The 4 Hundred and 20 Assassins of Emir Abdullah-Harazins
The 4 Hundred and 20 Assassins of Emir Abdullah-Harazins
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Warning: Philosophical Content-Explicit Ideas-May offend those easily offended. The legend of the Hassan El Sabbah is not as famous as his garden. Sabbah was an entrepreneur of sorts using the assassin as a tool to gain political influence throughout the Middle East. He would use young men by making them smoke hash then allowing them to enter his garden of earthly delights. The young men were told they had entered paradise and would be expelled if they did not carry out Sabbah’s wishes, which were usually to kill someone of relative importance. This tale is not only a fictional look at Sabbah, but also a mind-altering look into America’s drug culture and the idea of paradise. Told by a stoner, set over a thousand years ago with an Arabian Nights feel to it, the story centers around Emir Abdullah-Harazins (Sabbah) and his infamous garden. It is the story of only one of his Hashishiyyins (Assassins).

The campfire blazed and, like the campers, it was far from extinguished. Sure,
they were tired. Sure, all had had way too much to drink, but most had slept
well until early evening and were still recovering from last night’s
festivities. Yep, the five were partiers. Just listen to them tell a story. It
usually starts out, “Remember...blank blank blank, we were all so wasted.”

Chris, the self-proclaimed leader of the group was hard at work using the
minimal lighting to roll a doobie, while Gordy and Teddy talked nonchalantly
about TV characters as if they were real people.

“Who do you think got more ass, Sam Malone on cheers, or Captain Kirk on Star
Trek?” Gordy asked, as if this was a legitimate debate.

Teddy weighed his options carefully putting his hands out checking to see which
one of the beers he was double fisting was emptier. “I think…I’d have to go with
Sam Malone on that one,” he said. “I saw this one episode, where he went on
something like thirty-seven dates, and I think he scored on all of them.”

Chris jumped in, “No way man. Did Sam Malone ever sleep with a blue-haired
gorgeous space alien with three tits?”

Stephanie and Ann both looked up, annoyed that their conversation about
hairstyles had been interrupted.

“You’re disgusting,” Ann commented toward Chris, sneering in his general

Not that he cared. Soon the joint would be history. None of them cared, that was
kind of their motto, “I don’t give a fuck.” They would say it often and always,
making sure they accented the middle of fuck, drawing out the vowel, like Smoke
Dog from that movie. They didn’t care; they wanted you to know that with extreme
animosity, yet soon they would all be laughing merrily like Santa Claus the
night before Christmas.

“No way…” Teddy was saying, “Society’s fucked up on the regular…rappers are like
our superheroes…they have money, power, kids worship them, they have cool
aliases…it’s like an X-rated X-Men set to music.”

The group agreed, except Gordy who always had to be different.

“All powerful men have had pseudonyms. Most normal people have dual identities.
Superheroes are just metaphors. It’s a historical fact, Hitler would send
certain letters signing only Wolf,” Gordy said smugly.

“Rappers are more like assassins, in that they exist only in the negative,”
Gordy stated.

The girls gave him weird looks.

“They also both have three names,” he concluded.

“All assassins have three name names: John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Mark
David Chapman, and all rappers three names: they have their real name, their rap
name, and their alter-ego.”

Chris looked away in disgust; he never appreciated Gordy’s thinking.

The time was nearing four and all of them wanted to be up fairly early so as not
to waste another day sleeping. Chris looked like a wide-eyed scientist carefully
examining his new discovery. It was in fact not the first one he had rolled

Teddy interrupted his inspection. “Give it up,” he said, grabbing at Chris’s
hand, “it’s my weed.”

Chris threw an elbow into Teddy’s wrist. “Not so fast, you just can’t smoke it
right away.”

“What else am I going to do with it,” Teddy said laughing, “use it to stir my
beer?” Then he stopped, because he realized that he was laughing alone.

“Naw, man you got to give it time to dry,” Chris said in his most stoned-out
voice trying to be like his older brother.

“Yeah,” Stephanie seconded taking a seat next to Chris. She was clearly already
wasted, but none of the boys there were going to argue about her doing more
drugs. Teddy looked back over to Gordy for support but was given a look like,
“You’re on your own, man.”  Chris was the oldest around the fire, and due to his
older brother’s meticulous teachings had also had far more experience in the
field than anyone else there.

“Besides,” Chris added, “it’s not even 4:20 yet.”

Teddy looked at his digital sports watch, which glowed fluorescent blue if you
touched the two buttons on the side at the same time. The time read 3:55.

Ann spoke up. “So, what does that mean anyway?”

“What do you mean, what does it mean?” Chris snorted. “It’s only like the
international smoking time for potheads,” as he high-fived Teddy who, up till
now, had been his campfire enemy.

“Yeah, but where does it come from?” she inquired innocently.

There was that moment of deafening silence, that is, except for the crackling of
burning wood.

4:20. Where does it come from? Origin unknown?

Stephanie was the first to speak. “I think it has something to do with police
codes,” she said timidly. “Like, you know, 1-8-7 on an undercover cop, means
like kill him. I think. Like 4-2-0 means, like smoke up.” Although it sounded
ridiculous it put the fellow smokers at ease. “Yeah” everyone agreed it was
obviously the police code for people or person in the progress of getting high.
Call for backup.

Chris began to run his lighter along the edges of the joint drying it and making
it crisper to smoke.

Teddy interrupted again, “I think I heard it was actually the # of chemicals
that are in a joint.”

“Really,” Stephanie said reacting disgusted.

“No, not really,” Chris said on the defensive again, wanting both girls to
smoke, “I think it has something to do with this group that used to hang out
with ‘The Dead’ at college, or something like that.  After classes every day
they would meet at 4:20 by some statue, then go smoke up. So that just became
the code around nonsmokers that they were going to get high after school.” 

Joseph DeMarco was born in New York City; he lived most of his life in Buffalo, NY. He now teaches seventh grade on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. He is also the author of the novels Plague of the Invigilare and At Play in the Killing Fields.


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