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Posts Tagged ‘Friends’

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 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.

Jailbreak:Part One

In The 80's on April 3, 2012 at 11:20 pm

The following Friday morning was an ice cold, sunny day. Why was it so freakin’ cold this year? I want answers!  Jess and I had spent the previous evening bar-hopping (including the Pines where we laughed with Louie about his drug induced jig, something that was approaching legendary status) Jess and slept late.  We didn’t have to be in Bridgeport until three o’clock, to pick up the mysterious jailbird Jax. Evidently I’d told Darla that she could come along as well, and there she was, calling me at ten am sharp, waking me up in the process. Didn’t she realize I had the day off?

Thanks so much for that, Darla!

“Where are you?!” she roared “Aren’t we going to get Jax?”

“Jesus, woman!! They don’t let him out until three!” I fumble around the nightstand for my cigarettes and lighter. “Hold on a minute!”  I put the phone down, use the bathroom, then quickly brush my teeth. I can’t enjoy a morning cigarette without first freshening my breath so that the cigarette can dirty it back up. I return to the bed, prop up my pillows and lounge back down. I can hear Darla’s voice through the receiver long before I get it back to my ear. She’s knee-deep in a conversation with herself. 

“Whoah, whoah, whoah- stop the clock!” I say. “Who the hell are you talkin’ to?”

I light up a Newport. Darla stops abruptly.

“What?! Haha! I’m talkin’ to you, dummy!” she says, cackling.

“Well- I haven’t even been here- I went to brush my teeth. What are you babbling?”

“Oh! hahaha” she giggles. “I was just tryin’ to tell you how cute Jax is. Wait till you see him!” I’d seen Darla’s version of cute before. It pretty much encompassed all males, everywhere. Discerning, she was not. 

“Well, Darla….I can’t wait to meet a cute guy who’s fresh out of jail! Sounds like marriage material!” I laughed.

“Oh, Sam!” she sighed “He’s only in there for motor vehicles stuff! Reckless driving, Drag racing-that kind of stuff. Nothing big. It’s just that no one would bail him out! Not even his parents! And they live in Westport!” 

Westport was a town over, and everyone who lived there was assumed to be extravagantly rich.

“Well, if he’s only in there for driving like a fucking maniac- dare I say- he sounds perfect!”….I blow smoke rings to amuse myself. I imagine a hot rod barrelling through the beach parking lot, crashing into and leaping over parked cars. Flying through a flaming hoop. A bevy of cop cars in hot pursuit, sirens blaring, red and blue lights spinning like mini cyclones.

Darla sighs.

“Okay” she says, “but I’m tellin’ ya- he’s foxy!…Anyway- when are we leaving?”

“Probably around one-thirty” I say “I gotta call Jess. Then I’ll come get you. Be ready!” I demand.

“Oh, I will be!” Darla cracks, “I can’t keep Queen Sam waiting!”

“That’s right!” I say, meaning it.

………….

I roll up to Darla’s a little after one. I pull into her condo complex, follow the road (and annoying  speed bumps) all the way to the end of the development where she lives and stop in front of a huge barrier of freshly plowed snow. I beep the horn, and out she flies, from between a break in the snowdrifts. She dances out, goofing around, dressed flamboyantly (as usual) in a dazzling mixture of fabrics and textures. Hot pink long sweater, thick black belt, black leggings, scrunchy boots, bright glittery scarves piled on, and clunky pastel bracelets. Her signature spiky brown hair (kind of a Carol Brady long shag with spikes) is on point, and she wears lots of makeup. Darla’s an extrovert and she dresses boldly.  I  opted for a neon green sweater, Guess jeans and spanking white high-top Reeboks- the kind with the velcro. My hair, longer, but also spiked on top- is Aqua-netted to within an inch of its life. 

Darla’s hair as modeled by Joan Jett

Darla jumps into the front seat, her presence sucking up all the air. “Sammy, baby!!” she exclaims, leaning into me with an air kiss, and strong hug.

“HOW’S THINGS? WHAT’S GOIN’ ON? WHAT ARE WE LISTENIN’ TO? LET’S GO!”

She’s all in my space and louder than hell. She means well- even when she drives me nuts. Which is often. I check the rearview and pull out onto the snowy main street to the opening riffs of Van Halen’s ‘Little Dreamer’. Darla immediately starts playing a violent air-guitar, elbowing me hard in the process. I give her a look. “Move…over there, will ya?” I say, gesturing towards the passenger door. The Caddy has huge bench seats, and Darla’s over here on my side.

“Sorry!” she says, laughing. She scooches over. Then she turns down the music. Before I can stare daggers she says “I gotta tell you about last night!”

“What?” I ask, mentally trying to trace down when I last saw her the night before. Was she playing pool with a crowd of people?

“Well….I kinda hooked up with somebody” she says, eyes glittering. Oh brother. What now? 

“Yeah?….and?……”

“Do you know that guy William Post?” she asks. I do. He runs with a New Wave crowd. 

“Yeah, sorta” I say.

“Oh, Sam!” she says, hands clapping together. “He’s SOOO cool!”

Darla falls in love every other week, and although I know it’s her business, I think she moves fast, then gets upset when these guys don’t stick around. I’m worried  she’ll get knocked up, and end up having a loud-ass baby she can’t possibly raise, and then I’ll have to step in and help her, which…yikes!

“I hope you used something!” I say.

For someone who’s as active as Darla, birth control seemed to be an afterthought. A She’s tried the pill, but didn’t remember to take it. I’m completely pro-choice and know without question that I wouldn’t have a baby unless I could afford it (and I take my pill…) but Darla says she could never end a pregnancy ‘because it wouldn’t be right!’. Her Mom is very religious, so I see where she gets it from, but I just can’t fathom bringing a life into the world because an invisible man in the sky says so.  

“Yeah- I was thinking…’ says Darla. “I really need a diagram”

I start laughing. “Really? I thought you knew what you were doing in that area! What don’t you know how to do?”

“Well- would I have to go to a doctor to get one?”

What? Doctors are passing out sex diagrams? I’ll have to get one at my next check-up. 

“Don’t you have that Helen Gurley Brown book?” I could swear I saw it in her room: Sex and The Single Girl. Though I’m still not entirely convinced she reads. She has borrowed books from me, but conversations about said books are suspiciously vague. And annoyingly, I always have to go in and physically get them back.

 It suddenly occurs to me what Darla is saying.

“Oh my God! Do you mean you need a DIAPHRAGM?” I ask, shaking my head and twisting up my face.

“YESSS! That’s what I said!” she chirps. Oh God. Here we go again…Sometimes when I’m with Darla, I expect springs to start popping out of my head. Or hers. Boing! Boing!

——————————-

Jess is outside waiting when we pull up. He’s wearing a brown leather and lambswool bomber jacket and acid washed jeans, arms folded from the cold, taking furious drags off a cigarette. When he sees the car, he flicks the butt into a snowbank and rubs his hands together until the car pulls up to exactly where he stands. I feel like I’m landing a plane, the snow crunching under the tires, while getting as precisely close to Jess without embedding him in the snowbank on the side of the road. Don’t come to me and make it easier, dear friend-I am here to serve you!

Jess opens the passenger door and starts laughing at Darla.

“What the hell are you doin’ here?” he says. He sounds nasally, like he has a cold.

“Go on! Get yourself in the back!” he says to her.

“No way!” she booms back.

“Sam- Tell Her!” he says, hand on his hip. He’s serious.

“Oh, for God sakes, just get in the back! You can have the front after we go to Bridegeport!” I tell Jess.

He sighs and squeezes into the back seat as Darla holds her seat forward dramatically and Jess purposely pushes all his weight against it.

“Hurry up!” she groans, like the weight of the world is on her. Finally the door is shut. If we’re the Three Stooges, I think -at least I’m Moe.

 

The Warning: Part 3

In The 80's on March 13, 2012 at 12:16 am

Jess and I became tight very quickly. When we weren’t together, we yapped on the phone, and within a few weeks we knew each other  inside and out. We bonded over a shared a contempt for Adrian- after all, he’d rejected us both- so we loved to  dissect his every flaw, real and imagined. We loved the same music and shared the same primal fear: That we would someday live a normal (read: boring) life in suburbia.  To me- at nineteen years old, (Jess was twenty-one) nothing seemed a worse fate, or more cliche. (The fact that we were walking cliches: 80’s rockers who liked to wear leather, listen to hard rock and paaar-taaay! never once occurred to us. You see-wwere special!)

There was no chemistry between us, not even the slightest hint of becoming more than friends. Jess had two sides: one very, very playful, and another I called ‘Mr. Blackwell’ after the harsh fashion ‘judge’ of the day.  Jess was intensely critical of everyone’s looks He could find a flaw on anyone, anywhere. We argued about it- with me on the defense, taking these criticisms to heart.

It wasn’t that I was so nice I’d rally for the ‘victim’s’ sake- it was the nagging feeling that if the drop-dead gorgeous girls (and guys) had faults- what chance did I have? People could say whatever they wanted, all the ‘it’s what’s inside that counts’ crap-ola, but at nineteen,  I knew that looks were what mattered, they were what got your foot in the door. Good looks equaled winning. In the back of my mind, every failure I’d ever had, every bad day, every boyfriend I’d ever lost, could have been prevented had I been better looking. Thinner. Smaller boned. Less tall. (The fact that my gorgeous friends had horrible relationships, suffered from eating disorders,  drug addictions, alcoholism, etcetera, did not matter.  It didn’t fit in with my ‘theory’, so I chucked it)

I saw Jess’s evaluations as both true and  typical, because I believed he represented how most guys thought. I argued with him about it to get more insight. That being said- even if Jess had thought I was gorgeous, we still  felt more like brother and sister.

We spent a lot of time loafing around or living the nightlife. There was so much more more to life than partying -even at nineteen I knew this (knew it- didn’t like it) As for jobs- I blew through several (boring) part time gigs: An ice cream shop, Caldors, a convenience store, cleaning houses even a three day stint in a rug shop. a rug shop.

(There’s a story involving the rug shop.We had a piece of equipment-kind of like a big ‘slicer’ which was used to cut remnants. You would lift the handle that housed a long blade, place the rug on the flat surface and pull the  handle down. The sharp blade would slice the rug beautifully. So, whenever I would hear the song ‘Gimme Three Steps’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd and the lyrics “I was cuttin’ a rug, down at a place called the Jug, with a girl named Linda Lu, when in walked a man with a gun in his hand and he was lookin’ for you know who” I would furrow my brows and think: First off- what are the chances that this guy would walk into that rug shop at the same time  they were there, – how random! and secondly, what a dumb name for a rug store! And why was Ronnie Van Zant taking dates to rug stores? It drove me freakin’ crazy. The song was everywhere. I had never been taught (or overheard, or read in my zillions of books!) that the phrase ‘cutting a rug’ meant dancing!) 

I guess: 'pretty?'

My current job was at a tennis club, watching kids while their moms played tennis. It was boring, but the hours – 8am – 2pm, were nice. I had the daycare room to myself, and there were times when no kids would come in- so I could write, or flip through rock magazines, balance my checkbook, etc. I figured I could skate until September, when I started college. My jobs were just a means to an end and I took the path of least resistance as this is who I am.  Still, I was reasonably conscientious, and never called in sick…which meant I wasn’t above going in hungover.

Jess was always talking about ‘looking’ for a job, but even without one he always had money. Way more than I did. I wasn’t sure how he got it, but I never saw him dealing drugs or stealing, or doing any of the underhanded things people who don’t work but have money sometimes do.

He spent his days practicing. He had a battered amp and microphone, and sang along to records and cassettes. He and his slightly crazy grandmother, christened “Pearlie Bean’ by Jess, lived in a two-family house, and Jess was constantly fighting with the other tenants in his duplex over the volume of his music.

Sometimes I would stop by his house on the way home from work,and I’ve got to be honest: If I pulled up and could hear Jess wailing all the way out onto the street, I’d do a few laps around the block, maybe stop at Cumberland Farms for cigarettes-that kind of thing. 

Sometimes when I went into the house, we’d go through his closet, putting together ‘stage’ outfits. I spent a lot of time cutting sleeves off of t-shirts, and draping scarves over his lamps in various combinations. Also, smoking Newports while perusing rock magazines. I was also good at borrowing shit that I could wear the following weekend.

At some point Jess would insist I listen to his latest ‘jam’ and my ears would explode from the volume, and/or lack of melody in Jess’s voice.  I quickly learned that some sing-alongs were better than others. Lower voiced singers – like Ronnie James Dio were manageable. But for the love of god, when I’d see him pull out Judas Priest’s ‘Unleashed In The East’ I knew I was in for trouble. Nothing compared to listening to him attempt ‘Victim Of Changes’. It was one of those ‘blast the terrorists out of their compound’ numbers as interpreted by Jess. I guess if there’d been an ‘American Idol’ back then- they could have told him (and made him a star-of ridicule like that fat Asian guy), but I couldn’t give him an honest opinion for fear of hurting his feelings.

Oh no! Not that one!

He was still band material though. His look was amazing. His silky, chalk white hair, grew past his shoulders and was spiked on top.  He had deep set blue eyes, a slightly bent nose (ala Rod Stewart) and lush lips. It wasn’t unusual for us to be at a restaurant and have the server ask  if he was ‘somebody’. Jess loved it, and lied by omission.  His answers were vague: “Wouldn’t you like to know!” and “Why? Who do I look like?” I liked the fawning as well- it was a good reflection on me.

I did attempt to talk him into taking up an instrument, but he wasn’t interested. He was determined to be a singer. And at a certain point, I started to think that maybe he wasn’t that bad-maybe he was improving with all of the practice. Because I wanted to believe. I was also sure that my future as a rock writer was written in (rolling?) stone, so I was just as un-self aware as he was- and, like him- I had no idea it might not happen.

The tie that binds…

We ran into Adrian and his new ‘gal pal’ (aka: Footsie) a few times during those early days and it killed me.  Once, we saw them at Karl Graff’s Records where they were all googly-eyed and kissy faced. I wanted to puke. Zeppelin’s ‘In Through The Out Door’ had been released as things began unraveling with me and Adrian. I didn’t like it- it was sooo…..not heavy…..and to this day it reminds me of when Adrian cheated on me. ‘Fool In The Rain’ – fun fact: that was me. Not only had I been dumped by my boyfriend, I was also legally separated from my beloved Led Zeppelin!)

So, natch, ‘All My Love’ was blaring in the record store as my ex felt up his new girl in aisle 2. Of course they were over in the ‘Fusion’ section, no doubt checking out the latest Al DiMi-dildo album, so I  was at least comforted by the fact that I wouldn’t have to listen to that for weeks on end. Though, looking over at Jess I realized I wasn’t exactly off the hook.

I’d always love them, but we were growing apart…

The two of us pretended to ignore Adrian and her,and made a big deal of ordering some ‘NWOBHM’ (New wave of british heavy metal) imports from Ken, our cool ‘High Fidelity’insider (if those guys hadn’t loathed our genre) who would have them shipped directly from England. We ordered something by a new band called ‘Def Leppard'(whuuut?) and another by  ‘Saxon’ It felt good to be ahead of the curve.

The lovebirds stayed in their ‘area’ and Jess and I left without incident. But I was bummed. Why did it always seem like your ex was having a much better time than you were? Even when you knew they could literally! bore you to tears back when you were together? The minute you broke up, you pictured their life like a beer commercial montage: All that smiling, laughing, cleavage and beer. It really sucked as a mindset.

“She’s gone! Let’s party!”

 

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