la Ketch

my life story

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.


At 11:37 AM, Blogger tina said...


Mama, you are such a good writer.

At 3:12 PM, Blogger Eve said...

Yeah- what Tina said!

I feel like I am in high school right now, waiting to get out of class to find out what will happen next!

My god, the DRAMA!

At 4:41 PM, Blogger A Large Slice of Cake said...

You know, I am a middle school teacher in my own petri dish of ridiculous gossip about the stupidest things ever, and it certainly helped to read someone else's reminder that these things don't last and there's so much more to life outside of the bubble. Today, LaKetch, you were my "Tuesdays With Morrie." Write more soon, okay?

~ Tomato & Basil

At 4:49 PM, Blogger la Ketch said...

thanks ladies so much. i appreciate your response more than you know. xo xo. la ketch


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