Her name is Ally Crystal Elridge. She’s knows to have the best pot, pot that is better than any other student’s stash. She always has KB. Kind Bud. Smooth. Delicious. None of that cheap skunk shit I always smoke. We call her ACE when we are allowed to, when we get to know her better, when she finally remembers our names. She only allows her friends to call her ACE. So we feel special when she finally allows for those three letters to form a word on our tongues, her word, her nick-name ACE.
She has short platinum hair and funky green eyeglass frames. Her and her best friend Mandy are queen of the pot heads. ACE even more so. They live in apartment buildings directly across from each other, each of them on the second floor and their front doors face each other. So instead of having to walk down one flight of stairs and then up the other flight in order to get each other’s attention, they throw pennies at each other’s door. A large collection of them dots the landing outside of their doors.
They are seniors. We are freshman. They live in fancy well-decorated one bedroom apartments that their parents pay for. We live in the dorms. They have their new VW Jettas with sunroofs. We have our cars that are almost as old as we are.
ACE knows this, is aware of these dynamics. She acts on them. She believes herself to be more mature, more smarter, more better. When we are lucky enough to be invited over, we sit on her large black leather couch listening to Pink Floyd and smoking a bowl.
ACE goes to the Chili’s restaurant in town quite frequently to eat fajitas and drink Presidential Cocktails. She always orders something that requires for it to be brought out on a hot skillet with a little oven-mitt pouch covering the hot handle. She steals these pouches every time she goes. They are the perfect size for any one of her glass pipes from her large collection of them to fit inside.
We feel honored when we are invited over, when we are allowed to hang out with The Big Kids. And even though we feel blessed to be in ACE’s presence, we all think she is a bitch. Stuck up, silver spoon-fed, better than-thou-bitch.
But no one will admit this.
Aside from ACE’s apartment, there are other off-campus hot spots to smoke pot. The Olive House. The Green House. The Blue House. The Farmhouse. And directly across the street from our university, the large white house known as 1304.
Ex-Tri Delts, like ACE, live there. They are the girls who thought joining a sorority would make them popular, but soon realized they feel better, funner, freer to be pot heads, to be drunks. Away they go from the sororities, and into the large Southwestern sub-culture (which is actually not that much of a sub-culture, but very much so a popula-culture) of druggies and drunks they go.
- A huge house with constant kegs, and with glass pipes that are continuously filled with a freshly packed bowl.
We are at a party at 1304. ACE is there and is pissing every one of us freshman off, because she is dictating who gets to go into one of the bedrooms with her a smoke. This pisses us of, because we are not chosen, yet we still hold out hope. Still want to be accepted even though we know this situation is ridiculous.
At some point in the night I must have drunk-dialed my best friend Sabrina, a woman who does not go to school here but lives nearby, and told her where I was at, because her truck is now pulling up. She parks it in the yard.
She is as drunk as we are. And, like us, she is also not stoned. We have yet to be invited into The Room.
I stand in the yard with Sabrina, smoking cigarettes with her and quietly ranting to her about how ACE hasn’t picked me yet to get high with her.
“What the fuck? You have to be ‘picked’?” Sabrina does not like this. She has hung out with ACE before, and so she knows what a righteous bitch ACE really is. ACE has even questioned if Sabrina can be there, since she’s not one of “us”–not one of the almighty Southwestern students.
Sabrina does not like her. None of us really do. And none of us will say this, will face something in which the consequences of it would be a shunning from ACE. Social suicide.
A few minutes after Sabrina’s arrival, ACE and her top-notch friends emerge from the VIP room and come outside to stare up at the stars with their stoned eyes.
ACE begins flocking among the groups. The queen bee checking in on her hives.
When she walks over to Sabrina and I, she does not have a chance to say hello, because Sabrina looks at her and says, “Everyone thinks you’re a bitch.”
Then she walks to her truck.
Then she tears through the grass and off the curb and drives away.
And while I didn’t think it was possible, I love Sabrina just a little bit more that day.
Chelsey Clammer received her MA in Women’s Studies from Loyola University Chicago. She has been published in THIS, The Rumpus, Atticus Review, Sleet, The Coachella Review and Make/shift among many others. She received the Nonfiction Editor’s Pick Award 2012 from both Revolution House and Cobalt, as well as a Pushcart Prize nomination. She is currently finishing up a collection of essays about finding the concept of home in the body, as well as a memoir about sexuality and mental illness. You can read more of her writing at: www.chelseyclammer.com.