Friday, October 28, 2016

The Preacher, they called Him

Bobby Dee                                                                                                            about 9,000 words
Northern Ontario

The first time I saw the Preacher, I thought he was a lawyer. When I first talked to the man, I thought he was running an elaborate scam. After serving a month and a half with him I was ready to follow him anywhere and help him spread his message. I nearly did, too.
I had just finished being sentenced to sixty days for cocaine possession and was sitting with a few other guys in the bullpen waiting for the last court matters to be settled so the court cops could radio the jail and have us all shipped under the tunnel to start the admitting process.
A couple of idiots in the protective custody holding cell had decided to strip down to their underwear and burn their orange coveralls along with some toilet rolls and their court papers.
The court cops didn’t notice until thick black smoke started billowing into the hallway. They put the fire out quick enough but the thick, acrid smoke was still heavy in the air making our eyes water and our throats burn.
The court officer brought the three of us out of the bullpen, lined us up and cuffed us together wrist to wrist.
“We going to the jail, Mr. Thibault?” The tall native prisoner at the end asked.
“No,” the copper said. He was an older man, tall and chubby with wire frame glasses. He wore a surgical mask so his voice was muffled. “They’re not ready for you yet. You’re going to watch a trial while we clean this shit up and air it out.”
We were lead through a set of doors and into another corridor and commanded to stay put while the officer lightly knocked on the door marked courtroom B.
I’m cuffed to a short kid with a crop of orange hair and acne scars
After a quiet conversation with the bailiff we were ushered into the courtroom and seated in the prisoners box.
The judge looks over at us and nods, his hair is an odd coppery brown color and his eyes are magnified by his thick brown spectacles.
“Good afternoon gentlemen, I’m Judge Maloney and this is my courtroom, which is in session. I expect you all to be quiet and respectful of these proceedings. Can you men manage that?”
The three of us nod.
“Very well. Mr. Baker, you can proceed with sentencing recommendations.”
“The crown attorney stands up, an intense looking man in a dark blue suit and somber looking grey tie.
“Mr. Dolynchuk was arrested in his farmhouse with several pounds of cured marijuana and a police search of his property turned up a large field of plants with an estimated street value in the quarter-million dollar range. This was a sophisticated operation that was ongoing.”
The lawyer pauses and picks up a piece of paper from the table in front of him.
“Mr. Dolynchuk’s record is filled with drug offences dating back twenty years. Despite this, he is unrepentant and wants this court to believe that the production, distribution and use of this drug is his religious custom and an integral part of his belief system.”
“The Green Path!” Someone shouts from the spectator benches. I look over and see a group of about ten people sitting together all wearing white shirts that read Free the Preacher in green leafy text. There is a reporter seated behind them in a blue and white windbreaker scratching away in a little notepad. I recognize him from his picture in the local newspaper. He’s softly chucking while jotting down notes.
Judge Maloney taps his gavel.
“There will be no more of that,” He sternly warns the gallery. “I will empty this courtroom if need be.”
The man seated at the defendant’s table leans back and waves his hand in the air motioning for his supporters to keep it down. He’s wearing ratty-looking pinstripe suit with a light blue shirt. His white tie is decorated with little green marijuana leaves. He has silver hair tied back into a ponytail that hangs to the middle of his back.
That can’t be a lawyer, I think to myself, but the only other man at his table is Mr. Birch, and I know from experience that he acts as duty council.
The crown attorney continues. “Your honor, it is the crown’s position that despite his insistence that he is a spiritual man compelled to break the law out of some type of divine calling, Mr. Dolynchuk is in reality a top of the food chain narcotics trafficker and a repeat offender. We believe a five year penitentiary sentence would send a clear message that that the production and sale of drugs will not be tolerated in our society.”
The lawyer straightens his tie and sits down.
Judge Maloney makes a few notes and looks at the defense table.
“Mr. Dolynchuk, you may make your submissions,” The judge says.
The man in the pinstripe suit stands up and clears his throat.
“Your honor, I came before you today filled with confidence. Confident that this courtroom in these hallowed halls we would fulfill the ultimate purpose for which this institution stands, and that is the uncovering of truth.”
The man walks to the side of the table and pick up a stack of papers held together with a paperclip.
“I have shown you the truth, your honor. In the information I provided you I laid out the accidents, deaths robberies and assaults linked to alcohol consumption as opposed to crimes linked to marijuana use, in just the last year alone.”
The judge waved his hand.
“Yes you did, Mr. Dolynchuk, and I told you these stats and figures were not relevant to the matter at hand. The legal status of marijuana is not on trial here. You are.”
“Fair enough,” your honor. “The information goes to my purpose, indeed to my calling in life. Mr. Baker calls me a drug trafficker, a label I take grave offense to. In my view, we are all men who do God’s work.”
The crown attorney bristles in his seat and gets to his feet.
“Your Honor I’m sorry but I must interject. As a Christian I am offended by Mr. Dolynchuk’s contention and as a lawyer I am wondering where he’s going with this submission.
“Really,” The Preacher says. He grabs a copy of the bible off the table and holds it up. “Are our laws not based on the Ten Commandments handed down to Moses by God Almighty? The application of the law and the meting out of justice has its roots in this book, does it not?”
The crown takes his seat.
“I have to agree with the crown, Mr. Dolynchuk. The Judge says. “Because you have elected to defend yourself I will allow you some leeway, but I caution you to get to your point.”
Thank you your honor. “Mr. Baker is a Christian, a man who chooses to follow the teachings of Christ, he enjoys that freedom as is his right in Canada. I have to wonder though, if Christianity, its churches and teachings were outlawed tomorrow and its practice punishable by imprisonment, would he be so quick to proclaim his faith? Would he risk incarceration for it? The Green Path is my faith, your Honor. My dedication has already been tested as my criminal record shows.”
The preacher pauses and closes his eyes, as if to collect his thoughts before continuing.
This guy’s a real showman I think to myself.
 “I believe if there is one plant favored by God, it is surely cannabis. It is the most versatile of all growing things, its industrial and medicinal applications virtually limitless. In the second booklet I provided this court, I have listed the environmentally friendly products that can be made from hemp. A good portion of the plants seized on my property were intended for the production of items like clothing, moisturizing oil and rope. In fact, my friends in the gallery are wearing shirts made of a cotton and hemp blend here today.”
The crown attorney shakes his head.
“Mr. Dolynchuk,” Judge Mahoney says. “You have given us all an education in marijuana today, and I must commend you on these beautifully illustrated hand-written submissions you’ve presented for my perusal. I have to remind you however that this court did find you guilty and that your task now is to propose a sentence for me to consider. I would appreciate if you would do so now.”
The Preacher nods his head in a slight bow.
“Very well, your honor. I have just one more point for you to consider. When I tell you that I believe in marijuana, that is not a figure of speech. Marijuana is the core of my spiritual faith, on which I founded The Green Path movement.”
The ponytailed man in the pinstripe suit began to walk back and forth in front of the defense table, and when he continues, his tone is gentler, more reflective.
“I was a very troubled man once, full of anger and hatred and bitter resentment. It was through this wonderful plant I started my journey to peace, humility and conflict resolution. I found my path and as I traveled it, I saw thick dark forests on either side of me. I saw people struggling in the underbrush, trying to make their way in life but hopelessly lost and stumbling. They were lost in their guilt, in their doubt and their insecurities, afflicted with every kind of emotional pain and distress. I called out to them and shared my own experience with life’s hardships and how I found peace and serenity using marijuana as a conduit to God.”
He turned to face the spectator benches and swept his arm like he was a game show host revealing a grand prize. I looked at the Preacher’s supporters and they seemed hypnotized, hanging on his every word.
He began to articulate his speech with hand gestures and his voice took on a more urgent, authoritative tone.
“My friends you see in the gallery now travel this path with me, using marijuana not to run away from our problems but to open up and confront and solve them. It is my belief, no, my certainty that this plant can provide solutions on a global scale. It can create employment. It can reduce non-biodegradable waste. It can bring nations together in harmony!”
Gasps and faint sighs of adulation sweep across the preacher’s followers. Many are nodding and smiling like parishioners at a lively black church, saying things like mmm-hmm and truth. Another man with a shaved head and full brown beard is rocking back and forth in his seat with his eyes closed, he’s nodding his head in agreement, his face wet with tears.
The Preacher’s voice swells and booms and reverberates through the courtroom like rolling thunder.
“Your honor, the law of the land might prohibit marijuana and make its production and proliferation a crime, but I submit to you that it is an outdated and unjust law that only serves a corrupt prison industry! My intent is not and never has been criminal, and to imprison me for following my conscience and what I believe to be my purpose on this earth would be the biggest most egregious crime I can imagine! I humbly ask that you set me free! In the spirit of true justice, your Honor! Embrace the higher law, I implore you. Set! Me! Free!”
The gallery explodes in applause and even the other prisoners cuffed to me are clapping too. The court stenographer is covering his mouth and the reporter at the back is shaking with laughter.
“Preach!” the supporters call out “The Green Path!
A cute young blonde leans over the wooden bench in front of her exposing the curve of her ample breasts. She starts frantically blowing kisses “I love you, Preacher-man!”
Instead of banging his gavel and calling for order, this time the Judge lets the ruckus die down.
“Thank you for your submissions, gentlemen,” he says. “We will take a fifteen minute break, after which I will deliver my sentence.”
The redhead kid beside me chuckles. “That guy is awesome.”
“He’s pretty slick,” I admitted. “Now watch that Judge come back and hammer him.”
The Preacher is at the wooden barrier that divides the courtroom floor from the spectator benches. He’s smiling and waving to his rag-tag congregation consisting of mostly men and a few women. I can’t take my eyes off the gorgeous blonde among them wearing tight blue jeans with her white Preacher-support shirt. She’s not wearing a bra. She looks over at me and smiles. I wink at her. She winks back.
Sixty days, I think to myself. It'd be the last pair of tits I'd see for a while, and I knew it.

When the recess is over the bailiff enters the courtroom from the side door beside where we’re sitting, and at this point I'm wondering just how long you can casually glance at a stunningly beautiful chick before it can percieved as creepy.
“All rise,” he proclaims as Judge Maloney appears on the bench. The bailiff goes on to announce that court is back in session.
The Judge tells us to be seated.
I find myself more excited about the outcome of this case than I can ever remember being about any of my own. Of course, there was never as much drama in my court appearances. For me it was always the same old same old: I’d live clean for a year or so, get bored of working every day and decide that I deserve a night on the town. This time I’d tell myself, it’ll be different. This time I’ll know when to stop.
Famous last words like
What’s this flashing red button for?
Or the checks in the mail!
Or No baby I won’t come in your mouth, I promise.
That morning I was arrested in the back of a taxi cab with an eight-ball of cocaine and a hooker. I had no idea what day it was or was or how long I’d been at it.
My lawyer was a real joker. Fresh out of law school and interning as court-appointed defense attorney to the busted and broke.
 “Sixty days Mr. Dell,” he told me over the black telephone receiver wired to the wall. I’m trying to focus on his face but the Plexiglas between us is marked and scratched and there’s a hammer in my head pounding out a single repeating message in Morse code: Way to go moron….Way to go moron…Way to go moron…
Thirty days for the hooker, thirty days for the blow! Not too shabby! Ha ha ha!”
“Hey wasn’t that the name of an 80’s glam band,” He asks. “Hookers‘n’Blow? Ha ha ha!”
The receiver is shaking in my hand.
“Make the deal,” I tell him.
Even though I put the phone down I can hear him singing as he buzzes court security to let him out of the room.
Whoah-oh-oh sweet hooker of mine…
Ooh-waah-ooh-oh sweet blow of mine….
If the guards don’t let him outta here before he starts air-guitaring the solo
, I think, I’m going to launch myself through this plastic barrier and bash his fucking head in with his cheap briefcase.
And then there I was, Jimmy Dell, thirty-six year old alcoholic and drug addict, many hours later mostly sobered up and anxiously waiting for someone else’s fate be decided by a man in a black gown and cheap toupee.
“Mr. Dolynchuk,” The Judge begins. “Reviewing the facts of this case brings to mind a scene in the movie The Untouchables, when famed prohibition agent Elliot Ness is asked by a reporter what he would do if alcohol is legalized tomorrow.
“He answers, well then, I believe I’ll have a drink.”
There is light laughter from the gallery.
“Society’s view of marijuana has changed drastically over the years and there may come a day, perhaps very soon, when it is legal to produce and possess the drug.”
The Judge stops and looks at the Preacher intently.
Unfortunately for you Mr. Dolynchuk, at present marijuana is classified as a schedule II narcotic under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Despite whatever altruistic intentions you had with the cannabis found on your property, and after listening to your arguments and reviewing your written submissions I am inclined to believe your intent was at least not wholly criminal, the bottom line is that you broke the law.”
The Judge adjusts his glasses.
“What vexes me is the sheer amount of plants found on your farm.”
“Your Honor,” the Preacher says, jumping to his feet and breaking in. “The police estimation of street value is ridiculously overblown…”
The judge raises a hand and fixes the Preacher with a chilly glare. “Mr. Dolynchuk you will not interrupt me again.”
“My apologies,” the Preacher mutters and is seated again.
“It would be foolish of me to believe you did not profit from your operation, but looking at the police inventory of your home and belongings it appears you lived a very modest lifestyle. I do not see any of the expensive vehicles or extravagant trappings common to high level drug traffickers.”
The Judge picks up a sheet of paper and studies it briefly.
“Mr. Dolynchuk, please stand up.”
The Preacher rises.
“Mr. Eli Dolynchuk you are a forty-eight year old man who has already served one hundred and ninety days of pre-trial custody,” the Judge states. He looks over at the crown attorney. “Is that number accurate Mr. Baker?”
The crown stands up.
“It is, your Honor.”
“Roughly six months, then. I am electing to grant Mr. Dolynchuk double credit for the time he’s been in custody up to this point. The court will call it a year.”
I hear the Preacher’s supporters exchange nervous whispers.
“I am sentencing you to a further eighteen months in jail, Mr. Dolynchuk.” Judge Maloney announces.
The nervous chatter from the gallery turns to groans. The Preacher’s friends look like they took a collective blow to the gut.
The Preacher’s shoulders slump, his gaze is cast to the floor.
You got off easy, chum, I thought. I was certain he was getting fucked.
I don’t care if you’re the Jesus H. Christ of Pot or the Santa Claus of Stoners, I had friends in the weed game and I knew a grow op that big would usually get you a nickel or more, especially for someone with previous drug convictions. It was almost as if the Judge bought his new-age hippy-dippy bullshit con.
Don’t get me wrong, I had nothing against the man and I even admired his hustle, but I was absolutely convinced that his marijuana messiah shtick was exactly that: A hustle.

1 comment:

  1. Whoever wrote this has mental retardation. Prolly sucks their mothers cock too