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    Had more sense. Whether his neighbors were cool or Essay

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    not was notreally the point; Derek was a private person and did not like tofeel that his comings, goings, and doings were known to justanyone.

    Oddly enough, Derek could justify the volume of hismusic because it served to mask his personal actions. He lookedat Arthur who was eyeing him, fists on hips, with a sardonicgrin. Derek ignored it. “You want some?” he said.

    It was moreof a statement than a question; Arthur was an avid smoker of “theHerb”. “Sure, if you haven’t already smoked it all. ” Arthur wastrying to joke, but Derek suddenly did not feel like responding. He was vaguely aware that he was not being very friendly, butArthur’s exhuberance was suddenly bothering him. Only a coupleof minutes ago Derek felt excited about Arthur. But now Arthur’senergy, as much of it as there was, seemed stale.

    Derek disappeared into his darkened bedroom and pretended toroot around, trying to clear his head. I’m just being moody, hethought. I can’t relate to him ’cause he’s not stoned. . .

    yet!Derek soon emerged carrying a bag of green powder and a packet ofrolling papers. He did not look at Arthur, but went into thelivingroom and turned on the lamp in the corner. He left thecandle burning and turned down the music a touch. Then he setabout rolling a joint.

    Arthur surveyed Derek’s livingroom with his permanentlycurious eye. It was rather bare: there were only a few printshanging up to take away the starkness of the white walls, and thefurniture was limited to a coffee table, a few chairs and abeanbag scattered over the cheap indoor/outdoor carpeting on thefloor. Hasn’t changed since the last time I was here, hethought. Arthur liked to spend a lot of time making his place ashomey as possible.

    When he saw the lighted candle, Arthur raisedan eyebrow, and he began to wonder. To Arthur, the use of marijuana was a social thing, anexperience to be shared with others. He did not understand howDerek could sit all by himself in the dark, alone with hisswirling and scattered thoughts. That was because, though hewould never have admitted it, Arthur was afraid of his thoughts. Despite his boisterous, energetic and positive front, deep downArthur did not trust himself, and his thoughts and desires oftenhaunted him.

    He tried to drown them out with constant movementand action, and the idea that Derek was doing what he dared notdo made him worried. He did not realize that Derek was even moreuncomfortable among his peers, when stoned, than when he wasalone. Arthur crossed the room and turned down the music so hecould talk to his friend. He was trying to think of what to sayto get Derek to leave with him, to get out of these oppressivesurroundings. “So what’s new, Bud?” he asked.

    Derek did not look up fromthe floor where he was carefully rolling the joint. “Not much,” he said in an uncommunicative tone. Derek heldthe joint up to the light and eyed his handiwork critically. Satisfied, he set about rolling another.

    He was preparing to bein a better mood, but he wanted a few moments to think aboutsomething else entirely. Arthur, knowing his friend well,recognized this and kept silent. Scanning the room he noticed apencil and notepad on the coffee table in front of him. Curiousas always, Arthur reached for it and saw that it was covered withwandering doodles and almost illegible scrawls.

    Derek was aware of Arthur’s movements. He said nothing, butwondered what Arthur would say, and waited in anticipation. Often when high Derek would try to write down some of the randomthoughts which occured to him, thoughts which at the time seemedlike indisputable Truth. He took his time rolling the joint andcleaned up thoroughly afterwords. Then he carefully re-rolledhis bag of pot and sat back watching Arthur’s expressions as heread.

    Unfortunately for Derek, Arthur’s face remained impassiveand he finally threw the notepad down without a comment. Derekwas disappointed and stared at his friend, feeling lost. He hadthought that the few lines he had scrawled were quite good, andhe wondered that Arthur could remain unmoved by them. Not that this was anything new.

    Derek often felt frustratedby what he saw as the insensitivity of others to what heconsidered Truth. Statements like “The Oneness of All”, were tooeasily seen as being corny,

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