This wasn’t the first time I met Lacey. Last time, I met her briefly as Andrew whisked her away under his arm. Somehow, though, after everything that had happened that night—getting tanked, breaking into a sex shop and stealing a bondage belt and selling it for $5, breaking into a car and stealing the stereo but tossing it into a dumpster, verbally assaulting the cop standing outside the show all because of the frightful phone call I got where these two strange guys said they were the police and they were going to rape my girlfriend, and finally, getting jumped by those two guys, getting ignored by the same cop as I laid there bleeding out of my ears, nose, and mouth, getting up and lumbering on the train, going home, and thrusting a knife through all four tires of Samantha’s car, because she was the one who had set me up, that cunt!, and then plopping on the curb and crying myself into a red-eyed prune———after it all, I woke up with someone else’s cellphone in my pocket. I received a phone call on my landline from Samantha checking if I was okay and she said when she called my cellphone, someone named Lacey picked up. So, after Samantha’s mom drove her over to my house to pick up her car with its four flattened tires, and I sat in the backyard crying and feeling rather foolish, I hopped on the train to Fenway and exchanged cellphones with Lacey.
No one would have foreseen her being my next girlfriend. In fact, she said she would never in a million years hook up with me because I was a scumbag.
The next time I saw her was a month later, when Lethal Erection played for a rowdy crowd at the Midway Café. I spotted her first and she was staring adoringly at Andrew as he plucked & thrummed his weapon of mass destruction. Song after song flew past the night like a radioactive hawk.
We rode the waves of heavy Punk rock riffs and knockout drumbeats and of course the lyrics meant something a little more than dribble.
When we were all done, Andrew and I hopped down from the stage and she ran over and greeted Andrew first and then me. When she heard we were playing, she just had to see. I went over to the bar and ordered myself a drink. Over by the door was Fishface talking to a bouncer—we called her Fishface because, well, her face looked like a fish. She was the usual girl to take our money before we entered the venue. The crowd was pouring onto the street. Laughing and talking. The air was filled with the buzzing static of happy Punk rock chatter. I drank my drink while Andrew and Lacey spoke somewhere behind me, then the three of us left and passed through the mob of smiling derelicts. The bar would be closing soon and we had to find an alternate refuge. It was Saturday night in the city.
We drank all night, from bar to bar, alleyway to alleyway, streetcorner to streetcorner, passing bums and winos, hookers and addicts, talking to the riffraff skaters and goths, mingling with gutter pirates and the other street Punks we’d find, seeing college boys stumble and stagger, swaggering college girls throwing up over the curb, latching onto the boys with their pumps and their cleavage.
The night was raw and on fire; we found our adventure and we lived it.
At 2AM we went to crash at Lacey’s college dorm. She went to Emanuel College, right around the corner from the Fenway train station. We had to wait till 2AM because we wouldn’t be able to get past the RAs sitting downstairs if we had gotten there early. The RAs were off duty at 2AM.
We stormed the elevator raucously and you could have heard the laughter traveling through the shaft all the way to the roof and if you heard it, you better fuckin move, because we were belligerent, too. The doors slid open on her floor and we whisked on through and I rapped my knuckles on all the doors leading to her room. Lacey told me to stop and Andrew had reached the epoch of mania as he laughed and egged me on. Andrew had to pee so we barreled drunkenly into the coed bathroom. I climbed on to the top of a stall and sat on the half wall and began chucking toilet paper at Andrew. At this point Lacey had given up all restraint because she knew there was no point in trying to stop what we were doing and she started laughing too. A girl moseyed out of the shower with a towel wrapped around her and when she saw the riotous commotion she ducked back into the stall and I laughed so hard I nearly fell down from my perch. We left the bathroom and the hysterical buzz was vibrant and we defied every rule there was. Back at Lacey’s dorm I tried on Lacey’s clothing. I was skinny as a snake and I fit right into her fishnet stalkings and skirt and I sat at the windowsill smoking cigarettes as the two of them made out on the bed. I climbed onto the bed to join them but Lacey cringed and put a hand up to block my advances and Andrew was laughing so hard the bed was shaking. I climbed up onto the top bunk and found a wrapped present and asked Lacey if this was hers; she told me it was her roommate’s and I should not open it. I told her it was too late. I had already opened it. It was a book about nature. I grimaced and chucked it on the floor.
Andrew and Lacey screwed on the bed as I searched her room for some food. I couldn’t find any.
In the morning I woke up covered in lipstick. Lacey told us we had to smoke outside. She wasn’t drunk anymore, so now she was laying down the law. When we came back from our smoke, she was so mad at us and we couldn’t figure out why. She kicked us out immediately and the streets were cold and windy and we waited outside the nearest liquor store for it to open.
* * *
At some point during the night, since Lacey and I lived so close to each other, we exchanged phone numbers. I can’t remember who called who first but for the next three weeks we hung out every day.
One night we were riding the train home and by the door was an older Punk rocker with spikes and leather and dyed hair. We sparked up a conversation with him and he invited us to his place to smoke weed and drink more. This was probably the coldest night that winter, and we were on the last train already, I explained. He said it was fine, we can crash at his place. I looked at Lacey and she nodded in approval and we got off somewhere in Allston. The cold air was brutal. We stayed tucked close together as we lumbered after the older Punk rocker. Steam wafted from our mouths. Our boots left prints on the sidewalk. We were shivering. When we got there, he opened the door and the two of us rushed inside to escape the cold. We sat on the couch and it was just us two and this older Punk rocker we didn’t know. He went into the next room to get the weed and then he came back and said his girlfriend called, we had to get going. But what are we supposed to do? I looked at Lacey and she looked at me and shrugged. I looked at the older Punker rocker and he said sorry, dude. But you guys can’t be here right now.
We were back in the cold. There were no trains anymore. Our ears and finger were so numb they stung. With our hands tucked deep in our pockets, we trudged back to the train, but really we had nowhere we could go. We’d probably die out here, when Lacey pointed and said look! Someone had left their backdoor ajar, and almost on cue we hustled across the backyard and we didn’t take any chances as we dashed through the door, closing it softly behind us. We were in the basement and it was dark and cold—but not as cold as outside—and smelt of mildew and mold and there were spiderwebs hung from corners with nasty-looking spiders waiting for their chance to strike. We sat on the cold concrete floor and pressed our backs to the wall behind us. We each had a flannel shirt tied to our waists and we used them as blankets as we shook. The radiator was down there and all we could hear was a buzz and a rustle and a scrape as it shot hot air into the house above us. At some point we heard screaming come from upstairs—a domestic dispute. We sat down there and chain-smoked, trying to make out what the fight was all about. We were so cold we held each other tight to keep warm; then started making out.
Every day for the past three weeks we hung out—now, Lacey asked me to be her boyfriend and I said I would….