Bobby dances with the Green Fairy in Barcelona.
I’m in Barcelona, and I’m alone. Alone in a foreign-tongued city for five days. Alone because Zena and Merilee—the other two members of the “Three Sixes,” as we’ve taken to referring to ourselves—have, after coming here with me following the Cannabis Cup, left after only two days. Alone because the romantic getaway I’d originally planned for the remainder of the week with Verena—a pierced Viennese hottie I’d hooked up with in Amsterdam—evaporated like a smear of bubble hash under the tongue of a blue flame. She’d called to cancel the night the Sixes left: not enough money for the ticket, can’t get out of work, so sorry….
Fuck it. I pour out another shot of absinthe (see page 18), light it up and stir in the sugar. The concoction slides down my throat like hot green gasoline—a sweet, burning river of hallucinatory bliss. To think—this beverage, considered so dangerous that it’s banned in the US, is sold over here on supermarket shelves next to the bottled water. I’ve collected several different varieties during the past week, and now, on my last night in Catalunya, have locked myself in my hostel room with this harem of bottled muses, swearing not to leave until I craft a story worthy enough to bring back to the magazine. Problem is, I haven’t really done much worth writing about since I got here. I spent the past few days alternately getting lost, missing trains, wandering aimlessly through the small sections of the city I was already somewhat familiar with or agoraphobically sequestered in my room.
So I sit alone, sweating feverishly, overlooking an ancient Roman wall in the Gothic quarter, as this darkened hostel room fills with the mingled smokes of white sage, black candles and Moroccan hashish I smuggled over from Amsterdam. I sip the hash slowly from my thin glass pipe and chase it with absinthe—staring intently at the back of my eyelids, at the pregnant black void of consciousness, waiting for something to appear, something to happen, some idea or icon to be born of this mysterious and frightening simplicity, determined to draw from that same well of absinthean inspiration once tapped by the poetic greats of Le Belle Epoch.
And then I see it: a tiny green light…glowing, growing, flittering and floating…until finally she appears before me—the fabled Green Fairy, garbed in a tight, ballerina-like mini-dress and high-heeled boots, her winged, phosphorescent form of erotic emerald shining seductively before me like a pornographic firefly. She whispers something to me in French, and though I can’t understand her words, I don’t need to. She takes up my arms, places them around her waist and off we go—gliding out onto the balcony and up into the twilit sky within a streak of warm green mist as dawn begins to break…