Frank's was a dive bar with peeling sickly red wallpaper, watered-down drinks, and old TVs whose picture always twisted or dissolved into static. Even as teenagers in love with the idea of drinking we knew it was shitty. But there was nothing else to do in that town, and they never carded, so we always ended up at Frank's.
My friend George's band was playing for pennies, which was about what they deserved. I don't even remember what the name of the band was. I was drinking a glass of beer about as quickly as I could, bobbing my head along to what little rhythm there was.
The slovenly barflies ignored the band and muttered to themselves about the baseball game. I assured myself I would never be like that.
The door swung open, and the attached bells rung to signify it. The ringing was light and twinkling, entirely unsuited to the locale. Two girls came through the door and sat themselves down next to me. I knew one of them, Andrea — she sort of hung around with our gang of low-lives. We had hooked up a couple times, but neither of us was interested in a lame boyfriend-girlfriend thing. She wasn't a beautiful woman, but that was what brought us together — our freckles and perpetually greasy brown hair made us kindred spirits. The other one I didn't know. She was big — not obese or anything, but rounded seemingly everywhere. Her black hair was tied back in a ponytail.
"Hey John," said Andrea. "Anything going on?"
"Nothing, really." It was what I always said, and it was always true. "Just out here supporting George's band, I guess. And getting hammered."
Andrea nodded. "That's cool. This is Donna. Friend of the family and shit."
"Nice to meet you ... John, right?" I nodded and shook her clammy hand. "You know someone in this band?"
I shrugged. "They're just a local thing; I've probably met all of them."
"They're not bad," Donna said.
"I liked his last band better," said Andrea.
Even back then I couldn't remember anything about his last band except for their break-up, which George had spent an hour bitching about to me on the phone. "Yeah, they were pretty cool, but Liam and Ken had to leave and go to college."
Donna was tapping her hands on the table, trying and failing to find a rhythm. "So what do you do, John?"
"Bum around here, mostly," I said. "I've got a part-time job at the 7-11, but it's mainly just to get my parents off my back."
"Ah, so you're the listless slacker type." She grinned too much.
"And what do you do that's so great?"
Donna's grin showed no signs of subsiding. "I never said I was doing much better. I'm going to college, but all I seem to do is write some bullshit for class and smoke pot. Speaking of which..."
Andrea laughed. "Donna just came back here for summer break, and she brought like a ton of chronic with her. You want to go smoke up?"
Frank's would tolerate our drinking, but even it had limits. I looked up at George. He would get along fine without me. "Yeah, sure. You want to go out to the woods?"
"Where else is there?" Andrea said.
One of the few advantages to growing up in a small town is that there's always somewhere to hide. Sleepy New England woods ringed our town and struck out into the middle of it in some places. We walked out into the trees behind the bar. Even though it was dark, we all knew our way. We held hands through the darkness, grinning goofily as we headed down hills and to a small clearing where the teenagers always went. Rocks and abandoned lawn chairs sat in a loose approximation of a circle. The girls raced towards the chair, and I was forced onto a nearby rock.
"I love this place," Donna said. "It's like some sort of ancient meeting place for druids."
Annie laughed. "You're such a nerd, Donna."
Using twigs and all I remembered of my years as a Boy Scout, the three of us made a fire for light. Then we smoked up and sat there for a while, taking the night in. The moon hang full above us, glaring at me condescendingly. After a hot summer day the cool night air was heaven.
"I forgot how many stars you could see out here," Donna said, breaking the silence. "In the city the sky is just all black, like ink."
"Fuck stars," I said. "They're just little specks in the sky."
"Isn't it weird," Andrea said. "That out here, you can see the stars from below, but when you look at the world from above, what you see are the lights of the cities ... which, like, can't see the stars back."
I shrugged. "I'd trade all the stars in the universe for a town with a real stadium." Of course, this was back before everyone spent their days sweating about smog and eating healthy and global warming. And it was before I found my concert stadium and it was cold and impregnable, big shows unaffordable on a dishwasher's wage.
"You got big city aspirations, Johnny?" said Donna.
"It would be nice to live in one," I said. "Like, Boston or New York or something. But I have no idea what I would do there. And nobody calls me Johnny."
Donna seemed to consider that for a while. "Well, what are you good at, Johnny?"
This girl was seriously starting to irritate me. "Nothing, really. That's the problem." To me cities seemed like places for massive, epic people with talents and dreams and complicated love lives, like the people on TV. Small, invisible towns like this one were home to the dull voids like me.
"He's good at mooching things off people," said Andrea.
Donna laughed. "There's always work to be found in that field."
"And he has months of experience as a 7-11 clerk."
"Shut up, Andrea."
Andrea giggled like a mental patient. "You can't make me, you can't make me..."
"Well what are you going to do with the rest of your life?" I countered. The bliss of the marijuana high was edging into paranoid, defensive territory. "Not much future in professional apathy."
"I," Andrea said proudly, "am going to be a poet."
"Bullshit," I said. "You spend a summer reading Sylvia Plath and all of a sudden you're an oppressed soul who needs to express herself through art?"
Andrea pouted. "You're crushing my dreams John. Crushing them!"
"You two are cute," said Donna.
A silence fell over the campfire. You should never call a boy cute.
"Seriously, are you two going out or something? I'm getting a kind of vibe here..."
Well, like I said, we had hooked up a couple times. I thought back to those few times. Drunken fumblings after shows, pants pulled down around the ankles so when I go for the washroom afterwards I trip and she laughs uproariously, the hard nub of her nipples between my fingers, her hairy delta, those soft little cooing sounds she would make as a contrast to my macho grunting...
"John, you have the biggest fucking erection right now," Andrea happily informed me.
"No, that's uh ... the pencil in my pocket. From earlier today."
Donna laughed. "So you're not happy to see us?"
"I gotta go piss," I said, and beat a hasty retreat to the bushes. Behind me I heard the sounds of the two girls' laughter. It shouldn't have hurt me, but it did.
In the woods proper the darkness was almost total. Even the stars and moon above were mostly blotted out by the leafy canopy. But no matter how dark it was, I couldn't become invisible to myself. I was still painfully aware of the warm flush on my cheeks, and my boner pointing stubbornly forward. I tried to think of things to calm down — baseball, old ladies, you know the drill — but I couldn't get the memories of Andrea out of my mind. If anyone's ever told you not to think of purple elephants, you know the experience. Her painted red nails against my white bed sheets or the way she shook her hair out after she took off her shirt — these memories lingered while the actual feel of her pussy on my prick seemed distant and foggy.
I pulled my dick out of my fly, hoping that the night air would help it. "Come on little guy. Just calm down." Maybe I really would try and piss.
A giggle, from too close. "I wouldn't call it little."
"Andrea?" I hastily tried to stuff my dick back in my pants, but she grabbed my hands. I could now see a vague outline of her in the darkness.
"I came to check on you," she said, obviously playing. "You had been out here for like ten minutes, and I was worried you might have gotten attacked by bears or something. Aren't I a good friend?"
"Good friends don't have a vice grip on their friends' dicks."
She smiled. Somehow I could still see that smile in the dark. "Whoops." Andrea's fist remained clutched around my cock, but now was slowly pumping it back and forth. She leaned up to kiss me on the lips. I kissed her back, crushing my soft lips against hers. I could feel her smiling through the kiss.
"You're cute tonight," she said.
"I'm not cute all the time?"
"No," Andrea said bluntly. "But tonight, you're really cute." She zoomed in again for the kiss. My tongue easily penetrated her lips, and explored the cavernous insides of her mouth, licking the inside of her blunted teeth and the warm squirmy tongue. Andrea wrapped her arms around me and leaned in closer, pressing my erect cock in between our bodies. I could feel the denim of her jeans on my cock-flesh, and it felt strangely intense. The texture was super-real.
I snaked a hand up her shirt, pawing my way up to her small, supple breasts. My hand was still above her bra, but even through the cotton I could feel the hard point of her nipple. Andrea had big nipples.
"Well, looks like somebody forgot to invite me to the party."
.... There is more of this story ...