Tops Never Stops

Before we discovered the gloriousness that is Wegmans we frequented Tops. It has been well noted already that during the Princeton Era Mike and I made at least a daily trek to Tops since it was so close. Another beacon to the hospital white walls of Tops was Matt’s long-time employ at Tops on Delaware.

Matt was one of the first employees to this branch of the Tops franchise. He had an interview in the trailer on the lot while the building was still being constructed. Some relative of Matt was involved so it was an easy position to acquire, not that cart-boy is an excessively hard job to get. Matt started work in Spring. His plan was to work until the first day of snow, and then quit. “Matt doesn’t work in the snow” was his mantra.

Months later the Matt was pushing carts when he was called into the office. The Tops lords had vision enough to see that Matt was more than a cart-boy. He was immediately reassigned to an inside position in the Butcher’s Block. At the close of his shift that day Matt stepped outside and gazed up into the sky. The first snowflakes of the season gently fell upon his brow. The gods had smiled upon our hero. He was not longer a cart boy. But you must pay the gods a price; Matt was still employed at Tops, or in an indirect way Ahol (the parent, and appropriately named, company of Tops).

Speaking of Ahol, the scuttlebutt is that the local mafia allowed Ahol to purchase Tops as long as they maintained control of the Tops Union. This is all hearsay, so if I wake up with the horse head in my dead tomorrow you will know the arm of the Buffalo mafia extends to the West Coast.

On our way to Comstock to waste time, we took great joy in visiting Matt during his work hours. This was particularly true when he was a lowly cart boy. On one of the rare occasions we had Sean with us we made such a trip for supplies. Sean was known for his fearless driving and his habit of stopping at Noco to “fill er up” with whatever change he had in his pocket. I was once a first-hand witness to his purchase of 32 cents worth of fuel. Today that is not enough for them to let you lift the nozzle.

We spoke to Matt on the way into Tops. He had just spent a considerable amount of time in the classic “stack a fuck-load of carts together from all across the parking lot” so he could push them all back at once. His cart-stack lot was near the Tops entrance, and when we returned from purchase of our supplies (Mountain Dew, pretzels, frozen burritos, etc.) we found Matt no where to be found. As we left Sean took the opportunity to drive his car into the cart-stack Matt had painstakingly constructed. He pushed the cart-stack to the far corner of the parking lot. At first he drove at a slow pack, until we saw Matt running at us, at which time Sean sped up. The exceedingly heavy cart-stack was left in the farthest corner. We sped of laughing. At least we gave Matt something to do for the last hour of his shift.

Once inside, Matt quickly rose to the rank of 95% Butcher. What is 95% Butcher? After a year of working primarily in the Butcher’s Block Matt observed that the only difference between an official Butcher and an experienced meat man, like himself, was knowing how to properly cut 5 specific meats. As there 5 meats are expensive, they did not let anyone slice them, nor were they purchased frequently enough for Matt to get enough practice. We all spurred him on to complete his training and have a viable skill. Eventually Matt was able to get in enough practice in two of these elusive meats, so he settled at 97% Butcher. As I conclude this section it strikes me that this post will burn a few of Matt’s bridges.

Matt was a valuable Tops associate for nearly seven years. He quit before hitting the seven year point because that would be when a part-time associate would be granted a 401k. While the rest of us saw this as an obvious fruit to grab, Matt saw this as a sign he had been defeated by the preverbal Man.

Continuing this HR showcase of Tops benefits we come to the period when Tops began selling Tops branded apparel. Tops management required employees to wear this apparel initially, no doubt to spur on the awaiting masses who couldn’t possibly hold back from spending thousands on Tops sweatshirts. The slap in the face was that associates were required to pay for these required textiles. What a joke.

Tops exposed us to several characters, and once again showcased the intelligence of the average person. The most memorable example of this was when Matt related some story of some random activity of our crew. “What does phallic mean?” interjected one of typical Tops zombies. Matt was befuddled that he did not know what phallic was? He now had is shift project. He left the blob with no better knowledge and spent the rest of him shift polling all his co-workers as the meaning of phallic. To his astonishment one one other employee knew the word. During his polling he even received commentary that phallic was not a common word many people would know. Matt left his shift to relate this happenstance to the rest of us. Until this incident we did not know it was possible to NOT know what phallic meant.

Matt mined a number of girlfriends out of seven year stint. I recall one who became a vegetarian because she was fat. Success! She lost weight. Unfortunately she was still not satisfied, so she pushed the envelope even more, and became vegan. This relationship did not last long.

Matt also met the same girl that absconded with Matt and James in the infamous “I’ll never set foot in a gay bar” story that was the first post on this blog.

An experienced Matt sat in the Tops atrium enjoying his mandatory earned break. A frantic woman ran up, “There is a used condom over there!” “Really? Where?” The woman took Matt half-way across the parking lot to what was absolutely confirmed as a under condom, still filled with a “rush of excess fluids.”

Matt concluded his inspection and headed back, but to the dismay of the woman, he did not return with any cleaning equipment. Matt, instead, plopped himself back on the atrium bench. “Aren’t you going to clean that us?” she explained. “Lady, I’m on my break.”

The bulk of Matt’s time at Tops had him stationed in the Butcher’s Block, or as we more affectionately referred to it – the Meat department. Matt divulged two secrets of the Meat department. One; they kept a small Igloo cooler ready to go at someone, ironically usually one of the professional butchers, cut off a finger and was rushed to the hospital, finger piece encased in the Igloo cooler, to have it sewn back on. The success rate was quite high. Two; the Meat department kept an open bowl into which they threw any scraps, be they on the floor or wherever, into this bowl. When the bowl was full, then they ground up the scraps and sold it under the label of “meat”. Funnily enough, years before, during the Goodyear era, I had spied one of these and bought it for the label humor.

Matt enjoyed a time where he was double employed. His second job, the more prestigious one, was the all powerful Mighty Taco on Sheridan and NFB. Mighty Taco gives you a week to study the menu before taking a test. You have to know all menu items, and their component’s with amounts from memory. Matt passed and became a Mighty Taco employee. We gave him a goal of finding out what the beef was, as he felt Mighty Taco was superior to Taco Bell in every aspect, except the beef. Since this was sacrilege we was to solve the mystery now that he had access.

Matt soon grew to dislike the manager. She ruled with an iron fist, holding weekly meetings that Matt was 2 minutes late for once. She fired him for this. Matt suspects that he was really fired because he was telling the other employees how the manager had terrible skills, and was a bitch to boot. He did not notice until too late that she was in the building, and overheard, walking in on his conversation just at the end of Matt’s tirade. He never solved the “Riddle of Beef.”

Like the recent rash of professional athletes that pretend to retire, Matt too had an encore tour at Tops. I made a visit to him once during this tour. He was working the night shift stocking the frozen foods isles. Like the athlete that plays one more season when he should have walked away, it was sad to see Matt, the once lord of part-time associates, reduced to a zero visibility position.

Another of our crowd spent some time employed at Tops, Chester. He gleefully gave us reports as to his rapid rise to the “Express Lane”, giving us tips as to how he became one of these best of the best. He switched sides from making bewildered fun of the Tops cashiers who wore rubber thimbles to wearing one himself.

Having been a Tops associate for such a long time, Matt was well versed with the employee handbook. There was a statute of limitations on anything you did of five years. The exact day the limit was us, he spilled the beans of what he had done to his co-worked in the back of the store, as he was leaving for his shift. It took Matt 2 minutes to walk our the front of the store, and by then the news had traveled faster than his ironically unmeaty legs could carry him. An example of just how efficient the Tops grapevine is.

What was Matt’s hidden crime? Back when he was still a cart-boy he abandoned his post, walked across the street, and saw a movie at the old Super Saver Cinema. When the movie was over he walked back across the street and took his break.

Saving You More?


Monopoly Madison

This is the story of how the original Madison award was stolen.

I do not remember which year it was stolen, but it was Matt who stole it all on his own. His idea was to send ransom notes to Dan, which he did at least once. The first note he demanded $50,000 in cash to be placed in a bag and left in the trash can outside the Amherst Theater on a Friday night. Dan, Brian, and Jeff filled a bag with Monopoly money and had muscle-bound Jeff deliver the bag. They staked out the garbage can all night, but no one appeared. Matt has picked a night and had no intention of showing up.

The rest of the plan was to have the Madison award escape his captors and travel around the world, sending pictures of itself in various places. Matt knew Chet was going to Russia that year so he would pass the Madison to him to take a picture. He would continue to pass the Madison to others who travelled that year, only to have the Madison re-appear the next year at the ceremony.

When Dan first discovered the Madison was stolen, the next day, he barged into my place unannounced and began questioning me. Dan was convinced Chet was the culprit, and when later confronted he put forth no denial. Dan’s top suspect was still Matt, but he seemed uncharacteristically willing to take Matt’s word for it, that he was not involved.

Matt’s plan for the tour of the Madison award was proceeding beautifully. Matt was dating some woman, who’s name I forget, so let’s just call her Gertrude. He left it over at Gertrude’s place so Dan would never find it. Before Matt could pass the Madison over to Chet for it’s trip to Russia, Matt broke up with Gertrude. The next Madison’s rolled around, but Gertrude was still allergic to Matt’s presence, even for an opportunity to throw the golden VHS tape at his head, as if he were scum of the Earth. Gertrude worked for CIT at UB, and was know by Chet, so he was able to retrieve the Madison from Gertrude.

His master plan dissolved, Matt was stuck dumbfound when the next Madisons showcase arrived and nothing was said. By now the Madison theft was all but forgotten and the Madison Academy scrounged together another VHS tape (this was the real difficulty), a can of gold spray paint, and a styrofoam base. A brief mention of the stolen Madison, and a threat to the SOB who stole it was enthusiastic and brief.

By the time the following Madisons rolled around, two years after the theft, Chet had retrieved the original Madison from Gertrude, and it was returned by Matt at the show. A mock beating on stage was given when he produced it form beneath his trench coat upon presenting his award. Dan and Brian mock beat him and ushered him off stage. Myself and a few others rushed into the side room expectant to see a mob berating Matt, but all we found was a calm clotch of friends sharing a smoke. Too much time had passed for their to be any lingering anger.

The original Madison back in place the replacement was returned, to live out it’s days, now useless, on Dan’s book shelf.

Wolf and I

Now that we have 100 stories out there, our readers will have a pretty good picture of the setting of Comstock. It is time we delve a little deeper into one of the key relationships around Comstock, not to mention I am saddened that my name has not been more prominent in the recent posts.

As is obvious by the title, this post centers around the evolving relation between Wolf and myself, one of the lynch pins of the whole Comstock experience. I am going to take you through the story of our relation (God! Have I said “relationship” enough already! As Mooney would say, “We are not Gay!” :)) from start to finish.

The first time I met Wolf was when I visited St. Joe’s to join Louis in the “War Gamer’s Society”, a society not a club – club’s do insufficient damage. Unbeknownst to me I would here meet a number of future hooligan associates include, Wolf, Knaus, Schultz, Burns, and JP. I am not good with names-to-faces; it takes me a few meetings to match them up, so much to their future anger I thought Mooney, Wolf, and some guy named “Booger” were the same person. In my defense, on each of my visits only one of this trio would appear each time. There is nothing else memorable about this first meeting with Wolf, mostly due to not knowing who he really was, and since I had just been introduced to so many of Louis’s school comrades I selectively choose to ignore some. As there was nothing particular of note with Wolf I found no problem in placing him on the “ignore” list.

The next era was when I sophomore year when I moved into Goodyear. These dorms were setup to have two doubles with a shared bathroom. Wolf/Knaus in the nicer (carpeted, TV) room and JP/myself in the other. This is where my relationship with Wolf really began and grew with many stories that have already been described. Perhaps the most ritual interaction, besides the Thursday night drive with Knaus to stock up on GAB, was Saturday mornings. Wolf worked at Collector’s Inn, while I did nothing. He would arise early and want to bum use of my SUNY Cash Card to get cheese covered=waffle fries from the glorious Spot in the basement of Goodyear. I can’t say as I blame him as this was food for a god. Many visitors came just for this delicate masterpiece. The Saturday conversation unfolded like this:

(in a Knaus like funk, as I was sleeping) “What!”
“You going to Spot?”
*loud sigh* “Yeah”

I would inevitably arise and would quickly turn gleeful as we approached the beloved waffle fries. To his credit, Wolf knew this would be the case, hence his lack of restraint when awaking me, though he always did it from the other side of a closed door.

Our third act of the Wolf/Thies combo was Comstock. Here there is not much to say as most of this blog is centered around the many hijinks this commode-like habitat festered.

Our relationship blossomed mostly around the common enemy of Thirty Puddles (named so for his bed wetting, not his spilling of drinks). It was during this era I enjoyed

letting the cat horde assault Wolf’s beloved xmas tree, and learned of his Bills outlook. He was not interested in football, except Miami, except the Bills games. If the Bills won it was the greatest game ever, and if they lost, it was the worst game ever. Consequently each week born a new watershed. After two years of success, it was only logical to continue our roommate-ship. Which leads up to Princeton.

The first year was good, some of the stories have been told, but as the second year grew on our activities together grew to a minimum, other than whatever we could do to aggravate the other guy into going to bed so we could watch the TV. Wolf sat in the dark to “create a movie theater” atmosphere, and used his infernal breadmaker, whose crumb avalanche lead to the cockroach squashing incident foretold. I’m sure more tales can be posted about this time that I care to recant presently.

Our final act as roommates was to divide up “the tapes”. Since the time we entered Princeton we advanced our technology to include a VCR. We frantically began to record episode after episode of “Seinfeld” and “The Simpsons”. We had 10-12 volumes of each. Not only was the content of the volumes timeless hilarity, but the increasingly poor quality was a reminder of simpler times that were starting to erode away. Many nights have one or both of us fell asleep on the couch (often in a drunken stupor) with one of these modern art-worthy recordings playing all night – continuing to erode the tape without anyone to enjoy the antics archived upon.

We are now in the final chapter of the Wolf/Thies saga. After Wolf had entered the Air Force. It was only after we had stepped away from each other for some time, and had to deal with “real” jobs on our own that we both admitted that we had enjoyed that last year as roommates, instead of trying to annoy the other. Wolf offered up a final Comstock-ish proposal. Upon leaving the Air Force we began playing basketball with Chris, Chet, and myself on a weekly basis. He proclaimed his embarkment on a new journey, each step to be progressed to after the successful completion of the previous step.

1. stop drinking (achieved for a time with non-alcoholic beer)
2. lose weight (basketball helped a little, with #1 helping a lot)
3. stop smoking (he cut back for a period, but never quite got here)
4. regrow hair (untouched)

In summary, Wolf and I shared much laughter over the years, and provided the other with a minimal amount of aggravation. Even at the end of Princeton we were polite agitators.

From Booger to good friend Wolf served a purpose. Wouldn’t you like to have a Wolf too?

Tops Never Stops

Over the years of Goodyear, Comstock, and Princeton, there was one more-or-less constant presence. I speak of course of the Tops behind the Amherst Theater; it also happened to be in front of the Princeton Apartments and next to the backyard of one Rev. Mooney. It was an unfortunate distance from Comstock, and even when someone had a car Wilson Farms beckoned, but frequent trips to Dan’s house and the desire for any type of obscure food would dictate a “run” to Tops, the home of cheap food and many a sugar ration.

In the passing of years and acquisition of roughly 10,000 gallons of Mountain Dew, it was bound to happen that notable events would occur at Tops. Some of these have been previously told of, such as Dan shouting “In the BROWN!” somewhere around the checkout aisle, or some feeb’s naked run through the lot; others are lost to history. In fact, as I write this, I realize that very few of the Tops connected stories are related to the University Tops; nevertheless I shall tell these and move on to the rest of the story. No doubt the comments on this subject will be better than my telling.

One instance that Larry has never ceased to tell, and which I will relate here, is the time that for some reason I drove Larry to Tops. Why this occurred I cannot say, because it was nowhere even close to any of Larry’s stores; but I assume I was somehow returning from or headed to ODS in Williamsville. Either way, to hear Larry tell it, we were walking in “Aisle 9” when the following occurred:

“Larry… Stop.”
“What, dude?”
“Something bad just happened. We need to leave.”
“I just drew mud.”

This was followed by Larry nearly dying of laughter, and me trying to find a solution to my dilemma. Naturally there was no better alternative than to head over to Dan’s house, where Dan was not expecting us at all, but luckily was home and not naked. I demanded immediate entrance to his bathroom, and defiled it thoroughly. As some kind of brutal reminder of Comstock, there was no toilet paper and I had to call out for assistance from Dan (of all people). Apparently disoriented, Dan complied and I was not even forced to use sandpaper or some kind of paper towels (missed your chance there I guess). One side note here – Dan talks a big game about his crap eating films, but he is thoroughly disgusted by a description of bodily functions. I will spare our readers the details, but I reveled in telling Dan this tale and am somewhat hopeful that this memory will cause him discomfort.

Aside from diet-induced exploding intestines, the other story I know of related to the University Tops is that Chet worked there. This is not particularly interesting, except that it came up one day in a discussion of Chet’s economic philosophy. I made some sort of salary related comment, to which Chet responded:

Chet: “$50,000/yr should be enough for anybody.”
Louis: “That’s bullshit.”
Chet: “Bullshit? I had to work full shifts bagging groceries for $3.50/hour. That, sir, is bullshit!”

I should note that this was probably years after he worked at Tops, but who knows. This exchange might be meaningless but it stuck in my head so I am writing it down. Another random fact: when I worked at UB in the summer of 92, I walked from the chemistry building to Tops each day to get lunch. Lunch usually consisted of a sour cream donut, a chocolate chip muffin, and a 24 oz Mountain Dew.

Of course, Tops was also a welcome presence across the Buffalo area (this was in the days before their merger with bland corporate Giant Food, and also before Wegmans literally browned Tops into irrelevance). Many were the associations with Tops, not the least of which was that Schultz worked there. He worked at Tops for years, rising through various ranks to become associated with the meat department. This led to many hijinks and hilarity as it was common practice to go find out if Schultz was at work, and bother him in various ways during his break. It also introduced various unsavory Tops workers into our midst, since Matt would date them. In any case, I cannot order the events of Matt’s Tops career in chronological order, so I will simply spew them forth in a stream of consciousness fashion.

The first incident I recall was the time Sean B., Aaron, and I visited Matt while the poor unfortunate Schultz was on cart duty. It was a fairly cold, windy fall night and we taunted him as he slowly wandered the huge parking lot on Elmwood Avenue (next to Channel 4!) and stacked cart after cart for a long journey back. We decided without question that Schultz had to try harder to earn his scratch, so as he took one train of carts back to the store, Sean drove his station wagon (the one with wood paneling) over to a lone cart which was kind of close to the entrance.  We signaled Matt (to be sure he was watching) and then Sean skillfully drove the station wagon right behind the cart, pushing it slowly it first, and then faster, almost alarmingly fast, driving the cart from one end of the parking lot to the other end – in fact, a remote corner near the street. Matt’s expression of disgust was priceless. I think we did this or something like it more than once that night. For pure harassment value this had to rank slightly above asking Matt (or any other server at a Denny’s, IHOP, or Perkins) for a milkshake. (When you order a milkshake, they are required to clean the machine afterwards, and apparently it sucks.)

Another effect of Matt’s time at the Tops meat department was his sudden, but short-lived, “no red meat” diet. Matt declared one day that he was sick of “meat, meat, meat!” and that was it. There would be no more beef or pork for him; he was a chicken and fish man, that was it. I didn’t understand how that was possible given our frequent consumption of Mighty Taco and Burger King, but for a time he did stick to Bean Tacos and Chicken Sandwiches. Matt further explained that “working in the meat department is incredibly gory. One of our policies is that blood, bone, fat, and gristle are free. Last night, some lady asked for a bucket of blood. Why the hell would someone want a bucket of blood! I guess she was making some kind of vampire soup out of it. We had to practically milk the sides of beef to fill up this bucket with blood. Then you get the people who ask for the fat and you have to take all these goopy shavings of fat. It doesn’t make you want to eat red meat.” I guess it doesn’t. The question I had was, who asks for gristle? But it never was answered.

Tops was also the subject of idle speculation on living a life of crime. Schultz once revealed that the “cash room” had over $400,000 on a typical week day before the money was taken out of the store. Our theory was that no one would expect you to rob a grocery store, and this would be a lucrative way to rip off cash… certainly far better than bank robbery, and safer than knocking off an armored car. The difficulties in such a plot are twofold: One, the cash is largely in change and small bills; and secondly, the cash room is somewhat vault-like and located in a corner of the store with cameras. One could never hope to take on the Tops behemoth in a standard robbery, lest you end up like the fools who tried to rob the Wal-Mart in Amherst years later (at opening time no less – dumbasses). Thus was the plan of the EMP bandits born. The team attempting to rob Tops would use a large truck, like a full size pickup or van, and knock out all electronics with some type of EMP weapon. Then the truck would be used to haul the loot away, apparently after somehow also demolishing the wall. We never really planned that part. I’m sure it is for the best, since we also didn’t possess a portable EMP device or any means of laundering $400,000 in small bills.

Speaking of crime and Tops, one of my classmates at Canisius worked there as a stock boy. One day he was assigned to work security just before Thanksgiving. Sure enough, he watched a guy walk out with a turkey without paying for it. As he put it, “The guy just tucked it under his arm and marched out, as if he owned it!” Of course, the employee did nothing, because he was not getting paid enough to actually confront a shoplifter. This shows a flaw in Chet’s logic: he may have had to bag groceries, but what the hell, he didn’t owe his penny-pinching employer anything either for his meager take. Such is capitalism.

Eventually, the age of Tops faded. Matt ceased working there, became a UB employee, and eventually lost his hard-working, two-job ways in favor of railing against the man and being a “liver”. If only he had taken up the offer to become a butcher, he might have remained a productive citizen rather than having his mind corrupted in the highly-overrated university setting.  After the Princeton days, Tops became just another destination in the car, too inconvenient to attempt when Wilson Farms was always closer, and not good enough for Wegmans lovers such as MikeO. The Royal Ahold corporation sacked all of the corporate types (bet they were making more than $50,000) and moved operations out of state. Nowadays it is indistinguishable from other cookie-cutter grocery stores, although I hear they are going to try a comeback under new ownership. For most of us, it is now irrelevant, but I suppose Wolf may reap a slight benefit if they return to past glory.

Because this story, and particularly the ending, is so weak, I will relate one more tidbit of information. Every year he worked at Tops, Matt would proclaim his triumph; he survived the “annual purges” that occurred every year before the union contract required a 25 cent per hour pay hike. He managed to quit on his own terms after a long tenure. I guess even Schultz has his day.

And, unlike Tops, this post finally stops here.

Movin’ Out

No, this is not some allusion to the Billy Joel classic, although I have no doubt that he would sue the britches off me for utilizing it in such an uncouth manner. The title pertains only as the natural sequel to the Movin’ In story, and should the bug eyed musician beg to differ, I will be happy to change it to something innocuous and unrelated like “Anthony’s Song” or some other such nonsense. Be that as it may, allow me to bend your ear and sing you a song of decline and fall of the Comstock Empire and those who dwelt within.           

       By the spring of ’94, the driving impetus that ignited our passion for the house and neighborhood grew flaccid. The days when the old pile of shingles was a regional powerhouse of both parties and interesting characters had long since waned with the schism between us and the Frank clan. True, the general level of peace and prosperity had increased, as did my grades, but some of the magic was no longer there. In addition, we had run out of clever pranks to torture Jason with, making him nothing more than a nuisance rather than a source of amusement. It was clear something had to change, or we would soon find ourselves responsible adults, graduating from college and entering the tedious world of employment.  This simply could not be. I needed another year, maybe two, before contemplating such horrors as a salary, the concept of 9 to 5, and worst of all, big ticket purchases.           

       Knaus was the first to formally announce his intentions. Dismayed by the sale of his childhood bed right from the room it so long occupied, he decided to reestablish firm connection to the womb by moving as closely back to it as comfort and good taste would allow. While he was not replaceable in spirit, he certainly was financially and we contemplated advertising for a suitable substitute. The idea of living there without the constant fear of the ever growing army of cats was not at all unpleasant. The males had taken to spraying all corners of the dump creating a truly rancid and acrid environment. It was also my hope that he would take with him the hideous vacuum that sported a conniving, malicious face. Knaus has gone so far as to name the abomination, giving Herbie yet further animistic powers. Drunk and sadistic, he would threaten to leave it with us, and then cackle at my visible dismay.

       The second blow came with the announcement of Jason’s intention of not moving out. We had somehow assumed that our concentrated efforts to create an environment where he not only felt unwelcome, but terrified. Instead our heaping of attention upon him, negative though it was, somehow bolstered his self esteem to where he mirrored the little orphan boy he resembled, showing the stones to ask for more please. Intolerable! Furthermore, upon hearing of Knauses intentions, he both called dibs on the good room and made clear that he had someone who wanted to move in. Faced with the very real prospect of both sharing a floor with him and having someone who actually wanted to enjoy living space with him move in was more than we could handle.

       In the background, Aaron had been conducting secretive dealings with his long haired, basement dwelling computer geek friend Chet. Chet reportedly resided in a veritable Shangri-la in the prosperous town of Amherst where the superior people dwelt. The very revelation that such a swanky domain would allow the likes of Chet gave Aaron and I both hope that perhaps we as well would be welcome within the borders. After all, they also took Mooney. Though I had not yet seen this paradise, Aaron filled me with tales of wide open spaces, fresh air, basketball courts nearby, a close proximity to Tops, and pizza delivery places that would venture into the neighborhood for home delivery. I was naturally skeptical that such a place not only existed, but would be within the economic confines of our salaries, which perhaps had been raised but a thin dime per hour since hire to a round $4.00 even.

       We began to contemplate the audacity of the venture. Did we dare? The pot was soon sweetened by none other than Dan. As it had been so mentioned, Dan was in the possession of a large collection of rare eclectic videos as such to cause the owner of Mondo Video to pluck his beard in envy. The vast majority of these were crap, patently offensive to even the most hardened pornographers, or some mixture of both, although there were some glistening diamonds in the cesspool if one had to stomach to fish them out. Sure, gems like Liztomania and tapes of MTV Liquid Television were of some note, but I speak of course of Big Red. Aaron had seen a few episodes in one of his forays into Dan’s basement pre-Medicine hour days and the boycott that engendered, and had since rambled on incessantly about the virtues of Red Dwarf. It sounded insipid and puerile to me, even after looking up those words to see what they meant. In order to shut him up once and for all and as partial reparation for Sid and Nancy, as well as Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, I agreed one day to watch the bootleg tape.

       To say I was absolutely enthralled is a gross understatement! The show was brilliant, incorporating the very best of science fiction, absurd humor and no small amount of shtick. With near orgasmic pleasure we followed the adventures of a slacker spaceman, the hologram of his dead anal bunkmate, the ships computer, and a creature that by incredible coincidence evolved to human appearance from the cat the slacker snuck on board millions of years prior. Each episode was cleverer than the last, except of course for the Queeg episode which was most clever, thus putting a little blip in my tidy little order of things. I digress. The pot being sweetened was the proximity to Dan, now right around the corner, and his promise to grow and share his Red Dwarf library.  As if the decision to move was ever in question, this tipped the skycaps.

       We elected to keep secret the location to where we planned to move as to reduce the chance that Jason might follow out of convenience. As such we went about enjoying the spring and summer with full knowledge that we would soon be divested of Jason, the cats, and the presence of annoyance in our lives all together (ha!). Most memorable of those last days was one of the epic first trips down to Allentown to enjoy the art festival. Lured down by Knaus, who actually had a real interest in the art rather than just to watch the other freaks, we had a rollicking good afternoon. Clams on the half shell, Italian sausage with peppers and onion, beer at Porters, and a surprisingly accurate caricature of Aaron at a computer; it was all wondrous under a crystal blue sky. In Buffalo there is nothing like a good outdoor summer festival to marginalize the vigorous fisting the winters give its residents. The day bespoke of the coming glory of life outside the big brown shitbox the place had become.

       Not surprisingly, come early summer, Jason began enquiring in earnest as to where we planned to hang our hats. We gave him no response, choosing instead to leave him guessing as to whether we would stay or not. We had given Don, the landlord, plenty of advance notice, and I believe it was he who tipped off to Jason that he would be homeless come the end of July. As per usual, he sure didn’t appreeeeciate it one bit! Of course he made every attempt to find out where Aaron and I were going, and Paul as well, but to no avail. You can’t blame him; we had put up with him for two whole years, which was far longer than any other housemate of even area relative. He had really had it made eating our food, using our soap (and toothbrushes for all we know), mooching our toilet paper and laundry detergent, and slapping down increasing value (and decreasing worth) IOUs in lieu of payment for rent or utilities. The barbs and arrows flung his way did nothing toward devaluing the relative worth of these things. As far as we were concerned, he could piss blood one someone else’s toilet seat, or back alley dumpster for all we cared.

       Aaron and I set up an appointment with the good folk at the Princeton front office and got the grand tour of the joint. The model unit they had set up looked pretty sweet! As promised, the complex was technically in Amherst, did boast a basketball court only a block away, had a laundry facility just a short walk over, and was in the near proximity to a wonderful wooden fort style playground that promised endless hours of fun and play. Furthermore, we had Tops only 5 minutes and one treacherous climb away. We would beholden no more to the price gouging machination of the Guy clan and the sadistic cattle prodding of Moustache Guy. Stamps were sold at face value, and as for the produce, if you could see it, you could buy it. Chet and Dan were trumpeting the praises of the neighborhood as well, each being much invested in having the mountain come to Mohammed for a change.

       The last days were relatively uneventful, save for the final Dan birthday party that has been heretofore discussed from many points of view. Jason became more frequently absent, no doubt searching accommodations equal to this exalted level to which he’d become accustomed. In all honestly, I have no idea what really happened to him. I think one day he just wasn’t there anymore, and I never actually saw him again. His room was abandoned, leaving only dust, dirt, and the lingering odor of his person. He took with him, as no evidence of disposal existed, his moldy basement mattress, the garbage picked baseball cups, and the jar of old bacon grease I had hidden in his closet 2 years previous, which he had discovered and then returned to its new home. I had expected some kind of weepy goodbye, and was overjoyed to be spared such crocodile tears the situation would necessitate.

       The actual move out was somewhat better planned than the move in, although it posed its own challenges. Paul moved out the day previous, soliciting help from his father, me and Dave. His giant steel desk proved to be the biggest headache, primarily due it being slammed against my head twice in trying to maneuver it down the stairs. I elected to go the easy route, renting a U-haul to get everything done in one quick shot. I had hoped to split this with Aaron, but he neglected to get the day off and preferred to utilize the many small car trips method everyone so enjoys. He requested, however, that I take over the king size couch bed he had been given that was stored in the garage. I saw no harm in acquiescing given my enjoyment of the use of the large truck.

       The first error I made logistically was picking a weekday to move. While my father and Dave were able to accommodate, no one else was, leaving just the three of us on a scorching 95 degree day. The second error was agreeing to take Aaron’s couch without first taking a look at it, and more importantly, attempting to lift it. The thing was a beast; an anachronistic dinosaur left over from when they made the metal bed frames from wrought iron and the mattresses from some heavy dense DuPont concoction long since retired. Dave and I each grabbed an end to lift and carry up into the truck. “Uhhhhg! Holy fuck! Are you fucking kidding me with this?” Despite both of us being relatively fit, and the truck being but 30 feet away on flat surface, we had to put it down to rest no less than three times before the tortuous ascent up the ramp. I was gravely concerned as to how we were going to extract it later on, but chose to move forward in any case.

       Reaching our destination, already hot, sweaty and badly in need of rest, we concentrated on moving my weighty collection of books and comics up, deliberately ignoring the big pink elephant in the middle of the truck. Exhausted, but otherwise completely done but for the couch, we looked at each other with sad resolution. There was some serious consideration of simply returning the U-Haul with the couch left inside as a free albatross to the next renter, or simply leave it on the lawn for Aaron to move up, but I was determined to set things off in the right direction and expressed such. Heaving, straining, sweating and swearing, we attacked it with the red faced vigor of cheese eating old man on the toilet. To our credit, we made it half way up the stairs before becoming stuck. Naturally, a neighbor demanded exit, and we were forced to undo what little progress we made, and retreated with it back to the outside. Undaunted, we decided then to be smarter than the couch.

       It suddenly occurred to my father, and was then passed on to Dave and I, that whatever man had built, could be unbuilt, preferably on a temporary basis in this case. Right there on the lawn, we unfolded the bed, removed the cushions and mattress and took them up as independent entities. Through diligence and scraped knuckles, we undid all the connections that secured the bed frame to the couch. By itself, this metal leviathan was a challenge to maneuver up and threatened to unfold with every turn of stair, but we managed to fit it in the room. The couch frame, now considerably lighter, still posed an issue due to length. We were forced to move it upward in a completely vertical manner, and acknowledged it would have been impossible intact. When all was said and done, the majority of the effort had been that damn piece of crap. They say God looks out for drunks and fools, and that day we could add Aaron to the mix as he arrived with his first load of stuff not 15 minutes later, spared the agony of the feat.

       The final act was to meet with Don a week later for the final walk though to about the remote possibility of getting our deposit back. We were shocked and disheartened to see that he had already thrown away all the cat eaten furniture and was busily tearing the place apart for a major overhaul. Certainly didn’t bode well toward how he felt we kept the place up. Amazingly, he agreed to our refund in full! With one exception. Jason had neglected to come that day (as we didn’t know how to contact him anyway) and Don let loose his annoyance. “That boy has been trouble from the get go. Every damn month I came by to pick up the rent, and then came by a second time to pick up his. Sometimes even a third!” It was better than we could have hoped for; a windfall of unexpected cash and a final fuck you to old Thirsty Puddles. We walked out and never looked back.

       A brand new chapter of the college experience had begun with all the new excitement to be.  Nothing would ever surpass the Camelot that was Comstock in her glory, but it was time for men to continue childish things somewhere else now, free from the odiferous lurk of Jason and the cats. The golden age was over, and little did we know that a dark age was coming, when free from common threat, we would turn upon each other to satisfy our lusts to be irritable. That, however, is a tale for another day.

Princeton People

         As we have spent a good deal of time ripping on those unfortunate individuals who had the audacity to associate with us during the Comstock years, I feel it is time to do due diligence and fire some shots across the bow of those who didn’t come along until the Princeton days. I have chosen my phrasing carefully based on the passionate response received to one of Mooney’s more vitriolic entries. It behooves me therefore to state that any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, found herein is strictly coincidental. In addition, to all those who are inclined to be insulted, please either disregard this and any other such entry, or read with the understanding that both the authors and characters within are being portrayed in the worst light possible, and that any offensive personal descriptions have been grossly exaggerated for the sake of creating caricatures and thereby a slightly more interesting or humorous story. Or perhaps we are just mean, be that as it may.

        The two characters I have in mind for this entry are Jennifer Bondzio (known previously to most as ‘Jenn with the tongue’) and Chester Zeshonski, who I suppose was just known as Chet. While I managed to artfully link folks in previous entries of this nature, there will be none of that here, as these two had absolutely nothing in common aside from having the misfortune of knowing us, and perhaps never even met. In truth, I just don’t have enough material on either of them to drone on endlessly as I am wont to do. Citing the old rule of age before beauty, I’ll begin with Chet.

         I never really found out where Chet actually came from. I recall him showing up for the final Comstock party that served to celebrate Dan somehow surviving another year. I imagine there was some sort of computer connection with Aaron, further bonded by a love of fantasy role play. In any case, there he was, seemingly more normal then the usual class of miscreant who found us, so we let him in the door, unlike drooling friends of Dan. For a time, I knew him as ‘one of those dudes with the long hair’; a class he and Andrew jointly occupied, both being mysteries to me. Chet actually preceded us to Princeton and once Comstock suffered a bloated gravitational collapse, Aaron and I decided to follow suit.

        In the early days at the apartment, Chet was a near constant visitor. He had suffered the loss of a paying roommate and his advertisement for replacement brought a Chinese couple to his door. I have always assumed that he must have been desperately hard up, as he accepted their offer to move in. Although he would never outright admit it, I got the impression that once they set up shop, occupied the master bedroom, and supplied the majority of the furnishings in the place, he was living in a ‘our roof, our rules’ situation. I goaded him relentlessly on why the nightly gaming sessions were never held at his pad, and the obvious answer was that he was not allowed to have anyone over. On the occasions where he would decline to show up, I assumed he was grounded and this has never been proven otherwise to my satisfaction.

        I think his living arrangement had something to do with the peculiar habit he developed in the early days. Although he lived almost directly across the street from us, and the weather was nice, almost every night he choose to sack out on our couch. He may have been too tired from the emotionally intense Magic card bouts with Aaron to make the arduous journey, or perhaps he knew Mr. Wong would be in his cups and have his belt off waiting for him, and thought it best to face him in the morning. In any event, the practice was personally annoying to me as I had been in the habit of rising early and taking my coffee in front of the TV. With Chet sawing logs right there, I didn’t feel comfortable doing this. Rather than handle this in a mature and reasonable manner by explaining the situation to him, I would instead purposefully bang into his leg or elbow with my bike tire as I wrestled it past him each morning. Even daily pain incurred, he altered his habit not a whit.

        Of the many things that can be said about Chet, the truest of them all is that he really, really, really loved Bloodbowl. Having never played this fantasy football knockoff, I cannot attest to the overwhelming addictive nature of the game, but from Chet’s appearance it was far more so than crack and heroin combined. After a few months of constant playing, he would appear at our door at all odd hours, pale and shaking, cold sweat beaded on his brow, begging Aaron for just one quick game to tide him over till the next tournament. Aaron and the rest of the gamer geeks were somehow able to remain casual users, putting the set away for weekends and free evenings. Chet, however, would truck the board around with him constantly, hounding all passersby for a quick match. As I understand it, he put off graduation a full 3 years just to maintain amateur status. I do not know if he plays yet to this day, but as he is married, my guess would be no; that the rehab and subsequent introduction to the fairer sex was resoundingly successful.

        Of the many interludes in which Chet graced our abode, one stands out more than the rest. No, not the time he ate my pirogies and I felt the need to bitch him out over the phone after Aaron reluctantly pointed the finger (yes, I overreacted, but was really hungry and obtaining more food meant taking cans back). I’m speaking of the semi-infamous razor incident. One evening at the apartment, Chet was over and we were actually all watching TV instead of just me steadily turning up the volume as the GG’s in the kitchen grew ever more raucous. Chet got up and excused himself to use the bathroom and was in there for an extended time. During his time in there we heard noises coming from behind the door, but felt it more prudent not to ask questions. He came out, gathered his stuff, and made an exit soon after. There was something, well, different about him, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

         The next morning Aaron burst out of the bathroom in a bit of a tizzy. “Wolf, did you use my electric razor?” I replied that I had not, as I had my own. Very curious. We glared at each other incredulously – he not believing I hadn’t used it, and me irritated by the ludicrous accusation. “Wait a minute. Remember how we thought there was something weird about Chet last night?” He did remember. “Didn’t he have a 3 day beard growth when he came in yesterday?” Indeed, he did have one. We both, however, had mental images of a clean shaven man making a hasty exit. We checked the tell tale trimmings left behind that clued Aaron in to the use. Too light to be mine, and not his as he was apparently a fastidious razor cleaner to have noticed in the first place. Aside from a DNA test, we felt we had him dead to rights.

        Chet of course denied the accusation and may still to this day. It was the sheer strangeness of it all that made the situation memorable. Both before and since, I have never encountered another instance in which a guest employs spontaneous casual use of tucked away personal bathroom toiletries. Following the incident I threw away my toothbrush and kept the replacement safely within my room. I felt no loss of machismo in avoiding the risk.

        While Chet was an addition that Aaron brought into our circle, Jenn Bondzio was one I brought. I still maintain that although mine was not as long lasting, the quality and appearance was far more enjoyable. I actually met Jenn (she identified herself as “Jenn with 2 n’s” in our first conversation over the phone) though the whole tele-dating endeavor. Although the rest of us considered ourselves quite avant-garde and worldly for a bunch of suburban middle class white boys, Jenn was of a different cut of cloth all together and fascinating to me as a result. We had a number of enjoyable conversations before agreeing to meet at a small bar on the corner of Sweethome and Ellicott Creek. This, coincidentally, was on the same night as Dan’s legendary January outdoor party. Given that Dan’s event was a guaranteed sausage fest populated by Dashwoodies, Dashwoody wannabes, and miscellaneous dregs; I elected to go meet Jenn who had already boasted having such impressive and exotic accoutrements as multiple tattoos, brandings, and a heretofore unique tongue piercing, amongst others only hinted at. Most readers would have made the same choice I’m certain.

        As was the case all though my college years, I lacked one of the primary assets required for successful dating beyond the junior high level; a car. This situation had not changed before I met Jenn, and so I ended up having my cousin and her boyfriend drive me there to meet her. I may as well have detached my testicles and left them atop my dresser, but such were the circumstances of the day and it was far too cold and far to walk it. She had arrived there previous to us and I was able to pick her out immediately with long dark hair and almond eyes; a close resemblance to a young Bjork. We approached, and she smiled running the ball of her tongue stud across her teeth. We had an enjoyable evening that night, and arrived at the conclusion that we would be friends. I’m not going to lie and say that had she had something else in mind I wouldn’t have bit, but this was not the case and given our differences, perhaps it was for the best. She did become a good friend and I have never regretted that.

        As the name Jennifer, especially in Buffalo, had proliferated among our generation as horny rabbits in close confinement, this Jenn was dubbed by my cousin Ann as ‘Jenn with the tongue’ for clear and proper identification. This of course was due to her trademark piercing, one to become a common occurrence a few years down the road, but groundbreaking in that day and age. Such a simple and well hidden piece of jewelry gave her both a mystique and authenticity, that along with her good humor and amiable personality, made her welcome in our somewhat closed and elitist circle of socially maligned individuals. For me she was a godsend in the form of my first real platonic opposite sex friendship that did not degenerate into an unrequited love situation that is so often the rule.

        The advantage of having such a friend as I found, was the remarkable new insight into the feminine mind. I feel I did my part in attempting to explain the basic masculine thought process that went on with her prospective partners, generally explaining the obvious and revealing my genders simplicity of thought. I got the far better bargain. Once she was open to diagramming out the seemingly random thought processes that were behind each phrase uttered by women who caught my fancy, my success rate in securing dates skyrocketed, and to her I credit directly all of my pre-Air Force longer lasting relationships. Not that there was any excellence in the quality, but a few practice runs before the big game never hurts.

        On one occasion I went so far as to employ her as a wing-woman. I had a blind date I was meeting at the mall, and was unsure as to how interested I would really be once we met in person. Aaron was so kind as to pick her up and drive us there. She and he lurked about the food court as I tried to figure out who my blind date was. If the secret signal was given by me, she was to come rushing forward, playing the role of a Springer-esque ex lover, and declare I knocked her up, thus assuredly freeing me from any further entanglement. Alas, I never found my mystery date, so the whiskey tango drama production was retired before the curtain ever rose. As a consolation, we all went go carting instead.

        While the times we hung out were always entertaining, one of the more memorable of them was the day I volunteered to help her move out of her grandmother’s house on Ellicott Creek Road to an upstairs apartment in an antiquated house off the Elmwood strip. Although I had graduated and gained employment in the auto parts world, I still lacked a car and brought Dave into the picture to help. As Dave and had moved each other and friends many times over, we considered ourselves expert class and planned to be done in plenty of time for his 1:00 PM shift at Zappers. We had never before, however, moved a female, and had no clue of what we were in for.

        While I’m sure any female readers (should there actually be any) will immediately cry ‘sexist’ upon reading this, I’m speaking purely from experience having now moved approximately 2 or 3 dozen individuals in a male to female ratio of about 1:2. I can say in all honesty that of those dozen or so single females I have moved, perhaps only 1 or 2 was even marginally prepared the day of. I’m not clear on why this is so, but theorize it has to do with the perception of potentially needing each and every possession in the days, hours, and even seconds up to the move, thus preventing any sort of packing. In addition, I have also gone to move washers still chugging away at clothes, book shelves with every volume still in place, curio cabinets still bursting with breakable tschochkes, and best of all an indoor 500 galleon turtle pond occupying a whole kitchen floor, un-drained, plugged in, and occupied. While Jenn was not the least prepared of this list (the win going to Miss Alicia “Turtle Pond” Atkins), Jenn was a close second.

        Dave and I showed up at the crack of dawn, ready to rumble and put this project to bed before lunch. We entered the home, let in by a frantic and frazzled Jenn, to see a single box in the center of the floor, half filled with knick-knacks. “Is this it?” Having never before encountered this phenomenon, we could not imagine the prep work having not been completed days before. “Sorry guys, I’m late in getting started packing, but that’s not it. We have to go get my couch first”. This part of the project had not been mentioned previously; another symptom of the single female move. I offered to accept directions to where this couch was located so that she could continue packing, but she only knew the house by look, not number, or even street. Dave was already looking at his watch in a worrisome manner.

        The couch run was a time killer. It took us almost an hour to find the place, and the guy wasn’t at home when we got there. We waited, and he did return, and led us down a much cluttered stairway into what appeared to be Fred Sanford’s basement. The free couch was at the far end of the room, accessible only though a narrow maze of accumulated crap. To our delight, it was not only a full size deal, but a fold out bed as well, presenting an unwieldy 300 lb package. The profanity uttered by Dave and myself as Jenn and her suspiciously bad backed friend looked on is no doubt still embedded in the timbers. The extraction was exhausting and took close to another hour. Wrestling it up the cloistered old time stairway in her new digs was infuriating as well. On this task alone we had killed the morning and there was only time for one more run before Dave had to depart.

        While I still had the use of Dave, I decided it would be best to get everything that required a 2 man carry, including her dresser and bed. The furniture fit barely in the back of the Bronco, necessitating the stowage of her mattress atop the truck. In classic Dave ‘MacGyver’ fashion, he secured it with a single line of bungee cords and his hand out the window, before barreling down the Boulevard at 50 miles an hour. We had not gone a half mile before an updraft caught the edge, tearing the mattress out of Dave’s hand, and launching it end over end into following traffic. Cars swerved, honking and swearing, as the mattress tumbled across the dirty pavement, finally coming to a rest by the side of the road. Panicked, Dave screeched to a halt, causing yet more honking, swerving, and swearing. We retrieved the battered and dirtied mattress from where it lay and secured it now in with an overabundance of bungee and duct tape before going on our way. We wisely agreed to omit the occurrence from in our report back to Jenn, and made sure to set it up torn side down in her new place.

        Despite the pain of the move, we did complete and Jenn and I managed to remain friends for some time after. We slowly drifted apart as people tend to do as they get on and I last spoke to her before I decided to pursue the Air Force option for me. As with all I have lost contact with due to poor communicative skills and other such tragedies, I hope her and Chet are both doing well. Should either stumble upon this, I can only hope they read any exaggeration with the good humor intended when written.

Driving Mr. Mooney

I have mentioned in previous posts and comments to this blog, that driving with Mooney is a hazard. Here I will recant the most memorable of such times, all when I was driving, and Mr. Mooney was present.

Incident One
My parents had moved to Albuquerque, NM. My Uncle lives in Rochester, NY. He had flown out to visit my parents and agreed to drive my father’s ’79 black Thunderbird back to Buffalo to give to me. My uncle called me a few hours before he arrived in Buffalo. As I was waiting for him to arrive Mooney called. Mooney jumped at the chance to go on the adventure with me. Since I was nervous about driving, in particular about navigating back from Rochester, for the first time, in the dark, I was happy to have Mooney along. We waited in the Burger King parking lot at the corner of Main and Bailey for my uncle to arrive. We got in and my uncle drove us to Rochester. Once in the car I had the notion to be nervous with Dan around, but perhaps sensing my nervousness, Mooney was on his best behavior. The ride was quiet and uneventful.

I thanked my uncle and we found our way back to the NYS Thruway. Once we had pulled out of the toll booth, Mooney presented a tape, and popped it in the tape deck. After a dramatic pause the theme song to “Batman” blasted out the speakers. I finally smiled and was put at ease. We were not pulled over, and in the end I was glad to have Mooney around to relieve the stress. Unfortunately this was the only time Mooney and I drove together without incident.

Incident One B
A quick side note on an incident with Chet in the car. The day after I had acquired the T-bird I was anxious to drive so Chet and I drove to Denny’s. On the way back I was pulled over going down NFB for driving too slow. The police asked me if I had anything to drink. “Only Mountain Dew.”

Incident Two
The second incident with Mooney was the night Matt, Wolf, Dan, and I drove up to Rumors in Canada. Matt’s girlfriend was up there dancing with her friend. I actually danced and we all had a good time, and drank plenty, except for me (not on purpose).

Dan sat at the bar upon arrival, and worked his way around the entire circular bar asking each and every woman, “What’s your sign?” No takers. Hard to imagine, but I am reminded of the words of Larry, “Dude, who cares about 50 no’s; all you need is 1 yes.” Mooney certainly has the power of no shame, and puts it to good use at times.

At the end of the night (Canada closed at 1AM in those days), Matt, Wolf, and Mooney were quite drunk. I drove Matt’s van. Dan was in the passenger seat, while Wolf and Matt passed out in the back of the “Unforgiven”.

I had never driven back from Canada myself, and I stayed on the highway, looking for signed back to the US. No one else was any help in their unconscious state. I was pretty sure I just missed my exit when Mooney stirred and I explained the situation. With utmost confidence (should have been my sign to ignore him) Mooney pointed out the correct exit.

As soon as we exited the highway I knew we were in the wrong neighborhood. I drove a few blocks and looked for a place to turn around. Mooney piped up and suggest I just turn around in the approaching intersection. Seemed like a good idea, and I did so. A cop appeared out of nowhere and pulled us over.

I told him I was driving my intoxicated friends back to the US and I had gotten lost. Mooney chose this opportune time to pass out again, or at least pretend to. The ever-friendly Canadians lead me back to the border. I managed to stir Matt and Wolf long enough to respond incoherently to customs, and they were non-the-wiser to the antics of the drive until I told them at a later time.

Incident Three
This is the most interesting episode driving with Mooney. We had just started a party at Comstock. Knaus came home and was in a a rare good mood. He immediately began drinking. Thirty minutes after Knaus got home Louis called. He was at Canisus, and needed a ride over to Comstock. After hanging up I approached Knaus about him driving me over there to find Louis. Knaus was already heavily buzzed, and tossed me his keys. Before he could change his mind I darted out the door, with Dan in tow, having invited himself along for the ride. As most of these ill-fated adventures with Mooney begin, “Why not? I could use the company and help navigating a school I had never been to.” Dan has a mystic ability to make you forget what has happened when he was around in the past.

I had not driven in well over a year, and the added pressure of being entrusted with Knaus’s car was nerve-racking. I stemmed my nerves by eating some Triscuits which I had next to me. Everything was going well, admittedly I was driving slow, but not too slow. Nevertheless sirens appeared behind us and we pulled over.

The cops pulled us over because I was driving with no headlights on. The cops also was agitated because he saw me making a repeated drinking motion from behind. I had finally convinced him it was only the Triscuits I kept munching. Luckily I had not had a drop to drink, yet.

Just as the cop was relaxed and was about to let us go I heard his partner, a female cop who was idly standing next to Mooney’s door, raised her voice. I only wish I could remember what Mooney said, but it was something she did not like. Eventually the police relaxed and let us go.

No sooner had the cops pulled away then did Mooney reach around to behind his seat and produce a can of beer! Thank god the police did not find it. At least it was not open. This turned into another of those points, like the Milkshake, that Mooney and I disagree to this day, that it was a poor idea.

There you have it, in summary, be wary when driving Mr. Mooney.