"I don't know how well that will go over." I wave down the server, this chick with sleeve tattoos and a 14-guage barbell pierced through the skin at the nape of her neck, and get an order in for a fresh Heineken. Jake does the same for his Coors Light, which I'm buying for him this afternoon. Jake had been unemployed for the past three months and barely had money for the bus, let alone a bender. At least he was courteous enough to only order the cheap shit.
"So did you see Triumph of the Will yet?"
"Yeah, we did," I said, even though I only saw clips of it on a documentary about Leni Riefenstahl.
"My buddies and I used to get drunk and watch that all the time. It's such a powerful film," Jake said. "You wanna know the real reason Hitler came close to conquering the world. He could inspire people. He could inspire men. He understood symbolism. It didn't have anything to do with Marxist-like bullshit about industrial production winning the war. It was the pure human spirit of Nazi Germany that I admire. The Wehrmacht swept Europe because they trained harder and fought harder than all the rest."
Okay, perhaps I need to clarify now how Jake is supposed to be an ex-Nazi.
He no longer wore the trappings of a skinhead. His head wasn't shaved. Jake was into the greaser look and had his blonde hair slicked back into a duck tail which partially covered the 88 tattoo on the back of his neck; his only visible White Supremacist tattoo. Other than that, he wore cowboy or biker boots instead of Docs with white laces. His huge belt-buckle would have you think he had closer family ties to the Ku Klux Klan than to the Nazis. Philosophically, he explained to me once, he didn't really hate any race in particular. His hatred was now for the human race.
Still, he wore his Nazi sympathies on his sleeve. He got into an argument with my half-German, half-Cherokee friend Schnitz one night over whether Manifest Destiny and the slaughter of the Indian people were justified or not. One night when I was in a car with him and we were both loaded, he screamed "FUCKING NIGGER!" at an African cabbie that cut us off. When I was doing mushrooms at a fetish party called "Whip It" at Rock Island, he started "sieg hieling" at a fellow dressed in an SS uniform (I couldn't handle the party after that...I went and tripped out at a midnight showing of Enter the Dragon instead.) I kind of suspected that his being an "ex-skinhead" was more of a condition of his probation rather than any real change in worldview.
Anyway, I couldn't just let that saccharine and simplistic overview of the Third Reich stand (especially seeing as we were catching dirty looks from every person that caught a snippet of our conversation.) Jake had tried that same shit last week on whether or not the Holocaust really happened, and I stood up to him on that. I decided to stand up to him this time for my race and said, "Bullshit, Japanese soldiers were way more hardcore than the Wehrmacht."
"Yeah, they were pretty hardcore," Jake said. The server came back with our beers and scurried off quick. "But the Germans were crazy too. They used the same tactics. You took over the whole Pacific, we took over Europe."
And got their asses handed to them, I thought. But while we were completely forgetting things like six million dead Jews and the Rape of Nanking, I might as well play this stupid game of racial supremacy. "The Japanese used kamikaze's dammit; The Divine Wind. You don't hear about Nazi kamikaze's. They used to put men into torpedoes to pilot them into enemy boats. A soldier would bury an artillery shell in the ground, then sit next to it with a hammer, waiting for a tank to roll by..."
"Some Wehrmacht units did suicide missions too," Jake said, but I was on a roll.
"...And they took over the Pacific using bolt action rifles and Gatling style guns that had been designed in the nineteen-hundreds while German soldiers went into the field with the most advanced weaponry, not to mention they perfected the Blitzkrieg. The Japanese hadn't changed their naval tactics since the Russo-Japanese war, and tried to replicate their attack on Port Arthur with Pearl Harbor, which failed strategically in the end because they neglected to destroy the fuel depot, meaning...just...they were so hardcore it took the nuclear bomb to faze their ass."
And I stopped there because I lost my train of thought, and besides, it probably wasn't pertaining to what we were talking about anyway. It's just how history majors argue; we bury you with facts and hope that any facts you come up with that contradict our facts can be disproven by other facts (it's roughly the same method we use with essay questions during midterms.)
"Hey, I'm not saying I don't respect the Japanese," Jake said. "You had your half of the world, we had ours and we probably would have lived in peace if we had won." He raised his beer and said, "Good times," before taking a swig. I drank as well.
That our ancestors were negligibly allies in a war that took place fifty years before was the reason this mixed-Scotch-Irish-Chink got a pass with `ole Jake; that and the fact that all skinheads are notorious hypocrites. Generally, I despise racists, even the non-overt ones, but I was sort of touched that Jake would consider me his friend (or at least worthy to have a beer with if I'm buying.) He probably liked the fact that I knew what he was talking about when he spoke of things like Triumph of the Will and Mein Kampf ("Don't ever check that out from a library. It's flagged. Only buy it from a bookstore, using cash. And try to avoid big chains that collect a lot of customer data," he told me.)
Sometimes, I'm less judgmental than I should be. It can be a character flaw just as much as being too judgmental can be. It was also sort of fascinating to observe a fellow who received disability benefits because he had anger management problems. Jake was huge, probably about two hundred and fifty pounds. He looked like a fighter who would beat you not because he was quicker or stronger than you, but just because he took so much pleasure in hurting people. I figured it was better to have such a person like you instead of the opposite.
But the main reason a guy like Jake ended up in my circle was because of Anne.
Anne and I both went to Eaglecrest High School and were even in the same grade and neighborhood. We didn't know each other at the time because while I was hanging out with the marching-band-and-role-playing-game-crowd, she was with the dirt-punk crowd; the ones who were in and out of the Deans' office for cutting classes, who usually got shipped off to the Eagle's Nest program (also known as the last chance for disciplinary problem students before they're kicked out of school.) Anne had attention deficit disorder, so she was not really the greatest student, but she did manage to graduate from Eagle's Nest before getting herself into serious trouble.
The year after she graduated, Anne became engaged to a prominent Denver-area Hammerskin (the most violent of the skinhead gangs...styling themselves after the Nazis in Pink Floyd's The Wall) who was about fifteen years her senior. The marriage never went through because her fiancée went to prison on a twenty-year sentence for reasons she never told me about.
The nineties were sort of the last gasp of the skinheads in Denver. They terrorized the streets of downtown for all of the eighties and most of the nineties. They did tasteful things like throw a Neo-Nazi rally on the capitol steps for two Martin Luther King days in a row. The first year, they were dwarfed by the number of protestors, who rioted after the police sent in a skirmish line to disperse them. Security was improved for the second year, and then someone wised up and decided to beat them to the permit for the capitol steps for the next years MLK day.
Skinheads began to wane in the mid-to-late nineties, and though I'd like to think it was because our culture had moved on from such brain dead and blatant racism, but I suspect it had more to do with the Officer Vanderjagt shooting in 1996. Leading the police on a long chase after robbing a house, a skinhead ended up killing a cop behind an apartment complex. The cops were understandably furious (even convicting a girl who was in the car of first degree murder even though she was in police custody when Vanderjadgt was killed) and it didn't help the skinheads much that they egged the police on by leaving the carcass of a dead pig in front of the police station.
The final straw came a few weeks later though, when another skinhead shot and killed an Ethiopian cabbie at a bus stop, as well as a white woman who was sitting there and protested against their harassment of the black man. She ended up a paraplegic and was hailed as a heroine, but the praise (and the money to cope with her new disability) dried up and she ended up committing suicide a few years ago in the apartment she lived in alone.
After so much white supremacist bloodshed that year, the police clamped down hard on the skins. The city is pretty much ruled by increasingly vicious Chicano and Asian gangs. The only time you're likely to see a skinhead now is when he's spending his wife's Quest card at a King Soopers in Thorton.
It was around this time, that Anne turned away from white supremacy, but her change of heart was more drastic and sincere than say Jakes. A year after her fiancée was put into Canon City, she had already taken up sleeping regularly with a black guy. By the time I met up with her in 1998, she had moved onto the just as fascist (though not nearly as racist) goth scene.
That summer, I had moved back to my parents place after a disastrous three years in Boulder. I got a temp job working as "customer service representative" for this place called Cendant Travel which operated out of an office building off of Parker Road in Aurora. During the week-long and (thankfully paid) orientation, we were informed that the position was more of a sales position than customer service. At first, that had me worried that this was some sort of Amway bullshit until I learned what the job was about:
Cendant automatically signed up people to be a part of their "Travel Club" whenever they signed up for a new credit card with one of their affiliate members. If you didn't know about it, well, you should have read Paragraph Nine of the Rule and Conditions on the back of the form before sending it in.
Most people didn't, so when they suddenly saw a 79.99 charge (plus tax) appear on their credit card statement, they immediately called to tell our sleazy company to remove the charge for their bill before they sued.
And that's where we came in. Our job was to convince these angry people not to cancel their memberships through use of our laminated "script", filled with openings and rebuttals, signed off on by at least three committees of salesman and psychologists to be as manipulative as possible. We were to follow the script religiously, and not offer to cancel their membership until at least two refusals. "Most people just haven't used our service," the trainer said. "When they call, what they're really looking is an explanation on how to use the service, not so much to cancel it."
These people really believed that crap, and you could tell the longtimers at that job because they had the glazed over look of sales zombies; those desperate and optimistic assholes who listen to the Rich Dad Poor Dad book-on-cassette in the car on their way to work. For them, the act of the sale is more important than what they are selling, which wasn't much since the travel club itself was pretty mediocre. It entitled you to a few coupons for rental cars, a 1-800 number for our travel agents, and a Half-Price-Hotel card that most hotels only honor sporadically.
Most of the orientation class, who had been referred by other employment agencies, had enough dignity to leave after a few days. The class started with about thirty new hires; mostly single moms, a few ex-crackheads. Another seven left by that Wednesday. A clash that nearly came to blows between one new hire and our overtly gay supervisor slashed the remaining trainees to ten. Only about nine of us got to week one, and then only five to week two. Those of us who did were this white chick who was still kind of hot despite the fact that she was pregnant and had a tattoo on her neck. There was an ex-Crip (at least I think he was ex) who got the job despite having a visible Iliff Street Lynch Mob tattoo on his forearm. I became good friends with this skinny white guy who worshipped ICP and Metallica. He was a pathological liar and I did acid with at a rave later that summer.
I was in the middle of my goth phase then, and I met Anne when she came up to me and started talking about Bauhaus (I was wearing a Bauhaus t-shirt, so it wasn't just random.) Anne was a full-timer at Cendant after working as a temp back in April. We talked about bands we liked, and if I knew so-and-so in the scene. Truth be told, I didn't know anyone, having fallen out with most of the people I knew. Soon we started hanging out at the clubs and reminiscing about high school. Since she was pretty much the only female I was close to at the time besides my sister and mother, I had a crush on her.
Of course, she had a boyfriend named Logan at the time, but I didn't let it concern me too much. Anne always complained about his ass. He was about thirty, lived in his mother's basement and did nothing but lift weights and collect zines obsessively. He was also half-Japanese, which meant that Anne had no problem being with someone of my pedigree and may be willing to hop ships. Logan had just gotten certified at Massage Therapy school, but mostly scammed gay guys who hired him to his house to get a massage with a happy finish. Logan turned them down by simply saying "That's illegal. One hundred and fifty bucks please," though he did admit he once let a guy jerk off in front of him because he offered an extra hundred dollars for it.
And that wasn't the only evidence that Anne's boyfriend was a closet fag: one night in the basement at Rock Island, she complained that Logan had quit having sex with her because he wanted to be celibate.
"Why the fuck would anyone want to be celibate?" I said as I drained the last of a gin and tonic from the plastic picnic cup.
"Well, he's celibate, but he's not really celibate."
"How can that be?"
"Well, he says the only way he can have sex with me is anally. That it doesn't really count as sex unless it goes in the vagina, so anal is the only way he can have sex with me," Anne said. "That's pretty fucking strange isn't it."
What does one really say to that? "It sure as hell counts as sex in my book." I was also elated that she was not averse to taking it up the ass.
Even though I was coming up to the one-year anniversary from the last time I'd gotten laid, pursuing Anne quickly became more of a hassle than it was worth. The fact that she liked to listen to that "In Search of My Rose" song by The Tear Garden over and over was cute only the first three times it happened, and there's only so long I can tolerate someone who's ADD is so bad they can barely read Interview with the Vampire. But no...all of that is just a face saving way of saying she had absolutely no interest in me. After Logan, she immediately hopped from one guy to another, completely skipping me, meaning I'd been placed in the position of "shoulder to cry on" guy friend. Not that I'm bitter (no, really, I'm not).
My position as guy friend sort of slowly began to be preferable to being one of Anne's stable. Even though she was broken up with Logan, she still fucked him from time to time (I guess he loosened up on his "anal only" rule after they broke up) and then immediately going over to her organ-donor clerk ex-fiancee to cry about it. She started to see this other guy named Dave, who was obsessed by the I-Ching, worked the graveyard shift at Kittie's (an all night porno store and arcade on Colfax), and generally was a decent fellow. The only awkward time was when I had to walk through seven blocks of Capitol Hill with the two of them all over each other, and her getting mad occasionally and trying to kick over Denver Post boxes. He also occasionally said weird shit like:
"I'd love to stick a loaded gun up your pussy."
Strangely enough, that didn't get her to try and kick the mailbox right next to us on Broadway.
"Yeah. You'd like tying me up and sticking it in and out real slow. I'd be all tense because I'm worrying about you pulling the trigger."
"What size should it be," Dave said. ".22 gauge or .45 caliber?"
".45 caliber," Anne said. "That would be the ultimate orgasm."
I drove them home and they probably had hot and heavy sex. I didn't even jerk off before going to sleep.
Anyway, Dave lasted for about two weeks. That was too bad because despite the previous conversation, I really liked Dave, and he seemed heartbroken about it when I saw him on the 15 one afternoon with a microwave he just bought.
Anyway, summer ended and I quit my job at Cendant Travel and it was probably a good thing. While I would normally be supportive of these people who wanted this sneaky charge being stuck on their bill removed, after a few weeks there, I wanted to rip their heads off. Idiots! In this day and age, hasn't mankind evolved to the point where we read the fine print? Besides, I wasn't the one who put the charge there. I'm this asshole making eight-fifty an hour after the agency's cut, and I completely agree with you that what is happening is shitty, and if my calls weren't being monitored, I'd tell you that.
Besides that, I was pretty good at what I did, and got about fifteen retentions a day. I couldn't earn commissions on them since I was a temp, but I could if I stayed a full ninety days and went on permanent. I got retentions, but it was only from people too retarded or too weak willed to quit, and don't feel good about yourself doing that eight hours a day. Besides, one day the new section supervisor, this creepy church lady who decorated her cubicle with more Beanie Babies than any woman owns whose sanity hasn't cracked, sent me home because she didn't approve of the Clockwork Orange shirt I was wearing (particularly the phrase "This is a story about a boy whose principle interest are rape, ultraviolence, and Beethoven", reading it somehow as my personal endorsement of the act of rape.) I drove immediately to the Goodwill store and bought an old DARE t-shirt I wore the next day. She told me she really liked the shirt I was wearing, was her passive-aggressive way of telling me she got the "fuck you" implied in my wearing it.
I didn't even give those assholes notice when I quit.
Anne stayed on there for another three months. She took to hanging out with this fellow named Sam, this uber-goth guy who had blue hair and always wore vinyl pants. He financed his life as a transgressive artist by selling pot, acid, ecstasy, animal tranquilizers, whatever was hip in the scene then. He drove a shitty ten-year old Civic, played in an as-yet-unnamed noise band that had already booked the Sunday eight o'clock slot downstairs at the Church (FYI, downstairs at the Church on a Sunday at eight means playing to the bartender.) He hung out with people who actually practiced Satanism. Satanists aren't scary. Satanists are usually either burned out stoner wastrels, or comic book reading types who completely undercut the menace of their religion by trying to explain it in rational terms ("We're really all our own gods") and none of the ones I knew even listened to Marilyn Manson. Mainstream culture assigns them more fear than they deserve.
So anyway, Sam had the hots for Anne too. He sort of supplanted me as the shoulder to cry on guy for awhile, only he would add in such utter bullshit lines like "I know I would never treat a woman that way," when she was complaining about Logan making her buy him gas, or "As a man, a real man who would do that to a woman, I can say his behavior was atrocious," after Dave got pissed that she no longer wanted to move into the one-bedroom he had already put a deposit down for. I don't know how I didn't laugh at Sam's bullshit. To her credit, Anne didn't fall for it either.
In addition to Satanists, Sam also had an uneasy sympathy for fascism. He was into SS fashion, but would say he only owned it because he liked the way it looked, not because he condoned what the Nazis did. Despite not condoning what the Nazis did, he did see a huge Jewish conspiracy controlling America. Jake used to buy speed from him, and then would sit around on his couch watching cable with a twelve pack of American Beers all afternoon (a twelve pack costs four bucks, which makes it the white trash favorite after the hipsters annexed Pabst Blue Ribbon.) This is how I initially met him as me, Anne, and Sam all piled into my Subaru Brat to hit an apartment party in Lakewood.
Jake offended the host with the "woman-with-two-black-eyes-done-been-told-twice" joke within a half hour of us being there. She didn't kick him out of the house, but I could hear them arguing in the kitchen all the way to the patio. Anne was off with Sam and a few of his friends getting loaded, and I was on the patio with Clay, this fifteen year old juvenile delinquent I'd know from back in the band days, and who had a Nazi Punks Fuck Off patch sewed onto his fatigues. He had just gotten out of one of those juvenile boot camps for violating his probation by being out after curfew (again). He told me that Cheese had just left the band, which meant to me that I hadn't been kicked out of anything that wasn't set to disintegrate anyway.
Later, I introduced Clay to Jake, and they got along even when it became apparent what Jake's politics were. The drunker he got, the more racist he became, and he was on his eighth beer. Before he could cause any more arguments around that night, the party got busted by the cops even though we were being pretty low key. They forced us to clear out of there, and then arrested Clay's ride home when he caught him peeing behind a bush on the first floor of the apartment complex. I offered to give him a ride home, but not before Sam convinced me to drive them to a bar so they could get one more drink.
The one we found, some run down tavern next to the freeway, had already done their last call, and didn't really like a bunch of weirdos running into their bar. Sam and Jake launched the beer bottles I didn't know they had in their pockets against the door of the tavern until the bartender came outside with a baseball bat and I peeled out of there, hoping he didn't get my license number. Despite the fact that Sam may have been this pretentious artiste type, he really liked to brawl. Not that he was really good at it since all his teeth had been knocked out in fights and he had to wear dentures. Jake, apparently, was a better fighter because all his teeth were original.
When I got into my car the next day, I found a syringe on the passenger side seat, which was where Jake sat as I drove him home to drop him off at his mother's apartment, where he slept on the couch. I didn't throw it away, I actually gave it back to him next time I saw him.
As I mentioned before, Jake got disability money from the government for his anger management problems. He thought it was as much of a joke as I did, but he could collect off it so why not? Occasionally, he would get himself a job for a few weeks, and then just flip out and destroy a bunch of shit so he could go back to collecting his money. The Republican in me reels at him profiting from his anti-social behavior, but the anarchist in me thinks it's kind of a pimp deal he's getting. Who hasn't wanted to flip out on their boss and get paid for it?
Still, there wasn't much to envy about his life. His mother kicked him off of her couch for some reason I forgot, and he ended up sleeping on Sam's couch. Predictably, he ended up with a crush on Anne too, but didn't handle her rejection as well as Sam and I did.
"He says he's given up on that Nazi stuff, but he really hasn't," she told me as if it weren't obvious. "That stuff is so stupid. They all talk about white pride and white brotherhood and protecting themselves against minorities, but all they end up doing is beating each other up for stupid shit."
One night when we were all up at Millenium (this club in a strip-mall in Boulder that did an all ages goth night with a booze section for the over 21ers) he was in particularly foul mood. In fact, it seemed like everyone was in a foul mood. "It's a Blood Moon tonight," Anne said, as we drove up Highway 36 to get to the club. "Blood Moons always make me nervous," she said.
Indeed, everything was sketchy, since the first thing that happened as we got into the parking lot was this skinny fellow cursing at the car next to us, and punching at the window. "That fucker needs to come out here like a man and settle this!" the guy said in his black skirt, chainmail belt and spiked up hairdo. "I'll fuck you up! I'm a sixth degree black belt in Aikido, which means I can KILL YOUR ASS!" Somehow, I doubted that. I just hoped he wouldn't fuck up my car as we headed into the club.
I met one of Clay's juvvie delinquent friends as I went inside. I'd forgotten his name, and he said "It's Phaebus, the Benign Spirit of Death," he told me. "My other name is Chris." Phaebus/Chris hit me up for five bucks to go get a McDonald's extra value meal with, but really, he just wanted me to pay his cover into the club. Clay was inside, and we shot the shit in the smoking section; a twenty by ten foot room with two pool tables, separated from the rest of the club because of Boulder's Draconian anti-smoking laws (they have gotten even more draconian since). The atmosphere inside resembled pea soup and was disgusting even to chain-smoker like myself, but addiction is addiction. Clay was moving out of his grandparents place to an apartment off of Monaco with Phaebus/Chris, but was worried about it because he had been smoking too much crack.
"I've done crack," Clay said. "Shit, sometimes I still do crack. But I don't stay up for days at a time doing it then whine about how poor I am. Anyway, we smoked some with Cheese the other night."
I coughed. "Cheese is doing crack now?" Cheese had been heavy into coke way back in the day, but pretty much had to quit that when he lost all his money, and had since gained about sixty pounds. "I thought the guy didn't even touch pot because his job did random tests."
Clay lit another one of his GPCs. "He got another job selling futons. Besides, crack doesn't stay in your system as long as THC does. He said it was the first time he ever did it. He was kind of depressed about it afterwards."
Sometime during the conversation, Jake came up to us, and he was in a foul mood. Anne had been blowing him off all night playing social butterfly, and there was fellow that Jake despised for some reason at the club that night.
"I'm gonna pound his shit-talking face into the pavement until his fucking teeth fall out!" Jake said, with this wide-eyed look that meant he was either psychotically furious, or on a shitload of speed. He punctuated all the things he wanted to do to this fellow by bringing his fist down against his palm with a meaty slap. I didn't take it too seriously; almost every other night we went out Jake encountered some shit-talker he wanted to curb. I offered to buy him a drink, but he skulked off some place.
I left Clay in the smoking section and waved my wristband at the bouncer to get into the bar to get another beer (my seventh of the night.) Anne was there and introduced me to three people who I forgot and they probably forgot me. She had just gotten a fresh beer too and held it up. "Chug-a-lug?"
I hate chugging liquor, and at the time always gagged on shots of hard liquor, but I did it anyway. I only took my pint glass down three-quarters of the way while she polished off the whole thing. Women could always drink me under the table. This Chicana named Rocky I knew when I went to school in Boulder, she was half my weight and a foot shorter than me, but could drink whiskey like water. Rocky also did tons of coke, and that was before I knew it was impossible to get drunk when you're coked-up.
Anyway, that flood of alcohol was making my esophagus switch to reverse. I excused myself, walked outside the club, around the corner of the mini-mall where the people at the door couldn't see me and barfed all over the brick wall. After making sure my face and shirt where chunk free, I went back to the club (they let you back inside if your hand was stamped) got a drink of water from the pitchers around the way, and goth-danced like a drunken moron until the DJ inexplicably played some crap by White Zombie.
By this point, my stomach felt like it would be able to another beer. I went back to the bar and ordered a Newcastle, but I only had enough money for a Budweiser without hitting the ATM. Jake was still sulking around with a beer Sam bought for him. He kept going on and on about the shit-talker who was there.
"Who is this guy?" I asked, and Jake pointed him out to me; just another fellow with a pony-tail, a beer-gut, a pirate shirt and pointy boots out dancing to Temple of Love for the millionth time. "That guy?" I said. "You could take him."
"Yeah, I'll fuck him up and teach him never to talk shit again," he set down his beer and started punching his palm again. "Just smack him and tell him `This is what you get.'"
This was becoming repetitive. "Why don't you just do it?"
"I'm gonna do it," Jake said.
"No, but why don't you do it now? He's here, you're here. Just fucking get it done."
Jake stared at the guy from over the top of his pint glass. "Right now?"
"Yeah!" I said. "You've been talking about it all night. Quit talking about it and do it."
"That fucker," he hissed. "I should."
"No, not should," I said. "You have to. Otherwise, you're just a shit-talker, and no better. Just fucking do it."
"Right," he said, polishing off the rest of his beer and wiping his mouth off with his wrist. He marched from the bar directly to the dance floor, and shoved the pirate-shirt wearing fellow from behind, sending him flying into some corseted chick he was trying to dance with. At first, I didn't think he'd actually do it. Despite the fact that I didn't even know the fellow he was attacking, I didn't really feel too bad about instigating the situation.
Overall though, the fight was pretty weak. For all the "pound-that-fucker-into-the-sidewalk" stuff Jake had been talking about all night, the fight turned out to be mostly a shoving match. The DJ had just started playing "Kiss Them For Me" by Siouxsie and the Banshees, which didn't really go together with violence anyway. It took the bouncers at least a minute to drag Jake off the guy. To his credit, Jake struggled against them the whole way to the door. He was particularly incensed since one of the bouncers was black.
Anne tapped me on the shoulder and asked, "What happened?" I told her, leaving out the whole part about me goading him to do it. Blue and red lights started flashing outside. The cops were busy cuffing him against the side of the squad car, while he continued to scream out a litany of "Niggers!" at the black bouncer. "He's gotta stop that or they're gonna charge him with a hate crime," Anne said.
After the cops left with Jake, Sam went off to bail him out of jail, and Anne and Clay and I went off to the Denny's at the edge of town to get a bite to eat. It was late and most of the club was migrating over there anyway. At the Denny's, another fight occurred when some homeless fellow called this guy in lipstick and a skirt a faggot. The hostess called the cops. I didn't know the people involved, so I just kind of wallowed in the chaos until Clay motioned for me to come outside.
"Hey man, can you hide these in your car for me?" he had a pair of brass knuckles and his cigarettes in his hand. "If the cops come, I don't want to have them on me."
"Sure, no problem. Why you gotta hide your smokes though?"
"I just don't want them to take them from me, that's all."
The homeless guy and the goth he'd called a faggot bailed by the time the pigs got to the Denny's, so they grabbed this other guy who kicked the bottom of the door with his steel tipped biker boots, in a huff because the restaurant wasn't seating anyone because of the ruckus. Everybody attested that this wasn't the guy who had started the fight, and the cops let him go pretty quick.
Eventually, when everything had settled down some, we got a table. There was only one server, and he was already pissed at all the Millenium people for the fight in the restaurant, so he took his sweet time coming over to take our order. Clay started grabbing leftover food off the unbussed tables and started chowing down. He didn't have any money to order with anyway, but I was going to share a basket of fries with him. He started combining the leftover dishes of ranch dressing with some ketchup, a few squirts of Tabasco, and mustard. "It's 'Punk Rock' sauce," he told me. "You just throw together whatever you can find and dip your fries into it. I usually keep a few bottles of hot sauce in my backpack so I can mix up a good spicy one, but I didn't bring my backpack with me."
I declined trying any of Clay's punk rock sauce, opting instead for a bowl of Thousand Island, which took the waiter ten minutes to fetch. Then again, he probably knew he was going to get screwed on the tip anyway, so why make the effort? We probably obliged.
So it was probably coming up on five in the morning by the time I dropped off Clay and Anne. Sam hadn't met back with us, probably embroiled in the hassle of posting bond for poor old Jake. I didn't see any of them for a couple of weeks, being involved in the hassle of starting at a new university. It usually involves a lot of lines. Lines for your ID card, your ID card validation sticker, your schedule, your books, the book return because the professor didn't bother to put the correct ones on his syllabus. After buying all my books, I was officially broke, and couldn't go out partying anyway. I temped washing cars for the Avis stand out by the airport, but that barely covered it.
Eventually, I got a job at a Starbucks in a suburban Hell-pit known as the Park Meadows Mall, and that stabilized my money situation immensely.
Because I'd done my schedule late in the summer, I couldn't get an ideal one. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I had a three-hour wait between intro to philosophy and math 101. I usually spent that time napping in the student lounge if I hadn't slept the night before (I am, by nature, a night owl) or getting drunk at the Boiler Room.
One day, as I was heading out to the library, I saw Jake standing by the bus stop down by the Tivoli, with a backpack and everything, looking like he was on campus to study. I asked him about the arrest.
"Sam promised that he'd drive me straight home, so they didn't end up charging me." That's the hippie Boulder police for you. I once saw them try for fifteen minutes to wake up a homeless guy who passed out in Moe's Bagels. Most pigs would have just cuffed the wino and tossed him into the squad car.
It turned out he really was going to school there, taking community college courses. "I'm doing computer science this semester," he said. "It's part of my goal for global domination. It's time to take the system over from the inside."
He was done with his class for the day, and I still had two hours to go until my math course. That's what led us to the Boiler Room for an afternoon of beers. I was nearly late, and definitely drunk by the time I got to class, but the teacher was so inept and boring that drunk was one of the few ways you could tolerate the class.
Anne called me a few weeks later to see what was up. I was dating this girl Jenny from my philosophy class (who I am still with) so much of the tension I'd felt from being around her was dissipated and the whole thing felt really friendly. "I'm so glad you got a girlfriend," she said. "You're so cool, any girl would be lucky to have you."
I mentioned that I'd seen Jake on campus and Anne groaned. "Oh god. He's totally obsessing over me. I keep telling him, 'we're just friends' but he doesn't get the message."
Apparently, Jake had taken the bus down to the Cendant building to see dear Anne (despite her never recalling telling him where she worked.) He came bearing a huge bouquet of flowers and chocolates. The very thought of Jake in his greaser clothes, boots and tattoos, carrying flowers and a cheap heart shaped box of chocolates was a delicious mixture of sweet, funny, and pathetic all at once. "How did he even get upstairs to the office?" I asked. "I thought you needed a swipe card for the elevator."
"He snuck up staircase, then walked up and down the cubicles until he found me. When Chad (her supervisor) asked him to leave, he threatened to bash his teeth in," Anne said, exasperated. "I nearly got written up again because of him. If he doesn't chill out, I'm gonna have to get a restraining order."
We made plans to a warehouse party some friends of hers were throwing that weekend; some audio/visual art project type stuff which boiled down to freaks standing around listening to the ambient sounds of nails getting hammered into a raw steak over samples from The Nightmare Before Christmas, while drinking Skol vodka mixed with Tang (for a three dollar cover.)
I was standing around looking at some pseudo-gruesome video of eye-surgery spliced with tentacle-rape anime when she arrived with Sam and Jake, who I didn't think would be hanging around her any more. That was Anne for you; one second she was threatening getting a restraining order on someone, the next she was bumming cigarettes to him.
They also brought with them a bottle of vanilla Stoli, so I pitched the space-screwdriver and them pour me four fingers of vodka. I needed as much alcohol as I could get my hands on to handle this party.
I talked with this fellow named Francis, who I knew from the band days. He was a total space-case who thought he was going to be doing an international tour with Faith and the Muse on the strength of his shitty little synthesizer songs he recorded onto mini-cassettes. He had the strange ability to be both completely pretentious and utter idiotic at the same time.
I mentioned I was trying to write a novel at the time.
"What's your book about?"
I didn't exactly want to tell him what the book was about (in the end, it was a really bad book. That's why it never saw the light of day) so I gave him the default. "It's just a satire about modern society."
"Oh," he said, bringing his finger up to his lips. "I know that that word is derived from the Greek term satyr, but I'm not exactly sure how that applies to modern literature."
That is what having a conversation with Francis was like. So I just grinned and said, "It's a comedy."
The only reason I could keep up a conversation like that was because I was getting really drunk off the Stoli. Everyone was drunk at this point since the bottle was nearly gone. Jake was grinning like an idiot, Anne was trashed, Sam was acting like a dick, and I was the soberest of them. That didn't stop them from deciding we needed more alcohol. They thankfully decided to bail on this boring party, the deciding factor being that they had run out of booze there.
I hitched a ride in Sam's car and the night was kind of a blur from there. The liquor stores were all closed and all the bars had done their last call, so our search for more booze was proving to be fruitless. Anne and I had to convince Jake and Sam not to grab-and-go a six pack of 3.2 beer from King Soopers (what are we, in fucking high school?) For some reason, they thought that the White Spot, a now defunct diner on Broadway that was popular with drag queens, served beer late. Jake and Sam nearly got into another fight in the parking lot with some yuppies that were walking back to their car, but it never got past the shit talking stage.
Anne suddenly perked up and said she wanted to go to Kitty's and look at dildos. Since every person in the car had, or had had a crush on her, we gave into her whim. Four of us drunkards stumbled into the Kitty's adult theater on Broadway at two in the morning, much to the chagrin of the clerk who was lazily watching a porno behind the counter. Anne picked up every dildo hanging on the shelves, from the floppy flesh colored ones, to the clear "bullet" type ones. She was particularly entranced by the Twister, a two-pronged vibrator with a clit thumb and French ticklers. She waved it around like a lightsaber, and when she knocked a box containing a Pocket Pussy off the shelf, the annoyed look on the clerk's face convinced me we had to leave.
I went outside and lit another Marlboro. In the space of that time, Jake's mood darkened and he started arguing with Anne over something. "You lied to me!" he said, though I wasn't sure what they were all talking about. Sam and I kept our distance so we wouldn't be drawn into any argument with them. A squad car pulled up to the sidewalk where we were at and asked if everything was alright. Jake just yelled "FUCK OFF!" at the top of his lungs.
Both the cops were out in an instant, and drawing their nightsticks.
To his credit, Jake's back was to the sidewalk, so he couldn't really see that they were police. He probably thought that they were just some random assholes yelling stuff out of their car. At least, that's what we told the cops to make sure that Jake didn't get a serious beat down that night. The police were satisfied with just checking Anne's ID to make sure she wasn't underage (wtf?) and our promise to drive Jake straight home.
Of course, we didn't go home right then. By consensus, we decided that a few cups of coffee would sober us up well and we decided to go to the Sun Café on Colfax. The Sun was the bottom of the barrel of late night diners around there, mostly servicing the drug addicts, prostitutes, homeless drunks that congregate on Colfax at all hours of the night. We took up one of those large circular booths in smoking section (realistically, the entire Sun Café was a smoking section) but none of us ordered coffee. I was hungry and got a club sandwich, Anne got a root beer, Sam got a plate of nachos and bought Jake a Coca-Cola. Things were still tense between Anne and Jake, so in the nature of diplomacy, I tried to get both sides of their argument.
"He keeps saying we're dating and I keep telling him we're not!" Anne said. "I never told you we were dating! We're just friends Jake! Get it! JUST FRIENDS!"
"That's bullshit!" Jake said. "I remember you said you liked me! Remember that, huh! That time we were alone!"
"Well Jake," I said, going all Dr. Phil on him. "Even if she said she liked you, she's telling you right now that she doesn't want to be in a relationship with you--"
"I'm already in a relationship!" she said. It was news to me, but I gave up keeping track of her relationships at that point.
"THAT GUY IS A PIECE OF SCUMFUCK! YOU TOLD ME HE RAPED YOU THE OTHER NIGHT!"
"I was MAD!" she said. "I DIDN'T MEAN FOR YOU TO TAKE IT SERIOUSLY!"
The waitress came by with our food, which Sam sent back since he was a vegetarian and they put hamburger on the nachos.
"Regardless," I said to Jake. "She said she wants to be friends with you. Can you accept that?"
"She's not my friend," he said. "I don't suck my friend's dicks!"
"What the fuck are you talking about?" Anne pouted.
"If I just thought I was your friend, I wouldn't have GONE DOWN ON YOU IN THE CAR THE OTHER NIGHT!"
"YOU NEVER WENT DOWN ON ME!" Anne screamed, pounding the table and sloshing some of her root beer on my fries. "I LET YOU MAKE OUT WITH ME AND FINGER FUCK ME LAST WEEK, BUT I NEVER LET YOU EAT MY PUSSY!"
I bowed out of the argument at this point for four reasons.
1)This whole situation was becoming really embarrassing. You know it's bad when you're a bad scene at the Sun Café.
2)I was hungry. My food was getting cold.
3)ANNE LET THAT FUCK UP JAKE FINGERBANG HER?
What the hell? No wonder he's thinks she's his girlfriend.
4)I was quickly getting disenchanted with hanging out with these fools. Every weekend was the same mess with us trying to keep Jake from flying off the handle, with Anne running around, drunk as a monkey, egging him on. I knew hanging out with these people would just lead to disaster, and I had had too many disasters in the previous years to keep going on like this.
As if to prove my point, Jake suddenly whips out this huge combat knife and rams it into the table so the point was sticking out. I jumped. The other customers at the diner started to murmur stuff like "Whoa, hold on there!" I looked back at the register and saw the cashier furiously typing in the number for the police while looking over at our table nervously.
That's my cue to exit. I stood up, having only eaten one and a half quadrants of my club sandwich, dropped a twenty on the table and headed for the door. Sam, Jake and Anne followed me. As we left, the cashier yelled to us: "You're not allowed back here again!" Great, you had to be a real fuck up to get 86'd from the Sun Café.
(BTW, the Sun Café has different owners now, is called Tom's Diner, and I am no longer 86'd from there...)
Anne and Jake continued to fight in the parking lot there. I told them that I saw the cashier calling the cops and we should probably leave, but they didn't hear me, and by that point, I didn't care. After that night, I was kind of done with hanging out with those two. I hailed a cab to take me back to my car and called it a night.
I still saw Anne when I was out at clubs, and she is a notable part of a story I may get to at another time, but for the most part we didn't hang out that much again. Sam was a friend of some neighbors I had a few years ago, but we didn't really talk much after that either.
I never saw Jake again. I'm 99% sure the guy is either in jail or dead.