We Used to be Drug Dealers


Ethan: This is the story about when we hit rock bottom. It’s about love. It’s about hardships. It’s about the struggle to survive… …and it’s about a red bell pepper. But most importantly, it’s about the one thing that saved our relationship. So this story begins 8 years ago Hila had just packed up her life essentially, she had just finished the Army. And she said to her family, who is very conservative, very protective of her “Fuck it, I’m gonna go move across the ocean. And live in, move in with this guy I’ve only spoken to on Skype who you don’t know anything about. I’m gonna pick up everything and go move to California.” Well in Israel a lot of people when they have finished in the Army wanna go like clear their minds or something. So they save up as much as they can and they all usually go for like a long trip somewhere, like South America. – Right. So I decided to just come here. So your- your world trip was “come move in with some fucking weirdo from the internet.” I bought the ticket anyway
-Right
and usually when my dad says no, it’s no Ya’know – That’s the kind of household it is.
-Yeah. I remember when your brother first dropped you off, I was lingi- living in Santa Cruz, California, which is a college town, I went to school there. UCSC, which is this surfer stoner fucking grateful dead kinda vibe. And at the time I think I had like $1000 in my bank account. Hila you had a thou- you came with like a thousand bucks or something. Hila being a– she only had a travel visa so she wasn’t allowed to open a bank account. So from pretty much the first week. I was just like, well do you wanna put it in my bank account? I fuh– I’m not gonna lie I thought about going to Mexico with her thousand bucks dude, that was as richest I had ever been. From the beginning we both had nothing what-what little we had we shared in the same bank account out of just straight necessity. And I think we were teamed up, from that first minute we were fucking– we were like teamed up boii Santa Cruz was the perfect setting for our relationship to begin. It was a beautiful little beach town and then on the other side there was a forest. It was a small big town. You could walk or bike to wherever you wanted to go. But you could also into the car and drive out a little bit. There was always something to explore and discover And we often found ourselves just riding our bikes or walking around town looking for something new. We fell in love in this city! But sadly, the city also had its problems. The year was 2009- the economy was really bad. And not only that but we were in a small college town. There was a ton of young kids and they were all desperate for work. I remember th-th-the moment that sticks out to me the most is when we went to a yogurt shop. Just some random fucking hole in the wall yogurt shop And Hila hands them her resume and the dude there is like “I could take your resume but-” and he pulls out a stack from under the table probably 200 And he says “I could take your resume, but to be honest we have got 200 just in the past 3 days.” It was pretty shocking that it could be so hard to find just some shitty job. I don’t know, coming from Israel if you wanna get a job, at least with my experience, the next day you can start working somewhere yeah-

like it is that easy especially as a waiter like, you can find easily. I would to go ten restaurants in a day riding my bike boom boom boom come back just fucking completely demoralised. Damn! And then, Hila’s like- cause I’m here with like, a fucking full CV written out like, immaculately, perfectly typed up. It’s like I’m applying to be like an ambassador,
or some shit. I just wanna wait tables! I just finished college, I got a degree, and nobody would even fucking give me a job to wait tables man! It was tough! You- we’d come home every night fuckin’ cook some beans and eggs cause we were broke as hell. And we were working on a children’s book, that was our first creative project together. That was how we’d spend our night. And the next day, we’d both go fuckin’ lookin for work, and come back. After a month, our money starts dwindling. pay rent again we’re down to like fuckin’ 600 bucks we’re like “we can’t pay rent” and Hila, you know, is a very sane, down to earth, rational person and she start looking at our bank account and she’s like “I love being here with you but…” “it’s just not enough money so” I’m not going to be homeless I’m not gonna be homeless here with you and Hila just like I need to I need to go home I need to leave and that was kind of a setting that we were just fucked she would have gone home her dad would have been like “I was right shame on you listen to me now” like fuck I couldn’t get a job and now like the love of my life is going to fucking go back and it’s like you don’t get a second chance of this shit you can keep talking to Skype for another couple of years so you got to get on with your life we were getting there you were 21 I was 23 it’s like get on with it so the feeling was bad it was very bad every night we would sit at home and forget our problems by working on this kid’s book, hila did the art and I was supposed to write stories but I could never really nail it down. but Hila she always drow this little girl that was lost in this big imaginative world the risk she took coming to live with me was huge and I think she must have felt very scared and alone a lot of the time and looking back over the art now it seems so obvious that she was writing about herself, she was that little girl we go home that day and our house-mate sweet girl great girl love her boyfriend was like a big-time drug dealer and he was slamming you go to his house got like a nice T- like a new TV like we were broke so when someone has a nice TV and like a playstation like you’re doing well dude and I saids’ what do you do for a living man like hook me up with a job and he pulls out a fucking Ziploc bag probably this big, fuckin’ with weed in it and he’s like I sell I sell weed dude obviously I’m like okay well not gonna fucking, that’s not really an option for me and I guess he probably knew that we were struggling from our house-mate and he’s like dude i’ll give you i’ll give you a good deal on this shit like I’ll hook you up if you want to to get into like slinging, and me and hila, w-we almost had like an epiphany moment where we’re like you never think about yourself as like a drug dealer [H]: yeah but also in the setting of Santa Cruz everyone is kind of a drug dealer which is funny, [E]: everyone has a side hustle as a drug dealer. [H]: cause’ e-everyone there smokes, it’s crazy and the weed there is insane. [E]:yes [H]: and it’s just like the-Santa Cruz is about the weed. [E]: you you drive through santa cruze and the whole the whole city is covered in a it’s not a Marine layer it’s not fog it’s actually weed smoke but this was the brilliant part about our business plan me and Hila were the only two people in Santa Cruz that didn’t smoke weed, so we had this brilliant idea we’ll sell the weed and keep the money! Instead of smoking the extra. [H]: I know everyone always say I look super high but it might be hard to believe we don’t smoke. [E]: So we have five hundred dollars in the bank we bought four hundred dollars worth of weed he hooked it up- [H]: It was like a big investment for us. [E]: that was the investment of our lifetime I felt like Warren Buffett in that moment so we get a bag of weed like I’m all fucking sketched out on the way home I’m acting like. And I think at the time we have like literally twenty dollars in our bank account left there was nothing went grocery shopping that same day and we got some like eggs and some beans and all the shit and I remember this memory is Iike crystal clear my mind like it turns into this wonderful metaphor for like how low we had gotten, [H]: yah, [E]: it was a beautiful red bell pepper and Hila wanted this red bell pepper for a salad I was looking at the things in our cart and I’m like adding it up in my mind I’m looking I’m counting up that everything in our cart I’m like at 19 we have 20 bucks, like I weigh the bell pepper i take the bell pepper I weigh it looking at the scale I’m like this puts us over we can’t buy this bell pepper this puts us over [E]: yeah, and I think we both just really remember the moment of like putting it back. [E]: Like, it’s not an extravagant purchase It’s not like a beer right? It’s not like a bottle alcohol it’s not, it’s not ice cream right? It’s a fucking bell pepper like you need that we’ve had to put it back and that is just crystallized in my mind that bell pepper moment was so memorable it was funny I think we we took it in stride but it was also really scary [H]: yeah [E]: we’re like fuck we cannot how like. Alright our life spots you can we putting back bell peppers we were handling it with like humor but I think we both felt like.. [H]: this is the end [E]: like, this isn’t good [Jazz] Now, i remember somewhere around that time we were having an argument in the car. Hila was talking about how she would probably have to go home and I was trying to comfort her I was saying in 10 years we’re going to look back on these times as some of the best times in our life and frankly when I was saying it I didn’t believe it myself looking over these photos I think we both can agree that they were probably the best time in our lives we were there together making it work against all the odds and it was just a beautiful time… We were minor as fuck we were selling to like probably five people and making like a couple bucks everytime and then some friends of friends would call us up. Me and Hila were like a bike gang we used to deliver weed on our bikes and as we roll up together the two of us and like make a drop and they’d be like like… What is this? Like who are you guys? Why is she here? and I’m like don’t worry about her she’s my bodyguard she’s here to fucking protect the payload. Funnily enough we weren’t selling drugs for too long [H]: yeah, that was the funny part. Right after we did for maybe a couple weeks. Yeah. I actually managed to find a job. Yeah and I think you did too. Like around the same time just by. I became a babysitter [E]: I found a job waiting tables and they were both pretty good jobs actually We were.. That we were happy with Yeah, so we quit. Like I think we were selling drugs made for like two weeks we make enough money we pay rent we start saving a little money that was dope felt good after stooping that low putting the red bell pepper back I’ve been blessed my life and Hila was.. Hila has been the source of all that blessings. [H]: n.. [E]: it’s true dude. It’s fucking true like [H]: I’ve gotta say a little note to my parents if you’re watching don’t this is not real. [E]:It’s fake, it’s made-up. [H]: This story is not real. [H]:It’s all fake. Just to Hila’s parents to everyone else this is real obviously but when people say “Do you believe in true love?” I have to say yes like seriously. [H]: This is gonna get too cheesy No, it’s worth saying and this is like a little Valentine’s Day and all you guys out there but true love does exist I’m telling you there’s people out there that complete you and you just got to be fucking out there dude you gotta be out there. Shake your dick and be open and willing to accept them. Are we perfect for each other? [H]: What is perfect? [E]: Exactly. Do we make each other better? Definitely. There’s no such thing as perfect Just people who make you feel good about yourself people who bring out the best in you people who push you to be a better version of yourself that’s what you need to look for, for a partner and that’s what Hila has always done for me and that like selling drugs that was the best the best thing I’ve ever done. God bless you. Happy Valentine’s Day. And to all the fuckin haters out there look at us now look how far we’ve come now bitches I got so many bell peppers and I can’t even hold them all Not really good, not really like pepper that much [H]: It’s really good for you. [E]: I don’t really like pepper [H]: It’s got a lot of vitamin C [E]:to be honest I was pretty happy when we put it back cause I was like… I don’t even like this shit I would rather have this shit than the pepper. [H]:Sometimes you need it to mix it up You know, in the salad. [E]:It does, yeah. Yeah. Good thing we bought ten of them.

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