No safe landings in a mosh pit. But we didn’t even call them that back then.
Girls and guys, cigarettes, blue nighttime city light. The air oddly soft; this city is not a big one, and it is summer. Honey and Andy sharing salty snacks. Other Andy trying to flirt. We didn’t know he didn’t like girls.
Sitting on the wall. Flowered skirt, jean jacket, CIA t-shirt tied in a knot. Aching for someone to fall into. Sea of boys and wanting to dive.
No safe landings.
For the second time, I entered Janet Reid's flash fiction contest. Her response this time:
DLM's entry (11:50am) isn't quite a story, but I love it very much. It's got atmosphere to die for.
In fact, I felt the same way myself. And the truth is: it is NOT a story. It is the cousin of things that actually happened. It is my memory of nights spent at a dive called Hard Times, for some reason allowed to tag along with my brother. The names are the ones these kids went by.
Driving home after one of these nights, my brother meowed at a police dog in a cruiser beside us. I was in the driver's seat, the ink on my driver's license scarcely dry (I was so young), and the station wagon was filled to capacity, probably nine punks and at least one bicycle poking out the back window - "$150 dollars worth of fine-able offenses" I remember the officer telling us, annoyed, after he'd pulled me over and explained he wasn't much in the mood, on his way back from a homicide as he was.
The flowered skirt was a white eyelet prairie skirt, tiered, with tiny, vividly-blue flowers. The jacket, actually a Members Only knockoff by L'Autre Mode, was my brother's. The CIA t-shirt was real; it was pink, given to me by A Certain Uncle of mine who is a mine of stories all his own, but he likes to fancy himself a raconteur, and has not been my uncle in 22 years, so I will leave those to him to tell (and not to) for classified reasons.
The shirt was pink, by the way. This extra-cracked me up as a wannabe political liberal teen. Muzzy, vaguely nonsensical, uninformed "pinko!" jokes abounded.
We saw Ten Thousand Maniacs at Hard Times, which still seems so odd. But, more often, it was Minor Threat, White Cross, assorted local bands and would-be bands.
Honey is the one girl of whom I have much memory; blonde. Sad. She was perhaps the most abused person I had ever met - or, at least, the person whose abuse was most apparent to me. I may have been younger than she (I may not have been). She made me feel so impotently protective. She still does.
The girls used to paw my face lovingly - "How do you get your skin so pale?" We had moved from my old neighborhood a year, maybe two before. I hadn't been to the pool since. I haven't been in the sun since 1983.
The bar was used as a location in Finnegan Begin Again. Mary Tyler Moore and Robert Preston danced where my brother did, where we grubby teens used to bum cigs off each other and call out gleefully to passing traffic, because: summer nights. I am surprised to learn, Sylvia Sidney was in FBA. Huh. She was married to Bennet Cerf, whose joke books in hardcover were a major part of my early reading.
Nowadays - still standing - the place was a coffee shop, last I checked. The streets run the same ways, but seem ... much more businesslike. They pass by the ghosts of the eighties - or before. Thirty-plus years ago, they were one of the places I lived.
And the atmosphere - yes. It kind of was to die for, Janet. But I never quite finished any story there.