I Confess to Enjoying the Shame of our Brother, Mr. Nip

Zachary Weber, University of Houston

I watched Joseph sell catnip to some skater-boy freshman
who asked for pot in between stutters.
     And he smoked it.
I was seventeen and riding shotgun
     in the Honda Fit that scooped up this young client
at the promised time, for a slow business-lap
through the neighborhood, while children performed
     rain dances around lawn sprinklers
and responsible adults melted slowly into the distance.

     I still have trouble
pinpointing what I enjoyed so much about this— it wasn’t
     his reflection wavering on Joseph’s aviator sunglasses,
as he ad-libbed a salespitch for the master strain
     which was essentially a vial of dehydrated leaves
     and plantmatter from Petland,
nor was it the steaming mound of stir-fry we ordered at Khan’s
     Mongolian Grill on 2nd and Nolana, as two
Swiss Army Knives of hustling, now
     a whopping 40 dollars wealthier—

and it certainly wasn’t the fact that our entire student body
     was consumed by the wildfire this story ignited—
     one that spread through the congested hallways like a fever
between the outlines of teenage boys crippled with laughter
     as Joseph, now at the center of the universe, pointed
the kid out and shouted ‘nip!’— a nickname
that forced him to transfer to another school,
     one that foamed at the mouth to receive him,
though some say he was lucky
to be remembered at all.

Zach Weber is a writer and musician attending the University of Houston, where he studies creative writing. He is currently the Reviews editor for Glass Mountain, and his work has appeared in The Aletheia, and Silver Birch Press.



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