Americaphiles

The Story Of My Fucking Life

Thirty-eight

Posted by ilbebe on January 6, 2009

On Easter weekend, 2003, Danny, Steph, Travis, D, and I traveled out to the Shasta/Lassen County border to spend some time lounging around Danny’s parent’s house. It started with ham and cheese sandwiches, and ended with Danny, Travis and I going on for hours about an action hero whose adventures we were making up off the cuff, an inane riff that was intended to distract from the awkward break-up Travis and D had suffered over the weekend. There was an unauthorized journal-reading at the root of it all…

I was in a band in Arcata called the Sleeze that had two distinct period of activity. The first period lasted about four months and ended with our drummer Danny going to China for a semester abroad. The second period picked up about a year later, after I was out of school and unemployed. Our weekly practices were just about the only thing that gave any sort of structure to my week, and I treasured them for that. Standard operating procedure was to stop by the Round Table Pizza where our singer Travis worked to get as much free beer as possible (bounty ranged from none to two thirty-two ounce cups of Alaskan Amber), then cross the parking lot and buy a few cases of five-dollar Pabst at the Longs, then finally head to the practice space on South G. Practice consisted of about forty percent playing music, ten percent fixing broken gear, and fifty percent describing recent sexual activities and talking shit to each other. One night Travis and our guitarist Jeff crossed some kind of line with each other and got into a fistfight in the parking lot that me and Danny watched with nearly total indifference. I believe that occurred during the time when it was hard to get through a conversation with Travis without him mentioning that he could go for a hamburger.

An interesting element of the second period of Sleeze vitality was that Travis had finally legitimately started a girl named D who he’d been after to one degree or another for four years. D had been Danny’s girlfriend Stephanie’s freshman roommate in the dorms, and that’s where I’d actually first met Travis, since Steph was a high-school friend of mine. (My first memory of Jeff was of him in my freshman orientation group the week before school started drinking something red out of a cup stolen from the dorm cafeteria and thinking “Man, that guy didn’t waste any time breaking some rules…) The fate of Travis and D’s relationship was of no small interest to the rest of us, because beyond the fact that their history was spotted with several almost-made-its that ended badly, D was incredibly hot.

On the Easter weekend in question, the five of us cruised out in one car and arrived shortly after nightfall. The first night I remember as uneventful. On the second day, as I was filled in later, Danny’s dad got up before dawn to drive two hours round-trip to a meat market and buy a side of beef so that he could get it marinating in a pan before he had to be at the course to play in a golf tournament. I myself rose closer to noon, and our first excursion of the day was to go into town and get a flint to repair Danny’s long-dormant potato gun. The afternoon was whiled away shooting first the potato gun and then a shotgun. Our shotgun targets were a mattress and a deflated basketball propped on top of a broom, and Danny’s dad didn’t laugh when I suggested shooting at their propane tank to make things interesting.

The dinner was amazing; there were three courses, the beef came out perfectly, and between the nine of us at the table (The five of us, Danny’s parents, his older brother, and his Dad’s golf buddy) we downed ten bottles of wine. I elicited another sideways look from Danny’s dad when I suggested that since wine bottles are also 750 ml, we should refer to them as fifths as well. D was as quiet at dinner as she had been the whole day, so none of us were surprised when she excused herself after dessert to go lie down for a while. Travis and I excused ourselves to the den to watch a movie, and everyone else stayed at the table and kept talking.

Danny and Steph came in to join us with the movie about halfway through it, and it wasn’t soon afterwards that D came to the precipice of the den to ask Travis if she could talk to him about something. After the movie ended, Danny and Steph went off to bed, and I was left alone to keep drinking wine and brandy and trying to read The Razor’s Edge, which Travis had loaned me. Not a particularly easy book to get into when you’re starting to get cross-eyed, by the way…

I got up to go the bathroom at one point and got turned around. The first level of the house unfolded in a somewhat circular pattern, that is, you could walk from room to room around a central fulcrum, and I couldn’t find the room that was hiding the hallway that went to the bathroom, or any light switches that might aid my quest. I had just doubled back for the second time when Danny came down the stairs throwing his hands in the air and muttering under his breath and walked out the front door. I heard someone puking upstairs, then I turned around and was startled by Steph’s outstretched hand.

“Skittles?”

“Eh, sure…you know what’s going on around here?”

“Danny’s brother’s puking upstairs. Think Travis and D are fighting. Danny’s frustrated.” “Whaddya think we should do?”

“I don’t know, I came down here for skittles and brandy.”

I think I passed out on the couch that night. We left after breakfast the next morning and there was a definite tension in the car on the five-hour ride home. I couldn’t wait for Sleeze practice the following night when I could get the story about what the hell had happened between Travis and D. It was explained it as such in the car ride to practice:

“So what happened”

“Well, let’s just say the central characters in this tale are myself, D, and a yellow notebook.”

“NO! She read your journal?”

“Yep.”

“Eh…what did she see that she didn’t like?”

“Well, you know that girl I work with that I was telling you about?”

“Yeah?”

“Well, I wrote a short story about banging her on the pool table.”

I think Travis said he hooked up with D once more after that weekend, and then that was that. The Sleeze broke up again six weeks later when Jeff graduated and moved away. We played a reunion show a year later that ended when I fell backwards over the drums and bent Danny’s hi-hat in half and the cops came to break up the party while I was telling the panda joke to kill time while he tried to fix it. I’ve been to Danny’s parents house once more since that Easter weekend, and I brought a bottle of Orange Jubilee Mad Dog as a gift for the hosts, for which I received the most sideways look yet from Danny’s dad. Danny’s mom cracked it, took a sip, and said “Oooh, that’s good!”

Advantage: Sleeze!!

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