I had been to the restaurant where Brian our drummer worked part-time as a busboy. I don’t remember, but I had been there to meet up with him once for some reason. I do remember Brian telling me the bartender there liked my “friend with the big eyes.” (Me.) I don’t remember that person and quickly dismiss it in my mind.
One night Brain wants to bring us to the restaurant where he works for drinks. We get there and the band sits at the bar. Brian introduces us to the bartender, Frank. Or, as Brian calls him, Frank the Fag. Now I get it. Frank fancies me. It’s a compliment, but I’m straight.
We all order bottles of beer. Frank is being Frank but he’s nice as could be. We’re all just chilling at the bar and it’s nice to all go out and have a drink as a band. It’s like we’re somebody now. People recognize us when we’re out and I like it.
We’re sitting there for about an hour chatting about music, when Frank presents me with not one, but two large tumblers filled with a frothy pink liquid.
“It’s called a Dirty John.”
“Thank you, but I never drink hard liquor. I just don’t do it. I’m a beer guy only.”
“I’ll drink it!”
Jim is the youngest and newest member of the band. I think he wants to show that he’s a bad ass that can hang with the older guys.
“That’s really not necessary Jim.”
“No. I want to.”
Jim proceeds to chug the drinks.
We settle up and walk outside. Brian and Mark say they’ll bring the car around. I’m smoking a cig waiting with Jim. Brian doesn’t allow smoking in his car so we wait.
“I gotta take a piss.”
“You could have gone in the bar, Jim. Actually, I gotta go too. Beer goes right through me. There’s some tall hedges behind the restaurant. Let’s go back there.”
We walk back and are standing next to each other as if we’re just a couple of students pissing in the urinals in the Boys bathroom at Wildwood High. I suddenly hear this rustling noise and a thump. I glance to my right and Jim has vanished. I zip up my fly and go to the spot where he was.
There’s Jim, face down in the next yard. While pissing he literally just collapsed forward between the hedges. What the fuck was in that drink? Whatever it was, it hit him like a sledgehammer.
Brian and Mark pull up in his yellow ’77 Ford Mustang II.
“What the fuck’s up with Wolfie?” (Brian sometimes referred to Jim as ‘ Wolfie’ because the way he brushed his hair back, it resembled Lon Chaney’s monster.)
“Guys get over here!”
Brian and Mark scramble from the car and run over. We get Jim to his feet and he is just gone. Slurring and stumbling and we get him to the car. It takes all three of us.
“He went from buzzed to black out in a matter of seconds!”
Brian’s driving. Mark’s riding shotgun, and of course I’m in the back with drunk boy. He’s really out of it. Conscious, but super fucked up. More drunk than I’ve ever seen anyone ever in my life.
Brian’s driving him back to his house. “He better not fuckin’ puke in my car! I swear to god!”
We get to Jim’s house and I’m about to get him out and he pukes all over me. He doesn’t even know I’m there. Now I’m wearing the Dirty John meant for me.
Thankfully his parents weren’t home when we dragged our new guitarist back into his house.
We carry him through the door, in front of at least a half dozen siblings. They all look on in utter horror. I assure them their brother isn’t dead. He’s just sick and we’re taking care of him.
The kids know me from school. I’m the kid that comes and waits for Jim each morning and lets my glasses steam up while watching the Today show waiting for my friend so we can walk to school together.
It’s a mess. The little kids are clueless. We are simply a group of guys bringing their older brother home because he’s sick. Everything’s fine. Just like in any household in the 70’s. It didn’t happen.
We bang Jim up the stairs to his bedroom. When I say, bang I mean he was dead weight and me, Brian and Mark did the best to get him to his room.
This is all new ground for all of us. We’re new musicians, but we don’t know anything about but extreme behavior even if it’s accidental.
My best friend is so sick. I am wearing his puke. We try to run his head under the shower to revive him. He cries out like a molested child so we withdrawal.
“Okay, He’s freaking out like a retard. Put him in his bed and we’ll go.”
Brian was always so pragmatic.
“Turn him over on his stomach.” (I say) Put his face at the edge of the bed.”
“Umm… Bon Scott….” (See: Tales of Rock – Bon Scott)
“He’ll be fine.”
” Dude. Hendrix died choking on his own puke.”
“He’ll be fine.”
We leave our lead guitarist in his bed and all go home. It’s bee a fucked up night.
My best friend got poisoned by a drink meant for me. What was Frank’s plan? Get me drunk beyond recognition and take advantage of me? That’s kind of evil.
But the worst part of it is… Was Brian in on it?
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