Monday, July 21, 2008

One Fine Mornin'

So... continuing from where I left off in my Phrog post, now it was Sunday morning and I dragged myself out of bed to go pick up Cindy for our clandestine journey over to Rick's house, to carry out our mission of plastering it with toilet paper.

She was ready to go; we drove back on Crenshaw, headed to Rick's and coasted to a stop a few doors past his house. All the while our conversation skated around the events of the previous night. I was as curious as could be, but my shyness stifled me completely.

We did a real number on his house. Toilet paper was hanging from the tree, spread all over the lawn and bushes, and, well, it was colorful. None of that cheap stuff that people used to steal from the bathrooms at Holiday Bowl, we had bought Charmin-quality to do a first-rate job.

Cindy had just gotten back into the car and I was getting in when all of a sudden I saw Rick. Cindy ducked down under the dashboard as he walked up to the passenger side of the car. I stood leaning on the door frame of the driver's side, with a stupid smile on my face. From where I was, I could see him over the roof of the car and if I looked downward, I could see Cindy crouched under the dash, suppressing a giggle.

"So, like what are you doing?" Rick asked.

"Oh, nothing."

We bantered back and forth, me occasionally and surreptitiously glancing down at Cindy who was covering her mouth with her hand, hoping Rick wouldn't either look inside or open the door to get in.

Luckily, he didn't. It wound up with me getting in the car and driving off, leaving him still standing there looking at me. I know that was a cold thing to do, but he had no idea Cindy was there and I didn't want him to know, so I had no other choice. It was leave or risk the chance of being discovered.

We turned the corner, Cindy got back in the seat and we had a good laugh about what had just happened. And we decided to take a drive out to the beach.

July is generally a hot and smoggy month in Southern California. But it was early enough on this Sunday morning for the air to be cool and clear. Perfect driving weather.

We took Jefferson Boulevard out to Playa del Rey, then headed south along the coast and wound up somewhere around Hermosa or Manhattan, at which time we turned around and headed back for our neighborhood. It was mid-morning when I dropped her off and already the air was getting smoggy and the temperature was rising; the morning freshness had disappeared.

I drove home happy that I had the chance to spend some time with her. And as you might guess, the subject of her and Duane never came up. Not once. Inside of me I kept hoping maybe this was just some fluke, just some one-night thing that had already expired between them.

This was the song that was on the charts back then, and reminds me of that morning:

Some time after that, maybe a few days later, David called.

"Rick and I were talking and we think that's some real crap that Duane pulled on you," he said.

I tried pretending it was no big deal. "Oh, well, it's-"

"It's not right!" he continued. "He knew what he was doing. Do you want us to talk to him? Because I'll let that son-of-a-b** know in no uncertain terms-"

"No, that's okay. Thanks, but you don't have to do anything, it's okay." What good would that do, anyway? It wasn't going to change anything.

After a few more protests, David conceded. "Okay, well, we just wanted to let you know we think that really stinks what he did and if you want us to do something, just let us know."

I thanked him again, said I would let him know if I changed my mind but that really, everything was okay and I was okay and I felt fine. I wasn't mad at Duane, I was mad at myself. I just kept cursing myself and calling myself an idiot, but what was done was done and it was too late, so why bother trying to change anything?

David was the most direct of all of us and thus it is fitting that he was the one to call me. But as far as I know, no one ever discussed it with Duane, or with Cindy, and after the two of them became an item, I never talked with either of them about it, either. It was just a given.

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