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Archive for the ‘The 80’s’ Category

Jake Chronicles: Part One/5/04/15

In My Stories, Stuff I Post Just To Keep This Blog Alive..., The 80's on May 4, 2015 at 3:30 pm

I push my way through the crowd up to the bar where I order two drinks- one for me and one for Carly. The Night Raven is filled to capacity, thick with cigarette smoke and sweaty bodies, the usual turnout for Twisted Sister- a band out of Long Island that plays here once a month, always on a Thursday night.

You can’t get through the crowd without bumping into people-it’s standing room only- but luckily Carly and I snag a table tonight. I grab the two Greyhounds- house vodka and grapefruit in cheap plastic cups (classy!) and gingerly try and make my way back to the table with minimum spillage. Nothing like not getting to guzzle every last drop of your fifty-cent drink- tomorrow’s headache depends on it!

When I arrive back at the table, Car makes a big show of it, screaming ‘THANKS FOR THE DRINK,  SWEETIE” – grabbing hers out of my hand and almost blowing out my eardrums in the process. She gulps it down in a split second, then slaps it down on the tabletop in celebration, staring at me with raised eyebrows like she’s done something great- won a race or the Pulitzer Prize. I think of cornball platitudes about celebrating the small things in life, and figure this must qualify. I give her a thumbs up. And tell her the next round’s on her.

I decide to do a lap around the club to see if Jess has arrived. I tell Carly to save our seats over the blare of the club’s sound system, currently blasting Aerosmith’s ‘Same Old Song And Dance’ my friend. I stand up, put the palm of my hand over my plastic cup to prevent spillage ( a drunkard’s makeshift sippy cup), and say I’ll be right back. Carly winks and throws up devil horns.

I walk down the four stairs that lead to the bar, scanning the crowd. No Jess, or anyone else of note. I turn to check out the back room, filled with pinball machines and Asteroids games, when SLAM!! someone knocks into me, hard. I barely hold onto my drink, which splashes all over my palm, and through my fingers. I grimace, instantly irritated. Shit!

“Oh my god! I’m so sorry!” says a male voice loudly and when I look up I am eye to eye with none other than “Adonis’ himself. My motorcycle mystery boy, right here in the flesh! My heart beats like a baby bird’s, as Aerosmith segues into UFO pleading ‘Doctor, Doctor, please!’. Things have just taken a good and unexpected turn for the better, half spilled drink be damned. And the music’s cooperating, too!

I quickly look him up and down (better than I even imagined- and what I imagined was p-r-e-t-t-y good)  He flashes a Kodak smile and I inwardly swoon. Nothing hotter than a good smile on a nice face atop a body to die for, amirite? Sand, streaked dark blond hair, straight, gleaming white teeth, blue eyes and a golden tan. Could it be I have a type? Even if that’s true- I’m fairly sure this guy is any girl’s ‘type’.

He wears a blue Hooker Headers t-shirt, faded jeans and high top Nikes (black swish) His arms are built, his body an inverted V. He doesn’t seem to be a guy you’d have to fight with to use the mirror (no eyeliner or hair products). Up close, he almost reminds me of my screen crush, the leader of the Warriors street gang, from the movie of the same name. I fight the urge to break out the catch phrase “Warriors…Come out and play-yay-yay’, but it’s too specific a reference, and it might fall flat.  I’m a wise ass, but he’s making me second guess myself just by looking so good. All in all he has rendered me speechless. I tell myself to breathe. We lock eyes and it feels like electricity flows between us. And silence.

Finally, he extends a hand  and smiles – “Hi! I’m Jake!’ he says loudly. It figures! I love the name Jake.

I shake his hand (nice and mildly calloused- he must work!) and introduce myself as well. I fight the urge to plant my lips on his, just in case the opportunity never again presents itself. I’m telling you, It would totally be worth it, regardless of outcome.

“Can I get you another drink?” Jake asks, yelling (it’s loud!) pointing to my cup and then to the bar.

“You don’t have to!” I yell back, sipping what’s left of mine through the red and white swizzle stick, the vibrating slurp of what’s left of melting ice cubes, as if I’m really getting any.

“No- I want to!” he insists, smile lighting up the room.

“Okay….then I guess a Greyhound would be cool” I shout.  The whole time we are in the middle of crowds of people, but they are just a blur. I point towards the back room, and indicate I’ll wait there. I definitely want to corral  him to where I might have him to myself for a bit. He nods his head okay, and pushes up into the crowd at the bar in front of us, holding up a fistful of bills.

I walk towards the back room, mindlessly bumping into people, a goofy smile plastered across my face. I love how shit happens when you least expect it.

Jake Chronicles: Part Two/5/03/15

In My Stories, Stuff I Post Just To Keep This Blog Alive..., The 80's on May 3, 2015 at 10:43 pm

I float dreamily across the game room on the fumes of anticipation. Beat up pleather bench seats line the perimeter of the room, and a large group of rockers are watching a lone player on the Kiss pin-ball machine. I’m not a Kiss fan (too comic-booky) but even I can see they are perfectly suited to a pinball game. I  scope out a place towards the back of the room, where we can sit and get to know each other (I hope) I gulp down what’s left of my drink-just ice chips and a drop of water. (This drink has been through the mill and I need to stop expecting anything from it) I sit  and wait.

I hear loud, annoying feedback, followed by  raucous, drunken cheers. Twisted Sister is taking the stage. They’re sinister and hard rocking -though not exactly my cup of tea. Maybe it’s the costume and ridiculous makeup they wear. Sort of like the band I was just talking about. (Regardless, I’m sure they care what I think. After all, I’ve paid my admission and thus, paid them)

Plus, they have a couple cool songs, I’ll grudgingly admit.

The crowd around the pinball machine disperses, leaving behind only the solo gamer. A few seconds later, Dee Snider, as over-modulated as can be (is he eating the mike?) growls ‘SO HOW ARE YOU, MOTHERF**KERS TONIGHT” then roars like a wild cougar in a 1970’s car commercial. The crowd goes crazy, as the band slams into ‘Shoot ‘Em Down’.

Then, like a vision, Jake rounds the corner, and my heart flips. He’s holding a bunch of drinks unsteadily. I jump up and meet him halfway. The pinball player looks over at us, in between flips. We’re the only other people back here now. Jake’s smiling as I get to him (how many watts is that? Enough to run the whole fucking town for a good hour!) I quickly grab a drink and a shot out of his hands.

“I got us some shots, too!’ he says, “Alabama Slammers. Do you like them?” he asks.

“Like ’em? I looove ’em!” I say, as we clink shot glasses and pour the red liquor down our throats. We both let out synchronized  ‘Aaaahs!”, and start giggling like school girls. I lead him over to our newly designated ‘spot’ and we both sit down. We’re so close we’re almost, but not quite, touching. We keep glancing at each other and smiling like simpletons. My face is flushed, and trust me,  it’s not the Elizabeth Arden Blush-On. When Jake’s arm accidentally brushes against mine, I get chills and feel the current between us. I feel like a cartoon bomb, like my fuse is lit and I’m set to explode, sparks flying everywhere.

I’m asking him stupid questions like ‘where are you from’ (his answer: ‘around here’) and then I cut to the (literal?) chase.

“Haven’t I seen you at the Beach? I ask. “On a bike?’

“Yes!” Jake exclaims, the floodgate to admitting our head game really happened, flung open.

“And I’ve seen you down there for sure. You have the blue Cadillac, right? With the music always blasting out?’

Ding! Ding! Ding!

In the background, Dee Snider is screaming  ‘Death to Disco’ and breaking Donna Summer records to thunderous applause.

“Yup!”

“I saw you there Thursday- with- was that your boyfriend?” He’s talking about Jess, and the moment when he drove by us on the bike real slow, just as Jess was trying to get me to sip his flask. (For real. Not in an ‘is that what we’re calling it now?’ kind of way) He remembers this as much as I do- validating it all. Wow! I’m flattered to even be in his sightline, to take up space in his mind.

“No, no- that’s just my friend, Jess!” I answer, waving my hand like I’m shooing away flies.

“I don’t have a boyfriend’ I state, loud and clear, just to emphasize the point.

I take a sip of my Greyhound, and look at his arms. There’s a tat- a rose with a crown of thorns, well done. His arms are defined but not steroid and protein powder big. I love the faint ‘v’ of his upper arm muscle to his bicep.

Jake asks me if I want to go watch the band for awhile- and if I’m upset to be missing the show.

“Oh-pshhht! -I’ve seen this band a million times already!”I say nonchalantly, waving a dismissive hand. Right now I  wouldn’t want to leave this room if Black Sabbath was onstage.

(Author’s note: That’s clearly an exaggeration made in the heat of the moment)

“Wanna go for a ride?” he asks- and it sounds like the best idea ever. I can see us flying down the road on his motorcycle,  our hair flowing back in waves, the bike dipping low into the asphalt as we whip through hairpin turns. I’m up off my seat in a flash.

Jake Chronicles/Part Three/ 5/02/15

In My Stories, PRINTED, Stuff I Post Just To Keep This Blog Alive..., The 80's on May 2, 2015 at 12:55 pm

We step outside the Raven into the parking lot which is abuzz. People are everywhere, heading into the club, away from the club, standing in groups around cars, loitering, flirting, getting high.

Sounds carry: peels of laughter,  shouting, the revving of car engines, the whoosh of the traffic whizzing by on the main street out front. The muffled sound of the band thuds from inside the bar, like it’s bubble wrapped in a box.

I let Jake lead the way, checking him out thoroughly while I have the chance.The parking lot is flooded with white light from its many street lamps, the sky a dark void above.

A gang of guys-inebriated Twisted fans- pass us by on the way in, all bluster and bravado, chanting ‘SMF!”(Twisted Sister has a fan club- the ‘Sick Mother Fucker Club’ of which I am surprisingly not a member) A thin guy with brown wavy hair, wearing a Zeppelin tee, lunges at me and says ‘Hey, Baby!” Jake turns around abruptly and glares at him. The guy flinches and speeds away, his friends laughing at him. Jake extends his hand and I happily grab on. This makes me incredibly happy- to be holding hands with him, kicking the tires of the couple we might become.

I’m scanning the lot for Jake’s Kawasaki, but all I see are cars and Harleys. We stop walking and Jake clears his throat.

“I have to tell you something” he says in a tone that makes me think: Ut oh.

“Yeeeahh?” I ask, wide eyes and lilting voice, as I let go of his hand.

“I don’t even have my bike here,’ he says.

“Whaaat?” Wtf?

“I know….I just wanted to get away from all the commotion and talk to you” he says, sheepishly. “I shouldn’t have lied” He looks around, avoiding eye contact.

It strikes me as unsettling, and that warning signal I feel when something’s off shoots through me. Intuition? Perhaps. I do hate liars. But then again- maybe I drove him to lie by participating in this month long flirtation dance. Or  maybe (and more likely) my anger towards liars operates on a sliding scale that fluctuates depending on physical attraction, availability, and interest. Either way- we all know I’m going to blow it off and move on. Which I do. Immediately.

“It’s okay” I say. “Wanna go stand by my car?” I suggest, like it’s the place to be.

“Why not?”

I point towards the back of the lot, as a group of giggling girls walk by us, dressed in what looks like lingerie. They say ‘Hiiii’ to Jake in high pitched baby voices, and turn around to look at him as they pass by. Their spike heels click-click-click on the pavement. I picture extending my foot and tripping them, watching them fall like slutty dominoes. He pretends not to notice them at all and scores back any points he lost by lying.

The back end of the Cadillac is hanging out of its slot just a bit too much, and I make a mental note to move it forward. It’s such a boat. Jake laughs when he reads the bumper sticker: ‘Everybody Wants Some’ over the Van Halen logo.

“You really do love your music, huh?”he asks

I furrow my eyebrows and say ‘Ummm….yeah” I mean-duh! What a kooky question! Who doesn’t?

We lean against the side of the car, close but not touching. I fold my arms and look up at the dark sky. Jake’s thumbs are hanging from his belt loops, and he’s looking over at me, probably thinking of something to say, while I pretend not to notice. He leans into me lightly,  our upper arms touching and I want him to stay there forever. I’m aware of him with every fiber of my being.

Then, he stands up straight and faces me, pushing the hair gently out of my face, hooking it behind my ears, his hands on either side of my face. We plunge into a kiss like we’re diving into a cool swimming pool on a hot summer’s day. It feels divine. And I’m thankful that he’s a good kisser, swirling his tongue like he’s writing cursive love letters in my mouth, and I’m very, very glad that Carly’s persistence that I come out and party tonight has turned into this.

Jake Chronicles/Part Four/ 5/01/15

In My Stories, PRINTED, The 80's on May 1, 2015 at 5:55 pm

It crosses my mind that this is one those moments (few as they are) that lives up to the hype. That no matter what else happens from here, this memory will always be a good one. Standing still, in that kiss, it really all that. In my mind, fireworks crack and glitter across the sky. Jake’s scent is salty, sensuous…catching a glimpse of his broad, sun bronzed skin as I lay my head flush against his shoulder, I sense the gritty sand of a sun baked beach, and feel a longing for beach days that I’d missed. This was the sun he soaked in before my time, in a place I didn’t exist yet. I feel envious of anyone who’d been there to share it with him. I want to be a part of his life, to feel the sun by his side, watch as our skin turns chestnut brown together. I would never voice these thoughts in a million, bazillion! years -but privately they flutter about my mind with no fear of judgement, my dorky little secrets. I might always remember this beginning, a sentence in my story worth highlighting in yellow.

The spell was finally broken with the brazen words: “Lookit this hussy over here! Do we need a ticket to see the show?”

Jake and I jump, startled by the surprise invasion into our ‘personal space’ (which is against the side of a car in a bar parking lot, so not exactly airtight as far as privacy goes) It’s Jess, in full-on sarcasm mode. He isn’t more than three four away, leering at us and laughing. I look at him, shake  my head and proceed to heave a full scale eye-roll/sigh combination his way. I have to laugh right after, though. Jess is such a trip. Jake, on the other hand, moves away from me, folds his arms across his chest and glares at him.

“Geez!” Jess chortles, chin held high in the direction of Jake, eyes directed at me. “Look at this dude. all serious and what not!” You can tell he expects Jake to laugh.

Instead, Jake’s brow furrows, and his eyes narrow down to slits. I think I detect a snarl. I’m taken  aback that he isn’t going along, seeing the joke of it. This is bothersome because it doesn’t sync up with who I’ve already projected him to be.

I jump in, making light of it all. “Oh…you!” I say to Jess, then turn to Jake, “He’s just kidding! He’s always like this!” throwing my hands up towards Jess in a ‘what-ever-am-I-going-to-do-with-you,’  half-hearted shrug. It doesn’t occur to me that Jake probably assumes I’m sleeping with Jess, since the last time he’d seen us we were playfully wrestling, like characters in a movie right before they kiss.

Suddenly, someone calls Jess’s name from across the parking lot. It’s Big Artie, who we know from the Beach. I can only describe him as John Belushi lite. I give a quick wave.

“HEEY ART! I’LL BE RIGHT THERE!” Jess bellows, one hand cupped around his mouth.  It’s like a closed- fisted punch to the ears. Jake looks even further annoyed. This isn’t going well.

Jess leans in and gives me a split second hug, saying’ “I’ll see you inside”. He turns back around when he’s farther away and says to Jake: “Really nice meeting you?” in question form.

It was true, Jake was not at all amused at any of this. This was a small disappointment- so many people don’t ‘get’ Jess, but I know that if they gave him a chance they’ll like him. People assume he’s was cocky and arrogant- which he is- but not in a threatening way. He’s more like a minor comedian. He likes to joke around, to ridicule pretty much everything. Sometimes even himself. Once you knew him, it was hard to take him seriously- or even remember a time when you did. He may have been tortured inside-who can peek into anyone’s private thoughts- but this jokey persona was what he presented to the world, often misinterpreted.

“You sure that isn’t your boyfriend?”Jake asks after Jess is out of earshot.

“Well- if he was– wouldn’t it be weird that he walked up on us while we were kissing and he didn’t seem the least bit upset?” I say, laughing.’And now he’s just leaving- like: oh, well- guess she’s busy?”

“You never know these days!” he answers. I look at him, waiting for him to laugh, but again, he doesn’t. These days? What was that all about? Is he unaware that he, too is part of our generation?

“Now- where were we?” he asks, standing once again up close and face to face. Looking at him- cheekbones, big blue eyes, sun-streaked hair-I promptly forget Jess had even been here, possibly forget Jess’s name- and suddenly cannot care less about Jake’s tendency (or not) towards a sense of humor. Maybe he’s just the jealous type. And that could be flattering in small doses- at least it showed he cared.*

*Author’s Note: Only a naive nineteen year old thinks this way…So gimme a break.

Jake Chronicles: Part FIVE 4/30/15

In My Stories, PRINTED, The 80's on April 30, 2015 at 5:48 pm

It couldn’t have been two minutes later, knee-deep in a frencher, when I hear my name again, this time from a distance. Will anyone just let me savor the friggin moment and make out with this dude? I look up to see its my dear friend Suzy Blueberry, who was with me the first time I  spotted Jake on his Kawasaki. She is such a sweetheart-the kind of girl who’s so nice she has no enemies, and is never gossiped about. I will forgive her anything, including this.

“Oh my god! Is that you, Sam?” she asks. She’s wearing a pink tube top with acid washed Jordache jeans and slouchy white ankle boots. Her ash blonde hair is teased just so. She looks adorable, and is with two girls I vaguely recognize, girls I’ve seen around. Both have brunette hair in side ponytails, fastened with neon colored scrunchies.

Jake looks over. I catch the moment of recognition in Blue’s face when she realizes who he is.

“Oooooh!” she says, exhaling for days. “You and me gotta tawk when you get inside!” she says, eyes wide.

At that moment, one of the pony-tail girls blows a pink Bazooka bubble from her lips and pops it loudly like a firecracker. It serves as an exclamation point on Blue’s words.

A crowd of people surge out of the Raven, and I realize that the muffled thudding of the band had ceased. The band must be on break.

Blue winks and says goodbye, salutes me with devil horns and walks off with her pals, whispering and giggling. I see her thumb aiming back in my direction, and know she’s telling them the story.

The parking lot is filling up with slightly (or mostly?) drunk Twisted Sister fans, many of whom are adopting the obnoxious behavior of their favorite lead singer’s brazen stage persona. (Offstage, he famously swears he’s a grandmother, doesn’t even drink) At the other end of the lot, someone blasts an M-80, and we all jump. (July Fourth is around the corner-but don’t get me started on my disdain for that particular holiday and it’s moronic melding of booze and explosives-nor the flood of ‘gee-there’s a shocker’ news items about missing digits and evil carnage the following day.) Needless to say, the conditions of our make-out session are less than ideal. As it should be in a public parking lot. With all of the commotion, it’s obvious there will would be no privacy to be had.

“We might as well go back in!” I sigh.

I’ve driven my friends here, and don’t want them to think I bailed. If I’d gone for a motorcycle ride it would have been fine- my car would be in the lot and they’d  know I’d be back. I’m pretty dependable that way. If Jake and I leave in my car, I can’t guarantee we’ll be back.

As we walk back towards the Raven, I keep glancing sideways at Jake, thirsty for a look. When that doesn’t satisfy, I  cease walking- I stop on a dime so I can check him out as he walks in front of me.  It’s a fine sight, and man,  I’d love to take (and therefore have) a picture to swoon over. When Jake realizes I’m no longer keeping up, he pivots and backtracks, so in a flash I pretend to be looking for something in my purse. He appears to have no flaws. His built, tan arms, longish sun-streaked hair hair- don’t even get me started on his ass-it’s all good. I see why people are objectified, and I’m full-on participating in it until my next women’s rights bull session. It’s not just guys who do it. I can’t help myself.

We stand in the club’s door and hold up the back of our red-stamped hands for the bouncers who flag us through. We step back into a veil of smoke, sweat and loud music, readjusting to the chaos and noise. Jake leans into my ear, and shouts he’ll be right back (what? don’t leave!), but I casually shout back, ‘I’ll be around here somewhere’ and twirl my finger like a helicopter blade. I’m let down that he’s walking away, so I play the ‘I could care less, mister!’ card. We’re all such fakes, playing the worst board game ever: Chutes and Ladders: Relationship Edition. I slip down a chute and  we head off in opposite directions.

Jake Chronicles: Part 6/ 4/29/15

In My Stories, PRINTED, The 80's on April 29, 2015 at 2:08 pm

I make my way through packed room, crossing the front of the stage, then up the stairs that lead to the second level. It’s very crowded but I’m on a mission and push my way through. I wonder if Carly is still at our table and am happy to see that she is, and bonus- she’s been joined by Jess and Blue. Jess’s white blond hair stands out like teeth under a blacklight, and I note he’s wearing his Jack Daniels T-shirt with the sleeves I personally cut off. His white leather jacket is hanging off the back of Darla’s chair. “Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers” by ZZ Topp is blaring from the speakers. We’re all shaking our heads a little, in time with the song. Darla holds her beer up high in the air during the chorus- because clearly, this song is about her and she wants everyone to know it.

“THERE YOU ARE!!” she bellows when I approach the table. I nod, validating her astute observation. Nothing gets by Darla. Blue looks at me with wide eyes, open mouth and her hand splayed over her heart. I know I owe her a story.

“Are you done humping it up in the parking lot?” Jess asks, as he stands up and points to the empty seat next to him. I shake my head, and give him an insincere smile. I take the seat, folding my hands together atop the table, like the Principal at a parent-teacher conference.

“You shoulda seen her out there” he yells to the girls “She was really goin’ at it!” He slaps his knee, and chugs from a Bud bottle.

“That’s NOT what happened!” I say loudly. “Jesus!”

“Where’s Mr. Suave? He leave you hangin?” Jess asks, laughing.

I ignore him, and lean into the table, motioning  Darla and Blue to come closer. Jess stands up, and says he’ll be right back. “I don’t wanna hear any of her Penthouse letters” he cracks. I give him another fake smile and the finger.

“Anyway!” I say to our little huddle, inside which we can hear ourselves if we really lean in.  “That was The Guy! The Guy on the Bike!” Blue nods in quick succession, while Darla asks ‘Bi-cycle? What bicycle? Who are we even talking about here?”

“Tsk! No! Not a bicycle…’ I say, exasperated. ‘I’m not scoping out bicycle riders, Darla! I mean- what am I-  riding around in my car checking out guys on ten speeds?” I say this as if it is as impossible as me flying to the moon, and just as preposterous. The truth is, I’ll scope on any guy, anywhere. Driving, walking- you name it. The only real criteria I have for a guy is ‘existing’.  I mean- who am I kidding?

“OOOOOH!” she yells, finally recognizing who I’m referring to, “You mean that fox on the rice-burner you were telling me about!”

“Shhhh!” I say, looking quickly around for eavesdroppers, like anyone would care, like anyone could even hear us over the music if they did. Which they don’t.

“No, Darla- really- you’ve gotta SEE this one! I mean- yowzah!” Blue shakes her wrist, flapping her hand back and forth, validating my taste. “How’d you ever meet him, Sam?”

“It’s so funny- you won’t believe how it happened!” I say, shoring up my tale, convinced it’s the most random sequence of events ever. Just imagine: two people, constantly checking each other out around town-when- big twist! they run into each other at one of  the only three local bars people in our age bracket gather at. Still, that didn’t stop me from weaving a dramatic yarn, like a ghost story told around a campfire, with cute guys and motorcycles instead of diaphanous ghosts and witches brooms.

When I  finish, careful to supply every detail and nuance from ‘saw him speeding into the beach all foxy and what not’ for Darla’s benefit, all the way through to the random bumping into each other in the crowd here. I lean back into my chair, throw my hands up: mic drop!. What can I say? I’m fascinating. Blue squeezes her arms together and giggles, while Darla holds out for a high five. I don’t notice this right off (so taken as I am with my own story) that when I finally do high five her back it’s awkward and clumsy and doesn’t quite connect.  If this was a movie, we’d have to do another take. But Jake would still be the star.

As if on cue, he strolls up to the table with a drink and a beer, and hands me the drink. My heart races. His presence is so in my face-he stands apart from everyone else in my eyes- I’d swear he’s more three dimensional. Almost like he’s in color, and the rest of us are black and white.  He leans in to whisper in my ear, his ass practically in Darla’s face. Her and Blue are literally pointing at it and making duck lip faces. Darla’s pantomiming a squeeze. I kick her under the table. Thankfully,  she straightens up and flies right. Blue follows suit.

“Listen- I need to leave with my friend” Jake says, his voice deep, tickling my inner ear, giving me goosebumps. “Can I get your number and call you tomorrow?”

Can you? I nod my head and reach into my purse, holding a finger up, hold on a sec. I pull out my tiny brown leather address book, embossed with a braying unicorn. (Underneath its hooves, it reads ‘The Unicorn’ in case I mistake it for a regular horse) I flip through, looking for a blank page, which I  rip out sloppily, it’s edges jagged which faintly bothers me; I wish I could scissor that off- (I have a sprinkle of OCD, only a dash, really) I find a pen at the bottom of my purse and write my name in extra swirly script (script is one of my specialties) and add my number. I’m actually trying to make my handwriting sexy which may be certifiable. (oooh!…when I saw the way you looped that  ‘S’ I knew you were the one for me! A classic love story)

I feel like I’ll be competing with a stack of other girl’s numbers, though, so I put in the extra effort. I fold the paper and pass it to him. He leans down and whispers in my ear “I’ll call you tomorrow, foxy”, and actually play- bites my earlobe gently. I shiver. He walks away-a vision of hotness as the three of us track him. As soon as he is just out of range, we all start swooning, slapping the table and clucking like hens. We all agree-wholeheartedly-that he is one buff motherf*cker and just ‘oh my god!’

On the upside, now that he’s gone, I can finally be my effing self, my voice suddenly a few decibels lower, my posture less stiff, relaxing into my chair, the relief of no longer being watched from afar by a potential lover and his opinionated friends. I hadn’t realized how clenched up I was, subtly posing, holding in my stomach, boobs up and out proudly, like flags. But the evaluation is over, it seems I’ve passed and now it’s time to slouch- and party. Let the drinks and expletives fly!

Jake Chronicles: Part Seven/4/28/15

In My Stories, The 80's on April 28, 2015 at 9:59 am

Part #7

 

About this time, Jess comes back around taking the stairs two at a time. I stand up and tilt my head to the side, make a silly face and wave to catch his eye. He’s the most interesting person I can hang with for the rest of the night because drama and laughter follow Jess- nipping at his heels,always unpredictable. This is convenient, as I’m willing time to pass as fast as possible until tomorrow. If I could fast forward I’d be holding down the button.

He makes a beeline over, and we exchange hugs and smiles authentically without Jake’s chemistry throwing it off. As I’m pulling away from him, I feel him gripping me tighter, and it’s odd and pushy until I realize he’s trying to put something discreetly into my hand.

“You dummy!” he says. “TAKE THIS!!”

I suddenly realize it’s his precious amber bullet, and  I grab it quickly- in one motion tossing it into my purse, which is in front of me on the table.

“Leave me some!” he mouths as he walks away. It’s the least I can do.

Twisted Sister takes to the stage again. Colored spotlights- red, orange, blue, and green, frantically dance across the deep brown ceilings of the cabin-like club, as Dee Snider’s guttural growl once again pierces the sound system. The crowd cheers, while I down half my drink, then head to the Ladies Room. Inside, heavily made up girls in their Thursday best are standing in front of cracked mirrors, spraying their teased hair with mini-bottles of Final Net and Paul Mitchell. Others apply eyeliner unsteadily, the water running in the dirty sinks as they yap back and forth over the thudding bass line outside. Graffiti covers the walls (phone numbers, band adoration, ‘disco sucks’)  There is a sense of urgency, everyone in rush mode to get out and see the band.

I walk straight into an empty stall, and assess the toilet seat. Disgusting. I rip toilet paper off in waves in order to clean the seat off. I know I’m just smearing germs into it, but sue me if I don’t want to sit in pools of urine. Luckily for me there’s any paper in the stall to begin with. (I am also blessed in that I am not a germ phobe. I figure it takes a lot more than a few drops of urine to kill a healthy human being, and have faith I will die of something much more severe than the bathroom at the Night Raven. Though, looking around, I can’t say for sure it couldn’t happen.)

After checking the loose, clunky silver lock on the door (about to fall off) I pull out the bullet, release a serving, and sniff it up with minimal fanfare. I try to be discreet, unlike a lot of people who snort like swine, making awful noises with no regard for anyone- and ruin it for the rest of us. Club owners are required to follow the letter of the law when it comes to serving alcohol, and drugs -from coke to marijuana, complicates things. But it’s 1980,and coke is everywhere. It’s on Wall Street, in discos, rock clubs, at concerts, at parties- and even touted as an effective tool  for weight loss. It’s reputation in the late 70’s and early 80’s is that of a ‘fun’, somewhat lighthearted substance. You can buy t-shirts that celebrate cocaine, jewelry that doubles as coke-paraphernalia, even postcards depicting coke use at mom & pop convenience stores. When it’s mentioned  it’s with a wink and a smile. The mood would turn ugly, but that was still ahead of us.

Almost instantly, as I snort the white  powder, my already decent mood ascends into the night sky ….isn’t life just fucking great? I take another sniff, and am instantly enveloped inside the familiar, fantastic feeling of good will and energy. It spreads warmly across my chest, upper arms and legs- and a better mood I could not be in. I think of Jake, and Jess, and the almost magical way the night has unfolded.

I put the bullet back in my purse, and slide back the lock on the door, walking over to the middle sink. I wet my hands (washing would be an exaggeration) and when I look at my image in the cracked mirror I like what I see, which attests to my sense of well-being. The scent of hairspray and impostor perfume hangs in the air. I rip a big piece of brown paper off of the metal dispenser mounted on the wall, and quickly wipe my hands with the scratchy paper, stuffing it gingerly  atop the over-flowing trash can like a crown. I step out into the fray just as Twisted’s singer Dee is crucifying some preppy in the audience for wearing a polo shirt. The audience eats it up, working themselves into a fervor like they’ll soon be witness to a yuppie crucifixion. This happens every time Twisted plays, and I suddenly realize, with distinct clarity and disappointment, that it’s a gimmick.  The guy in the polo is probably one of the road crew. Besides, what preppy would be at the Raven for Twisted Sister, unless they lost a bet? That’s what Fern Bars are for! And how could it possibly be that every Thursday, one night a month when Twisted Sister plays some unsuspecting preppy mistakes the  Night Raven for a college pub? I mean- come on. Obviously I’ve been duped. I head back to our table on the second floor to excitedly discuss my new found theory  with Jess.

Jake Chronicles: Part Eight/ 4/27/15

In My Stories, The 80's on April 27, 2015 at 1:31 pm

 

Jake calls the following morning at 7:30 am. It’s odd, but I’m thrilled. He apologizes for leaving abruptly the night before, and wants to secure a date for that evening. I accept, and can’t even be bothered to play coy. He says he’ll be by at 8:00 pm to pick me up.I give him directions to my house. We could go for a motorcycle ride, he suggests- or he’ll put some gas in my car and we can take that- ‘in case you don’t want to mess your hair up’.

Excuse me?

He goes on to say that girls always complain about their hair getting all tangled up while riding on the back of his bike. This statement is interpreted by me as a challenge- sure all of those  ‘girly girls’ are complainers- but not me, pal. I’ve ridden on the back of Harley Davidson choppers, regular Harleys and a bevy of imports- not to mention racing boats. He has no idea who he’s messing with. I’ve spent many a day with messy hair -and yeah- I’ve spent endless minutes in ladies rooms trying to secretly untangle said hair, swearing the whole time, close to tears- but I do it discreetly, behind closed doors. Without (public) complaint.

“I’m not afraid of ‘messing up my hair'” I say in  a sing-song voice, insulted.

He sighs. “That’s sounds great. Because most girls are” I can tell he’s not completely sold, by the way his voice goes up on the ‘are’.

Just how many girls is he toting around on the back of his bike, anyway, I wonder? I refuse to take the bait and ask, but I mean- really? Then I realize that based solely on his looks, it’s a high number. Still- I’ve yet to see him riding with any chicks.(He’s probably saving that until after we start dating, if my history is any indication)

We talk a while longer, cement plans, and hang up. I can’t help but happily hiss ‘Yessssss….” aloud to myself after I place the receiver in its cradle. I have the whole day in front of me, nowhere to be, the place to myself, and a decent amount of cash. This is going to be the best summer ever.

Which is why it’s such a shocker when he doesn’t show up. Or call. Or anything.

The Jake Chronicles: Part 1

In My Stories, The 70's, The 80's on July 29, 2012 at 9:32 pm

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 100 other cars, most 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 road like a surfer paddling out, the bike 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 unlaced high top 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, for example 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 new and astonishing.

“Look! It’s a Bad-ass!

Suzy points, her finger underlining the bike’s route, until he zips around a curve and is gone, flying around the road which hugs the 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- “Jesus!” -and we both laugh like crazy, energized by the sight of this motorcycle fox.

“Sam!’ Blue says, catching her breath, and wiping off her chin with her sleeve, “I’m sorry- but….who was that?!!”

“I don’t know!” I say….”But!’ finger pointing to the sky, I vow: ‘I plan to freakin’ find out!”

I wear a serious expression as I start scanning the area. I’m all business. Creating a plan and adding shit up.  I know he can’t leave the beach without tracking back through the lot we are in,  because there’s only one exit. I can’t catch the dude, but I can gather clues, and try and find out who he is. (Hopefully, he’s not a fluke-some out of towner who won’t be back) We continue 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. Plus,  music. It’s constant commotion.

I squint my eyes down to maximum sharp-shooter mode, the kind that can spot raccoons at night, or dimes on the ground. It’s not so much eyesight, as it is determination. Just as I’m about to give up (and possibly go park by the exit-or better yet- across the exit) I spot him. He’s over 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 Zeppelin. 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 Colt 45 or Busch, 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 to 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.

“No”

“Oh, wait! wait!” she says excitedly, ” 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 next time I think of it.

“Sam, I don’t think he’s from around here” Blue says, seriously, like he could be a local we’ve somehow overlooked. (As if!) 

“Ya think?….’ I start to laugh: “I’m pretty sure I would have noticed that one for sure!” I say, hitch-hiker thumb thrown in his direction. Just then, someone shouts out my name.

“Sam! Sam! We gotta make a  VISTA run!” It’s Jess. 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, who whisper to each other, hands over mouths.  I catch all of this in a glance, because it’s the usual. Jess is wearing no shirt (out! At night!) under his white leather jacket, showing off his tan- it’s in the mid 70s, a balmy night by Connecticut standards.

“But, I don’t have that much gas-” I start to say, thinking up excuses so I can just stay here and look at motorcycle man.  I throw out the most obvious ones. Vista’s a haul. The Caddy eats gas.

“I HAVE gas money!” Finn says, waving some bills in the air. I’m not saying I don’t 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 dejectedly and nodding my head back and forth.

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. A rule’s a rule, though- even the unwritten ones. So 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 this town where you can’t buy beer after 8pm, and not at all on Sunday! We just need the right ( tighty whitey and socks 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, swift out, don’t get greedy. A couple of weeks, a month tops. Cha-ching! Someone like my cousin Craig could pull it off.

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 a little 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 Jess, while he’s off talking to some Pat Benatar clone. Even though we’ll never date each other, Jess always gets competitive with the guys I crush on, starts putting them down, pointing out their defects. It’s one of his  less-than-charming personality traits.

“Let’s book!’ he says, and as he steps closer I notice that there’s quite a little money pile 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’re nice you might just get some!”

“I’m not worried– just curious” I say. “And when am I ever not nice?” Hopefully, Jess won’t recite a list.

There seems to be a lot of mystery ‘hustle’ going on with Jess. I’m not an idiot. I’d know if he were dealing drugs or robbing banks- wouldn’t I? But he seems to accumulate stuff daily. I know he once had a shoplifting issue, but ever since he  got busted in Caldor’s he says he won’t steal again, and he definitely doesn’t take stuff when I’m with him, unless he’s Houdini, and I’m just missing it.

Jess asks me if ‘Pat Benatar’ can come with us. Sure. Just as long as she doesn’t ask me to drive her home  or latch on to me. (Latch all you want onto Jess…..) He unzips a pocket in his leather jacket, and pulls out a mix-tape. The first song, written in his 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, Jess and his heavily made up friend in the back. I start  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 look at each other and sigh as I slide in the cassette and crank up the volume…


A Touch Too Much

In The 80's on June 3, 2012 at 1:43 am

‘Is my tray in its upright position? Am I?’

Tragedy struck the following Tuesday, and its effects were felt from the Night Raven to the Pines- all the way out to the Agora and  beyond. Bon Scott, the gritty, gravely voiced singer from the vertically challenged but extremely hard rocking band AC/DC was dead. Cause of death: Acute Alcohol Poisoning. The news spread through the  phone lines, multiplying like a Faberge Organics (Herbal Essence?) commercial. I told a friend, who told another friend,who told another and on and on. The grid grew by tens, probably to 40!

During the infancy of our heavy metal ‘scene’, this was big news.  News that was tragic yet exciting. We were both grief stricken and weirdly energized. There was lots of ‘when it’s your time it’s your time’ talk, with all of us glossing right over the excessive alcohol consumption that killed him. We all agreed that this (alcohol overdose) was something that could just sneak up on you- it’s not like there was some alarm that went off when you’d had enough, right?  (the stumbling, weaving, puking, fighting and memory loss not obvious enough) Not once did any one of us express an interest in ‘slowing down’ or partying less. No way! In fact, if we could die on any day at any moment, we felt it was time to kick it up a notch. And so we did. It’s hard to say how many shots and drinks were consumed after a toast to Bon Scott. Clink Clink. Cheers! And the word ‘irony’ never once crossed our minds. Even to the those of us who actually knew what it meant.

Bon Scott: Quite the shirtless ladies man!

Perhaps what made Bon Scott’s death seem ‘cool’ (to a bunch of barely adults who still felt as immortal as ever, rounding the bases at 18, 20 or 22) was that although the reason for his demise was drinking to the point of alcohol poisoning-the official reason was listed as ‘Death By Misadventure’.  This made it sound risky and- dare I say it? Fun! It was dark, yes- but also very rock and roll. It ensured that Bon Scott would never grow old, never burn out, never find religion or go to rehab, renounce his wild lifestyle, or marry a famous actress and start hanging out with rich people. He would never do these, or any of the myriad of things that rockstars did to get on our nerves. He would remain our eternal bad boy. His dirty deed would stay dirt cheap. And all it cost him was an early death.

Jess and I began perusing the papers and club hotline numbers for the inevitable AC/DC tribute bands that would be barrelling down the pike. Meanwhile, like rock and roll ambassadors, we spread the news to all of the crevices  it hadn’t yet reached. The clerk at Cumberland Farms, where we bought our Newports, Kools, and Michelobs? He found out from us. As did Jess’s vocal coach and my  entire ‘Feel The Burn’ Aerobics Class at the Figure Forum. God knows how many they then told! It was assumed that everyone cared. (Most people had no idea what or who we were talking about)

The loss also inspired many ‘philosophical conversations between me and Jess. For instance, we wondered if a person who was passed out drunk would even know that they died. If they were dreaming, and then crossed over how would they be able to tell the difference between the dream, and the crossing over? Wouldn’t it just seem like the dream was continuing? Listen: at least Finn’s deep probing philosophies were inspired by half a joint! I had no excuse. (It shocks me now that we were just assuming there was an afterlife! Why weren’t we arguing about that?!) We talked about how cool it was that Bon would exist forever on records, his voice saved for eternity, that he found a way to leave a permanent piece of himself behind. Someone should actively recommend us to the Algonquin Round Table. Surely an invitation to join would be forthcoming if were overheard by the right people.

‘It’s all fun and games until someone dies!’ Bon Scott’s autographs weren’t always uplifting…

Even Adrian called me at the end of the week, to get my ‘take’ on the loss. He acted like we had just lost a close, personal friend. He spoke as if we were still in cahoots, like he hadn’t cheated on me! I was immediately suspicious. I mean- yes I was bummed that a kick-ass lead singer had succumbed, but it’s not like it was Led Zeppelin or even Van Halen, no offense. AC/DC was good, but I hadn’t actually shed any real tears, as is usually the case with famous people who you admire but don’t actually know. Yet Adrian asked ‘how I was holding up’. Not only was it an odd question- but I got the distinct impression he was asking me about something that had nothing to do with a dead rock singer.

“Umm, I’m fine!” I said,quickly adding: “It’s not like I was invited to the funeral or anything!”

“Yeah, but I know how you liked them!” Adrian replied, oblivious to my wise crack “Always cranking that stereo of yours!” 

“Adrian! What do you really want? Why are you calling me?” I asked, cutting to the chase. Like I was the one with a loud stereo. His once cracked a window with his!

“Well!” he said, indignantly. And after a short silence, “I was just checking to see how you were! Is that okay?” He laughed uncomfortably.

“How’s your new girlfriend?” I asked, daring him to hang up and end the misery.

“I dunno” he said…..”Because I kind of miss you”

Oh brother! They must have gotten into a fight or something. I forced myself to think of all the shitty things he’d done to me less than six months ago: the lying, the cheating, the general deception. I thought of what Melody had told me at Rob’s party. But a part of me- besides being flattered (oh, look! I really am irreplaceable!) was also thinking that if I could get back with him, that I’d ‘win’ in some twisted head games kind of way. It would change the story that had already been written-that Adrian cheated on and dumped me, and gave it a better ending-one where Adrian came back to me after all, where maybe I could dump him at some point. I would save face after all! (Am I embarrassed to be copping to all of this? Of course. Wouldn’t you be?) Did I still love Adrian? Nah, he was pretty tiny in my rearview by now. However it was a potential friends-with-benefits situation, and Adrian was always generous and romantic- heavy on the gifts and out-to-dinner dates, especially in the ‘win her over’ phase. (For which I now qualified -kind of like re-registering after a certain amount of time as a ‘new customer’)  More importantly- he was a cute musician and lots of girls liked him. And  I really didn’t have anything else going on. (My last crush had been Christian, and I hadn’t seen him since he’d been sprung!) My reappearance in Adrian’s life would also be a symbolic Bronx Cheer to the floozy he had been dating  and I wouldn’t mind slapping some karma back her way, just for sport. I could still see the condescending look she gave me at the Night Raven on ‘footsy’ night. I sometimes hold grudges. I’m not gonna lie.

Not necessarily? Right?

“Oh, really?” I asked, trying to hide the smile in my voice.

“Let’s go out. To a movie or something!” he said, seizing the moment.

“Like what movie? And when?” I asked, trying to act uninterested, even though my responses proved otherwise.

“They’re playing ‘The Warriors’ at SoNo. I know how you liked that-“

“They ARE?!” I burst, “I LOVE that movie!” The theater in South Norwalk played cult and independent films and movies that were in the regular  theater last year, but were now showing at a deep discount. (Remember kiddies, we had no Netflix, you spoiled little things) When the Warriors first came out, I had to go with JJ because Adrian ‘had to practice’.

We had to go LEAVE THE HOUSE to see movies, kids!

“Let’s go tomorrow night then” he says.

“Maybe…” I say “I’ll think about it. Call me at 7:00 and we’ll see” 

“Oh, come on! Just say yes!” Adrian laughs.

“No!” I say firmly “I’ll tell you tomorrow night. And if that’s not okay- oh freakin’ well!”

Adrian sighs, but reluctantly agrees. Sure, I might decide not to go, but we both know I probably won’t. We can’t bring Bon Scott back to life, but with his death as an excuse to break the ice, we might just breathe new life into what was once a hot and heavy romance. Though this is highly- and I mean HIGHLY doubtful!

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