The Game by Jack Stone
Back at Mower, Minehan is waiting. He shakes me by the shoulders, breaking me out of my funk.
“We got too much ta do for ya to be moping. Tim’ll be back before ya knowed it.” Good thing the boy is straight.
He insists he gets his next swim lesson from the girls. All of us are in the pool, cheering him on. He completes all four required laps. He is ready for his test. I tell everyone about riding on Tim’s back when he played dolphin in Miami.
“I’ll bet you liked that,” Minehan scoffs.
“He liked it even more,” I counter. The girls look at each other and giggle.
“Can’t stop bein’ a perv,” David snarls.
“I’ll buy pizza, if you stop being a homophobe.”
“Deal.” He has no idea what the word means.
The seven of us, including David, go to Monday’s noon mass at St Paul’s. While eating lunch with Father John, Dr Marier sits with us, asking to see the golden tear drops. Minehan has several in his pocket, which he holds out.
“Ya can’t touch ‘em,” he orders.
“I just want to look,” the school director states. “Cardinal Medeiros spoke with Cardinal Cooke. The ones from St Patrick’s are diamonds. Why did we only get gold.”
“Maybe ‘cause St Patrick’s a cathedral and St Paul’s just a parish,” David has a solid sense of values.
“Maybe because Tim was playing ‘Shine on You Crazy Diamond’ at St Patrick’s, ” is my opinion.
“Just the same. The Archdiocese is treating yesterday as a possible miracle. You boys will be questioned as to what you saw.”
“Well, Tim’s the saint. He’s already in LA,” I explain.
“No one’s a saint yet. The boys are already worked up enough about it. What have you been telling them about ghosts and spirits?”
“Did Cardinal Cooke tell you about Teen Jesus?”
“Oh, Lord. What are you boys up to?”
“Since the gospels don’t speak about Christ in his youth, a policeman in Miami called us Teen Jesus after we were singing ‘Amazing Grace’ in the street. He wondered if Jesus had been a rowdy teenager. Previously we played at our bass player’s Baptist youth group. A girl thought she saw a spirit or ghost hovering above us.”
“Be ecumenical, Doctor. We all pray to the same God.”
“So you encourage kids to follow you like the pied piper due to their belief in Jesus.”
“That’s backwards. Jesus is in their hearts and they trust us because we all share him.”
“Why were the police involved?”
“You need to talk with Tim. I joined the band after his best friend Jace was killed. The spirit of Jace is Teen Jesus. I can attest that he continues to inspire us. I replaced him on guitar but it’s like he never left. He’s in my heart, even though I never met him in the flesh.” Little did I want to discuss how well I know him.
“And Tim left town.”
“He starts his work-study today in Los Angeles. What happened at Sunday mass is a shock to all of us. The boys played the song that was played at St Patrick’s, ‘Wish You Were Here.’ We all want Jesus to return.
“So rock and roll is the new way to pray,” he is being sarcastic.
“When it’s spiritual. It comes from gospel music. That’s why the Baptists are more attuned to it. The Church has only come around since Vatican II.”
“We need to speak with Tim when he returns. Cardinal Cooke says he purposely avoids him, as well.”
“He doesn’t want to be treated like a saint. He’s not Teen Jesus. Jace was not perfect, rowdy and promiscuous, smoking and drinking. I never met him because he always skipped school.”
“You’re not making a strong case for yesterday’s ‘miracle.’”
“We don’t promote Teen Jesus. We tell everyone that Jace’s mission is to make kids safe. Can we go help the boys with their guitar lesson now?”
“I think we need to investigate what happened yesterday more before allowing you to continue teaching the boys,” Dr Marier is asserting his authority. I know what that means.
“Well, let us speak with Father John. He’s fully capable of doing the teaching. His heart is pure, unlike we rock sinners.”
“I’m not saying you’re sinners,” Dr Marier tries to seem reasonable. “I’ll get Father John to meet you here.”
I realize I better not do my confessions at St Paul’s. I’ll call Father Frank. Franciscans are much more tolerant.
“We’re no longer allowed to teach the boys,” I tell Father John.
“I was afraid of that. What happened at Sunday mass was beautiful. How that can be prohibited makes me question my faith.”
“It is the elders who have lost faith, Father. You still have a trusting heart. Luckily, you learned all that is necessary for you to teach soul music from the heart.”
“I’m not Black. How do I teach soul music?”
“White soul, brother. White soul.”
He smiles and our mission here will continue. At least we don’t need to attend daily mass anymore.
Our mid-term exams are returned in this week’s classes. I used my left hand to submit the exams for Tim. When the blue books return, several professors praise Tim’s improvement, as he finally gets decent grades. I know he doesn’t care. We speak nightly by phone. I relate the test topics and argue with him, as he has his own contrarian views on the subjects. I insist he needs to at least embrace what I submitted for him. Otherwise, we both will be expelled for cheating. He complains I am cornering him into my lame regurgitation of the professor’s ideas. Three thousand miles away, he can care less if he is expelled. Minehan slaps me out of my dismay about Tim’s defection from our common cause. David yells at Tim the next night, insisting we share the call. Tim just laughs and agrees to go along with me and my unoriginal ideas. David worried his grades on his midterms would be as dismal as Tim ares, but he is improving without copying me.
Minehan contacts Joey at Rahar’s. The Neighborhoods are booked there the next weekend. Joan and Trudie are happy we’re coming to Smith again, especially since we warn them in advance. Troy agrees to take the five 3D girls in the Dodge Dart after I assure him that none are lesbians stalking Smithies. I will ride in Jim’s car with the band. Carol asks to ride with us. David beams from the unexpected bump in his sex appeal. Carol tells the other 3Ders she will out them as lesbians if they let anyone else know she is dating a high school kid. I tell her to not call it dating, rather she is mentoring the poor boy. Good luck, Carol.
We all eat at Friendly’s. I beg Troy to go easy on the Awful Awfuls. He has no memory of their late night regurgitations. Because Minehan’s band opened at Rehar’s previously, they are bumped up to second on the bill. He takes advantage of the pitchers of beer Joey provides to all the bands and is completely wasted when he goes on stage. He alternates between leaning on the mic stand and draping himself all over his bassist Jim. They now have a ten-song set, but between Minehan’s slurring of the words and the speed of the songs, they pretty much all blend together.
He keeps dedicating each song to Carol, slipping up only once and saying Roxanne by mistake. They finish up with ‘Roxanne,’ which leaves Carol confused. I tell her that Roxanne dumped David. She has nothing to worry about. She sighs, “High School.”
I walk Joan and Trudie back to their dorm so they can make the ten o’clock curfew. The house-mother, Mrs. Battle-Axe, notes the time as we stand on the old dorm’s porch. I hug Trudie, who is missing Tim. Joan and I french until we are both squirming. Mrs. Battle-Axe flips the porch lights off and on, as curfew is being exceeded. I totally understand the girls’ desire to follow the rules. My dick is completely confused. It’s ready and able after having resolved sexual identity issues.
When I get back to Rahar’s, Minehan is passed out on the front steps. He mumbles that he was thrown out when the headline band refused to let him join them onstage. Wise move.
“It’s not as friendly as the Rat,” I console him.
“Fuckin’ hicks in the sticks,” he complains.
I deposit him in the back of Jim’s parents’ station wagon, where he instantly passes out. I remove the sports coat he wears as an homage to the Modern Lovers and lay it under his head to catch any vomit from ruining Jim’s car.
Joey corners me when I go inside.
“Where’s Tim? I expected him to keep that kid under control,” Joey complains.
“He’s in LA. He’s got a job on a movie there. He’ll be back in the Spring.”
Joey gets a faraway look in his eyes when I say LA. You can take the boy outta the gutter but not the gutter outta….
“Com’n and meet the 3D girls. They’re our groupies,” I encourage him to forget about Hollywood.
“They all lesbians?”
“They’re totally into Tim. They know we’re boyfriends but they don’t care.”
“Hah. That boy’s learned all my tricks.”
“And a few more along the way.”
The headline band is still pissed about Minehan trying to upstage them. The 3D girls have all sat back and ignored them. The band blames Minehan, for upsetting the groupies.
“Ya never should have let him drink. He’s 17 and too skinny to drink, even beer.”
“Now ya tell us.”
“Sorry. I wasn’t paying attention, having to keep my girlfriend and my roommate’s girlfriend entertained.” I am such the hetero-stud.
“We’re telling all the bands out here to never let The Neighborhoods go on before them. They’re show-stoppers.”
“They’ve graduated from opening act.”
“You need to play the Rat,” I advise.
“Ya gotta staht somewayah,” I fall into New English., just hanging with the locals.
We load the equipment into the station wagon, moving Minehan into the middle bench seat. Carol looks anxiously at the senseless boy, realizing the pitfalls of dating a high schooler. Perhaps they had further plans for the evening. The Irish curse trumps all plans. I actually miss him when Jim drives off to Waltham. The six of us pile into the Dart. Joey has continued Troy’s access to free liquor. He has to be propped up in the back while I drive. Jill and Carol sit with me while Trixie and Jean are squeezed into the back with Troy. We chat up front, while the back seat sleeps. I never knew that girls snore. Jill and I sympathize with Carol’s dilemma; I miss Tim; Jill misses him too but is not saying so. Finally kidding her for still crushing on him, I tell her that Tim has no problem sharing his love. I explain that Trudie and he accommodate my being his only boyfriend. We have a long bull session about the differences between straight and gay affairs. It all comes down to possessiveness versus sluttiness. I can’t believe I’m defending open relationships when I was so jealous of Tommy, the junior high kid.
“Tim was dating a junior high kid?” she’s shocked.
“They escaped from juvie together and lived in the swamp for four months. The boy was so horny for Tim that anytime Tim was even slightly nice to him, he had involuntary orgasms.”
She gets wide-eyed, and then accuses me of making it all up.
“Jace is satisfying Tommy’s gay needs. He has a girlfriend now. He’s in 10th grade.”
“What was sick was my being so possessive that I made Tim throw him under the bus last Christmas. I escaped from Switzerland and moved to Iowa. I almost died in a Baptist snake ritual.”
She just laughs, sure that it is all made up. “Just like you claimed to be surfers from Malibu when you got to Harvard.”
“That was a joke. We stopped lying when we saw that some people actually believed us.”
“I don’t believe Tim would date a little kid.”
“You’re right. Tim’s way too mature for 14-year-olds.”
She just shakes her head. I put my arm around her and she snuggles in. Now I feel guilty. I believe there’s something in the Northampton water that makes girls hypersexual. No wonder they have a lesbian reputation. Too much Kool-Aid.
I park Troy’s Dart and with the girls’ help got him safely to his dorm. No Awful Awful Offal this week. Even Troy is more mature.
Jill and I work together in order to complete the Barbarella of Boston article for the Lampoon’s The Game’ issue. Minehan is pushing to get the 100th Anniversary Playing Card set finished and printed, so he can start pocketing the cash from sales. A proof set is printed, but we keep changing the faces around, never agreeing on who was Stubby, Limpy, Minuteman, and the other derogatory names. Fatty Terry’s face is assigned to be the Joker. We work hard on these projects, no longer needing to attend intern duties at the Lampoon Castle.
Mid-term grades come back. Minehan is stunned to find he has joined me on the honor roll. The girls accuse him of copying my work. I know better. He gained praise for his original thought on assigned topics. Whereas Tim comes across as arrogant, David is too insecure about being exposed as still in high school and presents differing points of view in a more respectful manner. I feel like his manners mentor.
The Boy’s Choir project is entirely in Father John’s hands. We honor Dr Marier’s prohibition against working with the boys. It’s a surprise when they show up at our door in Mower. I’m taken aback at the sight of them. It’s bad enough having a high schooler secretly living there, but two junior high kids visiting is too much. I’ll ask Mick to keep the kids out of the Yard.
“Have Father John come with you,” I tell them.
“We don’t know why you stopped giving us lessons,” Kevin explains. “Father John is just learning with us. You’re already a rock star.”
“Hardly,” I demure. I feel the loss and yearning in their hearts. They are so innocent. “Once Dr Marier decides we aren’t a bad influence, we’ll come back. You played the Processional so beautifully, it overwhelmed him.”
“We still have our golden snowflakes,” they pull out their souvenirs. Jace appears and the tear drops/snowflakes start to glow.
“Make sure no one else touches them. Skeptics make them dissolve.”
“We feel so blessed just being with you,” they gush. I knew from the yearning in their hearts that they want to be hugged. My heart lets them know I want to hug them, leaving it at that. I know that I’m acting perverted.
“Have Father John contact me. He’s your ally. We want all the choir to love the music as you do.”
“Okay, Jack,” Liam says, turning to leave. “I love you.”
We all turn bright red.
Once they leave, Minehan starts laughing. “Guess ya got new boyfriends, Gaybo.”
“You can call Tim that, but call me Jack-off, Gumby.”
That breaks the tension and we laugh all the way to ‘Noch’s. Pizza solves all dilemmas.
“Don’t your folks keep track of you? You’re seldom home,” I quiz him while we scarf a large pepperoni and onion.
“They just think I’m at school or working with the band. They don’t really want to know unless I get into trouble, which in the past has always been the case. I’ve been ‘good’ for two months now. It’s a record.”
“What about your friends, other than Jim and Mike? Don’t they miss you?”
“I ain’t got no friends.”
“’My troubles never end,’” I quote the Ramones.
“’Daddy don’t like men,” he misquotes them.
“That explains the homophobia,” I laugh.
“What the fuck does that mean?” he really doesn’t see his own behavior.
“Phobia is a Greek word for fear, so you fear homos.”
“I ain’t afraid of you, Jack-Off.”
“You make fun of me because underneath you feel uncomfortable.”
“So claustrophobia is fear of being in the closet?”
I choke on half a slice of pizza. David jumps up and slaps my back until the pasta regurgitates, landing in the middle of the pie.
“Pizza Pizza Projectile,” he points at the mess. Our dinner is ruined. Off to commons for cafeteria food.
Jill’s article is ready for the mockup;
‘Just because I’m a woman, some people call me Bossy. I prefer Boston Barbarella. I am the new Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Lampoon. 1976 is our 100th anniversary. In 100 years, there has never been a female editor. The day I first walk in and take charge, the previous editor laughs as I announce I am replacing him. I flash my boobs at him, reducing him to ashes. The staff takes note. There’s a new sheriff in town. Tetas trump cajones.
Time for change to reverse 100 years of sexism. One staffer jumps up and proclaims he already has a feminist perspective. I call him a pussy and tell him to clean up the bathroom with his feminist perspective. Another staffer gives me ‘the eye.’ I know just what he needs, leading him into my office, strapping on my dildo, and giving his love canal a thorough cleaning. There are no more come hither looks from the staff after they hear him crying and begging for mercy. By the time I get off, he is begging for more. The way to settle all sexual harassment suits is to make sure all parties are fully satisfied.
The next day I post new rules for the reign of Boston Barbarella:
- The dress code for males requires tight jeans that accent butts and packages.
- No more standing up in the bathroom to pee.
- Leaving the seat up is cause for the whip.
- Female staffers are to be addressed as ‘Yes, my mistress.’
- Males are to be addressed as ‘honey, or ‘sweetness.’
- Casual Friday means all male staffers work shirtless.
- Hygiene for males means clipped toenails, shaved underarms, and bikini waxes.
- Male staffers are required to stay in the dorm when it is that time of the month.
- Sexual relations between staffers only end when the woman is satisfied.
- The Ibis on the masthead is replaced by a nesting bird.
- Accusing a female of being a lesbian for refusing to date a male staffer is subject to termination.
- Termination is being gang-banged on Spanish Fly.
As I proclaim the new rules, a foolish male staffer complains. I bend him over and tell him to take it like a female and ‘woman up.’ His voice permanently rises two octaves. Staffer Terry goes missing after being sent to Radcliffe and harassed by chubby chasers. ` I refuse to pay the ransom demand. No one stands up for Fatty. His miniscule penis is delivered in a cardboard box. Previous editor Kurt and I go to Radcliffe to negotiate for Dickless Terry’s release. After Kurt fails to sexually satisfy all the chubby chasers by going down on them, both boys are executed for failing to properly perform cunnilingus. They are barbeque’d on a spit on the spot. The Amazons of Arlington, as they call themselves, are hired to replace the two boys, promising to instill a real feminine mystique at the Lampoon. Female staffers are allowed cuts in line to the one bathroom. All male staffers are required to attend sensitivity and self-esteem classes at Radcliffe. They never return. I march into Dean Epps office and demand Harvard be merged into Radcliffe. All Lampoon staffers will be female for the next 100 years. Male staffers will be permanent interns. Thus I became known as Barbarella the Beneficient, Ruler of the Yard. The stork mascot is replaced by a bloody Tampon.
Long live Women’s Rights, equality for women and slavery for men.’
Kurt laughs several times while reading his copy.
“You realize I was killed twice in this story,” he notes.
“Just proves how hard it is to take down a tyrant,” Jill answers.
He glares. We change his first death from reduced to ashes by Barbarella’s boobs to reduced to a blubbering bowl of Jello. Barbecuing him on a spit is too delicious to edit out.
His glare softens as he looks at the playing cards with caricatures on the face cards. David whoops when Kurt approves the full printing of the 100th anniversary set, already counting his profits. Kurt also approves using the face cards with graffiti scrawled across the caricatures. Our first Lampoon assignment is complete – no reverting back to intern status. Kurt presses us on an inside story of the 3D girls’ Mower House exploits. We need their permission to lampoon them. The cat is out of the bag on that project, as the 3D girls refuse to be exploited. We suggest a fictional version at another house.
“After The Game issue comes out. We don’t want to be seen as the defender of Harvard women,” Kurt demurs.
“Why not?” I ask.
“Because officially, there are no women at Harvard. Jill and all your girlfriends are still Radcliffe girls.”
“One step forward, another one back,” Jill complains.
We leave it at that. Time for cheer squad practice.
We find an ally in the Cheer squad’s advisor, Chuck. A younger faculty member, he was a college gymnast, experienced with incorporating music in the squad’s field routines. Once the male cheerleaders get over their jealousy about the ‘hot’ outfits that Mummy funded, they appreciate the reception the fans in the stands give to their joint efforts to inspire the football players as the spirited 12th man. Victory over Princeton also raises their morale. Chuck suggests I participate in their practices with the aid of my MOOG. I became a regular up in the press box improvising music to make the cheer skits into dance routines, as Harvard Stadium rocks out to my MOOG. The Boston Herald hears about our practices and photos appear regularly in their sports section. My ego loves that I’m back in the news, no longer on Page Six but in Section C – Sports. I’m even given a cheerleader sweater. Mummy is proud. Dad amused.
The next football game is at Penn. My phone calls with Tim have changed from daily to sporadic. I speak more often with Tony than Tim when I call Doug’s house. He explains that Tim is working day and night as the movie ‘Animal House’ nears the beginning of its shoot. He suggests I call Jimmy at Larrabee Studios to catch Tim. Jimmy is helping Tim round-up talent for the movie’s sound track. He gets Tim calling me more often. I hope Tim will meet us at Penn. That’s not possible with Tim’s busy weekends in Hollywood.
“Are you still coming back for The Game?” I can’t help sounding desperate.
“The twins are coming out from Iowa. I have to be there. Also, Kurt wants my first hand report on the movie’s progress. I’ll be there,” he reassures me.
It makes me miss him even more. I have not had a chance to tell him about the fallout from Jace’s apparition at St Paul’s. I have been speaking with Father John after he brings Kevin and Liam to several band practices at the Mower boiler room. David’s Neighborhoods are also coming regularly. It’s like a three-band jam. Father John obtains permission for the choir boy’s band to perform at their annual Christmas celebration. It helps that I’m dragging everyone to morning mass. The Christmas performance means I’ll be staying in Cambridge for the first week of Christmas break. Finals are coming up, so the extra time from not teaching rock to the choir allows more preparation for Tim’s and my exams. Carol had taken over as David’s tutor, much to his glee. Everyone still relies on my lecture notes. I agree with Tim that the subject matter in freshman classes is not ground-breaking, but I certainly am learning time management skills.
With David sitting in Tim’s seats for lectures, the teaching assistants keep Tim in good standing on attendance. David has high hopes to pay for his tuition with the profits on the Lampoon anniversary playing cards . His backup plan is to prove his commitment to Harvard by making a substantial contribution toward the $3000 bill his parents will soon receive. He has joined the girls as a new member of the cheerleading squad. After they refuse to provide him with the male uniform, he appears for practice in a short skirt and a tight sweater. His long bony legs and no tits don’t do justice to Mummy’s uniform. The boys relent when they realize that Carol is now his girlfriend, proving he isn’t another ‘gay’ like Tim and me. He wears his cheer-leading sweater all the time. He is working his official admission to Harvard in reverse order, piling up good grades in actual Harvard courses and adding extracurricular activities in Harvard organizations – the Lampoon, the cheer leading squad, and of course, the semi-official Harvard Standing Band. He has avoided trouble with the Campus Police and even gets a commendation from his friend Mick. the gate guard. From dropout to overachiever, he proves the worth of a Harvard education. We settle into a normal roommate relationship as I don’t need private time to be with Tim. He seldom goes home to Waltham, continuing to eat at commons on Tim’s meal ticket, complaining that the food is below his mom’s standards. We are typical Harvard freshmen.
The trip to Penn for the Saturday football game:
Good manners gets me into the press box and the MOOG on their stadium PA system. We plan a boxing skit between William Penn and John Harvard which requires a ragtime sound track to go along with the pratfalls of the boxing and a Keystone Cop routine as our females chase the male Penn cheerleaders around at halftime and their females harass our male cheerleaders.
It is an easy 20-8 victory for the footballers. The many Harvard fans from Philadelphia greet us after the game, claiming they had never cheered so hard at football. They also didn’t know there are women students at Harvard now. I speak with Dean Epps, who is observing our interactions with the alums.
“You seem to be the leading advocate for Harvard going co-ed,” he observes.
“Just standing up for the Mower girls.”
“I hear you refer to them as 3D girls.”
“That’s the room number where we all hang out. They are at Harvard, not some two-dimensional stereotype. They are real. Get used to it.”
“Have you thought about a career in public relations and advertising.”
“Dad would not be pleased. The career I’m concentrating on is my career at Harvard.”
“You’re doing better at that than I had expected after your multiple visits to my office in September.”
“You were a good influence on Tim and me,” my good manners take over.
“About Tim, why is he taking 24 credits this semester? At this rate he’ll graduate in two years.”
“The Lampoon wanted us separated. He’s on work-study in LA. I send him class notes and submit his assignments. He’ll come back for exams.”
“Maybe Tim is the problem. Without him, you’re thriving. I even got a call from Cardinal Medeiros about your activity at St Paul’s Choir School.”
My heart sinks that Tim is seen as a bad influence. I bite my lip to keep from complaining.
“Dean Epps, Tim is a wonderful boy. The Church is watching him for possible sainthood.”
“I find that hard to believe. You’re the one who has done so much for Cardinal Cooke and the New York Archdiocese’s homelessness project,” the Dean seems to know everything. “Maybe Tim’s an instigator and you’re the one who gets things done.”
“We’re a good team, but don’t underrate Tim. I would still be at home playing D&D if he hadn’t come into my life.”
“What’s D&D?” he asks, worried it’s something to do with S&M or B&D.
He stops listening about ten seconds into my explanation. I will always be a nerd.
I tag along with the 3D girls as the male cheerleaders drag us to various frat parties at Penn. The guys appreciate the welcome they get, arriving with five beautiful co-eds. Minehan has to be on his game to defend Carol. Jill attaches herself to me, which I play up. Dean Epps would be pleased to see how straight I can act. I reflect that, like Tim, we defy the stereotype that college is the place to find your real self. I was a gay rock star in high school and now a straight frat boy in college. David is a high school ditcher who has to prove himself in college by actually being a good student. Lessons in irony.
It is a long bus ride back to Cambridge. As we drive across the George Washington Bridge, I kick myself for not taking the 3D girls and David to meet Mummy, our costume patron, at the Dakota. Next time. As we get close to Boston, I miss my room in Mower. It is the first place that is really my place, except of course for roommates, Tim and David. I like that I’m just a college student, maturing at the normal pace. Tim faced many challenges already. He is ready for anything. I will follow him anywhere, but it is nice to be going in my own direction at my own pace. I tear up that we are on separate paths. Jill notices. We spend the rest of the bus ride discussing Tim.
“You really are a nerd,” she concludes, as we pull into Harvard Square.
“Let’s get pizza,” David shouts as we disembarked. My BankAmericard takes a thirty dollar hit. No time to be an introvert.
The following weekend is The Game, against Yale. Football frenzy grips the campus. Harvard’s football team is 3 and 2 in the race for Ivy League Championship. Yale is undefeated. They even have a graduate playing quarterback in the NFL, unheard of in wimpy Ivy League football lore. He is also the star of the Doonesbury comic strip, BD. Harvard players feel intimidated. Our only hope is tradition. The Game, as it is called, has a history of unlikely upsets. It’s a Harvard home game. I will have full access to the stadium PA system. The innovations by the Cheer leading squad – girls in short skirts, musical skits and constant pop music to pump up the home team and deflate the visitors – raises the student body’s expectations. All students, except for the most dedicated Widener Library recluses, are planning on being in the end zone seats. Any lingering animosity between the guys and girls on the cheer squad is lost as we come together to inspire the footballers. I ask Father John to have the St Paul’s Boy Choir sing the national anthem. The Band’s director reluctantly agrees it is a good idea to set ‘a tone’ for The Game. I credit Dean Epps for putting in a good word for me. My emotional high comes from anticipating the return of Tim from LA, the girls from Smith, and the Twins first visit from Ames. Also, the Lampoon plans a gala publishing party for the 100th anniversary edition at the Lampoon Castle. Nothing can stop me now. The Cheer Squad and the Band hold our final rehearsal on Friday afternoon. I have Jill and David sing the Tom Lehrer mash-up of ‘Fight Fiercely, Harvard.’ Everyone loves it but the Band Director nixes it being played during The Game. I figure we can hold it back for dire emergencies.
The Smith girls arrive and we all go to Logan Airport to meet Tim’s twin sisters. Tim’s flight is not arriving until much later. After settling all the girls into the Mower third floor, we all dress up for the publication party at the Lampoon Castle. Jill is especially excited about the reception of her article on reverse misogyny, featured in The Game issue being released. Joan and Trudie have taken the twins under their wings as outsiders to Harvard tomfoolery. With free beer and an open bar, the Castle is throbbing with cocktail party excitement. Many Lampoon alumni are attending, as well as the usual Harvard ‘swells’ who always know where to find free drinks. The Castle roof is populated by pot smokers who disdain the older alcohol consumers. Everyone is reading the anniversary issue, laughing at the articles. David and my caricatures of the older staff members
create a stir as everyone runs around trying to identify the staffers in the sketches.
David takes charge of sales of the anniversary playing cards. I paid for the printing of a five hundred decks, way more than I figure he can sell. David sets the astronomical price of $6 a set. He plans to sell all of them. The profit will completely cover his potential tuition bill. It takes all of us to carry the boxes to the Castle. David has set up a booth as his sales headquarters, manned by Jim and Mike from The Neighborhoods. David’s irresistible sales technique is to meet each and every guest, remind them that they are drinking for free, and their ‘donation’ for the cards will assist Lampoon interns to afford the astronomical Harvard tuition. He is quite successful with the older alums, who love being hustled by a teenager. It all comes to a screeching halt when one of the abused staffers actually opens his pack and recognizes himself as the Queen of Clubs. He runs around and rallies his fellow staffers, who are equally outraged.
They corner David at his sales booth. Jim and Mike are not up to facing abusive college seniors. It is Bossy (Boston Barbarella) to the rescue. She gathers all 9 of the 3D girls (including visitors) and forms a phalanx in front of David. Reprising her role from the Lampoon, at her signal, all nine remove their tops and flash the males. The staffers are reduced to ashes and slink away whimpering. The guests applaud our live reproduction of Jill’s article they just read. David immediately is back in super-salesman mode. The entire run of cards is sold out. Kurt stands there shaking his head. He looks at his card, the King of Spades,. making an identical facial expression to his card.
“That boy knows how to sell his wares,” Kurt walks over and remarks.
“Wait until you hear his band,” I respond. “He sells himself in their performances.”
“When can I do that?”
“You’ll have to go to the Rat in Kenmore Square, if you want to really see him in his environment. But tomorrow we’re all playing a spirit rally in the Yard.””
“You’re saying he’s a rat?”
“No. The Rats-killer.”
“Oh, in that foreign country; you’re our correspondent there.”
“Yeah, the fiefdom of South Boston.”
“You think he’ll share some of the profits with the Lampoon?”
“Highly unlikely. It’s his tuition money. Why not send a solicitation to my dad. He’s a soft touch.”
“Really? Most businessmen are tight with their money.”
“I’ll put in a word. The Lampoon has been good for me. They expected I’d join Hasty Pudding.”
“You’re a natural here. Still upset we separated Tim and you?”
“He’s flying in at ten tonight.” My heart skips a beat at his mention of Tim.
“Will we see you both before he leaves?”
“Not if I have anything to say about it,” I joke.
The party is at full roar when I leave alone to meet Tim’s flight. I’m being selfish, wanting him all to myself.
The flight is on time at ten o’clock. I’m at the head of the jet way, anxiously searching for his face among the arrivals. I know he won’t fly first class, but as the stragglers start coming out, I panic.
“Is that everyone?” I ask the gate agent as he shuts the jet way door.
“Sorry. Maybe you missed them. Check at baggage claim,” he suggests.
I half-run the concourse and take two steps at a time down the escalator. He is not at baggage claim.
I get on a pay phone and call Doug’s in West Hollywood. It’s still early in LA. Doug answers. The boys are working already.
“Where’s Tim?” I ask. “He wasn’t on his flight.”
“Oh. I didn’t know he was going back to the City.’
“He’s coming to Boston. His sisters are here for the weekend’s football game.”
“I don’t know. He hasn’t been staying here the last few nights. I think he’s with his new friends.”
“What new friends? Those punk friends we met last time?”
“I’m sure he’s okay. Tony would have told me.”
New friends? I’m in a panic. I call Jimmy at Larrabee Studios.
“Yeah. He’s been around. Some movie deal he’s working on. I think he’s staying with Joan’s friends in Hollywood. They’re looking for a house band to play in the movie.”
My heart sinks. He can’t have forgotten this is the weekend of The Game.
“Thanks, Jimmy. Tell him to call me if you see him.”
I take the T back to Harvard Square. I won’t cry on the T. I want to just mope back to my dorm room, but instead, I return to the Lampoon Castle. The party is going strong. It’s mostly older Lampoon alums. The younger ones are up on the roof in the pot garden. The current staffers were routed by ‘Bossy and the nine pairs of boobs.’ Legend is made for the 100th Anniversary.
“Where’s Tim?” the twins run up, followed by the others. Minehan is counting his profits.
“He missed his flight,” I suppose.
“What?” everyone shouts. “When’s he getting here?”
“I don’t know,” and I break down crying.
The 3D girls are in shock. Joan comes over to comfort me. Trudie looks stunned.
The twins are angry, “We flew a thousand miles and he’s a no-show?” Angie is the most upset. Amy just looks confused.
“Maybe he’ll be here in the morning,” Jill tries to rescue us.
Even Minehan has come over to our little pity party. “We don’t need him. We’re ready for this weekend, with or without him.”
Minehan rolls his eyes. I know exactly what he is thinking, ‘Fags.’
“How about more pizza?” I gulp. No one objects. We go around the block to ‘Noch’s. They spend the time waiting for our order by ragging on Tim, mostly for my benefit. I barely smile. I’m not giving up on him so easily.
Minehan sleeps over that night, sending the rest of his band home. He gives them one hundred dollars each for helping. The $2800 from that night plus the $200 from Rahar’s means he’s earned his tuition. I agree to forgive the printing costs. I guess it means we really are roommates. It’s unlikely he’ll tell his friends that he’s rooming with the gay enemy. I decide that if Tim fails to show up tomorrow, I will turn straight. Watch out, Joan. My maturity takes a hit.