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?”
I follow them into Vic’s 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 sing along. 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 and keeps driving
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 must buy a booklet of tickets specific to the popularity of the rides. Pretty cheesy. Space Mountain was the only actual roller coaster and 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 his 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 his 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, now that he can see me holding Robby in the air, stops whaling on him. 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 still 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 lead the others in jumping out from behind pillars and stage closets to scare the fleeing guests. Each new elevator car brings new 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 filled 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 slip into the roles, faking our deaths and diving off the roof into the nets below. I open the backdoor to Space Mountain which reveals a control room where the effects are created 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’ give 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 through the bayou of Louisiana toward New Orleans on the other side 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 drugs 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, just in time, I swerve in the other direction. It’s fun to be evil. Robby pulls over and everyone is sweating. Jack throws him in the rear and takes the wheel. Time for more Teen Jesus miracle. I create a mini-tornado racing down the road, straight at us. The Cabriolet shudders once and lifts off the bayou road, turning over twice and crashing back down on all four wheels. The Cabriolet is thrashed – all the fenders are falling off and the axles are broken. I whisper to Jack that seat belts will be needed soon. He’s yells at Robby to buckle up. Dwight decides he’s safer out of the car. My second tornado descends immediately in front of the Cabriolet. Jack yells duck at Dwight who stands there frozen in place. Off we fly.
Robby tries to throw Dwight’s duffle bag out of the back.
“Stop,” Jack yells. “It’ll just fly away in the tornado.”
At which point we all fly away, leaving Dwight knee-deep in the swamp as all his worldly goods leave him behind. We’re too busy holding on as the Cabriolet twists and turns in the tornado vortex. This time we head deep into the swamp before splashing unceremoniously into the murky water. The car sinks to the swampy bottom.. The water rushes in as the boys struggled to escape.
I spot an inquisitive animal watching the struggles from the swamp bank. It looked like a giant rat.
“Excuse me,” it speaks. “I am no ordinary rat. I am a Beaver Rat, called Coypu.”
“Well, excuse me, Coypu,” as I take over the rat’s consciousness. I feel more like a swamp rat.
Welcome to the Bayou.
Jack and Robby sit silently glaring at each other with the Cabriolet filling up with swamp water.
“Are you going to sit there forever?” my rat persona asks them.
Robby screams as Jack clutches him for protection. What is wrong with them. I’m now a two foot long herbaceous rodent. Have they no shame? I swim over and chew through Robby’s seat belt strap to release him. Grasping his shirt collar I drag him to the swamp bank, returning to retrieve Jack next.
“Grab Dwight’s duffle,” Robby yells at Jack, ignoring that Coypu is the one doing all the saving.
Jack realizes he can walk through the swamp water. At least someone doesn’t need rescue by a rat. He grab’s Dwight’s duffle bag and wades to the bank where Robby lies shaking and trembling from his tornado experience. Jack hangs his head from the crushing of his dreams of arriving in Hollywood in a pink convertible. Robby recovers enough to start going through Dwight’s duffle bag.
“What the hell?” Jack complains. “That’s not your stuff.”
“Look,” Robby pulls out a thick wad of twenty-dollar bills. “How’s ol’ Dwight gonna get this back. And how are we gonna get out of here?” Robby responds.
“Follow me,” Coypu orders, nosing the boys to get up and move toward the other swamp rats, who are grazing on shoots and roots that grow on the banks of the bayou. They remain unconcerned with human intruders. I pause to chew on a couple of shoots while the boys catch up.
“Is it time for lunch?” Robby jokes.
“You could use a break from your all meat, all the time, diet. It makes me sick that you both are cannibals.”
“Jesus Christ, Jace,” Robby complains. “When did you become a vegetarian?”
“Look around,” I point out the grazing coypu. “What else is there to eat?”
“We could roast up a couple of your buddies,” he retorts.
That gets the herd’s attention. A couple of coypu snarl at the deranged stoner. That gets his attention.
“They understand what I said?”
“Not the words, but they can sense you mean them harm.”
“They’re just swamp rats.”
“They are smart enough to know you’re just a burn-out.”
Robby shakes his head. “How do we get out of here? I got places to be.”
“Yeah, and people who’ll kill you if they find you.”
“How do you know that?”
“I know you ripped off your dealers and they’re cruising the Gables streets searching for you.”
“What do you care?”
“I’m a guardian angel, protecting you from yourself.”
“Well, get me out of here.”
“I’m not doing my job very well. We’re miles from civilization.”
Jack is bored with Robby’s whiny complaints and starts pulling out roots from the edge of the bayou creek. Several coypus drop succulent shoots at his feet. He washes them in the creek and chews on the roots. Smiling, he reaches over to pet his benefactors. One bites his hand.
“Jesus, Jack. They aren’t pets.”
I go over and lick his bleeding hand. The wound closes up and the blood stops flowing. Jack washes off the spilt blood in the creek. Several caimans, small alligators, show up at the smell of blood. Jack screams. The coypu hiss and charge the one caiman that has crawled up the bank. With a snap of its jaws the caiman grabs a coypu, snaps its neck and swallows the rodent whole. I join the other coypu in herding Jack and Robby to safety away from the creek. The boys are scurrying on their hands and knees to safety.
“Jist like Tommy’s Gatorsaurous tale,” I observe. Jack gives me a nasty look for bringing up his underage rival. It’s too much for the boy and he starts to cry. All the coypu huddle around him, nuzzling him. One crawls into his lap. Such a touching moment. Robby just glares at me.
“You think I don’t know this is all your doing?” he accuses me.
“Just the two tornados,” I confess.
“Then get us out of here,” he demands.
“I thought you were just along for the ride, like old Dwight. You gonna steal all his hard-earned cash?”
Obviously, the thought crossed his mind.
“I ain’t worryin’ ‘bout ol’ Dwight. He took his chances ridin’ wid us.”
“Lotta good that cash gonna do ya in this here swamp.”
“Shut up,” Jack screams. “I can’t stand listenin’ to y’all talk like hillbillies.”
“Naw. We’s swamp rats now,” Robby laughs.
The other coypu decide to make Jack their pet and comfort him as his anger at Robby slowly ramps down. He cradles one rat who has settled into his arms. We are herded to their shelter, a downed tree whose roots provide cover from the rain.
“Welcome to my house,” I greet them. Their disdain for living in the mud is obvious. The other coypu ignore them as we all settle in for a warm afternoon nap before foraging for the evening meal back at the creek’s banks.
“There must be some people living out here,” Jack sounds desperate. “Can’t we at least look for civilization?”
“Not happy with the accommodations? The coypu have welcomed us to their home,” I state.
“I’m not willing to live like a rat,” Jack declares.
I check my coypu’s memory and visualize shacks built like tree houses nearby. The inhabitants resemble lumbering giants in the swamp rat’s memory.
“Follow me,” I order before letting my coypu regain control of his body so he can lead us to civilization. It’s seems to take forever to find the shacks. When the coypus get lost they just settle for roots from a nearby creek bank. Not long before they find a new sense of direction and we head off in a different direction. I laugh at my coypu when I realize that just to torment them he is leading them no where.
“Okay, you caught me,” the rodent leader confesses. I promised I will give him back his body once we reach the shacks. I take over for just a second to prove I can do anytime I want.
“Okay, Okay,” he squeaks. “It’s not far away.”
Demon possessions trumps the rat’s need to get even with us.
Soon we are at the edge of a large clearing. As remembered, the humans have built tree house residences, a whole Swiss Family Robinson village, except the shacks are rickety and falling apart. Trash is strewn everywhere. Similar to trailer trash, we’ve found a colony of swamp trash people. The coypu refuse to go any closer, settling beside the village creek for more roots and shoots – lunchtime.
I watch as Jack and Robby walk toward the nearest shack. A boy looks down from his perch
“Whatcha tout volee?” he sings out in Creole pidgin.
“Si vous plais, assistez nous,” Jack responds in his Swiss seminary French.
“Cain’tcha parley in English, ni ni eske ou touris?”
“What kind of English is that? Jack responds.
“Se jan nou pale a.”
Jack collapses from fatigue and frustration. Robby falls down, too. The Cajun boy just sneers at them in disgust for being unable to speak properly.
As promised, I release my alter-rat persona. He leads the other coypu away from ‘civilization’ to their home under the fallen tree. I check on the needs of other Teen Jesus acolytes. Aaron and Paul in New York are back in trouble with the Jewish elders, who want the two of them to choose one religion to both follow. I rustle the pages of the Temple’s Torah to get the elders attention, telling Aaron to stand up for Paul.
“Who says you can’t believe in two separate religions,” I tell him
The boys smile at being divinely inspired.
“You can’t tell me I can’t be Jewish if I attend Catholic services on Sunday after Shabbat on Friday and Saturday. You don’t own me.”
They join me in singing Leslie Gore’s 50’s hit.
“’Cause, you don’t own me
Don’t try to change me in any way
You don’t own me
Don’t tie me down
‘Cause I’ll never stay
I don’t tell you what to say
I don’t tell you what to do
So, just let me be myself
That’s all I ask of you
I’m young and I love to be young
I’m free and I love to be free
To live my life the way that I want
To say and do whatever I please
I don’t tell you what to say
I don’t tell you what to do
So, just let me be myself
That’s all I ask of you
I’m young and I love to be young
I’m free and I love to be free
To live my life the way that I want
Songwriters: CINDY WALKER,EDDY ARNOLD
© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Teenage rebellion has kicked-in. The boys are now 14. The rabbis just shake their heads. They know that Jewish kids come of age at 13. What did they expect?
We laugh together. When they try to hug me, my incorporeal body is just wispy clouds. It kills their glee at disrespecting the elders.
“Sorry,” Aaron apologizes to the rabbis. “We get carried away when Teen Jesus is around. He just wants us to be good Jewish kids. It reminds him of his youth in Palestine.”
“They had teenage rebellion two thousand years ago?”
“He may have been the first one,” Paul remarks.
All is forgiven. One rabbi has an image in his mind of shepherds rocking out to their flocks on their Pan pipes.
Time to check on my other charges. When I appear to Tommy in Fort Lauderdale, his current girlfriend has learned to sense my presence. She instantly goes into exorcism mode, waving incense and praying for protection from my blasphemy. I hastily retreat. Tommy is entirely amused by the whole soap opera. After her victory over me, they have prolonged sex. I return to sodomize Tommy, as the girlfriend has multiple orgasms. We are all divinely inspired. Three-ways rule.