There was one thing John knew, how to live in the moment, there was no past or future, only the infinite moment; now! He had been living on the edge for the past several months, partying to the point of no return and somehow returning to do it all over. After dropping out of school his senior year, he had landed a decent job at a decorating shop. He made the coffee, moved the large remnant rugs, fixed screens and windows, trimmed branches, basically a jack-of-all trades, yet knowing he was master of none. The job did pay very well though, supplying him with an ample amount of partying cash and he was undeniably a master of partying. Too many late nights/not getting home until the sun was coming up, led to him missing some days of work. Waking up, still drunk, meant he was calling in. This was something his alcoholic, no longer drinking father could not tolerate.
Trouble had been brewing between John and his father for the past several years. The trouble went from bad to worse one weekend afternoon; John was fourteen at the time. He and his father were driving and John popped in his favorite new cassette tape. It was The Doors first album, things were going alright until The End came on and the got to the line “Father? Yes son. I want kill you.” His father ripped the tape from the player and threw it at John yelling, “I never want to hear this shit again!” After the initial shock, John smiled and thought, ah ha, I finally have something that will piss him off and get so far under his skin, and he chuckles. Since then their relationship had only worsened. His father hated Johns partying and John hated his father; blaming him for his already being an alcoholic. After a particular late night of drinking John hears a knock on the door, “John, it’s time to get up,” his mother’s sweet but persistent voice continued, “it’s time to get up, you have to go to work.”
“I’m not going today, I’m sick,” John mumbles, with eyes still closed.
“You still have to get up and call in,” insists his mother.
“Get the FUCK out of that GOD DAMN bed now,” his father bellows, in a voice that had stopped John dead in his tracks as a child. That voice had long ago ceased affecting him, but it did cause him to open his eyes.
Since it appeared they were not going to stop, John decided to get out of bed, standing up, he almost pukes as the world spins for a moment. A big stretch, yawns, sits back on the bed and rubs his bloodshot eyes. Scans the room and finds some tolerably clean clothes, throws them on, prepares to exit his room. John opens the door; the harsh bright lights of reality slam his already pounding head. His parents are leaving the house, but they stop at the door. His father looks him up and down with a look of disgust, tired of his antics, sick of all John’s bullshit. “If you don’t go to work today, pack your shit and get the fuck out of MY house,” and his father turns and walks out the door. His mother stares at him sympathetically for a moment, her eyes beg him, “please just go to work,” John quickly looks away, he had already made his decision, living in the moment and much too drunk/hung over to go to work.
As he heard their car back out of the driveway and drive down the street John was relieved to be alone. He makes the call so he could just leave a message and not have to talk to the boss. As soon as he hung up the phone he knew, in his heart, he was going to need a place to live. Since his parents were going to be gone for the next several hours he decides to go back to bed. Lying in bed, trying to sleep, but the uncertainty of the immediate future focused his thoughts on one thing; where will I sleep tonight? and says to himself, “Maybe Rich’s, but I couldn’t stay there long. There’s that thing Derick was talking about doing, but that would take awhile to set up.”
Derick is his best friend, his partying equal; people would say to them “I honestly don’t think that I have ever seen you two without a beer.” They blacked out together, smoked more pot, dropped more acid, did more lines then any 18 and 19 year olds should have been able to do and survive. Yet they always managed to look out for one another. Derick had left Tonawanda and moved out to Randolf, NY near Jamestown, to live with his aunt. They have a friend, Joe that had just moved to Texas and was living with his mother. He told Derick that if they got down there they had a place to stay. Getting down there was the problem, John didn’t drive and Derick had no vehicle. Derick had suggested that they hitchhike, John was pretty sure that Derick was kidding about that; surly they could take a bus. It had only been discussed once, but John felt now was the time to do something big; this would be the ultimate moment. With happy thoughts of travel racing through his mind he drifted into a sound slumber.
Waking a couple hours later, sober, but hung-over, John wasted no time putting into effect the consequence of his actions. He finds his sisters old bright yellow duffel bag, which she had used for travel softball. Packs all his clean clothes, a few books (despite all his less than intelligent decisions, he was devoted to reading.) John takes one last, slow look around the room, the memories of a wild youth linger. Sadness wells up within him, turning away he grabs his carton of Marlboro red’s and stuffs it in the bag. Stopping in the bathroom he brushes teeth, cleans the brush and reaches for his deodorant and tosses them both in the bag. A quick look in the mirror, “I’m ready for this,” the reflection betrays that sediment. Not knowing where he was going or where this would all end, John calls his dog, Tara, a boxer over to him. Petting her and getting slobbered on by her, the tears start welling up; before they can fall freely he pulls himself away.
Outside it is a cool cloudy September afternoon, gray like his mood, taking in the day John decides to go to the abandoned tracks by the memorial highway. This spot has been the site of many of his quiet contemplations, a place of comfort, at the very least a place where he could hide his bag. Finding a spot in the brush alongside the tracks, he sets his bag down and pops a squat on a nearby rock. Sitting there, he lights up a smoke and considers what his next move should be. There is only one option available, so he covers his bag with some branches and heads to Rich’s house.
It’s a short walk to Rich’s and John is there in about two minutes. He knocks on the front door, and stands there looking over the yard/driveway, always amazed at how much junk is strewn about. Rich answers, “Dude, what’s up?” Rich is a big kid, dirty blonde hair, bright blue eyes and a bit like baby Huey, physically and intellectually slow, but a loyal friend. John looks at him seriously, but says nothing.”What wrong, man? I can tell, by your look, something is wrong,” Rich’s concern for and faith in John were unshakable.
“Dude, I got kicked out of my house, because I called into work this morning. I got no place to live; I threw all my clothes in a bag and stashed it on the tracks.” With the hang-over making his appearance even more pathetic then he was trying to look, John knows what to expect to hear next.
“Oh man, you can sleep here! You know my mom loves you, hell I’d bet she likes you more than she likes me,” says Rich, glad to be able help John.
Smiling a little now, John asks, “Do you think it will be ok?” Knowing he got what he wanted without having to ask, a skill he had nearly perfected.
“You know it! At least for a few days,” then the fear of the unknown, that sets some people to instant worry kicked in in Rich, “What are you going to do dude? I mean you can stay here for a couple days, until things cool down. I’m sure your mother will get you back in the house, you know you’re a mama’s boy.” Rich punches him playfully in the shoulder, “Mama’s boy, mama’s boy,” and he points at John.
“Dude I’m not going back,” John says, with a look of conviction, “I am so damn sick of living by their rules, don’t know where I’m going or how I’m getting there, but I am getting the fuck out of here! What did that shirt your mother use to make you wear say? ‘Where else but Tonawanda?’ my answer is fucking anywhere else!”
---End---I would really love to hear some comments, I have set up a Facebook fan page Click Here to leave a comment on the fan page. You can also leave comments on the blog site. If you do go to the fan page, would you also "like" the page? That would be great. As always, thank you for reading.