by Mike Zetteler
Background MIDI Sound in Chrome
The radio solidly pounding away in the background
in the brightly-lit kitchen. Light reflecting from the shiny
table-top, wet with the rings from their beer cans, and Ray
with a can in his hand standing across from Linda, both
of them yelling. Now the night outside seemed very quiet, and
Donnie Groeling waiting in the convertible for Ray looked at
the apartment building framed by the car's side window: a new
building on Hampton Avenue, all blank-faced creamy brick
and large panes of glass revealing stairways. Set back far
enough from the street-lamps to be deep in the shadows that
made the surrounding grass look black.
He remembered when Ray still lived with his folks on
Bremen Street, before he got married. This was sure a nice
place compared to that dumpy basement flat on the East Side.
But Ray's old man was a pretty beat-up looking Mexican who
couldn't speak very good English even when he was sober,
and he couldn't get a job, Donnie figured, anywhere near as
good as Ray and he had at the can company.
Donnie watched, shifting his position uncomfortably
behind the wheel. Damn, he thought, these
skinny-legged pants they're wearing these days
are just too tight. But they sure looked sharp.
Glancing out again he saw the door of the building open,
and Ray Malina was spotlighted for a moment in the doorway
by the yellow light above, his pale-tan topcoat shimmering.
Then he was loping stiffly on his short legs, cutting across the
lawn to the car. Clutched tightly under his arm, held at an
awkward angle to keep the remaining cans from falling out,
was the soggy blue and white pasteboard of a six-pack. All
that was left of the three they had started with in Ray's kitchen.
Ray was at the car. He opened the door and sank down
beside Donnie, expelling a long breath. "Let's get the hell out
of here." As Donnie nodded, eyebrows raised, he went on:
"Good thing I told you to go out in the car and wait -- man,
she was beatin' me. Ripped my shirt again, too. She must
think shirts grow on trees or somethin'." Then he sat up more
stiffly in the seat, glancing first at Donnie, then out the
"That crazy bitch."
Donnie was silent -- Jesus Christ, he thought, why does
everyone always have to fight when I'm around? It seemed to
happen with all his friends, and it embarrassed the hell out of
him. He never knew what to say -- it didn't seem right to talk
about it, but it seemed funny just to ignore it, too.
He quickly turned the ignition key, starting the car. He
raced the motor briefly and popped the clutch. The car jerked
forward as the wheels spun on, then grabbed at, the concrete.
He smiled faintly as he controlled the wheel with one hand,
gripping it tightly, feeling the ridges in the smooth plastic
pressing into the undersides of his fingers, the combination of
smooth and rough and the sense of the car rushing forward
into the dark putting a feeling of power into the stiffened arm.
With the car under way, slowing now to avoid attracting
attention on the wide, almost empty street, he relaxed and
glanced at Ray sitting with the partially empty six-pack on his
lap. The black Ford, cloth top up, rumbled softly on. "Better
put the beer under the seat -- we don't want to get busted
Ray bent over to fit the cans one by one under the seat,
rattling empties left there from other nights and forgotten. He
folded the cardboard and shoved that under, too. No wonder
the car always smelled like beer, Donnie thought.
Ray straightened up. "Hell, she'd be glad if we got busted
for havin' beer in the car. She even called the cops on me one
night when I came home drunk. Sure, I was slappin' her
around, but she started it, she always does. Screamin' and
hittin' me until I have to let her have it -- on account of her my
whole family thinks I'm rotten, tellin' my mother I was hittin'
the baby. Christ, as if I'd hit a ten-months old baby." He
"Of course, it's my kid, I'll do what I want with it, but I
wouldn't beat up a little baby."
He slouched back down on the seat again, his knees resting
against the dashboard. As far as Donnie could tell it didn't
seem to bother him much to talk about himself and his wife,
and Donnie drove slowly, steadily, looking into the darkness
in front of the windshield, thinking: Well, no sense in
pretending nothing had happened back there at the house,
"What was Linda so mad about tonight, though?" he asked,
being careful to show he wasn't laughing at Ray. "I mean, we
weren't doin' nothin', just sitting around drinkin' a little beer.
We weren't even playin' cards." He went on casually: "Good
thing nobody else came over to play sheepshead, the way
Linda was acting."
"Oh, hell, she was mad 'cause I didn't get home last night
till eight o'clock this mornin'. Still, she didn't have to go crazy
like that, yellin' at you."
Donnie grimaced, remembering: For months now, since
Ray married Linda, all he was to her was one more of Ray's
drunken friends -- according to her all Ray's buddies were
drunks, and no good, especially if they were single. When she
wanted to go out it was with her girlfriends and their
husbands. Which was too bad, because he thought she could
at least be a little friendly -- she was Irish, with nice
red-blonde hair and very white skin, and though she was a
little heavy she had big tits that Donnie liked, even before she
got pregnant. It seemed strange she reacted against him so
strongly. But then, she had never been part of the little gang
that hung around 27th and Center.
"After all, you didn't have nothin' to do with it," Ray
continued. "I told her I was at Chuck Bauer's house last
night, playin' cards."
"Is that where you were? I wondered. I know I called you
last night -- I thought maybe you could come down to the
Comfort Bar for a while and shoot a game of pool -- but Linda
wouldn't tell me anything."
"Well, ah -- look," Ray said, suddenly smiling. "I know I
can tell you, you're my buddy and all that -- me 'n' Grant
Scherrer went in Grant's car, and I had out this broad that used
to like me real much in high school. Man, what a night."
He sounded happy now. "We parked in Chuck's garage --
with Chuck's wife right in the house, for Christ's sake. Of
course, he didn't care -- he would've joined us if he could."
He shook his head. "Boy, you should have seen this chick."
He mimicked a girl's voice: "Oh, Ray, lover, what's a girl
supposed to do when she feels like this?" He snorted. "I
showed her what, all right. Jesus, you know she drank a
whole half-pint by herself, and me 'n' Grant were drinkin' beer
like mad -- man, what a night. When I got home I slept until
just before I called you." He groaned. "I'm still tore out of
shape, that's why I wanted to stay home tonight."
He slumped down again on the seat. His black curly --
almost wiry -- hair was carefully arranged to fall in a tangle
over his forehead, and he absently passed his hand through it,
rubbing his forehead. His Mexican-Italian heritage had given
him a pale-olive skin, and his face seemed almost silvery in
the light that reached into the car. With his broad nose and
full lips he seemed to Donnie something like the picture he'd
seen of a Mayan in a high school anthropology book. Of
course, he could remind you of his Italian mother's side, and
the visits to the old basement flat where one of the best things
Donnie had ever tasted was the steaming fresh bread she baked,
dipped in warm olive oil.
Donnie drove on through the quiet neighborhood. They
went past a collection of low buildings that stretched out
on a broad Silver Spring Drive behind a tall wire fence -- the army
disciplinary barracks. The car seemed suspended somewhere
above the road, to have no contact with the world, with the
ordinary houses around them where people were doing what
they always did. Donnie guessed he was feeling the beer
pretty much, but it seemed kind of nice to be just mellow and
floating above everything like this.
But it was too quiet in the car, and he suddenly realized
why. He reached over to switch on the radio, surprised that
he had forgotten to do it right away. At the same time he
asked Ray: "And that's why Linda took the baby and went to
her aunt's house this mornin'? Well, no wonder."
"But that's the thing -- " Ray turned to face Donnie. "She
thinks I was playin' cards last night. And if a guy can't even
go out once in a while on a Friday night, after workin' his ass
off in a factory all week, and sittin' home every night doin'
nothin' . . . "
The radio, after its humming warm-up, came in strongly.
It was the wrong station, and an old slow record was playing.
For a moment there was the voice of Frank Sinatra singing:
Love and marriage, love and marriage,
They go together like a horse and carriage. . . .
Donnie punched one of the square black buttons hard, to
get the rock 'n' roll station they listened to. A rocking,
hard-driving instrumental -- he knew it was Duane Eddy -- filled
the car, and they were silent while the car seemed to cruise along
powerfully to the rhythm of the guitars and drums, the air rushing in
warm through the open windows. The music seemed made for driving,
and Donnie felt his body urging the car and the music along -- they
seemed to be connected, all mixed up with his high from the beer --
with small but deeply-felt movements.
Then it was over, and he turned down the volume, cutting
off the DJ who talked in a rapid, sort of cackling voice that
seemed, Donnie thought, continually on the edge of hysteria.
He was very annoying after a while, especially with his efforts
to use hip talk. He liked Chicago station WLS, with new guy
Dick Biondi better, and tried to find it.
Then he spoke, figuring he should agree with Ray: "Sure.
After all, you do stay home most of the time. In fact you give
in to her a lot." In the background was the faint voice of yet
another DJ, announcing a high school dance.
"I know. Like tonight -- this mornin' just before she took
off for her aunt's house I told her we'd leave the baby at my
mother's house and go out, you know, just the two of us, but
she don't even want to go out any more. So I says all right,
we'll stay home, and I'll get some of the guys over and play
cards for a while, she can't find nothin' wrong with that. But
no, she says if I got to drink she's goin' to take the baby to her
aunt's house where they'll be safe. Safe, for Christ's sake.
Hell, she's bigger'n I am, she scares the hell out of me
sometimes, throwing things and kickin' me. Like tonight --
she comes charging into the house, yellin' for no reason. 'N'
when I decided that I had enough of that, that you 'n' me were
goin' out, 'n' I went to get the money I had hidden so she
couldn't get a hold of it, she flings that piggy bank at me. A
piggy bank! She could have killed me." He shifted in the seat.
"Why in the hell didn't she stay at her aunt's house, if she
don't like what I do? If she thought I was goin' to stay home
tonight, sittin' there waitin' for her to come back, she was
He lapsed into silence, staring moodily out at the houses --
some showing light at at their windows, many already
darkened -- that slipped peacefully past the car like, Donnie
thought, painted wooden models. On their left they went by a
shopping center, and Donnie gazed at the acres of starkly-lit
stores, the vast parking area. Scattered people scurried
through glass doors and vanished from view. It was hard
to believe they were really alive. But still, he went to shopping
centers sometimes, he even used to hang around a drugstore at
one, maybe people thought the same thing about him.
There was the JC Whitney's where he bought the chrome
exhaust extension for the old Ford.
"She was pretty wild, wasn't she?" he commented after a
while. "I'm glad I got out of there when I did, and waited in
the car." He pushed in the shiny knob of the dash-lighter, and
when it popped out after a moment, lit a cigaret. The hot
element formed a glowing-orange bull's-eye whose warmth he
could feel against his face as he drew in.
He went on, consoling Ray: "Surprised me, too. Man,
sometimes she's real nice -- last time I was over, you seemed
ta be gettin' along real good, it looked."
"Sure, but she's mostly only like that whenever everything
is her way, a guy can't do nothin'. I can't figure her out -- I
know she don't want me to drink, 'cause she don't like to, but
even if I don't she's not satisfied. Hell, she don't like any of
my friends, and the more I try to keep her happy the worse
she gets, bitchin' all the time, cuttin' me down in front of
"She's all right for a while if I get tough with her, 'n' really
slap the shit out of her, but hell, a guy hates to be beatin' up
his wife all the time. That's the only thing she understands,
Silently, Donnie had to agree that Linda could get pretty
nasty, once hinting she could get back at Ray by revealing
what he figured out she was getting at, that Ray couldn't
always get it up. Not that he would have laughed, having been
drunk enough himself sometimes to the point where he lost a
good shot at some strange pussy, even someone he thought he
could really like. One more bit of bad luck that explained why he never
got very far.
Automatically, they hadn't talked about a destination yet, he
was still cruising aimlessly, Donnie turned the car onto
Hopkins, a busier street, dotted with bright BLATZ, SCHLITZ
and PABST signs. It angled along the huge A.O. Smith factory
site on their right, where his Uncle Harvey was a foreman who
played industrial league baseball for their team.
"What happened after I went out to the car? I thought you might stay
home after all, seeing the way she was acting."
"Hell no, I had enough of her embarrassing me like that -- I
didn't hit her or nothin', I just told her I was going out and she
could go to hell. She didn't think I'd do it either, but I just
changed my shirt, got my money, and walked out. I should
have flattened her while I was at it."
"You knew, it seems like that's what she wanted. She was
always pickin' on you, even before you were married -- Christ,
what a temper -- but you kept comin' back for more. Why'd
you ever marry her if you knew it was going to be like that?"
"Look, she's not always like that -- and so she gets away
with a lot, well, you know me, I get away with a lot, too, that
she don't know about -- I can't help it, I'm too young to be
married," he said seriously. "But look," he pleaded, "I didn't
marry her 'cause I had to, I mean there's no law that says you
have to get married. But you know yourself how you'd feel
about your girl, if you got Lorri knocked up you couldn't just
leave her, could you?"
He paused, shaking his head.
"Still, I just wish they had a little meter on 'em, so you
could look down while you're doin' it and see what number
you are, third or tenth or whatever . . . they'll never tell ya.
At least I know I was the first this time with her.
"So I mean, I'd do anything for Linda, it's
just that a guy's got to have some fun in life, too."
"I know you do, but -- " Donnie sought for expression --
"but what's the sense in that kind of life? I mean, it seems to
happen to everybody that I know, all this fightin' and stuff."
He paused. "I dunno -- " he groped, " -- I know its not going
to be that way with me when I get married. I mean. Lorri
knows who's going to be boss, I'm going to go out with the
guys and all that, but hell, if I was going to go out with chicks
all the time I wouldn't get married. I mean, it happens, and it
don't mean you don't love your wife, but still -- "
"Hell, it's just part of being married -- and lots of it's my
fault, I know. Like today. Sure, I had a ball last night, but I
don't go out that much, it just isn't worth it. You know, I
already decided I wasn't going to go out with another broad
unless she's ten times better than Linda. This fuckin' broad I
had out last night was nothin'. She made me tell her I loved
her, and I almost laughed in her face when I did. Man, Linda
is ten times better lookin' than she was, she sure wasn't worth
all this trouble.
"And I would've stayed home tonight, too, if Linda hadn't
tried to tell me I couldn't have who I wanted over to my own
house. I pay the goddamn rent, don't I?"
"Damn right. That's the way I'd feel about it, too."
"Yeah, well, so here we are. So what're we gonna do?
Might as well have one of them beers. You want one?"
"Yeah, what the hell, gimme one. The church key's in the
Donnie heard Ray move things around in the glove
compartment looking for the opener. Then there was the
crackle of can tops, and small hissing sounds, and the can of
warmish beer was in Donnie's hand. Foam was spread out
over the top of the can, and Donnie steered with one hand,
watching the street and approaching cars while touching with
the tip of his tongue until he located one of the triangular
He wondered fleetingly if it was one of the millions he or
Ray had packed with their machines on the line in the shipping
department. They were still making them from steel, but
pop-tops were catching on fast.
"I don't know," he said then. "I guess there ain't much to
do -- if I'd known this was gonna happen I never would have
come over in the first place. Shit, I could have gone out with
Lorri. I wouldn't mind shooting a couple games of pool,
It was easy to drink the warm beer fast, and he found
himself trying to force down as much as he could without
stopping. Everything concentrated in the feeling of the beer
pouring down his throat, tingling pleasantly, and the houses
and lights and sidewalks outside the car seemed to bob away
like ships on waves as his eyes misted. Rapidly he drained the
can and rolled it under the seat. He took a deep breath.
"Yeah, well," Ray said, "Let's go to the Comfort Bar then.
At least we'll both get served there without any trouble.
Where is Lorri, anyway?"
For a moment Donnie had been picturing the beer bars in
Ozaukee County where Ray could go legally -- Weiler's, Eddie
& Theresa's, This Old House -- but he figured it wouldn't be
worth the time and the drive, even if he could talk Ray into it.
Even if they were packed, as they often were on weekends, the
broads could be really aloof if they didn't know you as part of
their usual crowd, though picking one up was really the only
reason to keep going back.
"Oh," said Donnie, deciding whether to pass a
slow-moving car -- a very slow-moving car, with what looked
like an ordinary elderly couple in the front seat, though it was
potentially a very fast car that should belong to someone
young, he thought -- "She's at home, where all good little girls
belong. I was gonna see her tonight, until you called. Then I
figured, fuck it, I can see her any night, weekends anyway,
and we don't get a chance to play cards very often. Too bad
He paused to take another can of beer from Ray. "Well, we
might as well go to the Comfort Bar. Man, I get sick of that
place. I mean, I take Lorri home, and then I got nothin' to do
but go to the tavern and sit around and drink and listen to a
bunch of old rummies. Man, it must be nice to have a wife to
come home to."
Ray seemed to be thinking, and he nodded his a head
slowly. "You damn right. Look, I know you won't get the
chance ever, or nothin' like that -- I'd kill her if she did, and
she knows it -- but if you ever get the chance to make it with
Linda, don't pass it up, she's really good, really somethin'."
"Umm," Donnie said, thinking, Jesus Christ, that was a
conversation stopper as bad as the time he was struck with
embarrassment -- though Ray wasn't -- when they had been
drinking together at Peanuts Herlitz's little neighborhood bar
after second shift. The place had been deserted, common on
week nights, and after a while Donnie, bored with the usual
shop talk, had asked, Don't you wish you were with a girl?
After a beat, a smirking Ray leaned in and confided: I'll tell
you what, if I was a girl I'd let you fuck me. There was a
frozen moment while Donnie realized Ray thought he had
asked, Don't you wish you were a girl? All he could do was
calmly drain his glass -- searching for a way to clarify his
words without . . . what? Trapping Ray in some way? -- and
look straight ahead and let the moment slide by.
They drove on in silence, the radio now low, Ray not
talking, Donnie watching the traffic, busier now, and the
taverns -- how many taverns had he been in already, and how
many were there in the city, he wondered -- and the few
people on the sidewalks.
It wasn't like the colored sections, where they seemed to
cluster around every doorway and yard.
He emptied the last can of beer. "This is great, just like old
times. Hell, since everybody got married I got nobody to go
out drinkin' with. It's no fun to go out drinkin' by yourself.
Man, the times we used to have before you got married."
"We sure did, man, didn't we? That just shows you, don't
Donnie nodded. They stopped for a red light, and he gazed
out the window at a restaurant on their left near the busy
corner of 27th and Center. It was a George Webb's, a
teenagers' hangout for the neighborhood, and there was a
group outside under the large hamburger in yellow paint
above the window. He watched as one of them, a youth with
elaborately combed black hair and black, highly-polished
shoes, flipped a butt, the red dot arcing out into the street
towards the car. The youth looked at it, then turned casually,
saying something that Donnie couldn't hear to the girl standing
close to him, who swung her long blonde pony-tail and
Donnie watched. The scene reminded him of himself,
almost four years ago now, just out of high school at
seventeen. Even the hair -- most guys tried for the Elvis look
if they could, though Donnie had to oil and soak his and push
it into place, while Ray could simply do the Tony Curtis curls.
Still, he was more the slight Sal Mineo type . . .
"Hey," he shouted at Ray suddenly when the light changed
and he tromped on the accelerator heavily, "Let's wake up
here." At the same time he twisted the knob on the radio, the
music pouring out violently, vibrating the speaker.
Straightening up, Ray asked, "What's the matter with you?"
"Hell," Donnie said, slapping the wheel with one hand in
time to the beat, "It's Saturday night, man. Let's live it up. I
feel like getting stoned -- let's go someplace where we can hear
some music -- we get served in The Castaways. Or the
National Ballroom. Of course, we could go to The Renegades
and look at the dykes, but that's not much fun."
"All right, I don't care. Castaways is closer. Only -- let's
not stay too long, huh?"
"How come? What's wrong with you all of a sudden?"
"Ah, I want to get home early -- I didn't even feel like
going out tonight, I was out all last night. And man, Linda's
pissed off at me enough the way it is. After all, she is my
wife. And if I don't get home early tonight, she'll make it
miserable for me all week." He paused, then, "Donnie," he
went on, "Don't get married."
"Nah, don't worry -- I won't." He stared at a red tail-light
winking ahead of him in a thin mist of exhaust smoke,
reminding him of the sparking cigaret butt that had been
snapped into the street thinking: Why am I too old to hang
around a restaurant any more, why does everybody have to get
married so young? Of course, staying with his parents was
certainly the cheapest thing to do, and second shift let him
sleep all morning and stop at the tavern every night.
"Well," he said, pulling the car over to the curb in front of
The Castaways bar on North Avenue, careful not to scrape the
white sidewalls, "Well," he repeated, thinking of himself sitting
inside at the bar, all the times when Ray wouldn't be there, and
he'd sit there silently, listening to the music, stirred and feeling
like dancing, but not moving -- he hardly ever danced. And
the more he'd drink the more he'd feel he'd lost something, he
always felt that way lately. And he thought of Lorri, a cute
girl, though so limited, even for a high schooler, that he could
hardly get her to try a foreign movie. But she'd like to get
married when she graduated from Rufus King -- always
looking at furniture -- and she'd be like Ray's wife, home
waiting for Ray, making everything he did seem somehow
important -- and exciting, too. "Well, maybe not for a while,
But he wasn't sure if that wasn't the only thing left for him.
They got out of the car, both doors slamming solidly at
almost the same time. "Man," said Ray, grinning as a sailor in a
white suit with wide flapping legs opened the door to the bar.
His arm was pulling close a girl with large breasts moving
around freely under her pink blouse. The couple lurched out
together into the balmy night, letting out the crashing sounds
of the band.
"The place is really swingin'." He shrugged his shoulders
and adjusted the collar of his topcoat. "The hell with the old
lady." He smiled at Donnie. They lit cigarets and walked
eagerly into the bar, but wary at the same time. It was, after
all, an older crowd, all strangers and probably some looking
for a fight. Sitting alone at the National Ballroom one time he
had barely overheard one guy a few stools over telling his
buddy, "-- when I came I just about blew that bitch's head
off --," stopping to stare in Donnie's direction for a second to
continue, "Yeah, you better look away, asshole."
How to save face and not look like a complete pussy
without getting himself punched out? Stone-faced silence was
all he could come up with . . .
Then they were sitting on two stools that they finally
managed to find together at the long, crowded bar, a partial
oval with a raised stage and band in back. A place for a show,
not the kind you would hang around to get to know the
regulars. The few apparently unattached chicks seemed too old
for him. Maybe he should get himself one of those
rum-soaked Crooks cigars, Donnie thought. Since he still
smoked sometimes, especially when he was drinking, he really
liked the taste. And he could switch to whiskey and sour,
which he liked when he wanted to look a bit more
After the end of a number they clapped, and Ray chuckled
and looked at Donnie. "You know, I was just thinkin' --
wouldn't it be funny if Linda was out doin' the same thing, out
with some guy or somethin', and I didn't know about it. She
just better not, that's all I can say."
"You're married and she isn't, huh? How do you figure
"I don't have to, man, that's just the way it is. And I may
be small, and all that, but I'll tell you somethin' -- I catch any
guy messin' around with my wife, I don't know how, but I'll
cut his balls off. She's my wife, man."
"Yeah, well . . . " Donnie trailed off. At least he knew he
had to keep him away from his dead uncle's Detective's
Special he kept in the trunk -- wrapped in an oily rag in the
little-used tackle box -- if anything happened. Ray may have
been talking bullshit, but he was just foreign enough that you
could never quite tell how dangerous he really was. But then,
he'd never known any other Mexicans, though they were
moving in around Riverside High where Ray had gone to
school, and Holton Street.
The band took a break,
taking along the girl with
the short, shag-cut black
hair and the brief silvery
costume who had been
twisting on the stage, mostly
ignored in all the shards
of conversation and the drifting smoke. The bartender
expertly snatched away the empty Pabst bottles in front
of them and replaced them with full ones. White caps of
foam climbed over the rims.
The sound system took over, starting a mix of Top 40
records from the jukebox, even repeating the by-now irritating
Mr. Custer tune:
Please Mr. Custer, I don't wanna go
Listen, Mr. Custer, please don't make me go
There's a redskin a-waitin' out there, just fixin
to take my hair
A coward I've been called cuz I don't wanna wind
up dead or bald
Please Mr. Custer, I don't wanna go (forward HO!)
Ray took a long drink. His eyes glittered the way he
usually got and his open lips were wet from the beer as he
said, "Man, you know, you should have seen us last night.
That old car was doin' the rhumba, all night long. And I know
that Grant was watchin' in the rear view mirror, the bastard.
'Course, I'd do the same thing. Yeah," he said, taking
another swallow, "You should have been there."
"I should -- " said Donnie, still thinking about the girl on
the stage, the shimmery fringe shaking around her solid bare
thighs as she did her dancing and grinding, and about Lorri
who knew what to do to him when she wanted to make him
happy. Even if it was only handjobs into his handkerchief so
far. Not that he'd ever tell Ray that. Cute as hell, though, if
kind of thin -- big eyes and pouty lips that she even made a
little smaller by not using lipstick all the way to the edges, as if
no one would notice.
"Yeah, I guess I should have been, all right." Then the
band -- Donnie recognized the drummer, his name was Dick
and he pumped gas during the day at the Center Service
Station that was on the way to Ray's folks' house -- was back
on the stage, pumping out loud, shattering chords, guitar notes
whanging in the air over the drumfire even louder than before.