Noble X — Episode 17: Brothers
SEVERAL TRIALS IN, the Johnny Appleseed of Weed slides into the revolving door. He has handed out quite a few gifts today to strangers on the street. Love buds and lottery tickets. Stepping on the escalator, he visualizes the positive vibrations he is creating, many ripples of positive charges emanating outward from the souls connected today, looking out over the seething mass of shoppers. Perhaps he has done enough good today. He is extremely riled up and reminds himself that the longer he carries on, the greater the risk. Checking his phone, he smiles. It’s almost time to meet Thomas. He steps off, turns around and hops right back on, going down, calling his brother.
Being brothers, Thomas and John know each other extremely well. They’ve helped each other through every imaginable trial and tribulation. Thomas has been feeling increasingly uneasy about his brother and how different he has been this past week. He had a bad feeling last night when John couldn’t stop ranting and raving, but had allowed himself instead to be swept up in the energy of the group. There was no denying that they all felt inspired spending this time together. But once he’d returned home, he had felt bad about encouraging John, about not saying anything. Something just didn’t feel right. But all he can think to do is to keep close to John, to keep an eye on him. He isn’t currently hurting anyone.
“Hey buddy, I’m here.” Thomas tells him he’ll be right up. Meeting in the lobby, Thomas approaches John with a surprised look on his face. “You good? Looking a little crazy, dude,” gesturing at the mismatched ensemble. John just smiles, rubbing his beard, letting a couple giggles slip out. Thomas shakes his head a little, allowing himself to laugh too. John looks ridiculous. “C’mon,” Thomas says as he pats John on the back, stepping outside into the slush, and lighting a cigarette. John bums one, lights it, and takes a deep draw, exhaling through his nose like a dragon, as the sun melts the snow on the buildings around them. Thomas walks to the intersection and points around the corner at the loading dock where they would load up the lights. “Meet you there in ten,” Thomas says, stomping out his cigarette and ducking back inside. John flicks his into the street as he walks around the block to get his car.
Pulling up ten minutes later with his hazards on, John parks and hops out to help load the lights. With the lights loaded, they both hop in the car and head back toward Lake Shore Drive. As they drive, Thomas pushes the hazards button on the dash. John turns them back on. “Why are you driving with your hazards on?”
Carefully merging into the flow of traffic, John states simply as if talking about the weather, “I am slightly a hazard right now. I know that I’m not well and I want to communicate non-verbally to the other drivers on the road that I am a hazard.”
Thomas is stunned by this. At a loss of what to say in response, he utters, “Do you want me to drive?”
John shakes his head. “It’s all good. I’m going the exact posted speed limit,” indicating his use of the cruise control. Thomas is both bewildered and intrigued.
Back at John’s apartment, they unload the lights and set them up. The stage is set with time to spare. John reaches into his pockets at the same time, producing both a love bud in his left hand and a scratch-off lottery ticket in his right. “Here you go, bro. I hope you win. And if you do, just make sure you do something good with it. And the bud, well that’s for love.” He tells Thomas about what he was doing before he picked up the lights. Thomas isn’t sure if John is serious or not. John notes this reaction and decides to move on, quickly changing the subject, “Let’s prep some snacks for the party, eh?”
Thomas agrees, trying to come off as casual. He is on high alert though. He will watch his brother closely tonight. Maybe Colin and Anthony will have some ideas, he thinks to himself helplessly.
THEY ARRIVE A COUPLE HOURS LATER, Anthony with loads of beer and Colin with loads of cheap wine to share with the party guests, as planned. Snacks are set out. The projector, still in place from the previous night, is switched on. All Captains accounted for, except for the founder of the Noble Experiment, Paul. He will arrive later. Standing in the kitchen, watching the hypnotic projection Colin has created, John hands out clipboards to all of them with a stack of Post-its and a pen tucked in the top.
“Document all the absurdities, the memorable quotations, musings, sparks. Draw pictures. Make books of them. Whatever you feel. Cover the walls if you must."
The doorbell rings and the first of the musicians set to perform begin arriving. The weather has turned again. Roger Silvan brushes a slight dusting of snow off of his shoulders and his guitar case as he enters. He has brought his girlfriend Molly. John welcomes them with big hugs, immediately offering to take their coats, to get them drinks, to have some snacks, all in blur of words and gestures, disappearing to drop their coats on the bed in the guest room. As he passes the red duffle on the floor, he bends down, clicks the bike light twice to blinking mode, and heads to the kitchen to get his guests drinks.
Moments later, the duo of Kelly and Kristen arrive. John swirls around again, same welcome, same hugs, coats, and drinks. People begin settling in, imbibing. Soon party guests will begin to arrive for the performances. There is so much excitement, building in the air like so much static electricity, and they all wait for the clock to strike seven.
Stay tuned for Episode 18.
Links to previous episodes: