From the Archives: Hash in the U.S.S.R. (1974)

in Culture

It was the C.I.A. that sent me to Russia. Not that I’d planned it that way. But after studying Russian language and culture for three years at the University of Miami, my yearning to visit the great Slavic motherland was impractical for one idiotic reason: no money. So I took a job in the school library’s Slavic Collection.

The only irony was that this magnanimously endowed library of rare Russian books and obscene journals, which would have been priceless to me during my studies, was something I never knew existed. The only people who seemed to know it was there were these very straight and hard-boiled guys, no flies on them, who’d come in on quiet days (while I’d be smoking grass among the stacks and reading Crocodil, the Russian humor magazine) and request the latest issue of, say Soviet Navy Monthly, or a Kremlin report on Chilean youth groups. A few weeks later I’d read in the newspapers about the sudden unrest among Chilean youth. My boss, a jovial Pole, confirmed that many of our visitors were indeed C.I.A., and he implied that the Slavic collection was C.I.A. property. Anyway, I worked there until I saved enough money to go to Russia.

Soon I was airborne with the other members of the commercial charter tour that would take us to Moscow for three weeks and Leningrad same. The entire prospect loomed before me seductive, enigmatic, enticing, but I hated the thought of going six weeks without getting high, and said as much to “Texas Jeannie,” a buxom Southern belle who’d taken the tour a year before.

“Don’t worry,” she drawled. “Them Ruskies got some of the best danged shit east of the Pecos, or west of …

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Author: High Times / High Times

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