Party at the Lorlodge
When my friend Craig told us he wanted to party, we were sitting out on the porch at the Stanford house drinking Coors Banquet Beer from small brown bottles, watching to see whether the punk rockers across the street would open up their mangled and piss-warped front door to let their pet pig, Royal Eddie, run around their front yard.
Tim Lodgeson suggested we coax one of the housecats we kept out into the ensuing fracas. He was an Earth-Firster, but he was mean as shit to animals and most humans too. He worked at an art movie theater near the corner of Buena Vista and Central and used to scour the auditorium for used popcorn buckets after every show. He'd sneak them into the men's room, clean the cardboard as good as possible and resell them. Business was good and he could afford to spend his days off camping and fishing, but that's another story, and we all threw our bottle caps at him and he shut up and then skulked out. The porker never showed up; turned out he was passed out in the punkers' living room amidst three deconstructed Triumph motor bikes and an inch of mud, oil, vomit, and four angry young folks.
So, it was a good thing that Craig was having a motel party that night. He walked up to the porch, checked the mail, asked when Tim was moving out, and told us he had rented a room at the Lorlodge. That was a shady motel right off the 25, on Central Avenue. Since I had been working as a welder and wanted to make it a really special occasion. I thought it would be extra smart to wear my leather jacket and safety hat, round up my mates and parade down there on foot, in style. Chauncy, the neer-do-well actor who worked at the Steak and Ale up by Winrock, put on his tux and we all started walking.
When we passed the Fat Chance, I heard a punk rock band playing. Damn it if wasn't my posse's flavor of the Week, Baby Flamehead. A Murder of Crows was the opening act, so we didn't go in because Craig owed Junius and Caleb a sawbuck or something like that.
A helicopter was landing at Presbyterian Hospital. It sure was trippy and all of that, but I remember being worried about the patient inside the whirlygig, he was being wheeled out on gurney, white as a ghost, when Chauncy asked Craig about who else was going to be at the Lorlodge, since it was only a couple of minutes away now, just past the underpass.
Yelling to be heard over the noise of modern medicine, Craig told a story about how he tried to call the numbers listed for dancing girls in the classified section of the Journal. They all wanted money though, he said, and then got a resigned look on his face and just shook his head.
We kept going though, since most trips like this seem one-way when you take them. Just by Chance and with some serendipity that still baffles me today, and as we passed Mulberry Street, three of the groovy chicks we knew from art school turned the shady summer corner. It was Janet Planet, the girl named after a Roman goddess, and her pal Louise from Sarah Lawrence, who was visiting until classes started in September.
I told those guys to let me do the talking and for them to stay on the edge of things, like they were shy and all. The gals had been on their way to Jack's to get a case of Olympia and pizza to go. I was rich after working on water tanks all week and offered to pitch in. I told them about the cable teevee at the Lorlodge and how they had a pool, too.
I think that what happened after that conversation was the best day of my life.