Then the door opened. It was Debbie. And the candy! I was so relieved to see them – I mean, her.
“Is he out there?” I asked, hoping she knew.
“Are you gonna order?” the guy behind the register asked Debbie now, already knowing my answer. I already knew her answer. We had to explain or get out.
The interesting thing was not that we actually told him that some scary child rapist was chasing us, but his complete lack of reaction. Like this was an everyday occurrence at Taco Hut or something.
“We’re closing in thirty minutes,” was all he said as he started to mop.
We hid in a hard cold booth of the take-out restaurant variety, not the comfy rad variety like that of Denny’s, probably because they want you to actually TAKE-OUT not stay for five hours chain smoking for the price of one cup of coffee and making art towers out of empty creamer containers.
After a five-minute play-by-play recap, the realization hit us. It was Friday night and we hadn’t TOUCHED a piece of candy yet. This realization was not spoken; it was addict-mind-trick spoken through brain waves. Where any two or more people deep in addiction are together jonesing, this is the norm. We can speak the unspeakable with our minds.
Side note: Ritual is an integral part of drug usage. For most addicts, the ritual of using is multi-faceted: scoring, holding, preparing, and using. If any of these components are compromised, the high can suffer. I like to call this “super-addict-stition.”
Whoever establishes the ritual is as follows:
- Whoever’s holding.
- The Elder who brings the newbie under his or her wing.
- People who party together may merge rituals or form new variations of each ritual, as long it’s copacetic.
There was no hierarchy in our underground network of transplants, but there was a strict class structure when it came to getting high. The bottom line was devout respect for the other user’s ritual because the ultimate party foul was fucking up another person’s high.
Yet again, I did some math:
- Debbie was holding = Debbie’s in charge of score.
- She was the Elder = Debbie’s in charge of score.
- We merged rituals somewhat with the subtraction of banana and the doubling of funds, but the location of scoring, the act of piling, and horror movie watching were all ritual B.C. = Debbie’s in charge of score.
We sat across the table from each other mind melding. My mouth started to water. Candy filled my senses. I ached for sugar. I knew she did too.
“Let’s go,” she said as she rose, without even checking outside for eagle decaled cars.
I knew better. We should wait longer. He could just be out there lurking in the old bushes waiting for our young bushes to come bounding out of Taco Hut’s door all innocent and candy-eyed. I considered bartering with her to stay another 15 minutes and eat some candy there, but I knew it would fuck up both of our highs and perhaps our friendship.
My thirst for sugar became stronger than my thirst for survival. We booked it the half block more to her house and made it back safe. Who knew what happened to GP and who cared. We were onto the next thing.
Immediately, and with not one word, we devoured ten bucks worth of sugar to the sound of naked chicks getting slaughtered. Candy fixed everything. We went into sugar comas and woke up with unrelenting hangovers. We did this every Friday night for the next two years.
The Grody Pedophile incident was only the third time I used with Debbie and it didn’t stop me one bit. The Slippery Slope Theory is just a speculation, but from less than a year after moving to Sparks I’d already gone from smoking to porn to sugar. And this was only the beginning.
. . .
Thanks for reading, gorgeous! Stay tuned – next Monday will be another new vlog. If you missed my last vlog, click here.
I was so inspired by Channel 3 and my memories of MTV in the early-80’s, that I made a mix tape. You should follow it and listen to it while rereading all parts of Schoolhouse Porn! But who am I to tell you what to do? I’m from Reno.
I listened to the mix tape 398 times, but it wasn’t enough. So I spent $4.99 on the iMovie app, put on a ton of make-up and made a music video all on my iPhone. Voila!
PS. I’m really sorry about the singing part…
There was a bed with an ugly flowered comforter, the kind sewn with fishing line instead of thread, facing a dresser with a huge mirror on it. We sat on the bed and I noticed that we were staring at ourselves, which led immediately to bouncing. We bounced for about ten minutes, making funny faces in the mirror all the while. What a cool idea to have a mirror in front of your bed! Why hadn’t I ever thought of that before?
Panting, we collapsed onto the bed. Perfect time to smoke! Eve pulled a Kool out of what looked like a wallet made especially just for cigarettes with a special pocket just for the lighter and then handed it to me. I decided if I ever take up smoking full-time I was going to get me one of those. We lit up. She put a big gold ashtray with a heavily patterned beanbag on the bottom of it for stability between us. We smoked and panted for a bit.
Then, as if a treasure trove, Eve showed me an entire wall of VHS tapes.
“Do you want to pick or me?” She was grinning like a mysterious motherfucker.
“You pick,” I said, not realizing that it didn’t really matter which of these fine films we watched, because they were all ended exactly the same.
She slid the black tape into the black VCR, turned the TV to Channel three, and then bounced back on the bed, spraying ashes and butts everywhere. She was really excited to share.
The movie opened in a diner, where some truck drivers started telling the owner a mysterious story about a door. Uh, okay. Lame. How can a movie about a door be exciting? Then it flashed back to this pretty woman with brown hair being put on a stage and then being kissed and touched by a whole bunch of other women. Ummmm girls didn’t do that to each other on The Love Boat! I was intrigued and embarrassed, but Eve seemed like this was totally normal, so I pretended like it was something I watched all the time.
The girls had huge hair pies. Even far-too-young-to-be-watching-porn-me was fully aware that a razor or ten would be in order. Then the music got all crazy, kind of like the Schoolhouse Rock! music, only funkier, when this black guy came in. He took off his clothes and OH MY GOD! Conjunction junction, so that’s your function!
So there it was, in-and-out, upside down and all around – we were watching porn. And not just porn, the best porn ever made. Eve and I smoked Kools and watched Deep Throat, Debbie Does Dallas, and The Devil in Miss Jones, to name a few. They were fascinating. I loved the stories and the sex scenes. I was fully aware I was doing something wrong, which made me want to do it even more.
When Eve’s mom and mom’s boyfriend worked swing shift, I went home after school with her. On the non-Eve days, I went to Marie’s house with similar intention. I saw little difference between watching Duran Duran and porn, after all they made me feel the same downstairs.
The only difference was I didn’t get to smoke at Marie’s house.
. . .
I made a Spotify playlist for Schoolhouse Porn! I can’t stop listening to it! Come over and have a listen.
Not that porn needs to be chronological, but click here for Schoolhouse Porn! Channel 1 and click here for Schoolhouse Porn! Channel 2. Or not. I have no say over how others take their porn. You could be scrolling with your toes right now for all I care. I get it. We all have our – eccentricities.
Adam Curry appeared on the screen next, his hair more feathered than necessary even for 1983. He introduced what he referred to as a “music video” by Duran Duran.
The images that appeared on the TV screen were in a completely different league than The Love Boat and Three’s Company. My entire body tingled. I probably blushed. The five guys on the bough of a sailboat singing about some girl named Rio were by far more tantalizing than Mr. Furley. I needed more, immediately. I needed to come over every day after school until the end of time and maybe, just maybe, my desire for men wearing more make-up than most women would be satiated.
Five hours of Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Duran Duran later, Marie’s mom drove me home.
I don’t know how I even slept that night as my world had been changed forever.
I went over to Marie’s house every single day from that day on well into 1984. Marie and I were official Duranies. My guy was Nick Rhodes, the keyboardist, and Marie was a Simon Le Bon fan. We would sit two inches from the screen when our boys came on the screen. We spent our allowances on Tiger Beat Magazines and pinned up pictures of our guys all over our rooms. We lived, ate, and breathed Nick and Simon.
That is, until Eve invited me over.
In 1984, only rich people had VCR’s. They were, like, a thousand dollars. Ironically, that’s how Eve seduced me to her apartment after school. She was the poorest kid I knew, so go figure that she was the only person I knew who had a VCR. I’d never even seen one before.
The school bell rang and we ran across the street to her Section 8 apartments. She pulled a shoestring that at one time in its life was white, although hard to believe, with two keys dangling from it from out of her sweatshirt mono-pocket.
“I’m supposed to wear it around my neck, but I don’t,” Eve claimed, with rebel chic. She was a true latchkey kid.
She unlocked the top and bottom locks and we entered her mostly-gray apartment. The smell of Kool cigarettes intermingled with sex filled my senses. Of course, at that time in my life, I only actually recognized the smell of Kools.
“My parent’s work swing-shift so they won’t be home ‘til two-thirty,” Eve said as she jimmied the lock on their bedroom door.
Her mom and mom’s boyfriend were dealers, and by dealer I mean card dealer, not drug dealer, although it wouldn’t have been much of a surprise if they were the latter as well. After all, how the hell did they afford a VCR? The kids with casino worker parents were usually left unsupervised due to the largely nighttime schedules, and therefore made really good friends to have.
The gold Master lock popped open. I wondered why anyone’s parents would lock their bedroom door, but that question was quickly answered. The gray door slid across the carpet-is-too-high-or-the-door-is-too-low tracks from obvious well-thought out craftsmanship that goes into section 8 housing. It made a thick swooshing sound.
Tune in on Monday to see what’s behind the poorly manufactured door! What could it be? Why on earth did Eve’s parents lock their bedroom door? All of these questions AND MORE will be answered! Will you dare to read on?
Not that you’ll be lost or anything, but click here for Schoolhouse Porn! Channel 1 if you feel yourself wanting more.
Our courtship took a few weeks, but it was only a matter of time that we’d take it to the next level – an afterschool play-date.
It started out as a recess break like any other. Marie and I were huddling under a random schoolyard painted concrete turtle that was probably designed by some albino Swiss genius with a PhD in educational architecture to stimulate young minds never intending it to be an ideal hiding spot from bullies. This was when it happened.
“The kittens opened their eyes last night,” Marie said, seductively.
“Really?” I asked without an ounce of desperation letting loose.
“They’re so cute…” She said, now taunting me.
“I love kittens…” I hinted, without actually showing all my vulnerable cards, lest she perceive my desperation and flee from the concrete turtle like her hair was on fire.
“My mom said you can come over and meet them after school if you want.”
Bam! There it was. The next level. My television agenda was suddenly thrown out the window. Move over He-Man, fuck you Benson. I had a friend. I had plans.
Marie lived on the nicer side of a horseshoe-shaped street. Her mom and dad were married. To each other. Marie’s parents took care of their small kempt home. The grass was always cut, the paint was never peeling, the driveway free of stains.
Tammy, my lead bully, lived on the shitty side of the horseshoe. Her front yard was only missing a fridge to give it full white trash status. The front yard was dirt and weeds and if a window still had a screen on it, it was tattered and ripped.
I started to understand why Tammy was so angry. Understand, not necessarily care and most definitely not empathize. That bitch made my life hell.
Walking into Marie’s house that afternoon was like entering an alternate universe of the good kind. The entire house smelled sweet. Marie’s mom was in the kitchen baking. My mom never baked. Never. Ever. She hated baking and felt it endangered her feminist ideologies. She also worked very hard to maintain her ultra thin body, so the notion of baking was not only misogynistic to her, but also evil.
At the edge of the dining room was a tinted mirror wall with gold veins all over it, on purpose. Need I remind you it was the eighties? At the bottom of the awesome mirror wall was the area designated for Momma Cat and her five babies. They were squirming and writhing around, all cute-like.
Marie and I picked them up, one-by-one, and put them at the other end of the mirror wall to watch them walk around like little fuzzy four-legged drunks. As if it couldn’t have gotten any better, Marie’s mom put a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies on the dining room table. For us. I could have wept.
I sunk my teeth into the moistest warmest meltiest (yeah, it’s a word, look it up) cookie and went to heaven. I could go on about the cookie for five hundred pages or so, but the next blog will be entirely devoted to sugar, my next drug of choice, so we’ll leave it at a simple IT WAS REALLY FUCKING GOOD.
Just when the moment couldn’t get any more Norman Rockwell, one of the tiniest kittens noticed it’s reflection in the huge wall mirror for the very first time and was immediately convinced its reflection was actually another kitten. He took off with lightening speed full force toward the mirror until he CRASHED into the mirror and fell back, completely dazed. The kitten had his first lesson in gravity and we laughed so hard we nearly spewed chocolate chips all over the dining room floor.
After we recovered, Marie took me into the living room and turned on the TV. And here was the very best thing about her house – they had CABLE. The only thing better than watching TV was watching TV with cable! And the only thing better than watching TV with cable was watching TV with cable with a friend!
The image of an astronaut staking his claim on the moon filled the screen. The pokey-thing he was piercing the moon with had a sign on it that was changing colors. It said MTV. I pretended like I’d seen it before.
Moving to Sparks + no friends = TV.
TV + making friends in Sparks = porn.
My afterschool television addiction began in a Sonoma, California duplex with Super Grover and Mr. Rogers. I mentally escaped to my life on Sesame Street and in Mr. Rogers’s rad house every day after school. I defended Mr. Rogers when Mom and Bio Dad teased me that he was a pedophile because I believed in him. Unconditional love was emitted through a little box in the living room when Mr. Rogers talked just to me and no one else. It was like we were all alone in his awesome house just doing cool shit, such cool shit that it required both a shoe and sweater change to do.
I wasn’t into cartoons as much, but would watch them on Saturday mornings with the same intention I watch the Super Bowl game, for the commercials. Only these weren’t exactly commercials, they were Schoolhouse Rock! educational music-video-way-before-MTV cartoons. And I loved them. They taught me everything from the function of a conjunction to the process of a bill becoming a law, interspersed with groovy characters like Interplanet Janet singing to bass-heavy seventies tunes.
Lastly, my favorite and most anticipated show to mainline was The Muppet Show. It was only on once a week and every second from the critic’s initial insults to Zoot’s final saxophone toot was watched in silence and awe. I actually still love this show so much that I have to stop writing about it lest I totally freak the fuck out and lock myself in the house snorting VHS tapes for five days until the cops have to break the door down to pry me away from those damn furry Muppets. That, my friends, is true addiction.
Our next stints living in sleazy motels from Tucson to El Paso and other nefarious places in between brought on a craving for more mature content. Suddenly, I was interested in boys, or should I say, men. I became obsessed with The Love Boat, and my favorite parts were the kissing parts. I loved the way they made out by sucking on each other’s top and bottom lips, respectively. How I longed to have my lip sucked on the Lido Deck by some has-been actor hoping for a comeback. The other show that made me tingle was Three’s Company. And I never had common crushes. I didn’t fantasize about Jack Tripper or even Larry Dallas; no, my crush was on Mr. Furley. Yes, Don Knotts – all 93 pounds of him. I fantasized about that wrinkly old dude hitting on me at The Regal Beagle in a patchwork leisure suit.
My fake love affairs were abruptly and tragically ended when my parents moved us to the middle of Mexico. The nearest town was a tiny fishing village with cobblestone streets. Needless to say, TV was not an option. I quit cold turkey. That is, until we moved to Sparks.
Sparks was the place I relapsed on television.
Now I raced home not only from bullies, but to turn on, tune in and drop out. That’s what Mr. Leary meant, wasn’t it? TV was an obvious escape from the brutality and confusion of my life. Now I saw the world through the eyes of Ricky Schroeder, Benson, Alex P. Keaton, and a talking car named KITT. I even relapsed on cartoons. I’d be frequently caught yelling “I have the power!” along with He-Man and I literally asked my mom to “smurf” me the butter one night at dinner.
My aim was to clock about five hours on school nights. That meant running home the second the school bell rang via my super awesome shortcut which required a lot of trespassing, probably my first illegal activity. The illicit route included an empty field behind a spooky stone house that some weird politician lived in, about four backyards (one of them had sheep), and hopping several fences. If I avoided all distraction (i.e. stopping to pet said sheep) I could plant myself in front of the TV, remote in hand, by three-twenty. Bedtime was at nine, snacks, refills and homework were handled during commercial breaks, and dinner took up no more than thirty minutes and usually fell at seven-thirty, which was totally cool because the only thing on was Jeopardy which was boooooooring.
That was my life. That is, until Marie and I became friends.
Stay tuned for Channel 2, out next Monday!