We'd hang out over at her house during the day 'cause she had a pool table and a good stereo. And, of course, she was a girl. That was important. We needed to be seen with girls, whether anything was going on or not. Something might have been going on with one of my buddies; but she definitely wasn't my type. She was the thin brunette with dark eyes. I've always been a sucker for the baby fat blonde with the blue eyes. But I enjoyed it at her house those afternoons. It was the first place I ever heard Leadbelly. That's not a small thing. Ever wonder how many things you'd have missed in life except for one simple twist of fate? ('Scuse me, Bob.)
Well, hell; don't excuse me either. It was all about you anyway. Without Bob Dylan, nothing would have happened. The world would not exist. And one of the tracks on that Peter, Paul and Mary Album 1700 was Bob Dylan's Dream. This was one of the songs from the age of Bob Dylan when I was the only one in my entire world who was listening to him. The early folk days. I took some ribbing about that, too; let me tell you. But I knew in my heart that there was something there which was pretty damn important. When he came full circle with things such as Blonde on Blonde, it was no surprise to me. It was as much a part of a preordained event as the parting of the Red Sea had been for his people.
What was I talking about? Oh, yeah. It was 1967 and we'd just graduated from High School. And we were hanging out at Candy's house. (Ever known a girl named Candy? Neither had I. Before or after that.) It was a fairly intense game of 9-ball and Leaving on a Jet Plane was playing in the background. (Did you know John Denver wrote that? It's almost hysterically sacrilegious, isn't it?)
I took inspiration from the songs and ran the table twice in a row. Then the album got around to Whatshername. That one always made me cry. I don't know why. I'd never been in that situation before. Maybe something inside told me I would be one day. (It's a song about a guy who acts like he doesn't even remember the name of a girl who wrecked his life like a package of C2.) So I lost on purpose so I could sit down and have another beer, in my just-about-non-teenage moroseness.
One of the guys suggested we take the Jeep out to the bottoms. We were into buying old WWII Jeeps for a hundred bucks or so and running them until they died. The bottoms was the wildlife refuge where we lived. It was restricted to Canadian geese, illegal hunters, and drunken teenagers.
We'd sit out there drinking beer and listening to those beautiful geese. Have you ever heard a few thousand of those things honking all at once? It's wonderful. The noise can wash over you and make you clean.
While we were driving out, we saw a moped lying on the ground. Damn! This was like finding money on the street. We, of course, put it in the back of the jeep and took it home. Hell, it's out in the middle of nowhere and no one else is around. It must be a stroke of fortune, eh?
We took it back to Candy's house and were having a big time taking turns trying to break it. That's what you do with found stuff, isn't it? Then the cops showed up.
It turns out that the boys who owned this piece of crap were just off in the woods somewhere (doing what, I might ask?) and we'd been somehow tricked into Grand Larceny. That's a fairly serious crime, you know?
I told the cops it was my idea. I don't know why I felt responsible, but it seemed it had all come from me. It had started when that Jet Plane song was playing. It was like everything from that point on was directed by me, like a movie in real life.
The cops wouldn't let me take the rap by myself, though. They took all the boys in. (Why not the girls, too?) We were getting fingerprinted and ready to go to the cells when J.B.'s old man stepped in (like he did so often). He had gotten in touch with the parents of the kids missing their little scooter and had offered to buy them a brand new one if they dropped the charges.
Thanks, Clay. I didn't need that on my record, too.
I wish, I wish, I wish in vain,
That we could sit simply in that room again.