Hello! I haven’t updated this thing in a while. I’ve been busy working on a project I’m super excited about. I’m going to share a piece of it publicly here for the first time. I’d love feedback if you have time.
The following related stories are from a larger piece I’m working on detailing my time as a miscreant, maladjusted punk rocker in Rural Pennsylvania twenty years ago. I completed this chapter today. This is a first draft. I have done little to no editing work. All names have been redacted to protect the guilty who are no doubt all grown up and embarrassed by what I remember. Enjoy!
Drug Story One:
I can’t remember when the decision to stop smoking weed and drinking was. I think it had been a gradual process as spring bloomed into being that year. We had dabbled that winter, and I had a hard time saying no to things, but over time I think I just discovered straight edge and lost interest. The last sip of alcohol I had was some warm beer we had found stashed in the trunk of the Cordoba the day _____ bought it.
There had been some funny times though. Like when _____’s parents and my mom had all gone out of town on separate trips Valentine’s Day weekend, essentially leaving teenage lunatics in charge of the asylum. ______, ____, ___ and I had spent Friday night mixing “just a bit” from each liquor bottle in my mom’s liquor cabinet getting wasted and talking to my dead dad with a Ouija board, and then _____and ____ had stolen _____’s dad’s car to pick me up and cruise on Saturday night.
I was already drunk when they picked me up. Saturday had just emptily crawled by, filled with nothing much but an early winter sunset and long night to look forward to. _____ had come over to hang out. We decided to get drunk almost as soon as it was dark. We would spend the night at _____’s parent’s house. _____ and _____ planned to stay up all night on acid. I was afraid of doing acid, but they assured me there was more alcohol to be had over there. Good. I was worried about my mom noticing how much we had stolen Friday anyway.
The weekend culminated in us staying up all night on Saturday, all fucked up and laughing at nothing in particular in an empty bathtub. _____ and _____ dropped their acid. I drank southern comfort from straight from the bottle. We listened to The Misfits Collection I all night. Somewhere in the empty wastes of a Southern York County landfill, a video tape of our night may or may not exist. _____had found a camcorder somewhere, and wanted to document our misdeeds for the night.
Near four AM, I crawled down to ____’s basement room to pass out. I was awoken a few hours later by hysterical laughter and moaning. In my stupor, I could not figure out the source of the moaning. When I had fallen asleep, only ____ and ____ were present in the house. How the fuck had an orgy been initiated in the few hours I had been unconscious? I was so confused.
I had passed out with my boots on and everything. I groggily stomped up the stairs to see a hilarious sight: ____ and ____ had raided ____’s parent’s room and found his dad’s VHS collection of pornography. They had a movie on the TV in the living room. The actors were vigorously penetrating one another and moaning fakely for the cameras.
In the neon nocturnal glow of the television, there were ____ and ____, high as shit on acid, and laughing. They were sitting two feet away from the television tops. Messily devouring leftover pizza, they had smeared tomato sauce all over their faces. In with the combination of my blurry vision, and the glow of the television, the sauce eerily resembled blood. The camcorder was set up on a tripod behind them, and they were still filming. The scene was completely surreal.
“Y’all. The sun is going to be up soon. My mom gets home this afternoon. We trashed my house Friday. I need to get home and sober up and clean.” I said.
____ insisted on driving his parent’s car. ____ asked if it wouldn’t be better if he drove, considering he had only been up on acid, not acid and drinking combined. ___ also insisted that he had mostly come down from his trip. ___ wouldn’t hear it.
The sky was beginning to lighten as we crawled down the driveway in the cold. ___ asked one more time if he shouldn’t drive. ____ shrugged it off. I was in the front seat with the camcorder, recording our drive for posterity. Who the fuck is dumb enough to record their crimes anyway?
A four three way stop lay at the bottom of the hill. The street we were on intersected with another street. Ahead of us was a cornfield that lay fallow. ____ showed no signs of slowing down as the intersection barreled towards us.
“____! STOP!” ____ and I both yelled in unison.
He didn’t stop. He plowed through the intersection without even slowing down. As we blew through the stop sign, I looked over at ____ in the driver’s seat. His head was bobbing loosely on his neck like a doll. I wasn’t even sure if the severity of our predicament registered for him.
And I laughed. I laughed and laughed with teenage death urge glee as ____ completely lost control of the car. We launched over a pile of snow pushed to the side of the road by a snowplow from a recent storm. I was still laughing when the car momentarily took flight. All four wheels met the frozen ground of the field, and the car began to spin. I kept laughing when we came to a stop directly between two telephone poles. A few feet to the left or the right would have spelled varying degrees of disaster for all three of us, but we were lucky. The air was still and silent.
____just turned to ____ and said “Okay. Fine. You drive.”
I suppose dying in a drunk driving accident two weeks after my fifteenth birthday is one of a thousand early deaths I could have gone to, but never did. I’d like to think my survival, really the survival of so many of my friends was due to a small amount of self-preservation, and maybe some supernatural guardianship, rather than sheer idiot luck.
Drug Story Two:
The first time I got high. It was that same winter, maybe a few weeks after ____, ____ and I nearly met our doom. ____’s little brother ___ and I are smoking weed in his room. He has crudely constructed a bowl out of a sprite can, using a safety pin to poke holes in the side. To add to the sheer idiocy of this scene, we are using a zippo to ignite our buds. My lungs burn as I inhale copious amounts of weed smoke and butane.
Blowing smoke out the window, I realize I am totally baked. ____ is ecstatic at this. He wants to celebrate by going outside and “walking around”. Even in my state, I know what this will consist of. There is so goddamn little to do in this town, that “walking around” is really just code for walking to the McDonalds a few blocks away and seeing if anyone we know is there.
This walk is precisely what we do. We walk east on Forest Avenue, very slowly and giddily. We cut across Main Street, and behind the churches that line it, and into the cemetery. The walk seems to take forever, and I don’t notice the cold. I do notice that I have to think very hard about order which to put my feet on the ground though.
“Left foot, right foot.” I think hazily.
“Just imagine you are seeing your favorite band right now. It can be anyone.” ____ interrupts my concentration.
We’re nearing the hole in the fence behind the cemetery and I immediately envision myself seeing the Dead Kennedys fifteen years earlier. I imagine myself in the swirling crowd. I imagine the hopeful and angry faces of the punks that came before me. I picture Jello Biafra jumping into the crowd to sing from the fray.
“Dude. We were born too late.” Is all I manage to mutter to Adam.
The scene at McDonalds is totally dead. We run into two casual acquaintances and I can’t follow our conversation. One offers me a bite of her ice cream cone. I decline. I want to leave. The air smells too greasy and it’s stuffy in here. I can’t understand why ___ would want to be inside anything, let alone this paean to homogenized corporate monoculture. None of this translates to anything aside form “Let’s just go home and eat hotpockets” though.
We go outside, and there are some jocks we vaguely know congregated outside of a pick-up truck. They glare at us. We look at them and try and walk past. Right as we get to the hole in the fence, one of them aims a laser pointer at us and yells “We’re gonna shoot you, you fucking faggots!”.
Laser pointers had just began to come into prominence. I hadn’t really seen them outside of movies where they acted as the sights for firearms. It didn’t seem inconceivable that these redneck jocks might have a firearm with them. All of these thoughts seemed to come slowly, and were their urgency seemed amplified by how high we were. Before I knew it, I was ducking through the hole in the fence, and running. Adam followed suit quickly.
We ran across the cemetery, occasionally ducking behind gravestones if we saw headlights crossing Highland Drive. It made sense that the jocks might have jumped into their trucks, made a left on Forest Avenue and another left up Highland if they were truly dedicated to fucking with us (at best) or murdering us (at worst). Most likely, they laughed at the sight of us running away, and went back into McDonalds and ordered shitty food.
That would have been the most rational line of thought. Too bad drugs don’t always make you rational.
We waited until we were sure we didn’t see any headlights coming, and made a beeline for the church on the other side of Highland Avenue. We ran towards the church hall, where I had been to one of my first punk shows a few years earlier. We hid behind a wall for a while, completely convinced that we heard cars full of angry jocks circling the block looking for us.
We then made a break for Main Street. Adam was sure that every car we saw was full of the same illusory, menacing jocks. We made a dash across Main Street, and onto Railroad Avenue. This was a relatively quiet side street. The jocks wouldn’t think to look for us here. Just a block or two to cross, and we’d be on our way towards Forest Avenue, and ___’s house, safe from all jocks, and other unfriendly faces.
Of course, the block we had to cross seemed like it was miles long. We saw headlights creeping up behind us, and dove for the bushes in a field. The car passed without even slowing down. It didn’t matter. It could have been the jocks. It could have been anyone. ____ was breathing heavily next to me. Somehow a single isolated interaction with some assholes in a McDonalds Parking lot had escalated in our minds to the entire town being out to get us, and ____ and I having to cross miles of hostile territory to reach the sanctuary of his house.
We made it to the corner ___ lived on. Finally. The whole ordeal had seemed like it took hours out of our night. There was a light on in the house. It looked like ____’s dad might be up and tooling around downstairs.
“Wait! We can’t go in yet. My dad will realized we’re stoned!”
Fuck. ____ was right. His dad was an old hippie. He’d be able to spot how high we were from across the room. We’d be in deep shit then, for sure. He would call my mom and tell her. She’d never forgive me. We decided our only course of action would be to run across Forest Avenue and hide in the park for a while. We’d wait it out until ____’s dad either fell asleep, or we were just less high. Still convinced the jocks were looking for us, we hid out in the dugout of the baseball field for another hour or so before walking home.
The best part of this story? When we were hiding from cars in an empty field along Railroad Avenue, we were directly across the street from the police station. It was closed, of course, considering it was after nine PM. Had it been open, though… All the cops would have had to do would be to look out their window and they’d see two paranoid idiots with blue hair, high as a goddamn kite, and hiding from cars full of imaginary jocks in the bushes. ____ still had a bag of weed on him. He might have even had our homemade soda can piece too. The cops would have had an easy bust, but they missed it.