Part 2 of a harrowing tale of flower related intrigue. Read part 1 here.
The mood shifted with the knowledge that last year, the house everyone was trimming had been held hostage by gangsters. Not to mention that they had gotten away with it and were still out there.
Emilie and the rest of the crew decided to shut down shop for the night. The team wasn’t sure if they believed the story - was the owner trying some weird motivational technique? Was he so deep into conspiracies that he was making up stories?
The mood was uneasy and there weren’t enough beds. Emilie was the last to arrive, so she had to sleep on the floor of the living room where she had worked all day.
Or at least try to sleep.
The security guard kept watching MTV at full blast. Clearly, he didn’t understand the warnings about Illuminati mind control symbols in the music videos his boss had just spent hours on. Instead, he stayed up all night snorting lines of coke all night with a shotgun in his lap. You know: to keep everyone safe.
The next morning's only saving grace was the smiling grandma’s breakfast, which the security guard ate with his gun on the table.
The owner’s wife stayed behind that day to supervise the trim. She dressed like a stripper - all her clothes seemed a couple of sizes too small, with breasts popping all over the place. She appeared threatened by the other women in her house, creating the kind of scenario where dress is a thing you judge.
She loved to remind the crew she was a professional trimmer and critically inspected individual buds all day. Quality control is normal, but it slows down work and cuts into profits. Trimmers are usually paid by the pound.
This gig, luckily, was paid by the hour. But when the owner's wife decided, “sweetie, not for the hours you don’t do well,” it became clear to Emilie she would be only doing enough work to get money for a hotel. She would lay low and wait until her usual farm was ready.
But that plan unravelled when the owner got home. He sat down again, poured himself and his fourteen-year-old son a drink and resumed his lectures about how the world works. (Did you know the Royal Family are shapeshifting reptilian aliens?) After that, he continued what was apparently a nightly routine, reminding everyone about the constant threat of home invasion.
At that point, it didn’t matter if anybody believed the story about the year before. What was real was the dude's paranoia. He informed everyone that if they wanted to work for him, they needed to learn self-defence - which would take the form of his slightly drunk adolescent son teaching everyone to shoot a pistol in the garage.
This was the breaking point. Not even the sweet grandmother’s smiles and baklava could make Emilie stay.
No amount of money was worth being forced to shoot a gun with a stoned pre-teen. Nor was being “protected” by someone who did coke all night and never slept. The security guard having some kind of breakdown seemed like a more present danger than the “gangsters out there.”
Oh yeah, and the drunk child with a gun.
As they say, there are many paths to the same goal. Emilie was pretty sure lots of people travelled the world and became life coaches without having to shoot guns. She decided to cut her losses, trust her gut, and put herself first. As delicately as possible, she presented the news later that evening that her “guy at the other farm was ready.”
While she listened to her fellow trimmers learn about firearms safety and experienced firsthand how bad an idea it is to shoot a gun indoors (it’s loud), the owner tried to convince her to stay. His first protests of “come on, we don’t have anyone else” morphed into paranoia. He began to suspect Emilie was going to blow his cover by having an outsider come pick her up.
The question of who exactly the “bad” gangsters willing to hold people hostage was starting to roll around in Emilie’s mind. “Look, you don’t have to pay me,” she coerced her half-cut boss. “Just drive me downtown.”
The guy whined for a while, but when it was clear Emilie wasn’t backing down, they jumped into his truck, drove downtown, and he left her on the side of the road with a couple of hundred bucks. Less than the agreed-on rate, but that was beside the point now.
Emilie was ready to draw the line.
She already had what she needed. Trying to squeeze a few hundred or thousand dollars out of a trim season wasn’t worth the risk. She had people who grew good weed but were still good people. They were real friends who showed up when she needed them - which they did that night. Her regular employer picked Emilie up from the side of the road and let her stay in their house for weeks until the harvest was ready.
Two weeks without work in California hurt her earning goals, but being around people who don’t put money above people’s safety isn’t something you can put a price on. Rather than play games of fear and power, her farm friends had no guns. “We get robbed, we get robbed.” If the bad guys show up, help them load the truck.
Emilie trimmed several more years with friends that lasted a lifetime and never gave up on her dream. Instead, she became a poster child for the good that can come from the opportunities given by cannabis. Her earnings were not funnelled into hard drugs or guns but coaching, massage, reiki, and half a dozen other healing modalities. Keeping in tune with the true nature of cannabis, she didn’t get lost in greed, paranoia, or addiction and instead achieved her dream of becoming a healer.