The Teen Jesus Motto is to be open and loving. Getting Jack and Robby into Jack’s Cabriolet for the trip to Hollywood is only the first obstacle on the road to getting the word out that Teen Jesus is the Second Coming. Jack rightly blames Robby for his expulsion from Harvard. Blame is not a word in Robby’s vocabulary. Robby is stymied in reclaiming his dominance of the Coral Gables junior high pot trade from Dave. With no stash and no cash, Robby is operating from a position of no product. His only selling point is his reputation for providing free joints to his buyers when they visit his bedroom. Dave is your traditional dealer, no cash no sale. His older brothers are the strong-arm in this operation. Many a junior high pothead is reduced to slipping twenties out of their parents’ purses and wallets to meet the demands of the Shanahan brothers after being fronted an O.Z. without the means to pay up when the bill comes due. These 14-year-olds dream of the good old days of kicking back and sharing a joint in Robby’s bedroom. Wishful thinking never solves a kid’s dream of free pot. Robby’s pleas to share the riches with Dave fall on deaf ears. Surreptitious surveillance of Dave’s house is thwarted by the guard dog that the older brothers install there. Where is Max when you need him?
Michael tries to get Robby to pursue a new career. To Robby that means dealing harder drugs. PCP is a recent addition to the recreational drug trade. The Miami connection is willing to front dealers with a stern warning that payment must be made at the end of the week. As a result, the supply exceeds the buyers. Robby’s try-it-you’ll-like-it sales technique backfires on him.
“This shit smells like formaldehyde,” Mary’s boyfriend Ned complains. “That’s what they shoot you up with after you’re dead.”
After that image percolates among all his customers, the default reaction after smoking PCP is to become a zombie,aimlessly wandering around and bumping into everyone. Robby is so desperate to create sales that he fronts a small quantity to Jazz. Jazz immediately violates the cardinal dealer rule, ‘don’t get high on your own supply.’ On his first sales attempt, the buyer rips off Jazz after he gets so confused about the transaction that he hands over all his stash and gives the buyer back all his money as change. Jazz becomes so upset, he turns himself into Emergency at Mercy Hospital. They lock him in the padded room. Dave’s older brother is able to get him released without being arrested himself.
Another time, Robby gets Jack to drive him to his PCP dealer’s house, telling Jack the guy wants Robby to play drums in his band. Jack’s inexperienced driving skills gets them pulled over by the police. Robby hides the stash and a .38 revolver under the front seat of the Cabriolet and pretends he is a normal teenager. Jack is so nervous and upset that the cop makes him pass a sobriety test.
“Cool, Jack,” Robby compliments him on not blowing the test. “You kept your head.”
Jack drives two blocks and kicks Robby out of his car.
Once Jack gets home, he realizes the drugs and gun are still under the passenger seat of the Cabriolet. He calms down enough not to destroy the evidence. He calls Robby who has walked home and tells him to come get his contraband. The Cabriolet is parked unlocked on the street in front of the Stone mansion.
The next incident involves Robby and a shootout in Hialeah with the PCP dealer. Robby stays underground at Ned and Mary’s off-campus apartment. That is not a stable situation with Robby blaming Ned for stealing his girlfriend. Robby comes to Jack’s, begging to stay there.
A week later the situation has escalated with Hialeah gangsters cruising the Gables looking for Robby. Jack is desperate to evict the unwanted dealer from his house. He convinces his father to get him a job working with Edgar Bronfman Jr’s record label in Hollywood. Daddy refuses to bankroll Jack’s move to LA. Jack meets with Jay and convinces Mike Antonio that since he never uses any of the college trust funds the band earned, he should be funded for his ‘internship’ at Universal Music. Jack is given $1000 traveling money and promised three months living expenses once he is working in LA. Somehow Robby finds out about the plans. Jack packs the Cabriolet the night before he is to leave.
“I’m leaving tomorrow,” Jack announces to Robby. “You have to move out.”
“Fine,” Robby doesn’t complain.
The next morning, Jack is tooling up I-95, toward to Fort Lauderdale, when Robby pops up in the back seat.
“Fuck,” Jack exclaims. “No way. You’re not coming with me.”
“Why not? You need someone with balls to make it in Hollywood. Tim’s dead. Remember?”
“You asshole. You ruin everything. I’m stopping and letting you off here. You can take the bus back.”
“I can’t go back. They’ll kill me.”
Jack pulls off on the Route 441/Alligator Alley exit in Davie.
“Get out,” Jack orders.
“Let’s go to the camp where Tim stayed in the Everglades. Maybe we can get high and I can stay there.”
Against his better judgment, Jack takes the local highway.
“Vic said it’s just north on Route 27,” Robby is navigating.
The Cabriolet is a hit at the Sawgrass Campground. None of the hippies’ vehicles are newer than early sixties VW buses. Most are run down American post-war junkers, built to last three years and break down from scheduled obsolescence.
“Where’s Vic’s place?” Jack asks a shoeless kid.
“Are you Tom’s friends?”
Jack knows he’s in hell again.
“I’m one of Tom’s boyfriends,” Robby lies.
The kid looks horrified but points out Vic’s Airstream. The old Ford F-50 is parked in front.
Vic is pleased to see them, knowing they’re both friends of Tim.
“How’s that old Hillbilly Brother?” Vic asks.
“You don’t know he died?” Robby breaks the news.
“Y’all don’t git out much, do ya?” Robby laughs. “We’s driving to LA to keep Tim’s legend alive.”
“I knew that boy’d be a legend,” Vic’s on board. “Ya come to remember him here. He was quite popular, him and Tom on a Alligator Alley Ad-venture last summer. Y’all wanna git high?’
“Does the Pope shit in the trees?”
They follow Vic into his trailer and soon Jack is more concerned with satisfying his hormones than getting rid of Robby. Vic has finally found a willing participant in the corrupting of the rich Coral Gables boys. While Vic soon has him in the bedroom, Robby makes use of the time to relieve Vic of most of his supply of dirt weed. Things are looking up.
After sex and Vic’s specialty of rice and beans, everyone gathers for a singalong. It lasts until the sun goes down. After we play ‘All the Young Dudes,’
Vic becomes anxious to continue his exploration of the gay life and insists that the two boys spend the night. Robby offers to join in but is rebuffed by Jack. Vic isn’t quite ready for three-ways.
In the morning, Jack is anxious to leave. The first day of the road logged less than a hundred miles.
“You let Vic know that you’re staying?” Jack attempts a reasonable getaway from Robby.
“I cain’t,” he holds up the full baggie of dirt weed.
“You ripped Vic off ?” Jack is somewhat still credulous about his traveling companion.
“He don’t know yet. We need to make our getaway soon.”
“You’re such an asshole,” Jack is indignant.
“You’ve always known that.”
“You’re staying here. Give Vic back his pot.”
“What about your wallet?” Robby holds up what he had sneaked out of Jack’s jeans while our hero was otherwise occupied.
Robby jumps into the Cabriolet’s driver’s seat and starts the engine. He also has Jack’s keys. Jack piles in on the other side. The only response he has is to sit there with his arms crossed while Robby gooses the gas and fish-tails out of the campground.
No one says anything for an hour.
Jack just glowers.
“Here’s yer wallet back,” Robby tries to make peace. “I’d never steal from ya.”
“Like I believe you.”
“I don’t need yer money. I can sneak into Disney World.”
“And I’m supposed to sneak in as well?”
“Naw. Y’all got enough to pay.”
“You’ll get busted and expect me to bail you out.”
“That’s cause we’re partners, right? Partners on the road to fame and fortune in Hollywood.”
“Tim was doin’ it, ‘til he went out and killed hisself.”
“Like you care?”
“Git over yerself, Jack-Off. He’s dead. No one to blame but hisself.”
“You just don’t care.”
“We was friends long before you came along. It was my pot that got you a’goin’ to git in his pants. I was the matchmaker who lit the fire under you. You need to give me credit for yer love life.”
Jack buries his head in his hands and sobs. “Nothings gone right since he left Harvard.”
“Who wants to live there in the cold and dreary winter?”
“Tim kept me warm.”
Robby reaches over and puts an arm around Jack who moves closer. Robby puts a hand on Jack’s thigh.
“You asshole,” Jack screams, no longer comforted.
Robby laughs. “The world don’t care what you think Jack. Just roll with it.”
“Stop the car,” Jack orders.
“Ain’t we goin’ ta Disney World?” Robby laughs.
Jack sulks as they pull into the parking lot of the Happiest Kingdom on Earth. The boys glare at each other for a minute.
Jack just sulks.
After a minute, Robby gets out of the car. “You’re a cheap bastard, Jack. I’ll sneak in. See you on Treasure Island,” he yells over his shoulder as he marches off to the Magic Kingdom.
The price of admission is $3.50. But then you buy a booklet of tickets specific to the popularity of the rides. Pretty cheesy. Space Mountain was the only actual roller coaster, which requires an E ticket. Jack is pissed off at even being there and decides to not buy any tickets. He goes to the security station to see if Robby has been apprehended going over or under the wall – no such luck. It takes awhile to find the way to Treasure Island. It requires a boat ride across the lagoon. It doesn’t take long to find Robby. He’s smoking a joint in the cave. The odor leads Jack right to him. He has several stoners anxiously sharing the pot.
“Hey, Jack-off. Hit the spliff and put on a gay show for my new friends,” Robby hands him the joint.
Jack knocks Robby down and swings like a girl with blows that can’t harm a mosquito. Robby jumps up and prepares to defend himself. Time for Teen Jesus to reign down righteousness. As Jack keeps wildly swinging at him I swat him on the face, head, stomach and butt. Robby goes twirling backwards and starts to fall down again. I lift him off the ground and hold him against the cave’s wall. The stoners accept the fight as part of their altered reality. Robby is used to not fighting back against a foe he can’t see. Jack is in shock, able to see me for the first time since Tim died. It doesn’t stop him from continuing his girly swings at Robby, who is plastered against the side of the cave.
Robby goes crazy trying to get away and starts screaming oaths in his black magic/druid language – the Druid Rosary – in English, ‘Goddess, lady, queen, mother.’
“First Bead: Bandia, Bbantlarna, Banrion, Mathair
Second Bead: Bandia, Bantlarna, Bbanrion, Mathair
Third Bead: Bandia, Bantlarna, Banrion, Mathair
Fourth Bead: Bandia, Bantlarna, Banrion, Mathair
Fifth Bead: Bandia, Bantlarna, Banrion, Mathair”
The stoned teenagers crouch in the corner, terrified at black magic invading their pot experience. Jack can see me holding Robby in the air. In shock, he stops whaling on Robby. The stoners quickly evacuate the cave, rushing back to ‘It’s a Small World, After All”.
“You’re not dead?” Jack needs an explanation.
“I’ve always been dead,” I counter.
“I thought you had to go to the Afterlife with Tim?”
“And where would that be?”
Robby sits up on the floor of the cave. “Who are you talking to?”
“It’s Jace. Who do you think was hitting you and holding you up in the air?”
“No way that’s Jace. He’s much more powerful.”
“I got an upgrade,” I tell Jack. “I’m now Teen Jesus.”
“Jeez,” Jack looks overwhelmed.
“You can call me ‘Zeus.’”
“Where have you been since Tim died?”
“Being Teen Jesus takes a lot of my time. I was in your dreams often. Remember the sticky sheets?”
“I thought it was wishful thinking.”
“Who are you talking to?” Robby has recovered.
“It’s Teen Jesus,” Jack giggles, still high. “Come to put you in your place.”
“How do I get to see him?”
“Well, you could let him fuck you for 24 hours straight like I did.”
“That ain’t happenin.’”
“Let’s go to the Haunted House and shake things up.” Pot always makes Jack feisty.
Several of the stoners are lurking about the cave’s entrance, confused about what has happened. As we all board the ferry across the lagoon, we notice a boatload of security officers going in the opposite direction. We have evaded our capture. It puts everyone in a good mood.
I scout out the Haunted House, finding a back door to let staff into the behind the scenes area. I crack the door open and lead our group of miscreants inside – no E ticket required. We call it an Z ticket ride. As regular patrons get off the elevator into the bowels of the Haunted House, I attack them with unseen blows to the guys and groping of the girls. As they scream and start running to get away, Jack and Robby leads the others in jumping out from behind pillars and staged closets to scare the fleeing guests. Each new elevator car brings additional victims. The whole basement fills with terrified customers. Some realize it’s all in fun and join in spooking the unsuspecting. A group howl reaches higher and higher decibels until Security arrives to investigate. It’s time to leave through the back door. There are now about fifteen active ghosts streaming down Main Street USA.
Pirates of the Caribbean awaits us. We swarm into the shallow water and storm the boats full of riders. I keep us ahead of the Security posse, which slowly responds to another ride gone bad. At Frontierland we interrupt the hourly gunfight at the OK Corral, tossing the paid gunslingers into the hidden nets below their rooftop sniper nests. We swarm across the false-fronted rooftops. The official Sheriff and his posse continue to shoot blanks at us. We fall into our roles diving off the roof into the nets below while faking our deaths. I open the backdoor to Space Mountain which reveals a control room that creates the effects of space travel to the riders as they travel to the stars. We find the console that turns off and on the motion picture projector playing the movie of space travel. We flick the reverse switch on the projector making the effects look like the passengers in the roller coaster cars are going backwards. We escape quickly, knowing Security is gaining on us. We stand around the exit from Space Mountain, laughing at the nauseous and disoriented customers who traveled backward in space.
“What year is it?” we ask the stumbling space travelers.
When they say, “1977?” We answer, “Einstein is right. You traveled back in time. It’s still 1976. Who’s the President?”
Standing around is a mistake. Security is hot on our heels. We think we look anonymous in the crowd at the exit to Space Mountain. Maybe our wet jeans from ‘Pirates’ gives us away. They round us up and march us to the Security Office, where all our misdeeds have been recorded on VHS tape. Disney has all the latest technology.
“What do you have to say for yourselves,” the Chief of Security demands.
“Just another day in the Magic Kingdom,” Robby is not intimidated.
He laughs. “Well, you did sneak into all our E-ticket rides. But instead of turning you over to the Orlando Police, how about staying on and working as special hosts for guided tours?”
“No, man we’re on the way to Hollywood. How about a recommendation at Disneyland in case our Hollywood dreams don’t come true,” Robby is banking on stardom, not a role player at Disney. Several of our stoner pals are locals and take them up on their offer.
We’re told to wait for the Police. Within five minutes, Robby leads me to the spot where he sneaked in. We sneak out. I let him drive the Cabriolet. We fishtail out the parking lot of the Happiest Place on Earth (if you’re deluded).
That was fun,” Robby observes. “Let’s go to Silver Springs. We can chase those water skiing bathing beauties.”
“We’ll never get to Hollywood at this rate. We’re barely a hundred miles from Miami,” Jack complains.
I put my arms around him and he relaxes. We jump in the back seat and make out. Robby ignores us and just drives. We continue on Route 27/441 north. Robby keeps asking us if we want to stop at stupid tourist attractions, mostly alligator fighting camps. We just ignore him. Jack’s pot-driven horniness keeps us busy. Finally, Robby stops for gas, demanding money to pay for it. Jack panics when he can’t find his wallet. Robby has stolen it again. Taking a twenty, he flips the wallet into the back seat. Jack becomes distracted, counting the bills to make sure they’re all there. Robby has yet to actually steal anything from Jack.
While Robby fills the gas tank, a hitchhiker walks over and asks for a ride. He jumps in the front, thinking Jack is sleeping in the back. His name is Dwight, from Oregon. He has long dark hair and wears boots. He fits right in with good ol’ boy Robby. Dwight has been working reconstruction after the latest Florida hurricane and is finally going home. Jack whispers to Robby not to tell him we’re gong all the way to California. Unable to continue his molestation of Teen Jesus, Jack falls asleep. Robby buys a road map at the gas station. He and Dwight plot the next stop. Dwayne sings our old Janis favorite, ‘Bobby McGee.’ ‘He thumbed that VW all the way to New Orleans.’
Jack perks up as Robby drives the Cabriolet across Lake Pontchatrain. Never having been to New Orleans, he has certainly heard of its reputation, “it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy and god I know I’m one.”
“It’s the Mississippi,” shouts Dwight as they approach the eastern side of the ‘Big Easy.”
Dwight just shakes his head. Jack relaxes. Hard drug are not on his bucket list.
“Well, then,” Robby relents. “How about we hit one of them bordellos.”
“I ain’t got no money,” Dwight admits. He sends all his paychecks home. They need it, what with all the lumber mills in Oregon shut down by environmentalists.
Robby gives Jack the eye, hoping he’ll spring for some x-rated entertainment. Disney World was cool but sex would be better. Jack just glares at Robby.
“Oh, well, we can always sell you on Bourbon Street. Those queers are always on the lookout,” he can’t let it go without a wisecrack. Dwight looks horrified, not expecting that twist in his free ride west.
“Don’t worry,” Robby reassures him. “Gays aren’t into the hillbilly look.”
Dwight looks less than assured, reevaluating Robby’s good ol’ boy cred.
It’s time for Teen Jesus to remove Robby from the driver’s seat. I yank on the steering wheel, causing the VW to swerve back and forth on the two lane highway. A trailer tractor barrels toward us. I keep the Cabriolet headed right at it. Everyone screams at Robby, including Robby, until I swerve in the other direction, just in time. It’s fun to be evil. Robby pulls over and everyone is sweating. I create a mini-tornado racing down the road, straight at us. The Cabriolet shudders once and lifts off the bayou road, turns over twice and crashes back down on all four wheels, my latest TJ trick. The Cabriolet is fucked up – all the fenders are smashed and the axles broken.
Welcome to New Orleans.