Rocky Mountain High

If we learned one thing from Nancy Reagan, it was Just Say No.

Daryl McKenzie seems to agree. Except for the times you should say yes. And the other times when you should scream, Hell yes!

Rocky Mountain High by Daryl McKenzie

I have never believed in anything like this. But it happened. I have no idea when I fell asleep but the next thing I knew I was laying in the back seat of what looked like a taxicab riding down a street somewhere in Manhattan. There was a woman driving but her head was turned, facing the road ahead, hiding her face from view. For some reason I felt as though I knew her. And then she turned to me and said, “Where would you like to go?” It was only then that I saw her face. My Aunt Julie. But that was impossible. She’d been dead for over ten years. She then turned her attention back to the road and said, “I hear Denver is pretty nice this time of year. Because where you’re going Kelvin, I’m sure you won’t wanna be.”

Suddenly I opened my eyes. I was sitting on the passenger side of my old 2002 Pathfinder while my girlfriend Monica drove through the main street of Marianna, Florida, blasting Hotline Bling. I never let her listen to that shit because it makes her drive fast. I then noticed that every time the bass came through the speakers the headlights would dim. It had to be the alternator. 

My heart began pounding, and it wasn’t just because of the dream or my dying vehicle. I looked at the time: 12:04 a.m. The last thing I recall was leaving a McDonald’s in Biloxi, Mississippi, where we bought some food and a USA Today newspaper. That was only an hour or so ago. This meant that I’d been through two states at about eighty miles an hour with thirty pounds of purple-haired hydroponic weed shoved in a suitcase, all while unconscious. And even now Monica was doing 45 in a 35-mile-per hour zone. God had to be on my side. 

After I did some yelling, Monica slowed down and pulled into the parking lot of The Sandusky, a motel we frequented every few months. No less than six times a year, Monica and I drove from Houston, bringing in pounds of weed to my connection, Charles. We would meet him on the Alabama state line four o’clock the next day. We had more than enough time to rest. But when we got to the front desk we found that the room we always booked with the king-size bed had somehow been rented. After telling us how sorry he was, the owner offered us the last room he had: Room 111. But he had a funny look on his face, as if it was a room no one wanted. By this time I was tired and didn’t care. We’d been on the road over fifteen hours. Plus this wasn’t a vacation; we had thirty thousand dollars to make the following day. 

When we walked into the room it felt ominous. I can’t really explain it. But it was something about the place. I put it out of my mind. We unpacked our stuff, showered and went to sleep. 

The next morning the old motel phone rang. Monica didn’t move an inch when the dinosaur rang out. I looked at my iPhone: 9:32 a.m. I reached over her and answered it. It was the desk clerk asking whether I would be needing any service. I said no hung up and went back to sleep. 

And then I heard a knock on the door. It sounded heavy-handed. Masculine. I shouted, “Hold on,” and grabbed my 10milimter Glock from the nightstand then crept towards the door. “Who is it?” 

“Housekeeping,” the male voice said. 

I peeped through the hole. It was a black guy that looked to be in his sixties. I then grabbed hold of the doorknob with my left hand, using the door to hide my weapon, and slowly opened the door a few inches. 

He was dressed in all white, sort of like an orderly. But he wearing work boots. For some reason this man looked very familiar. Without smiling the least bit he said, “Checkout should be 3:48.” 

“What?” I said. The checkout time was always 11a.m. 

He then added, “You need to look at that alternator,” and walked off. 

I closed the door, put on some pants and exited the room and he was gone. I tried to start the Pathfinder and sure as shit it only made a ticking sound. “Son-of-a-bitch!” 

Given my car trouble I decided to skip my usual protocol and have Chuck meet me at my motel room. Monica and I would have to rent a car for the ride home. When the rental guy arrived we placed all our belongings, including the weed, into the new Mustang, and gave the sales guy a ride back to Enterprise.

We were on our way back to the motel when something happened. As Monica was trying to make the turn into the parking lot, I took hold of the steering wheel. She didn’t understand until she saw them too. The parking lot was covered with cops. They were searching the SUV and room. Chuck set me up. We drove right pass. It was 3:48 exactly. The old man’s checkout time.

On my way home I picked up the USA Today newspaper I bought day before. I read a story about Florida executing their first inmate in decades. And there was a picture of the old black guy dressed in that same white uniform. Turns out he was convicted of murdering a man thirty years ago. The kicker was that it all happened in the same room we’d rented. The real spooky part was he was being executed at the same time we arrived in town.  

I don’t know if all of it was a hallucination but I took the advice of my dead aunt. With our saved up money Monica and I moved to Denver and started our own marijuana dispensary. I’ve been Rocky Mountain high ever sense.

Daryl McKenzie was born 1969 in Rockledge, Florida. Following a tumultuous upbringing, Daryl found himself in a whole bunch of legal trouble that landed him in jail for almost five years. It was during this time that he developed an insatiable appetite for literature, immersing himself in all types of books. It was also here that he decided to write a novel. After all, he had the time. It wasn’t easy, but twenty years later, Daryl published two novels in 2014, The Boys of Dozier and The Forgotten Acorn. Find his work here: