Plastic People – Chapter 9

Our week of Cabaret with Elton John at the Troubadour finished up with over-sold shows. Tony was letting fans in at the back door for $100. No matter how persuasively we argued with Marty, we stayed fired from our internships on ‘New York, New York.’ ny-ny-poster_01At least the movie’s new title and Nina’s song were retained.   Liza and Bobby flew back in time to begin the next phase of filming with a revised script. We squawked that the Astaire and Rogers dance routine was stolen from us, but at least he kept it in the finished version. Despite our efforts, the film missed its box office numbers and was considered another Scorsese bomb. We avoided Marty for a time in order to not remind him how we had jinxed him twice. The word was he was depressed and doing drugs.tim-743 We may have had a hand in his temporary demise. Like all good American stories, he had a strong second act starting with Raging Bull, raging-bull-1980 again De Niro to the rescue. Bronx to the core.

The Lear left us in Ames, so I could prepare for Harvard.harvard_crimson I needed to say goodbye to all my friends. Jack stayed with me, too. He had Isabelle to pack his undies in New York. Mom and Molly had missed me all summer, while the twins reveled in our return, driving us all over Ames to see friends and frenemies. ‘Gator was in pre-season with the State football team. I could see that the weight training had really bulked him up. He was a monster Tim 362 on the gridiron. I laughed when he challenged me to another arm wrestling match. I was even more of a wimpy musician than before. His posse had followed him to State. They mostly missed the cut for making the team and were now reduced to hanger-on status. Surprisingly, Noah had made the team. I guess all that running around as Bunny the horse’s ass Tim 400 had toughened him up. He winked when he saw me. I still wonder if it meant anything. Jocks aren’t subtle but he was proving to be the exception to the rules – to all the rules. The moms threw us a farewell dinner and the old gang returned to Hyland House. We just ordered pizzas from the Pit. 

It’s still going strong in Ames, much changed as a sports bar downstairs and the pizza joint up a flight. My nostalgic pie didn’t live up to its memory. It seemed like it is mostly takeout for the greatly enlarged State student population. They had half a dozen delivery guys. They learned you need to change to survive.

I insisted we take the train to Boston. Jack was used to my slumming as he called it, forgoing use of the family Lear jet. The moms and twins drove us to Des Moines to catch the transcontinental Amtrak. We made the twins promise to come visit us in Boston for a college football weekend. They knew all about ‘The Game,’ between Harvard and Yale in November. We had a small sleeping compartment, called a Pullman. Amtrak was tacky, dingy and threadbare. I liked our farewell at the station but was ready to get off and fly when we changed in Chicago. Jack refused to switch, promising night-long sex in the Pullman. Instead, we bought hair bleach and turned our slightly grown out skinheads into white towheads Tim 538 by the time we got to Boston. We told our fellow freshman we had been surfing all summer in Malibu. No one believed us, as we lacked real tans. We promised each other to stop lying about ourselves. Already the guys in our dorm wondered how we could be so close, me from Iowa and Jack from NYC, having supposedly just met. The liberal bastion of Harvard was not a place to be openly gay. The Ivy League had its standards. We pretended we were just getting to know each other as new roommates. There were several other freshmen who were friendly and constantly hung out in our room. We challenged them to show some musical talent, which usually meant they sang college football fight songs. Had they forgotten rock n roll. Cambridge was still known for its folk scene, but it lacked local heroes. We discovered a club across the river in Boston’s Kenmore Square.  The Red Sox were having a good year, after last season’s World Series. The club was around the corner from Fenway Park, a bar called the Rathskeller,rathskeller05 which quickly was shortened to the Rat. They had local bands and occasional New York celebrities like the Ramones play in the basement. There was a walk-up to the street where we’d sit and harass the baseball fans streaming from the T to ballpark. Some actually came in after the game, all pumped about their team’s winning ways. We loved that the catcher was called Pudge, who we called Pudge Packer. That was enough to start fights with the diehards. Everyone liked him because he hit the winning home run in the sixth game of the ’75 World Series. Someone retrieved the ball in the Rat’s back parking lot, selling it to fans celebrating  after the game. The first thing we learned was to avoid letting the locals, called Townies, know we were Harvard students.

The idea that college was a place to grow up reinforced my observation that most students were socially retarded. We spent class time being lectured by professors and graduate students who thought themselves archly humorous. They paraded out their tics and eccentricities as endearing expressions of their superiority over regular people. It was too easy to snidely puncture their self-aggrandizing. Most of the friends I made in class saw me as a crass satirist of all things Harvard. The polite term was contrarian, which I disputed as too cranky, like an old curmudgeon, a stereotype I saw in certain professors. A few weeks into the semester, I received graded papers that remarked that my ideas did not reflect the thinking of the class, meaning I failed to parrot back the teacher’s ideas and premises. Original thought automatically dropped my grade a full letter. Jack, of course, was the star of charm and received the highest marks for regurgitating the lectures he studiously recorded in his extensive class notes. He offered to share these notes when his papers received ‘A’s’ and mine were ‘C-‘ or worse.

“Your charm will get you everywhere in class but nowhere in life,” I remarked.

“Oh, Tim. You’re such a Townie.”

Most nights we entertained two distinct groups of friends – his clique of popular ass-kissers Tim 604 and my misfits and pot smokers.  The Rat was my test of which friends really liked me. When we went to shows there, Jack’s friends had to let everyone know they were Harvard boys – not a good way to make friends with the locals. My friends generally scowled and stood against the walls tim-716and made no effort to be friendly. They fit right in. We spent more time outside on the curb in Kenmore Square harassing the baseball fans and Boston University students unlucky enough to wander by. Jack felt it was disloyal to pick on them ‘just because they couldn’t get into a really good school.’ Our Townie reputations were enhanced by making fun of any and all students. One BU undergrad actually gave as good as he got, quickly turning our taunts against us. He was a gangly tall kid from Long Island, with a honking nose and the Bronx accent to go with it. His name was Howard tim-721 but we kept calling him Joey Ramone. He took it as a compliment. Forty years later, he made millions on Sirius satellite radio. Too bad he had to live on a satellite in outer space. Not many places to spend all that money.

The problem with the Rat was a lack of new local bands. There were so many stadium rock wannabees who saw Boston-based rockers like Stephen Tyler and Joe Perry as examples of how to make it in the music business. Swagger was everything in projecting their rock stardom.  They forgot you had to play music to be in a band. Aping their heroes, like J Geils Band or even worse, Boston, was about all they could manage, swinging their big hair around like they were really into it. The big Boston music scene excitement was the release of The Modern Lovers’ first album. modern-lovers Ironic because the band had already broken up. The Rat crowd disdained the band for its Harvard roots. Jonathan Richman sounded like a folkie and dressed like a Mod. He was disliked because he spent his time in New York, as a Lou Reed groupie, and in LA. Just my type of guy, until I heard that Joan Jett’s producer, Kim Fowley, was also his producer. All this scene gossip came from nerdy rock historians, reading music magazines at Newbury Comics. newbury_comics_-_newbury_st Every scene needs a place for its gossip mavens to hang out.

Jack tried to make me a more serious student, to better fit in with the whole college scene. We agreed to keep our visits to The Rat a secret vice, only indulged occasionally on a week night. As proper Harvardites we were expected to study hard all week and let loose on the weekends, with football the focus of the social scene. We tried out for the Harvard Marching Band, telling the Director we had played with Iowa State’s band as an electric spirit section. We were informed that the Harvard Band played real instruments and didn’t do ‘electric.’

“Don’t you want to inspire the players and get the crowd a’goin’ to beat Dartmouth?” I slipped into dialogue.

He looked shocked at my grammar. “Maybe that works at farming schools. You don’t come to Harvard to get the students ‘a’goin,’” he mocked me. We were dismissed.

“See,” Jack admonished me. tim-722 “You need to make a better impression if you want to do things your way.”

“I’m not interested in impressing old fossils like that guy.”

We both were disappointed to not make the Harvard Marching Band. We decided to form our own Harvard Sitting Band, recruiting anyone we could find to jam on guitars in our room. When we added drums, the resident advisor advised us we were making too much noise. He told us we could play in the House basement. We moved down to the boiler room and retaliated by turning the amps up as loud as possible. Our friends reported ghost-like, muffled wailing coming through the entire House’s thick 19th century brick walls. Jack’s ‘soc’ friends abandoned us, while my misfits found the boiler room a congenial atmosphere, mostly for smoking pot. Without Robby to strong-arm me, I seldom smoked. My pot-head days seemed over. The music we played was unlike any of the bands we had been in. We were more introspective and self-involved, not Southern Blues, but more industrial, grinding dirges. Jack bought a MOOG, moog which kept us moody and futuristic. We started dressing like aliens. One night we went to the Rat, dressed in plastic trash bags. It was a particularly rowdy band that night. We took the T home in not much other than our underwear, Tim 153 with ripped and tattered plastic strips not really covering our nakedness. The guard at the entrance to Harvard Yard reported us, resulting in a trip to the Dean’s office. We brought in the ripped up outfits to show we had started out fully dressed and how circumstances caused our undressing. The Dean seemed more interested in a description of our gay underwear. We told him to contact Felix at Out & Proud in Miami for a catalog. Speechless for a moment, he dismissed us with a speech that basically said ‘don’t be so gay.”

“But Harvard is going co-ed,” I argued.

Jack grabbed me and we departed.

“Being gay doesn’t make us co-eds,” he argued. Tim 587

“Well, sorta,” I shrugged.

Jack remonstrated that I needed to use proper speech. That hurt. Jack as tutor.

Harvard was slowly going co-ed. There were girls in the dorm. We could take classes at Radcliffe. I signed us up for an 19th Century English romance novel course. I called it ‘Heathcliffe at Radcliffe.’ We dressed up as the Bronte sisters tim-772 and fit right in, until someone realized we were boys. We were kicked out for being perverts. How fun.

It all came to a head in our religion class. The professor was one of those ‘God is Dead’ types who taught the bible as literature. Jace had been attending with us, as he was perplexed about the afterlife. We discussed my tripping on belladonna and how he’d been brought back from the dead by the Guardian. tim-822 He was unsure if his current state was considered afterlife. I suggested it be called between life, but wasn’t so sure if when we both died that the spirit world could be called an afterlife or just the end of life as we know it. It seemed like something that required psychedelics to pursue and needed Robby to take the lead. Jace found the professor irrelevant to our concerns. Being bored, he floated around the room, playing subtle tricks with the lights and heat. His antics caught the attention of other inattentive students. I called it flea behavior and warned him someone was going to swat him. He found the idea amusing, wondering if he would feel swats from a person attuned enough to sense him.  All these thoughts were tied up with his insecurity that we’d be separated after death.

The class was held in a lecture hall, like most of my classes, large with little interaction between students and the instructor. The professor was going off curriculum by discussing his belief, based upon the scientific method, that there is no spirit world. He felt all avant-garde to be saying so at a college founded in the 17th century to teach theology. He went on and on proving his theory that there was no scientific proof to an afterlife.

“Of course, there have always been reports of near-death experiences and going to the ‘light.’ The non-religious also report ghost sightings. To prove my point, has anyone here ever seen a ghost?”

Jack was tugging on my sleeve to keep me from raising my hand. Suddenly we were the center of attention in a group of 500 freshmen. Once I got my hand up, several other hands popped up as well.

“Well, this is a first. Please stand and introduce yourself. Pray tell, what does a ghost look like?”

“I’m Tim Castle. It’s the ghost of my best friend and band mate. He looks like he did the day he died, a 15-year-old.” Tim 389

“Perhaps you weren’t ready to let go of your best friend?”

Jace was fully awake and bouncing up and down from being investigated at Harvard.

“I wasn’t. I wanted to die, too.”

“Probably such an emotional experience helped you visualize a ghost. Did you ever see him again?”

“I see him every day. He lives with us in Mower House.”

Everyone laughed at what they believed was my putting the professor on.

“Does anyone else know you’re living with a ghost, Mr. Castle?”

“Just those who like him. They feel his presence and after a while they see him, too.”

“It’s nice your friends make you feel better over losing your best friend, son,” he patronized me.

“My roommate, Jack here, sees him,” I outed Jack who was sinking as low as possible into his seat.

“Well, stand up and tell us, Jack,” the prof ordered, “what’s it like to have a ghost for roommate?”

Jack stood but was speechless. 10 I had to step in.

“We’ll sing you a song we learned from the Cars the other night about being in a class that is clueless about what we already know.”

We began a Cappella:

 

‘I don’t mind comin’ here

And wastin’ all my time

‘Cause when you’re standin’ oh so near

I kinda lose my mind, yeah

It’s not the coat & tie you wear

It’s not your long stringy hair

I don’t mind you bein’ here

And wastin’ all my time

[Chorus:] I guess you’re not what I needed (Not what I needed) I needed someone to feel

I guess you’re not what I needed (Not what I needed) I needed someone to believe.’

 

The class was laughing as we mocked the prof. Jace added insult to injury by rushing around the lecture hall, opening and closing windows and turning the lights off and on. Finally, he took the prof’s notes and scattered them into the air. Jack grabbed me and marched us out of the lecture hall, Jace following, looking quite chagrined.

“You’re out of control,” Jack yelled at us.

“That teacher was stupid. He couldn’t see past his own limited ideas. He teaches anti-religion. The Bible is not literature, like Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales.”

Dozens of students had followed us into the hall, surrounding us as we argued.

Jack burst into tears. “You’re ruining my college experience.”

I hugged him, but it made him uncomfortable in front of other students.Tim 575

“Someone asked, “What’s that song you guys sang?”

“It’s the Cars. We saw them at the Paradise Ballroom over at BU.”

“That was cool. The professor about had a heart attack.”

“Naybe it would change his limited point of view about religion.”

“Like my Biology class when all the prof teaches is botany ‘cause he wrote a botany text. I’m pre-med. How much botany do I need?”

“Enough to scribble Latin prescriptions that no one can read,” someone joked.

“You may want to transfer out of this class, before it’s too late,” someone else suggested.

“If I have to transfer, its back to Iowa. At least people there don’t blow their egos up to the point they look foolish.”

“Don’t quit,” a quiet girl pleaded. “You’re the only boys who treat us as normal in the dorm.”Tim 557 She was one of the Radcliffe students who lived with us at Mower House.

“I love it here, but I don’t think I’ve learned anything yet. All the kids at the club in Boston think we’re Townies. I just don’t fit in here.”

“None of us fit in at high school, mostly because we got good grades. This is where we are supposed to ‘find’ ourselves.”

“I never lost myself,” I asserted. “But having to lie that I’m a Southie Irish dropout to make friends in Boston seems hypocritical.”

“You can’t leave,” several kids cried.

The situation escalated when the Dean showed up with our religion professor. We were escorted to his office, seated in the waiting room, while the professor related what we had done.

“Maybe you think pranks and insulting respected teachers is part of your college experience. Riding naked on the T is one thing. Disrupting a large lecture room is over the line,” the Dean didn’t bother to ask us our side of the incident.

I went ahead anyway and made our case. “We felt the class omitted belief in the teaching of religion.”

“What?” he was stunned. “You want to teach the class. No, don’t answer that. You, Mr. Castle, are arrogant to a degree I have never seen. At least 60’s protesters had a political point of view. You just need to get attention for some emotional need we apparently cannot meet at Harvard.”

“You want me to leave? All those kids outside your office want me to stay. I was arguing I am not learning here. I think you owe my dad his tuition back.”

Jack stepped in, with a charm offensive. “Dean, please let us explain. We really were only answering Professor Reinhold’s questions. All those pranks were not done by us.”

“You mean the lights and windows, as well as stealing Dr. Reinhold’s notes.”

“Not us, Dean. I can’t explain it. We were just standing at our seats. We sang a song we had made up because we want to learn about religion and don’t understand why we have to give up our beliefs.”

“This is about pranks, not freedom of religion, Mr. Stone,” the Dean backed down.

“Probably some MIT students did it to mock us,” Jack had no problem making false excuses.

“This is your second visit to my office and school has been open for less than a month. Your good standing at Harvard will change if I see you again.”

We were dismissed. Outside the Dean’s office a small group of our classmates was waiting to hear the verdict.

“Are you quitting, Tim,” the Mower House co-ed anxiously asked.Tim 543

“He never gave me the chance to. We’re on warning and heading for probation,” I complained.

“Can you play us that song you sang?” one of the other supporters asked. “And who are the Cars?”

Off we went to the boiler room for a performance by the Sitting Band. Jack wanted to ban the pot smokers. He worried that we were inciting our own expulsion.

We set up the guitars and played the original version of ‘Just What I Needed.’

….. I don’t mind you comin’ here

And wastin’ all my time

‘Cause when you’re standin’ oh so near

I kinda lose my mind, yeah

It’s not the perfume that you wear

It’s not the ribbons in your hair

I don’t mind you comin’ here

And wastin’ all my time’

Songwriters: RIC OCASEK
© Universal Music Publishing Group

I was determined to make my college experience more than just ‘wastin’ all my time.’

Jack was bereft about our warning from the Dean. I was tempted to dismiss his worrying to a nerdy need to fit in. I knew he was concerned about our personal relationship as well. I did my best to comfort him.

“Do you really like it here?” he asked.tim-723

“I’ll always be a townie at heart. I love we found new friends to join us as we experience Harvard. I thought you had learned that authoritarian figures will never appreciate us. They see chaos walking in the door when we appear.” tim-692

“Do we have to cause so much trouble. That Religion prof believes he’s teaching us the important parts of being Christian. You treat him like a charlatan.”

“We’re barbarians to him, a threat to everything he believes. How else do you confront tyrants?”

“He’s an old man who’s lost his faith.”

“You feel sorry for him?”

“What’s the point of going to school if you don’t believe in the teachers?”

“How can we learn if we don’t question everything?”

“It’s no longer the sixties. Why are you rebelling?”

He had worn me down. We agreed to get away for the weekend. The football game was not in Cambridge that weekend.

“Let’s go to Northampton. You can meet Joey and we can date Smithies.”

There was a ride sharing board that listed drivers willing to take students to various girls’ colleges in New England. You only needed to share the gas expense. Jack bemoaned that freshmen weren’t allowed to have cars. I pointed out that this was the first time we even needed a car. We found someone going to Northampton. The driver said he’d arrange dates for us on Saturday night. We’d drive back after wild blind dates that ended with the girls’ ten pm curfews. Troy was a junior and seriously dating a Smithie. He promised us ‘hot’ dates.

Jack was about to announce we were gay but I cut him off. Tim 45 “We need to experience normal college life,” I whispered.

We finished the week without further classroom interruptions. We studied on Friday night at Widener Library, doing all our class assignments for Monday. Returning to the dorm, it was obvious we had missed out on everyone getting drunk. The steps to Mower House stunk of vomit. Guys we barely knew came running up, saying we were righteous dudes, in honor of our surfer haircuts. Jack looked distressed, worrying our road trip would be more excessive drinking. I dragged him to safety on the girls’ floor, knocking on Jill’s door. She had said we were the only boys who treated her like a real person. Her roommate said everyone was down the hall in 3D.

“Why aren’t you there?”

“I have to study.”

“We study together in Widener. Join us next time,” Jack was his gracious sycophant self.

She looked surprised and smiled.

We knocked on 3D. Someone yelled, “You don’t need to knock. It’s open. Com’n in, girl.”

They were surprised to find we were boys.Tim 260

“We need to escape the drunken teenagers downstairs,” I explained.

Jill jumped up. “You’re just as welcome as any girl,” making Jack smile. “I was just telling everyone about your performance in Religion.”

“We blamed it on MIT tricksters,” Jack crowed.

“You really sang a song in class?” one of the girls looked amazed.

Jack couldn’t resist and reprised our classroom revision of the Cars’ song.

‘I don’t mind comin’ here

And wastin’ all my time

‘Cause when you’re standin’ oh so near

I kinda lose my mind, yeah

It’s not the coat & tie you wear

It’s not your long stringy hair

I don’t mind you bein’ here

And wastin’ all my time

[Chorus:] I guess you’re not what I needed (Not what I needed)

I needed someone to feel

I guess you’re not what I needed (Not what I needed)

I needed someone to believe.’

Songwriters: RIC OCASEK
© Universal Music Publishing Group

I jumped in with Jack. The girls loved our duet.Tim 578

“I told you,” Jill crowed. “And they are cute,”  as if that had been debatable.

“Do you have a band? Is that one of your songs?” they all asked.

“That’s the Cars’ song. They’re a local band. We saw them last week in Boston.”

“You sing great. You must be the band in the basement,” Jill was our shill.

We just shrugged.

“Whatcha all talkin’ about?” I asked. “Boys?”

They giggled.

“Who’s hot and who’s not?” we wanted to know.

“Footballers, definitely not.”

“Wait ‘til you see them in those tight short pants.”

“Ew,” they screamed.

“Everyone will be out there yelling for them on Saturday”

“Not us. They’re gross.”

“Y’all don’t like muscles?”

“Not when they parade around the dorm in nothing but a towel.” Tim 388

“That would be Jake the Rake,” we surmised, having been pushed aside in the hall.

“The cute ones never seem interested.”

“All boys are interested. Maybe they’s shy, just needs sum one ta smile at ‘em.”

“That’s what girls think, too,” a pretty blonde complained.

“Have y’all bin to the mixers.”

“The cattle calls? No one cool goes.”

“Y’all’s jist silly nillies waitin’ ta be asked,” I surmised.

They all giggled.

“Y’all gots ta come with us to the club in Boston,” I suggested.

“When?”

“Tonight. Right now. No time’s like the present.” Tim 577

“We’d have to get ready. And curfew starts at ten.”

“Jist com’n rite now. This club don’t have no dress code. Ain’t no curfew at Harvard.”

“They lock the gates to the Yard.”

“That’s what the guard’s fer, ta lets ya in. We gots wrote up when we came in last week in nothin’ but skivies.”

“You don’t speak all country in class,” one girl noticed.

“Y’all’s our friends. Ain’t no need ta impress ya. Com’n,” we ordered.

They all giggled and rushed off to spruce themselves up. We hadn’t exactly described the Rat for what it was – a dive. tim-662

Two T lines later we walked up into Kenmore Square. We escorted five cute co-eds, nervously going to a nightclub for their first time. They expected the Stock Club and were getting Berlin 1930.

Jack and I whistled and sang ‘Welkommen’ as preparation, walking backwards and singing to our audience of five freshman girls.

We kept acting out Cabaret as we walked down the stairs into the Rat. We introduced the girls who strutted past the bouncer. We all went in without paying the cover charge.

The girls were less anxious and ready for anything.

“Don’t be a’tellin’ ‘em we’s Harvardites. Our friends here are Southies & Townies,” we whispered.

Now they looked scared.

“Don’t worry. We’ve scored big with y’all ‘Cliffies. Watch and see if these ol’ Townies get up the nerve ta talk with ya.”

The ever gracious Jack took drink orders, while I guarded our harem. As predicted the Townies were shy and just stared. Tim 574

Never shy, I guided the girls over to locals with whom I had been friendly. No introductions were needed. I explained I had dared the girls to come to the Rat. The Townies needed nothing more in order to step up and beat their chests about the glories of the place. Jack arrived with drinks, sending me back for the cups he couldn’t manage in the first trip from the bar. I doubted that his charm would succeed in keeping the Townies at bay. Feminism would be put to the test with our troglodyte friends butting heads (and hopefully no other anatomy) with these ‘Cliffie girls. Let the evening’s main event begin.

I returned and discovered I had one extra cup of beer. I headed straight for the lady’s room, where the most innocent girl was refusing to escort the most forward Southie into the bathroom.

“Here’s your beer,” I moved in for the rescue.

“Oh, thank you,” she barely whispered.

“Thanks a lot, bud. Where’s mine?”

“You won’t find it in the ladies,” I quipped.

He snorted and went back to search for other prey.Tim 409

“Thank you,” she gasped. “He was so forward. Why would he want to use the ladies bathroom.”

“Oh, probably because he’s a pervert.”

“Well, thank you again.”

“Just stay with the group. Don’t trust any of these guys. They lay on the charm just so they can brag to their buddies.”

“You and Jack aren’t that way,” she cornered me.

“Well, don’t ruin our reputations at the club. They think we’re locals, not students, let alone from Harvard.”

“Oh,” she contemplated how all her life she’d aspired to be at Harvard. The concept of it being a handicap was new. “You’re so worldly.”

“Let’s get back to the group. I’ll tell you about cruising on Miami Beach as a 14-year-old.”

“Cruisin’? Could you drive at 14?”

“Naw. Just pickin’ up chicks and rulin’ the boulevard.” Tim 592

“We thought you were just a country hayseed. It’s Jack who’s lived in the City. You both seem so comfortable with each other when you just met as roommates this month.”

“Well, don’t give away our secrets, but we met in junior year when he was my under-study in ‘Mid Summer’s Night Dream.’ donkey01 It was such a hit we had to leave – me to my mom’s in Iowa and Jack to some rich prep school in Switzerland.”

“Is he really rich?”

“Pampered and spoiled. I was first real friend. Mummy had ruled his life before he met me.”

“Is that why you came to Harvard. Everyone’s betting on how soon you’ll get kicked out.”

“Tell ‘em they needs to shorten their bets. I’s already on double warning.”

“Don’t get expelled. Your life will be ruined.”

“My life jist keeps on a’gittin’ better.”

“You are Country,” she leaned over and kissed me. We were back with the group. All the locals whistled at the kiss. The other girls grabbed her and ran to the bathroom to compare notes. The lech that had tried to drag her into a stall looked disgusted. I had picked up a penchant for making enemies in juvie.

“Learn anything?” I kidded the lech.

“Ya just moved in on my territory.”

“They call me Mr. Smoothie.”

“I’ll make you inta a Mr. Smoothie if ya try it again.” Tim 639

“You need a beer,” I wrapped an arm around his neck and led him to the bar, winking at Jack, who was just watching me.

When I got back, Jack was up on the stoop to Commonwealth Ave.

“Why are you out here? We gots ta watch out fer the co-eds,” I asked.

“They’re off peeing together. I was alone when you went off with Guido.”

“I think his name is McGuido.”

“Let’s get back before the McGuidos horn dog the girls,” I put my arm around him. Jack gave me a quick kiss as I leaned over him. The boy behind us gasped.

“You guys are fags.” he blurted. tim-659

“Do we look like English cigarettes?”

He laughed. “It’s cool. I’ll never tell.”

“Thanks. What’s your name?”

“David. I’m from Waltham.”

“You make watches,” Jack tried to act like a local.

“That gig disappeared years ago.”

“Com’n inside with us. We’ve got five co-eds from Radcliffe to protect from the goon squad.”

“I’m not old enough to get in.”

“Why’s ya hangin’ out, then?”

“Just bored. Nothin’ betta ta do. I wanna start a band.”

“We’re in the Harvard Sitting Band,” Jack bragged.

“You’re fags like all Hahvahd boys.”

We all laughed.

“If we get you in, don’t tell all our secrets. At least you’ll get the pick of the co-eds.”

“Cool.”

We walked up to the bouncer. Jack slipped him a ten and asked nicely to let David in with us.

“No drinking,” we were warned.

“No problem. He’s too skinny to drink.”

David was a high schooler, 17 years old. Jack chatted him up while I got new beers from the bar. We shared our beers with him. He was too skinny to handle even beer and was soon telling wild tales of high school life in Waltham. The girls were back and adopted him as their pet. The Townies stayed away.

A local band got up and surveyed the crowd.

“Who let Minehan in?” the singer addressed our group.

“We adopted him,” Jill answered. “He’s our pet for the night.”

“Good luck with that. Just don’t let him drink.”

“That what everyone says,” I laughed.

David grabbed my cup. “Too late.” tim-660

The girls rushed up and stood in front of the six-inch stage in the basement of the Rathskeller. The band was inspired, rushing through their songs. The beer had liberated the co-eds, who danced and yelled at the band. Exposing their Aerosmith roots, the locals played ‘Walk this Way.’

The girls started strutting and mouthing the title lyrics to the Townies, daring them to dance with them. There were no takers. Jack, David and I were less inhibited. David jumped on stage and joined the singer on the chorus. minehan-06 Jack and I danced with each other, gyrating our asses back to back.

The band exited to whatever served as a green room. Minehan refused to give up the stage.

“Do that song you do,” Jill yelled at us.

We jumped up and asked Minehan if he knew The Cars’ ‘Just What I Needed.’

 

 

The band had carelessly left their guitars by the amps. David nodded vigorously and picked up an axe.tim-664 I got behind the drums Tim 608 and Jack was on bass. Tim 617 The girls were squealing from excitement. Two ran off to the ladies, like they were about to piss their panties. We were halfway done with the song before the real band realized we had taken over their instruments. They rushed us to reclaim the stage. As they pushed and shoved us, we continued to play, tim-665 eventually finishing the song before we were evicted from the stage. The bouncers rounded us up and continued the shoving until the three of us were out on Commonwealth Ave. The girls ran out after us. We lay on the pavement, out of breath from laughing. The girls stood there, not sure whether to roll around with us on the dirty curb. Eventually we had to run to the T as it closed at midnight. No one wanted to pay for a cab across the river. The T gates were already closed.  Minehan said goodnight, thanking us for getting him on stage. We said no way was he leaving. He was our soul brother.

“I ain’t a fag,” he drunkenly proclaimed.

“So what. You like being on stage. Maybe you’re just a drama queen.”

He tried to punch us but fell down. img938 “Two Beer David,” we renamed him. “Two is too much.” The bouncer was right.

The girls picked him up. “We don’t care if you’re gay,” they tried to console him. In his alcoholic state, he couldn’t figure how we had turned the tables on him.

“We won’t tell,” Jack promised. “You can stay with us in the dorm room and take the T home in the morning.”

He was in a stupor while all eight of us rode back to Harvard Square in a cab. The cabbie said we’d pay double if he puked. Jill offered him her purse in case he couldn’t help himself. He was fine. Teenage drunk was more a state of mind than a blood alcohol level.

At the Yard gate, the guard recognized us, remarking that at least we had our clothes on that night. He let David in with our explanation about the state he was in. We couldn’t abandon him. I told the guard that David was a Minehan.

“Yer a good Mick,” I told him.

“Sure’n ya’s one yerself,” he answered.

The girls kept giggling, sure that they were going to be written up for coming in after midnight.

“It’s not the dahk ages, ya know,” I tried out my Irish brogue. They laughed even more.

We tucked David into Jack’s bed. He’d been out on his feet for some time. The girls all kissed us goodnight, even kissing David, which I considered sexual assault as he was totally unconscious and couldn’t give consent to be kissed. He did murmur something and smiled.

In the morning, he was sitting up watching us sleep.  Tim 461 I knew he was about to comment on our sexuality.

“Don’t say nothin.’ We always sleep tucked in tagether. At least ya got yer own bed.”

He laughed. “When am I gonna hear this Harvard Sitting Band?”

“Rock n roll never wakes up this early.”

We dragged ourselves down to commons to eat. His appetite was just like his need for alcohol. Luckily it was unlimited porridge that morning. The girls came in together, surprised we were up so early.

“Teenager,” we pointed at David who grinned over his bowl of gruel. Tim 468

As some of our corridor mates wandered in, they scowled at us sitting with five cute co-eds. Maybe they were just hung-over.

We headed to the boiler room and set up, with Minehan on guitar, Jack on rhythm, Jill on bass and me on the drums. We really needed to find a drummer.

David strummed a few leads and started a rap about the previous night.

‘Went to the Rat

Stuck at the door

There I sat

Lonely and bored.

Out came two fags

Kissing and such

I had to rag

They didn’t care much

They bought me a beer

Five beauties appeared

Made me their pet

I’ll get some yet.’

 

The girls screamed and threw various found objects at him.

“Ew, we thought you were nice.”

“We don’t need a pet.”

Minehan grabbed his junk and made rude gestures. Tim 427  Jack started playing ‘Walk This Way.’ The girls started voguing and posing in the boiler room. Tim 296 David did his best Steven Tyler imitation. Tim 616

This went on for a while. Apparently we woke up all of Mower House, as grumpy, disheveled students of all persuasions came wandering in. We made up limericks for each one. David know all these  lame ones which he turned bawdy;

 

 

‘Roll me over, in the clover

Roll me over, lay me down and do it again.

The is number one and the fun is just begun

Roll me over, lay me down and do it again.

This is number two

I don’t know what to do

Roll me over, lay me down and do it again.

This is number three

My hand is on her knee

Roll me over, lay me down and do it again.

This is number four

We’re rolling on the floor

Roll me over, lay me down and do it again.

This is number five

I’m barely still alive

Roll me over, lay me down and do it again.

This is number six

I’m really in a fix

Roll me over, lay me down and do it again.

This is number seven

We finally got to heaven

Roll me over, lay me down and do it again.

This is number eight

And her period is late

Roll me over, lay me down and do it again.

This is number nine

It all worked out just fine

Roll me over, lay me down and do it again.

This is number ten

I’m ready to do it again

Roll me over, lay me down and do it again.

‘Roll me over, in the clover

Roll me over, lay me down and do it again.’

 

College fun. Guys got up and thought we were karaoke machines, happy as we played their favorite rockers so they could make fools of themselves. It quickly devolved into chaos. We all went up to the third floor to hang out with the girls. David was exhilarated from performing. He was a natural. I recommended he find friends who wanted to play with him and start his own band. He totally got the playing from the heart bit but seemed immune to Jace’s attempts to touch him. Perhaps he worried one of us was making moves on him. Jace signed that almost everyone in New England seemed shut off from sensing him. I guess if you were a Red Sox fan through all the dry years, trusting anyone was hard. Despite ‘Pudge’ Fisk’s heroics, the Sox lost the final game of the ’75 World Series. Anyway, Minehan seemed to be in touch with his own music. He needed little instruction. We told him all about our times as ‘False Gods’ playing parties, frats, road houses, storefront churches, and seedy clubs. He was raring to go, but we told him to go back to Waltham and get his friends in the neighborhood to back him up. We promised to see him at the Rat next weekend. He promised to not drink so much.

It was time for our road trip to Smith. I hoped that Joey would be working at Rahar’s that night. Jill offered to come with, to protect us from all the lesbians. Cathy Christina Smith had a reputation. We knew she was a bit jealous. We promised not to be molested by lesbians and to report back the next day on our findings.

“You sure you don’t want us to get phone numbers for you?” we kidded her.

“Ew, not my scene.”

“You seem to know all about it.”

“People just talking,” was her lame excuse. Feminism had its own pitfalls and prejudices.

Troy, the junior giving us a ride, was friendly, full of advice on how to act on a blind date. I pulled out my RayBans raybans and did the Blind Willie act. He laughed at my blues singing. I missed my guide dog, Max. Pretty soon we were all singing along to the radio, Boston’s ‘BCN was new, playing songs you never heard on other stations. We three sat in the front of his beat-up ’64 Dodge Dart.tim-680 The Cars came on; we all were rocking back and forth, waving our arms and singing totally off-key as loudly as possible. Troy insisted on keeping the windows down, even though it was cool that early Fall day. We got lots of scowls and negative reactions as we blew through the little towns on the way west to Northampton. We stopped at a Friendly’s Ice Cream store, eating patty melts and slurping Awful Awful shakes – awful big, awful good. The burgers were as greasy as the southern ones at the roadhouse in Charlotte.

“Why aren’t you two as up-tight as other freshman?” Troy asked.

“We aren’t really looking for girlfriends,” Jack admitted.

“You don’t like girls?”

“No problem. We already share five ‘Cliffies from the dorm. We took ‘em all out last night, got all drunk and had to talk our way past the Yard Guard.”

“No problems in the girlfriend department then?”

“Only when they don’t keep up.”

“You’re the two who are on probation already,” he had our number.

“Just warnings so far,” I corrected him.

“Let me warn you that you’re on your own tonight. Any trouble and I don’t know you.”

“Thanks a lot, Troy. Don’t leave us hanging. Girls have a tendency to take our clothes away,” I joked.

“You are the cocky one,” he had checked out our reputations. “And you’re the slick talker,” he also had Jack’s number.

We all planned to meet at Rahar’s, for the ride back to Cambridge. Troy’s date, Venus, was friendly. She introduced us to our dates, Trudie and Joan, sticking around to make sure no one backed out at first sight. Jack took the lead with his charm offensive. We kept it casual, not pairing off right away. Venus gave us a stamp of approval.

I suggested we go for a long walk to casually get to know each other. The girls were also roommates, so we all had that in common to talk about. Trudie had a strong East Coast accent. Jack thought it funny to mimic it, claiming to be a New York City resident. I claimed Iowa, which went over like a lead balloon. I suppressed my good ol’ boy persona, getting winks of approval from Jack.

“What’s it like to share a room,” Joan asked me.

“Oh, I have twin sisters.

They never let me alone, even choosing my clothes for school everyday,” I answered. “Jack’s easy to get along with after them bossing me around.”

“I felt weird at first, but Trudie’s really down-to-earth. We even started sharing clothes. She thinks I need a style upgrade.”

Jack gave them both an appraising look. Mummy had taught him all about style. “Well, Joan needs darker clothes to offset her light coloring. Trudie’s short hair says she’s not a hippie and the short skirt and loose blouse are very stylish. It would seem strange if you wore each other’s outfits.”

“You are so New York,” they gushed, pleased to take Jack’s fashion advice.

They asked about our summer jobs. They wanted to know all about Liza Minnelli, when we said we’d both been interns on her latest film. They had never heard of Robert De Niro.

“You both worked together this summer?”

“Yeah,” Jack replied. “Tim wants to be an entertainer and wasn’t sure he should even go to college. I talked him into applying to Harvard. I had early acceptance. He got in and now we’re roommates.”

“I thought you were from Iowa,” Trudie asked me. “How did you know Mr. New York City here?”

“We were in school together in Miami until junior year. Both of us moved away, but we’ll always be friends, so we kept in touch,” Jack stayed away from the details.

“How did you get to be such good friends?” Trudie’s inquisition was reminding me of Angie.

“Jack was my understudy in ‘A Mid Summer’s Night Dream.’ I switched to play the music. He took over my role and after that joined our band.”

“What kind of band?”

“Mostly old dance songs at first. Then we had to do our own songs. It was just all our friends from the neighborhood.”

“Will you do a song for us?” Joan politely asked.

I looked around and saw we were walking along a path, overlooking a lake and surrounded by trees. Tim 156 I knew the perfect song.

“Well, we have to get into band costumes. Don’t look while we change,” I instructed the girls who sat on the grass by the path. They put their hands over their eyes. I could tell that Trudie was peeking. I whispered ‘Barefoot Boy” to Jack. He giggled as we took our sneakers off.

“Okay to look now,” I announced. They didn’t notice any change of attire. “This song’s called ‘Barefoot Boy.’ It’s about how we climbed trees in the neighborhood.”

‘Barefooted boy

Makes a stand

To take his joy

Going hand to hand

Flying out free

Branch to branch

Through the trees

Reckless chance.

Free to be

A monkey like me

Ha ha ha

He he he

Haw haw haw

Chee chee chee

We did the monkey shines for the girls and then jumped into the lower branches of the nearest tree.

We swung back and forth, continuing to sing the chorus:

“Free to be

A monkey like me

Ha ha ha

He he he

Haw haw haw

Chee chee chee”

We jumped down Tim 108 and pulled the girls to their feet, repeating the chorus, while mimicking monkeys. They just laughed at us, until we gave up trying to get them to do the monkeyshines too.

“You wanted to give up Harvard to do that?” Trudie mocked me.

“It was a big hit at frat parties. One time the football team chased us up a mango tree.”

“What happened?”

“We threw mangoes at them and they swore revenge the next night. We had to hire them as security when we played a stadium gig.”

“People in Miami liked your band?”

“So much so we were banned and had to move out-of-state. That’s why we were separated. Tim went to his mom’s in Iowa. I had to go to Switzerland, but I ran away and graduated from Regis in the City.”

“Why were you banned?”

“Tim’s dog was shot by the police. I gave him a beer he didn’t even drink. The cops busted him for underage drinking.”

“You had to move?”

“My dad’s retired military and really strict,” I explained. “The cops told him I was out of control and he let them lock me up.”

“That why you went to your mom’s?”

“Pretty much. I really liked Iowa. I even got me a country accent.”

They giggled. “We’re not so interesting. I hope you’re not bored.”

“Does flying through the trees and singing to you seem like we’re bored?”

“This is our first blind date. It’s not what I expected,” Joan confessed.

I put on my RayBans  and did my Blind Willie act, singing Robert Johnson’s ‘Crossroads.’ Jack pulled out a harmonica and provided the blues riffs.

The girls were eating out of our hands. They swayed and bobbed their heads as I sang and Jack played. Harmonica was just another surprise from Jack, the little nerd.

It was after six. The girls had promised to check in with Venus. We were all having fun, so I knew they wouldn’t prematurely end our blind date. All four of us skipped up to the girl’s dormitory, an old Victorian mansion. Troy and Venus were waiting for us on the porch. Apparently Jack and I had passed the audition. We all went to eat at a local Italian restaurant. We skipped pizza and had plain spaghetti dinners. Ethnic food was proving to be pretty good in New England. Although we had yet to taste a New England boiled dinner. Troy was amused by the girls’ stories about our tree climbing and blues singing. Jack even took out his harmonic and blew some riffs. Apparently our need to perform constantly was considered odd but amusing by the college crowd. They were not the usual football jocks we’d seen at our U of M frat shows. Jack pulled out his BankAmericard and paid the entire bill – $25. We were blowing our dirt poor student reputations. Then again, we were away from Cambridge. What harm could it do being our abnormal selves?

Jack bragged, “I haven’t had so much fun since last night.”

After we told about the previous night’s antics, the girls were jealous the ‘Cliffies could live in a co-ed dorm.

“Isn’t it weird to share bathrooms?” Venus asked.

“The girls have the entire third floor. There’s a guy who walks around in a towel but everyone treats him like a perv,” I explained. “Last night the guys were all getting drunk, so the girls stayed up on three. We made them come with us to the club in Boston.”

“You went nightclubbing?”

“Well, the Rat is a basement under a restaurant. The girls adopted a high school kid. He got drunk. We were all kicked out after we jumped on stage and played a Cars song.”

“You guys are a trip,” Trudie decided.

“They call us firecrackers in the South,” Jack continued to brag.

“What were you doing in the South?” Troy asked.

“They told us they’re both from Miami and were in a band in high school together,” Trudie exposed the truth.

Troy looked skeptical. We’d try to set the record straight on the drive back to Cambridge.

It was time to head over to the bar. Helen had told Joey I was coming. He was at the door and let us in with no cover charge; it was a rowdy bar in a ramshackle converted country restaurant. tim-658 There was no DJ but a jukebox was playing old rock n roll. The bands came on later. We got seated and drinks were comp’d, again by Joey. He apparently was making a success of his rehab. Or, perhaps he was the dealer for the club’s junkies. I wasn’t going to ask.

Joey sat with us, quizzing the girls on how his ‘little dude brother’ was doing on the dating front.

The girls looked embarrassed, so Troy came to my rescue. “They say he’s a firecracker.”

“Heard that one before,” Joey laughed. Tim 551

This was a new Joey, more garrulous and less circumspect. I worried he was about to relate stories of our adventures when I was 14. Perhaps he was more sensitive, as well, excusing himself to go back to work. He told the bar tender to continue to comp our drinks. Troy and Venus took this generosity to get totally drunk. I knew I’d be driving back to Cambridge. Troy willingly handed over his keys. Jack was confused with the middle class concept of free drinks and freely indulged. Our ‘dates’ knew better, especially Joan who was only 17. Troy got us up dancing to the jukebox under the premise that any exercise burns off excess alcohol. When the bands started playing, we were already warmed up. We made it easy for the other patrons to get up and boogie.

At the end, Joey pulled me aside.

“I never thanked youse fer comin’ to my rescue this Spring. I’d have neva come back heah if it had just been yer old man Beht, come ta collect me.”

“Yer doin’ good, Joey. Just keep it up”

“I luv ya, little dude,” and he hugged me. I now towered over him. His words made me feel 14 , needy and emotional, again.

We got the girls back to the dorm way past their curfew. The battle-ax house-mother lectured us on being more responsible. Tim 580 We weren’t the first college students to hear that speech. We solemnly nodded and waved good night to the girls. Joan and Trudie ran back outside and gave us big kisses, along with their telephone numbers. Jack was swapping tongue with Joan while I was more respectful with Trudie. I was conflicted on double dating with my boyfriend. There had to be an ethical dilemma there. Drinking made it seem less hypocritical.

Driving back, Troy sacked out in the Dart’s back seat. Jack collapsed against my shoulder, ending up with his head in my lap.Tim 118 When I got hard, he murmured, “How nice,” but was sound asleep before I could respond. I had to stop at an all-night gas station to get a map to find the way back to Cambridge. I woke up Troy who showed me where to park the Dart. We got him to his dorm, thanking him for a successful road trip. He responded by barfing up both the Friendly’s patty melt and the evening’s spaghetti. Not a pleasing combination. We called it the Awful Awful offal. The next surprise was finding Minehan in Jack’s bed back at the frosh dorms. Jill had put a note on the door to warn us. They had rescued him from the boy corridor’s second all night drinking bout. David was the first one to pass out.

Jack stopped me from kicking him out, explaining we never used that bed anyway. A full night of hetero dating had spiked my testosterone. I relented and we quickly regained our homo hormonal balance. Again I awoke to David sitting up in Jack’s bed and watching us. Jack ran naked to a window Tim 138and threw up on the flower beds below.  Minehan groaned and pulled the covers over his head.

Breakfast in commons relieved the hangovers and revived our energy. I executed the surest way to get a high schooler to go home by insisting we all had to make morning mass at St Paul’s. Climbing under the covers didn’t work this time. He relented, thinking it was a bluff. After all three of us attended, he promptly left for home. Jill stuck her head in, asking how we got rid of him.

“Mass,” Jack answered.

She laughed. “You boys amaze me.” Tim 234

Troy came by in the afternoon We suggested he should attend mass to fix his still raging hangover. He looked at us, finally laughing when he decided we were putting him on. We swore we had gone in the morning. He had an invitation for us to meet the Harvard Lampoon hvd1_065 editors before their weekly staff meeting that night. He was a staff writer and claimed he had been duly impressed with our exploits that weekend. I figured he was hoping to insure more free drinks on Saturday nights at Rahar’s. Joining exclusive clubs was Jack secret joy and ambition at Harvard. I was just along for the ride.

We ran up to three and informed our female posse of the invitation to join the Lampoon.

“Perfect for you, Tim,”  Jill dissected the opportunity. “I think, Jack, you’re more of a Hasty Pudding type.”

I remarked, “We’re more into creme Brule.”

Jack thought about it. “Well, we could do both. Tim and I are a team.”

“First, let’s see if they want us,” I suggested.

“No,” said Jill, “You have to approach them. They don’t recruit. I’m surprised that the Lampoon is reaching out. Did you have to blow somebody?”

“Jill!” we both objected, while the other girls giggled at our discomfort. “We did get free drinks at Rehar’s last night for the writer who recommended us.”

“Just as good as a blowjob and more antiseptic,” Jill was on a roll. “I don’t see any girls on the staff.”

“Oh, Jill,” Jack put on the charm. “Even though you’re ‘just’ ‘Cliffies, you live at Harvard and take your classes here. We’ll recommend you once we get in. How can they refuse?”

They all rolled their eyes. Separate but equal was not just a civil rights rant.

Jack was in a frenzy about what to wear to our interview. I suggested we reprise our plastic garbage bags.

“I see us as representing the plastic people.”

“Grow up. These are preppies. We have to wear J Crew. j-crew You can borrow mine.”

“How about we not change at all and pretend we’re not impressed that they choose us to be their intern slaves?”

“This is important, Tim,” he pleaded.

“Okay, but no J Crew. We’ll go to the Coop and buy Harvard gear, like we’re all rah rah.”

“Polos, not tees,” he insisted.

Jace had been sitting on our bed, laughing at us. He stripped naked and pranced around. Jack lost his shit, yelling at both of us that we’d never make it at Harvard. Jace and I looked at each other and burst out laughing.

“Who cares,” I commented.

Jack collapsed and started sobbing. “No one cares what I want.”

“When did you ever not get exactly what you want?” I argued.

“Oh Tim, I just want you to want what I want. Wear whatever but try to sound like you want to be on the Lampoon.”

“Okay. Okay,” I complied.

A head popped up from the other side of Jack’s bed. Tim 491 Minehan was still in our room.

“You our new roommate?” I asked.

“Yeah. I’m ready for college. Can I come to the interview? We can do that song I wrote about the Rat.”

“About the fags who adopted you?”

“I’m not sure that yer really fags now that I know ya. All you do is hang around girls.”

“That’s what fags do, in case you never met one before.”

“Ain’t no fags in Waltham.”

“That’s what you think. And, watch yerself. Tim will twang his magic twanger. You’ll be sucking dick and loving it.”

“Ew, no way.”

“Don’t you have homework for school tomorrow?”

“Monday’s skip day. Let me come with.”

“Go hang out on three with the girls. We’re a bad influence on you.”

“They hate me. Let me come as yer fan club.”

“Jesus, we’ll never be accepted on campus. Our only friends are girls and a high school kid,” Jack was depressing himself.

“Stop being so hard on yourself. The only time we make a good impression is when we’re ourselves,” I argued.

“I give up. If Hasty Pudding calls, only I can go. All you do is sabotage me.”

David leaped up and tackled Jack. I held him down while David gave him a pink belly.  Tim 562 Neither of us got aroused, which made everything better.

“Can I stay now?” Minehan asked.

“Yeah. You’re okay,” we agreed.

“Go take a shower. You stink. I’ll find some preppy clothes for you to wear to the interview.”

“Me, too?” I asked, giving into his fashion dictates.

David was skittish about showering together, but there were separate stalls. Tim 422 Soon he was singing the song about his fag friends at the Rat with the water mostly drowning him out.

When the three of us showed up, it caused some confusion for the staff. They had wanted to interview us separately but the weekly meeting was to start shortly. They took us into the office as a group.

“And who are you?” they asked David.

“David Minehan. I’m a day student. I live at home in Waltham.”

“Can’t afford room and board?” he was snarkily asked.

“Can’t give up Mom’s cooking,” he shot right back.

“Okay. Well, what have you written in the past?” they asked all of us.

“I rewrote Shakespeare’s ‘Mid Summer’s Night Dream’, making it a musical comedy,” I stated. midsummernightsdream

“I was dungeon master for my D&D crew and rewrote the entire rule book,” the nerd responded.

“I wrote this song about these fags,” David laughed, standing up and singing our rap ditty from the Rat. Jack and I joined him.

Went to the Rat

Stuck at the door

There I sat

Lonely and bored.

Out came two fags

Kissing and such

I just had to rag

They didn’t care much

They bought me a beer

Five beauties appeared

Made me their pet

I’ll get some yet.’

 

“We don’t call our friends names like that,” one of the editors looked insulted.

“They’re not my friends. I just let them molest me.”

Jack and I overacted, looking stunned and shaking our heads in denial.

Everyone laughed, except for the gay editor.

“I suppose you believe you can start out being writers right from the start,” the editor-in-Chief, Kurt Andersen,tim-667 commenced the hazing.

“Oh no, we want to be foreign correspondents.”

“And from what country do you plan to report from?”

“We already are local residents of South Boston. We’ll report from Kenmore Square. Our byline is ‘Rat News.”

David couldn’t stop laughing.

“What would anyone from Harvard want to know about Boston.”

“Like Friday, five ‘Cliffies got drunk and were harassing the Townies.”

The editorial staff looked at each other. This was news to them.

“How did you find out they were from Radcliffe?”

“I was singing on stage,” Minehan bragged. tim-663

“They live with us in Mower,” Jack added.

“Okay,” the editor admitted. “You can be foreign correspondents, reporting from across the Charles River.

“Love that dirty water, Oh Boston, you’re my home.” We all sang.

“You want to be on staff, stick around for the staff meeting,” Kurt gave up trying to intimidate us. “And no complaining about your intern duties.”

Minehan jumped up and down. He was now a real Harvardite. He rushed out of the office and started introducing himself to the regular staffers who were waiting to go in for the meeting.

“How old are you, kid?” he was asked.

“Eighteen,” he lied.

After our successful interview, the upperclassmen tried to make us run errands for them. After being interns all summer, we deflected their requests. “We’re doing something for Kurt. Sorry.”

With our acceptance onto the Lampoon staff, we celebrated at the local pizza place near Harvard Square with the girls plus Minehan. They laughed at his claim to now be enrolled at Harvard as a staff member on the Lampoon.

“Why didn’t you ask us to the interview?” Jill was miffed.

“We didn’t ask Minehan. He just insisted on coming along. We all sang the fag song and passed the interview.

“He needs to be in high school,” Jill demanded. Tim 543

“You keep rescuing him and putting him in Jack’s bed. What are we ‘sposed ta do?” I asked.

“Make him go home.”

I turned to David. “You havta go home tonight, after pizza. And go to school tomorrow.”

“Can I go to class with you guys?”

“No,” everyone yelled.

“Okay, I know when I’m not wanted,” he sulked.

The girls melted at his Irish guilt trip. “We love you, David.”

“Yeah, but I’m too young, right?” Tim 640

They got up and pushed him out the door, each giving him a kiss. He beamed, and then turned around and blew two kisses in our direction. What a ham. We all walked him to the T stop in Harvard Square, waiting until he had gone through the turnstile. We returned to Pinocchio’s and finished our pizza. It was quite good, even by Sorrento’s standards. Everyone called it ‘Noch’s. tim-735