Bzz bzzz buzzz a phone alarm is going off on the dinning table in front of Toren. She takes out her earbuds and looks at the phone, silencing the alarm that says: TIME TO GO! She packs up her laptop and shouts to the seemingly empty apartment “Ya’ll, we gotta go!” Pender and Flame come into the room a moment later. “You would set an alarm, like we all didn’t know what time we needed to leave,” Flame says to Toren. Kane comes into the room last with his camera around his neck and sunglasses already on, “What time are we meeting Takoda again?” Toren shoots Flame a smug look and says “See why I set alarms?” Flame chuckles lightly and pushes Kane out of the way as they head to the door. “We’re meeting him in an hour at Gasworks Park and you’re driving,” Toren says to Kane. He tips his sunglasses at her and they head out of the apartment, Pender leading the way.
Kane pulls into a lot near the edge of the park and parks his white Kia Soul under a tree. The group exit the car to see a maze of different colored vendor tents in the center of a waterfront park with crowds flowing in, out, and around the vendors. A low hum of music and voices can be heard on the wind as they head into the event. A banner over the entrance reads 3rd Annual Gasworks Smoke Fest. The gang all mill about different vendors, taking pictures, and going live on Instagram to showcase all the happenings for their followers. Closer to the water sits a vendor tent with the name Hash to the Future over top of it. “That’s Takoda’s set up over there,” Toren points out to the group. As they head in the direction of Takoda, he sees them coming and meets them halfway. “Hey ya’ll! Thanks so much for coming out and meeting me here. How are you liking it so far?” Takoda shakes everyone’s hands as he greets them. “This is right up our alley! An event of this magnitude is definitely something we aspire to,” Toren says. “And you will get there, for sure,” says Takoda, “but come meet my business partner and let’s talk.”
They all follow Takoda over to his tent and standing at the front of it is a short and slender chameleon with shoulder length sandy blonde hair, black sunglasses, and a chic style. “This is Charlie,” Takoda introduces them. “Hi, it’s nice to finally meet you all! Takoda has shown me your website and socials, and I’m really looking forward to doing this piece on your brand.” “Thanks so much, girl, we really appreciate that,” Flame answers first, “we’re definitely looking forward to it ourselves.” Charlie smiles wide at them as she moves around the front table in their tent and grabs a wax pen out of her purse. Taking a hit she says, “This is probably the only industry where it’s ok to smoke at a business meeting.” Pender nods his head in agreement, “Just another reason to love what we do,” he says as he pulls out a pre roll and lights it. Charlie laughs at this and takes another hit of her pen. “Ok, so let’s get down to brass tacks,” she addresses the group, “Takoda and I were thinking we could do our piece on you all here, today, if you are open to it?” Our group all look at each other and shrug, having a conversation with each other through facial expressions and gestures. “Sure, we’d be open to it,” Toren says, “how would this work?” Takoda pulls out a notepad and a camera, “Charlie would record you all as we walk around the event and talk about what inspires you, where you see yourselves in this industry in the long run, and just get a general feel of your vibe and what you bring to the cannabis table. At the same time, I’ll be taking notes for the actual article.” Charlie chimes in after Takoda, “We are an online magazine first and foremost, but Hash to the Future is also an all encompassing platform and we want to showcase you all in more than one format. This video of you would be added to our socials with the article linked, along with your socials linked.” Our group takes this all in and has another wordless conversation about it. “Yeah, that all sounds great to us,” Toren says, “thank you for this opportunity, seriously. This could be the start to an amazing continued collaboration.” Takoda and Charlie nod in agreement. “Let’s get started then, shall we?” Charlie says as she steps out in front of the group and turns on her camera.
For the next hour or so, Charlie and Takoda follow our group around the festival, stopping at relevant locations to ask specific questions. Charlie is making sure to capture each member in their own element when answering a specific question, humanizing the experience of getting to know our group in a virtual setting. After the recording and questions are finished, our group poses for a photo in front of the waterfront, capturing them in this moment that could be the catalyst for more good things to come. “That’s the winner right there,” Charlie says looking down at the screen of her camera,“I am very impressed by you all, I gotta say.” Takoda nods his head in agreement with Charlie, “I can’t wait for more people to know about you.” Our group all look at each other in awe and appreciation of one another. “So, this will be out on our site next week,” Takoda tells them, “and we’ll send you all a first look for approval before we post anything. Do you all have any questions for us?” One more time, they all have a conversation without actually saying anything before Toren answers, “Nah, we’re good. And again, thank you for doing this piece on us, we’re all humbled by it.” Takoda and Charlie say their goodbyes and head back to their tent as our group turns to look out over the waterfront.
“So, do you think it’s safe to say this feature could change our trajectory in this industry?” asks Kane. Toren shakes her head in amazement of what this day has brought them, “Yeah man, I think it’s safe to say that it’s only up from here.” The sun is beginning to set over the water and the city lights are slowly turning on one by one as our group looks out at the world that was slightly different this morning. “So, who wants to eat?” Pender asks, interrupting the tender moment. They laugh at him but have to agree, and head out of the park.