Plastic People – Chapter 9

Our week of Cabaret with Elton John at the Troubadour finishes up with over-sold shows. Tony is letting fans in at the back door for $100. No matter how persuasively we argue with Marty, we stay fired from our internships on ‘New York, New York.’ ny-ny-poster_01 At least the movie’s new title and Nina’s song are retained. Liza and Bobby fly back in time to begin the next phase of filming with a revised script. We squawk that the Astaire and Rogers dance routine is stolen from us, but at least he keeps it in the finished version. Despite our efforts, the film misses its box office numbers and is considered another Scorsese bomb. We avoid Marty for a time in order to not remind him how we jinxed him twice. The word is he’s depressed and doing drugs.tim-743 We may have had a hand in his temporary demise. Like all good American stories, he has a strong second act starting with Raging Bull, raging-bull-1980 again De Niro to the rescue. Bronx to the core.

The Lear leaves us in Ames, so I can prepare for Harvard.harvard_crimson I need to say goodbye to all my friends. Jack stays with me, too. He has Isabelle to pack his undies in New York. Mom and Molly missed me all summer, while the twins revel in our return, driving us all over Ames to see friends and frenemies. ‘Gator is in pre-season with the State football team. I can see that the weight training has really bulked him up. He is a monster Tim 362 on the gridiron. I laugh when he challenges me to another arm wrestling match. I’m even more of a wimpy musician than before. His posse has followed him to State. They mostly miss the cut for making the team and are now reduced to hanger-on status. Surprisingly, Noah made the team. I guess all that running around as Bunny the horse’s ass  has toughened him up. He winks when he sees me. I still wonder if it means anything. Jocks aren’t subtle but he is proving to be the exception to the rules – to all the rules. The moms throw us a farewell dinner and the old gang returned to Hyland House. We just order 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 doesn’t live up to its memory. It seems like it is mostly takeout for the greatly enlarged State student population. They have half a dozen delivery guys. The Pit has learned you need to change to survive. – ed.

I insist 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 drive us to Des Moines to catch the transcontinental Amtrak. We make the twins promise to come visit us in Boston for a college football weekend. They know all about ‘The Game,’ between Harvard and Yale in November. We have a small sleeping compartment, called a Pullman. Amtrak is tacky, dingy and threadbare. I like our farewell at the station but am ready to get off and fly when we change in Chicago. Jack refuses to switch, promising night-long sex in the Pullman. Instead, we buy hair bleach and turned our slightly grown out skinheads into white towheads Tim 538 by the time we get to Boston. We tell our fellow freshmen we’ve been surfing all summer in Malibu. No one believes us, as we lacked real tans. We promised each other to stop lying about ourselves. Already the guys in our dorm wonder how we can be so close, me from Iowa and Jack from NYC, having supposedly just met. The liberal bastion of Harvard is not a place to be openly gay. The Ivy League has its standards. We pretend we are just getting to know each other as new roommates. There are several other freshmen who are friendly and constantly hang out in our room. We challenge them to show some musical talent It usually means they sing college football fight songs. Have they forgotten rock n roll. Cambridge is still known for its folk scene, but it lacks local heroes. We discover a club across the river in Boston’s Kenmore Square.  The Red Sox are having a good year, after last season’s World Series. The rock club is around the corner from Fenway Park, a bar called the Rathskeller,rathskeller05 which we quickly shorten to the Rat. They have local bands and occasional New York celebrities like the Ramones play in the basement. There is a walk-up to the street where we sit and harass the baseball fans streaming from the T to the ballpark. Some actually come in after the game, all pumped about their team’s winning ways. We love that the catcher is called Pudge, whom we rename Pudge Packer. That is enough to start fights with the diehards. Everyone likes 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 learn is to avoid letting the locals, called Townies and Southies, know we are Harvard students.

The idea that college is a place to grow up reinforces my observation that most students are socially retarded. We spend class time being lectured by professors and graduate students who see themselves as archly humorous. They parade out their tics and eccentricities as endearing expressions of their superiority over regular people. It is too easy to snidely puncture their self-aggrandizing. Most of the friends I make in class see me as a crass cynic of all things Harvard. The polite term was contrarian, which I dispute as too cranky, like an old curmudgeon, a stereotype I see in certain professors. A few weeks into the semester, I receive graded papers that remark that my ideas do not reflect the thinking of the class. I failed to parrot back the teacher’s ideas and premises. Original thought automatically drops my grade a full letter. Jack, of course, is the star of charm and receives the highest marks for regurgitating the lectures he studiously records in his extensive class notes. He offers to share these notes when his papers receive ‘A’s’ and mine are ‘C-‘ or worse.

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

“Oh, Tim. You’re such a Townie.”

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

The problem with the Rat is a lack of new local bands. There were so many stadium rock wannabees who see Boston-based rockers like Stephen Tyler and Joe Perry as examples of how to make it in the music business. Swagger is everything in projecting their rock stardom.  They forget you have to play music to be in a band. Aping their heroes, like J Geils Band or even worse, Boston, is about all they could manage, swinging their big hair around like they are really into it. The big Boston music scene excitement is the release of The Modern Lovers’ first album. modern-lovers Ironic because the band has already broken up. The Rat crowd disdain the band for its Harvard roots. Jonathan Richman sounds like a folkie and dresses like a Mod. He was disrespected because he spends his time in New York, as a Lou Reed groupie, and in LA. Just my type of guy, until I find out that Joan Jett’s producer, Kim Fowley, was also his producer. All this scene gossip comes 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 tries to make me a more serious student, to better fit in with the whole college scene. We agree to keep our visits to The Rat as a secret vice, only indulged occasionally on a week night. As proper Harvardites we are expected to study hard all week and let loose on the weekends, with football the focus of the social scene. We try out for the Harvard Marching Band, telling the Director we  played with Iowa State’s band as an electric spirit section. We’re informed that the Harvard Band plays real instruments and doesn’t do ‘electric.’

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

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

“See,” Jack admonishes 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 are disappointed to not make the Harvard Marching Band. We decide to form our own Harvard Sitting Band, recruiting anyone we can find to jam on guitars in our room. When we add drums, the resident advisor advises us we were making too much noise. He tells us we can play in the House basement. We move down to the boiler room and retaliate by turning the amps up as loud as possible. Our friends report ghost-like, muffled wailing seeping through the entire House’s thick 19th century brick walls. Jack’s ‘soc’ friends abandon us, while my misfits find the boiler room a congenial atmosphere, mostly for smoking pot. Without Robby to strong-arm me, I seldom smoke. My pot-head days seem over. The music we play is unlike any of the bands we’ve been in. We are more introspective and self-involved, not Southern Blues, but more industrial, grinding dirges. Jack buys a MOOG, moog which keeps us moody and futuristic. We start dressing like aliens. One night we go to the Rat, dressed in plastic trash bags. It was a particularly rowdy band that night. We take 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 reports us, resulting in a trip to the Dean’s office. We bring in the ripped outfits to show we had started out fully dressed. Circumstances caused our undressing. The Dean seems more interested in a description of our gay underwear. We tell him to contact Felix at Out & Proud in Miami for a catalog. Speechless for a moment, he dismisses us with a speech that basically says ‘don’t be so gay.”

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

Jack grabs me and we depart.

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

“Well, sorta,” I shrug.

Jack remonstrated that I need to use proper speech. That hurts, Jack as tutor.

Harvard is slowly going co-ed. There are girls in our dorm. We can take classes at Radcliffe. I sign us up for an 19th Century English romance novel course. I call it ‘Heathcliffe at Radcliffe.’ We dress up as the Bronte sisters tim-772 and fit right in, until someone realizes we are boys. We’re kicked out for being perverts. How fun.

It all comes to a head in our religion class. The professor is one of those ‘God is Dead’ types who teaches the bible as literature. Jace has been attending with us, as he wis perplexed about the afterlife. We discuss my tripping on belladonna and how he’d been brought back from the dead by the Guardian. tim-822 He’s unsure if his current state is considered afterlife. I suggest it be called between life. I’m not so sure if when we both die that the spirit world will be called an afterlife or just the end of life as we know it. It seems like something that requires psychedelics to pursue. I need Robby to take the lead. Jace find the professor irrelevant to our concerns. Being bored, he floats around the room, playing subtle tricks with the lights and heat. His antics catch the attention of other inattentive students. I call it flea behavior and warn him that someone is going to swat him. He finds the idea amusing, wondering if he will feel swats from a person attuned enough to sense him.  All these thoughts are tied up with his insecurity that we’ll be separated after death.

The class is held in a lecture hall, like most of my classes, large with little interaction between students and the instructor. The professor is going off curriculum by discussing his belief, based upon the scientific method, that there is no spirit world. He feels all avant-garde to be saying so at a college founded in the 17th century to teach theology. He goes 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 is tugging on my sleeve to keep me from raising my hand. Suddenly we are the center of attention in a group of 500 freshmen. Once I get my hand up, several other hands pop 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 is 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 laughs at what they believe is 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 patronizes me.

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

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

Jack stands but is speechless. 10 I have 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 is laughing as we mock the prof. Jace adds insult to injury by rushing around the lecture hall, opening and closing windows and turning the lights off and on. Finally, he takes the prof’s notes and scatters them into the air. Jack grabs me and rushes us out of the lecture hall, Jace follows, looking quite chagrined.

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

“That teacher is 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 have followed us into the hall, surrounding us as we argue.

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

I hug him, but it makes him uncomfortable in front of other students.Tim 575

“Someone asks, “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.”

“Maybe 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 jokes.

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

“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 pleads. “You’re the only boys who treat us as normal in the dorm.”Tim 557 She is one of the Radcliffe students who lives 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 assert. “But having to lie that I’m a Southie Irish dropout to make friends in Boston seems hypocritical.”

“You can’t leave,” several kids cry.

The situation escalates when the Dean shows up with our religion professor. We are escorted to his office, seated in the waiting room, while the professor relates 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 doesn’t bother to hear our side of the incident.

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

“What?” he is 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. My point is I am not learning here. I think you owe my dad his tuition back.”

Jack steps 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 backs down.

“Probably some MIT students did it to mock us,” Jack has 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 are dismissed. Outside the Dean’s office a small group of our classmates are waiting to hear the verdict.

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

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

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

Off we go to the boiler room for an impromptu performance by the Sitting Band. Jack wants to ban the pot smokers. He worries that we’re inciting our own expulsion.

We set up the guitars and play 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 is bereft about our warning from the Dean. I’m tempted to dismiss his worrying to a nerdy need to fit in. I know he is concerned about our personal relationship as well. I do my best to comfort him.

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

“I’ll always be a townie at heart. I love we’ve 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 has worn me down. We decide to get away for the weekend. The football game was not in Cambridge this weekend.

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

There is a ride sharing board that lists drivers willing to take students to various girls’ colleges in New England. You only need to share the gas expense. Jack bemoans that freshmen aren’t allowed to have cars. I point out that this was the first time we even need a car. We find someone going to Northampton. The driver says he can arrange dates for us on Saturday night. We’ll drive back after wild blind dates that ended with the girls’ ten pm curfews. Troy is a junior and seriously dating a Smithie. He promises us ‘hot’ dates.

Jack is about to announce we are gay but I cut him off. Tim 45 “We need to experience normal college life,” I whisper.

We finish the week without further classroom interruptions. We study on Friday night at Widener Library, doing all our class assignments for Monday. Returning to the dorm, it is obvious we missed out on everyone getting drunk. The steps to Mower House stink of vomit. Guys we barely knew come running up, saying we were righteous dudes, in honor of our surfer haircuts. Jack looks distressed, worrying our road trip would be more excessive drinking. I drag him to safety on the girls’ floor, knocking on Jill’s door. She had said we were the only boys who treat her like a real person. Her roommate says 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 is his gracious sycophant self.

She looks surprised and smiles.

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

They are surprised to find that we’re boys.Tim 260

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

Jill jumps 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 crows.

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

Jack can’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 jump in with Jack. The girls love our duet.Tim 578

“I told you,” Jill crows. “And they also are cute,”  as if that was debatable.

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

“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 is our shill.

We just shrug.

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

They giggle.

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

“Footballers, definitely not.”

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

“Ew,” they scream.

“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 surmise, 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 complains.

“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 surmise.

They all giggle.

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

“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 notices.

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

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

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

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

We keep acting out Cabaret as we walk down the stairs into the Rat. We introduc the girls who strut past the bouncer. We all went in without paying the cover charge.

The girls are less anxious and ready for anything.

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

Now they look 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 takes drink orders, while I guard our harem. As predicted the Townies are shy and just stare. Tim 574

Never shy, I guide the girls over to locals with whom I’ve been friendly. No introductions are needed. I explain that I had dared the girls to come to the Rat. The Townies need nothing more in order to step up and beat their chests about the glories of the place. Jack arrives with drinks, sending me back for the cups he couldn’t manage in the first trip from the bar. I doubt that his charm will succeed in keeping the Townies at bay. Feminism will 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 return and discovered I had one extra cup of beer. I head straight for the lady’s room, where the most innocent girl is refusing to escort the most aggressive Southie into the bathroom.

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

“Oh, thank you,” she barely whispers.

“Thanks a lot, bud. Where’s mine?”

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

He snorts and goes back to search for other prey.Tim 409

“Thank you,” she gasps. “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 corners me.

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

“Oh,” she contemplates how all her life she’s aspired to be at Harvard. The concept of it being a handicap is 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 lives 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 am his 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 leans over and kisses me. We are back with the group. All the locals whistle at the kiss. The other girls grab her and ran to the bathroom to compare notes. The lech that had tried to drag her into a stall looks disgusted. I picked up a penchant for making enemies in juvie.

“Learn anything?” I kid 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 lead him to the bar. I wink at Jack, who is just watching me.

When I get back, he’s up on the stoop to Commonwealth Ave.

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

“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 gives me a quick kiss as I lean over him. The boy behind us gasps.

“You guys are fags.” he blurts out. tim-659

“Do we look like English cigarettes?”

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

“Thanks. What’s your name?”

“David. I’m from Waltham.”

“You make watches,” Jack tries 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.”

“Then why’s ya hangin’ out?”

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

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

“You’re fags like all Hahvahd boys.”

We all laugh.

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

“Cool.”

We walk up to the bouncer. Jack slips him a ten and asks nicely to let David in with us.

“No drinking,” we are warned.

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

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

A local band gets up and surveyed the crowd.

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

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

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

“That what everyone says,” I laugh.

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

The girls rush up and stand in front of the six-inch stage in the basement of the Rathskeller. The band is inspired, rushing through their songs. The beer has liberated the co-eds, who dance and yell at the band. Exposing their Aerosmith roots, the locals play ‘Walk this Way.’

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

The band exits to whatever serves as a green room. Minehan refuses to give up the stage.

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

He tries to punch us but falls down. img938 “Two Beer David,” we rename him. “Two is too much.” The bouncer is right.

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

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

He’s in a stupor while all eight of us ride back to Harvard Square in a cab. The cabbie says we’ll pay double if he pukes. Jill offers him her purse in case he can’t help himself. He is fine. Teenage drunk is more a state of mind than a blood alcohol level.

At the Yard gate, the guard recognizes us, remarking that at least we have our clothes on this night. He lets David in with our explanation about the state he’s in. We can’t abandon him. I tell the guard that David is a Minehan.

“Yer a good Mick,” I tell him.

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

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

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

We tuck David into Jack’s bed. He’d been out on his feet for some time. The girls all kiss us goodnight, even kissing David, which I consider sexual assault as he is totally unconscious. No way he can give consent to be kissed. He does murmur something and smiles.

In the morning, he is sitting up watching us sleep.  Tim 461 I know he’s about to comment on our sexuality.

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

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

“Rock n roll never wakes up this early.”

We drag ourselves down to commons to eat. His appetite is just like his need for alcohol. Luckily it’s unlimited porridge that morning. The girls come in together, surprised we’re up so early.

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

As some of our corridor mates wander in, they scowl at us sitting with five cute co-eds. Maybe they’re just hung-over.

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

David strums a few leads and starts 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 scream and throw various found objects at him.

“Ew, we thought you were nice.”

“We don’t need a pet.”

Minehan grabs his junk and makes rude gestures. Tim 427  Jack starts playing ‘Walk This Way.’ The girls start vogueing and posing in the boiler room. Tim 296 David does his best Steven Tyler imitation. Tim 616

This goes on for a while. Apparently we woke up all of Mower House, as grumpy, disheveled students of all persuasions come wandering in. We make up limericks for each one. David knows all these  lame ones which he turns 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 get up, thinking we are karaoke machines, and happy as we play their favorite rock songs so they can make fools of themselves. It quickly devolves into chaos. We all go up to the third floor to hang out with the girls. David is exhilarated from performing. He’s a natural. I recommend that he find friends who want to play with him and start his own band. He totally gets the playing from the heart bit but seemed immune to Jace’s attempts to touch him. Perhaps he worries one of us is making moves on him. Jace signs that almost everyone in New England seems shut off from sensing him. I guess if you were a Red Sox fan through all the dry years, trusting anyone is hard. Despite ‘Pudge’ Fisk’s heroics, the Sox lost the final game of the ’75 World Series. Anyway, Minehan seems to be in touch with his own music. He needs little instruction. We tell him all about our times as ‘False Gods’ playing parties, frats, road houses, storefront churches, and seedy clubs. He is raring to go. We tell  him to go back to Waltham and get his friends in the neighborhood to back him up. We promise to see him at the Rat next weekend. He promises to not drink so much.

It is time for our road trip to Smith. I hope that Joey will be working at Rahar’s that night. Jill offers to come with, to protect us from all the lesbians. Cathy Christina Smith has a reputation. We know she is a bit jealous. We promise 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 kid her.

“Ew, not my scene.”

“You seem to know all about it.”

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

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

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

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

“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 has our number.

“Just warnings so far,” I correct 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 joke.

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

We all plan to meet at Rahar’s, for the ride back to Cambridge. Troy’s date, Venus, is friendly. She introduces us to our dates, Trudie and Joan, sticking around to make sure no one backs out at first sight. Jack takes the lead with his charm offensive. We keep it casual, not pairing off right away. Venus gives us a stamp of approval.

I suggest we go for a long walk to casually get to know each other. The girls are also roommates. We all had that in common to talk about. Trudie has a strong East Coast accent. Jack thinks it’s funny to mimic her, claiming to be a New York City resident. I claim Iowa, which goes over like a lead balloon. I suppress my good ol’ boy persona, getting winks of approval from Jack.

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

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

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

Jack gives them both an appraising look. Mummy has 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 gush, pleased to take Jack’s fashion advice.

They ask about our summer jobs. They want 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 replies. “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 asks 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 stays away from the details.

“How did you get to be such good friends?” Trudie’s inquisition is 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 asks.

I look around and see we’re walking along a path, overlooking a lake and surrounded by trees. Tim 156 I know the perfect song.

“Well, we have to get into our band costumes. Don’t look while we change,” I instruct the girls who sit on the grass by the path. They put their hands over their eyes. I can tell that Trudie is peeking. I whispered ‘Barefoot Boy” to Jack. He giggles as we take our sneakers off.

“Okay to look now,” I announce. They don’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 do the monkey shines for the girls and then jump into the lower branches of the nearest tree.

We swing 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 jump down Tim 108 and pull the girls to their feet, repeating the chorus, while mimicking monkeys. They just laugh at us, until we give up trying to get them to do the monkeyshines too.

“You want to give up Harvard to do that?” Trudie mocks 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. They swore revenge the next night. We had to hire them as security when we played a stadium gig.”

“People in Miami like 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 explain. “The cops told him I was out of control. He let them lock me up.”

“That why you went to your mom’s?”

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

They giggle. “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 confesses.

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

The girls are eating out of our hands. They sway and bob their heads as I sing and Jack plays. Harmonica is just another surprise from Jack, the little nerd.

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

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

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

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

“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 explain. “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 decides.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a new Joey, more garrulous and less circumspect. I worry he’s 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 tells the bar tender to continue to comp our drinks. Troy and Venus take this generosity to get totally drunk. I know I’ll be driving back to Cambridge. Troy willingly hands over his keys. Jack is confused by the middle class concept of free drinks and freely indulges. Our ‘dates’ know better, especially Joan who is only 17. Troy gets us up dancing to the jukebox under the premise that any exercise burns off excessive alcohol. When the bands start playing, we’re already warmed up. We make it easy for the other patrons to get up and boogie.

At the end, Joey pulls 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 Uncle Bert, come ta collect me.”

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

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

We get the girls back to the dorm way past their curfew. The battle-ax house-mother lectures us on being more responsible. Tim 580 We aren’t the first college students to hear that speech. We solemnly nod and wave good night to the girls. Joan and Trudie run back outside and give us big kisses, along with their telephone numbers. Jack is swapping tongue with Joan while I’m more respectful with Trudie. I’m conflicted on double dating with my boyfriend. There has to be an ethical dilemma there. Drinking makes it seem less hypocritical.

Driving back, Troy sacks out in the Dart’s back seat. Jack collapses against my shoulder, ending up with his head in my lap.Tim 118 When I get hard, he murmurs, “How nice,” but is sound asleep before I can do anything. I have to stop at an all-night gas station to get a map to find the way back to Cambridge. I wake up Troy who shows me where to park the Dart. We get him to his dorm, thanking him for a successful road trip. He responds 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 is finding Minehan in Jack’s bed back at the frosh dorm. Jill has put a note on the door to warn us. They rescued him from the boy corridor’s second all night drinking bout. David is the first one to pass out.

Jack stops me from kicking him out, explaining we never use that bed anyway. A full night of hetero dating has spiked my testosterone. I relent, as we quickly regain our homo hormonal balance. Again I awake to David sitting up in Jack’s bed and watching us. Jack runs naked to a window Tim 138and throws up on the flower beds below.  Minehan groans and pulls the covers over his head.

Breakfast in commons relieves the hangovers and revived our energy. I execute the surest plan to get a high schooler to go home by insisting we all have to make morning mass at St Paul’s. Climbing under the covers doesn’t work this time. He relents, thinking it’s a bluff. After all three of us attend, he promptly leaves for home. Jill sticks her head in, asking how we got rid of him.

“Mass,” Jack answers.

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

Troy comes by in the afternoon We suggest he attend evening mass to fix his still raging hangover. He looks at us, finally laughing when he decides we are putting him on. We swear we went in the morning. He has an invitation for us to meet the Harvard Lampoon hvd1_065 editors before their weekly staff meeting that night. He is a staff writer and claims he was duly impressed with our exploits that weekend. I figure he is hoping to insure more free drinks on Saturday nights at Rahar’s. Joining exclusive clubs is Jack’s secret joy and ambition at Harvard. I’m just along for the ride.

We run up to three and inform our female posse of the invitation to join the Lampoon.

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

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

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

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

“No,” says 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 object, while the other girls giggle 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 is on a roll. “I don’t see any girls on the staff.”

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

They all roll their eyes. Separate but equal is not just a civil rights rant.

Jack is in a frenzy about what to wear to our interview. I suggest 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.  You can borrow mine.”j-crew

“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 pleads.

“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 insists.

Jace had been sitting on our bed, laughing at us. He strips naked and prances around. Jack loses his shit, yelling at both of us that we’ll never make it at Harvard. Jace and I look at each other and burst out laughing.

“Who cares,” I comment.

Jack collapses and starts sobbing. “No one cares what I want.”

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

“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 comply.

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

“You our new roommate?” I ask.

“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 is depressing himself.

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

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

David leaps up and tackles Jack. I hold him down while David gives him a pink belly.  Tim 562 Neither of us gets aroused, which makes everything better.

“Can I stay now?” Minehan asks.

“Yeah. You’re okay,” we agree.

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

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

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

When the three of us show up, it cause some confusion for the staff. They wanted to interview us separately but the weekly staff meeting is to start shortly. They take us all into the editor’s office as a group.

“And who are you?” they ask David.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I wrote this song about these fags,” David laughs, standing up and singing our rap ditty from the Rat. Jack and I join 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 looks insulted.

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

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

Everyone laughs, 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 commences 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 can’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 look at each other. This is news to them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minehan jumps up and down. He is now a real Harvardite. He rushes out of the office and starts introducing himself to the regular staffers who are waiting for the meeting to start.

“How old are you, kid?” he is asked.

“Eighteen,” he lies.

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

With our acceptance onto the Lampoon staff, we celebrate at the local pizza place near Harvard Square with the girls plus Minehan. They laugh 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 is miffed.

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

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

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

“Make him go home.”

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

“Can I go to class with you guys?”

“No,” everyone yells.

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

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

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

They get up and push him out the door, each giving him a kiss. He beams, and then turns around and blows two kisses in our direction. What a ham. We all walk him to the T stop in Harvard Square, waiting until he goes through the turnstile. We return to Pinocchio’s and finished our pizza. It’s quite good, even by Sorrento’s standards. Everyone calls it ‘Noches. tim-735