The Londoners and I sat cross-legged in a semi-circle with three Indian men. As we passed around paragliding liability releases and joints, I felt like we were at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Except that instead of powdered wigs, we had three spliffs and a lime-colored bong in the shape of a violin. Instead of the Founding Fathers presiding over the parley, we had eight grams of charris residing on the table.
After consuming chai and charris, we entered the van like the stoned Brady Bunch and surveyed the signs throughout the ascent.
"I am curvaceous. Drive slow," Oxford read amid laughter. "What does that mean?"
"Love your wife. Divorce speed," Corpse delivered with the magnificence of a Mexican soccer announcer.
"I wish they would pay me to come up with sign slogs for going slow. Instead I'm just a little bit high," Joe added, saying high in the voice of a prepubescent boy.
"I didn't say slogs. You guys are high. I said slo-gans,'" Joe replied and read, "Overspeed is a knife that cuts a life."
We giggled like toked babies as the vehicle entwined with the mountainside and the cliffs continued to climb.
Joe regarded the precipice with the speculation of a sedated sea lion.
"So, how do you do this again?" he asked, eyes bloodshot and mouth open.
"You run as fast as you can and go over edge," one of the blazed paragliders replied with a squawk of laughter.
Thirty minutes later, Corpse dashed down the descent that duplicated an elf hill and off the edge of the cliff. We watched as the wind wafted he, his tandem instructor, and the paraglide over the verdant emerald tree-covered mountains and streams running to rivulets below.
Oxford subsequently sprinted towards the edge of the cliff. Fifteen feet from the edge he frolicked headfirst into a hedge. His instructor followed him to the dirt, and his paraglide drooped towards the earth like an elderly woman's breast.
Everyone lingering howled with hilarity.
Upon his pedestrian return to where we stood waiting, Joe screeched, "You look as dejected as that night your girlfriend wouldn't give you head and you sulked downstairs to tell us."
"Fuck off!" Oxford shouted, his face creased in laughter.
The second time Oxford didn't pitch into the dirt like a gopher, and he sailed over the valley vociferating variations of a Tarzan-howl.
The instructor positioned himself behind me and yelled, "Run!"
My brain blurry with marijuana mist, I just smiled in response to the command.
"Run!" repeated again.
"Oh. Right," my brain stem processed instructions with the rapidity of a comatose goldfish.
I ran, a senseless smile decorating my face. I sprinted off the cliff and the thought of where we would land captivated my cranium as did the simultaneous desire for cheese, cookies, and cake.
Air abruptly breathed under the paraglide and my feet floated over the supple sprouting valley. My mind and body glided with the wind and the ganja, fusing to euphoria. My befuddled brain was at ease just sitting. And staring. The instructor placed a cord in my hand and I gazed at it as if it were a boa constrictor.
"Huh?" I elegantly inquired.
"To move the paraglide. Pull on it and we swing with the wind."
"Huh," I replied with a jerk of my hand. The instructor was apparently under the impression that I was paragliding sober. The paraglide stormily swung to the right, flailing like a cow skydiving without a parachute.
"Slow slow, no problem," my instructor cautioned me as I recalled that this man was the hero who had inhaled the largest bong rip ever witnessed by the five Londoners and myself.
Ten minutes later he again allowed me to play with the paraglide strings. My attempt was as successful as Watergate. My mind had ceased logical function with the fourth of seven inhalations, and I failed to comprehend that the strings were attached to the contraption we rode the wind with.
Fifteen minutes later we approached the street with the rapidity of the Scottish burr.
"Lift your legs."
I impelled my legs from the impending cement like I continually loft my cat across the room at home. My cushioned derrierre grated against the road and instructor and I landed with the paraglide sprawled behind us like I had found my intoxicated friend on the side of the street a few months ago.
I staggered to the cafe and sunk into a chair with a full-toothed smile displayed across my face.
Oxford passed me the violin bong.