Spring, 1986... 'tis springtime, and all thoughts turn to... MDMA. I'd been gone for quite a while, and, in my absence, the town had acquired a Twilight Zone feel. I kept getting asked the same question, wherever I went...

Friend, acquaintance, old co-worker or classmate: "Got any ecstasy?"
Me: "No, not on me."

Or...

"Do you know anybody who has some..."
"Ecstasy?"
"Yeah."
"No."

The New Drug in Town. Everybody wants it. I got tired of the questions, and decided to, for a month or so, sell the stuff. No problem: I lived in a neighborhood that was a convenience store of pharmacopoeia. I'd get my hits of blotter from the guitarist in my old band, who lived three buildings down from me in the apartment complex; my hits of ecstasy (the few that I'd had) came from some of my aspiring-junkie friends two buildings away. Step outside the complex, walk to the corner, hang a right, and a friend of the guitarist in my subsequent band sold some excellent home-grown weed, as did a cop of my acquaintance. Yet the aspiring junkies drove several miles into the next town to score their heroin. NIMBY.

So I become a temporary non-profit ecstasy retailer, selling only to my roommate and to a few other trusted individuals. All on one condition: "Don't ask me again to get you some ecstasy." The logistics of our outside activities (college classes, bands, jobs, shooting up...) prevents this from being a slam dunk. It is made known to the appropriate neighbors that I require such-and-such amount; I am relayed the price. After further haggling-via-surrogates, the time and date are arranged.

Cool. I drop in at the appointed late-night hour. They're a bunch of fine, funny, intelligent folks, and the only ones who like Billie Holiday; even though I played in rock bands, I was pretty much sick of the music at this point. To just kick back, hang out, and listen to "Mandy is Two" or "Strange Fruit" is like manna in this demimonde where most folks break out the bong and say "Put on some Cure, man!"

But it's eventually time to go: one guy's band is leaving for Athens to resume touring; another has to get back to school, ninety miles away. I purchase my bag of white powder and walk back to my apartment.

I don't know how you young whippersnappers consume the stuff nowadays, but at this time, we put the doses (in the aforementioned powder form) into capsules. My roommate, eager to use his hits to aid in the seduction of some high-school boys, had bought me an overkill-amount of clear capsules to use. I open the bag, taste a little of the powder (an oddly pleasing semi-bitterness) out of kneejerk caveat emptorism, and commence the weighing and packing. I'm done within the hour, but am feeling a little euphoric; I collect the scattered dregs of the bag onto my index finger and consume it, even though I'd sworn off the stuff. I wash the taste out of my mouth with some papaya juice.

The merchandise is dispensed - round two of this took place later in the month. All were, apparently, pleased. A waiter at one of the restaurants, an ex-Marine, a fairly disciplined type, took his hit before work; he had to go home halfway through his shift due to becoming a grinning heap of bonhomie in the kitchen. My roommate ordered me out of the apartment for the Friday of his get-together. Great - I'm not much of a fan of loud metal or of rasslin' gossip (their fave pastimes), and I didn't want to be around to see the trainwreck of his amorous folly; his adolescent pals weren't about to suddenly turn into drug-induced gay metalheads.

Ecstasy quickly became more available around town; I was no longer asked The Question. The campus newspaper had an article about ecstasy use at some fraternities, so it's now mainstream. My aspiring-junkie friends and I poured a large amount of the white powder into the town's water supply - a fun time was had by thousands. Mission accomplished. I returned to my regular gig as mayor of Casterbridge.

Harcourt Fenton Mudd, at your service.

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