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Yet Another Beautiful Day in Paradise
by Fred Inthehills
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Reviewed by JF, 6/24/2001

One of my favorite habits is a periodic visit to the local bookstore to look for interesting new secondhand acquisitions in the “drugs” section. On one of these periodic jaunts, I ran across a slim title with a blank spine which I pulled out in curiosity to reveal a most enticing title: Yet Another Beautiful Day In Paradise (YABDIP). I opened the book, started reading and was soon hooked. I bought the book and finished it that day.

The author is Fred Inthehills—painter, presidential candidate, hermit, hopeless speller, and total pothead. Part autobiography, part political diatribe, part religious prophecy, part funny dope stories, YABDIP might best be described as “enlightenment through marijuana”—not a path I would recommend for everyone, but the author’s infectious enthusiasm makes for a great read nonetheless.

I think the best way to appreciate the flavor of this book is to read an excerpt, which I have provided for you below. This book seems to have no ISBN and is extremeley difficult to find in bookstores, but fortunately there is a web site: http://www.asis.com/fred_inthehills/book.html . Welcome to the wired age.

From Yet Another Beautiful Day In Paradise:

“Carry a gun and you might get shot . . Carry a joint and you might get high . . .”

Jesus lives! I met a guy named Billy who claims to have met Jesus in Los Angeles and I believe him.

Billy was a thin, intense man in his thirties, who had built himself a cabin in the hills of northern California and was growing a few plants when I met him. I stood over him as he knelt before a beautiful sensemilla plant with purple buds sparkling in the sun.

Billy pruned a few yellow leaves from the bottom of the plant and said, “She’s almost ready. A few more days.”

I pulled a long kola toward me and buried my nose in its moist leaves. The aroma was intoxicating, a skunky scent that coated my sinuses with thick resin. I withdrew and sniffed my fingers. The were sticky and the pungent odor lingered.

“Do you grow this stuff to sell?” I asked.

“No,” Billy said. “I’m not really part of the economy. I grow because I love it.” He poured a tea onto the roots. “One more hit of potash for the flowers,” he grinned.

He glanced up to the sky and his face suggested a slight tension. “just a few more days. The maggots in the sky are flying.”

I listened and I could hear the faint chop of a distant helicopter.

“They come here?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Billy said sadly. “I wish they’d leave me alone. I just want to grow my own.”

“Ever think about trying to shoot em down?” I wondered.

Billy laughed and his face relaxed. “No,” he said. “Jesus told me, ‘Carry a gun and you might get shot. Carry and joint and you might get high.”

“Jesus?” I said.

“Yup,” Billy smiled. “But not the one you’re thinking of.

He pulled out a joint, lit it and passed it to me. I toked heavily and held my breath until I forgot to. Then Billy started telling me the story of his meeting Jesus.

“I was in L.A.,” he said. “I was in between jobs, living in my car. A 1949 Ford with no back seat and no reverse. I had a mattress in the back, and i would park for the night in places I didn’t have to back out of.

One night I was looking to score some weed, and I knew these people that lived in Echo Park. So I went over there, and it was a far out pad. It used to be Tom Mix’s chicken house when it was his ranch. Now the neighborhood is all apartment buildings with this funky little house wedged in between.

Anyway, these folks that lived there were good folks and they were having a party. But I never went to score without my gun, so I had it in my belt under my jacket when I went in. There were several people sitting and standing around talking, and music was playing. I was a little nervous, so I went to a corner of the room and hung out with my back to the wall.

I felt a tug on my elbow and a man with a bald head, a gray goatee and dark skin offered me a joint. I took a toke, and it was the best smoke I’d ever had. I passed it back to him, and he said something I didn’t understand. His mouth was moving as if it were in slow motion, and the sound didn’t fit with his words. I concentrated, and I heard him say, “What’s happening?”

I told him I was looking to score, and he pulled a bag of seeds out and held them out to me. I reached for the, and he pulled them back.

He said, “I’ll trade you for your gun.”

I thought this was pretty weird and I said, “No way.”

He passed me the joint and said, “Carry a gun, and you might get shot. Carry a joint and you might get high.”

Well, I was pretty stoned by then, and I kept on toking. Within no time, this old guy convinced me that guns were designed to kill people and if I gave him my gun and planted those seeds I would have a good life. So I gave up my gun, took the seeds and everything fell into place. I inherited the payments on this piece of land, and they were only fifty bucks a month. Figuring I could collect and sell pop bottles if I had to, I drove up here and found nature. That old man changed my life.”

I let the story lie there for a few moments, then I asked, “Who was he?”

Billy’s face warmed with the pleasure of his memory. “He said his name was Jesus Cannabis.” Jesus lives!

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