The International Writers Magazine:Chapter
Six of this Serialised novel
in Cadillac - Last of the summer nights
Maxwells was crowded even though
it was a weekday. It didnt matter, as most of these people
were on vacation anyway. It was a lively atmosphere just about
reaching its peak here at ten oclock. The drinkers hadnt
become sloppy yet. The band, four university guys who Doyle knew,
and reminding me of R.E.M., hadnt started their second set
yet, which was all right by me, as someone had played Magic Carpet
Ride on the jukebox.
The whole day of
drinking had caught up to me by then (some rum and cokes at Doyles
earlier had put me over the edge) and all I did was stagger around the
bar, smiling at people, laughing. Occasionally, Doyle came into my sights,
grinned at me, slapped me on the back and was off into the crowd again.
I saw David flirting with a cute brunette by one of the bars (a smaller
station in the rear of the place, next to a few tables).
had seen Donna and Leanne flirting with some of their boyfriends who
came here regularly, I guessed. The band members were out on the floor
mingling too (there was a small stage in one corner of the place).
a replenished mug of dark beer in hand, I made my careful way between
and around people, moving to the music, which was now an old Aerosmith
hit. I almost bumped into Hailey, who looked up at me (she was all of
five-three), paused for a second or two, and then smiled as she recognized
me. Again, it was the big brown eyes that I noticed; they pulled me
in despite the big honker and the Jagger lips.
want a drink? I said, offering the mug, and not knowing what else
to say. To my surprise she didnt hesitate and took a good gulp.
I needed that, she said, handing the mug back.
you like these guys? I asked.
okay. She shrugged.
thats how I feel. They remind me of some other bands.
like reggae, she said.
surprised me a little, I dont know why. But it also shut me up,
for I knew very little about reggae music, other than a few Marley tunes.
I didnt particularly care for it that much; I found it monotonous
after a while. Yet, of course, I didnt say that, just nodded my
head. The Aerosmith song made me think of dancing, and I started moving
again to the hard, fast sound. Hailey moved her head and stared at me,
as if to say that this was all right, she could get into it for the
moment. For a moment, I had the fantasy of putting her up against the
wall in one of those dark corners and giving her what for.
want to smoke a joint? she asked.
go out back, she said.
we left the bar we finished my beer. Hailey then led me out a side door.
We had our hands stamped by the doorman so we could return without paying
passed through a small parking lot, and then stepped into an alley along
the same block. After looking both ways, she fired the joint up.
was feeling a little tense in there, she said. Too many
bodies this time of night.
dont care for it myself, I said, and took a big hit. I had
smoked more pot on this one day than I had in the previous couple of
months. It reminded me of my high school days, doing bongs, listening
to music and Cheech and Chong albums. But I guess its where
its happening around here.
you ever go to Johns Pub in the afternoons? she asked. They
told her the only music I heard these days was on the store radio, if
you could call some of it music.
sucks, she said. Your whole summer spent in that place.
do you do for bucks?
work in a snack shop near the park. Bagels, pretzels, cake, candy, cookies,
you name it. But I make sure I get at least two days off a week. I told
them I only wanted so many hours.
wish it was that way at the store, I said. As it is, they
probably wouldnt mind if I slept upstairs. I smiled at her,
for already I felt the effects from the first hit.
good pot, isnt it? She took another toke.
just what I needed after all those rum and cokes.
and cokes? I thought you were a beer drinker?
too. Im trying to keep up with my buddy, Frank.
she said, and laughed, shaking her head. Mr. Party himself. I
dont think Ive ever seen that man without a drink or a joint
in his hand. Even at school. I dont know how he passes his classes.
thought of Frank paying another student to write his papers for him,
and that didnt seem all that improbable. I wondered if Doyle even
attended half his classes.
asked Hailey what her major was and she told me she had an open program
for the upcoming year.
year I have to decide on something, she said. Maybe communications.
Journalism. Something like that. Definitely not science or math.
was the same way, I told her. I was a business major who
took too many literature and philosophy courses. At least thats
what my counselor told me. I was supposed to be studying economic principles,
but I walked around with poetry books. Needless to say, my scholastic
career didnt last long.
quit. I wanted money, so I went to work.
you didnt go back?
not that old.
my parents keep telling me Im young enough to go back to school.
you going back?
this year anyway. Im getting thirsty again. But I have an idea.
You want to go for a swim?
have to say that Hailey Mills was a good sport about it. I took her
away from the Maxwells party, where her friends were anyway, and
led her to Thriftway, briefly, where I picked up a twelve-pack of beer.
I introduced Hailey to Kevin, who only had time to say hello as he handled
are coming in tomorrow, right? he asked, before I got out the
smiled and winked at him, and I saw him laughing when the door closed.
Then I led Hailey toward my sanctuary in the woods.
had found one of the nearby motels old signs in the woods near
my campsite, and had propped it up against some trees so that it could
be seen from the road. I had borrowed a flashlight from the store so
that I was able to guide my new friend up the path to my site. She must
have thought this was a little strange, especially having just met me,
but I joked about it to put her at ease.
I told you I had one of the best rooms in the place, I said, when
we stepped into the small clearing at the top of the hill, where my
large tarp could be seen stretched between the trees. Hailey laughed.
is where you sleep?
very place. I just happened to find it one of my first days in town.
Its quiet at night, and you wont find a cheaper room in
town. I handed her a beer and popped open mine. Now Im
going to show you the lounge. I hoped that at this time of night
the pool would be empty. It usually was.
luck held out, and we didnt see any swimmers, though we could
hear what sounded like a party in one of the rooms down below. The pool
was located at the top of the hill behind the motel buildings, and some
cement stairs and a walk led down to the rooms. There was a fence around
the pool itself, of course, but I had never found the gate locked. The
fence only went as high as my chest anyway.
left the beer stashed in the bushes, and then we stepped inside the
fence. I sat down in one of the plastic chairs, as Hailey kicked off
her sandals and then stuck her foot in the water. She laughed and looked
back at me, still stoned, spilling a little beer down her arm.
do this every night? she asked.
quite. I dont like to push my luck.
had told her that we would have to be a little quiet, but with the party
going on, it didnt seem to matter this night. I took my sneakers
off and sat at the edge of the pool with her. The water was as warm
been in here at three in the morning some nights, I said. No
one ever comes out to check. Ive sat here reading a book for a
couple hours. I laughed.
like it, she said. And not a bad view either.
that height, we could look down at the part of town we had just left
and see the lights along one of the main streets. We heard some car
horns off in the distance, and some yelling. Then it was just the music
and loud voices from the party.
mentioned that I had a towel back at the camp, but Hailey told me to
forget it. It was a warm summer night and the water was like a bath.
slipped in up to our necks, moving around at the shallow end of the
pool. Hailey had another joint that we put in one of my sneakers, for
later. I thought that someone might smell the stuff and come up to the
pool if we smoked it. Some of those party people might become curious.
remember my grandparents had a pool, I told her. One of
those small, above ground jobs. But it seemed big to us kids at the
time. We loved going to their house in the summer. Wed stay in
that thing for hours.
parents had a pool put in when I was about twelve, she said. After
that, I was pretty popular with my friends. She laughed.
when I got older I can remember going to pool parties. Someones
parents would go on vacation, and theyd throw a bash. Something
always got wrecked.
me about it, she said. I had a couple of those parties myself
in high school. And I had to explain things to my parents both times.
Why this was broken, and where such and such a thing disappeared to.
People didnt give a shit if it was your house.
told her one of my favorite high school party stories about a crazy
friend of mine who, loaded on acid and booze, got up on the roof of
someones house and, with a little help, tore the TV antenna off.
The antenna and guide wires ended up in the backyard and the TV reception
was suddenly shitty, causing some loud protest in the TV room. The house
was out in the woods and the antenna was needed for basic reception.
were the days before cable TV, I said. When they asked him
why he did it, he said: This is a party goddamit! Fuck the TV!
And he went and turned the stereo up full. And he was a big enough guy,
and loaded enough, that no one wanted to mess with him that night. He
was always remembered for that night. That was one of his glory moments.
ever see him anymore?
since high school. I dont see any of those people anymore.
know what you mean. I see a couple of my old friends still. We go out
drinking once in a while, but thats about it. Ive made new
friends at school.
I did the same. And then once I started working, I hung out with the
people I worked with. Like now, with Kevin. We see each other every
day, work the same shift, so weve gotten to know each other a
small town in Texas.
hes a long way from home. I wonder what brought him out here?
same thing that brought me up here. Roaming around and seeing the sights.
He got tired of Texas, and I got tired of my hometown. And now that
Im here, I have to say Im glad I came, even with all the
work hours. The island really does have some memorable places.
Ive come here at other times of the year, she said. Thats
when its nice. A few tourists, but nothing like this. This time
of year, I make money, like everybody else.
went and got two more beers.
heres to meeting you today, Hailey, I said, raising a can.
And heres to motel hospitality, cold beer, pot and making
drink to that, and to getting away from Maxwells for a change.
Im getting bored with that. The bars, period.
feel the same way if I was in them every night, I said. A
few years ago, when I worked in a factory, I drank in bars every night
of the week. That was my social life at the time. Every night, belly
up to the bar. It was the same bars, the same people. After a year and
a half of that, I was burned out on the job and the barfly life. It
was the healthiest thing I ever did quitting that job and hitting the
had heard me talk about my trip earlier that day, but still she had
some questions about it. She wanted to know what my favorite part of
the country was, but I couldnt tell her that it was any one place.
and I are talking about taking a trip, she said. A long
road trip. Maybe next summer. I dont want to come here again next
year. I want to get out of Maine.
came from Portland, and coming to this part of Maine had been exciting,
at first, but school had a lot to do with that. Now, going into her
second year, the novelty had worn off.
it, I said. I wish I could have talked a friend into going
with me a few years ago. I wanted to travel right after high school,
but most of my friends were either going to college or starting careers.
I go with anybody, itll be Donna. Shes the only one I know
who will really do it. Shell quit whatever job shes got
and go, if I go with her.
wait. Do it while youre young and dont have any commitments.
Youll have a hell of a time and itll be something youll
going to. Just talking to you tonight has convinced me. She grinned
at me and raised her beer can again.
Because I wouldnt steer you wrong. When you and Donna get out
to those Rockies next summer, youll think of me. In fact, Ill
give you my parents address and you can write me there. Id
like to hear from you.
was then that we noticed we had company: a couple of young men with
beers in hand, who had strolled over from the party. Smiling, they greeted
us and stepped over beside the pool.
thought it was closed this time of night, one of them said.
it probably is, I answered.
what the hell, right? the other said, grinning.
looked to be college students themselves, on the clean cut and jockish
side. It was probably a group of them on a toot to the coast. They were
dressed in loose t-shirts and baggy shorts.
waters just right, Hailey told them.
two men looked at each other. One went back to the room for more beer,
and the other guy kicked his sneakers off and sat on the edge of the
pool, with his legs in the water.
that is nice, he said. Once I get in there I might not come
out for the rest of the night.
in no hurry to go anywhere, Hailey said, laughing, and splashing
me a little. Half of her long brown hair was wet now, looking darker
because of it. She looked genuinely delighted with things as they were,
and suddenly I knew I didnt want to be anywhere else at the moment.
I dont know if it was a rush from the weed or the beer, or just
a good feeling at the end of a long, relaxing day, and sitting with
this friendly young woman. Probably, it was a combination.
other man returned with not only more beer, but another drinking buddy
as well. Another well-fed kid with short hair and a big grin, wearing
white summer clothes and carrying a green bottle of beer. It wasnt
long before all three were in the water with us, and introductions were
made. They seemed friendly enough and not too drunk, though I wondered
if our voices carried to an office, wherever that was.
think, finally, it was the room party that brought complaints to the
office (neighbors annoyed by the music and high spirits); but the employee
from the front desk also stopped at the pool to let everyone know that
it was closed - everyone being the seven bathers in the water now. Laughing,
we all slowly complied, taking our time about it so that the deskman
be back later, one of the college guys said.
probably woke him up from his nap, another said, and we all laughed.
I threw our empty cans in a trashcan, but I noticed a half dozen or
so of the green bottles around. I hoped that this little party scene
wouldnt prompt the night man to make nightly rounds from now on.
I had gotten used to taking my regular baths.
remembered what was in my sneaker, and after saying goodnight to the
party boys, I took the joint out and handed it to Hailey, along with
guess we better get out of here before the head of security comes back,
he looked really serious and official, didnt he? she said,
with a laugh.
surprised he didnt flash us a tin badge.
both laughed as we went back down the trail. We still had some beer
left, plus the joint, and I wondered what we would do then. I figured
the bars were almost closed by then, and there was only one all night
coffee shop that I knew of, and I didnt want to show up there
until the next afternoon. I didnt have the nerve to ask her to
spend the night at my camp; I thought that was pushing it.
go back to the house, Hailey said, solving the problem
right there. Everybody should be back by now. And I know someone
will be up.
I offered her a dry shirt from my pack a clean one, I assured
her. I changed into some dry clothes myself, figuring I wouldnt
make it back there that night. Before we headed for the road, we smoked
half the joint and finished a couple more beers. We were ready for the
short hike into town then.
lived, of course, at the frat house, in one of the smaller rooms on
the second floor. When we arrived at the big old house, there were indeed
some lights burning.
knew Frank Doyle would be up, and David the waiter, most likely, and
sure enough they were, the two of them in Davids room, both of
them sniffling from the white candy in their noses. Hailey had continued
on up to her room to change her wet shorts, saying she would stop down.
the hell did you disappear to? Frank asked.
went swimming with a friend, I said.
He was intrigued.
and I took a dip up at my favorite motel. I offered up the box
of beer and popped the top on one myself. They were into the rum again.
Frank said, pressing one nostril with a finger and sniffing back hard,
getting every bit of that line he could. Where is that woman?
just went to the room. Shell be down.
dog, you, Frank said.
just smiled and let him think what he wanted.
dont waste time, do you? Frank said, turning to David and
laughing. I like this dude, man. Mr. Thriftway. To see him at
work youd think he was the quietest guy around. A bookworm, thats
what youd think. And he is something of a bookworm. He laughed,
and David did too.
no more of a bookworm than I am, David said. All of the earlier
tightness from work had left his face; he was sweaty, flushed, and smiling
now. I called it right on that one when I said that the man looked ready
to cut loose on this night; I had seen it in his eyes after the first
couple of beers.
said you went swimming? Frank asked.
was busy chopping up some more lines on the coffee table.
well, it was a little hot and stuffy at the bar, I said. So
we went and cooled off some. Probably still be there if we werent
asked to leave.
motel, huh? Frank said.
pool, nice night. I grinned at him. We even had a party
going on next door.
wonderful. You interested? He touched his nose again.
most nights I would have said no, but this one had been going so well
that I decided to go all the way. Why not make it an all nighter? I
looked at David, who looked at Frank, who shrugged.
the hell? Frank said. He could probably use a little lift.
He smiled at me.
could. David shrugged and handed me the short straw. Looking down at
the two short lines on the table, I couldnt remember the last
time I had inhaled powder, and that is the truth. Nothing came to me
in the way of a memory. I did one line, sniffing hard with my head back,
and there was a knock at the door.
in dry jean shorts and my smiley face shirt, grinning and giving us
all a little wave. She stepped through the door with a beer in hand.
she is now, Frank remarked. Weve just heard something
about a swim at a motel. And Mr. Thriftway here just hoovered a fat
one. How bout you, dearie?
looked at the coffee table, and then at me. I shrugged and sniffed.
right, she said. I dont have to do anything early
was game, I had to give her that. In my cocaine rush, I saw her as my
steady girlfriend. I was to have quite a few pleasant thoughts, or fantasies,
in the coming few hours.
all ended up in Donna and Leannes place, after Frankie and I went
down the street and bought some more coke (on yours truly, who had forgotten
how good and powerful the drug could be). There was plenty to drink
and smoke with it, and when five a.m. rolled around, I began to think
that I might have to take a second day off from work.
that job, Frank said to me, clearly wired out of his mind, and
without the usual cocky grin. Thats all youve done
since youve been here. Take a weekend off. Fuck Rita.
easy for you to say, Frankie, Donna said. You got family
to help you out.
I know, my old mans got a boat down in the harbor, Frank
said. I hear that all the time. But he doesnt just hand
me cash every time I need it. I gotta do something for it. Im
the only one who does any work on that boat or up at his house.
may have had a point, but he hadnt gained any sympathy from us.
Doing odd jobs on your old mans yacht (no doubt with a buzz on)
wasnt the same in our eyes as the jobs we did to get by. And I
think Doyle sensed that, for he shut up, and then turned the volume
up on a particular song on the radio.
still say you should take a weekend off, he said to me a few minutes
later. Hell, well do it again tomorrow.
was hard not to like that grin, which was back; the kid had an irrepressible
spirit that was infectious. I wouldnt have minded working with
him at all (as long as he actually did some work).
course, it wouldnt be the first time I stayed up all night and
went to work, I said, grinning at everybody. I used to have
a bad habit of that.
I knew that the factory job Id had at that time didnt demand
the almost constant attention that this job did. I didnt work
with the public then, and my duties were routine enough that I could
have done them half asleep. This certainly wasnt the case now.
Of course, I certainly had plenty of coffee at hand. As it was, I averaged
about eight cups a shift.
time had come in the early morning when I wasnt the only one thinking
ahead to the next day; the others had pulled into their own thoughts
too, allowing the radio to carry what was left of the party spirit.
Everyone knew that the comedown from the coke wouldnt be easy;
it never was. Doyle seemed to be fighting it the hardest, yet he would
soon succumb to weariness and crawl into his littered, bad-smelling
den to sleep it off. Perhaps hed end up polishing brass railings
later that day, I thought. Sailor Frank.
I looked at Hailey, I thought that perhaps something might develop with
her before the summer was over, on a quieter night. Even better would
be a hike on some other part of the island (she had the car to drive
us there). I would have to find out what days she usually had off.
of these people I would stay in touch with; the day had been worth it
for that alone. I had made connections with people and a place outside
© Mike Blake Jan 2006
in Cadillac - Chapter One
Mike Blake - a novella in progress
had no intention of spending more than a summer on the island
Summer in Cadillac - Chapter
Summer in Cadillac - Chapter
Taking a Break in a pig's sty
ion Cadillac - Chapter Four
Need a job?
in Cadillac - Chapter Five