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Mark M Lichterman

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Books by Mark M Lichterman
Contact High 3
By Mark M Lichterman
Posted: Sunday, May 06, 2012
Last edited: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
This short story is rated "PG13" by the Author.
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One neat side line regarding a ‘shtikl’: If one were so inclined, wrapping the string about one’s wrist, one could use the brick hard shtikl as a blackjack, then, so long as one’s teeth are in good shape, eat the evidence.

Contact High 3 can be found following "High 2"


Contact High 1

For some of us older people… For some of us that had lived through the “sixties”, we, us older people know what a “contact high” means.  A “contact high” is when one is with someone, or a number of someones that are smoking pot; be it merely standing nearby, or in car, or in a room; particularly if it’s in a room with a bed where one may be standing… or lying even closer nearby, or at a party, or at a bar: becoming a bit giddy, becoming a bit giddier than giddy, having uncontrollable laughter and, above all else, becoming hungry, then even hungrier. Even though this hypothetical “one” had taken not so much as one hit off of that “joint”, just by breathing the marijuana tainted air one feels and has the same symptoms as though it were he/she taking the last drag on that, by now, finger burning, skanky, saliva drenched “roach”.  

But that is not what happened because there was neither “joint” to smoke nor any marijuana tinted smoke to be inhaled… either time.

A bit of an explanation here: From as far back as I can remember I have had a right knee problem. My first remembrance was when, I think at about age twelve, kneeling alongside my bicycle, as I stood my knee locked with excruciating pain, but as I stood the knee popped back into place and the moment of pain had passed. Throughout the years of my life, every now and then my knee would lock and I would quickly straighten it and the moment of excruciating pain would immediately pass. However, as I grew older the knee would lock more and more often until, now at age seventy-seven, it began to happen so often that I’d asked – I’m a “Kaiser Permanente” patient – for an E-ray that showed nothing, but then I did ask for and received an MRI that was performed in December of 2011 which did show a meniscus problem requiring orthoscopic surgery that was then – in mid-December— scheduled for surgery on February 14 (Valentine’s Day) 2012.

Okay, yes, this was a long time to wait for surgery, but I’d waited all of my life and, even though the knee began to lock more and more often, I knew the secret to unlocking it…

Until the second of January 2012 when, while at brunch with friends, the knee locked… and would not unlock.

Somehow, with a lot of help from – my soon to be wife – Bonnie and our friend Tom, I made it out of the restaurant into the car and home to my bottle of Vicodine which actually didn’t help a hell of a lot.

So, hearing of my painful plight, my friendly neighbor; and I’d like to add here that he is probably the best neighbor one could possibly have because, not only is he truly a “jack of all trades”, but the kind of a guy that, without being asked, is always ready to give a very knowledgeable, helping hand. Also… also, though I did not know it until that very painful evening, my friend and neighbor has a renewable prescription for medical marijuana, and hearing of my painful plight…

Coming into our home, “Here’” he said, handing me a small plastic bag with what appeared to be five cookies.

Sitting on my recliner with my leg elevated with an ice pack on my knee, “Thanks’,” I said. “But why cookies?”

“Oh,” my friend said, with kind of a sly smile, “these are ‘special cookies’.”

“ ‘Special cookies’?” I questioned.

“Yeah,” he said, adding emphatically, “Do not eat more than one. Better yet, better not eat more than half a cookie!”

“Only half a cookie, huh?” Catching on, “These are, uh…”

“Yes, they are.”

 “Okay to kudunk?” I asked.

“Couldn’t hurt,” he said.

“In vodka?” I asked.

“You on any kind of a pain medication?”

“Yeah, Vicodine.”

Vodka probably wouldn’t be a good idea.” he said.


Contact High 2

Hearing the conversation, Bonnie came into the living room and distastefully asked, “Those cookies have ‘pot’ in them, don’t they?”

“Yes,” Taking the baggie from me, Alan handed it to Bonnie. “It’s ‘really’ good shit,” he said, “so make sure that he,” nodding his head in my direction, “doesn’t take more than half whenever he’s ready, and if that doesn’t work, give him another quarter cookie in about an hour.”

Attempting to show – through all the pain – that I still had a sense of humor, “With ‘no’ kudunking in vodka!” I said.

Glancing at me, ignoring my stab at humor, Bonnie held the bag of five moderate sized cookies between her thumb and forefinger as though, rather than cookies, the bag contained a squirming mouse.  

A bit about my Bonnie: A small woman, at 5”3’ weighing about 112, even at her age – that I think best I do not disclose here – Bonnie is a dynamo and an absolute sweetheart. She does like her wine, though, not always, but most often mixed half and half with “Sprite”. But Bonnie had never partaken… actually hated the thought of marijuana or drugs of any kind.

A bit of my marijuana history: In my younger years, many years ago I enjoyed occasionally smoking a “joint” – or actually more like usually ‘sharing’ a “joint” –  and at that time, in those earlier years, I did enjoy the effect of marijuana much more than alcohol. But now, at this time, I couldn’t remember the last time that I’d had any… marijuana, that is, not alcohol.


But then again, my memory being jogged… Remembering: Going back about twelve years, when joining my seniors’ citizen bicycle club, wanting to be of help in some way, I volunteered to be the jersey and jacket chairman which meant that I would be in charge of having our logos silk screened onto the pre-ordered cycling garments. At that time the Jersey and jacket chairman was also the club president and he very readily agreed for me to assume the position. Hell, he all but threw the position at me, and I found out why very shortly thereafter.

I don’t remember his name, so I’ll call him, “Brad”.

Brad was the owner of a small, silk screening company in a neighboring community and, as I was about to find out, Brad was one hell of a liar. As a matter of fact, Brad was the very worst, or, I suppose, depending on how one would look at it, Brad was the best liar I’ve ever met.

Having fourteen or fifteen people on my back awaiting their pre-ordered, pre-paid club jerseys or jackets, after about three hundred (slight exaggeration) stalls: “Brad, it’s Mark. When do we get the garments?”

“Hi,” Brad said, “today.”

“Today?” I disbelievably questioned. “Really!”

“Yeah, I’m running them right now.”

“Really, right now? You’re really running them right now?”

“Yeah! That’s what I said, ‘right now’!”

“Great! When can I come and get them?”

“Oh, about two.”

“Okay, thanks, Brad, I’ll see you at two.”

About an hour later, driving the twenty minutes over the hill to Camarillo, “Hi, Brad.”

“Yeah, hi! I’ll get to you soon as I finish these.”

Spotting the black T-shirts and not the lemon colored bicycling garments on the screening wheel, “Where’s ours?”

“Told you,” Brad said, “I’ll get to ‘em soon as I’m done with these.”

“You said,” I said through clenched teeth, “that you were working on them when I called and that they’d be finished and ready for me to pick up by two!”

“Yeah, well, I’ll be done with this order in a half hour then get right on yours, and you’ll be on your way in about an hour.”

I’m sure, seeing the look on my face, “Tell you what,” reaching into his shirt pocket, “here, have a “joint”, relax.” Brad said, “I said you’ll have everything in an hour.”

I did. I smoked the skinny – not such great shit – joint and did relax… Well, actually wanting to kill the lying son-of-a-bitch, I attempted to relax.


The pain in my knee rather intense, what I really wanted a second Vicodine but Bonnie wouldn’t allow it for another hour and actually not too anxious to eat a marijuana laced cookie on top of the first Vicodine, I waited a bit longer for the pill to kick in, but when it seemingly didn’t and seeing as I had to go to the bathroom anyway, painfully pulling myself off the recliner, hobbling into the kitchen with the help of a cane, “Where’s the cookies?” I asked Bonnie.

Not too happy about the marijuana, “Right there,” she said, pointing to the counter.

“Thanks.” Breaking one in half, chewing slowly, tasting the white chocolate and crushed macadamia nuts in an otherwise rather dry, tasteless cookie, I swallowed…

Contact High 3

Swallowing the first half of the half of my rather dry, tasteless pot laced cookie, thinking that I’d like to drink something with it, and, as apparently vodka was out of the question, I thought of milk — you know, a milk and cookies kind’a thing – but maybe it was my Hebrew heritage, you know, the dietary thing of not mixing dairy with meat products. But of course, “yes”, I am very well aware that marijuana is more a hemp product than a meat product but, somehow, the thought of milk – actually “Lucerne reduced fat Milk with 38% less fat than whole milk with only 2% fat” – somehow, the thought of milk and Marijuana not setting well in the mind of my stomach, I settled for what has always been one of my favorite beverages: a glass of ice-cold seltzer water.

“Seltzer water!”  I’ve a story to tell you about seltzer water that I’ll get back to in a minute.

For me, pot is not like booze. Booze I can feel right away, or nearly right away. Anyway, I feel booze right away but pot is more subtle sometimes taking ….?

In the meantime: Well remembering that it takes a bit of time before pot begins to affect me, I thought that, so long as I was standing — albeit painfully standing — and as I hadn’t checked my computer for a while, and, as at that time I was in the process of finishing my “Climbing Boy” series, I thought that, so long as I had to sit, I might as well sit at my desk in front of my computer.

First checking in at Authors Den to see if I had any reviews…

For those of you that do not know, good reviews, a “goodly” number of good reviews “really” helps us guys with extremely painful knee problems. But, alas… To be honest, I have no idea if I had any reviews, good or bad, in the late afternoon of 1/2/12.

Okay, after painfully hobbling to my desk… now that I’m at my desk and as we’re waiting for the half of the pot laced cookie to kick in, I might as well, so long as we have to wait any way, go on with my seltzer water story.  

Okay, “yes”, other than drinking it to wash down that rather dry, tasteless marijuana laced cookie, I am well aware that seltzer water has very little – if anything— to do with my bad knee/marijuana story, but I can’t imagine any other time when I might be able to think of some kind of a lead in to tell you what I want to tell you about… “A shtikl for a nickel and a two cents plain.”


Shtikl: Yiddish; to rhyme with pickle. Shtikl: A small piece of something.

Seltzer water mixed with chocolate syrup is called a “chocolate phosphate”; except on the east coast where it called an egg cream because, adding a half ounce of milk changes the taste and color of a chocolate phosphate, hence, an egg cream; add a scoop or two of ice cream and you have a chocolate soda.

However, I’m not talking about a chocolate phosphate, an egg cream or a chocolate soda, what I’m talking about is a “two cents plain”.

I don’t know if they did this in any other large, or, for that matter, any small city, but so long as I grew up on the west side of Chicago, going back to the thirties into and through the forties, all candy stores along with delicatessens of all sizes had a soda fountain where, for two cents, one could purchase a Coke glass full of… Now I’m not speaking of those panty-waist Coke glasses they have nowadays, but a “real’ Coke glass containing twelve ounces of seltzer water for two cents; hence, in Chicago, west side Yiddish lingo, “A two cents plain”.

As for the “shtikl for a nickel”?

Go into any “real” Kosher style delicatessen and, hanging from hooks, you will find salamis – usually “Vienna” brand salamis – of numerous lengths and weights in the process of drying out and, as they dry, they become hard and wrinkly; the dryer the salami becomes, the wrinklyer and harder they become. Now, believe it or not, people pay more for the hard, dry, wrinkly salami than the soft, fresh greasy salami… And what do they do with the very end, the end with the string that allows the salami  to hang from a hook while in the process of becoming dry and wrinkly and worth more money? As the guy slicing the, by now brick hard meat can only slice so far, there is this salami tip that, depending on the frugality of the store owner and the sharpness of his knife, can weigh anyplace from two or three ounces to a quarter pound, and this salami tip, in Chicago, west side Yiddish lingo, is referred to as a “Shtikl”.

So, going back to the thirties and forties, going into one of the larger delicatessens, slapping your seven cents onto the counter, one could ask for, “A ‘two cents plain’ and a ‘shtikl’ ”  (rhymes with pickle) that costs a nickel.

One neat side line regarding a ‘shtikl’: If one were so inclined, wrapping the string about one’s wrist, one could use the brick hard shtikl as a blackjack, then, so long as one’s teeth are in good shape, eat the evidence.      


To be continued

©May 6, 2012 / Mark M. Lichterman

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Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 5/9/2012
Awesome story, Mark; well done! Love how Authorsden was included! LOL

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Texas, Karen Lynn. :D
Reviewed by Annabel Sheila 5/8/2012
Giggle...I'm sorry for your obvious pain, my friend, but this story is hilarious! I can picture Bonnie "guarding" the magic cookies.....

Hope you're well soon,
Reviewed by Patrick Granfors 5/7/2012
Rarely sat at a soda counter but our local dairy had a counter for making malts and shakes. Hand mixed in those marvelous old shiny steel containers. Gut bombs even for ever hungry teenage boys. Patrick
Reviewed by Tom Hyland 5/7/2012



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