Eighteen – Chapter 3 Part 1

“Fuck that guy,” is the general opinion of my peers  (Tony and Jimmy) and everyone else to whom I complain about Chris Miller. But he has set me back on my heels. I mistakenly assumed that in Hollywood being gay isn’t a big deal, let alone the moral equivalent of the antichrist. Landis starts locking his office door which effectively thwarts Miller’s entitlement to rush in whenever he wants. I take messages and continue to needle Miller, as if we’re still Santa Monica Blvd. buddies. He fumes and stomps away. Landis finds he can finally get his work done without constant interruptions. Miller’s revenge is to inform the other staff of my sexual deviancy. I get some funny looks, but I can usually tell who the real haters are.  My real problem is  older staff who start flirting with me. I accept all luncheon invitations, leaving before requests for ‘afternoon delight’; my excuse is I have to bring Landis his takeout lunch. To anyone who is too persistent, I explain I practice the same age rule . To those aware of my slutty ways, I explain that the one exception proves the rule.

I know that Doug expects to be an exception. Staying at his house is not going to work. The first week, I join Tony and Jimmy in triple-teaming him. His newly discovered preference for bottoming is too demanding for me.  I start actively looking for my own place. Rent is cheap in run-down Hollywood. I get a more than adequate salary to afford a small apartment. I just don’t know where I want to slum it.

After Miller’s upbraiding by Landis, I call Jake. I need to vent to an adult. His advice is direct.

“Hell, I’m Jewish. I’ve been told there was no place for me in all the halls of music. That’s why I chose classical. Classical’s not about trying to sell your music. You’re going for perfection.”

“Thanks, Jake.” And, we make a date for dinner on Thursday. I know he likes me.

It is good advice for my privileged and entitled white ass. I remembered Joe, the Cuban bass player, who so wanted to be a part of our Coral Gables life.  A little intolerance by the likes of Miller may be good for me. The remainder of the week passes with little drama, other than Miller’s feeble attempts to burst into Landis’s office. I am told not to call Security, rather, to ‘deal with him.’

Friday’s audition at the Troubadour is becoming a major event. The ‘Animal House’ star, John Belushi is interested in the music. He arranges to be off his regular Saturday Night Live gig and flies to LA for the weekend, starting with Friday’s auditions. Miller insists he personally attend, dragging the other writers along despite their indifference. Universal also wants to observe Landis’s directorial skills and insists on sending junior executives. They bring along my old nemesis Edgar Bronfman Jr, another music ‘expert.’ Landis tells me to put on a good show for all the brass attending. I’m fully confident that I can put on the show but worry that things tend to get out of control in unexpected ways. Starting out with the Weirdos is sure to cause controversy. I plan for them to bring excitement but not be a real contender for the movie gig. We’d need a more professional band to set a higher tone, but still show some rock n roll excitement.

I’m worried enough to ask Doug for advice. I’d need him to come up with a couple of generic r&b bands, assuming we’ll do several audition sessions before making a choice.

“The bands I got for you are typical LA cover bands, playing late sixties country rock, like the Eagles with a bit of Beach Boys thrown in.”

“We want a party band with some soul thrown in,” I counter.

“To play at a frat, right?” Doug asks. “Do they have to be all white?”

“No. A black band than can really rock is okay.”

“That’s not what I lined up.”

“Can you add a band.”

“Okay. I know a cool band. They’ll never play at the Troubadour, though.”

“Tell them it’s their big chance to break into the big time.”

Doug says he’ll get them there, stating the singer had been bugging him for years. Doug has a hard time saying the guy never has a chance.

“Well, tell ‘em this is what they’ve been waiting for.”

 

Belushi is in Landis’ office on Friday morning when I walk in.

“Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger,” I mimic him and wink.

 

 

“No Pepsi, Coke,” he finishes the line and we all laugh.

“This is Tim. He’s the music coordinator and arranged the auditions for this afternoon.”

“Welcome to the big leagues, kid.”

“Thanks. Aren’t you due for rehearsal at Studio 8H?”

“I got fired so I could attend your band auditions today.”

“I’m cancelling my TV service.”

“I’ll tell NBC.”

I stay at my desk while Landis takes Belushi around to the other staffers, working on the film. About lunch time, they return, ready to eat at the studio cafeteria.

“You should go to Tommy’s,” I suggest.

“You sayin’ somethin’ ‘bout my waistline?” Belushi looks insulted.

“Are you worried? Tommy’s is a real LA experience.”

They are sold. All three of us jump into my Rent-a-Wreck, sitting three across in the front with the top down.

“You can’t afford a real car? I gave you a raise.”

“No. This is cool, man,” Belushi defends me. He’s on the outside with Landis squeezed in the middle. Every time Belushi sees a pretty girl or two he stands up and proposes marriage as we speed by. Looking in the mirror, the girls are too blasé, with the odd exceptions who recognize him from SNL.

At Tommy’s there’s a line,  which means Belushi strikes up conversations with every chick, kidding them that they were jeopardizing their figures by eating here. He hands me five bucks to get his order for him and sits down at a table with three girls by themselves.

“That mean you want a double,” as I hold up his five.

“Naw, man. Keep the change.” He’s a big spender.

Other than having to sit pussy in the car, Landis is enjoying himself.

“I needed to get away from the studio. I’m taking my Director role too seriously. LA’s nothing, if not fun,” he proclaims.

“Let’s not go back to the studio, just head to the Troubadour,  once we eat.”

He just smiles.

The burgers are an excess of everything bad. Belushi loves them. I have to spend the ‘tip’ he’d gave me on a second burger, while Belushi chats up the girls. He gets all their phone numbers. It’s still early for the three o’clock auditions, so I take them down to Wilshire Blvd and up the elevator to the top floor of a six floor office building. We climb the stairs to the roof. The LA skyline  stretches out in front of us. Luckily Jimmy isn’t up there giving a blow job.

“Is this the lowlife tour you gave Miller?” Landis asks.

“Naw,” I motioned to the skyline.  “This is the Highline tour. But to appreciate it fully, we need to be high ourselves,” as I bring out the de rigueur joint.  Landis looks shocked, but Belushi socks him on the arm. We all get high, contemplating the LA Highline.  LA in the afternoon.

We roll into the Troubadour just before three. There’s a crowd – four bands, including the Weirdo’s pack of groupies and hangers-on (I recognized Safety and his chubby girlfriends), the Studio execs with Bronfman, Miller’s writers team, and Doug, Tony and Jimmy.

Landis pulls the writers group aside. “Why are you all here?” he demands.

Miller speaks up, “I told them to come. We need to know what kind of music you’re planning.”

“Well, you’re not the boss,” my slightly stoned boss states. Turning to the five other writers, “Do you want to be here?”

They looked cautiously at Miller, “Not really,” one says, while the other shake their heads.

“Take the rest of the day off,” Landis orders. “You can stay, if you want.” He turns to Miller, “Keep your mouth shut.”

My arch nemesis shoots me a nasty look, pulling on his ear lob, to remind me that he has ordered me to lose the safety-pin in my ear. I take out my notebook and log another harassment incident.

Before we get settled, Belushi announces he wants to sing in the movie.

“It’s not a musical, John,” Landis explains.

“And I ain’t no Broadway star. I just wanna sing. I’m a blues man. Call me the Blues Brother.”

“You’ll need some accompaniment,” Landis observes.

My attention addiction kicks in. “I can play guitar for you,” I offer.

“What songs do you know?” Belushi is buying it.

“Any song you know,” I dared him.

“Chantilly Lace?”

“Sure, but that guy died.”

“I grew up on the Big Bopper.”

“What else?”

“The Great Pretender?”

“That’s me.”

I run up to Doug’s office and pull Lucille out of his closet. 

Doug gets Tony to MC the auditions, with the Weirdo’s going on first. Jimmy herded the groupies in front of the stage. John Denney walks out with the band setting up behind him. He skips the introductory chat and they rip into ‘Helium Bar.’

 

 

The groupies go into action instantly (such good fans). Thrashing around, Jimmy is right there, pogoing too, but also keeping the kids up front. I assume Doug assigned him to crowd control after my audition last Spring went awry. Belushi pulls me away.

“Let’s see if you can really play those songs. Where’d you get that guitar. It looks familiar.”

“Her name is Lucille.”

“No shit. Why do you have it?”

“It’s Doug’s,” motioning toward Weston.

“Fuck me.” is Belushi’s thought.

I take him up to the green room, where the other bands are enjoying rock heaven while tuning up. They are in awe of the TV personality. I plug into an amp and began the intro to Chantilly Lace.

 

 

Jace is right there to show me how to turn Lucille into a honky-tonk sound. Once Belushi finishes his spoken word, I switch to a guitar sound. We do ‘The Great Pretender’ next.”

 

 

“Okay. You pass the audition. Let’s get on down there and rock the socks off these studio execs.

 

The Weirdos have done a second song. Miller is sitting there with a scowl and grimace on his face. Landis is shocked by the raw energy and distressed that I’d want it in his movie. The studio guys are not pleased either. Tony brings out the next band, who look off their game, unable to match the punk energy. They sound weak and their song is barely loud enough to hear. In the middle of their set, Belushi jumps up.

“Let me play. These guys are lame.”

It isn’t in Landis’ playbook, to have his star be a singer, but he can’t turn him down. Belushi and I rush back stage and get Tony to give the band still playing the bum’s rush. I plug in and Belushi bounces onto the stage and takes the mic.

“Helloooo, Baby……”

I play the honky-tonk notes and we are off. He must’ve been singing these lyrics  in the mirror to himself since he was twelve. When there’s a pause in the singing, I move forward, so he sings to me. He totally trusts I can play whatever he wants to sing. It was all fifties and early sixties pop. We rush through all the fast paced songs, ending with the Trashmen’s ‘Surfing Bird.’

 

 

“And that’s all, folks,”  Belushi needs no applause or an encore. I wink at Doug, who just shakes his head.  Tony has the third band on stage, and again they are too intimidated by our flash dance set to compete.

I see a skinny black guy watching from the side of the stage.

“Whatcha think of my act?” I ask him.

“Y’all ain’t Chuck Berry, but fer an audition it was fun. Do we gotta compete with y’all.”

“Naw. That was just ta git the movie’s star his performance addiction fix. Y’all the final band?”

“Sure thing. I’s bin tryin’ ta play here fer years.”

“It’s yer big shot, then.”

“These white boys’ll neva let us play here fer real.”

“This here’s about a movie, not rock dinosaurs.

He laughs and turns to get ready

“Good luck.”

 

Tony was on the mic again. “Our final audition is Dewayne Jessie and friends. Dewayne told me he has a soul connection with the Coasters.”

Out troops a ragtag ensemble with a horn section. They rip into a scorching version of ‘Shout.’

 

 

 

They have everyone’s attention. Landis has a big smile, punching me like Belushi does. Even Miller stops scowling. Bronfman smiles at me. We did it.

They play another song. Belushi runs down and asks them to play ‘Louie Louie.’

 

 

 

After they finish, the movie’s star decides, “We have our band.”

We all jam on ‘Sweet Home Chicago.’ I get my chance to  jam real blues guitar.

 

 

Doug has Tony end the session. I quickly return Lucille to lock-up. I’m sure we could have gone on all afternoon and night. Dewayne has his Troubadour show.

 

After discussing the auditions with studio execs, it’s unanimous to work with Jessie. He has the excitement factor that the punks also showed and the musical versatility to play whatever cover songs fit the movie’s needs. Landis and I go to the green room to explain the decision to all the bands. After dismissing the two white boy bands, I explain to John Denney why the Weirdos are not right for the movie

“You guys did great. You really set the excitement bar high. Those other two bands couldn’t compete.”

“Yeah, but you’re going with the black band, right. We can do ‘Louie Louie’.”

“Do you really want to do covers?”

“You didn’t say that was what you were looking for.”

“We don’t want just a cover band. You’ll get your shot but not until people are ready for the Weirdos.”

“Whatever.”

He stomps away.

I grab Safety before he leaves. “Whatcha think?”

“It stinks that you set them up. They never had a chance.”

“I like them for their youth and energy. Without them, we’d be stuck with a lame band that has no soul.”

“You get to choose the band?”

“Yeah. I’m the music coordinator.”

“You’re just a kid. How’dcha get hired. Yer daddy’s a studio honcho, huh?”

“My daddy makes weapons for the military in Miami.”

“Right,” he dismisses me by walking off after the Weirdos’

I get no respect.

I tell Doug to meet me in his office after he clears out the club.

“Work is making you bossy,” he laughs.

“You love it,” I rejoin.

 

I need to be alone with Jace. It has been too long since we interacted. I always feel his presence but his help with the honky-tonk introduction to Chantilly Lace makes my heart ache from missing him. He quickly appears, knowing I need him.

“I love playing with you. Who was that fat guy? He’s really old.”

“He’s really funny. He’s on TV. He’s the star of my movie, John Belushi.”

“Your movie, huh? Timmy’s growing up.”

“It’s Hollywood. You havta own it to get  anywhere.”

“Jack’s mad at you. You never call.”

“I get his messages from Tony.”

“He expects to meet you at the airport in Boston tonight.”

“Oh, fuck. I’m too busy for football.”

“What about Trudie, your girlfriend.”

“It’s just kids stuff. You helped me seal a deal today. This is on another level.”

“What do I tell Jack?”

“That I’m on drugs, doing heroin with Joan and Tom.”

“That’s a lie.”

“Well, say I’ve cut you off, too.”

“You’ve cut Jack out of your heart?”

“He’s too busy being a soc at Harvard. He’s forgotten how to feel my heart.”

“Oh, really?”

I have a minor meltdown at that moment. Jace holds me long enough for me to feel safe again.

Doug, Tony and Jimmy walk into his office.

“Why the tears, rocker boy?” Tony catches my moment of weakness. “You killed it.”

“It’s been a busy week. Just talking now with Jace made me sad. He really helped me make Lucille capture a rockabilly honky-tonk sound.”

“I sent your bosses from Universal over to Dan Tana’s to eat,” Doug notes.  “They were really pleased with the outcome. I’ll represent Dewayne as his agent. Get the universal legal people to contact me.”

“I’ve got my own lawyer, but I’ll work that out. I think he’s great. Does his band have a name?”

“No. They just got together to help him get the movie gig.”

“Wow. They sounded tight.”

“Lots of black talent in Hollywood. They all work session gigs and one offs like today. I’ll get a real band together for him. I owe him after years of being pestered. He deserves a break.”

“You’re the rainmaker, Doug.”

“Ya got that. Just let me know before you screw him over.”

“Hollywood, right.”

“Right.”

 

Belushi doesn’t want to sit around and eat; he leaves by cab to the Chateau Marmont on the Strip.  – all those phone numbers from Tommy’s to follow-up. I order a pepperoni and onion pizza.  I sat down next to Landis. Edgar Bronfman Jr moves over to renew our friendship.

“Good show, Tim. I like how you presented all those acts. Think we can sign the last band to Universal?” He has landed there now.

“Actually, they just got together to support, Dewayne. His brother’s in the Coasters. I think Doug’s his agent. He said he’ll put together a backup band for him if he gets the role.”

“Well, have him talk with our legal guys,” one of the other execs says.

“Let John and me handle it as part of the movie casting. I’ll have my lawyer deal with the artist.” I hope I’m not overplaying my hand. I noticed that Miller is not sitting with us. I kick Landis under the table and gave him a wink.

The studio execs pause. “You still at Harvard, Tim?”

“They haven’t kicked me out yet. I’m on the Lampoon. They suggested I’d be helpful on the movie because I’ve worked for Scorsese on two movies and Ry Cooder represents my band.”

“You looked pretty comfortable up there, jamming with Belushi.”

“That was fun. I think the movie’s gonna be fun, too.”

“You can control this kid, John? You’re the director.”

“He sits right outside my office and controls who sees me. I think we work well together. I already gave him a raise.”

“What do you think, Edgar?”

“Don’t get into negotiating with him. He got six million out of MGM for Scorsese and flew Liza Minnelli out from New York to appear with Elton John this summer for a week of cabaret next door.”

“Okay. We’re warned. Listen John, Animal House is not a major project. This kid put on a show today. I’m impressed. You stay under budget and you’ll be doing something major next time. And kid, tell Harvard they need to keep the National Lampoon under their wing. Creativity doesn’t come cheap. My job is to squeeze as much profit out of as few bucks as possible. What was your raise from Landis?”

“Ten bucks a week.” I admit, grabbing a slice before it gets cold.

Everyone laughs. I take another slice. They’re all waiting for veal Parmesan.

 

It’s Friday night. I’m supposed to fly to Boston and resume my college life.  Jace will cover for me. It’s a mistake to use him against Jack. But he’s still fifteen and knows where his loyalties lay. I’ll have to deal with Jack later. It’s the first time I realize we’re breaking up. He needs to be at Harvard while I need to be in Hollywood. I worry he’ll try flying out here to change my mind, forcing me to go back or leave Harvard himself. To remain a Harvard student, I still have to go back for finals in December. I won’t burn bridges yet. I call Kurt at the Lampoon.

““Working late on a Friday night?” I ask him.

“Hi, Tim. Tonight’s the big 100th year anniversary issue publication party. The article Jill authored is a big hit. Having fun out there in LA LA Land?”

“Working my ass off. I love it.”

“Any progress on Animal House.”

“Yeah. The Universal execs told Landis that the National Lampoon needs to stay under Harvard’s wing today. I put on a show to audition bands for the screenplay. We found the perfect fit, a black soul singer who can play all the hits of the 50’s. I even got on stage with Belushi and jammed on all those songs, too. It was sweet.”

“That’s great. How did Chris Miller react?”

“He hates me, thinking I’m totally gay because I put an erring in my right earlobe. Landis has totally shut him down, telling him to stay out of the music end of the movie.”

“You don’t mess around.”

“Well, it’s a long battle. Miller showed up at the auditions with all the writers. Landis sent them away. I know it just infuriates Miller more. But it’s major having the studio tell the Lampoon people that they need Harvard.”

“So, you ready to come home?”

I pause and think about it.

“I want to stay and work on the soundtrack and keep Landis in charge overall. I’ll be back for finals, so I can get full credit this semester, but home is here now. I’m going to get an apartment in Hollywood.”

“What does Jack think?”

“I guess we’re breaking up. He doesn’t know yet. I’m supposed to be on a plane to Boston right now. Can you help me make it easier on him?”

“Is it my fault for separating you two?”

“No, Kurt. You were right to see I’m not really Harvard material.”

“No way. I just felt the two of you were headed for trouble with the Administration. We’ll talk when you get back.”

“I have to choose my battles. Jace and I are trying to change 2000 years of Church policy about sex. I’m not sure Harvard’s 300 years of male dominance is another battle I should take on as well.”

“Well, stay out there and help us keep 100 years of Lampoon dominance going. I’ll keep Jack going. He plans to put on a full football game of rock music tomorrow. Sure you want to miss it?”

“I love the little nerd. I can see him gloating in the announcer’s booth. We both have our own battles to fight.”

“Jeez, Tim, life’s not all battles. Take a moment to enjoy your accomplishments.”

“Thanks, Kurt. It’s Friday night. I won’t miss my parties. You go back to yours. Send me a copy of the issue.”

“Right. I miss you, Tim.”

“Don’t be turning gay on me. Jack’s still my boyfriend. Hands off.”

We both laughed and hang up. I can hear the party going on in the background.  Time to find my party.

 

I go to Doug’s office where he and Tony are getting ready for their Friday night.

“Why do you look so sad?” Tony asks.

“I’m breaking up with Jack. If he calls, tell him I’m off doing drugs in Hollywood.”

They don’t argue with me, knowing it’s a common Hollywood occurrence.

“You wanna hang out here tonight?” Tony asks.

“I’ll meet you later, here or at Oki Dog. I think I’ll catch up with Belushi. He’s fun.”

“Kinda old and chubby for you?”

“He has the party spirit. I’m betting he’s trying to bed the three lovelies we met at Tommy’s today.”

“A little hetero action might be a way to get over breaking up.”

“I’m in my slut phase, for sure.”

Doug just shakes his head.

 

I park on the street near the Chateau Marmont on the Sunset Strip.  Belushi has one of the bungalows near the swimming pool. As I approach the room, the noise confirms he’s partying. Banging on the door, Belushi yells, “Go away. I can make as much noise as I want.”

“Shut up, John. It’s me, Tim, from the movie.”

“Go away anyway. I’m not working now.”

“Fuck you, let me in. I wanna party, too.”

He opens the door. “Oh, the kid.”

“That’s right. The kid who found you these lovelies at the burger stand.”

“Yeah, Tommy’s. Meet Fatty # 1, #2 & #3,” he ushers me in.

None of the girls approach fatty-hood. They have their tops off, exposing the kind of fat I like. #3 is sitting by herself while John’s attention is elsewhere.

“Hi, mind if I join you,” as I take off my tee-shirt and exposed what is left of my swimmer’s pecs.

She laughs. I slide onto the chair she’s sitting on. We go at each other’s titties. Mine blossom into hard points. Her’s expand into fried eggs. John stays busy on the bed. I lead #3 outside to the pool where we begin making out on a chaise, both of us still topless. She discovers how big I get when hard but remains strictly interested in topside action. After twenty minutes or so, John yells at us to get back in the room.

He looks at our stimulated nipples and my obvious erection and says, “They told me you were a fag.”

“Sometimes,” I didn’t deny anything.

He laughs. “You’re only 21?”

I just laugh.

“Wanna do some coke?”

I’m adamantly against hard drugs, but coke isn’t heroin. I believe it’s ‘natural.’ My standards are in flux. “Sure.”

The initial rush is intense. It stays that way as John and I make the rounds of the three girls in his king-sized bed. It’s alternate three-ways and regular couplings. No homo action and my cunnilingus abilities are put to good use. The girls provide rubbers. John goes through about five or six. I hold off cumming as long as I can and only need three. The girls are thrilled to be star fucking. I’m an added attraction as the teen Lothario. They aren’t prostitutes. I don’t care, a semi-prostitute myself. Belushi ignores me, other than being glad to help out his band mate getting laid. At midnight, after at least three hours of continuous fucking, I suggest we eat at Oki Dog. The girls are not thrilled about hanging out on Santa Monica but they’re too exhausted to complain. John wants to do more coke. I argue we should eat first. He brings his stash with us. We all jumped into my Rent-a-Wreck, with the top down, Belushi in the back with an arm around #1 & #2.  #3 sits next to me, riding pussy. Coke isn’t the best vitamin for my juvenile driving skills. We are weaving in and out of traffic, with Belushi yelling and waving his arms. As we near Fairfax, the West Hollywood Sheriffs pull me over for erratic driving. Recognizing their favorite TV star gets me off with a warning. The officer gets an autograph, just not from me. I remain the unnamed co-conspirator in this incident. We skid into the Oki Dog parking lot. Belushi socks me on my arm, “You kept your cool, dude. I’m holding an ounce of coke.”

“Oh, yeah. I forgot,” we both laugh.

Jimmy and his cohort of hustlers surround us as Belushi rants about police harassment. We get several offers of joints which enhance our appetites.

“You’ll love Oki Dogs. They’re even better than Tommy’s.”

He looks at all the chilli on his dog and farts.

“So much for your Tommy’s,” I laugh.

“Just wait,” Belushi brags.

I fart and a round of farting takes place. John pulls out his lighter. A fat Mexican kid is the winner for the longest ass flame-thrower, burning his trousers. Jimmy tries too hard to fart and produces a golden nugget. Luckily he’s wearing boxers and loose pants as it rolls out his pant leg. The girls have had it with our juvenile behavior and insist we leave.  John ignores them as we sit and have a second Oki Dog.

“You’re from New York?” he asks.

“It’s my adopted home. My band mate’s’ parents have an apartment at the Dakota on Central Park. Who told you I’m a fag?”

“That writer guy who Landis kicked out of the auditions.”

“My arch nemesis. I took him here after scouting bands. He smoked out and ended up on top of the Hollywood sign. The next day he was hung over and angry. He thought I was gay ‘cause I put a safety-pin in my right ear. Apparently that means you’re gay.”

“I just thought you were an English Punk poseur.”

“More likely. But see that guy over there,” I point across the parking lot. “He called me a poseur until I let him stick the pin through my ear. I call him Safety.”

“Get him over here.”

“Hey, Safety,” I yell, “Get over here and meet a star. You can use some star tricks for your band.”

Safety looks shocked but comes over, followed by his groupie hoard.

“Gimme some drugs,” he demands, trying to impress his posse.

Belushi breaks out the coke, but for just the three of us. Safety snorts two lines before handing it back.

“Tell us about your band,” Belushi demands. “Are you like the Weirdos?”

“They’re rich cunts from Santa Monica Canyon. We’re rejects at Uni High. Tim wouldn’t let us try out for the movie. You rocked on those oldies.”

“Finish high school before you start to make a living in this business.”

“Thanks, Dad.”

“Fuck you, Safety. Wanna go climb the Hollywood sign?”

“Sounds like work.”

” How old are you?”

“Seventeen.”

“Jesus, Tim. You attract the jail bait crowd.”

I remember my advice to Springsteen when we were sixteen. “Hey, you’re the star of the 70’s, your generation. We’re just the kids who come next. You’re still young, unlike our parents who are too jaded to understand us.”

“Whatcha think, Safety?”

“I’m a Lexicon Devil.”

 

 

‘I’m a Lexicon devil with a battered brain

Searching for a future the world’s my aim

So gimme gimme your hands gimme gimme your minds

Gimme gimme your hands gimme gimme your minds

Gimme gimme this gimme gimme that…’

The Germs Songwriters DARBY CRASH, PAT SMEAR

Published by Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

 

“Break out the coke,” he demands.

“At the top of the sign,” Belushi dares him.

The Fatties are sick of teenagers and insist I drive them to their car. They’re not interested in mountain climbing. Safety jumps in the front of my Rent-a-Wreck with #3 and me, Belushi and the other Fatties are in the back. We promise to meet Tony and all the other punks who can fit in his Datsun at the top of Beachwood Canyon. I drive more carefully after one incident with the cops. #3 gives me her number to call as the Fatties abandon our mission to top the Hollywood Sign. Belushi moves into the front of the wreck.

“Ya ain’t scared of Tim ‘cause he’s a fag, are ya?”
“What?” Safety is clueless, unable to decide whether to move next to me and ride pussy or stay next to Belushi who is a gross hetero. We both squeeze him into the middle.

“Don’t worry, Safety. That’s just my cover. Your reputation is safe with us.” I have no idea what his orientation is, but suspect his chubby groupies aren’t following him for sex.

 

Tony and his crew are waiting for us at the upper gate, the one with all the warning signs to stay out.  The guys all climb over. Safety stays with the girls who are told to beep the horn if the cops show up. We mock Safety for being a wuss until the girls push him over the fence. He tumbles over, looking distressed.

“This is supposed to be fun. You do want more coke, right,” I punch him on the arm. We’re bro’s.

Belushi is our pied piper, leading a group of teens invading Griffith Park. There are six of us, three each climbing the scaffolding of the pair of O letters. Safety and I join Belushi on one letter while Tony, Jimmy and a girl who says her name is Gerber scales the other letter. Jimmy has an adequate supply of joints for their experience. Looking southward from the height of the letters the whole LA basin opens up to us, lit up by thousands of street and freeway lights. No towering skyscrapers yet, but an impressive beehive of pre-dawn activity. The “Jesus Saves’ beacon shines on Temple Street in downtown LA and a fiery furnace glows bright red at the large steel mill in City of Commerce . We are little gods watching over our domain perched high above the city. Belushi shares his coke, laughing that he had planned to use it as the aphrodisiac to get him laid that weekend.

“Here you sit,  sharing it with a couple of gay punks.”

Safety goes wobbly, from the drug or from being called gay. We steady him from falling into the pit of LA darkness below us.

“I’m not really gay,” Safety complains.

“Don’t be afraid to admit you like guys,” I advise. “You can still screw girls. They kinda like ‘saving’ you from your perversion.”

“Ah, the wisdom of teenagers.”

Safety looks confused and embarrassed.

“How’s the band coming along? Your guitarist looks good.”

“Really? Pat’s a cool cat. We’re all in the ‘special’ program at Uni High.”

“Short bus, huh?” Again, I just embarrass him.

Belushi is in his own world. He starts singing ‘Louie Louie again. We all sing,

 

 

‘Louie Louie, oh baby

We gotta go now’

 

We all clamber down the scaffolding. No cops show up.

 

Next: https://timatswim.com/eighteen-chapter-3-part-2/

 

 

 

 

 

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