In the 12th week of our series we pick up at chapter 19: “Highs & Lows Off the 111”.
If you’re just coming across this series, you can catch up from the beginning HERE.
From the trilogy
Somewhere Between This & That: An Absurd Journey
THE MAKING OF A NATURAL DISASTER
This is a work of fiction. Although it is written in the form of an autobiography, it is not one. Clearly, no reasonable person would ever consider this absurd story to be true. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used in a fictitious manner. With the exception of public figures and those with reputations of public renown, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Full of salty language – This is intended for mature audiences.
Highs & Lows Off the 111
THE MOVE TO Palm Springs brought with it the third school of my eighth-grade year, another Christian school. A little larger than the last, it had dreadful uniforms, but better teachers. Mrs. C was far from a judgmental waif and tremendously fair. There was only one pain in my ass at that school and she insisted on fucking with me daily. If Mrs. C stepped out of class, she was in my face. I knew I could beat her ass, but I’d have a beating waiting for me at home if I got caught fighting again. I’d eventually have my vengeance but at a much later date.
Easily my favorite memory of our first moving to Palm Springs was being allowed to see Billy Idol on his Rebel Yell tour with my mom’s friend, Angie. Angie’s boyfriend was working on the crew and hadn’t only scored us tickets, but backstage passes.
I made my mad dash for the stage when they flung the doors open to this general admission show. I spent the concert being smashed up against the slanted barricade by the ravenous crowd behind me. It was sweltering and difficult to breathe at times. Fans were soon dropping like flies. Security started dousing the crowd with water and pulling passed out concert goers over the barricade to safety. Some were even asking to be pulled out for fear of passing out and being trampled. Occasionally, one of these amateurs would get passed over my head and nearly pull me out with them, but I fought to keep my prime real estate, right in front of Steve Stevens.
By the time the show ended, my entire body was sore and every inch of me was drenched. My shirt was ripped and my voice was almost completely shot. It was totally awesome. Exhausted and exhilarated, we made our way backstage. The first person I got to meet was keyboard player, Judi Dozier. She was beautiful and badass.
I took a seat and waited patiently until I saw Billy Idol and Steve Stevens finally emerged from one of the backstage doors. We slowly approached and Angie made the introduction.
“Billy, this is my friend, Harmonie. She’d love to have your autograph, and a kiss.”
How embarrassing. I felt my face turn beat red, but I quickly puckered up to received my smooch. No, there was no tongue, that would’ve been weird.
Weird and more volatile would best describe the atmosphere around the house in Palm Springs. Extreme highs and loud, violent lows. A dreadful day usually started with a seemingly minor comment turning into the hurling of insults. This would be followed by an hours-long laundry list of all the fucked-up things they’d done to each other. I’d retreat to my room to listen to music, but turning up my stereo to drown them out would merely get my door kicked in. There was no escaping the fray.
One day, I could hear things becoming physical. Shoving, thumps, some glass breaking, a slap.
“Stop. Get off me mother fucker.” I could hear the struggle in my mom’s voice.
I heard a guttural scream, then more slapping, so I slipped out of my room and down the hallway to get a peek. Just passed the overturned coffee table was my mother on the couch with Smoke trying to choke the life out of her again.
“This mother fucker”, I said under my breath.
I’d long ago learned that calling the police was out of the question, but I knew I had to make him stop before he killed her. I went to their bedroom and got the revolver. I was crying, sweaty, and shaking as I heard the assault continue. I cocked the gun and slipped back down the hallway.
He was still towering over her on the couch with his hands around her throat. With now steady hands, I raised the gun, and pointed it at his back, ready to end this bullshit right now. I held my breath as I put my finger on the trigger, but Mom’s eyes quickly caught mine and we began a brief, silent conversation. Her eyes widened and her expression turned to a new level of panic and terror. She managed just the slightest, micro-nod of her head to tell me no. I hesitated, but then exhaled and lowered the gun. I shook my head in disgust and watched briefly as she found her fourth wind and started fighting him off.
I went to put the gun back in the nightstand, but I didn’t know how to get it uncocked. I finally just gave up and quickly left the cocked revolver in the drawer. I slipped back into my room and softly shut the door. Much to my dismay, I could hear them talking about it later.
“Oh yeah, well you almost got your stupid mother fucking head blown off today.”
Great. Way to sell me out, Mom. There was a knock on my door a short time later and I knew it was him. I didn’t answer, but he just walked in. I pretended to be taking a nap as he called my name. He called it again, but I just laid there, trying not to move a muscle. I heard the distinct sound of the revolver being uncocked and it was chilling. My heart felt like it was about to pound out of my chest as I finally heard my bedroom door close. I didn’t come out of my room until the next morning and no one spoke a word of the previous day’s events.
The absurd journey continues in chapter 20: “Summer in the Harbor”.
If you don’t want to wait, you can purchase the paperback or eBook HERE
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