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THE GREAT HASH TOSS / David OhIe AMBROSE: I MET Francisco Poncé on Rue St. André des Arts, a street leading into Place St. Michel, on the Left Bank. There were sporadic riots all through that summer, especially in the area of Boulevard St. Michel. The Companie Républicaine de la Sécurité, the CRS, the French riot police, were cruising around. They were rough guys, guys that came out of prison. Brutal types. There were rapes of students and killings of factory workers. I'd come back to Paris from Katmandu the previous fall. I was living on the Rue Monge with Roger Soulé, this crazy French guy I'd met in the Blue Tibetan Café, in Katmandu. It was a crazy café where this guy, Eight-Fingered Eddie, used to hang out. He was this mad American who did finger dancing. In Katmandu, Roger and I decided to score some hash—the government hashish and opium store was right across the street— and for a dollar we bought 10 grams of Nepalese hash and started hanging around in the Buci, which was like a corner of Paris where there were a lot of dealers. There was the Café Buci, where people dealt, and it was one of the main centers of the streetlevel hashish trade in Paris. There were lots of other centers too, like Barbés, which was mainly Arabs, and Rue de la Hachette. One day, in the Buci, I met Poncé and his wife, Margot. He was a young kid then, only 19. A Corsican, and we became friends. He'd come to Paris to score hash and stuff. We got into this scene together, which was hanging with American draft dodgers and resisters and these girls who hung around them, like deserter groupies. Since I knew about drugs and had French connections, I could score for these people. We could get hash from Ponce's friend, Alain, for a dollar a gram. So what I did was, I got in tight with this one deserter guy named Steve from Massachusetts who'd been dealing. So we made an agreement—he would hold the shit, I would make the connections. I would never be holding the drugs. Once I'd made a deal with somebody, he'd come in and complete the transaction. We made money at it. We'd go by Alain's place every morning, and he lived in this little garret. He had like access to 10 kilos of Afghani hash. We'd get some shit from him real cheap and hang out. We'd pick the David OhIe The Missouri Review · 67 Americans out of the crowd—they always had like button-down collars. They just looked different from Europeans, especially the French. We were finding these gringos and selling it to them for five bucks a gram. All summer we were making money, finding these deserters and draft dodgers who didn't have shit. They couldn't get jobs. They were broke. They were bums. Alain had so much hash he was always losing it. He was going through his wastepaper basket one day and he found a 50 gram plaque of it. It came in round plaques, like 45 records, 100 gram plaques. You'd just take scissors and cut them up. He had like a little shop. So many people went up to his place, and it was no bigger than an American walk-in closet. One day the crazy old concierge downstairs started counting all the people who went up the spiral staircase. She counted 28 people that day, and all of a sudden in the yard we hear these fits of yelling, and she's gone next door to get Alain's mother. She would yell, "Oh, mon Dieu, those Jesuses are up there!" It was like the ones we called the Om Shantis, the ones who dressed like Indians. They wore like beards and large shirts and sandals and had long hair. They all looked like Jesus. They had colorful scarves and beads, the whole bit. And the concierge had been watching, and so we had to leave. She counted as we filed out. I mean...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 67-92
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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