A Meeting Of The Minds

D.C. Councilman Marion Barry, our city’s notorious former mayor, received a kidney transplant Friday at Howard University Hospital. We wish him a speedy recovery.

As a younger man in college, I once smoked crack with the only black man in central Vermont.

After our shift ends at the restaurant, I give him a ride home to the apartment he shares in a yellow duplex, a house sitting only feet from the two-lane rural highway. Inside, the surprisingly clean and smart décor gives way to a roommate—Chad—sleeping on the living room couch. In the Midwest, it’s called a sofa. And the roommate is named Phil. But it doesn’t matter. We speak in soft voices and grab a couple of ales from the fridge—Magic Hat, a beer “cloaked in secrecy.” Not quite a pale ale. But close.

After I describe my “relationship” with a pretty young blonde, the man tells me about his girlfriend—and of the arrangement they have. “I told that woman, ‘I don’t care what you do on your own but don’t bring any niggas back here to my bed.’”

Short and wiry, he looks like the type to attract large, heavier women—dominant. “So, when it happens, I beat the shit out of him; I mean, what would you do?”

Taking some bud from my pocket, which I then granulate and smooth into my metal pipe, I allow that I would do the same. The man leans back in his armchair, legs straight, reaching into his pants pocket with weathered hands, lighter on the inside, to withdraw a small, crinkled bag, filled with white.

We exchange pipes.


  1. No, but I once took a writing seminar there. Great place.

  2. I predict a complete recovery. Mr Barry seems to have more lives than a cat. M@ Crack? Wait, did that sound judgmental?

  3. In Vermont, it's called a creemee.