July 05, 2003

Ominous Thoughts on Crown Valley Parkway

I'm in Colin's car on a Saturday evening and he's driving us up PCH to Crown Valley on our way to Jake's, cause J scored some weed from a buddy of his who goes to Santa Margarita. I’d made a stupid mistake and admitted I hadn't done it yet, so the guys were unnaturally keen to see what might happen to me once I inhaled. I have no opinion on the situation yet, but maybe that's because my mind's elsewhere already; Colin told me this afternoon that Alicia Montero would be coming tonight too (maybe her regular cheap weekend laugh fix took a rain check) and she'd be bringing all her hot friends and they'd undoubtedly become sickened or giddy at the sight of me high. Stoned. Fried. Completely Wasted. Utterly, pathetically debilitated.

It's getting tougher by the second to forget images of the different ways these gorgeous girls will involuntarily twist and disfigure their own pretty faces once I attain the expected state of idiocy. I could be overreacting, but there's no way to be sure. Jake seemed to care about it a bit less than one might think (or maybe it was just residual guilt or sympathetic indifference kicking in after thirteen years of friendship) and Ben didn't mention it at all last night, so all I had to go on was Colin's unnerving enthusiasm. If I didn't know any better (and shit, maybe I don't) I'd say he seemed to be taking a perverse, virgin-deflowering approach to the whole situation. Fuck, if I'm already this paranoid, how much worse will it get? How long will this goddamn night be?

Colin cuts off my rapidly derailing thought process with a mumbled question, and since Jeff Buckley is yowling through his car stereo at an epic volume I can't hear him.

"Huh?" I respond, a little too attentively. "Uh, nothing I guess," he says, deflecting something. "Just thinking out loud, man," Colin downshifts before continuing. I notice that his Jeep is crawling along at around 25 and suddenly remember that for some reason he's a complete slug behind the wheel. The song ends and a slower one starts so he turns it down a bit. "Yeah," he says slowly. "I love this album man- this guy's a fucking genius." He begins to tell me all about his new band, the Screaming Mimes, that's been playing tiny coffee-house shows and I have to cut him off cause I really need to know what his question was, like it's gonna take the edge off my night.

"What? Oh right," he says. "I was just wondering why the guys ditched you tonight, dude. I mean, you, Ben, and Jake usually show up together, so I just thought something might be up, like you got kicked you out of bed or something." He smiles weakly, misinterpreting my stare.

"Sorry, sorry-" he continues, now chuckling a bit. "I figure I have a responsibility to find out if there's some internal bitching that might break up the Stones before the big gig, you know?" He laughed a little louder, slightly amused. We were supposed to lip-sync to "Satisfaction" for some lame school activity, and of course Jake (who was to be Jagger) roped us all in for it, including Colin (an "extra bombed-out" Brian Jones, he promised). The fact that it wouldn't be happening 'til March didn't matter- I had to listen to the song a billion times and watch old Ed Sullivan and Ready Steady Go! videos that Jake happened to have in order to become my designated Stone (Charlie Watts). Colin is the only one of us who actually plays an instrument, so he'll let Jake have his show and go along for the ride.

I'm about to tell him I'm saving to get a bass guitar, but then I think he might not be too impressed (since I can't read music) or, worse, ask me what kind (I have no idea, but it's the one Sting has so I know it's uncool), so I revert back to my peremptory abandonment by the erstwhile Biggest Band in the World. "I don't know what's up with those guys sometimes," I say. "These days I don't know if I'm in or out- not like I worry about it or anything- but Jake is on his whole Homecoming King trip and Ben seems to be in on that too- did you know they smuggled in a dozen beachballs to the game last week that all said "Jake for King" on them?- and aside from the generally cool feel of fuckupedness that we always whip up I'm kinda not into this whole student-council-crashing super-coup they're trying to pull off." I stop, thinking maybe I said too much. Oh well.

"Yeah, man," says Colin, distractedly. Guess he wasn't listening. Cool. "Hey," he suddenly starts up as we finally roll into the Crown Valley stoplight (after what seemed an eternity). "Hear about next week's game?" he asks. Colin on football? "No, don't think so," I offer.

"This intersection just reminded me of it," he explains, and before I can give him a well-placed come again? face he goes on, "Nicole Brown Simpson's old place is in Monarch Bay that way." He points to the left. "O.J. bought it for her, I think." His lip curls. "Wonder if she used it for the love shack," he says before making a right turn. "What's that got to do with the game?" I ask. Might as well fill up the slow drive with something, even if it is about this shit. I can't stand hearing about it all day, every day but apparently someone does. Then I remember that Nicole went to our high school.

"She was a, uh..." Colin drawls, "Homecoming princess, I think. Not even the queen, but since next weekend's Homecoming the media's making a thing out of it and so Hard Copy is coming to the game and the school's shooting off fireworks above the floats at halftime and the whole thing's shaping up to be a fucking circus, man, so security's gonna be tighter than your asshole." He winks. "Maybe we oughtta tell Jake about it."

"Oh, I'm sure he's thought of, like, a ton of non-lethal acts of domestic terror," I say. "I wouldn't be surprised if he tries to tell us about them all in the presence of many impressionable women that are all hotter than the sun."

"Totally," he agrees, laughing again. "I guess I should be sober enough to scoop them up when he loses them!"

"Yeah, man," I reply. "I just hope my sorry baked ass won't hold all your attention tonight. You gotta be up on this if you want to snag someone like Alicia. You know that I asked her out and got denied?" Hey! What the hell do you think you're doing, you fool? Admitting every crash and burn was not on the agenda for this evening!

"What?" he asks, coming back from somewhere else a little too obliviously. Oh shit, I realize, he's driving stoned. No wonder we've already aged three years in this damn Jeep.

"Ah, forget it, Derek" he says. "I know for a fact she's into Jake. No clue why, though," he sniffs. "Dude's passing off his whole routine as himself when it's just recycled Carlin lines. Nice guy though, I guess."

Gee, Colin's such a charming insightful person, I think. Too bad his new band sucks in spite of his fantastic ability and he knows it. Triple- A radio covers of Counting Crows are not stepping stones to king-hell fame and fortune (but then, neither is Sting, dumbass). Still, he eventually catches up with my previous gripes and turns off Buckley to say something else, but the radio immediately blares Cracker's song about pot, and Colin, startled, laughs knowingly, subsequently yelling the rest of the song (emphasizing the chorus with wild glances at me- "Hey! Hey, hey like being STONED!") as the Jeep begins its long climb up Pacific Island toward my date with an assuredly asymmetrical immediate future.

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