Giant Robot Store and GR2 News

“I’ve got prostate cancer, and I’m treating it with hemp oil, with cannabis,” he told CNN’s Don Lemon. “So (legalizing marijuana) means a lot more to me than just being able to smoke a joint without being arrested.” The article makes no mention of any other treatments but surely he’s also getting some type of other treatments. (CNN – Chong)
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(Art by spoon+fork.) The Jersey newspapers usually run national news in the front sections.  Apart from high-school sports and construction kickback busts, there was almost never any local news. Mr. Angrywall made the front covers of every newspaper that they let me have in my holding cell.  Only his name wasn’t “Angrywall.”  It was “Aggarwal.” He had been growing several different kinds of marijuana in a few of the rooms on the top floor.  Some varieties were new to the law-enforcement community. Which included James O’Keefe.  Turns out that wasn’t his real name.  His real name was Shawn Johnson.  He was a detective with the Narcotics Central Unit of the state.  I found out later that they had put Johnson on me because I was evaluated to be the most at risk of recidivism.  They wanted to see whom I would go to for more pot. My court-appointed lawyer was a joke.  He was a nervous Oriental guy named Chuck Shu. Yeah, I’m not kidding. He encouraged me to “remember” some sort of story of how I saw Howard regularly get pot from Mr. Angrywall. “Better yet,” he said, “say you went with Howard to buy pot from Mr. Aggarwal.” “Chuck,” I told him, “I didn’t see shit.  I have no idea where Howard got his pot from.” “You’ve been apprehended in another drug-related crime, Sean.  Under your prior conviction, that’s an, ah, automatic three-year sentence.” “So you want me to lie?” “Oh, no, no, no — don’t lie.  But think harder.  You might have forgotten.  It could be suppressed deep down.  If you can remember a certain scenario, and testify against Mr. Aggarwal, I can probably get you an immunity deal.” “That means no time at all for me?” “Yes.  It could even make you a local hero.  Mr. Aggarwal was found to have an extraordinary amount of marijuana plants and, ah, associated paraphernalia.” “What kind of sentence is Mr. Angrywall looking at?” “Probably 20 to 25 years.  Ultimately, it could be reduced to 10, I think.” “They wouldn’t deport him to India?” “He’s a naturalized American citizen.  They won’t deport him.  Can’t, in fact.” “What about Mrs. Angrywall?” “Mrs. Aggarwal hasn’t been charged.” “What’s going to happen to her?” “I guess she’ll be visiting her husband on the weekends, heh.”   In my holding cell, I got back into reading, but not books.  They let me have newspapers every day with the classified sections and personal ads left out. They were saying Mr. Aggarwal may have been the sole source of the strong marijuana that was going around grade schools in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. An editorial in the Asbury Park Press said that “Raj Aggarwal should have used his knowledge and intelligence for good, not evil.” Some Indian kids had been beaten in school.  One badly enough to be hospitalized. The hotel and hamburger stand were both closed by the Shore Points sheriff. They said that my role in the whole thing was as of yet unclear....
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(Art by spoon+fork.) Howard didn’t bother to show up to work on Tuesday.  Didn’t get a phone call, either. I wasn’t surprised.  It was just a matter of time before this would happen.  He’d been saying he’d be there for years, but losing the laptop probably soured that fucker.  He had enough money, anyway. Based on my years of working down at the shore, the people who show up late keep showing up late the whole summer, if they don’t get fired.  That kind of worker doesn’t have the initiative to find another job or to muster enough courage to quit. The diligent ones, the people who show up on time, are the ones who leave for good.  No two-week notice.  Their phone number and address aren’t good anymore.  Any personal stuff they had at the job was already brought home over time.  That’s quitting Jersey style. So Howard actually broke the mold — he was the slacker who actually quit. I was ready for my break in the afternoon when I realized I might not be able to take one.  The lock was in bad shape and I didn’t feel like jiggling my key in it for five minutes so I dragged a chair outside and propped it against the closed door behind me. I stepped into the hotel office. “Howard didn’t call here, did he?” I asked Mrs. Angrywall. “Nobody’s called all day,” she said, crossing her arms and slouching lower in her seat. “He didn’t come in today.” “And I’m certain you miss him deeply.” I scratched behind my right ear and said, “You know, if he quit, that means no more, ah, smoking.” Her eyebrows rose. “I see. . .” she said. “It’s probably for the best.  Every time I lit up, I was putting myself at risk for serious bodily harm from O’Keefe.  He’d probably get you locked up, too. Anyway it’s way too risky for me to find another dealer.” “It’s a shame.  I truly enjoyed our time smoking together.  Are you still able to get away for breaks?” “I don’t know.  I better call Michael Conti.” “Smoke backy?” “Huh?” “Er, regular cigarettes.  Do you smoke them?” “Sure I do.  It’s like drinking soda instead of booze, though.” “This situation calls for a carton.  I’m off to the 7-11.  I’ll meet you back at your stand.” I went back to the hamburger stand, found the phone number on a fridge magnet and called Michael Conti, my boss whom I had never actually met. Someone who sounded as sleepy and unconcerned as Howard answered the phone.  I had to wait a while as he went to find Michael. A deeper voice then said, “Yeah?” “Michael?” “Yeah?” “This is Sean, at the hamburger stand in Shore Points.” “Yeah, the pothead.” “That’s me.” “Is something the matter?” “Howard didn’t show up today.” “So spank him when you see him.” “It would be a little tough working here by myself.  I can’t do a good job when it’s...
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(Art by spoon+fork.)

The only reason Mrs. Angrywall came fishing with me was because I promised her we would throw all the fish back, even the ones good enough for keepers.

We went out on a cloudy Monday afternoon to Island Beach State Park, pretty close to where I had hooked the squirrel.  When I was a kid, it seemed to take forever to bike there.  Now it was just a 30-minute walk.  Usually the best time to catch kingfish was dawn or dusk, but when it’s overcast or storming, they bite all day.

I bought some sandworms from a bait shack and had selected the two most innocent-looking hooks.  I bet those hooks couldn’t pierce the rough patch on my right heel.

Now I was really glad I hadn’t asked Howard to go fishing.  I had enough of his ass, six days a week.  But I hadn’t had enough of Mrs. Angrywall’s ass.

There’s something very innocent about walking with a woman when you’re each holding a fishing rod, even when you think she’s more attractive every time you see her.  What hidden intentions could you have? You have someplace to go and your purpose is clear: fishing.

It’s not like you’re sitting in a bar, spinning a wet coaster on its edge and wondering how many more drinks it’s going to take.

Mrs. Angrywall had found the center of balance on the rod and carried it daintily, as if about to twirl it like a baton.

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(Art by spoon+fork.) I used to love fishing.  I never got so deep into it that I would make my own flies or drift live bait in the water.  I was a sandworms-and-frozen-spearing kinda kid. It’s true what I told O’Keefe that I gave up on the filleting jobs on boats because they started making me nauseous.  But it was something else that stopped me from fishing altogether, and why the thought of baiting a hook made me feel sick for years. I really wasn’t thinking the day that it happened.  That’s my defense.  You can think fishing is fun because when you have a fish with a hook through its cheek, you don’t hear it scream.  Other animals are different. I went fishing at Island Beach Park, on the surf, with Al Lombardi.  We were about 14 or so.  Al was a guy who later got put into private school so this was one of the last times I ever saw him. I had a sandwich bag of sandworms packed in seaweed to keep them lively.  Sandworms would be scary if they were bigger.  They have two fringes of hundreds of feelers on either side of their body.  Those feelers would wriggle around a lot, especially when you cut up the worm to bait on your hook. Al brought a small pile of corn kernels from a can.  What the hell are you going to catch with corn kernels?  Nothing.  I let him use my worms.  I had to cut them for him, too, because he was such a pussy. We were trying to get kingfish.  Despite its name, the kingfish is actually pretty small and only weighs a pound or so.  Bluefish and sea bass were made by God to be caught by men.  The kingfish was made to be caught by kids. For whatever reason, nothing was biting that day.  No kingfish, anyway.  But we were pretty close to a cluster of evergreen trees and a squirrel was running in, stuffing his mouth with Al’s useless corn and then scurrying away with it.  He came back to refill a few times. For a joke, I stuck a kernel on my hook and put it in the middle of the corn pile.  I didn’t think the squirrel was actually going to take the bait.  He could see it, couldn’t he? Suddenly my line jerked.  The squirrel was rolling and flopping around.  It was screaming, too, like a mother bird when you’re too close to its nest.  I didn’t know squirrels could be so loud. I was scared and I couldn’t move. “What the fuck did you do?” cried Al.  He ran over and grabbed the squirrel.  He managed to get the hook out and released the squirrel.  Al’s hand was bleeding where he had been bitten and scratched.  I knew then he was way braver than I ever was. The squirrel ran off about 20 feet.  It stood up, turned its back to me and stroked its face....
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