just finished chopping logs, showered, and sat next to the fire of a long cabin.
I want to sit by that fire with him. . .I mean. . .I need some water.
“Do you like that story?”
“Of course. I just wish Red had cut her way through the wolf’s stomach, instead of the lumberjack.”
“What?” He seemed to tense in front of me.
“Those tales always have some guy saving the girl. If I’d been her, I would have killed the wolf myself.”
“Then I’m glad that I’m a sheep.”
Something about the way he said it, made me nervous.
“Are wolves really that bad?” he asked.