la Ketch

my life story

Sunday, October 30, 2005

washing machine

I keep thinking about this one thing that happened the fall of my senior year in college. I was living with A.G. in a cute little house everyone called "Bonita". We had gone with a group to the Sonic Youth concert on campus and we had all dropped acid. My friend Jimmy recently remided me how I had told him the story of going to this concert, maybe that's what brought it back into my mind. It's sort of a funny story to tell (if you can handle listening to other people's acid stories which if you can't you've probably already stopped reading this). The story is that while I was at the show, I started really tripping on the fact that I felt like I was inside of a washing machine. They had designed the lights in this certain way so that they would go around the concert hall and then stop and spin back the other way, like a wahing machine does. Then the music, the music was swirling around us like water and soap and I turned to A.G. and said, "Oh my God, this is so cool. I feel exaclty like I'm inside of a washing machine." Then it occured to me that this was the name of the album. It was the "Washing Machine" tour. Then I really freaked. I was like, "Hooooolllymoootheerfuuucckiingshiiit! That's the name of the album!" I was so excited that no body could calm me down. After the show I made A.G. come with me to go try and find Kim Gordon so that I could tell her that she had succeeded in making me feel like I was inside of a washing machine. I told A.G. that they would definitely let us backstage to see her because A.G. has the same last name as Kim Gordon and all we would have to do is tell them this and they would let us backstage to see her. This logic didn't work on the security guards for some reason.

That's the funny story but it's not the part of the night I keep thinking about. The part I keep thinking about is this moment I had with my friend N. after the concert. N. and I had spent the whole summer together doing summer stock and we had become really close. I played "Chava" in Fiddler on the Roof and he played the Gentile I ran away with. N. has the driest sense of humor out of everyone I know. He's so funny and he introduced me to all of this cool hip hop music like KRS1. We got to be really good friends that summer but we never made out or had anything romantic between us. He's super cute. We were just strangely platonic. N. got married last summer to the coolest girl. He's living in LA now and he seems so happy. Hopefully we can hang out a lot when dup and I move out there.

The thing I keep thinking about happened after the concert. There were about five of us that went to the show and we were hanging out in the living room of Bonita high out of our minds, laughing our asses off. It was a group of really funny people and we all got on this kick where we couldn't stop laughing. I was laughing so hard that I was crying. You know that feeling where you cross over from laughing to crying and sometimes you pee your pants? It super fun and funny obviously but it can also feel really uncomfortable and sometimes scary because you're so out of control of your emotions. It's amazing really, how similar laughing and crying are. It's the same physical response, the same release of emotion. It's interesting.

We were all laughing and laughing and finally I said something through my hysterics like, "It's so hard not to laugh!" We all agreed that we weren't going to ever be able to stop laughing. It started to feel like we had been laughing for years and years. It was becoming exhausting. Especially with N. and I. I would stop laughing for a second and just start to catch my breath and feel okay and then I would look at him and start right back up again. I was like, "I can't look at you and not laugh. It's too hard." He was laughing too but then he said to me, "I'll bet you can." Just then we both non-verbally agreed to try and look at eachother without laughing. Of course, the only way to do this is to think of something really sad. I decided to think about the saddest thing I knew and he did the same. Then he said, "Are you ready?"

We both looked up and right into eachother's eyes and stared for about a minute. What I saw in his eyes was the saddest thing he could think of and it killed me. I guess he was seeing the same thing in me. Let me tell you, we were no longer laughing. "I was wrong. It's not hard at all." I said. "No, no it's not. It's not hard at all." and then he stood up and walked upstairs to be alone.

Oh man. Talk about a buzz-kill. You could hear a pin drop in that room. Everyone had seen it go down. The energy had shifted in an instant. A.G. had to go up and talk N. down off his bad trip the rest of the night. I pulled out of it and started thinking happy thoughts again but it pretty much ruined the remainder of the evening. He and I never talked about it after that, what we had seen or why he was unable to recover from it.

I don't know why I keep thinking about it. It must be the fall.

La Ketch

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Greenpoint curfew = nine o'clock

Last night Willis had a party and I didn't go. Why doesn't Willis have a blog? Can someone please answer me this? If he did, I could link to him when I type his name. Willis had this fundraiser party for this theatre company and I was totally planning on going. I even had this outfit planned. I was going to wear my light purple corduroy skirt with black knit tights and black furry fake Ugg boots from Payless along with my black welesly cable knit sweater and black corduroy blazer and my new pink plaid furry trapper hat from JCrew. Hello? That would have been cute right? I got home later than expected from work because it was a crazy day and dup had made this awesome dinner. We were both planning on going to the party. We were going to eat and then go but then I started getting quiet; quiet and then visibly sad. "What's wrong La Ketch?" dup said to me. "I'm just so tired. I'm so tired and I don't think I can go to the party." I was asleep by nine o'clock and dup was by my side because he was too tired to go to the party too. Ohmygodwearefuckingoldpeople.

The thing with Fridays is that I'm so tired from working all week that I tend to fall asleep by nine o'clock. If you are reading this Willis, I am very sorry that I missed your party and I will come to the next one but could you please make it on a Saturday?

The other problem with going out at all is that we live in Greenpoint Brooklyn and all of our friends live in the Carroll Gardens/Park Slope area. If you don't know Brooklyn let me explain to you that these neighborhoods are far away from each other and the train that connects the two neighborhoods has special needs. If it is after 10pm then the train is running in two parts and it takes forever and so we have to take a car. This doesn't sound like a big deal except that dup would rather donate both his kidneys to science than take a car anywhere. "Why would I take a car when I have a Metrocard?" is his sound yet cheap-ass reasoning. My response is, "Because it's fucking freezing and late and if we take the subway it will take an hour and half but if we take a car we will be home in fifteen minutes and I'll pay for it."

I love our neighborhood even though it is quite industrial because we have a great big park with an amazing view of the Mahattan skyline and a dog run that eliott loves. We have lots of great shops and restaurants and also we can be in Manhattan very quickly, it only takes me about 30 min to get to work - that's door to door. The problem is that we are the only people we know that live here (besides Kate and Josh and Chris and Sara AND T-DAWG who we love but Kate recently told me that she and Josh are looking at apartments in Park Slope, NO KATE!!). I wish we lived in Carroll Gardens with everyone else but dup gives me very good reasons why we can't move and in the end I always agree with him. We have a nice place and we pay pretty cheap rent for it (considering it's New York). Moving is a pain in the ass and it's expensive to do. If we move we aren't going to find as nice of a place and pay as cheap rent. We should just save our money for our move to California.

We are planning on moving to Los Angeles after dup graduates from school. More specifically, in the spring of 2008. I wish we were moving there now because as I look out my window I see this tree that is completely orange on the top and green on the bottom. The orange half is speaking to me, "Winter is coming you crazy bitch." My mind is in no way prepared for winter. This morning when I walked eliott, I was lamenting not wearing gloves my hands were so cold. It seems that there's no delaying it. It just makes me wonder, CAN I TAKE ONE MORE WINTER IN THIS GODFORSAKEN CITY?! Luckily, I've gotten myself an awesome winter coat from the Burlington Coat Factory. At Burlington Coat Factory you can get designer name coats at bargain basement prices. I wore this coat somewhat prematurely last night when I walked eliott before bed, just for a test run. I have to say it rulz. It's like walking around in a sleeping bag. Also, it was made by Michael Kors and it is fucking cute.

Dup needs the computer. I'm going to clean the bathroom.

la Ketch

Friday, October 28, 2005

not THE END, the end. just the end of the story.

Don't worry little goblins. I will keep blogging. I just needed to stop telling that one particular story. The good news is that I got it out. Something I've wanted to do for sometime. It's not perfect by any means but it's down there and now I can work with it. I may even turn it into a little book. That's sort of what I'm thinking. I needed to just end it though for now because I keep wanting to blog to you about other things, things happening in the present and I kept feeling like I couldn't do that until I finished this story. The other good news is that I love blogging and writing this story had given me more confidence in my writing and given me the drive to keep blogging. So now, I will probably just go on doing what most people are doing, writing whatever I feel like. I have some more stories about my childhood growing up in Cali and also my years in college and especially my experiences living in the City. so I will get those out there.

I really want to thank everyone for supporting my story telling, especially the gallivanting monkey, eve, sheila, bogface and dup. I couldn't have continued to write without you all demanding the next segment. That's what's so great about the Blog. You have this audience right there and you have to write for them or.... They will be sad. Don't be sad! I will blog again!! BwhOHHHAhaHAHAha ha haahoo ha!

la Ketch

Thursday, October 27, 2005

riding off

I had spent the afternoon at home watching, “Days of Our Lives” and thinking about what I had done. Later on that evening, Beloved Principal called my house. “La Ketch, there is someone on the phone for you,” my mom said, handing me the cordless. I knew it was going to be him. “Heello?” I said, already starting to cry. “La Ketch, it’s Beloved Principal. Are you okay? How are you? I hope you don’t think I’m angry at you.” He seemed to really want to know how I was. “Oh Beloved Principal,” bawling now. “I, I, can you ever forgive me? I, I, I’m so sorry I let you dooh, dohw, dooooown,” I was losing it genuinely and strategically now. “Of course La Ketch, of course I can. I think you are going to be much harder on yourself than we could ever be.” Can I just say, thank God for this man? “I’ve been talking to Cool Counselor about your options.” He used that word again, options? It was like I had a terminal illness and we were deciding on treatments. “It's my understanding that you are considering the possibility of moving back to California to live with your grandmother before you go off to college. I have to say at first, I thought that was a bit drastic. I mean, it might feel like a big deal but this acid stuff, we all did that.” You would not believe how many teachers pulled me aside and confessed this to me after it was all out in the open. At least four teachers that I remember actually made a point of stopping me in the hall or after class and saying something to the effect of, “I don’t see what the big deal is. I did that stuff when I was your age.” Or “Don’t worry kid, you’ll be okay. I did a ton of that stuff back in the 60’s.” So funny.

What Beloved Principal went on to say was that he hadn't forseen how blown out of proportion this whole situation was going to get. People in the community seemed to be quite upset for one reason or another. He had received several calls from concerned parents and teachers and students were reporting to him, each with different concerns about my situation. It had all the earmarks of a witch hunt and he was not interested in watching me burn at the stake. “So, I’m beginning to think that maybe, if that’s what you want to do, move to California, it might not be such a bad idea. I hate to see you go but I think that if you can, that would be best.” I couldn’t believe it. It sounded insane coming out of his mouth. I was still praying that this possibility would come to light and had pretty much given up hope but here was Beloved Principal himself giving me the green light. I could just….. go home?

Of course, my mom wouldn’t let me. In retrospect, she was the only adult presiding over the situation that was able to make a clear and intelligent decision about my fate. After it was decided that I would stay in the Claw and face consequences, Beloved Principal broke it down:

A. I could fight the charges. It would be very difficult to prove that I had done what my accuser had claimed I had done and my confession wasn’t all that useable against me considering it happened behind the closed doors of a confidential counseling session. If I choose this route however, I would have to answer to a lot of intense incrimination. Worst of all, even if I couldn’t be found guilty and was allowed to go on as President, I would have to face the Student Body knowing I had lied to their faces and knowing that they knew I had lied and gotten away with it. I considered addressing them all at the next assembly, “They will boo me. They will definitely boo me,” I thought to myself. They would have.

B. I could resign and I wouldn’t be obligated to answer any questions at all. I could just site “personal reasons” and the Vice President (green as grass and completely unqualified) would step in immediately.

I choose to resign.

I wish I had my resignation letter to post for you here. I was so heartfelt and wrought with heartache and remorse. I was addressed to my fellow Student Council Members. I told them that this was the hardest thing I had been forced to face since the death of my father (not much time had passed since that happened really, so it wasn’t saying much). I told them that I knew they could do it without me, that I had the utmost faith in them to carry on as I would have, with energy and enthusiasm (I didn’t really. I figured it would pretty much go to shit without me). I told them how sorry I was to have let them down, that I would never forgive myself for letting them down (that was true). I told them how stupid I had been to make this horrible decision when they all would be affected by my actions. I told them how sorry I was. I was so very sorry.

Our Advisor read the letter out loud to the Student Council in our meeting room. I wasn’t there but I’m told that everyone cried, including the advisor. I wish I could have been there to see them cry for me like that. I have to tell you that for some reason, it made me feel so good when I heard they had cried like that.

Beloved Principal worked out a plan for me to survive my final days at EHS. I would be suspended from school until after the Christmas Break. This would buy me some time and let things blow over before I had to trudge through Senior Locker Bay again. He then concluded, with the help of Cool Counselor, that I had taken nearly enough classes to graduate. I only needed two credits, in Social Studies, and I would be meeting my state requirements. So I took a choir class and two teacher’s aid classes to have enough hours to be considered a student and then, to get my Social Studies credits, Beloved Principal arranged for me to do an internship with the Mayor. Yes, you read that right. I spent the first half of my day just sort of hanging out with teachers that liked to tell me how much acid they took when they were my age and then I would drive my little brown Datsun over to City Hall of all places and work in the Mayor’s Office. Beloved Principal was a friend of the Mayor’s and he asked him to do me a favor and take me under his wing. Beloved Principal was still convinced that I should go into politics. I was not in agreeance but I loved this not really having to go to school thing and I went a long with it.

The Mayor didn’t know what to do with me exactly and finally we decided that I would do some research and create a business directory for the town. I searched through all of the business license documents and created a data base of every business in The Claw and put them into different categories. I created pie charts and statistics and I eventually gave a presentation at a city council meeting that demonstrated my findings. Apparently, they all found it very helpful and no one could believe that I was the young druged up acid girl they had heard so much about.

The whole town knew about what had happened or rather, had heard a version of what people thought had happened. There was an article in the School paper about it and there was an article in the town paper about it. There were lots of rumors about what a druggie I was, that I had to go to rehab, that I had tried to kill myself, etc. I would get looks at the grocery store ("Psst, look that's her). I would hear customers wispering about me at my work ("Apparently, she injected heroin into her toes because there weren't any veins left"). In the hallway of the Main Office at the school there is a wall with photos of all of the Homecoming Kings and Queens. It was always one of my favorite parts of the school's decoration because it's so funny to look a the photos and see all of the different hairstyles and clothes change style over the years. My photo was there and over my face someone had put a sticker that read, "Acid Queen". It was pretty funny actually and eventually it was removed (not by me). I still find solace knowing that my photo is there in that hallway as I type this. And when it was all happening, I liked knowing that too. They couldn't take that crown away from me. I may not have been president anymore but I would always be the Homecoming Queen.

There were lots of rumors and stories but in reality, I didn’t do drugs all the time um ....yet. I had just done one hit of shitty acid this one time but soon after I got into all of this trouble I started smoking quite a bit of ganga. I was going backwards through the gateway I guess. I had gotten myself this boyfriend who was 23 years old and he was a huge stoner. That age seems so young to me now, gosh what a baby he was but at the time I was 17 and he was OLD. He had dropped out of college and moved back in with his mom. We had met at a party. He was sweet and cute and he loved Jane’s Addiction. Because my City Businesses project only took me about 2 hours a week to work on and because I had convinced them that I could work on it from home, my days in the latter half of my Senior year consisted of:
1. Sleeping in past my first TA class because the teacher didn’t care if I came or not.
2. Sauntering onto campus for my choir class second period.
3. Sometimes going to my other TA class.
4. Driving over to my 23 year old boyfriend’s house where we would smoke massive amounts of marijuana and have sex all afternoon until he had to leave to work the night shift driving a forklift at the Pickle Factory.

After he went to work I would sometimes go to work at the deli and I would sometimes have to go to play practice. We did “Oklahoma” my senior year and I was “Ado Annie”. Everyone thought it was so funny that I sang a song with the lyrics, “I’m just a girl who can’t say no.” heh, heh, heh....

All and all, I was loving this punishment. It was so laid back and stress free compared to the chaos my life was the first half of the year. At school people pretty much left me alone. The "cool people" didn't want to be friends with me anymore but I started realizing how totally uncool they really were. The real cool people couldn't stand me all that time and now that I had fallen from grace and done drugs and stuff, they were like, "hey, we didn't know you were so cool." My whole out look had changed and I started hanging out with this new crowd. Mag had come back from being gone and she got herself this hot boyfriend. You have to understand that this is now 1992. The Grunge phenomenon in Seattle is exploding and we were just 45 minutes south. Still, only about 5 people in all of EHS owned “Nevermind”. Mag’s boyfriend was one of them. He was skinny with long hair and he was in a band. Our lives started to center around him and his friends and just music in general. We hung out at their band practice and went to shows on half pipes in some skater kid’s back yard. I cut my hair and started wearing Doc Martins. We would drive to Seattle every weekend and go to all ages shows at the OK Hotel and stop at the Denny’s on the way back and chain smoke Camel Lights and drink pots of coffee. We listened to Soundgarden and Nirvana and Alice in Chains and Hammerbox and Pearl Jam and all of it. We went to Endfest and Lollapalooza (the first Lollapalooza actually came to the Claw at the King County Fairgrounds. The head line of the local paper the next day read, “Hell Opens Up and Spits on The Claw.”) The music was so good and these friends were so cool and I began, finally, to see how silly everything that had happened was and how there might just be life after high school.

I ended up getting into San Diego State University but when it was time to finally move back to California something stopped me. It didn’t feel right anymore. I had gone to visit the campus and it was really Greek Centered and I just didn’t feel like I could rush a sorority. California suddenly seemed too plastic for me and my new grunge attitude. Also, my new crowd of friends had decided to move up to Bellingham where Mag’s boyfriend was going to school at Western Washington University. I knew Western because the drama department had brought that "Labels" play that had been so influential to me to our school and also I had attended a high school drama conference there. It's a really beautiful campus and a very charming town and I had sort of an affinity toward it. So at the very last minute, I decided to go with them. My grades weren’t good enough to get into Western in the final hour but Mag and I got and apartment right near the University and I started going to community college. Eventually I transferred into Western and got my BA in Theatre.

I did speak at my High School Graduation. It was a good speech. I was proud of it. It was sort of like, “I’m still here. You hick bastards didn’t break me.” I didn’t say that in the speech but just me standing there and giving the speech said that I think. High School Graduation was one of the happiest days of my life. I felt sooo fucking free. Two days later, we all piled in one of the band member's Vanagan and moved to Bellingham. College was four of the best years of my life. I met such wonderful people. I expanded everything. Soaked it all up. I just had this fanfuckingtastic time. And yes, I took lots and lots of drugs. I had a reputation to live up to after all.

After college, I moved to Seattle where I joined a really cool theatre company and got to know even more wonderful people, including the man who would later become my husband. In 2000, I moved to New York. I currently live in Brooklyn with my main man and our beagle. I work at a finance company and sometimes I act in plays.

That’s my life story.

That's it.

The end.

Thanks for listening!

la Ketch

Lu Lu Eightball by Emily Flake

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Karmic Plea (a story break)

Last night I lost my baby beagle. I got him back, don't worry! It was a horrifying 30 minutes though. We were at the pet store, which he hates for some reason, trying a new harness on him and he bolted out the door. This little dude is so fast. I ran after him but he was just so fast! I watched in horror as he darted across busy streets, almost getting hit by a car about 10 times. I was literally screaming my head off, crying hysterically. My behavior resembled Sally Field in a made for TV Mini Series. I was screaming out this phrase over and over again, "God please save my dog! Please God! Save him!" I was sprinting across the park, across the soccer fields, around by the playground and the abandoned Municipal Pool. I kept asking people to help me as I ran by but no one would help me. "Please help me get him, I can't run anymore, please!" People just stared. Finally, I made eye contact with this guy. I screamed at him, "YOU HAVE TO HELP ME HE'S GOING TO GET HIT BY A CAR AND DIE!" This got his attention. He started running too. We chased that crazy beagle for about another ten minutes and then we lost him completely. This guy continued to help me search, asking people if they'd seen him, etc. He kept saying to me, "Don't worry, we're going to find him." I was so distraught and I finally started walking across the field back towards the off leash Dog Park. I thought that if I went there, at least I could find other dog lovers and they would help me set up a dragnet. When I got there the park was full. I screamed out to the crowd, "Everyone, there is an emergency situation! My dog is running loose! He's a small beagle!" Then someone said, "He's here. He's right here." That little rascal had run to the dog park and when someone walked in with their dog, he followed behind, in essence trapping himself and saving his own life. Praise Jehovah!

As soon as I saw him I started bawling of course. I was so relieved that I almost puked. All I could think of the whole time was how heartbroken my husband was going to be if we lost this little guy. He just loves this dog so much. I didn't have his leash and I had to carry him about six blocks to the pet store. It was then that I realized the guy who was helping me was gone. I don't think that he even knew that I found my dog.

I'm hoping that if you are reading this and you care about people who are nice you might just take a moment to wish this man good will. I hope that if he is poor, he finds riches. If he has sorrows, his heart is healed. If he has an unrequited love, may she fall for him deep. Thank you kind man who finally listened and helped me look for my baby boy. May you know in your heart that I found him and he is safe. Wherever you are, may all of your wishes be granted.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The execution of the Acid Queen

The day after the party was a Sunday and I had to go to work. I worked at this little gourmet sandwich shop and deli. I really enjoyed this job. It was much more civil than my previous slave druggery at the Dairy Queen where I worked the drive through window and mopped the floors the previous summer. Here I made sandwiches and waited tables. I loved the people I worked with and I always looked forward to being there. There was an area in the restaurant that was dedicated entirely to candy. We had all flavors of Jelly Bellies and my favorite was “Juicy Pear”. It’s truly remarkable how much the “Juicy Pear” Jelly Belly tastes like an actual pear. I continue to marvel at it's peariness whenever I eat one. I rarely come across them these days but then, there was an entire jar at my disposal. I would put fist fulls in my apron pockets and eat them until my mouth turned green.

I remember chewing on those Jelly Bellies that day as I cleaned the restaurant deli case with glass cleaner, all the while thinking to myself, “I did drugs.” It’s a crazy thing to realize that you’ve crossed over into a territory you were once so certain you would never traverse. I remember having a similar feeling the first time I snorted cocaine; looking down at myself in this mirror with a dollar bill shoved up my nose thinking, “How funny, I’m snorting cocaine.” It was just something I never thought I’d do. It had been so ingrained into my mind that drugs were bad, that if I did them I would die and here I was very much alive, eating Jelly Bellies and not feeling so different after having dropped my first hit of acid the night before. It still hadn’t occurred to me, how much trouble I could be in. I had been drunk and made a fool of myself at parties so many times before. I thought these consequences woule be similar. People might tease me or something, no big deal.

Oh how very, very wrong I was.

On Monday morning I walked through the halls before first period certain that something was crawling out my nose or that my hair had turned to snakes or I had bunny rabbits flying out of my ears or something. People would not stop staring at me. I could hear people whispering as I walked along, in the bathroom, by my locker. I was stopping people mid conversation. “There she is.” “Hey it’s the Acid Queen!” I didn’t get it. Jesus, what’s the bid deal?! Finally, someone approached me. It was one of my “friends” who had been on the Homecoming Court with me. She seemed genuinely concerned for my safety as she ducked us into a corner. “La Ketch, listen to me everyone knows. People are upset with you. Someone is going to tell on you. She’s talking about it. She may have already done it.” All of the blood ran out of my face. She may have already done it? She may have already told on me? She may have marched up to the Principal’s office, plopped her self down and told him that I was at a party on Saturday night and that I took LSD? Just now? This was happening in this moment? This new knowledge did to me finally what that weak acid Jason Priestly gave me could not. My reality melted.

I had no inkling that I was going to lose my presidency when I put that little piece of paper on my tongue. I didn’t think that it would get so out of hand. I just didn’t realize how many people were poised and ready to take me down. Alas, it only takes one.

I went to first period planning my escape route; out of class and then eventually out of the state of Washington. The best way to get out of any class is to go to the counselor’s office because you are having emotional problems. I had two ins at the counselor’s office. I had dated the cousin of one of the favorite school counselors. I had been at her house for Thanksgiving once even. She was super cool and funny and she was my friend. I got out of class and went to her office. The other in I had at the counselor’s office was my mom. She worked as the career counselor and her desk sat right outside of the cool counselor’s door. She was sitting at it when I walked in. I decided to test out the feeble plan I had been constructing since being let in on my own impending doom. “Hi Mom.” I said to her in my I-don’t-feel-so-good voice. “Hi honey, what’s the matter? Are you sick?” She was concerned. “No, I’m just so tired,” I sat down in the chair by her desk. “I’ve just had it, you know? I miss Mag so much. I can’t talk to anyone. I hate everyone here. I just want to move back to California. I’m going there for college anyway. Why can’t I go now? I can live with Grammy. Just for the rest of the year and then I’ll go to college. Can I?” I couldn’t believe I was proposing this with any sincerity, actually pitching it to her. As I was seeing it, this was my only way out. I had to run fast and far. I would leave that day if possible; wheels touching town at John Wayne Airport before the end of Fourth Period. “I know you’re unhappy sweetie. I wish you could have graduated last year, I do but you have to think about your position as President. You have a responsibility to follow through with the job you were elected to do. What would happen with that?” Well that little problem was about to be solved. “I know mom. I do. I feel so conflicted. I’m going to talk to cool counselor about it right now,” I said this in a way that suggested I was a responsible, mature teen considering her options. When I was actually back peddling furiously out of an extremely sticky situation.

I knocked on cool counselor’s door. “Hi, I thought I might see you here,” she sounded like she had information. I got defensive, “Why did you think that?” She came back at me, "What’s going on La Ketch? Come in. Sit down. You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” This is when things really started caving in. I started getting really scared. I mean truly, truly frightened. This moment of the story is the part that illustrates so perfectly what a fucked up petri dish High School is. The bubble is so small and so finite. It seems impossible to think, when you’re in the thick of it, that there will ever be anything else. It’s impossible to comprehend that none of it matters. That within weeks of graduation your entire idea of it will dissolve like a bad dream and you will be left with the beautiful fresh slate that is your true life. When you are in it, there is nothing else. Everything matters like it's life and death. I started to feel like a dead man walking. My social status was on it's way to the electric chair.

“I, I, I’m afraid,” I told her. “I, I, I think I should move back to California.” (Today preferably.) “What are you afraid of? Did you do something?” She was really trying to coax it out of me. She was using the old, we’re friends, you can tell me anything, just tell me the truth and you won’t get in trouble angle on me. I was pissing my pants, “Nnnno, no I haven’t done anything.” “What are you afraid of then?” She was disappointed in me for lying. “I’m afraid of what I might do.” A vague reference to suicide? I was not considering killing myself, although I remember looking at the window in her office and wondering if I could crawl out of it and run if she turned her back. This was after she said the next part. “La Ketch, I know what happened. I know what you did.” She said it with a seriousness that ran down my spine like the cold hand of death itself. “I didn’t, I, I…” I was really bawling now. “Someone wants to talk to you. Will you come with me?” When she said this, a glimmer of hope shone through the shit storm. I became convinced that the person who wanted to talk to me was the person who I had heard was going to tell on me. I was so relieved. I thought, “it’s not too late. She hasn’t told yet. I can talk to her, reason with her, I can beg her not to turn me in.” It wasn’t her that wanted to talk to me though. It was the worst person possible, our beloved Principal. “He’s not mad,” cool counselor assured me. “He’s very worried about you La Ketch. He just wants to talk to you and discuss your options with you.” MY OPTIONS. OH MY FUCKING GOD. I had walked right into a trap. Moments earlier, I was packing my bathing suit, on my way back to the O.C. and now here I was, I was… oh so royally trapped.

The idea of facing the Beloved Principal in that moment was too much for me to bare. I couldn’t tolerate him knowing that I had done anything bad, let alone LSD, which I’m sure in his mind was tantamount to shooting heroin. It was very important to me that his opinion of me remain high. I broke in two, “Nnnno, nnnooo, I can’t, I can’t see him. Please, pleeeeease, don’t make me. I want to go home. I need to go hoooome.” I was hysterical, hyperventilating, choking on snot. She tried to calm me down. She still hadn't gotten her confession, “La Ketch, it’s okay. Everything is going to be fine. I just need you to tell me what happened Did you do it?” This was it. I hadn’t admitted to anything yet. I had to make a very flash decision. A lot of people had seen me acting crazy but no one saw me do the drugs except for Jason Priestly and he was doing them too. I could have denied it. I could have but I think something had already shifted in me. I didn’t want to fight. I knew it was over. “Yes, I mean, I don’t know what she told you. I went to a party and I took acid.” The words sounded strange. “Who gave it to you?” She really wanted to know and that was not the last time I would hear that question. Everyone wanted to know who gave it to me. No one wanted to think that I had done it on my own accord. They preferred to imagine some big bad drug dealer shoving it down my throat. I wouldn’t tell her. I may have been a lot of things but I wasn’t a fink. I never wanted to tell but I really couldn’t get into Jason Priestly after it all went down. He was afraid of me but he never apologised. He ran track that Spring but he never thanked me for keeping my trap shut.

I’m sure you’re wondering who the fat fucking bitch face who told on me was. I would like to tell you that it was my Arch Nemesis, which would really round out the story nicely but it wasn’t her. It was a total random. I knew her, could see why she might not like me but there wasn’t any one specific reason for her to tell. I hadn’t personally wronged her in any way. She was just really offended that I would try and get away with breaking the rules so blatantly. After hearing what happened, she became enraged, marched straight the Principals office and told him everything. She wasn’t at the party, so he had to verify the information. He called in a second narker, a girl who he had known a long time, friend of the family. She was on the Homecoming Court with me and was one of the girls who was mad that I had won but I don’t think that’s why she verified the information. I think that she just couldn’t lie to our Beloved Principal’s face. I wouldn’t have been able to either.

I didn’t have to go in and talk to him that morning. Cool counselor said I could go home and he would call me later. I did, however, have to let my mom in on what was happening. She was still sitting outside the door. We called her in and I told her what I had done, plain and simple, just like I had told her how I crashed the truck and just like I had told her how I trashed her house. She was pretty upset. I begged her again to let me move. "Absolutely not," she said. "You're not leaving your sister and I behind to clean up this mess you've made. You will stay here and you will face the consequences." And then she took me home.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Thousands of Faces

At EHS, when you join Student Council or a sports team or any student organization, they make you sign a contract saying that you will not consume drugs or alcohol and that you will not attend any party where drugs an alcohol are being consumed. Basically, you had to swear you wouldn’t go to any parties. Everyone signed this piece of paper but no one, I mean no one, took it seriously. We weren't afraid of getting caught because we knew that no one would tell on us. They'd only be telling on themselves. After the Snow Ball, I drove out to the party along with a group of girls who were cheerleaders (signed the paper). At this party was half the Basketball Team (signed the paper), the entire Girls Volleyball Team (signed the paper) people on the Track Team (signed the paper), the Golf Team, the Student Council, the Future Business Leaders of America, The Future Farmers of America... they were all there and they all signed the paper but no one got in trouble but me. I got in trouble because I was doing drugs and they were only drinking. Also, someone told on me.

The party took place at this guy’s house. I can picture his face, what he looked like but I can't remember his name. I'm finding that I’ve blocked out a lot from this night. This is an unfortunate thing to discover in the middle of writing the story that's supposed to be the climax to this serial I’ve been writing. I will do my best...

This guy was in my class and his family was moving. Somehow, he had access to his family’s empty, just moved out of house, very little furniture, etc. and his parents were not around. Perhaps they had moved on without him. Who knows. I went to the party intending not to drink. I don’t know why because I really liked to drink. For some reason this night I was making a big deal about not drinking. “I’m going but I’m not drinking,” I told everyone. (And I didn’t. I didn’t touch a drop.) I was also supposed to be the designated driver for that group of girls I had come with. I wonder how they got home? I wonder how I got home? Like I said, I can't remember.

What I do remember is the very begining of the party, standing in the kitchen of this guy's empty house. People were just hanging out. I was feeling pretty lost. I felt pretty lost most of the time those days because Mag wasn’t around and I missed her and I didn’t feel like talking to anyone. So I was standing in this kitchen trying to talk to someone that I didn’t want to talk to and who walked up to me but Jason Priestly himself, that rat bastard. He started talking to me but he was acting really weird. He keept waving his hands out in front of his face and watching them. Finally I was like, “Jason Priestly, what the fuck are you doing?” and he was like, “Traaaacers”. I didn’t know what tracers were. “What are you talking about?” I asked. “I took acid,” he baited me. From what I knew about acid, if he truly was high on it, he would be running around the room screaming in tongues with his hair on fire, trying to jump out the window because he thought he could fly. “No way,” I challenged him. “If you take acid you will die.” He laughed at me, “Well I’ve taken it a lot of times and I'm not dead am I? Do you want some?” I still didn't believe him. “You have ACID. Right now. What, just like right there in your pocket?” Remember, I was still wearing the D.A.R.E. hat. Its magical powers were instructing me to “Just Say No”. I quickly disregarded the hat's instructions. “Let me see it,” I said. He took me into the other room where we could be alone. Once we were in there he stood really close to me. I could smell his Drakkar Noir. He pulled a piece of folded tin foil from his pocket and unwrapped it. “It’s just a tiny piece of paper,” I said to him in hushed tones, sort of staring into his eyes a little, hoping he would kiss me or at least think I was cute. “It is just a tiny piece of paper. Stick out your tongue.” Oh my god. I stuck out my tongue. He put the tiny piece of paper on my tongue. “Now hold it in your mouth.” I did. “Keep it there until it dissolves or you can swallow the paper or spit it out or whatever. It doesn’t matter.” I could tell he was sort of backing off. Unsure about what he had done maybe or afraid that he had given me the wrong impression or probably he was afraid that he was going to have to baby sit me all night. Whatever it was he was leaving the room. “What happens now?” I called after him. “You’ll see in about forty five minutes,” he laughed as he walked away.

Now I wish that I could tell you that forty five minutes later I was like Alice down the rabbit hole, that reality melted away and I stepped into another dimension. I wish I could tell you that I peeled off my skin and my ego, that I met past lives or talked to spirits or read people’s minds or convinced myself that I could walk on water. None of these things happened though. These things would happen to me later on, in a place more appropriate for such things, college. The reason none of these things happened to me that night is because the acid Jason Priestly gave me was not very strong. I said in my previous entry that I was tripping balls but I wasn’t really. I only said that for effect. I apologize.

After a while, I did start to feel something though. It may have been a placebo. I may very well have been faking the whole thing but I started to feel this huge surge of energy. I was sitting on a lazy boy chair, the only piece of furniture in what seemed to be the family room of the house. I was alone. There was music playing. I think it was John Cougar Mellencamp. I remember consciously taking on a sort of loner persona at this point that I would keep for the rest of the evening. Then I started dancing. I was alone in this room dancing wildly and singing loudly. People started noticing me, dancing around and they started to try and talk to me, "Hey La Ketch, nice moves, you're really dancing there." I wouldn’t talk back. I just stopped talking. I was running around, jumping on the lazy boy, running back and forth from room to room. People were like, “What the fuck is going on with her?” Jason Priestly pulled me aside at one point and told me to calm down. I put my hands up and moved them around in front my face, “Traaaacers”. Pretty soon people started catching on that I was high on acid. They started catching on because Jason Priestly told everyone, “She’s high on acid.” He didn’t tell them that he was also high on acid or that he had given me the acid just that I was high on acid. Then people started fucking with me. “Hey La Ketch, there are a bunch of spiders crawling all over your face, did you know that?” No, I didn’t know that! “Hey La Ketch, I’ll bet you could fly out that window.” It was a one story house. I knew they were fucking with me. I didn’t care. My indignance and hatred for everyone was only magnified by the drug. My mode was self destruct.

If I had stopped to think for just one moment about what I was doing, I would have come to the quick realization that I was getting myself into a heap of trouble. It was bad enough that I had taken drugs but now I was telegraphing it to the entire school. I had gotten to this point where I didn’t give a flying fuck. I was taking the wooden ladder I had used to climb to the top of the EHS food chain, dousing it with gasoline and torching it.

My only other clear memory from the evening is of me lying on my back, on the carpet of a larger room than the first. This was towards the end of the party and my straight laced Mormon friend who never drank or did any sort of illegal substance was lying next to me “taking care of me”. The ceiling was that cottage cheese, sparkily spray on stuff and I was staring up at it. She kept asking me over and over again, “What do you see? What do you see?” I thought it was really weird that she of all people would be so interested in my psychedelic visions. Maybe she thought I would be able to see God and she was hoping I would ask him something for her. Whatever the reason, she wouldn’t let up. I told her finally, “Faces. I see thousands of faces.”

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Willy and Mr. T.

The whole thing went down on the night of the “Snow Ball”. I’m sure you’ve probably never heard of a Snow Ball before and that’s because I made it up. I didn’t make it up just now, I made it up then. As I explained in my earlier entry, I had become bored with school and also bored with my Presidency. After Homecoming, everything seemed so blah. I needed to create a new event for myself to reign over. A dance would be the perfect antidote to my winter doldrums.

The other reason I was trying to come up with a new project is that the Student Council needed to spend money. It had been explained to me by our advisor that we needed to submit the budget for next year and the only way we could submit the same amount that we had gotten for the current year was to spend all the money we had been given. If they found out that we didn’t need the money they were giving us, they would give us less. No one ever considered taking less money; money that might go to, oh who knows, school books? Instead, we held several meetings trying to come to an agreement on what kind of useless crap we could buy with the surplus.

The first thing we bought was carpet to cover the gymnasium floor when we had dances. This was a smart purchase. The school usually rented it for every dance we had and now we owned it. This would save us a ton of money down the line. Now, next year’s student council would have even more money that they had no idea what to do with. The second thing that we decided to buy with the money was a school mascot. This may have been the single most outrageously stupid idea I’ve ever had in my life. Not stupid in a “someone might get killed” sort of way or a “property will get destroyed” sort of way. It was more like just a really stupid fucking idea; like New Coke or a making a sequel to the “Scooby Doo” movie staring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sara Michelle Gellar. It really wasn't my idea at all though. It was Mr. T who pushed for it.

Mr. T. was a math teacher at EHS and he was the coolest teacher in the school by far. He looked like Danny Kaye with the same twinkle in his eye. Every year, on the first day of school, he would stand in front of his class and say, “If you don’t want to take my class, you can leave right now and I’ll give you an A for the semester. You can go to study hall or walk around the track or go to McDonalds. I don’t really care what you do.” Everyone would just sit there in amazement. We had heard about this from the class above us but we never thought he really did it. Could you really? Just get up and leave and still get an A in MATH, the hardest class ever? He would wait about five seconds, “You’re sure? This is a very good offer I’m making you but once you go, you can’t come back. I’m not kidding guys! I’ll give you and A but you have to go now.” No one did it. No one ever did it. Part of it was that you didn’t believe you wouldn’t get in trouble but most of it, at least for me was that you just really wanted to be in his class. Math or no math, he was the coolest. The point of his little test of course, was to make us understand that we weren’t being forced to sit in his class. We had chosen to be there, pretty brilliant actually. He would often say, “It’s not my job to teach you. It’s your job to learn! The book will tell you everything. If you don’t understand something in the book, just ask me and I will do my best to explain.” Most of the time, he didn’t even talk about math. He would take out a book of Bob Dylan Lyrics and recite to us. He would smack his hand down on the table and yell, “It’s so true!” He loved truisms and the one I always remember him saying is, “The only thing you have to do is die.” It’s ponderous but I think he's right.

Around this time, I was a teacher's assistant in Mr. T’s class. This was a very sought after position and I loved thinking of myself as his friend. We were shootin the breeze one day after class and I asked him what he thought we should do with this extra Student Council money. He said, “What should you do with it?! Why, you’ve gotta get a Mascot!”

We had a mascot. We were the Hornets. What he meant is that we needed to get a Mascot costume. The big stuffed ones that someone goes into with a big head and everything. He was nuts about this idea. A hornet costume was a hard thing to come by. A few years back we did have two girls that didn’t make the cheerleading team dress up like hornets but they really just looked like pathetic bees.

There was this magazine that we got at student council, a catalog of sorts. It had all of these things for schools to buy like souvenirs for the dances and decorations and banners and on the last page, the most expensive in the catalog, were these professional mascot costumes. There were lions and tigers and bears but there were no hornets. “It’s too bad we aren’t the Wildcats because this Wildcat is by far the coolest one.” Mr. T agreed. It was the coolest one. It stood out among the others because it was so damned cute. “What does it matter if we are the Wild Cats or we aren’t? Get it anyway. Pro teams do it all the time!” It’s true, I thought to myself. They did. The Seattle Mariners were a perfect example. They couldn’t have some guy in a big Mariner suit. It would be dumb, so they got a Moose. A Mariner to a Moose is a much, much closer jump than a Hornet to a Wildcat. Still, it was the best costume and Mr. T. was very convincing. He said, "I defy anyone to not love this Wildcat."

I used my powers of persuasion to convince the Student Council to buy the beast. My tactic was always the same, “I’m doing this and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop me.” It worked everytime. We bought the Wildcat costume and boy was I excited. Mr. T. was ecstatic. We found some sorry chump to wear the thing and introduced it at a lunchtime activity. We decided to let the school vote on a name for it. We ended up calling it, “Willy the Wanna Be Hornet”. It just got lamer and lamer. The name was Mr. T’s idea as well. The reason it won the name contest is because no one voted. People hated that goddamned Wildcat with a passion. The poor guy inside it got pummeled with everything anyone could find to throw at him. They chased him, pushed him down, and pulled his tail. “Ah, they’ll grow to love him!” Mr. T. assured me. “I’m not so sure Mr. T. Maybe we should see about giving him back? It was a lot of money.” He convinced me to keep it and try it out at the next basketball game. I couldn’t convince anyone to go into the suit though. I had to be Willy myself.

As soon as people got wind that it was me inside the suit, it was all over. They had to pull me out of there to save my life. It was mayhem. People were royally, royally fucking with me: pulling my tail, tripping me, yelling shit, punching me in the stomach. I was so hot and miserable in that thing but I was determined to make people like it, ehm….me. I stuck it out as long as I could but it was clearly over before it began. Afterward, it was unanimous that Willy would be retiring permanently. We couldn’t get our money back. The thing is probably still sitting in the janitor’s closet in the Student Council Room today. At least we burned through a good deal of cash though. I seem to remember it costing about twelve hundred dollars. That’s a lot of Prom Decorations.

It was another major strike against me in the minds of the student body. I had recovered from the Disney debacle because the pep assembly had actually turned out to be one of the best ever. People later came to me and said that they had doubted me initially but now they could see the brilliance in my vision. They had enjoyed the theme after all. But this mascot thing was unrecoverable. People really hated Willy and because everyone knew it was my idea, they had one more reason to hate me.

It was after all of this that I came up with the Snow Ball idea. Many schools had a Winter Formal but we didn’t. No one wanted one really and I agreed that it was too much. So much money to spend on dresses, limos, etc. What I proposed we do instead is have a casual dance. You can bring a date or not, go with a group or come by yourself. We would have a Snow Ball Pep Assembly for the Basketball team and everyone would go to the dance. It would sort of be like Sadie Hawkins. We couldn’t have a Sadie Hawkins dance at EHS because people dressed like cowboys everyday.

People were behind the Snow Ball idea. We decorated the gym with snowflakes, made a big Frosty the Snow Man. We got a DJ with a video screen and we even got pizza and pop (in Enumclaw people call carbonated beverages, “pop” like they do in the Midwest). The one problem we came across was security. We needed to have a certain amount of it in order to follow regulations and we couldn’t afford it. I had spent too much money on Willy. I needed to find a solution and so I went straight to the source - the Claw Police Dept. I spoke to Officer O. who was notorious in the town and in the High School especially because he was always the cop that busted the parties. He knew all of the trouble makers by name. He was despised. He was also the head of the very popular Claw D.A.R.E program. You know, “Dare to keep kids off drugs.” “Just Say No.” He agreed to provide security for the dance for free if all proceeds went to his thriving D.A.R.E. program. I agreed.

The dance ended up being an overall success but also pretty boring. People came mostly because there was going to be a big house party afterwards; a rarity in the Claw. Parties were usually out in the middle of nowhere, a keg in a clearing. But some guy’s parents were out of town and he was throwing a big one. So everyone came to the dance and at the dance Officer O. himself addressed the students of EHS, thanking them for their contribution the D.A.R.E. program. Then he asked me to come up on stage. Once I got up there, as the Student Body President and representative of the students, he thanked me for my contribution the D.A.R.E. program and presented me with a D.A.R.E. hat. I wish I still had it. He gave it to me and I put it on my head and I shook his hand (another reason for them to hate me. It was like Hillary Clinton kissing Arafat’s wife). I thanked Officer O. for his contributions to the students of EHS and I assured him that we would all think twice before taking drugs and always choose to “Just say no”. I was still wearing the hat while I was tripping balls two hours later.

post script: you may be wondering if that picture up there of the Wildcat is the actual Wildcat that I'm talking about in the story and the answer is yes, it is the actual one. I found it on an on-line catalog.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Begining of the End

So here we are at about the middle of my Senior Year at EHS, just before the Christmas Break. Homecoming is well over and frankly, I’m starting to get bored. I was tired of everyone, tired of High School. I missed my Cheerleading/Heathers/party-time/girlfriends. They had all graduated the following year. I just wanted to get it over with and move back to California. I had applied to a few schools there and was waiting to see what fool school would accept me with a 2.7 GPA. Then this thing happened. Mag left. It was horrible and shocking. She was my only real friend in school and I didn’t realize it until she was gone. I couldn't talk to anyone but her and the reality of everything that had happened to me in the past four years really hit when she left. Everything having to do with school began to seem so ridiculous and trite. I started hating everyone.

Mag had a sort of break down. I don’t want to get into it here because this isn’t her blog, it’s mine. I’m sure if she wants to tell you about it, she will start her own blog. She should because she has a very gripping story there. Until then, I will try to only talk about how it effected me. She was gone for a while and I couldn’t talk to her or see her. It was very scary and difficult. Also, I couldn’t tell anyone where she was or why she was there. It was extremely isolating. Thank god she wasn't gone for long. She came back in the second half of the year. By then, I was no longer President.

I think this is a good time to introduce a very important character. I will call him Jason Priestly. I will call him Jason Priestly because he looked exactly like Jason Priestly and at the time, Beverly Hills 90210 was huge. We all watched it religiously. Jason Priestly had always gone to EHS but in our Senior Year he experienced a social awakening. He used to be a burner druggie, very scrawny and unnoticeable but towards the end of our Junior year he started running track and he became an instant star because of how fast he was. He was probably fast because of all the drugs he was taking. Drugs were really looked down upon at EHS, even by the students. No one who was cool or popular did drugs. Everyone drank like there was no tomorrow but if you so much as smoked a J, it was considered very seedy. That was back in 92. I've heard that nowadays at EHS, Crystal Meth is the new Coca Cola.

Jason Priestly was a druggie but this was overlooked by the cool and popular people of EHS. They overlooked it because A: he had become a jock-trackstar and B: he was hot. When I say that he was hot what I mean to say is that he was H O T. He waltzed into Senior Locker Bay on the first day of school and he was practically on fire. Our tongues were hanging out of our mouths because we were parched from looking at him. He may have looked like Jason Priestly but he acted like James Dean. He wore crisp, clean, tight t-shirts. His coiffed, combed hair rode up in a wave. He was a pretty boy in a land completely devoid of pretty boys. He had a swagger and a smile that said, “You know you want me.” He had confidence oozing out of every pore. Every single girl in the entire school wanted to bag this hot babe including me. He was such a different creature than the cowboy boot wearing, chew spitting, backwards baseball cap hicks we were accustomed to. He was so very 90210.

Along with a gaggle of others, I had been courting Jason Priestly since the beginning of the year. He put us all through the ringer with who he was going to ask to Homecoming. I was actually in the running for a while but was beat out at the last minute by Susie Mirsky who had also gone through her own over-the-summer social awakening that had everything to do with her smoking body. She showed up to Senior Year with the most amazing, huge tits anyone had ever seen in real life. She had an okay face but it didn’t matter. She was all boobs baby. Also, she had a really skinny waist and she wore these really cute-yet-trashy outfits. Her hair was huge. Every guy wanted to bang Susie Mirsky. When Jason finally asked Susie to go to Homecoming he told her that it was because she would look the best in the picture. She was flattered. He was the most conceded person I have ever met in my life but maybe that’s just sour grapes talking. He flirted with me all the time though. He flirted with everyone. He was so good at flirting. You could probably get pregnant just talking to this guy; stare into those baby blues for five minutes and BLAMO! You’re knocked up.

Ok. I’m sorry. I'm fogging up the windows. It think you get the picture. This dude was hot.

Also, he was the one who gave me the acid.