This was the summer we all went down into the rec room in the basement and became alive.
Or perhaps, we all died that summer, our bodies still down there, skeletal remains now.
This is Heaven?
We sat down there, smoking pot, dreaming, fucking ourselves up with hits of paint fumes, the usual stuff that makes kids know they will live forever, or die trying.
There was Bill, leader of a cult now, but back then, he was always like, "Fuck God!! Fuck Jesus!" His mom left when he turned 15, left the house to him as she ran off with a guitar player.
"All this is yours!"
He decided after that summer to burn it down, but not until we sat there, the smells of old farts drifting into the living room upstairs, where the TV constantly stayed on.
It was on when he burned the house to the ground.
There was a couple of friends from school, Oscar, a saint now, dead before he turned 19.
He was minding his own business, holding a gun to his head on the front porch, when his finger slipped and he blew his brains out.
"God will punish him!" Bill said at the funeral, "Or he was being punished in this life and that was his reward. Either way, we got to keep living!"
Oscar was a teachers' favorite; good grades, never cussed, and when it came time, would clean the chalk board and erasers without a complaint.
Teachers hated me; I always complained. Still do.
Angie was one of the girls who lived within our group, a true trooper, she would be the one who would show us her's if we showed her ours.
And we did.
"A deal is a deal!" and would show us what made her a girl.
Then flip us off, giggling as she let her skirt down. "You'll never get it! None of you!" she would laugh, taking a huff off the bag.
I almost got it.
But we were too close, more like brother and sister, so no incest affair, she would say, then kiss me, her tongue dancing with mine, her hand drifting down, then stopping, just short, and then she would giggle.
"You're too fun to mess with...."
There was other girls in the scene, but none would stay long enough to be remembered, just there for a hit, or a drink, or an affair with one of the others; Angie actually fooled around with a few, just to get off, she said.
Jimmy had a pool at his house, so it was decided to move there, for a few days, hottest in years.
His mom would show me her tits.
I remember them, perky breasts, and then her eyes, twinkling, gleeful, then she would smile and leave the room.
This happened a few times.
"My mom likes you!" Jimmy told me once. He shrugged. "She doesn't like many people!"
"She has nice tits!" I said. We both nodded.
"Would you fuck her if she asked?"
"Yeah. If she wasn't my mom, I would too!"
We both laughed.
Jimmy is now serving life without parole for killing his mom over a Scrabble game.
Everyone moved on after that summer, some grew up, some died, the rest tried to grow up, tried to kill themselves, but failed miserably and ran off to join the Army, to see the world.
The world and the Army rejected them for being too queer.
"I'm no fag!" Simpson yelled at his recruiter. "I'M THE FAG!!!"
He's still alive and well, living in Seattle where he shoot horses.
Nobody is sure.
Another friend of ours made it past the military life, addicted to drugs he found in some European nation where he gave up and decided to join a gang of mimes.
Paris can change a man, he said, laughing.
Mimes are dangerous when you get them mad, never ever get them mad!
Where was I now?
Sleeping, farting, turning over, looking for the perfect high, but it didn't exist.
I wasn't living anymore, but hadn't died yet. I was staying alive, filling up my stomach with cheap booze, gin of choice if I had to.
Hookers on Saturdays, church on Sunday, and Monday, I would repeat the process, waking up dead.
Death was my friend, till Friday, then the booze would come to my rescue, a life line.
I order a shot of whiskey, leave the bottle.
The bartender shakes his head. "You're already too fucked up!! I gotta cut you off!"
Cut me off?
I would take a walk, wander down the streets, keeping up with nobody, wishing I could lie down on the hard streets, close my eyes, wake up in a better time, a better place, but I keep walking, down the road, headlights aiming for me.
I don't dodge them, playing chicken on a narrow bridge.
"Run me over, you cock suckers!!"
But none take me up on the challenge, they swerve.
Why do they care?
They don't, worried about their $30,000 gas suckers, there'd be a dent, maybe worse.
Bloody tires, their paint jobs ruined by me.
What delirious fun!