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May 16 1998, Saturday



s I woke up under the continued influence of alcohol going over to hangover, I rolled over on my side and pissed off the edge of the mattress onto a mirror that leans against the wall. In the state I was in, it seemed like perfectly appropriate behaviour. But later, when I woke up more completely, I was amazed that I had done something so completely dissolute. I went to undo the damage, but amazingly enough I found no moisture or soaked clothing in any of the places I'd remembered pissing. I would have been more convinced that it was all just a bad dream if I had felt any desire to urinate, but my bladder was completely empty.


  could smell barbecue as I awoke this morning. When I came downstairs, I found the regulars all hanging out hoping the hot noonday sun would somehow burn away their hangovers. Morgan Anarchy had fired up the barbecue and was cooking a hot dog and potato breakfast. Jessika was dismayed with the chaos of yesterday's barbecue. She'd come home that night from working at the Jefferson Theatre to find piles of perfectly good food left strewn all over the porch, all the lights on and the doors wide open. She'd thought at first that the barbecue had taken place completely in the absence of all residents, in a manner strangely similar to goings on in the days of Big Fun. She was only partly right about that of course, but I was actually kind of impressed and surprised that she wasn't especially mad at me, even though I was partly to blame. Perhaps the beautiful day had put her in a forgiving mood.

Morgan's hangover was making him manic and goofy in an entertaining kind of way. He shouted everything he said, stressing some words seemingly at random, often directly and painfully into my ear.

I went on a bike ride to the post office to mail off some more resumés, cutting back through the University grounds in hopes of checking my email. But all the computer labs were closed as a security measure until tomorrow's graduation. The central lawn was a sea of folding chairs in front of the graduation stage (always eerily resembling 19th century depictions of gallows). All the student-aged people I saw were dressed up and walking with their families, looking and smelling immaculate. One thin nubile girl whirled around in a circle and her pink cotton fabric-of-our-lives™ summer dress billowed large around her. I overheard some older, somewhat more conservative-looking women commenting to each other about how much fun she looked to be having.

Back on my front porch, the usuals were still carrying on with their hangover-flavoured banter. The barbecue was ferociously hot, but then so too was the Sun. Morgan was still a maniac, going through all our Saturday mail and opening everything not addressed to the residents. One was a letter from UVA begging an alumnal former resident for money. Morgan filled it out with a pen as a mock expression of support for a University he loathes. Then he spit on the letter, smeared it with his filthy gutterpunk hands, and "mailed" it in the barbecue. Next he filled out one of Matthew Hart's personal property tax forms (Matthew owes something like 160 dollars), writing "fuck you and die!" It was sopping with saliva and grimy fingerprints by the time he sealed it up, and I went and fetched him a real stamp with which to mail it. Appropriately, the stamp was illustrated with a depiction of a pansy.


he heat of the day was especially oppressive, so, after the Boy Jesse arrived, we decided to go swimming at the rock quarry in Louisa County (thirty miles to the east). Cecelia the Brazilian Girl called from Ray Robot's house in Gordonsville asking to be picked up, so that's where we went first, the Boy Jesse driving us in his car. Jesse still drives pretty much like a maniac, but ever since his accident on Carter's Mountain, he's been enforcing a few rules. For example, he doesn't allow open containers of alcohol in his car.

Gordonsville is northeast of Charlottesville by fifteen miles or so. It's a little town without much charm or distinction. Ray Robot lives in the suburban outskirts in a humble little house. When we showed up, Ray's mother (a plump woman with a local accent) was just finishing preparation of a traditional American dinner: hamburger, overcooked vegetables and white buttery biscuits, though there were also anomalous and evidently flavourless slabs of tofu. Ray was off in the shower but Cecelia was just about to chow down. Mrs. Robot offered us all food, and gradually coaxed us through our initial polite refusals to the point where we were all nibbling on various things. When Mrs. Robot offered Jessika some cinnamon rolls, she tried to refuse, but by this time I was finding Mrs. Robot's aggressive generosity very entertaining, and had allied myself to the cause of getting everyone to eat as much as possible. I said, "Come on Jessika, you know how much you love cinnamon rolls!" She reluctantly agreed to split a roll with me, and I said, "You remember what happened the last time we shared a cinnamon roll, don't you?" (For the record, I had never eaten a cinnamon roll before with Jessika in my entire life.)

I became bored with the dreariness of the kitchen (see the picture in the photo essay) and went out back, to where an old friendly dog was chained up. His dog house was labeled "SHIVERY" so I quickly started calling him "Ol' Shivery." He smelled absolutely terrible, but he looked so sad I petted him anyhow.

With Ray Robot and Cecelia added to our entourage, we continued on to the Louisa Quarry after first stopping at a dismal Gordonsville shopping center for a case of Natural Ice.



Turning the page and advancing in age.




t the quarry, there was only one other group there, a rare situation for a hot weekend day. They were a complex assortment of youthful rednecks. The oldest was probably in his twenties and he spent most of his time fishing from the shallow end of the quarry and exchanging insulting comments with two unattractive girls sunning themselves nearby on the shore. They spoke in fascinatingly opaque accents. Jessika admitted to me that she couldn't keep from staring at them, that it was just like watching King of the Hill. After they left, they were replaced by three pert young Bud Lite drinking women from an entirely different socio-economic stratum. It turns out that they'd attended St. Anne's Belfield (an elite private school In Charlottesville), and one of them even remembered Morgan from some long forgotten early grade (Morgan attended St. Anne's for ten years back when his father was an art teacher there). After first bumming a cigarette, Morgan managed to convince two of the girls to jump from the highest jumping place on the quarry, some 40 feet above the water. The first jumped without too much hesitation, but the other stood at the edge for at least a half hour, whining and complaining and threatening those who tried to convince her to jump. She finally told Morgan to give her a push when she'd least expect it. So some minutes later he distracted her with a compliment about her breasts and then gave her a shove. She landed completely wrong in the water, on her side. I could see from where I was, several hundred feet away, that her face was bright red. She swam around for awhile whining, "I'm injured!" and when she finally came ashore on my end of the quarry, she had a bluish bruise on her right thigh, a reddened arm, and a bright red mark on her right cheek. For all her whining and complaining, she wasn't mad at Morgan at all.

Next a whole bunch of cute hippie chicks showed up with this one hippie dude, and they all dived with minimal fuss off the high cliff. I was snapping pictures with my digital camera and the hippie dude was impressed. "That's really cool," he said, as you might expect.

Next Freedom, Patrick and the Nathaniel who resembles Kevin Pervis materialized unexpectedly and waded in on the shallow side.

I'd stopped feeling hot the moment we'd arrived at the quarry, so I never waded in any further than to the depth of my knees. I was mainly there just to drink beer, watch and photograph.

During most of our excursion to the quarry, Cecelia the Brazilian slept in Jesse's car. While staying at the Robot residence, you see, she's been raiding the medicine cabinet and sampling a great variety of medication that Mrs. Robot has been prescribed for her various psychological complaints.

Just before leaving the quarry, there was a strange little incident that took place at the top of the 40 foot cliff. Ray Robot was a little drunk I guess, and when he's drunk, he usually becomes obnoxious, deliberately trying to piss off people (women particularly) with actions calculated to push their buttons. All of a sudden he simply tossed a half-full beer off the cliff into the water below, completely wasting it. There was only one beer left at this point, and he did the same thing with it after snatching it from an increasingly enraged Jessika. Morgan was upset by this wanton "alcohol abuse" and felt obligated to punch Ray (in that unbelligerent way that passes for ritual gutterpunk violence). Jessika took it more seriously and flung herself on Ray with anything but benign corrective intent. The two rolled around on the edge of the cliff like a scene from the cartoons. Of course, I totally forgot to take pictures during this scene.

Returning Ray Robot and Cecelia to the Robot household, we raided the refrigerator once again for yet another free meal. This time we felt justified; Ray owed us big time.


ored as always back at Kappa Mutha Fucka, Morgan once again fired up the barbecue, made a few hot dogs and then plotted with Jessika about what to do tonight. Perhaps we could crash graduation parties and have people pay us to breathe fire? Inspired, Morgan prepared his fire breathing equipment. He attached a bit of cloth to a stick and soaked it in lighter fluid and lit it to make a torch. Then he filled his mouth with rubbing alcohol and used his lips as a carburetor to spray a cloud of isopropyl alcohol droplets upon the torch. A fairly impressive fireball rolled up into the sky. Morgan sprayed it a few more times for lesser fire balls and quickly rinsed out his mouth with water so as not to ingest too much of the very same stuff that Kitty Dukakis drank during one of her insane alcohol binges. Using Morgan's technique, both Jessika and I managed to breath fire in the same way. Isopropyl alcohol is kind of hard on the lining of the mouth, and I feared I might swallow it reflexively.

At some point in the midst of this came a call from Abundance House. It was Johnny Boom Boom, Kirstin the Ecoradical, Deya and Monster Boy wanting us to come pick them up. So we headed over in Jesse's car, but of course there wasn't room for all of us and Kirstin and Monster Boy were forced to walk.

After the usual deliberation, we all set out on foot with the expressed purpose of crashing parties. Johnny Boom Boom complained and whined and groaned about not wanting to walk very far, but he came along anyway. We came upon a party very quickly, at the mansions housing law students on Observatory Avenue. Morgan blew a big fireball over the well dressed students and their elders. We lasted there only about a minute before being asked to leave. The same happened at a party on JPA, but Johnny did manage to get a couple beers. Johnny does not like beer (he only drinks fake wine), so he did not regard this as a major score. After every unsuccessful party crashing attempt, Morgan would grow increasingly resentful, shouting and cursing. He switched over to panhandling attempts of passersby, mostly without luck, cursing each of them when they'd refuse him. I hate being a part of such crowds; I find it dehumanizingly embarrassing. I wanted to just run away, but inertia kept me with my posse.

We ended up on the Corner, where Morgan blew fire for a small group of intrigued but not especially generous black girls. The torch had gone out by this point and had to be fueled with isopropyl. The tall lanky cop Duane materialized and advised Morgan not to breathe any more fire or he'd be going to jail. The two nemeses had a long, aggravated dialogue, an entertaining spectacle for all of us present. But Duane had a busy night ahead of him. The streets were bubbling with drunken graduation celebrants and he didn't have time for Morgan's drunken bravado.

I snuck off to the nearby Corner Market and bought some Red Grape Mad Dog and a six pack of Beast Ice just before the midnight alcohol purchasing cut off (well, not just before, because Johnny managed to get a bottle of Mad Dog a few minutes later). When I came back to the others, I discretely poured offerings to some of them from my Red "Grape." By now Morgan had given up on raising money with demonstrations of fire breathing. He wanted to just go sit on the railroad tracks, even though he hadn't managed to procure any alcohol.


or Deya and me (but not for the others) sitting on the tracks seemed like a dismal way to spend the evening. Deya wanted to try to crash more parties. I would have been happy just going home. We separated from the others, ending up seeking shelter in the garage of an apartment complex when a cloud burst swept through the area. Deya's a fun conversationalist when she's drinking; we hadn't done this sort of thing, socializing alone together, in a long time.

When the rain stopped, I suggested we go visit the kids over at Blond House. When we got there, we found Elizabeth, Natalie the German Girl, and John Arnold hanging out on the front porch. All three were to be graduating the next day, though Elizabeth and John are receiving art scholarships and will attend the art school for an additional post-graduate year. I managed to pass out some of my beers; one refreshingly non-hippie thing about Blond House people is that they are not beer snobs. Danielle (aka "Small Wonder") joined us. Another cloud burst rolled through. The graduates had to get up early tomorrow, so we bid adieu and headed home down the Lynchburg line railroad tracks.

A bunch of the bad boy rednecks in my electronics class went to class early and commandeered welding masks through which to observe the Sun.

rules require stability

As we walked, Deya and I discussed the solar eclipse that happened in the Spring of 1984. At the time, Deya was in 1st grade, and she recalls "getting in trouble" for glancing at the Sun through an open door. She can remember others "getting in trouble" for observing the eclipse as well. I found this interesting; during that same eclipse, I was in the 10th grade, and as the sky grew dark, order broke down. A bunch of the bad boy rednecks in my electronics class (more known for their smoking, fighting and drinking than their interest in nature) went to class early and commandeered welding masks through which to observe the Sun. Say what you will about the scientific aptitudes and interests of rednecks, this natural phenomenon, so rare, so profound, had riled their curiosity to the point where they were breaking the rules in order to study it. Our teacher, a nice nervous guy named Mr. Oisen, was horrified. He called the class to order and gave us a terrifying lecture, telling us (regarding our retinas) "The film has been exposed, we'll have to see what develops." If both Deya and I had observed order breaking down during an eclipse, perhaps order had been breaking down everywhere during that eclipse. But that was a relatively minor natural disaster (indeed, it wasn't even a disaster). Suddenly I was aware how much "the rules" depend on stability to be obeyed.

Back at Kappa Mutha Fucka, we found Johnny Boom Boom. I offered him the rest of my Mad Dog and went off to sleep. What a day.

See a photo essay describing today's quarry excursion.


one year ago
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