J. T. Hilltop
Arties Quaalude parties where epic events and tonight’s was one for the records. We partied through the night high on ludes, shrooms, weed, and beer without a clue to what reality felt like. We laughed ourselves into the early morning hours unaware that time even exists. With Ken out of the picture for the night Patrick tried to put the move on Sue but I took him aside and set him straight. No harm no foul, it was the ludes that really gave him such big balls and Patrick wasn’t the kind of guy that would try and screw his friend’s girl. That is to say not without being coerced by a number of Quaaludes and herb. It was getting too late and time to head home so Carrie, Sue, and I headed for the homesteads hoping to sneak in unnoticed. We first dropped Sue off at her house, then Carrie and I hid in the bushes just on the side of her house. We made out for ten minutes and we both wanted to make love, especially with the enhanced desire from the Quaaludes, but doing it on her front lawn was not a good move and it was late and we had nowhere else to go. I gave her one long last passionate kiss goodnight and began my own trek home.
A myriad of thoughts were flooding my head and due to all the pills and weed combined with the shroom trip I began hallucinating wildly. This was not uncommon when you have been trying to maintain until it such a time as you could let it go like say the sanctity of my room. When you let your guard down the hallucinations flowed with the fury and passion of young love. Which by no accident was one of those swirling thoughts on this night. The smile on my face was so huge that my ears had to take a step back and make more room. The delirious joy from the ludes and the spiritual wonder of the mushrooms had begun to hit me in a tag team match. They both took me on at once kicking my ass and it felt unbelievably great. “Jesus shit, nothing in the world could possibly take me down!” But as we have learned the universe has it‘s own agenda.
I stumbled up the driveway feeling absolutely giddy until I noticed the kitchen light was on. “Oh fuck. Someone’s awake, this can’t be good.” I walked into the house sensing an uneasy feeling. That fantasy of life feeling was quickly replaced with trepidation. Maybe the parents found my weed, or I was busted for some dumb ass thing in school. I could hear my Mom whimpering in the kitchen. When I walked into the kitchen the tension in the air was thick as mud. It became obvious Mom had been crying for some time and the old man just stared at the floor with that dumb blank expression on his face he always seemed to have. I did my best to remain cool and not look as fucked up as I was, “What’s going on?” It was a familiar silence, the kind so tense and awkward your ears burned from the lack of noise. My head filled with heat and I was sure it made my face so red a beet would be jealous. Instant buzz kill from Mom’s laser machete chopping eyes swinging her anger at my general direction. Fuck me, don’t tell me they found my stash. But no. This was something far worse. After about 10 seconds of eerie nothingness my Pops broke the spell. “We got a visit from the army. James was killed in battle.” Mom broke out in a renewed set of loud heaving cries that I was sure had been going on for quite a while. I knew it. Jesus shit I fucking knew this was gonna happen! The rage built up quickly and I felt my face fill with anger, sorrow, and total disdain. I looked over to my old man and he never took his eyes off the floor. Didn’t even possess the balls to look me in the eye. I reflected on every Goddam fight Pops and I had over Vietnam, over government overreach and all the times I had to defend the fact that I wasn’t a shithead communist. I glared at him and all I could think of was how Ken had described punching his old man out for hitting his Mom. I wanted to go over and wail on him but my Moms crying stopped me dead. Stopped me dead? What a shit for brains thought that was for me to have. I looked past my war mongering old man and walked straight to Mom to hug her. My eyes filled up with salty rivers of sorrow. Jameson, my fucking hero, my big brother and only confidant dead. A senseless casualty of a senseless war. I began to cry as well and just held Mom tight as she cried in my arms. My whole world was now upside down, inside out, half assed, and backwards. The various drugs teamed up with the raw emotion and the result was a vortex of confusion, hurt, and anger.
My God praying Mom had an empty soul for the first time in her life. Her eyes were vacant and void, all red and beaten not just from tears tonight but from many years of worry and stress over her kids. I knew I was a major contributor to the weathered and worn orbs and felt ashamed at the moment. Her expression was blank, lost, at a complete emptinessm war, of emotion. I had never seen anyone so detached and it worried the shit out of me. As I held her close I reflected on the better times James and I had, arm punch contests, purple nurples, and wet willies aside we were very tight as kids. Jameson always let me play ball with him and his friends and I thought back to the time playing football when he played quarterback and helped me score my first touchdown. “Okay JT, you take one step over the line, I’m throwing you the ball. You catch it, turn and run to the endzone.” Ha, the endzone. An obscure piece of real estate in between two large trees on our elementary schoolyard . The promise land of no rules pick a team football. He then turned to the rest of the guys in the huddle. “Any one of you mother fuckers lets JT get touched by anyone gonna get their ass kicked by me!” We laughed for days because I caught it, turned and ran my little ass off down the field and James and his friends used the most unethical and illegal forms of blocking, but not a soul touched me and no one from the other team dared to say a word. James was the best big brother anyone could hope for. For two weeks all anyone talked about in my Jr. High school was how JT made a touchdown playing football with the high school kids. It was gold. Jesus shit I’m gonna miss James.
I looked my Mom in the eye and said “Mah, remember the time James was chasing me around the house and I ran through the sliding screen door Dad had put in that morning? I thought you were gonna kill us both.” I could see the smile taking root on her face and her eyes lit up for just a tiny bit. I hoped it was making her forget if only for a short time the pain she was dealing with. I wondered if my asshole old man felt pain or patriotism but it didn’t matter either way, it was being numbed with cheap beer. But whatever, my Mom smiled probably for the first time tonight “Oh good god JT, you two were such terrors. You have no idea how much you guys put me through.” Mission accomplished, Mom was now reflecting fondly too. We exchanged stories for what seemed like hours, but it just felt good just to not see her crying. As for the old asshole, still not a word. Most likely he was wallowing in guilt and remorse. He was pounding down beer after beer and he looked drunk. I almost felt sorry for him because his sorry ass aura had no glow at all. Nothing, nada, zilch! Zero emotion as though he didn’t even have it in him to shed a tear. Beneath those red eyes was an empty sandlot.
I sat up with Mom for a few more hours until the sun began to shed light on what was a normal day for everyone else. Mom offered to make breakfast but I declined. My head was now pounding from the loss of James compounded by a killer hangover from booze and drugs. I went to my room slapped on the headphones and lay on the bed, not even bothering to take off my clothes. I have no idea for how long, but I stared at the ceiling until I fell asleep weeping. I slept hard all the time hoping when I woke up it will all have been a shit ass dream and James was waiting to kick my ass. Fuck war! Fuck Vietnam! Fuck me!! TBC