Happy New Year!
Let's pick up where we left off
“You found WHAT?” Fish and I said at the same time.
Fin just sat there, grinning at us. He pulled a bent Marlboro out of his pocket, lit it, and exhaled the smoke through his nose. He knew our complete and undivided attention. He leaned back, took another drag of his cigarette, put his right foot on his left knee and leaned back.
“I’m really not too sure where it was.” He said, grinning, knowing he had us right in the palm of his hand. He knew we would do just about anything at that moment just to find that golden box of purloined sexual promise that would reveal to us the secrets of women across the world. Forbidden knowledge, that once learned would tell us how to talk to girls without making complete fools of ourselves. Knowledge on how to properly kiss a girl, hold a girl, and most importantly SCORE with a girl.
We were young, ignorant and knew nothing of how to have a relationship with the opposite sex. Well, that’s not really true, after all, we had all watched Gilligans’ Island and Happy Days, and The Love Boat so we knew what NOT to do. But still, it’s a long way from the glory of cathode ray tubes to physical touching of a girl. And, I believe that we all knew you did not want to try and emulate what Ritchie, Potsie, Ralph Malph or even The Fonz did to pick up girls, not to mention the insane shenanigans of Gilligan and the Skipper. (Personally, I think the Professor scored with everyone on the island.)And as far as the Love Boat was concerned, Isaac was the Man! But we all knew none of us were cool enough to pull off what Isaac pulled off.
Fish and I started to plead our cases to Fin, and Fin just sat there staring at us. His grin getting wider and wider on his face until he could no longer contain his laughter, he let out a huge belly laugh. “You guys should see yourselves!” he said gasping for breath.”You’re acting as if you’ve never seen a nude girl!” and with that he fell of his make-shift chair and we all busted out laughing.
Once we all regained our composure and Fin decided to stop giving us a hard time about finding out where the latest and greatest stash of porn was, we headed out to retrieve it. Each of us, in our own minds, were certain we would discover something we never knew before, and what we discovered would lead us to fame, fortune and popularity. All thoughts of the bike were gone.
Fin lead us right to a mountain of trash made up of old pallets, boxes, wooden planks, crushed cans, shopping carts and scrap metal. “This is where I found the bike frames.” He mentioned as he walked by the towering rubbish heap. “And this is where I stashed the box of Playboys!” He announced with a flourish of his hands and he reached out, grabbed an old car door and pushed it aside.
There it sat, in a dried up mud-hole, the box filled with promise. It wasn’t a large box; actually it was an old milk box with the inserts pulled out and the magazines just tossed inside so carelessly that some of them had been torn apart. But to us? It was GOLD! PURE, RAW, UNCLAMINED GOLD! And it was OURS!
We wasted no time getting the box back to the fort, our discussion was minimal at best and centered on where to hide our purloined treasure. Fin wanted to bring it home and keep it in his basement, Fish wanted to keep the magazines at the fort and I didn’t care as long as they were safe and accessible to all of us. I eventually voted with Fish, which pissed Fin off to no end. Until I explained to him that it would look awfully suspicious if the three of us came walking down Memory Ave with a milk crate full of Playboys. He agreed and we dug out a place in the piles of other treasures we had in the fort.
We spent the next hour paging eagerly through those magazines, none of us really learning anything about what women wanted. But, we learned a lot about what we liked. I learned that Barbi Benton was my new favorite actress! I can’t speak for Finn or for Fish who they favored but I do know that Fish had a poster of Farrah Fawcet in his bedroom and Fin had posters of athletes.
The sun was heading west in a hurry and we all knew it was getting late so we gathered up the bike parts, and tools and headed towards Fish’s house. Halfway there our talk turned to the bike, away from girls and Playboys, and there seemed to be a sense of relaxation in the air. Something that had disappeared earlier in the day, when it happened none of us had known, but now, it was back and we were laughing and having a good time.
By the time we got we got to Fish’s house we were all wound up over the project. Fish had given us our jobs. Fin and I were going to start disassembly of the frames, Fish was going to see what parts matched the primed frame and get the chain into a can of oil. Fin and I attacked our tasks with youthful vigor. Fin and I had been tearing apart the frames for about 30 minutes before we realized that Fish had disappeared. I stopped pulling the forks out of the frame I was working on and looked at Fin, “You seen Fish lately?”
Fin looked up at me, his face, arms and hands covered in grease, rust and grime, “Man, he was here just a minute ago. Maybe he went and took a piss, I’m sure he’ll be back soon.”
“Yeah, well, I need to get home soon. I haven’t seen anyone in my family since Friday morning and I’m sure they’re wondering where I am.”
“Didn’t you leave a note last night?”
“I did, but I’m sure one of my sisters has been by your house looking for me.”
“Sure, man. I’ll believe that when I see it.”
“Shut up Fin. Just cause you don’t have any brothers or sisters to come look for you doesn’t mean my sisters wont.”
“Hey! What are you guys talking about?” Fish’s voice from behind us questioned.
“Nothin’ really, It’s just I need to get going home soon.” I replied and turned towards him. He was approaching with a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, a jar of jelly and he had a knife and spoon sticking out of his front pocket.
“I brought some food, let’s eat first then you can head home.” Fish suggested and Fin nodded in agreement.
And that’s what we did. We sat in the middle of the garage floor, covered in rust, grime and a days worth of stench from an illegal junk yard. We talked about ways to get some money for paint, the color of the paint and whether or not half the stuff we found that day would help get the bike going. So far, in Fin’s eyes, we didn’t have a chance to finish. I was a bit more optimistic, but not much. Fish said he knew we’d finish and that it was just a matter of getting all the parts together, like a puzzle.
When we finished our sandwiches, which had put a hurting on the loaf of bread, and Fin went inside and brought back some sodas while Fish and I separated the usable bike parts from the scrap parts. We got everything cleaned up and as I prepared to leave I made a simple suggestion to make some money. Fish liked the idea but Fin was a bit more reluctant.