A Compassion Club Story by John Gordon

Julie Gardener

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A Compassion Club Story by John Gordon​

(18 Nov, 1999) A day in the life of a Vancouver Compassion Club member.

Gordon was jarred from his slumber by the buzz of his first alarm: 9:30 am.

He jolted himself out of bed in order to take his METOCLOPRAMIDE early, to prevent the inevitable morning nausea which would come after 10 o'clock when he would again rise from his slumber with the alarm of his pill timer in order to take his AZT, 3TC, and Crixivan - antiviral medications. He had learned how to alleviate this nausea almost instantly, almost miraculously, even without the help of his early morning medication. After he had rolled a few points of master kush from the day before into a skunk brand hemp paper and inhaled a few hoots, his nausea and morning malaise was instantly lifted, and the beauty of it was he could control the dosage. Some days his nausea was light, and a puff or two would do, other days he would be vomiting and calm himself down with the healing herb.

Playing kick the can with the garbage and the leaves along Kingsway Gordon headed for the bus. He contemplated how difficult it had been to obtain the sacred herb before, how he had to hang out on the street, at pigeon park, or the Poffi cafe on commercial, how he had dealt with bikers and smooth operators and even minors to obtain his illegal stash. He thanked God for the few reliable connections and friends he'd met through a common interest in smoking the ganja. Many of his very best and true friends had come from communion with the weed.

Showing his handicapped pass and getting on the bus Gordon remembered the fear and trepidation with which he used to set out to the BC Compassion club, fearing that secret police and black boots would set upon him either coming or going or raid the club where so many find their refuge. He used to recite the sorrowful mysteries chanting Hail Mary's on the short bus ride up commercial there. Now he prays the joyful and glorious mysteries in thanksgiving that it's there every time the bus pulls up and that the new big white sign on the door says "Don't Hang Around outside" instead of "Closed By Order of Vancouver Police."

Showing his membership card to the bronze haired intelligent looking receptionist with her groovy, tinted beatnik glasses, Gordon buys a fifty cent raffle ticket on this week's t-shirt draw and takes number and his place on a wooden chair in the waiting area.

Hillary, looking radiant and serene with her hair pulled back, is watering the plants, no longer harried by peoples constant queries and media interviews. The club is quiet this morning but a lady with magnificent African braids with a small child in tow who is dressed as prim and proper and immaculately as you can imagine, and is as well behaved as a cherub, waits, playing with the toys to everyone's amusement. An old fellow is also ahead of Gordon, someone whom he'd seen come in drunk and be scolded on one occasion, but was remarkably sober now and well kempt.

Looking up at the menu there was Master Kush for 10 dollars a gram, Cherazz for 9, Honey Bee for 8, and a yummy indica for 7 as well as Pakistan Hash for 9. Some were marked as indica which is more of a sedative body stone and good for pain, and others sativa which can give you energy and stimulate appetite and is more of a high. Gordon knew both were good for nausea and knew the sativa would allow him to do the dishes and cook dinner as well as give him appetite and indica would be good for night and sleeping.

Slipping through the purple curtains when his number was called Gordon was greeted by silly, funny, Jill with the ring in her nose, who's always quick with a laugh but is damn serious when it comes to getting the best available for the members.

"Hows it going there? Gordon will be having the master Kush I bet!" she laughs.

"A gram of that and a gram of cherazz," Gordon complies. The samples are all displayed in little bottles for smell and touch before him.

"You do have a baggy? Of course you do. Gordon always has a baggy," Marcel quips as he's weighing it up exactly on the scales.

Jill takes the money gives change and puts it in cash register as Gordon signs the members' record.

"May I have a rolling paper please," Gordon asks politely.

"Always," says marcel stripping one off. "Don't forget to go to the members meeting. I didn't see you at the last one."

Gordon slips out of the curtains, to the relief of those still waiting in chairs, and separates the thick heavy curtains of the smoking room. Inside the well lit room the stereo is playing classic rock tunes and member #1 is sitting at table across from the Spanish dude who's examining the chess board. Gordon seats himself at the coffee table and asks the East Indian lady for her scissors so he can roll up the tight dark green bud which is riddled with fine red hairs and has aroma of a primordial forest. The resident philosopher has taken up the big comfy chair and is proposing an Internet site where people can petition their government for legalisation.

"Not a bad idea," says member #1. "But we cant even get people to make it to the meetings. What we need is some people who are going to get off their ass and do something."

Just then the curtains parted and the tall blond guy rolls in a chair, with their old buddy, who though he is now staying in a hospice, still wanted to come out and be with his friends. He is still the life of the party. He gestures for his other friend with the green, green, eyes, to roll a joint for him as he has lost control of his limbs, and nods for it to be passed to Gordon. The guy with the cane comes in and rolls some indica, he is really in pain, and every movement stiff. Then suddenly the Reki Massage lady and the Herbalist come looking for their twelve o'clock appointments.

Gordon rousts himself from the intimacy of the small group and after checking the free clothes bin headed for the front doors. There sitting on the window sill, intent upon reading through some papers, is David Malmo Levine, whom Gordon had seen making a speech at the Cannabis Day rally. The young activist is facing trafficking charges yet continues to work for the cause busying himself with writing and getting the message out that we need not have this 'reefer madness' mentality.

"The war on drugs should not even be against us! Here is a harmless herb, a weed, even, that's bringing so much relief in a myriad of different ways," Gordon considered to himself. "People, some people, are standing up to be counted, fighting stigma and taking the risk for those too lame to stand up for themselves." Gordon had to stop to ask to shake David's hand.

As he got on the bus going back he knew that he was going to be alright, that the compassion club was going to be there, that he didn't have to be ill anymore, and that he had friends.

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