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just a picture of a cloud
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"Succeeding in hugging someone ain't exactly a triumph, Darius. It ain't exactly the fucking Olympics, yeah? The retarded neighbour kid goes round hugging shit non stop. Nothing against her or anything, but it's maybe not something to be bragging about, yeah?"

Johnny cracked open one of what were apparently Darius' beers and handed it to the boy, to keep things cordial. There was another on the ground a couple of feet away, and Johnny opened it for himself, then took it a swig. It'd been too close to the fire, for too long, and the beer was the temperature of dishwater.

"No offense intended, of course. I'm sure your hugging is just magnificent."

Darius was right about one thing though, and that was how much nicer a guitar would have made the proceedings. Johnny didn't play himself, but he listened to plenty of acoustic music. He couldn't imagine his tastes and Darius' overlapped much, but then people could surprise you, he supposed, and even if Darius played exactly the sort of poppy shit that Johnny was pretty sure he would, music of any sort brought people closer together.

Johnny put down the beer, twisting the base of the can against the dirt to burrow it in, and make sure it didn't fall over. He pulled a battered paperback - Agatha Christie's Cat Among the Pigeons- from the waistband of his jeans, and placed it on his lap. Johnny had a fondness for mysteries. He didn't read them so much, he wasn't a big reader, but he'd seen his share on TV, and he liked how they went. This one was extra mysterious, since all of the pages were glued together, and hole the size of a pack of cards, and about half as thick, had been carved out of the middle. Johnny took his weed and his papers out of the hole and began to roll.

Had he been more organized Johnny would have rolled in advance, but coming here was something of a spur of a moment decision. Still, Johnny wasn't worried about being seen doing this. Nobody was watching who would care, and even if they did, what would happen? It wasn't like he had a reputation to protect. Shit, the fact that it was just weed he was smoking might even raise him up, in their estimation.

He tore a strip of card from his papers, roughly 3 inches long and an inch wide. Johnny made a little "s" shape at the end of it, then rolled the rest around it and around it, until he had a tight cylinder. He licked one his papers and wrapped it around the roach to hold it in place, then tore off all the paper that overlapped.

Next he took out two more papers. He folded one in half lengthwise, then smoothed it out against the book. The other he licked, and attached to the narrow end of the first so that they formed an "L" shape, with the base of the L protruding off the sticky side of the paper. He placed the roach in the other end, at the top of the L, and then opened the bag of weed and sprinkled it along the crease in the paper.

The weed was pre-ground, because fuck carrying a grinder round, right?

Johnny tore the end off of one of his cigarettes and then pulled off some minty tobacco, about a third the length of the cigarette. He placed this into the spliff as well, layering it on top of the weed. Once he was satisfied with how the ingredients were distributed, Johnny picked it up by the ends and began to rub his thumbs and forefingers against each other - like the gesture for "money" - up and down the length of the spliff, until everything inside was nicely rolled.

He licked along the top of the paper, where you're meant to, and then rolled it together. The base of the L he wrapped around and around on itself, and then twisted it together to form an enclosed end. The result wasn't pretty. Johnny's spliffs were loose and ugly, they always had been. He'd seen other kids around the park roll spliffs you couldn't distinguish from cigarettes at a distance, and roll them without using a surface to work on, either; roll them while walking even. He'd thought he'd be that good eventually, but Johnny's never seemed to improve.

Well, they were just as effective.

Someone called out to Johnny. He couldn't tell who, but he thought it might've been one of the queers, as he was almost certain there was a definite lilt to the voice. He pretended not to have heard them, whoever they were. Instead he took a final paper and wrapped it tightly around the outside of his spliff, before sealing it on. The extra paper meant the outside burned a little faster, but having it tighter was worth it: it was that much easier to smoke, and considerably less likely to fall apart.

Johnny dusted the scraps of weed and tobacco that littered the front of the book into the bag of weed, then placed that and the papers back inside the book.

Finished, he lifted up his handiwork and gave it an appraising eye. It wasn't too bad, not too bad at all.

Junko was looking at him, he noticed, and he raised an eyebrow and gave her a grin, baring his appalling teeth.



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I Know What My Fortune Is · After the Dance