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Into The Woods Part I
Morning everyone.... I've been writing an intro for this piece for about fifteen minutes now and this is all I've got. It's been a long week at FTTW. We're all a little thrashed from the amount of personal and professional work we've been doing over the last few days, so bear with us while we get our shit together... This morning we've got some high school remembrances of trying to get a half decent party together and Turtle and Michele will be about a little later, once they've gotten some well deserved rest.... Enjoy...
It was hard to have a party when I was in high school. Damn near everyone lived on base, so that meant small places. Most of us had largish apartments and there were a few high ranking individuals who had actual houses, but not many. A good many of us had at least one parent that’d have to go on Temporary Duty for a few weeks at a time, but none of us had two. Getting our parents out of the house for an evening so we could get drunk, cop a feel and throw up on ourselves was almost an exercise in futility. So, we needed a new plan….
We needed something quick and simple and that everyone would believe. And something that would work often. Because we were sixteen and having thirty second sex in someone else’s bed was our god given right…. We tried a few ideas. Almost all of them ended the same way. We had massive walkouts after the first period that would result in everyone being marked absent, something we would chalk up to computer error when explaining it to our parents. We would plan phony field trips, with phony permission slips and then leave school at lunch. We’d do crap like this all the time, something simple, quick, very little thought required. We never cared if the administration was catching on. The majority of them were extremely bored civilians working on a military base, which meant that they were the only ones who weren’t armed. You try telling a Staff Sergeant that his daughter is constantly skipping school and fucking EVERYBODY without staring at that .45 permanently attached to his hip. I can understand why they were a little apprehensive about delivering news that a parent didn't necessarily want to hear.
Laid out in neat rows with your standard German precision. Rows and racks and stacks of booze. All cheap and all available to any enterprising youngster with the cash. Lambrusco, the worst red wine you’ve ever had, in one liter bottles, complete with the screw off top. White wine spritzers in six packs. Vodka and rum and gin in two liter bottles for about the cost of an American fast food lunch. And the beer…. Maybe one day, I’ll devote an entire post to German beer and Andech’s and family food fights with hazelnuts. That’s not where I’m headed this morning, though. Suffice to say, the beer was fantastic and dirt fucking cheap. The only thing that ever made the gas station even remotely creepy was the man behind the register. No matter what time you went in, day or night, it was always the same Turkish guy, with the same sad smile on his face, sitting behind the register. I don’t think he ever ate or slept. He was always there and waiting for us.
So, we’d skip class, stop at the gas station for booze and…. Usually we’d have to head off to the woods, because getting busted on base meant getting the MP’s involved. That was the last thing we wanted. And, if no one had a free place to crash for a few hours, we’d have to bugger off to the woods, and hit up one of our favorite spots. The woods followed the path of the river that ran through town (the Lech, for those of you keeping track) and spread out from the river’s edge about an acre in each direction. It was a great area for a group of kids to get lost, get drunk and play spin the bottle. But we could only get so drunk and make so much noise before someone called the Polizei… And if the MP’s were bad, the Polizei were so much worse. American citizens only had a handful of rights on German soil. Loud, drunken American teenagers trying to copulate in the woods near a highway had even less.
And so it went…. But there’s only so many times you could get rained out in the middle of a makeout session. There’s only so many ways you can explain wet socks and shoes to your parents on a bright sunny day. Hanging out in the woods was cool, but they were no place to throw a proper party.
And at the beginning of my sophomore year, I found it.