Sunset over the valley Uncategorized

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

sunset over the Los Angeles suburbs
I’ve heard it said that there is a defining moment in everyone’s life, a moment where everything falls into place.

I don’t think that’s true.

For me, life didn’t change suddenly; there was no one moment where it all became clear.

There was however, a period in my life where I challenged and overcame the things that left me feeling stagnant and overwhelmed. It was a series of events that shaped who I would become.

This is how it happened for me…

I started the car and followed Arnie out of the gas station. Frank handed me a beer as I tried to keep up with Arnie on the freeway. We were weaving in and out of traffic when I saw the red and blue lights about five cars behind us.

The cassette player was at full volume, so I hadn’t heard the sirens. I couldn’t get pulled over. It wouldn’t be just a speeding ticket. I wasn’t old enough to drink; we were both carrying weed, had a bong, and I was driving a car that we had kinda stolen. If I were hauled in it would mean at least one night in jail, huge fines, and death by grounding. I’d be grounded so long my friends would all be married by the time I got out of the house again.

The cop was almost behind me when I saw the freeway sign. It was a quarter of a mile to the next exit. Waiting till the last second, I gritted my teeth and whipped across two lanes of traffic onto the exit ramp. Well, almost onto it. I hit the curb and took some vegetation along for the ride.

Frank was freaking out. I was starting to worry a bit too at this point, but it was too late to change my mind. “What the fuck are you doing?” screamed Frank.

“What does it look like? I’m saving my ass!” I went left at the end of the ramp because right was the obvious choice. I checked my rear view. The cop didn’t make the exit. He must have been following Arnie I thought. Frank kept looking back as I wove the little car through a few more streets.

After a minute Frank spoke again, somewhat calmer. “Dude, slow down now. I don’t think they followed us.” I turned down the tape deck, made one more turn, and slowed the car. It was a quiet residential street. Without the engine noise and adrenaline buzzing through my head, I had a different thing to worry about – the noise that was coming from under the car.

“Can you hear that?” We listened and for a moment I imagined the muffler hanging off, Rover taking his last breath, spare tire dragging, or something like that. I stopped the car on the quiet street. We both got out and walked around to the back of the car, Frank still complaining.

“Now we’re screwed. We’re miles from home.” I looked under the back of the car and pulled out the shrub that had once been freeway landscaping. We both started to laugh in relief as I tossed it onto the lawn next to us. “Dude let’s get out of here before we attract any attention.” We hopped into the car, turned the tape deck back up to full, and finishing off our beers threw the bottles out into the street as we sped away.

* * * * *

You see, this friend of mine ‘technically’ owns the car. About a week ago he wanted to borrow some money. He was quite good at borrowing money, but not so good at repaying it. During his dramatization of why he needed the money so bad, he promised if he didn’t return the money by Friday, I could have the car. He even went as far as to give me a spare key. Well Friday came and the money didn’t, so earlier this evening we took the car.

It wasn’t all that easy though and that’s where the ‘technically stolen’ part comes into it. I tried calling him at his parents’ house where he still lived, but no one was home. We went over and found the car in the backyard. Problem was, another car was in between it and us liberating the car. I really wanted it. It was about to rain. All I had was a motor cycle and it was Friday night. I wasn’t going to give up that easily.

We looked around and saw a floor jack through a window in the garage. The garage wasn’t locked in any serious way. So we got the jack, lifted the back of the car and slid it around. Then we did the same for the front end and we were on our way just as the rain started. We didn’t consider the fact that his parents might assume the car stolen and call the police. That wasn’t important to us because, that was later, only maybe, and as I said it was Friday night.

Frank needed smokes. More to the point, I needed Frank to stop smoking mine so we drove up to 7-11. It had really started to pour. We got drenched as we hurried back out to the little green car. A heavy downpour was not uncommon for that time of year, but not typical weather for southern California.

When I started the car, the cassette player resumed blasting out the intro part of Van Halen’s ‘Pretty Woman’. Just as I got to the edge of the street from the parking lot, it crescendoed into the first riff of the song. I had no choice. I slammed the accelerator to the floor and executed a perfect fishtail slide out onto Rosemead Blvd. Not sure if I even checked for oncoming traffic.

I was sure this would have upset Frank. He was my best friend, but might not have had the same euphoria for life as I did. He was three years older than me and more the laid-back type. So I looked over at him and explained. “It was written in the music.” He didn’t seem too upset, but said nothing. “It nearly called for a Rockford [a 180 slide],” I further explained.

“I know, but we just stole this car!” he blurted out.

“Not really,” I quietly protested.

“Tell that to the cops.”

We turned off Rosemead Blvd quickly because of all the cars that were honking at us and headed out to the park.

It was 1982. I was 17 and Frank was 20 He was kinda like the big brother I never had and like me, he still lived with his parents. That’s why we were heading for the park. Our folks weren’t real keen on us sitting around smoking weed, playing guitars, and drinking beer all night. My parents would freak if they knew about it, but it was our favourite pastime.

Once at the park, we filled the bong at a drinking fountain and headed for the picnic tables. I had borrowed my sister’s Bingo Boy bong for the night.

The Bingo Boy bong came into being one night when my sister and her friends got a bit buzzed then decided to go to a bingo game. I wonder what the blue rinse set thought of them. While there they bought ink daubers that are used to mark the Bingo cards. They were little bottles about an inch in diameter by five inches tall with a cartoon image of an excited Bingo Boy on the side. After the Bingo game, the only logical thing for her to do was to fashion a little bong out of it.

Frank and I sat at our favourite table under the shelter to wait for Arnie and Frank’s older brother Rocky. The two brothers rarely left the house at the same time. Frank just couldn’t wait to get out of the house. Not that his home life was bad, but he likes to get the party started. I like to get out early too, but with me it’s a feeling that the night is calling. Somewhere out there, something is going on.

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Car stranded in desert Uncategorized

Stranded on a Corner in Winslow Arizona

Car stranded in the desert

By the time we reached Goodwater we were on our last legs. We coasted down the off ramp and just got into town. I tried to find a spot in the shade but the car decided it had enough and was demanding some new points. We stopped by the side of the road and walked toward the buildings ahead.

The town was smaller then we had hoped. One of the first open businesses we found was a gas station and we went in to talk to the attendant. “No, there’s no auto-parts store here in Goodwater. The next one would be in Sun Valley. It’s only about twenty minutes drive up the highway.” There was no way we would make it that far. “What do you boys need?”

“This.” I held up the point’s block. He took it from me.

“What’s it out of?”

“’75 Rabbit.”

“Yea, it looks like a Volkswagen part. Probably the same one they used in the Beetles. I‘ll see if I‘ve got a set in the shop.” We followed him into the repair bays. He rummaged through an old cabinet but didn’t find any. “Sorry boys. I can get you one by tomorrow.”

“No, that’s no good. We’ve got to get back to L.A. by tonight.”

“L.A., huh? You might be able to get some from Larry. Let me make a phone call.” He picked up a greasy phone and dialled. “Lar’, its Robby here. Listen, I got some boys from L.A. down here and they’re desperate for a set of points. You got anything for a Rabbit?” He turned to us and gave us a greasy smile showing the gap where his front teeth used to be. He turned back to the phone. “Uh huh, yea, that’s right. Okay sounds good. I’ll send them down.” He hung up the phone. “Larry’s got some for ya.”

He pointed us in the right direction and we headed down the cracked sidewalk on foot. “Dude, this guy’s going to screw us,” I said as the sweat started to bead on my forehead.

“What do you mean?”

“You heard what he said to ol’Lar. He knows we’re from out of town and desperate.”

“Oh shit your right.”

It was about four-thirty, but the sun was still strong. It had to be more than a hundred degrees. The town was quiet. It was Sunday and most everything was closed. We could see the cracked Shell gas station sign down the street through the waves of heat coming off the concrete. It felt a hundred miles away.

Larry was unshaven and just as dirty as Robby was. He was standing out front, leaning against the doorway to the little store. “You the boys lookin for points?”

Tony wasn’t in a great mood. “Is that a rhetorical question?” Larry screwed his face up.

“A what question?”

I stepped in. “Yes, we’re the ones after the points.”

He spit on the ground, glared at Tony and walked off into the mechanic’s shop. In a moment he returned with the points.

“Here you are. You’re lucky too. Last set of points in town. That’ll be thirty-five bucks.”

“What? I paid twelve bucks for the ones I put in there when I got the car.”

“Well this set is thirty-five bucks. You want ‘em or not?”

“I’ve only got twenty-eight.”

He frowned at me. “No deal buddy.”

“Oh come on man, you know those aren’t worth thirty-five. I’m offering you more than twice what they’re worth.” I leaned forward a bit. “It’s better than nothing isn’t it?” He considered that for a moment.

“Well… because I’m such a nice guy, I’ll let you slide.” With that he stuck his grubby hand out for the money. I thought we might walk into the little store or something. I couldn’t pull the money out of my pocket in front of him. I had about forty bucks on me and still needed to buy some dinner later. Not to mention some beer at the California border.

“Can I use your restroom dude? I suddenly need to pee.”

He looked at me suspiciously for a moment, then stepped into the shop and grabbed a key from it’s hook on the wall. “It’s around the back. Don’t flush, the pipe’s broken.”

As I got near the restroom, I could smell it and the swarm of flies told me I didn’t need to see inside. I quickly pulled the money out of my pocket. I couldn’t make up the right amount with the bills I had. I ended up sticking twenty-seven in my front pocket and the rest in my back pocket. I went back in and found Larry scratching his huge ass with a screwdriver. “Careful Larry, you might get that lost down in there.”

He turned around and gave me a dirty look. “Well you want these points or not?” he barked.

“Yea here you go.” I gave him the key back and reached into my pocket for the little wad of money. I gave it to Larry and he counted it twice. He looked up at me with one eye.

“I thought you said you had twenty-eight.” Tony piped up.

“Nope, he said twenty-seven, that’s what I heard, twenty-seven.”

He was still scowling as he thrust the points into my hand. “Here take the damn points!”

I had been thinking about asking for a ride back to the car but I didn’t think Larry would be in the mood. We were really falling behind schedule now and the car was about twelve blocks away. It was pretty much the whole length of the town.

When we had gotten back to where the first gas station was, I decided to go in and see Robby again. We had been making guesses at how much of a cut Robby would get from the points. Surely two highway robbers like them would have a system worked out. I told Tony that I thought his cut was probably equal to a couple of bottles of Mountain Dew and some chips. I felt we had the right to liberate them for ourselves. Tony started to babble something about karma and pressing my luck again. I told him I’d meet back at the car.

There was a guy filling up his truck at the pump, so I waited for him to finish then went into the empty shop. Robby sat with his feet up on the counter picking his teeth. I asked him for the key to the restroom and we made small talk while he searched for it. “You get them points you were after?”

“I sure did Robby ol’ boy, plum lucky we is too. Last pair in town Larry said.”

He wasn’t sure if I was making fun of him or not, but he certainly didn’t seem pleased. He grumbled as he tossed the key onto the counter. “Bring that back when you’re done, ya hear?”

“Sure thing. Hey, have you got another tooth pick?”

It didn’t seem like an odd request to him. “Here ya go.”

“Thanks,” I said as I stuck the toothpick in the corner of my mouth.

I went into the restroom and peed on the floor. Then I stuffed a handful of towels in the drain of the sink and turned on the water. I locked the door from the inside and closed it. Then I stuck my toothpick into the lock and broke it off. I waited for the water to start coming out from under the door and then went back inside.

I tossed the key on the counter. “Here ya go Robby. Oh hey, I couldn’t get the sink to turn off all the way. You better go have a look.” With that, I walked out. I looked over my shoulder as I walked away and as soon as he was out of sight, I went back in and stocked up on some refreshments. Then I reached behind the counter to grab a pack of smokes and saw Robby’s keys under the counter. So to buy a little extra time, I grabbed the keys and locked the door to the shop on the way out. I dropped the keys behind a flower pot next to the door. He’d eventually find them. I figured this would buy us fifteen to twenty minutes at least.

Tony was shaking his head at me as I approached the car. I tried to hand him a bottle of Mountain Dew but he wouldn’t take it. “Dude, seriously.”

“No, you stole that shit.”

“Look, two bottles of soda, bag of Doritos and some smokes. Six bucks max. They still owe us four.”

Tony looked at the bottle in my hand. A drop of sweat started to run down from his brow. “Fine, it’s your bad karma not mine.” He spewed as he snatched the bottle.

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Image of a band rehearsal room featuredcategory

Charlie and the Toy Room

image of band rehearsal room

Andy got to my place about five. My mom had let him in, so he was sitting in my room when I got home. “You ready to go?”

“I just got home, dude.”

“Yea, but we can’t play too late. Grab your guitar.”

“Doesn’t Charlie have his own place? Why can’t we jam late?”

“I don’t know. I guess it might disturb his neighbors.”

“Well, when I get a place, I’ll make sure it has a garage we can insulate.”

“Are you going to move out?”

“Well, ya, I been thinking about it, but I can’t afford it right now.”

“Well, tonight we need to get going.”

“Okay, hang on. Let me find a cord.”

“Don’t need one. Charlie said just bring your guitar. He’s got an amp you can use.”

That seemed cool. “Really?”

“Yea, he’s got some drums too. I guess he used to play drums.” This Charlie guy was starting to sound a bit flaky to me now.

“Dude, are you sure about this guy?”

“No… no I’m not, but what have we got to lose. Let’s go.”

We followed the directions up to Charlie’s place. It was nearly up in the mountains in an old section of Pasadena. From the street, the only indication the house was not abandoned, were the few lights on inside the place. It was a sizable lot and the house itself seemed like maybe four or five bedrooms on two stories. The lawn and gardens were full of overgrown weeds and shrubs. It was obvious that it had not been looked after in years. There was a staircase on the outside of the house, which looked like an afterthought. It led up to where Charlie lived.

We navigated the creaky steps to Charlie’s door, which was crudely cut into the side of the house. Charlie answered the door and we stood there getting a look at our nothing-to-lose guitar player.

He stood about six-foot tall and skinny as a rail. He had long stringy blonde hair and wore wire rim glasses. He was dressed in a cut up white T-shirt with a band logo and cut off denim shorts. It was a strange look. It was also the middle of winter, which made the shorts seem a bit bizarre. He invited us in. “Welcome to the mad house.”

He held the door with one hand and motioned with the other for us to come in. “This is the living room / bedroom / kitchen.” His bed dominated the centre of the room. There was a television and a huge stereo system on one side. The other side was a kitchenette sort of a thing. There were dishes stacked up on the sink and the counters. There were clothes, magazines, and all sorts of other crap strewn everywhere. “It’s not usually this tidy, but the maid came today.” I was sure he was joking but he looked serious. “This way to the toy room”

We followed him through the mess to the adjoining room, which had a double wide doorway without doors. It was like a huge studio apartment. I’d never seen anything like it before. The “toy room” was full of music gear. There was a sizeable drum kit set up in the middle, a couple of amplifiers, three or four guitars on stands, and more of the same mess from the other room. There was no indication of organization or normal living in sight. This was the coolest house I had ever seen in my life.

Charlie told us he rented the top section of the house from Irene whom he rarely saw. She lived in the bottom half of the house and had lived there since its glory days, many years gone by.

I stood there just trying to digest all this, so when Charlie spoke again I nearly jumped. “What’s your pleasure? Music, mood, or oral communications.” I had no idea of what he just said. I stammered a bit.

“Ah… did… did you wanna jam?”

“Music it is!” He walked over to one of the small amps and switched it on. “This is an old one. I call him Jerry. You have to wait for his tubes to warm up.” He reached down and picked up the loose end of a cord that was plugged into the amp and held it out to me. “Food for your soul?” I was standing there with my guitar case still in my hand, in a bewildered semi-catatonic state. I snapped out of it with a bit of a twitch.

“Ah, yea, thanks.” I grabbed the cord and stuck it through the handle on top of the amp. I set down my guitar case and started to set myself up. Charlie was now helping Andy get acquainted with the huge drum kit. They were talking drums and making adjustments as I tuned my guitar.

After we all got settled, we started the obligatory “What do you want to play?” After more than a few suggestions, we settled on ‘Sunshine of your Love’ by Cream. It was a simple song and everyone seemed to know how to play it. I played the riff through twice by myself and then the other two came in. It wasn’t too bad. I hadn’t played that song in years. I used to play it with Tony. Andy didn’t know it that well so it was a bit rough, but still a hell of a lot better then just two unplugged guitars in the park.

I had half-heartedly sang it without the benefit of a microphone. When we finished, I asked Charlie about a mike. He didn’t think we needed one “You’re doing fine. Helps strengthen the voice. Let’s just see how we gel musically.” This was the most normal thing I had heard him say so far. It also seemed to make sense.

Next, we played something by the Stones that we all vaguely knew. We were just jamming with it, not really playing it end to end. I wasn’t used to playing like that, but somehow we all knew were we were going. It was really cool. I thought to myself, this is really jamming. Just playing music and having some fun with it. I even tried a few little lead breaks. Usually Frank played all the leads.

I thought Andy had been playing pretty well. Apparently Charlie didn’t. He had been frowning at him a bit. He suddenly stopped mid- song. “Hey, drummer man, ya got swing. Loosen up, play drums, don’t hit them with sticks.” We were both a bit confused here. Charlie must have sensed it. He set down his guitar and walked over behind the drums. Grabbing a pair of his sticks, he held them up to Andy. “Why you playing with them tree branches, man?” He was referring to Andy’s thick drumsticks. The ones he held were a much thinner, traditional size. “Lemmy show you.”

Andy hopped off the drum stool and Charlie started to play before he had even hit the seat. Charlie was obviously a lot more experienced than Andy. His arms seemed to be flailing, but he played fluidly. There was something solid sounding about the way he played. The snare even sounded different when he hit it. What’s more, even with the substantially smaller sticks he played just as loud. “You gotta swing, man.” He emphasized this to Andy by bouncing a little on the stool, and then played a bit more.

We played a few more songs after that, and then heard a banging on the floor. It was Irene below. She had had enough. Charlie yelled down at the floor “OKAY SWEET HEART. Sorry guys, gotta stop.” Charlie knelt down on the floor, hunched over and started to pet the floorboards. “That’s it Sweet Irene. Put down the broom and go back to sleep.” Then he stood up. “Who wants a drink?” This guy was weird.

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men sitting around a campfire featuredcategory

Peacocks and Mushrooms

Men sitting around a campfire

This is the second chapter whose setting is that of Dave’s eighteenth birthday. This chapter being the later half of the evening as Dave starts to feel the celebrations are not on par with such a momentous event. When he is offered some hallucinogenic mushrooms (which he thought looked like little dried up bones) he is hesitant at first, but decides it might be a good night to give them a try. He and his friends decide to take an after hours visit to the Arboretum and have a little adventure.

The L.A. State and County Arboretum is Arcadia. It’s about twenty minutes from downtown L.A. where we all live. The place is huge – more than a hundred acres. My mom used to take us there when we were kids. It has thousands of trees from all over the world. It also boasts a Japanese rock garden with coy ponds, a bamboo forest, rock formations, a waterfall, flower gardens, a train museum, couple of historic buildings, and peacocks.

There have been dozens of movies and T.V. shows filmed there. It’s known for being the place where they filmed the opening sequence of ‘Fantasy Island’. They of course, were closed at that time of night. So it seemed like a good spot to spend the evening baking on shrooms.

We parked on a quiet side street that bordered the place. There were bushes and trees covering the ten-foot high chain link fences that surrounded the park. There we could scale the fences easily without being seen. We climbed in on the outskirts of the giant wilderness within the suburbs and found a place to kick back.

We broke open the case of beer and packed a couple of pipe-loads. Murphy and Rocky had gathered up some sticks and branches. They cleared a spot, and lit a small fire. Then we began to sift through our little bags of dried up bones.

John showed me how to divide up the caps and stems evenly so we would get an equal buzz. He also told me the best way to ‘come on’ quick was to chew them a few times then stick it between your cheek and gum, just like the cowboy in the Skoal commercials on T.V. He said after about ten minutes we should swallow them, then in another ten minutes or so we should start to feel the effects. Half an hour and the effect would be at its peak.

We divided them up and I popped my share into my mouth. Just as I did, I noticed everyone was looking at me. I gave them a couple of chews and nearly decorated the lawn with my stomach contents. I must have really screwed up my face because everyone got a good laugh out of my disgust. “Fuck this taste like shit!” I exclaimed.

Murphy casually spoke. “Well that’s mighty perceptive, Dave. The best mushrooms are grown in pure cow shit. I don’t think they wash them off much. It’s not like they’re FDA approved.”

So we all sat around looking like cowboys with little wads poking out of our cheeks. While we waited for the fun to begin, Frank played his acoustic, we smoked, we sang, we drank, and we bullshitted.

Murphy was making us all laugh with his stupid jokes. I sat there thinking to myself ‘You know Dave, Murphy isn’t usually this funny. He sure is on a roll tonight’. I also thought the little waterfall off in the distance was starting to sound very clear to me – it was as if I could hear every little drop splashing down into the pond below – and the moon must be full tonight because the clarity of everything seemed very clear. And the colours were all so vivid… vivid, that’s a funny word.

I looked up at the others and they were all right there, but I had a strange sense of detachment. Like I was in my own little crystal clear bubble. Could they hear me from in here? Rocky had a big grin on his face. “Hey Dave, you peakin’?”

Well I could hear him from inside the bubble and it did seem to be thinning. I think I should try to speak to him even though I don’t know if I can trust him. His nose did look a bit bigger than it normally was. I’ll try…

“What?”

“I said are you peakin’?”

I wasn’t sure; at least I don’t think I was sure because I said. “I don’t know, am I?” They all laughed and agreed I was.

The bubble had all but diminished now and I was with them again. I hadn’t really noticed the drug taking effect. It came on so gradually. It was nice though I thought. I felt my face deform into a Cheshire Cat grin.

“Well Dave, what do you think?” I’m not sure who spoke so I answered all of them.

“I feel gooood.” This brought incredible laughter from all around, even myself. “You know what I think?” I continued, “I think we ought to do something.” John piped up.

“You’re right! You’re exactly right. You’ve never been righter.” This brought more incredible laughter, but it wasn’t very funny. I was wondering if anyone else found this unusual, that John could say something that was kinda stupid and yet it seemed to be hysterical. So I thought I would ask them.

“Does anyone else notice John is stupid?” Again hysterical laughter.

John wasn’t offended, but had to say something back.

“Come on Einstein, let’s go do something.” We all started standing up at the same time, assuming we were Einstein, and then argued who was.

“He was talking to me.”

“I think it me he was talking to.”

“Yea right, you’re a dumb ass.”

“You know Einstein actually is my grandfather.” And so on.

We all debated as we walked down the little hill out into the freshly mowed grass and further into the reserve.

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Uncategorized

Toga! Toga! Toga!

Chapter 25

Toga! Toga! Toga!

It’s summer time and even though it doesn’t start on the calendar for a couple of weeks, the summer vibe is already here. The weather is hot, you can see out-of-state license plates around and the T.V. and radio commercials are all about Grads, Dads and Coppertone. Yes, all the earmarks of the start of summer. My High School graduation ceremony is next Tuesday. My parents have been out of town for two weeks and won’t be home until the same Tuesday. My sister and I were thinking about a week ago, why aren’t we having a toga party this coming weekend? Since we couldn’t find a good reason for it, we thought we had better get busy planning one.

Obviously it needs to be a keg party. It also needs to have a band. Since my band had recently broken up, I wasn’t going to get to play at my own kegger. I was disappointed but, as Jeff pointed out, once the party starts I won’t have to worry about anything. I could just spend the rest of the night having fun and working on a good solid buzz.

I have a friend with a band called Ten Inch Men. They aren’t really my kind of music. They’re a bit new wave. Despite the irony, I wanted to have them play. My sister liked that kind of stuff and they were a good band. I asked Jim if they would play even though we couldn’t pay them anything and it was short notice. He asked the other guys and when they heard it was a toga party, they couldn’t resist.

I had ordered a keg from a local liquor store. Since a keg is defiantly something I would be carded for, I reserved it under Jeff’s brother’s name. He had agreed to go with us to pick it up this afternoon. I was in a hurry to get ready as I hadn’t woken up on time. I was out late the night before.

We had made up fliers and had taken about thirty of them up to Chantry with us. One thing led to another and I was out until about three A.M. The fliers had the date, the time and all that info, but said nothing about an entry fee. I had learned my lesson about that. My sister put the final touches on them. Right at the bottom in big letters she wrote “No Toga – No Party.” We saved the fliers for people who didn’t know where I lived. I just told those who did.

When we got to Chantry, the place was packed. It was the last day of school and people were out in hoards to celebrate. We spent the early part of the night going from one turnout to the next, finally settling in at the top. Dianne was there with some friend of hers, so Tony and I were hanging out with them.

Most of the locals my age were up there. Twin poles had a bunch of geeks and preppies from the high school that thought they were being daring by going up to Chantry. After all, Chantry had a reputation.

I had made a new friend. I had taken interest in her car before I had even seen her. She drove a Chevy Nova that was in perfect condition. I started talking to her about her car and about a half an hour later, was getting to know her in a fairly personal way. That’s when the cops started cruising through.

The cops knew most of us locals and were usually fairly lenient. However, I have a feeling if all the geeks went home drunk, or some preppie crashed his dads BMW on the road, the police would have to explain why they didn’t patrol the mountain.

The first cop through was Officer Henry. He stopped his patrol car near where I was and called me over. “I’m about to barricade the road. You got one minute.”

“It’s only like eleven o’clock.”

“You got one minute, Dave.”

“Alright, okay.” I went back over to the others. “We gotta go now.” I spent most of my minute talking my new friend into coming with us, so when Dianne began to protest I didn‘t have time to explain.

“Alright, but let’s figure out where we’re going to go first.”

“No now Dianne!” She huffed at me and then got into her car. I waited for her and my new friend to pull out first. Then we followed them out of the parking lot and onto the road. Officer Henry pulled his patrol car around and blocked the exit of the lot. As we headed down the road, I saw him turn on the red and blue lights.

We pulled into a small turnout halfway down the mountain. There was barely room for our three cars. As we talked, five or six other patrol cars passed us on their way up to the top. “What’s going on up there?” Dianne asked when she saw them.

“They’ve barricaded the parking lot. They’re going to test everyone for alcohol and arrest anyone under age who doesn’t pass. I think they’re basically putting on a show.”

Tony was still sitting in his truck and now joined the conversation through the open window. “Let’s just go back to my place. We can party there.”

Tony had moved out of Katie’s garage and moved in with the two Texans who had recently moved here. They shared a house on Rosemead Blvd bordering Pasadena. It was an old house that was attached to the back of a storefront. It was divided into two separate residences, one on the upper floor and the one they lived in on the bottom. The family who lived upstairs was either really cool or was somewhat deaf. The party ended up there most every weekend night since they had moved in and we weren’t exactly quiet. Since I still lived with my parents, I really envied Tony, but he didn’t think it was a big deal. I guess he never felt as restricted as I always did.

My new friend had gone back to her car and was talking to her friend through the window. I couldn’t hear the conversation but it wasn’t looking good. I knew Dianne could help. “Hey, do me two favours.”

“Two favours? What do I get?”

“You get to remain my friend.”

“Oh big whoop.”

“No really, I can’t remember that girl’s name and you need to talk her into coming with us.”

She looked at me like a disappointed parent. “Her name is Jodi and it‘s not her you have to talk into it. It’s her friend that needs convincing.”

I remembered her friend seemed rather fond of her wine coolers and was only about halfway through them. I had a plan. “Hey Jodi, the cops are going to close the gate at the bottom of the hill soon and they’ll be searching everyone’s cars for booze on their way out. We really should get off the mountain.” She said something to her friend then asked.

“Where is Tony’s place?”

“Just below Colorado on Rosemead.” She looked over at Tony.

“Your parents won’t care?”

“No, my mom almost never calls from Georgia to complain about the noise.” Tony’s humour would go over the heads of the uninitiated, so I helped out.

“Tony shares a house with a couple of guys. His mom lives in Georgia.” She seemed impressed that Tony had his own place.

“Really? That’s so cool. Yea let’s go there.”

We got to Tony’s place and I ended up spending half the night in the kitchen with Jodi. I thought I had a good chance of getting naked with her and was trying to get a little privacy. She seemed pretty loose when I was talking to her up on the mountain. We went from ‘Hi, I’m Dave’, to her moaning as we kissed in about thirty minutes. So needless to say, I thought I would get a bit, but every time I got my hand up her top someone else would come into the kitchen. It was mostly her friend trying to get away from the other guys. They weren’t very smooth and were all trying to flirt with her at the same time. I thought that with the constant interruptions I could talk her into going into one of the bedrooms. She thought it would be weird to do it in someone else’s room. She was however, talking about doing it. If I only had my own place I’d be getting some. All I got was her phone number. She wasn’t even coming to the party tonight.

Jeff picked me up and we were on our way to his brother’s place when I started telling him about Chantry. “Dude, you were probably the only local who wasn’t there.”

“Wasn’t it your night for the studio?”

“Yea but I knew it would be a huge night up there, so Tony and I quit early to take some fliers up.”

“So did you see Andy?”

“Yea he was there.”

“Is he still playing with that Leo guy?”

“I think so. I didn’t really talk to him. I’m still pissed off. I just think it was pretty shitty what he did. If he wanted to go a different direction, he should have split the band up before he made plans with Leo.”

“Yea but Dave, you were going to get rid of Charlie. How’s that different?”

“I wasn’t splitting the band in two.”

“You don’t think so, huh?”

“No, I was just trying to go the direction I had always planned to go. I never really liked Charlie and if he’s brainwashed Andy then fuck ‘em both. Tony and I are going to get something going and actually get somewhere.”

“I heard that they got a gig in Hollywood.”

“So what? Anyone can get one of those gigs. It’s a joke dude. They had to buy fifty tickets just to get the gig, now they have to sell them all before they even get a penny. The gig is on a Wednesday night too. No one’s gonna go.”

“Well, playing in Hollywood sounds pretty cool to me.”

“Well It doesn’t to me. Not like that anyway.”

At the liquor store we got the keg, a big tub, five bags of ice and the tap. When the liquor store guy asked if we knew how to tap it, we all just laughed. “So, you’ve done this before?”

Tom chuckled. “Yea, once or twice.”

While we were there, we also picked up the things on my sister’s shopping list. Along with the chips and pretzels, we also bought a bottle of vodka, two bottles of champagne and a packet of skewers.

When we got home my sister was in the kitchen with her right hand working inside a watermelon. “Hey, I got your stuff… What are you doing?”

“Balling a watermelon.” While Jeff and I laughed, she scolded us.

“Hey, if you wanna laugh you won’t get any, ya queer boys.”

“That’s cool. I’m not that big on watermelon anyway”

“That’s because you’ve never had mine. Go set up the keg and bring me a beer.”

“I just brought you all this booze,” I said pointing to the table.

“Yea, but it’s only one o’clock. It’s beer time.”

Jeff looked at me. “You know, a beer does sound pretty good right now.”

We went out to the back patio and set up the keg. We poured a few samples and took one into my sister. She was nearly done with her watermelon bowl. She had balled a few different types of melons and stuck them all on the skewers. She had then put them in the hollowed out watermelon with the ends of the sticks poking out.

“Here’s your beer. Is it done yet?”

“Almost.” She opened the bottle of vodka, took one swig off the top and poured the rest into the watermelon. Then she stepped back and announced. “There…Vodkakabobs.” Jeff reached for one and she smacked his hand. “Hey, you have to wait for it to soak in a bit.”

“Oh… How long does it need to marinate?”

“Couple of hours. Right now I have a sheet to hem.”

Jeff and I got changed into our togas to set the mood. It would be hard to enforce the dress code if we weren’t in togas ourselves. We were sitting on the patio next to the keg like it was our shiny new frosty friend. My sister and one of her human friends came out dressed in their togas. They had sewn sheets into actual outfits. They had flowers in their hair and the whole bit. They were even in sandals. Jeff and I looked at each other sitting in our crudely wrapped sheets. “Well at least we’ve got togas.”

“Yea, there’s no need to go overboard like that.”

“You’re just jealous Sasquatch.”

“Not jealous, just have more important things to do.”

“What, drink beer?”

“Well quite frankly yes” My sister rolled her eyes.

“We’re just having fun with it. Look if it gets cold, I’ve got an extra bit that goes over the top.”

“It’s not going to get cold. I’m sure just a sheet will be fine.” I emphasized my point by pulling at my bed sheet attire. My sister looked at me with her head tilted.

“You are wearing underwear, aren’t you?” Jeff and I both let out nervous little laughs.

“Well, yea, of course… Um, I gotta go get something out of my room.” I said getting up to go. Jeff made his own excuse.

“Yea I gotta go…uh, to the bathroom”

Jim turned up about three and the rest of his band arrived shortly after that. They were all set up and did a sound check in about an hour. They had a manager who had also come along. He doubled as their soundman. We had them set up on a side lawn in the back yard facing the street. This would keep the sound away from as many neighbours as possible. Around five our friends started showing up.

Dianne got there first. She changed into her toga then joined Jeff and me on the back porch. “I’ve got a present for you buddy.” She handed me a little box with a tiny bow on it.

“What’s this for?”

“I know you were bummed out about your band. I thought this might make you feel better about it. You don’t need those guys, you…well, just open it first.” I opened the box and found a chrome Zippo lighter in it. It had Johnny Nova engraved on the front. I looked up at her with a big grin.

“This is so cool, Thanks.”

“This way, every time you light a smoke or your stupid pipe you’ll remember who you are. You’re Johnny Nova. You‘re a star.”

As I lit a smoke with my new lighter, Tony showed up by himself and wasn’t in that great a mood. He still hadn’t made any progress with Tammy. Today things had not gotten any better. He had called her earlier and she was bringing a friend with her, a guy from school. I tried to take Tony’s mind off it.

“Hey T, where are the Texans?”

“They’re coming. They’re just having a debate over how to tie a toga.”

“Where’s your sheet?”

“I didn’t bring a sheet Dave. I’m not really in the mood.”

“Well you know the rules, No toga, no party. Let’s find you a sheet.” We went inside and I looked in the hall cupboard. There wasn’t a sheet in sight. There were a half dozen or so when I got mine out a couple of hours ago. We went into my room and found the Ten Inch Men had taken it over. They were all in togas and had apparently found the hall cupboard.

“Hey Dave, I hope you don’t mind. We’ve taken over your room for a dressing room.”

“No that’s cool. Just don’t look under the mattress.” The guys that were sitting on the bed immediately hopped off and flipped the mattress up, hoping to find porn. The sheets fell off and I reached down and grabbed the flat one. “Thanks guys. Here you go T. One toga.”

Tony smiled a bit and by the time he came back outside, he seemed to be in a better mood. I poured him a beer and he drank it straight down and then walked over to the keg to fill it back up. He’d be woo-hooing in no time.

Around seven people really started pouring in. I was already getting smashed. Jeff and I had been at it since around one o’clock. So when the band started, I thought I had better find a place to sit down. I found a seat against the garage next to Tammy. She had made as big effort on her outfit as my sister had. Her ‘friend’ was dressed as her Roman slave. When she sent him for a drink I scooched right in next to her. I wanted to find out the deal on the guy she was with so… I pulled the bottom of her toga up to rub her thigh. She looked slowly over at me without pulling away. “What the hell are you doing?”

“I’m just checking your toga for authenticity.”

“How did I do?” I still had my hand high up on her thigh at this point and, though I never really liked Tammy like that, I was happy to keep it there. Although I was worried I might make a tent in my toga, so I pulled my hand back.

“You did pretty well. Just one question. Are you wearing underwear?”

“No, I’m not.” She was teasing me. I could see a bra strap.

“I’m going to need proof.”

“Right here? I couldn’t do that.”

“Why? Will it upset your slave?”

“No, he has no say in it. He does what I say.” This was taking too long.

“So, what’s the deal with him? Do you like that guy?”

She had a puzzled look on her face. “No, we’re just friends. He’s kind of a dork anyway. Why do you ask? Are you drunk?” She was looking at me as if I had started taking her flirting seriously.

“Well yes, but that’s not why I’m asking.”

“Well why?” Now I was feeling like I was in junior high school. I couldn’t bring myself to say ‘my friend likes you’.

“Ah…look, never mind. I gotta go fill my cup.”

After my visit to the keg, I stood back a bit to admire our party. There were about a hundred and fifty people, all of them dressed in togas and watching a band in my backyard. This was turning into the coolest party ever. So I was a little unnerved when I saw my sister talking to an older guy at the back fence.

He looked to be in his late fifties. I thought I should go over to see if she needed any help with the disgruntled neighbour. I walked up and she introduced us. “This is my brother David. This is Don.”

We shook hands. “How are you David? I was just telling your sister that I went out for my walk and I heard the music. I thought I’d change my usual route and see what was going on.”

“So you’re not an angry neighbour?”

“Hell no, it looks like fun.”

I looked over at my sister who was smiling. “I think we should excuse Don from the dress code.” She turned back to him. “Would you like a beer?”

“I’d love one, thank you.” We let Don in and she took him over to the keg and found him a cup.

When the band took a break, I went inside where we were having a more private party. I went into my room. We had a bong going earlier and I thought I might find Jeff in there. Instead I found Dion and Derrick laughing hysterically. The room reeked of bong water.

“What’s so funny guys?”

It took Dion a few tries to get any words out. All I heard was ‘Derrick’ and ‘bong’. Then Dion pointed to a little puddle on the carpet. They had spilled the bong and found it hilarious. I looked at the smelly puddle and slurred a question to them.

“You think that’s funny? How is spilling the bong on my carpet funny?” I wasn’t angry; it’s just that I love a good laugh. They continued to find communication difficult. Then Dion stuck his tongue out and pointed to it. I stepped forward to get a better look. There was a little tiny square of paper on his tongue.

“Oh,” I said while squinting a bit, “Well I guess if I was on acid I would think that was funny too.” I looked around the room. “Did you fill it back up?”

Derrick reached out while shaking his head and handed me the empty bong. I took it into the bathroom to fill it. I guess a little spilt bong water is nothing to cry about. I’ve got three days until my parents come back, that’s plenty of time to shampoo the bong water out of the carpet. I’d just have to get one of those machines from the super market. Easy!

When the band started back up, I found Jeff outside in a panic. “Dude the kegs down to about half. Look.” He bent over and picked it up. “See, I can pick it up myself.” It seemed reasonable that he could tell from the weight how full it was. He was still looking at me with a panicky expression. “We gotta go get another one”

He was drunk and I had to speak logically to him. I stepped up next to him and spoke quietly into his ear. “Its alright dude…The party is half over, and when all these people leave, we’ll continue the party inside with just close friends. And I got some more beer. Where is my sister?”

Jeff’s eyes went wide and he shouted to me even though I was standing right next to him. “You got some more beer?”

“Yes, now put down the keg dude.”

My sister was standing on a chair trying to take pictures of the band. As I looked up at her, the garage roof fell into my peripheral vision and I got a great idea. “Gimmy that camera, I’ll go on the roof and do some aerial photography.” She thought that sounded all right.

“Okay, just don’t fall off the roof.”

“Oh I won’t,” and I winked at her, I’m not sure why.

I went around the back of the garage and leaned a ladder against the side of the workshop roof. As I started to climb up, I noticed I had it against the part that covered the little walkway. It was only corrugated plastic and wouldn’t hold my weight. I moved the ladder and climbed to the top of the roof.

I got a few good pictures of the band then walked to the far side of the roof. I wanted to get a shot with all the people in togas in the back yard. I carefully stepped near the edge and looked down. There was a friend of my sisters just below me. I could see part way down her toga and thought I should take a picture. I reckoned she had two boobs, and that I should take two. So I did.

Then I went back to the other side for one last shot of the band. I wanted to get the whole band in one photo, so I had to back up a bit. I knew I was a bit tipsy, so I was careful to look behind me as I backed up. I was looking through the viewfinder and almost had the shot. I checked behind me and there was plenty of roof left, so with my eye in the viewfinder I took a couple more steps backward. Then I suddenly felt a rush of inertia from nowhere. My view went dark and funny. I realized it was the roof tile I was looking at. I wasn’t sure how they had gotten eye level, but looked around to investigate. I quickly realized I was up to my armpits in the plastic part of the roof. I had crashed through the roof and was now dangling three quarters of the way through. I looked around for the camera and couldn’t see it anywhere. My sister would be pissed if I ruined her pictures. I lifted my arms over my head to complete my crashing through the roof and hit the ground.

I searched quickly and saw the camera about fifteen feet away. “Oh please don’t be broken.” I picked it up and its little ready-light blinked at me as if it were saying “I’m alright Dave.” I breathed a sigh of relief, went back onto the roof, got the picture, and then fell back through the hole again. I sat and looked up at it. “I have really got to stop doing that.” I made a mental note that I would need to fix the roof. My parents would never know. All I had to do was fix the hole in the walkway roof, and shampoo the carpet in my bedroom. Easy!

I dusted myself off, readjusted my toga and went looking for my sister with a pronounced limp. She looked at me with concern as I walked up. I didn’t want her to worry, so I told her right away. “Here, it’s not even broken,” I said as I handed her the camera.

She was aghast. “Did you fall off the roof?”

I answered her with an air of defiance. “No, through it.” Then walked off with an accomplished smile.

The cops showed up around nine. They hadn’t even walked in when I noticed them. There were two of them leaning on the fence and grinning a bit. It’s not every day they get a call about a loud toga party. They stood up and put their cop faces on when they saw me coming. I wondered how long they had been standing there. “Hi guys. Is it too loud?”

“Is this your house?”

“Yes sir.” I was on my best behaviour. I didn‘t want them to burst through the gate and tackle me on the lawn.

“Well, the band is going to have to turn way down. If they’re on ten now, they’re going to have to be on about three. You know what I mean?”

“Yea, I got it.”

The cop then continued. “The party is going to have to end by ten We’ll be back at ten fifteen.”

“Not a problem.”

I went over to the band’s soundman and told him what the cop had told me. He shook his head. “Sorry, there’s no way I can get it that quiet.” I looked over at Jim who had seen me talking to the cops and then the sound guy. He yelled something over to the guitar player. When they finished that song, they called it a night. He spoke to the crowd at his mike. “Thanks for coming guys, but officer Dick Seamen has told us that we need to stop.”

The crowd booed a little then went about their partying. They didn’t look like they were going to stop. I went over and looked at the keg. I had no idea how much was left, so I found Jeff and he did his lifting test. “It’s about one-quarter full,” he said with an authoritative tone.

I figured as soon as the keg dried up the party would end. Not wanting our fate to be decided for us, I figured we should empty it a bit. I looked at Jeff. “We gotta get this empty. The cops’ll be pissed if they come back and all these people are still here.” I filled my cup and I drank about half in one big swallow. Jeff did the same and then picked up the keg again.

“That’s gonna take too long.”

I went in the kitchen and got everything I could find that resembled a pitcher. I filled them all and began to line them up on the dining room table. After around six of them, Jeff did his test again and declared it “Getting pretty empty.”

After that we walked around telling people they had better grab one ’cause it was nearly empty. It didn’t take long until they were pouring foam. The partiers started straggling out soon after that. The band had already packed up their gear and now pulled in a truck to load the gear up. It didn’t take long for them to finish and as they pulled away, the cops drove by slowly. I was still standing at the gate. The cop on the passenger side gave one quick wave as if he were saying we were off the hook.

I turned around and leaned on the fence. I was looking around the back yard at the site of our already legendary party when I saw a dark figure out in the far back corner of the yard. They looked like they were heaving. I figured some guy had too much beer, but as I got close, I saw he wasn’t heaving, but humping. I decided to leave them alone and go inside to find someone to hump myself.

The party was in full swing but, as I looked around, I realized we hadn’t invited enough people to the private party inside. More to the point, we hadn’t invited enough girls. It was a sad revelation and I had a quick look around at my sister’s friends. None of them looked drunk enough to hump Julie’s brother.

I slumped down at the dining table where there was a game of quarters going. Actually, it was Tammy, Tony and the other Texans watching Jeff repeatedly bounce a quarter into a glass of beer. Jeff and I had spent many nights playing quarters. Jeff rarely missed. William, one of the Texans who Tony lived with, was Jeff’s current victim. He had probably drunk three or four beers in the last ten minutes and now stood up from the table slapping down a five dollar bill. “This is bullshit.” He walked off as Jeff looked around the table. Mike, another Texan, had been watching the game smugly.

“You Californians think you can drink huh? I could drink all you guys under the table.”

“I don’t know about that dude,” Jeff scoffed.

Mike lifted a bottle of tequila from the table and filled a small glass nearly to the top. It was about four fingers tall. It was probably six or seven shots worth. “I’ll bet you twenty bucks I can drink that whole glass without setting it down.”

“How is that going to prove that you can drink me under the table?” Mike looked at the glass and then at Jeff.

“Well, can you do it?”

Jeff didn‘t answer but made a proposition. “Tell you what dude. You and me, shot for shot, one every five minutes. Last man standing takes the twenty.”

Mike laughed as if he knew he would win. “You’re on.” I got two shot glasses out of the china cabinet and set them on the table. “I don’t know if we have any lemons,” I told them.

Jeff spoke to me as he was looking across the table at Mike who was staring back at him. “You got any Seven-up?” Mike spoke up at this point.

“What, you need to chase it with Seven-up?” He laughed as he slapped his hands together. I knew why Jeff wanted the seven up. We had tequila shots at the river that way. It goes down easy and sits nicely in your stomach.

I went into the kitchen to find some Seven-up. There were two guys standing near the watermelon eating kebabs and dipping them back in before each bite. They looked over at me as I searched for the Seven-up. “Duhuuude, these are so fuckin’ gooooood.” He said with true emotion. Then continued with panicky urgency. “You gotta have one!” He thrust one toward me flicking juice across the kitchen. “Go ahead dude. They’re almost gone.”

“No thanks.”

“All right, I’ll just take it with me.” He took the kebab and stuffed it into one of the folds of his toga. A wet stain started to spread as he patted it in its resting space and walked off with a wink.

I brought the Seven-up as Jeff poured himself a shot from the bottle. Mike poured his from the glass he had filled earlier. Jeff took the Seven-up and poured a little on top of the shot then looked around. “Who’s got a watch?”

I had brought an egg timer from the kitchen. I held it out to show them, and then sat it down on the table. Jeff and Mike were at opposite ends of the table and I sat in the middle.

“Whenever you guys are ready.” Mike lifted his glass to Jeff in a gentlemanly manner. Jeff rolled his eyes, and then put the palm of his hand over the glass. He picked it up with the other hand and slammed it down on the table. This fizzed the soda and mixed the drink. He drank the shot in one quick motion, and then smiled at Mike, who was now trying to disguise a little shudder as the toxic liquor hit his stomach.

I wound the timer to five minutes and sat it back on the table. They both filled their glasses and waited for the timer. Tony stood up from the table. “You cowboys let me know how this turns out.”

The contest went on for about half an hour. Tony had set the remainder of the watermelon on the table and eaten the last kebab. A little crowd had gathered to watch the showdown. At one point Dianne walked by. I hadn’t seen her for at least an hour. “Hey, I thought you left.”

She seemed a bit flustered. “No, I was just outside talking to Greg. I gotta use the bathroom.” As she walked off, I noticed the back of her toga was all dirty. My sister was now filling her glass from the juice of the watermelon. Actually, it was more vodka than juice, but she seemed to enjoy it.

They were on about the sixth shot when Mike showed the first signs of slowing. He had just put down his shot glass and a look of panic came over his face. He convulsed a little as his stomach contents tried to display themselves on the table. “Don’t you dare puke on that table!” My sister yelled at him.

“I’m cool… I just had a big dinner that’s all.”

Jeff and a few others laughed at his lame excuse. I pushed my chair back from the table and looked under it. “Well Mike, I think there’s some room under there for ya. So far no Californians.”

Jeff picked up the timer and looked at it. “Four minutes Mike. Better fill that glass.”

“I’ve gotta piss. I think we oughta take a break.”

Jeff scoffed at him. “Oh whatever dude. Go for it. I’ll beat you when you come back.”

While Mike took a break we debated over if he was puking or not. Most of us thought he was. It was about midnight at this point. I saw headlights coming in through the kitchen window. It seemed strange because the street didn’t line up with that window. I sat pondering this for only a second until I heard the first crash. Then the headlights became brighter and I heard a scream from the kitchen. The headlights disappeared, then one more crash and some tires screeching on the side street.

When I got to the front door, Tony was fumbling with the lock. “What are you doing T?” He was turning the twisty bit inside the knob and trying the key on the deadbolt while intermittently pulling the handle.

“I’m unlocking the door.”

“No your not, you’re just locking it more. Get out the way.” I reached in front of him and flicked it open.
We all poured out onto the front lawn. Someone had missed their turn by about, oh… let’s say forty feet. They had driven over the bus stop bench, annihilating it, through our split rail fence and onto the lawn. At this point, they must’ve realized they were coming awfully close to a house and that perhaps they should turn. They made a right at the azalea bush and headed for the fence at the side. They neatly severed that fence and dropped off the curb into the street. We looked up the side road where he had gone, hoping to find a disabled car with a drunken driver to pay for the fence. Somehow, the car managed to drive out of sight.

I had a closer look at the damage. All it would take was two new posts, six rails and an azalea bush – that, a roofing sheet and steam cleaner. Easy.

We went back in and my sister was questioning a friend of hers. “How could you not even see what kind of a car it was?”

“Well… at the time, my life was flashing before my eyes. The fricken car was heading right for me!”

I thought I could shed a little light on things. “The car would have never made it through the wall. I think the bench, bushes, fences and shit like that slowed it down too much.”

“You weren’t sitting here!” she screamed at me.

It was just too much to digest for how drunk I was at the time. I decided to ignore it for now. I wandered into the living room. It was buzzing with excitement as the toga clad drunks revelled in the post- apocalyptic vibe.

All except one. On the short couch in prone position was Mike passed out cold. He had a little bit of vomit on his shirt and a little drunken smile on his face.

“Hey, sheck it out,” I slurred loudly. “I think Jeff won.”

Jeff looked over at Mike and shouted to no one in particular “Hey, where’s ma twenty bucks?”

Tony had walked over and joined Jeff and me staring down at Mike’s drunken form. Mike stirred, changed his position slightly on the couch and started to snore just a bit with his mouth open slightly. Tony was the first one to say what we were all thinking. “Hey, lesh put a cookie in his mouth.” He slurred. I looked at him a bit puzzled.

“Well yea, put something in his mouth, but why a cookie?” Tony was swaying a bit, or maybe it was me. He lifted his arm.

“’Cause I got one right here.” He explained as he showed us the small cookie. Jeff looked at it and spoke with a slurred but serious tone.

“Wha…What kind is it?”

“I don’t know…” He looked at the cookie in his hand. “It has pink froshting.”

Jeff, still with a serious tone, “Okay, yea that’ll work.”

I agreed too but wasn’t sure why. It just really seemed to make sense. Tony bent over a bit and stuck the cookie in his mouth after bumping it on his nose. We stood there all kind of swaying a bit with big grins on our faces. Then Jeff leaned forward a bit. “No wait…” He pushed the little cookie in further until it was all the way in his mouth. “There,” he said satisfied.

We stood there just grinning at our accomplishment and wondering what to do next. All of a sudden, as if it were a pop tart in a toaster, the cookie popped two thirds of the way out. “It’s done!” I slurred.

We all laughed hysterically. Somehow this was the funniest thing we had ever seen. My sister had come in to see what we were laughing at. All we could do was point; we couldn’t catch our breath, let alone speak. She looked down at Mike and his cookie. “Oh…right… I see… Hey Sherry, bring your eyeliner!” After they drew on his face, we tucked him neatly under the dining room table.

Back inside, Jeff had curled up into an easy chair and I looked around to see if anyone else had passed out in the house. I don’t remember crawling into bed, but I do remember waking up.

I lay in bed without moving until my eyes could focus. My head hurt bad. I lay there for a while, trying to remember as much of the night as I could. I remembered the band, the cops, the drinking. A smile came to my face as I remembered Mike and his cookie. I decided I should get up and have a look around. I could see by the light outside that it was definitely past morning but had no idea of what time it really was.

I swung my legs over the edge of the bed so I could see the clock. I shuddered with pain. I nearly screamed out but just grabbed my knee and grimaced. It was swollen twice its normal size. “Damn, that must’ve been one good party.” I tried to stand, but there was no way. I needed some crutches.

In the living room Jeff was still asleep in the chair. The first thing he heard was. “Jeff!… Dude!” I sat in my bed waiting his response.

“What!” Came a sleepy response.

“In the rafters of the garage…they’re some crutches. Bring um to me would ya?”…

“Oh… okay.”

A few minutes later Jeff appeared in my room with the crutches. “Dude, what the hell did you do?”

“I think I hurt my knee when I fell through the roof.”

“Oh okay… What roof?”

We stood out behind the garage in the space between the workshop and the garage looking up at the curiously large hole. “What happened, dude?”

“Well… I fell through.”

Jeff looked down at the ground then back up at the hole. “Oh… How many times?”

“Twice.”

Jeff looked back down at the ground then back up at the hole again. “That shouldn’t be too hard to fix. I’ve seen that stuff at Ole’s. We’ll just nail on a new piece and your dad will never know. Easy.”

“Yea, I guess. They won’t be home till Tuesday.”

We went back into the house and my sister was sitting on the couch with her head in her hands. She too was nursing a bad hangover. She looked up at me slowly. “What happened to you?”

“I think when I fell through the roof; my knee caught the solid part of it.”

“Oh… Did you see the bathroom sink?”

“No.”

Jeff and I went into the bathroom and looked down at the cigarette burn in the bathroom sink. I was starting to get a bit worried now. The sink looked too expensive for my meagre budget. Jeff could see I was worried. “Dude, this sink is one of those plastic like things. Just get some rubbing compound. That’ll buff right out.”

We went out to the patio and sat down. Jeff thought some morning bong loads would do the trick. At the very least, they cured our headaches and put me in a more optimistic mood. Nearly. “Alright, all I have to do is repair the two spots in the front fence, replace the bushes, fix the walkway roof, buff the burn out of the sink and steam clean the bong water out of my bedroom carpet. Easy.

I sat there and looked out at the backyard. The scattered cups, the abandoned toga or two, remnants of the band’s stage on the lawn and a hundred or so scattered cigarette butts. “You know what? There’s not that much damage. This was one of the most awesome parties ever. I say it was worth it.” I looked over at Jeff. He was catching a few Z’s in the lawn chair. “Yea, I’ve got plenty of time. I’ll get started tomorrow.”

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