Freshman year in university during the mandatory writing class, we were asked to write a short story. I was reading a lot of Hunter Thompson at the time and decided to try my luck at the great writer’s gonzo style. I decided to write about a true life experience that had happened right before this assignment. My marks were dismal, and what I thought to be an entertaining story, was ridiculed by the class and the teacher (who didn’t wear shoes). I struggled, apparently, with the form and function of my writing style which was the last thing on my mind as I wrote the story. Even my good friend Pat sent me to the ground with his critique and I must admit that at this point in my life I had decided that writing was not my thing and I should stick to the nerd world. (Funny enough, as well as Pat and I get along, I still think he hates my blogs, but that is another entry.) So now, in blog form, is the story of one of the stupidest things I have ever done. There will be no pictures unfortunately, probably for the better of everyone involved. I will not use the real names of the people to protect them even though I doubt they read this blog.
I was working at the Abercrombie and Fitch in South Coast plaza at the time. Regarded as the flagship store for this brand and used by almost the entire soccer team as a means to make some side income. They let us work after hours, likely because we were all too ugly to work during store hours, which allowed us to make our 5pm and 6am practices as well as go to school. I had recently got in touch with a long time friend, Mitch, who was living in Long Beach. He informed me of a party that I “needed” to go to at all costs and any excuse was not going to be good enough. I had to work until 10pm on the Saturday night but Mitch informed me that this would not be an issue and I should arrive whenever I could. That night I worked feverishly so as to be able to leave early and at 9:30pm I was out of the store.
My vehicle at the time was a 1989 Suzuki Katana 600 motorcycle. A fantastic starter motorcycle for those that might be interested and a horrible decision for my father who purchased the thing for me. I jumped on the Katana and set off North on the 405 at a gut wrenching speed to ensure the party would not start without me. Mitch lived in the downtown area of Long Beach right off 2nd street which is the main ‘drag’ if you will. There is a main street, 2nd street, littered with bars and restaurants and behind them are countless one way streets lined with fortunate cars that found parking. The houses are all very large but usually split into duplexes or triplexes. I came to a skidding stop in front of his house and the atmosphere was relatively quiet when I arrived. I walked in wearing my leather jacket, hideously long abercrombie shorts, helmet under my arm, and a huge smile as I was looking forward to seeing Mitch for the first time since we jumped out of Nicky’s bedroom window when her father came home.
The party was bleak to say the least, and it was already a little after 10pm. But that doesn’t stop re-acquaintances and immediately I was given the tour which included a trip to the fridge. This was the first fridge I had ever seen where all the shelves had been pulled out, and the entire thing was completely filled with beer from top to bottom. I grabbed one and we all sat down in Mitch’s bedroom and chatted and sang and played guitar. It was a splendid moment I must say, Mitch had become an amazing guitarist, along with his companions, and the music in the air was just right for the beginning of an outrageous night. The house was small but people were filling it up quickly and our overly merry group entered the party to make our presence known.
The first few hours could be described as a loud commotion with rapid talking and intense conversations. The people I met spanned the generations and mental capacities that this great world has to offer. The fish tank became quite a heated topic of conversation. I believe I was really hung up on why my gold fish always died and these pristine creatures seemed to be enjoying their existence. Music debates filled the apartment and many a soap box was constructed and shattered within minutes of each other. Small animals seemed to own the lower 2 feet of the apartment and if anything was dropped or you mistakenly bent over, they took advantage.I was the only person wearing Abercrombie and Fitch and they made sure that I knew that.
I am not one to count or brag about my consumption, but under these circumstances, I drank at least 18 beers over 5 hours with an unknown quantity of shots and other things put in front of me. ..
So the night dragged on and people started to clear out. The remaining crew fought courageously to maintain the rhythm of conversation that had been present all night. Mitch and Mike started to ask me about my motorcycle which I was so pleased about as I DO love bragging about that. We went outside around 3:30am to scope the beast out. You can imagine myself tapping the top of it, giving it a few kicks with my foot, and puffing my chest out about how fast I had taken it and all this. Mike asked to ride it which I did not think was a good idea. BUT, I would happily give him a ride. There was only one helmet so I forced him to wear it since I could not take responsibility for his demise due to lack of head protection. With unprecedented precision and accuracy, I stormed off down the one way streets of down town Long Beach. I took Mike on what was the most reckless driving that Long Beach had ever seen by two men on a motorcycle. One way meant nothing and I enjoyed heading straight into head lights only to squeeze between them and the parked cars lining the street. Speeds of 70mph+ were reached in 20mph zones. After about 10 minutes, I decided I would need to give Mitch a go. We arrived back to the house. Mitch was bouncing up and down like the floor guards inside the house. I came to a sliding halt and waited for Mike to get off. Mike slowly dismounted, removed the helmet, and gave it to Mitch. He said nothing. He just shook slightly and stumbled into the house. Later, from other party goers, we heard that Mike had entered the house very slowly, and when queried as to what had happened, he just mumbled something and flailed his hands in the air. He then went into his room, locked the door, and was not to be seen again for another 20 hours.
After seeing this, Mitch was doubly excited. He was about to put the helmet on but then stopped. He told me “If you are not going to wear a helmet, I am not going to wear a helmet.” Now, I like to think I am a master of logic, and Mitch’s logic was so clear and concise to me that of course I could not argue his reasoning. We sped off down the roads, screaming and yelping, with the wind in our hair and not a care in the world. I repeated the same manoeuvres that I had done with Mike and the more I did them, the more Mitch screamed with excitement. We took a cruise down 2nd street, slowly trying to show off our situation even though there was not many people to entertain. At this point in time, I had recently rolled my ankle during soccer practice and was severely weakened on my left side. On 2nd street, we came to a stop sign. I came to a complete stop because I follow all laws. As I leaned on my left side, I could not support the bike and Mitch and I fell over. The bike crashed to the ground still idling. I screamed at Mitch that we needed to rectify the situation so we both got on one side and lifted the bike. We both pushed so well that it just fell over to the other side. Eventually we recovered but this sequence of events happened at least two other times at other stop signs.
I decided that we needed to raise the bar a bit so I headed to Pacific Coast Highway. A marvellous road with at least 3 lanes on each side and slow rolling curves as you pass through Long Beach. Making sure to take the corners on the inside despite traffic regulations, we were able to exceed 100mph without issue. In a sudden moment of clarity, Mitch decided he needed to relieve his bladder so I headed into one of the beach parking lots. On the way in there was a gate that was blocking half the entrance. I thought to myself what a stupid gate and just went around it. As I passed the gate, the bike lurched like a bucking gila monster and all of a sudden the Katana sounded like a fully bored Harley. No matter. We parked and took a piss on top of a wall. A homeless man approached us and we talked philosophy with him for a while. An angel in disguise I believe as I am sure that the Police were currently scanning the roads for a loose cannon that made screaming noises.
We left the beach and made a few quick hot laps around the neighbourhood, but this time, we suddenly had the power to turn on the lights in all the houses. I believe it had something to do with the new noise my bike was making. We paid no attention to our onlookers and found the house. We parked, walked into the house, Mitch pointed at the couch and then walked into his room and locked the door. I fiddled with the TV remote and put a movie on. It was the movie RAD which is a BMX movie from the 80’s which culminates in the main character swooning his lover by dancing on his bicycle, with her, at prom, to send me an angel. During this movie, a giant white fluffy dog entered the house as if he lived there which I do not think he did. He laid on the end of the couch and looked at me as if to suggest I should use him as a pillow, which I did.
I woke up 16 hours later, and was the first one up in the house. I had to be at Abercrombie in 40 minutes. I tried to say my good byes but all the doors were locked in fear or excitement, I do not know. I went outside and inspected my bike, the muffler appeared to have been attacked by a radio active bobcat that had sliced a 10 inch gash in it. I stormed off and made it to work just in time, just in time to be harassed by the Abercrombie people for wearing the same outdated clothes two days in a row.
(The gash was created from running over the things that pop your tire if you go backwards over them. Pffff…. useless.)