‘You’re It’ They Tell Me (a 30:30 report)
There was a dance in Onset. I was there with my date I’d been dating for some eight months, a crazy chick from up in Lex named Frannie, boy oh boy did I love her for a time, we were of course double-dating with my across-the-street-slightly-older-lapsed-Catholic-still-attending-their-school-bussed-there-every-morning friend named Bruce and his girl-on-the-arm for the night, a sweet young black girlfriend by the name of Janis or Janene or Jocelyn, can’t remember but do remember she was a great dancer and it should be noted for clear understanding that we all four of us had swallowed what were affectionately known as “double-barreled” hits of the pill THC which if you’re up to date on the regular doings of life you know is the active ingredient in the leafy leaves of marijuana but in actuality in the case of these particular pills and all their cousins going around on the east coast for about the last two years were what was also affectionately known as “horse tranquilizers”….
And maybe some would call this cool and daring that we on a regular basis were swallowing these quite large pills knowing they were in fact created to knock out horses (and I cannot speak for anyone else, though I could report from eyesight that none of Bruce and the J-girl and Frannie and moi were in the anywhere near weight category of a big riding horse, not even one of those Shetland ponies) and of course there would be those who figured we were by now brain-dead assholes with some suicidal wishes and I can attest that just wasn’t true, we weren’t brain-dead and we didn’t have suicide wishes (cannot hand-on-a-Bible speak to the asshole thing, but in a private secret election would vote no way Jose) so the point after all the political gibberish is that we were quite whacked out of our ever-lovin’ heads, which was cool, and at one point I stumbled off looking for a place to whiz beyond the cramped, stinky available public restroom, I personally prefer the comfort and back to nature feel of whizzing in the woods or if need be up against some apartment building on the way back from a Poco concert in Santa Monica
And so I was estranged from our quartet for just a little too long and they came running down a wooded path I’d discovered and Frannie grabbed me from behind with tears that may have been of joy in finding her daddy or in horror that where the fuck had I disappeared to, to this day I still haven’t figured that one out, and I have yet to mention that this was on a break from the college on the north shore of the state for me, if I recollect correctly it was my 17th time formally withdrawing from the college (some of the formal withdrawing’s no more than me standing in the middle of the 3am street throwing the finger to the admin building all the while chanting in something like Ethiopian to yeah, right, just go fuck off trickster of knowledge) so anyway I’d shown up in the home town for the weekend and we’d arranged this dance outing and the next day after waking from some purgatory of mind-addled semi-sleep (and dreams of neighing and whinnying along country roads) I put Frannie on a bus back to school and said goodbyes to Bruce and Jerusalem (never got that name down) and hooked up at the Sagamore rotary with my main men Billy MacDougal and Jon Case (sometimes lovingly referred to as bookcase, suitcase, open-and-shut case, and crankcase)
And it was Jon’s ancient Dodge Dart which we all loved and cherished and bowed down to as a means to get places and today we were off for my cousin Sheena’s house down in Barnstable, halfway down the Cape, and our plan was to crash there for free at least two months and hopefully three, figuring the tradeoff for sis to shell out significant additional dollars for the grocery budget and electricity for playing albums was offset by our collective wit and charm and joke-telling (who can put a price on righteous laughter?) and we slammed to a stop in her sand and crushed-oyster-shell driveway and made our way in with high fives and hugs and I noticed Jon’s hug was what one might call leaning toward intimate but my cousin is a big girl and makes those kinds of decisions and commitments by herself which I God bless her for and in less than an hour’s time we were rolling a cache of fatties on the kitchen table
And here it is important to point out that quitting college made this all possible and my favorite college class in my 16th time back was a course on Black History taught by a guy with a serious accent from Haiti (him and his accent) and I forget his name and I forget pretty much everything he taught us though I do remember I liked him a lot and he had guts and was a joyous kind of human since he’d been on a Papa Doc hit list and here he was at a north shore in Massachusetts college telling it like it was, is, and probably shall be at least for a while til someone deposes that shithead Duvalier prick but my point I’m trying to make is that I can hardly remember even one thing he said to us and in this case I usually did actually attend class and I think took notes whose pages were later used for rolling reefer in and now down here at the cousin’s house in the cousin’s kitchen at the cousin’s kitchen table I can with pristine accuracy remember every detail, how my bro’s looked so devoted and all-in with the rolling, the feel of smoke in the young lungs, the giggling the solving problems and the figuring out of really important shit the high fives and love you Bro’s and all of it
And this, clearly for me, in a good case to be made that quitting college offers the opportunity to go out and learn real stuff and my man James Brown, God-father of soul, sang often a line which went “Can we hit it and quit?”, after advising the band to bring it down from an E flat to D, and I have always respected that advice and I know Billy MacDougal and John Case did feel and still feel the same way but back then there was this more serious guy we palled around with sometimes up on the campus grounds and his name was Chuck and it happens Chuck’s in-laws had a place farther down the Cape in Eastham (a lovely place) and so we ran out to the Dart and booked it down the 6 and arrived at a rendezvous destination of Coast Guard Beach and it was cloudy and on the cool side, being a November, and there were hardly any locals around and the tourists who foul these summer beaches were long gone and Billy MacDougal, it turns out (though Jon and me knew it all the way back to the Sagamore rotary) had scored four tablets of high-potency mescaline, supposedly direct from an Indian tribe somewhere in the continental southwest (and through Lynn) and we shared them around including with Chuck and proceeded to spend the next six hours at play on the beach and at one point I noticed over my left shoulder that 10 large tanks filled with state and local police were rolling down the beach directly in my direction and hollers of arrest that asshole were fighting through the wind and I ran and dove to the other side of a large dune and sometime later which as far as I could tell may have been a nano-second or three hours at the top of the dune came Billy and Jon and Chuck and all in unison they yelled out “You’re it.”