AUSTIN, TX—Since the 1970s, “Bong on a Drum” and “Party Hopper” have been competitors, offering high-quality decorative smoking pipes, tie-dyed T-shirts and multi-purpose nitrous-oxide dispensers. This week, they will merge, an action that could result in a global conglomerate offering franchises in hundreds of world markets, a listing on the New York Stock Exchange, and salaries in the tens of millions for its two CEOs.
“Yeah, we decided to go into business together because I got this problem getting up in the morning,” Selena Jones, CEO of Party Hoppers, said. “I almost never open my store before 1 p.m.”
Jones and Bong on a Drum owner, “Tobe,” had planned to get together earlier this week with a group of Wall Street investors to discuss their venture, but Tobe had not shown up for the meeting, and failed to call Jones beforehand.
“That’s cool,” Jones said. “Because I was completely out of it, and nobody else showed.”
London Financial Times reporter Berhard L. Timmons has monitored the efforts of the two shop owners closely.
“The floor of the Board of Trade is abuzz with talk of Jones and Tobe’s plan,” he said. “Hand-tooled pipe and incense-holder futures are historically skittish in the crucial first quarter—this could be the move that sends them through the roof.” Jones and Tobe have missed the last three weeks of trading sessions because they were high.
The two business leaders believe they can network instead at an upcoming hemp rally. There they may connect with a low-cost overseas fluorescent poster distributor whom Jones has heard will be in attendance. A partnership with this party will lower their collective overhead and give them the capital to back even larger, international expansion.
“It would be cool,” Jones said, “but if we had a shitload of stores, I’d have to make tons more bead curtains, and I don’t know if I could handle that.”
Their hope is eventually to sign a multi-million dollar licensing agreement to streamline and systemize production of items such as hand-painted drums, decorative pipes and one-of-a-kind bronze candle holders. To accomplish this goal, they need just one thing: “I think we might need to write some kind of business proposal,” Tobe said. “I heard that you might need one of those to, like, show to people so they know you are a serious businessman.”
The entrepreneurs will carry out their plan as soon as they can locate Mitch, a third-year law student who once played in a band with Jones. They believe he can help them write any corporate documents necessary for their venture.
One worry that could slow their ambitious corporate rise is that Mitch may have moved.
“I gotta find that dude’s phone number,” Jones said. “I hope he’s still living at that same place.”
Added Tobe: “Yeah, if we find him, he’ll totally hook us up, because he always did us favors before and we used to get stoned together.”