Summer. Saturday Night. Suzy Blueberry and I are leaning against my ’72 Cadillac, aka The War Wagon, parked in the Calf Pasture parking lot, along with at least 100 other cars, mostly driven by high school students or young adults like us.. We’re sipping Budweisers and laughing about last Saturday night’s antics when we spot a complete babe zooming into the beach parking lot. We both stop talking and gawk. He’s riding a Kawasaki (aka: rice burner) hunched down, leaning forward, hugging the bike like a surfer paddling out, like it’s an extension of his body He’s wearing a cut off t-shirt, which compliments his deeply tan, sculpted arms, flat stomach, faded jeans and high top, unlaced Nike sneakers. Red swish, no helmet, mirrored Ray-Bans. His long, dirty blonde locks whip in the wind, and his profile is that of a Roman God. Say, Persius in ‘The Clash of The Titans’ He rides straight across the entrance road, directly in front of us, revving the bike’s engine,whah! whah! waaanngg! and Blue and I just stare. Here, on an ordinary hot summer night, with Zeppelin’s “Achilles Last Stand’ in the background, comes something astonishing.
Suzy’s pointing, her finger underlining the bike’s route, until he zips around a curve and is gone, flying around the road that hugs the outer perimeter of the beach. She’s doing a faint little dance of excitement as well, hopping up and down on the balls of her feet. She tries to talk before she’s swallowed her current slug of beer, and coughs, spraying beer all over. I jump out of the way and we both laugh like crazy, energized by the sight of this motorcycle fox. “Lee!’ Blue says, catching her breath, and wiping off her chin with her sleeve, “Who was that?!!”
“I don’t know!” I say, gritting my teeth….”But!’ I vow, finger pointing to the sky: ‘I plan to freakin’ find out!” I put on a serious face. I’m all business. Creating a plan. Adding shit up. Deducing stuff. I know he can’t leave the beach without tracking back through the lot we are in, there’s only one exit. I can’t catch the dude, but I can gather clues, and try and find out who he is. So we start scoping out the area. There’s a ton of people here tonight, throngs of weekend warriors, hot rods, bikes, vans and cars, and masses of people hanging out. I hear the waanng! waanng! of rice burners everywhere.As well as the ‘POTATO, POTATO, POTATO’ of the Harleys, the chirp of muscle cars catching second. Engine music. Plus, real music. There’s such commotion. Is it really necessary when I’m trying to concentrate?
I squint my eyes down to their maximum sharp-shooter mode, the mode that sees raccoons, mailboxes, or dimes on the ground. The mode that might just bite into an onion, thinking it’s an apple. It’s not so much eyesight, as it is determination. But just as I’m about to give up (and possibly go park by the exit-or better yet- across the exit) I actually spot him. He’s parked by the East Side crowd. This is a little concerning, but not overly. The East Side crew can be a little low rent (this coming from someone with $3.00 in her wallet!) You have to be scrappy to make it in that crowd. They listen to John Cougar and Huey Lewis, maybe a little Zep. The guys wear jeans without shirts (Out! At night!) The girls chew Bubble Yum like curd, tease their hair into brillo pads, and always have combs or picks outlining the back pockets of their too tight jeans. They smoke Kools, and drink Busch or Colt 45, and some even have babies. But right now they are hosting the hottest of babes, and I wish I was over there, wish I knew someone in the crowd. I focus in and try to watch his every move -the bike’s presumably shut down, but I can’t tell over the din of the crowd. He’s still on it, straddling the seat, leaning forward, elbows resting on the handlebars. His long, sandy hair’s slanting over his face as he looks down,all silky in the breeze. His chiseled arms (probably tatted), even his unlaced Nikes,with their fat tongues- it’s all a right up my alley. None of the girls over there are even talking to him- what is wrong with them? Maybe they just don’t want anymore babies…
“Mmmm!’ I say, surprised that I said it out loud. I point him out to Blue, who with her famously awful eyesight looks over and says “Oh- Is that him near the red truck?” She’s not even close.
“Oh, wait! wait!” she says excitedly, “Lee- I think I see him. He’s near that van!” “No” I grasp her little head on either side, like a pay viewer on a boardwalk, and slowly position it where it needs to go. “Oh!” she chirps. ‘There!” and she points. We both stare, letting out big sighs. It occurs to me I need to keep some binoculars handy. Throw a pair the glove box.
“Lee, I don’t think he’s from around here” Blue says, seriously, like maybe it’s a dealbreaker. (As if!)
“Ya think?….’ I start to laugh: “I’m pretty sure I would have noticed that for sure!” I say, hitch-hiker thumb thrown in his direction. Just then, someone shouts out my name.
“Lisa! LII-SS-A!! Let’s go to VISTA!” It’s Finn. Where did he come from? He strolls over, tracked by some teen girls in the crowd, no doubt crushing on him. Like all rockers he turns heads, and he also gets a few nasty glares from the jocks, and inspires whispered comments. I catch all of this in a glance, because it’s the usual. Finn is wearing no shirt (out! At night!) under his white leather jacket, showing off his tan- even though it’s in the mid 70s, a balmy night by Connecticut standards.
“But, I don’t have that much gas-” I start to say. Vista’s a haul. The Caddy eats gas.
“I HAVE gas money!” Finn says, waving some bills in the air. Of course I want to get more alcohol (is there ever really enough?) but I’m also keeping my eye on Adonis, who sits atop his stallion- in the form of a bike- in the corner of the lot. I put the decision off for a minute or two, glancing to and from my new hearthrob , but finally agree to go.
“Oh!…Okay!”I say, shrugging my shoulders and nodding my head up and down.
I can’t possibly fight against the pull of excessive drinking on a Saturday night, can I? I mean- I’m only human. A teenage human.I kick a pebble with the pointy tip of my suede, Peter Pan style ankle boots, and resign myself to the idea of leaving the beach. But a rule’s a rule- even the unwritten ones- and Saturday night’s alright for fighting-and the drinking that causes it. It’s times like these when I think someone should start a beer delivery service in this lot, because they’d make a fortune. God knows the pot dealers do. I know, I know -underage drinkers, fake id’s, the driving thing, the law- bad logistics-blah-blah. Still- I can guarantee a cash cow-especially in a town where you can’t buy beer after 8pm, and not at all on Sunday! We just need the right ( tighty whitey wearing? Air-guitar playing?) type to come in and entrepreneur his ass off. Offer a selection of beer, wine- maybe even cigarettes- at a huge mark-up. Just be swift- in and out, don’t get greedy. A couple of weeks, a month tops. Cha-ching!
Vista, New York is where we go to buy beer when we can’t get it locally, due to blue laws. (rest assured: Suzy has nothing to do with it!) Located just over the state line, Vista is a one horse town on which sit several liquor stores, our favorite the one that looks like a big, red barn on the outside, but is filled with beer, wine, liquor and cigarettes on the inside. It takes about a half hour to get there, but it doesn’t seem long at all when you’re traveling with a band of friends and crankin’ the tunes. On the weekends, it’s a mini- adventure – you never know who’ll you’ll run into, the stores are always bustling with thirsty customers- most of them in our age group. It’s even of interest who you’ll pass on the way up. The 20 mile, two lane road which leads straight to Vista is a hot spot for sighting friends who decided to do a beer run an hour before (or after) you did, as you pass each other going the opposite way. There are lots of playful middle fingers flying out of open windows, horns honking, blaring stereos, fake swerving (of which I am not a fan!) as we fly past each other, pedal to the metal, to get our drink on.
I tell Suzy not to mention our new crush to Finn, while he’s off talking to some Pat Benatar clone. Even though we’ll never date each other, Finn always gets competitive with the guys I crush on, starts putting them down, pointing out their defects. It’s one of Finn’s less-than-charming personality traits.
“Let’s book!’ shouts Finn, and as he steps closer I notice that there’s quite a little money pile he had in his hand, fanned out- ten, ten, ten, twenty, fifty?
“Where the hell did you you get that?” I asked, eyebrows raised.
“Don’t worry about it!” he laughs. “Just drive, and if you be good, you might just get some!”
“I’m not worried- just curious” I say. Between Victoria and Finn, there seems to be a lot of mystery ‘hustle’ going on. I’m not an idiot, either. I’d know if they were dealing drugs or robbing banks- wouldn’t I? But they accumulate stuff daily. I know Victoria had a shoplifting issue, but ever since she got busted in Florida at Burdines (while we were visiting my grandparents) she says she won’t steal again, and she definitely doesn’t take stuff when I’m with her, unless she’s Houdini, and I’m just missing it.
Finn asks me if ‘Pat Benatar’ can come with us. Sure. Just as long as she doesn’t ask me to drive her home (unless it’s on the way) or latch on to me. (Latch all you want onto Finn…..) He reaches into a pocket in his leather, and pulls out a mix-tape. The first song, written in Finn’s chicken scratch is ‘Breakin’ The Law’. The second is “Free For All’. I hope he’s not trying to tell me something.
“Play this” he says, laughing “You’ll love it!”
We round everyone up- Suzy in the front, Finn and his friend in the back. I start up the car, and glance over just in time to see ‘Adonis’ screaming out of the parking lot, as bad-ass as ever, bike leaning dangerously low, revving out. He looks so hot and lawless…and like he’s heading somewhere way cooler than Vista. Blue and I both sigh as I slide in the cassette and crank up the volume…