"Party at the End of the World"

In early March of 1980 we were experiencing unseasonably good weather. The winter had been harsh and it seemed as if nature was apologizing for it. The sun was shining and the snow was turning into slush. The slush was turning into rivulets and the sun danced on the rivulets as the water made its way to the gutter. It was a glorious, beautiful day, and I was pissed off as all hell.

My hands were thrust deeply into the pockets of my leather jacket as I stomped my way home from school. I was being evicted. As in, E-fucking-VICTED. I had always paid my rent on time. I had always paid my bills on time. I was working as a pantry cook (yes, there is an R in that word) at a place called the Stagedoor. I made salads and desserts. I got paid a whopping three dollars per hour and they fed me. I had enough money to pay rent, my share of the utilities, and to buy weed. I think my rent was ninety dollars per month.

On a typical day I would wake up at 7:45 and run to school. I went to school and then worked from four until eleven. Then I went home and partied until two. I was always stoned. I smoked weed at work and at school and everywhere in between. I sold a little weed every now and then. At age 17 I was basically a pissed off, fucked up, kid and getting evicted just made me more pissed off.

Sometimes I think it is funny that I still work in a restaurant. It is a little better because I own it. But it is really like a summer job that I have had for twenty-eight years. I always hoped to make it rich in the music business so I could stop working in restaurants. I worked in restaurants to get through college so I wouldn't have to work in restaurants anymore. When I graduated from college the only thing I had any experience in was, you guessed it, restaurants. So here I sit.

Anyway, back in early 1980 I did some bong hits and started packing my meager belongings. I had (and still have) a globe of mars. How cool is that? I bet you don't have a globe of mars. I had some books, some clothes and a guitar. I would get into wrestling matches with my guitar. I couldn't really afford lessons so I would go to shows and watch the guitar player's hands and try to copy them. I asked questions of people who knew how to play. Mostly I just basically fucked around. I was not playing anything that day. I had three boxes of crap, a mattress I had found in the garbage, and my guitar.

I was the last one to move out. My ex-roommates left behind wreckage of an extreme and varied nature. I sat in the middle of it seething, awaiting the arrival of my friend who would take me away from all this. I had the Ramones blasting out of a boom box. The Ramones had just come out with their first album. It was titled "the Ramones" like that was it and they never intended to put out another album. Anyway I thought it was very cool because it was American Punk. Much of the punk music in the late seventies and early eighties was coming from England.

Finally my friend arrived. I set out an ample amount of weed, as is the custom when asking a friend to help you move. We became quite stoned. I began a bit of a rant about being evicted and not knowing what happened to the money I spent on rent. I gave it to a particular roommate who had better uses for the money even though it was his responsibility to collect it and give it to the landlord. As I was only 17 at the time I was not on the lease.

It was then that my friend asked me the question. The question he asked was of such a profound nature that it changed my outlook on the whole situation. It was a simple question really, but it had deep ramifications. The question was this: "What about your security deposit?"

The gears slowly clicked in my mind. The effects of the marijuana allowing thoughts to surface that might have otherwise lain dormant. I began to consider the security deposit and came to the realization that it was surely lost. There has never been a stray dog that has been more lost. It became apparent, as I sat there with my friend, that this was perhaps a cause for celebration. Indeed, my mood began to immediately brighten.

Part of the reason for my bad mood was that during the few months that I lived in that house on Main Street I had participated in very little of the activities that caused us to be evicted. Being late on the rent was the excuse the landlord used to get us out. He wanted us gone because we had a certain "zest" for life. I was working and going to school during much of the time the "zesting" was going on in my house. As I jumped on the coffee table I thought that perhaps I could in some small way make up for lost time. My friend was more than willing to indulge me and he joined right in.

The table splintered with a satisfying crash. We each grabbed a leg and began to play a little game with the hanging lamp. It was something like a loud, destructive form of tetherball. I smashed it across the room to him and he smashed it back. It was lovely sport. It soon degenerated into a sort of mock sword fight with the table legs and I was pressed back into the kitchen. In desperation I threw a roll of aluminum foil at him and he deftly batted it with his table leg right into the kitchen window.

The smashing of the kitchen window caused us to hesitate. Then we laughed. We started throwing things around in the kitchen. Eventually we found a tub of margarine. We smeared margarine on the abandoned television and on the windows. The food that was left rotting by my roommates now adorned the walls of the kitchen. Somehow we broke the banister.

Eventually we exhausted ourselves and loaded my shit into his car. We examined our work with no small satisfaction. It was a job well done. I felt it needed one small final deed. I poured bong water out on the living room floor and onto the sofa attempting to add some stench to the destruction.

As I turned my back on the house for the final time my friend asked if I wanted to lock the door. "Fuck it" I replied, leaving the door wide open.   JB