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        Saturday, June 07, 2008

    School's Out...

    I graduated in 1973. From High School. Went to the same school for all four years of it. All white, except for one Chinese family, and one Mexican family. George, a Mexican, was one of my 'inner circle'. Go figure. We all snuck into the Senator Theater one night, after one of us bought a ticket, and opened the fire escape door for the others. We were all drunk as skunks, and George was as drunk as an entire family of skunks.

    At some point, he staggered off to the restroom to either piss, or vomit, or both, and when he came back, his eyes hadn't adjusted to the dark, and hey, drunk, and he passed by the row where we were all splayed out, staggered down the red carpeted steps, and the edge of the balcony rail hit him about hip level, and he just flipped right on over and disappeared.

    We all rushed to look over the edge, and God must love drunk Mexicans, because instead of lying over some seat-back with his spine snapped, he had landed on the plush carpeting they used in the old days, flat on his back.

    He giggled like an idiot, and came right back up and did it again.

    The third time, I managed to snatch him by his shirt, and tell him if he didn't settle down, I was gonna beat his dumb Mexican ass. He settled. And eventually began to snore.

    Graduation day came as a surprise to me. The senior class when I had been a freshman had nearly all died in Viet Nam, or come back profoundly broken in one way or the other. I had done so poorly the first three years, that I had to spend my senior year doing full classes, extra credit work, and attending junior college night classes, to make up credits.

    And I had two jobs. And bills. And credit cards, a fairly new invention at the time. And I had only just turned 18 in April of my final year, and still, I had charge accounts at every liquor store in town, worked in several bars, and when I could, I went to my favorite bar after school and drank beer and shot pool with my buddy, and roommate, who worked construction building houses when he wasn't in school. And I was screwing the bartendress.

    Our school was laid out as a series of separate buildings, interconnected by wide, covered sidewalks. Between the scorching Spring sunshine, and the drifts of winter snow, you needed to be protected as you moved about. And I do not recall one fucking 'snow day', ever. They put chains on the buses, and the buses damn well ran. Dammit.
    Of course, I had some kind of car or other through most of high school.

    I kept wrecking them, of course. I totaled 11 cars before my 21st birthday. And they were always adjudicated to be the other driver's fault. Teenagers always think they are immortal, and some of them are.

    And on my final day of school, my worst enemy since 3rd grade, did a wheelie on his dirt bike up and down every sidewalk in school, and woe betide anybody, including the principal, who didn't get out of the way. I had sold my enemy a case of beer that morning...I'm egalitarian that way; I sold beer for an average of three times what I paid for it. Or more. Liquor store workers unlimbered the hand cart when I walked in, and loaded my trunk for me.

    Needless to say, graduation that afternoon was somewhat of a blur. Between being fucked up, and the surrealism of me even being there, let alone in a cap and gown, well...
    And seeing the lady teachers I'd banged, there in the audience, and knowing damn near everything about everybody there in a cap and gown...

    Well, not everyone was there. Some had died by their own hand. Some had died by somebody else's. Some had just...disappeared. Gone. No idea how.

    My parents threw a graduation party for me that night. My new girlfriend was there, one of Dad's employees. I had no idea that one day she would become mother to four of my children. I snuck away when I could, and went and picked up this EXTREMELY hot blonde I was in love with and took her to the graduation dance/party at the Elks Club. There, we danced a dance or two, and spent the next two hours raping each other's mouths on a couch, while chaperons hissed at us, and we ignored them.

    The sheriff's department came and busted half of the parking lot for open containers, and kegs. Much of it sold by...guess who.

    I have no idea how I got home.