Devil’s Den

[Originally written between 10.13 and 10.14 in 2004]

When I left the apartment in the late afternoon, listening to rockabilly tunes on high volume, I took the time to soak in the beauty of this Autumn season and noticed the colors of the trees have started to change.  Brilliant hues of orange, yellow and red were all around me, a striking contrast to the clear blue sky.  It was one of those days that you dream of and want to live every second of to its fullest, because you don’t know when the next will come.  Stopped briefly to purchase a bottle of whiskey and fuel up the car, then got on the highway with a smile on my face.   Arrived at my destination, leather jacket in hand, as it has finally gotten to be that perfect weather to proudly display this garment of dead cow hide that I oddly adore.

Jon was seated on the trunk of his Chevy, joint in one hand and silver flask in the other, a crooked smile twitching on his lips when I strolled up.  This is a scene that has been repeated many times in the past, but today happened to be the old man’s birthday and that meant it was an occasion to celebrate.  We went into the local Halloween store to see if we could find anything useful for appropriate partying later that evening, though became distracted by the large selection of atrocious costumes.  Of course someone could not keep himself from making loud comments poking fun at them, but I also encouraged him with comedic sidekick remarks.  It seems “gothic” and “vampire” are trendy, especially if one doesn’t mind showing off a lot of flesh and being labeled “hot” or “sexy”.

Severely disappointed at the lack of gore and horror that was once associated with this grand holiday.  Nothing was purchased when we left the store, but someone may have helped themselves to makeup for creating unholy creatures.  Honestly, I do not see the point of spending money on an over-priced flimsy garment that is only good once a year.  In fact, Jon and I will once again be spending tedious hours on perfecting grotesque visages with which to haunt the Pine Barrens and scare hordes of people that flock there for our annual Halloween themed sideshow shennanigans.

Moving along, we stopped off at a diner to feed our growling stomachs.  It was one of those places with vinyl booths and jukeboxes that still accepted coins, which Jon happily jammed into the slot to sort out a playlist.  He managed to slip whiskey into our sodas while the waitress was busy taking our order and swooning over his accent.  Though he does have that inherent flirtatiousness about him, I know it is something he does because people amuse him.  As the table was piled with food, we were engrossed in drunken conversation and she was just another rube to add to his list.

Satisfied with the meal, Jon drove us out to Newark where we hopped on the PATH and got off in Pavonia.  En route we had a rather loud disscussion about killing babies, digging holes and other such gruesome things.  Which might have been attributed to the substance that we consumed in the Chevy prior to boarding public transportation.  That one guy looked pretty disgusted, so Jon smiled at him when we departed the train and he seemed kind of disturbed.

It has been quite a while since we had visited that area, and I was instantly flooded with memories of sitting by the Hudson, staring off at Lady Liberty while snuggled up with my boy.  Having him there by my side, casually holding my hand, it was a happy moment.  Nothing else matters when I am with him, and I enjoy that the two of us can be together without needing to say anything.  The walk was quite refreshing and I like being away from traffic, noise and people.

At some point we stop to get something to drink inside a random convenience store.  While browsing the aisles I had an encounter with a very curious employee.  Let me state here that I do not mind when people randomly decide to walk up to me and ask me questions – I encourage it in fact, because I prefer that people take the time to educate themselves rather than just ignorantly stare.  Besides, I find interacting with the public highly entertaining.

The conversation began with the standard question of “How many piercings do you have?” and the subsequent surprised expression upon answering was priceless.

The rest went a little something like this:

Employee: So do you have them…[gestures to body]…everywhere?
Me: Nope. *smile* What you see is what you get.
Employee: [gesturing to lips] Do you have any problems kissing?
Me: Not at all. My boyfriend doesn’t mind either.

This is about the time Jon came into the aisle and when he saw me talking to the employee, his arm found its way around my shoulders.

Employee: Oh…so he has them too?
Jon: *smiling* Yup.
Employee: And do you have them…[gestures south of the border]
Jon: Yea, you want to see? [laughs loudly]
Employee: No…*shocked* Wow…that’s crazy.

The dude was pretty nice and honestly just really curious, plus neither Jon or I mind being open about ourselves when it comes to discussing such information with complete strangers.    The encounter was the source of much laughter as we rode the PATH back to Newark.  When we climbed into the Chevy again, I was pretty satisfied with how the day had been going, but there were many plans that had yet come into being.

Arriving at his place, we both walked into an unexpected mass of people and decorations – shouts of “Happy Birthday” were mingled with noise-makers and streamers popping out of plastic bottles.  Jon was completely stunned but I could see that he was also overwhelmed with happiness.  Everyone appeared as though they had literally come off a train or just hitched in, yet their tanned, dirty faces were all smiling.  Moments later the alcoholic beverages were making rounds in plastic red cups and everyone was hanging out on the beach.  It turns out that an old friend of ours had arranged the whole thing – he had come all the way from Hawaii and helped gather the guests as he traveled across country.  Obviously Jon appreciated the gesture and it was really nice to have a little piece of the Family back together for just a moment.

Many hours later, we are all in the woods and I feel as though I am set on auto-pilot, because I can see and hear the things around me but it seems like a dream.  When Jon puts his hands on my shoulder, I suddenly become grounded and my focus is sharper than ever.  He is wearing the Daredevil outfit and I think he looks smashing so don’t even question why.  Our lips meet and I spend more time wondering what that taste is rather than enjoying the passion behind the kiss.  Then he disappears into a helmet.

Everyone is cheering as he reappears on the platform below, hand held triumphantly in the air.  Today is Jon’s birthday, and he is going to ride the Wall of Death.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I want to stop him, but instead I smile and join the chorus of cheers as the motorcycle’s engine echoes into the dark woods.  Our friend is standing beside me, a gentle arm around my waist as he tells me that he is so happy to be there with us.  There is so much energy flowing that the atmosphere even feels intense and my face is starting to ache from the smile.

When he completes the entire repitoire of stunts he knows, I find myself being embraced by Jon and our friend, the thunderous applause somewhat deafening as we celebrate with champagne and stumble back towards the Chevy.

The last thing I remember before falling asleep was being next to the one person I love most, and that was all I needed to know the wonderful things floating through my head were oh so very real.

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