Sunday, April 10, 2011

Crazy Horse

My friends and I knew the cop named Frank Palombo was coming back, he had told us as much the first time he came up to the apartment. Actually, he told my buddy Joe Alves, promised him, in fact, that if the police ever got another call from the neighbors about us, we were all going to jail.
     Joe was playing his pink Charvel through the Marshall half-stack in his bedroom one day loud as fuck when Palombo came walking in through the front door, a bag of weed and several spent roaches in the ashtray sitting right out in the open where anyone could see. Palombo said he knocked but the Marshall amplifier was so loud, Joe couldn't hear him.
     Joe was a helluva guitarist back then, played in a cover band called Black Rose with some of our other friends; Colin Boughton played drums, Steve Ferreira was the lead singer and Jason MacDougall played bass, God rest his soul. Back in the '90's, the good old days, as they say, we'd all get drunk and crazy and watch them play at The Clubhouse in Bristol on weekends during the summer. The bar would be filled to the rafters every time they played, but you never see anybody in that place anymore.
     Anyway, Palombo let Joe off with a warning that first time in the apartment, although he had some fun busting Joe's balls and making him sweat. Joe said Palombo picked up the bag of weed and waved it in his face, taunting him, as if he never smoked any himself, the fucking hypocrite. After that, it was just a matter of time before Palombo came back, considering the noise we used to make.
     The apartment was a tiny two bedroom on Mt. Hope, but we used the den as a third bedroom for Brinza and converted the kitchen into our living room, with three Lazy Boys and a coffee table in the middle of everything and a black-and-white TV propped up next to the fridge. We'd put the boom box in the open window and crank Guns & Roses and Jane's Addiction tunes at top volume, so you can understand why the neighbors hated us. My friend Alex used to call it the House of Sin.
     One night we're getting drunk on forties of malt liquor, Crazy Horse if I'm remembering it right, and of course we had the boom box in the window, when somebody knocks hard on the door from the back stairwell; which since the apartment is so small is only about ten feet across the kitchen from the door to the front stairwell. It was strange, too, because nobody ever used those back stairs, the reason why we always piled our trash out there.
     Joe turns off the music and I yell, "Who is it?" in my best tough guy voice and the answer that comes back is, "Pizza delivery," and we all look at one another and laugh. Then Brinza picks up an empty forty and throws it at the thick wooden door but it doesn't break, just makes a loud "boom," and Joe yells, "We didn't order no fucking pizza," and the next thing you know the voice on the other side says, "Bristol Police, open up," and we almost shit ourselves because we knew it was Palombo.
     We're all standing there now frozen in the middle of the kitchen and Joe grabs the ounce of weed from the coffee table and runs into the bathroom and flushes it, and of course it takes three or four flushes to get it all down. And since the bathroom is adjacent to the back stairs, you know Palombo hears that shit and knows full well what's going on inside.
     The next thing we hear is, "Officer Palombo, open this fucking door," and everybody looks at me like I'm supposed to know what to do, and the only thing I can think of is to run right out the front door and take those stairs three at a time and that's exactly what we did.
     We hit the bottom step and we ran out of the apartment building right past Palombo's police cruiser with the engine still idling in park and we hauled ass down Second Street faster than Carl Lewis ever ran the 100 meters, I swear to God.
     At the end of Second we hooked a right onto State Street and we didn't stop running until we were belly up to a bar called The Kinsman Tavern, which is where we were planning on going anyway that night, just not so early.
     We stayed at the bar and got shit-faced until closing time and then we stumbled down Second Street back to our apartment and were relieved to find no sign of Palombo anywhere in sight.
     Later, we found out our friend Colin Boughton had arrived at the apartment minutes after we ran out, and when Palombo came down from the back stairs and saw him standing there on the sidewalk he cuffed him and threw him in the back of his cruiser. But Colin didn't live there and had no idea what the fuck was going on, so Palombo had to let him go.
     We never heard from Palombo again after that, but I'm guessing he was embarrassed about what happened and never told anybody about it. Later, he married a friend of ours named Angela Ferri and we found out through the grapevine that he wasn't such a bad guy after all, just not too bright.
     Yeah, those were the days, as I said before, back before the towers fell and our friend Jason died of cancer, and then Ray Green died of the same and we all grew up and I moved away to points west and everything changed. Those were the days.
          "They may say, 'Those were the days.'
          But in a way, you know, for us these are the days.
          Yeah, for us these are the days, and you know,
          You're my girl. Such a classic girl."
                                         - From the song "Classic Girl"
                                           by Jane's Addiction