Distorte is a collection of stories written by Pierce Gleeson

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Cast iron pot

A: So, I’ve been using my parents’ pot.

D: Do you think that’s a good idea?

A: What do you mean?

D: Well, we’ve spent quite a few months here trying to get you to a level…

A: Uh-huh.

D: And introducing something like this, in unknown quantities, unknown strengths. It could undo a lot of the progress you’ve made since May. Where did you even find your parents’ pot, after all these months?

A: I don’t understand you. It’s just a pot.

D: A pot?

A: For porridge.

D: A cooking pot?

A: What did you think I meant?

D: You know. Pot. Marijuana. Grass.

A: [laughs] I would never call that pot.

D: It’s probably an old word.

A: It is. We say gear or hash or smoke. You’d never get grass, always resin.

D: I thought gear was a term for heroin?

A: It is, I think. Unless you’re talking about hash. Then gear means hash.

D: When I was in college people used buy bags of birdseed from South America, and plant everything in a warm window during the summer.

A: What?

D: Well, some of the seeds would grow. It was just a mix of seeds, some would be too dried out, but some would grow.

A: You mean like actual birdseed? For birds?

D: Yes, there was a company from South America selling it here. And plants would grow up. Mostly sunflowers or poppies. But sometimes cannabis.

A: Really?

D: Yes. It was the late ’60s. I suppose restrictions were more lax then.

A: And people would smoke it? Should you be telling me this?

D: Well, first you’d have to grow it, and then you’d have to test it. A lot of it was fairly impotent, as far as I understood. You were lucky to get something with a bit of a kick to it.

A: But it worked? People ended up with cannabis plants.

D: Oh yes, it was fairly common. A lot of students had a few. Times change I suppose.

A: At least that was moral. Rather than having to buy from the kinds of people who import it into Ireland.

D: I hope you’re not smoking… hash right now.

A: I’m not.

D: Okay. Tell me about the pot.

A: They had it my whole life. Cast iron, wooden handle. It’s very heavy. Pleasantly heavy. The enamel has almost worn off the inside, so it’s kind of rough black iron now.

D: You use it for porridge? Just porridge?

A: It feels very satisfying to run a wooden spoon around the inside. I can’t explain it very well. Stainless steel pots are too smooth. This pot has a slightly textured surface, and the spoon feels rough against the edges as you stir…

D: Does it remind you of your childhood?

A: I don’t think it’s that so much as… it reminds me of my life. It has always been here.

D: In your parents’ house.

A: Yeah. I went home, to be nice. To have Sunday lunch. And my sister started talking again, about the paperwork, about dividing things fairly.

D: You’ve mentioned this before.

A: I said I wasn’t interested. She could stay, keep the house. Whatever. She got upset, again. Said I had to take something. That she couldn’t hold everything for me. Couldn’t hold everything up.

D: The house?

A: I guess. I don’t think she’s holding it for me. She’s the one living there. She started shouting that I had to take something. To accept something. We were standing in the kitchen at this point, and I just reached out and picked up the pot. It was the nearest thing on the counter.

D: You chose it to provoke her? As an obvious token?

A: I did think it would annoy her. But it didn’t. She calmed down. She stopped crying and said she would be glad if I took it.

D: Maybe she sees it as a first step.

A: She can see what she wants. But now I have it, I’m kind of glad.

D: Because it reminds you of your parents?

A: Because it reminds me… because it has always been here, and nothing else in my life has always been here.

D: It is a constant.

A: Sure. It makes me feel… constant.

Written by Pierce Gleeson
Posted on the 10 Nov, 2010