1985

       We listened to the Eurythmics and got drunk. Chris snuck a bottle of Russian vodka out of his parents’ house, and we stopped at the on the way to the beach to mix it with some Orange Julius shakes. We poured half the Julius out and filled them up with vodka. Then we smoked a joint.

       We were flying high approaching the Bay Bridge when he told me that Heather Page lived in Ocean City in the summer.

       “Heather Paige, baby,” he said. “She can only have an orgasm with a Republican.”

       “What?”

       “The actress. she played Cosmic Girl in the 70s, on that Saturday morning show. She married a congressman who died a few years ago.”

       “I know. She was on Cosmic Girl.”

       “She’s in her 40s,” Chris said. Her husband worked for Reagan. She’s lonely, but she can only get there with a Republican.”

       “Bullshit.”

       He sipped his drink.

       “Did you vote for Reagan?” he said.

       “I did.”

       “You’re in.”

       “C’mon.”

       “In baby. In.”

       We slowed down to pay the bridge toll. Annie Lennox sang: No fear/No Hate/No pain/No broken hearts.

       “What if I mention a tax raise?” I said.

       “What?”

       “What if I’m about to get busy with Heather and I mention that I think it’s a good idea to raise taxes? Or that I like the Russians?”

       “You’re done. Pack your boner and go home.”

       I laughed. “Is that what Nana says?”

       Chris launched into the imitation of his grandmother, Nana, making the brogue about twice as heavy. “Now lister ‘ere lads, if yer gonna be talkin’ about raising those fookin;’ taxes yer not gonna be dippin’ yer shellelie!” He made the face, the one Nana made when she got hammered last week and stumbled and her wig came flying off.

       “Where’s ma fookin’ wig?!” he said, his face a blinking map of confusion.

       We laughed and laughed.

       “Heath-er Page,” Chris said, like a little song. “She sits on the porch of her beach house in Ocean City. She has this dog that she lets run around late at night. It’s an Irish red setter. You find the dog, you bring the dog back, you lay out the GOP platform, and wammo – nirvana. That’s how it works.”

       The tires to the Camaro went ba-dump, ba-dump as we crossed the bridge. The Chesapeake Bay enveloped us on all sides, a perfect grey plane in all directions. The sun was bright.

       “I bet she’s got a great pussy,” Chris said. “Just a sweet, tasty, real woman lady pussy. A Hollywood pussy. A cosmic girl pussy.”

       I didn’t say anything. I sipped my Julius and thought of my mother and what had happened at graduation. The argument with my parents. About the Catholic Church.

       The green cornfields floated by. Paint a rumor, Annie Lennox sang. It’s a secret/It’s a secret. I looked down at myself. I was in good shape. I wore my white OP bathing suit with the yellow stripe along the waist and my Depeche Mode t-shirt. The drunkenness was giving me confidence.

       “We’re Huck and Jim,” I said.

       “What?”

       “We’re Huck and Jim from Huckleberry Finn. We’re riding this wild river, away from civilization and into freedom. This car is our raft.” I felt the argument with me parents fading away.

       “Cool man,” Chris said. “You’re sensitive. Chicks like that. That’s what the girls at graduation said – that Kim, he is sensitive. A writer. Even have a chick’s name.”

       He poked me and smiled. My female name was an old joke that wasn’t funny anymore. I was named after Kim, the Rudyard Kipling character. I got shit for it when high school began, but then I dominated on the baseball field and got into a couple fights and it stopped. I wasn’t too hardcore. I liked bands like the Eurythmics and writers like Salinger, Bret Easton Ellis and Anne Tyler.

       “Are you gonna write a sensitive book Killer?” he said. Some guys called me Killer, a derivative after my name went from Kim to Kimster to Kimmer to Killer.

       “I’m going to write a book about the good stuff.” I said.

       “The good stuff?”

       “Girls and beer and rock and roll. And brother sun and sister moon. And surfing.”

       “You should write a beach book. One of those ones with the beach chairs on the cover. They’re always about some kind of family secret or fights between sisters.”

       “No, none of that,” I said. “I’m going to write a book called This is Not a Beach Book. It’s going to be about God.”

       “Better not be too sensitive,” Chris said. “We are graduates now motherfucka!” Then imitated Schwarzenegger: “EET EES TIME FOR DA ACT-SHUN!!!”

       “Woo-hoo!!!” I cried.

       High-fives.

       “YOU GAME ME DUH RAW DEAL!!!!” Chris yelled.

       Chris lifted his Julius and pulled a long drag through the straw.

       “Brother, I am hammered,” he said.

       We came to the far side of the bridge and to the other side. Then we started to drive past the cornfields. I had a fantasy about Heather Paige. She had dark hair and big breasts, like in Cosmic Girl.

       “So all you have to do is find her dog?” I said.

       “That’s it, man.”

       “Bow-wow-wow.”

       He sang: “I want candy!”

* * * * *

Photo by pbump