but it’s late at night, I can’t sleep, and for some reason I’m thinking about my old pal Eric, who’s been dead now for 25 years. It’s weird when a friend, who happens to also be a peer, dies…especially when you’re young. Don’t get me wrong – it’s sad, and depressing – along with being weird – when someone your own age dies for whatever reason…as long as your own age happens to be anything under the age of, say, 65.
For example my friend Bob died recently, but he was 74, and full of cancer, and he’d been fighting it long before I knew him. So, his passing is sad, but not depressing, and certainly not weird.
But when my friend Pat killed himself about six months ago – a friend who graduated high school the same year I did, and was my age, well, then it was really sad and kinda weird.
But when you’re, say, 17, and you find out a friend died, it really fucks with your head.
We used to spy on Eric’s mom whenever she took a bath. Not the best thing in the world to admit, especially when you’re talking about a dead guy’s mom, but we did it. The whole neighborhood. My dad built homes back then; in fact, he built the whole neighborhood, and we lived there too. There were eight homes total, and with the exception of one, there were kids in every house, so everyone knew everyone.
In fact, when Eric moved to Phoenix from So Cal, I was the first kid he met, and we became fast friends. We both rode skateboards everywhere, we used to stay out of the hot summer sun and watch game shows on TV, and we both thought Led Zeppelin #2 was, perhaps, the greatest record ever made. (Remember, this was in 8th grade).
Eric lived across the street from me, and this kid Paul lived next to Eric, and we used to play hoops at Paul’s, and one day the basketball bounced over the fence and into Eric’s backyard. I hopped the fence to get it, and there she was, in her full naked splendor, nothing over the windows. I don’t think she ever cared about putting blinds over her bathroom windows, ever, and with my discovery that part of Eric’s backyard turned into An Event almost every night.
We just made sure Eric wasn’t around. Then, we’d sit along the lean against the fence, peering over the fence, while she sat in the tub, sipping wine, or reading, or both. We were maybe ten feet away, and she’d always have this dim light on, and nothing else, and it was simply amazing. There would be anywhere from three to eight of us, and we’d stare at her, deadly silent and intense, from the time she got in that tub till the time she stepped out.
I know once the show was over I went home and beat off like a monkey at the zoo, and I’m sure everyone else did, too, but no one would ever admit to such a thing back then, cause beating off was for fags.
Once, when a bunch of us were coming home from a Cars concert, Darren turned to me as said, “Let’s go spy on Mrs. Cuthbert.”
I was driving my father’s Pontiac convertible, and it’s so huge like 8 of us could fit comfortable in it, and Eric was in the back seat making out with his girlfriend, but I think he heard.
I still have that car, and even the ticket stub to that show, cause I kept all the ticket stubs to all the shows I’ve ever gone to…well, at least the ones where a ticket was issued, and I got to keep the stub.
Eric died a couple years later, on his way to Saguaro Lake, in the back of a jeep. Chris, the kid who was driving, was fucked up, as they all were…all four of them – Eric included – making their way to the lake to party that day. But the old CJ Jeeps had that super narrow wheel base, and something happened, and there was an over-correction, and the jeep flipped, and Eric died on the side of the road; everyone else lived.
I have no idea why I’m thinking about Eric now, 25 years later; however, I have a pretty good idea why I can’t sleep. And just to keep this from being completely depressing, here’s Chelci, who I shot in a tub, which kinda reminded me of the story I just told you, only Eric’s mom was hotter.