The Halloween Story
In 1981, my best friend at the time, Perry and I decided to seek our fame and fortune in Los Angeles. Around the beginning of September we had a plan to drive. He had a van and relatives out there in Canoga Park. It was a terrible journey. I almost got myself kicked out of the van in Montana since my tape unspooled in the tape deck in the dashboard.
Eventually we made it. It was a disaster. His family were nice, east coast transplants with a shady uncle we had to pick up at the airport. We also went to Las Vegas where I lost a lot of money and swore never to gamble again, excepting big mega lotteries where I have nearly no chance in hell of winning.
We didn’t really take into consideration that everyone goes out to Hollywood/LA to start all over again. We also smoked a lot of weed back in those days so a lot of things are hazy. Perry’s cousin had a landscaping gig where he was paid in weed.
But money was running out and we had absolutely no prospects. Well I had no prospects, Perry had his family. Mine were on the east coast wondering what the hell I was doing. I started to think the same way.
So we drove back in October. We drove through Las Vegas, all the way back to Lodi and Garfield. Before I left work in September, I took a leave of absence from work for my little jaunt, whereas Perry quit. In order to get him back at work we told the big boss that he was strung out on pills and we drove across the country so that he would detox.
They bought it.
It was almost like we never left. We easily slipped back into the routine of our everyday warehoused lives.
The day we had gotten back was my brother Frank’s birthday so I surprised my brother by knocking on his door. At his party, in which I partook of the jazz cigarettes, I met a friend of his who had the most incredible weed. This was fantastic stuff. You can smoke a joint, and then eat a slice of cake and get higher. Real Lazarus weed.
I had arranged to get some more from him as it was my thing to do. I bought as much as I could. A half ounce, for 30.00. Outrageous. He seemed to have a nice supply and I kept going to the well to replenish.
A week or so later I was doing what guys in the suburbs do a lot, or at least they did then. Drive around while getting high and listening to music loudly. Whereas most of the other guys were playing Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin, I was playing the Clash and Talking Heads.
The Saturday before Halloween, I found myself in the Rochelle Park neighborhood of a friend from high school, Roger. The last time I saw Roger was when I told him I was leaving NJ to move to Los Angeles. Now I was back a few weeks later. I figure it’ll be a funny surprise. So I parked and rang the bell on his parent’s house. His grandmother opened the door. She was very upset. ‘Oh shit! Another one!’ and slams the door in my face. Now, I knew the woman, and I knew the family. This was odd.
Roger’s sister, Emily opened the door and told her grandmother that it was me and that I was always welcome there. Emily had a crush on me I think. She also had Down’s syndrome, which though it might account for the crush, she was still very much able to function like everyone else. She told me everyone was up in Roger and his brother, David’s room.
I go upstairs and standing around the twin beds are about 20 people from Rochelle Park. I’m from Lodi. They don’t know me, I don’t know them. They must be David’s friends. I am dressed in black. Black jeans, black sneakers, black sweatshirt under a black suit jacket. Very nihilist.
I stand there talking to Roger and telling assorted people that this isn’t my costume. After a joint gets passed around I decide not to share my half ounce in my suit jacket pocket. Too many people and I really only wanted to share with Roger. I start getting bored when all of a sudden, Peter Pan opens the door and starts screaming, “Everyone out of my house NOW!’ It’s not really Peter Pan, the weed they had wasn’t THAT good. It was Roger and David’s mother, dressed as Peter Pan.
I find out that Roger and David’s parents had gone to the Volunteer Fireman’s Halloween party and left explicit instructions not to throw a party while they were gone. So Roger and David, being not terribly bright, threw a party. They found out and in came Peter Pan and Captain Hook or rather, Roger’s parents.
Only instead of a hook for a hand, his father had a baseball bat and was shouting, ‘No one is leaving here! I called the cops. If anyone tries to leave my buddies are outside and will fuck up anyone who tries to leave!’ Nice.
Outside were a few beered up volunteer firemen with baseball bats looking to kick some teenaged ass.
The cops arrive. They start yelling at everyone, at Peter Pan and Captain Bat. Everyone. They start patting down all the kids. I’m about the fourth person and before they start, I make my big move of pleading.
“I just got back from California! I didn’t know there was a party! I was just driving by!”
Roger even chimes in, like that was going to help, though it was the truth. It doesn’t work of course.
Now it’s my turn. I get frisked, patted down. Nothing. Then the cop says, ‘What about the jacket’. I open the right side and say, “See? Nothing.” I pass the test. Do I need to tell you where it was?
More kids get frisked, more drugs are found. Someone else goes through the bedroom and finds more weed and more on the landing outside their bedroom window. The cops say that since no one is claiming the marijuana, everyone will have to go down to the station.
Oh I am so doomed. They will find it there. My parents will kill me.
I ask if I can go to the bathroom. After a debate and their realizing that they had searched me already I went to the bathroom in the cellar. I went in and made some noise while I reached into my pocket and tried flushing the incredible Lazarus weed down. Of course it wouldn’t go down as easily as it does in the movies.
I had to reach in with my hand and force it through. Just as I was lifting my hand from the eau de toilette, one of the volunteer firemen opens the door. Lucky for me he was totally inebriated and wasn’t quite sure what he thought he saw.
I make my way upstairs to join the rest of the potential felons. I walked in the room as they continued searching the teenagers. As I’m about to cross over to the side of the room where the already searched were, the cop says that I am free to go.
It turns out Roger and his sister Emily and Grandma intervened on my behalf to Peter Pan and Captain Bat, saying that I didn’t know what was happening, that I just got back from California.
Peter Pan and Captain Bat convinced the cop that this was the truth. So they let me go. Making a hasty yet respectful exit as possible I stood on the sidewalk outside the house and looked at the sewer grating, wondering if it was possible to jump in and retrieve the Lazarus weed.
I just got in my car and drove off, never looking back.