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Thursday, 11 November
Home, Not Alone

Call this my John Hughes blog entry. It's about once--and it was just once--in high school when yes, my parents went out of town, and yes, ignoring their admonitions, I held a party. It is a testament to what a dweeb I am that I still get little frissons of I'M SO BAD! feelings when I remember it.

It's not like it was complicated. Parents gone-->call friends-->party liftoff. And it's not like it was smart, either: in a town of 3300 people, a bunch of fucked up teenagers gathering at one location are simply not going to go unnoticed. I must say my parents were gracious enough not to mention what they almost certainly knew about ten minutes after getting back into town: I had a party. This is presumably why, to this day, whenever I speak to my father on the phone, he heartily assures me that he is doing everything humanly possible to exhaust my inheritance before he dies.

(This is not a lie. It is also kind of effective, since my parents had me young; neither of them are even sixty. "Going golfing in Montana with your mother next week! Then we might swing down to New Mexico! Jesus Christ, kid . . . I hope you have a good IRA. You're sure not getting shit from us.")

And now that I think about it, my parents clearly know that I was going to have a party no matter what: because they left over my birthday. And they're just not that dumb. On the other hand, I clearly am that dumb, since I just figured that out.

Anyway. The early part of the party isn't really worth relating; just kids showing up at the house with horrific piles of beer, which were all immediately hidden away around the house. One learns early in high school that if you put your beer in the fridge like a moron, it will immediately be drank by those who failed to score. Thus, you find remote areas to hide it. Some people kept theirs in locked cars, but I always hated having to go out to the car to get a fresh drink every two minutes or so; I generally located the dryer and stowed mine there. Nobody ever looked in the dryer.

After a half hour or so, having dispensed with the pretense of giving me gifts--I do not believe there were any--the party got into full sway. Someone, I don't remember who, pounced on my mother's piano and began banging out some horrible noise. It might have been Tom Waits. At any rate, this somehow signaled the Beginning Of Crazytime, because right after that, an argument broke out in the kitchen over whether or not an egg could be broken if held in a certain way in the palm; specifically, the assertion seemed to be that eggs are indestructiible when squeezed in some dumbfuck fashion that nobody sensible would ever attempt.

Naturally, this challenge proved irresistible, and people began gleefully crushing eggs over the sink, the floor, and for certain unfortunate lightweights, people's hair. I scurried ineffectually around the kitchen trying to dissuade people from violently squeezing eggs in their bare hands, but it was useless. The entire room was soon garishly decorated with chicken embryos and the prone people who weakly thrashed in them.

Meanwhile, on a couple different fronts, trouble was brewing. D., a well-known sociopath, was howling at B. over a certain girlfriend dispute; it seemed that there were certain "making out" issues in the air. D., the far more unbalanced of the two, was well up in B .'s grill about this issue, while B. (not the keenest of folks) was attempting to be conciliatory. This went over poorly, and after a bit, D. had found himself a crowbar and raced at B .

This was a real mistake, as while B. was not the swiftest of rivers, he was a dedicated black belt. B. took about thirty seconds to disarm D. and then turn him into a human omelette. D. moaned in rather non-eggy fashion on my lawn for a while before deciding to head home. B., on the other hand, truly a gentle soul, spent that time weeping in my bedroom, moaning over and over to anyone who would listen, "I had to do it, man!"

There were other problems. T., a female friend of mine at the time, got upset with her boyfriend at the moment, J. (J. was rumored to have a penis whose girth was soda-can-like. Wasn't high school weird?) T. became very upset--perhaps her feelings were inflamed also by the increasingly frenzied pounding my mother's piano was taking at the hands of some demented teenager--and flipped right the hell out. In high dudgeon, she screamed, "I'm getting the fuck out of here!" She marched to the door and flung it open.

Unfortunately, since T. was supernaturally drunk, she flung open the door to my father's gun closet, which contained, among other weaponry, a shotgun, a 30.06, and a number of pistols. T., being completely wrecked, walked into all of them. They clattered to the floor, as did she, as I stared in utter horror: for one thing, it's a miracle none of them went off, as my father keeps his guns loaded. For another, HOLY FUCK, SHE JUST DINGED UP MY FATHER'S GUNS! Meanwhile, as I charged over to the scene, T. was grabbing and dropping various loaded guns in puzzlement, as if they were vines impeding her progress. I saw her pick up a shotgun and look at it quizzically. "This isn't the front door!"

No. Definitely not.

And I do remember that the whole time this was going on, there was someone--I do not know who--maniacally playing the piano. I even remember the piece.

Duke Ellington*: "The Entertainer."

*(And when I say "Duke Ellington" I of course mean "Scott Joplin." Lord. Thanks, Craig.)


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Comments

Great scott, man. You quit right when you were getting to the part in the story where there was supposed to be a duel. 20 paces, T. with the shotgun, drunk piano player with the 30.06. They both miss one another, but some innocently by-standing cat gets winged. Furred. Whatever.

Comment number: 005261   Posted by: i, squub on November 11, 2004 04:55 AM from IP: 141.156.117.73

High weirdness. I love it. And yeah, you ended just as you were getting to the Afterschool Special moment where the gun went off and everyone's Life Changed Forever. And what, no cops?

FYI, "The Entertainer" was written by Scott Joplin, not Ellington.

Comment number: 005262   Posted by: craig on November 11, 2004 06:45 AM from IP: 68.253.107.102

FYI, "The Entertainer" was written by Scott Joplin, not Ellington.

Really? Well, I'm an idiot.

Comment number: 005263   Posted by: Skot on November 11, 2004 07:36 AM from IP: 66.150.9.3

you know, it's funnier if you say that the Entertainer was written by Duke Ellington.

Also, the 30-aught-six would work great on someone who insisted on playing this monstrosity at a high school party.

Comment number: 005264   Posted by: nathan on November 11, 2004 08:16 AM from IP: 64.65.174.18

Man, that could have turned into something very very bad. With the drunk girl handling guns and stuff.

Comment number: 005265   Posted by: Jenny on November 11, 2004 02:30 PM from IP: 137.82.99.236

And we all learned a valuable lesson: lock the gun closet before inviting imbalanced people over to get boozy. And hardboil all eggs within a three-house radius.

Comment number: 005266   Posted by: CG on November 11, 2004 11:12 PM from IP: 70.19.96.220

We went through the egg throwing bit. We had the new blender out on the bench. We made cocktails.

When the booze ran out, we were still conscious. We rampaged round the house looking for organic material to cocktailise.

In the end we were down to perfume and lamb chops. Then I went home on my motorbike.

Just another Australian summer's night.

Comment number: 005267   Posted by: David Tiley on November 11, 2004 11:53 PM from IP: 150.101.144.227

Uh, there may be a clue there, about the inheritance. He left you and an unlocked gun closet. Maybe he was hoping you might get shot during the party! Well I'm not serious here, of course...

Comment number: 005268   Posted by: Colfaxeng on November 12, 2004 04:18 PM from IP: 207.13.167.2

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