Tragic SerendipitySubmitted by Tom Sorrell at 2013-07-30 08:52:30 EDT
Rating: 2.0 on 8 ratings (11 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
The house was green, with a red front door, moderately small, and almost completely packed with teenagers drinking illegally. It was early September. The air was chilly and crisp on the suburban street in the little town of Winfield, Kansas, 30 miles south of Wichita. It’s where Mary Ann is from on Gilligan’s Island, which is less about castaways and more about what people do in relative privacy.
This isn’t about that show. This about three kids, one boy and two girls, who had drifted away from the herd and out the sliding glass door to the backyard, where they sat on metal chairs at a glass table on a small slab of concrete getting ready to stuff a chunk of dry, crumbly, seedy marijuana with longer stems than Uma Thurman into the bowl of a glass pipe. They didn’t know they were doing it wrong.
“Hey,” a voice said from the shadows. The three of them gasped, turned and saw a figure leaning against the shed, silently smoking a cigarette. They hadn’t noticed him until just then, but the kid nodded and pointed at the table. “You’re doing that wrong.”
“Who is that?” snapped Jacob, the only boy at the table, who wanted desperately to maintain the guy/girl ratio he was currently enjoying.
“I think it’s Bobby,” said Leigh. “It sounds like him, anyway.”
“Who?” Jacob asked.
The kid in the shadows chuckled, softly.
“Bobby. You know … he just moved here from Horner’s Corners,” said the blonde girl, Holly. “He’s in our class.”
Jacob nodded as Bobby stepped out of the shadows and motioned at a chair. Jacob frowned. Leigh smiled and nodded. Holly giggled. Leigh slapped her arm. Bobby pulled out a chair and sat down, then motioned at the pipe and greenery. “May I see the doobage? I’ll hook it up.”
“Doobage?” Jacob asked with a sneer.
“Weed, dude,” Bobby said, with no attitude. Jacob paused, then passed everything over. Bobby began by taking a small, seedless piece and putting it in the bottom of the bowl, then crumbled the dry bud above it, removing any seeds and stems he found as he crumbled. The three of them watched, amazed, as his fingers seemed to move in rhythm with Symphony 40 in G Minor.
“I’ve never heard it called 'doobage' before,” Jacob said, skeptically. "And I've heard it called a lot of things."
Bobby continued crumbling, wearing a face of stone. Jacob frowned and shifted in his seat.
“My cousin in Illinois calls it doobage, I think.” said Holly.
Bobby smiled, but didn’t look up.
“Doesn’t Bender call it that in The Breakfast Club?” Leigh asked.
Jacob and Holly shrugged. Bobby looked up at Leigh, slowly. “Yes,” he said in disbelief. “He does. I can’t believe you know that.”
“I love that movie,” she said with a smile. Her blue eyes reflected the light from inside the house and seemed to twinkle in the darkness.
“What’s your favorite movie?” Bobby asked.
“Singin’ in the Rain,” she answered.
“Hey!” Jacob snapped, interrupting their moment. “Are we going to smoke sometime today?”
Bobby smiled and held up the bowl. “Cheech,” he said.
Silence. Bobby raised his left eyebrow.
“Really?” he asked, flatly.
“Chong?” asked Leigh.
“Yes!” Bobby replied with a smile as he handed her the pipe. She smiled and declined.
“Uh, you go ahead,” she said, nervously.
Bobby nodded and put his thumb over the carb, then lit ¼ of the green chunks in the bowl while inhaling slowly. He released his thumb from the carb and inhaled again, then passed it to Leigh, who took the smallest hit possible before quickly passing it to Holly. Holly lit another quarter of the bowl and inhaled, then passed to Jacob, who took a fast, massive hit and burned the rest of the green before coughing, violently.
Bobby grinned, devilishly, as he took another hit and offered to Leigh, who declined. Bobby smiled and passed it to Holly, who took another solid hit and passed to Jacob. Jacob took another huge hit, but coughed halfway through his inhale and blew the remaining weed out of the bowl. Leigh giggled. Bobby and Holly shook their heads, angrily. Jacob shrugged and pocketed the bowl.
“This is a sativa,” Jacob said, knowingly. “It’s going to lock us to these chairs for hours.”
Bobby frowned, but shook his head and said nothing. Everyone else nodded, absently.
“I didn’t know you smoked, Bobby,” said Holly, from across the table.
“I don’t, normally,” he replied, with a slight grin. “In fact, I bet you’ll never see me smoke again.”
Holly nodded, knowingly, and grinned. Bobby turned to Leigh.
“So Singin’ in the Rain, huh?”
She smiled and nodded. “I feel like a kid every time I watch it. It’s magical. What about you?”
Everyone at the table nodded.
“Hell yeah,” Holly said.
“Great movie,” Jacob muttered.
“Why?” Leigh asked.
Bobby smiled. “I walked out of the theater a different person after I watched it.”
“Pfffft,” snorted Jacob.
“What do you mean?” Leigh asked.
“How did you get in to see it?” inquired Holly. “What were you, like 12?”
“My dad knows everyone who works at the theater. They let me in with him.” Bobby said, then his eyes lit up and he smiled as he began his story.
“Anyway, I remember sitting in the theater watching these two people talk about robbing people. I wasn’t really paying much attention, honestly. The next thing I know, they’re pulling out guns and the crazy woman’s up on the table screaming, ‘Any of you fucking pigs move and I’ll execute every motherfucking last one of ya!’ and then the music hits and the credits roll and my jaw dropped open. I sat there for the rest of the movie in total shock, trying to figure out what the hell I was watching. It was the greatest movie experience of my life. I wanted to watch it again, the next show, but Dad wouldn’t let me.”
Leigh smiled and laughed. Holly nodded. Jacob rolled his eyes and stared at Holly. Holly looked at Jacob and smiled. Bobby noticed and touched Leigh’s left hand. She inhaled, sharply, but didn’t pull it away.
“I’m going to go smoke a cigarette,” he said, nodding ever-so-slightly at Jacob and Holly while pushing his chair back. “You want to come with me?”
Leigh glanced at her two friends and nodded, slightly, then pushed her chair back and stood up. “Sure,” she replied.
They walked around the side of the house and out the gate, where they stood in the shadow of a large oak tree, while rays of light from the streetlamps darted through the leaves. Neither of them said anything, at first. Bobby offered a cigarette to Leigh, who declined. He lit his and took a drag as the two of them shared a comfortable silence.
“What do you want to do with your life?” Leigh finally asked.
Bobby chuckled. “That’s one way to break the silence.”
Leigh smiled, waiting for an answer. Bobby shrugged. “I don’t know. The best answer I have is ‘live it.’ What do you want to do with yours?”
“I want to be a marine biologist,” she said, sure of herself. “And a dancer,” she said, softly.
“What was that last part?” Bobby asked.
“Marine biologist,” she said, after clearing her throat.
“Did you say stripper?” he joked.
She whacked his arm, playfully. “No. I didn’t say stripper, asshole. I said dancer.”
“What kind of dancer?”
“I want to dance for the Charlotte Hornets.”
Bobby smiled. “So let me get this straight. You want to be a marine biologist during the day…”
“And a cheerleader for the Charlotte Hornets at night?”
She nodded again.
“Cool,” he said as he took a drag from his Camel.
She squinted at him, skeptically.
“No jokes about cheerleaders?”
He shook his head.
“No opinion on how 'dumb' it sounds or how I can’t do both?”
Bobby laughed and shook his head like she was crazy. She shook her head and grinned in disbelief. He shrugged.
“It’s your life, Leigh.”
She smiled, then felt goosebumps raising on her arms and rubbed them with a shiver. Bobby inhaled, deeply, then exhaled unevenly and turned his head towards her face. She felt him looking, but couldn’t return his gaze. He smiled and nodded, then looked up at the ancient tree.
“I can totally see you waking up in some little house by the beach, hopping on a moped with a backpack full of gear and riding down to the ocean for a few hours before cleaning up and heading to the arena. Maybe that’s your destiny. Go for it.”
Leigh smiled and looked at him. He turned, slightly, and met her eyes. They smiled and moved closer together. The door opened. Leigh’s friend Amanda stuck her head out and yelled.
“Leigh? Are you out there?”
Leigh sighed and turned. “Yep,” she said, flatly.
“Are you ready to go?”
Leigh looked up into Bobby’s eyes. They stared at each other for several seconds before she exhaled, smiled, and nodded. “I guess so.”
“I’ll see you in school,” Bobby said.
Leigh grinned and walked towards the door as Bobby watched her, an excited smile on his face.
It was the last time she would ever see Bobby. He was killed that night by a 40 year old drunk driver while walking home from the party. He was buried a few days later, with Leigh in attendance. She would never cry harder in her life than she did when his coffin was lowered into the ground.