story of the years: mice and heat
by Michele Christopher
Thank you for giving us something new to work with. Because of your suggestions, we came up with many new ideas for many stories. See, some of us have a serious lack of memory and sometimes some of us need a kick to remember this stuff. Especially back when some of us were taking alot drugs. That's just the way it goes. We accept it and move on.
You should too.
But, that's beside point. We asked you for cool years. Well, we asked you for the years interesting things happened in, cause I had none. Before we start this, I do want to say the standard disclaimer that neither of us know what the other is doing until it starts coming together. I have no clue what Michele is going to do. She kinda wanted to go off on some Revolutionary War stuff cause she thought it would be a challenge, but in the end, I have no clue what's she is doing. This is the way the intros work on FTTW. See, this is the time I want dinner and she types away like a mad woman and when I'm done cooking she has like three pages and I'm still dumping Tapatio on my sandwich wondering what the fuck I missed.
That's a little insight on how FTTW works. It's called catch up. She writes while I eat. I write while she sleeps. But, once again I'm getting off track.
You wanted years.
You got 'em.
Here we go!
I just started high school. Yes, I am younger then a lot of you. That's kinda cool cause I can still buy crap toys and feel like I am just reliving my youth. Think how bad it is gonna be when I hit my mid life crisis. Hell, I'm covered in ink now and I'm only 34. I can't wait to see what happens when I'm 40. If I live that long I'll be flirtin' with disaster like fucking Molly Hatchet style. Maybe a motorcycle and some cool leather clothes. Neck tattoo saying "I can still kick your ass" or "Mama loves me," I still don't know.
Or maybe just a cool new pair of running shoes. I have no idea what the future brings. Flirtin' with disaster. Cause I'm Southern fried and Southern rock. Workin' for MCA and all that shit. Actually, I hate that music and I'm from California but it just seemed funny to say.
Wait. The hell was I at?
Punk rock was hitting a pinnacle, in my opinion. Lots of great albums came out that year. SNFU released "If You Swear, You'll Catch No Fish." One of the coolest albums to come out. Perfect follow up to "And no on else wanted to play..."
It was the year I really discovered LSD. Sure, I had done it when I was younger, maybe once or twice or 20 times, but by this time in my career I had picked up a bass and started learning how to play. LSD and alcohol replaced Hamburger Helper as my dinner. I just couldn't take looking at that fucking happy glove on the box when my face was dripping off. So I just stopped eating it. It's too bad because I missed out on a lot of cheap food, but it's what had to happen back then. Don't get me wrong. Hamburger Helper is the greatest food to ever be cooked on a small bugdet. I love it. In fact as I am typing this, it's cooking in the back.
I'll never forget the time someone at school mocked me for eating the Helper. New school. Rich kid school. I had moved back in with my parents and I was used to eating this. He called it "Poor people food. White trash food." Oh, you just fucked up. First of all little rich boy, you don't make fun of me. Second of all, you sure as hell don't make fun of the food someone is cooking for me with their last dollars. You just don't do that. That's disrespectful as shit and you will go down.
So I got in a lot of fights. Threatened to be kicked out. blah blah blah. Fuck dude. You take a kid from the barrio and put him in a Catholic High School. You see what happens. There might be some problems. Ya think? But meh, it happens.
So one weekend my mom had to get to Anaheim for some conference at the Disneyland hotel. I was breaking down at school so she decided to take my brother and I along with her. Just to get away. Buy us some food and let us go in Disneyland. Just for the day. Back then Disneyland was fun. Sure, it's still fun today, but back then it was like something out of a comic book. So we went. Jumped in the car and drove there. My mom, my brother and myself.
So we were left in the parking lot. Hm. Now what. 50 bucks each. Half a pack of smokes. A lighter. And some LSD. What did my brother have? No smokes, cause to this day he loves to bum smokes off me. I hate social smokers. They fucking piss me off. Especially when they have a lighter. That really pisses me off. "I have no smokes, but I can light it if you give me one!" That's like being half retarded. Grrrrrr.
Anyways, I popped open the tinfoil as we walked under the giant Fantasia Mouse. Looked at the acid. It was Fantasia blotter! Oh, this was a sign. Gobbled back a few hits and got our tickets. Keep in mind this was way before I knew about Hidden Mickeys or Club 33, so I just had a 7-Up half filled with vodka. So I was cool in my innocence back then. I could feel the strychnine moving thru me. The adrenaline was coming on and my cigarettes were running low. The liquor wasn't calming me down. Mickey was working his magic. Ok. Fuck. We need to sit down here and figure out what the fuck was going on cause the turtle train is heading for a dead end if we don't get more booze or more cigarettes. Looking at my brother I asked him what he had. Pills? No. Pot? Yes. Ok. Now we had something to work with. Let's get stoned and move this thing on. But where? Disney cops left and right. Like they were in slow motion. I have a reputation of doing things in public but back then I wasn't the same turtle you all know and love now. I was kinda shy when it came to breaking laws. We needed to find a place. What's that?
Acid was kicking in hard now. My hands were shaking in that strychnine way. I was starting to lose it. This line has to move faster. Down the rest of the vodka. One last smoke left. Hold on to that. I need that. We get on the ride and my brother rolls a joint. A big fat one. If we were going to do this, we were going to do this right. I stare at my cigarette and think about the end of the world. Or maybe Cap'n Crunch. Hell if I know. He fires it up and takes a big drag. Passes it to me. I pass it back. We do this for about two minutes before something came over the speaker.
"DO NOT SMOKE MARIJUANA ON THE PEOPLEMOVER."
WHAT? WAS THAT SERIOUS????? AM i TRIPPING??????
*Trick question, mein readers. Of course I was tripping.
I look around to see if anyone else heard it in their cabs. No. They couldn't have. Smiling kids and cotton candy. I guess I'm tripping. Take another drag. I lit the last smoke.
"PLEASE DO NOT SMOKE CIGARETTES OR MARIJUANA IN THE PEOPLEMOVER."
Ok. That was real. I look at my brother and he is white as a ghost. Well, fuck, I know you are scared dude, but you gotta hold together if we are going to get out of this. We still have this roach left. Meh, he started babbling about getting thrown out or embarrasing our parents. Meh. I lit the rest of it up. Fuck it, man. If they gonna toss us out we might as well go all the way.
The dope was hitting me hard now. I was stoned and drunk and tripping at the happiest place on Earth. All I needed was a midget and a shoeshine and my life would be complete. I stopped caring about halfway thru the ride. And really, I was kinda pissed at the Disney cops for freaking me out, but what can you do? Getting off the ride we did the usual thing. Agreed on a meeting place and walk away in different directions.
We met at the Haunted Mansion 20 minutes later. This day had just begun.
But that's another story for another day. - T
Probably the most eventful year of my life. Not necessarily eventful in things that happened to me, but things that were happening around me. Especially that summer. Warning, this post lacks the funny. Maybe I should have done 1776 instead.
It was an interesting time in New York. Son of Sam. The Blackout. The Bronx and Brooklyn were literally on fire. I was 15 years old and things were exploding around me. It wasn’t good stuff. It seemed like everything in the news was bad. And it was hot. So fucking hot and muggy. Most nights we would just sit in the sump, drinking stolen beer and smoking pot and feeling too beat down to do anything else. There was a weird vibe going on that summer. Our parents were scared and we knew it. That fucks with the mind of a 15 year old. It’s supposed to be that kids get scared and parents tell them to calm the hell down because there’s nothing to be afraid of. But New York was in financial ruin, the city was falling apart from crime and arson and fear and while all that stuff was happening beyond our little suburb, but you could feel it creep in, as if our fathers brought a little of it home each day when they came home from their city jobs. We heard it at the dinner table and in overheard conversations between adults. Our parents were scared.
For some reason I kept playing the Doors "Riders on the Storm" over and over. There's a killer on the road, his brain is squirming like a toad.... I have to admit, I was kind of fascinated with Son of Sam. I ran outside for the Daily News every morning, looking to see if he had struck again or left a note for Jimmy Breslin. The front page of that paper was a daily dose of fear. Fires. Serial Killer. Abe Beam fucking something up. It was the first time in my life I knew what a feeling of impending doom meant. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was too many nights talking about death and destruction in the sump. But I felt like everything was gonna blow.
Night of July 13th. We were in the sump. There was some wicked heat lightning going and we were just laying back and watching it. And then I saw the sky change. I didn’t just see it, I felt it. Something happened. We had been smoking, but just cheap pot that smelled like oregano. Nothing that was gonna make me hallucinate. I looked at everyone else. I could tell. They saw it, too. Something happened. By the time we got up and walked to my house, news of the blackout was out. We spent the next day listening to and watching stories about the riots and looting and complete mayhen and when my father finally came home from work that night smelling of ash and fire - he was a fireman in Bushwick, Brooklyn - , he didn’t even want to talk about it. He just said “There’s nothing left for them to burn.” That was kind of a defining moment for that summer.
It was a creepy time. A weird time. I think we aged five years that summer. We became a bit cynical and a bit hardened, just from having so much death and tension and raw energy shoved in our faces every day. Our parents were shell shocked. Our quiet little world wasn’t so quiet anymore. There was a killer loose. There were people acting like crazed animals. It was hot. Our safe little world had been intruded upon.
So every night, we hung out in the abandoned house next to the high school or in the sump or in someone's basement, listening to this bizarre mix of the Ramones and Sex Pistols, Kiss and Foghat, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Queen and talking about grown up things like murder and death. We hung out, we listened to records, we went to the movies and started and ended teenage romances and some of us went to summer school during the day because we didn't pay attention in 9th grade biology. We were just killing days, Killing time. For the first time, we just wanted summer to end. We wanted it to be fall and school and some kind of normalcy where our mothers were worried about our grades instead of our lives.
Thank you all for all your thoughts. It's alot of fun when you give us ideas and let us work off them. I'm sorry if we didn't do your year this time but all the ideas are saved and we will do this periodically so we will do your year. But thanks everyone.
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