Bill remembered the green room. It was a bathroom. He sat in the bathtub of that bathroom for just about eight hours straight, looking at the green walls and saying “Wow, look at the green.”
Wasn’t his first trip. Wasn’t his last trip.
His first trip happened on his way to the Filmore East to see one of the best rock concerts of all time. Heading through the Midtown Tunnel they popped purple-dot acid.
Where they parked, they had to walk past a police precinct to get to the theater. Stand up straight, he thought. Stand up straight they both thought, Bill and his best friend. His best friend was into music and knew they had to go to see this show.
Stand up straight.
As they passed the precinct building they both cracked up and couldn’t help themselves from laughing so hard they almost peed their pants. Only way Bill could stop himself was to reach in his shirt pocket for his cigarettes. But that pocket was like miles away from his hand.
By the time he’d passed his friend a cigarette and put one in his own mouth they were well beyond where the cops were. Safe. Home-run. But the match, he struck it and it was sooo far from his mouth.
Where the hell is my mouth?
Where the hell was the cigarette?
Green room. Bathroom. Annabelle. Naked. She was tripping too and she wanted to get laid.
There were others in the house as well, and the cats, for real, they had found a mouse. The mouse was alive. They were playing with it, not attempting to kill it.
Later, out from the tub, he and Annabelle found the cats in the kitchen, one cat on either end of the room. They were batting the mouse to each other, watching it slide across the linoleum floor. By this time the mouse was near-dead.
“Get undressed.” Annabelle stood before him. Bill sat in the tub fully dressed. He was just looking at the green walls saying over and over, “Look at the green.”
Not able to get him to do anything, Annabelle disappeared. She came back a moment later.
Bill had no clue as to when, what time it was or how much time had elapsed. Now she wore heavy, hooker make-up. Her lips were so red all he could think about was watching her put red lip marks on the green paint. She was wearing his shirt, open, sleeves rolled up, and high-heels. She was smoking a joint and passed it to him.
The first hit on the joint shot him into the stratosphere. The second and third hits just kept him up there.
She also had a bottle of wine. She reached out for him to give her back the joint, which he did. She handed him the wine and he drank from the bottle.
“Kiss the wall,” he said. “I want to see lipstick lips on the wall.”
“I want some,” Annabelle said.
“Kiss the wall.”
“I got a better idea.”
She stepped into the tub and sat on the rim. She let the shirt settle on either side of her spread legs. She spread her legs far as she could. In her shoes, the open shirt and the fiercely red lipstick, she sat there before him.
“Rise and Shine and give God your glory, glory!” She sang.
From another room heavy rock music blasted out. Then the three others in the house found them as they were in the bathroom. Annabelle would have taken care of her needs with them—all of them at once for how messed up she was—except they were gay.
That was a whole other story.
“Get lost,” she said to them. “I’m getting me some.”
After they left the green room, she leaned in and lifted up Bill’s T-shirt. She planted a full red-lipstick lip imprint on his belly just below his chest.
Coming in a few weeks
“You gonna be okay?”
Mary and Bill were in the storeroom. Mary closed the door behind them and they both sat down, Bill on a stack of canned vegetable cases, Mary on a stack of stewed tomatoes cases. They were next to each other.
“Did you know you were feeling her up?”
“Sort of. Not like I was feeling her up.”
“Like what then?”
“Not like this.” Bill turned and reached to Mary. He put his hand on her bosom and intimately touched her, a clearly sexual motion. Then he took that hand and moved it down to where he could slide it up her dress from the bottom.
“We got things to do,” Mary said.
“What are you gonna do when I leave here?” Bill asked.
“When you leaving?”
Mary stood up. Bill stood up with her and kissed her. He held her tight to him.
“Up to me, I’d never leave. I’d just stay here and be with you.”
“And Bea and everyone else.”
“Only you mean something.”
“Then stay away from those new girls.”
“I’m a stay away from everyone but you. I love you.”
“What you say, boy?”
“You heard me.”
“Say it again.”
“I love you. You love me?”
“Yes. That’s the problem. How you think I feel when you go with Bea or Lorraine or them others?”
“I know,” Bill said. “I’m cutting most of it out, piece by piece.”
“I hope so.”
“Dinosaurs dancing,” said Bill.
“You just saying you love me cause you’re on drugs?”
“I’m saying it cause it’s true.”
“It’s not the drugs?”
“I’m on drugs. I know I’m on drugs. I keep telling myself I’m tripping so I know where I’m at and don’t lose it. But I know what I’m saying when I tell you I love you. I didn’t mean to and I didn’t want to and I didn’t ask to come to this place. But like I said, if it was up to me, I’d just stay here with you.”
Mary kissed Bill. She kissed him so hard she thought their lips would stick together. She pressed herself against him, tight, promised herself some things she wasn’t ready to articulate yet, things she knew she would do before boy’s girl graduated and boy was off somewhere where she might never see him again.
“I want you to take me to the Upper Room,” she said.
Bill kissed her more, fondled her as they hugged and kissed.
“We have some stuff to bread and some things to start getting ready for tomorrow and the day after.”
“Dinosaurs still dancing,” Bill said.
Mary starting gathering things, one of them a huge bottle of bread crumbs which she handed to Bill. She gave him other things too and when his arms were full she picked up some things for herself to carry and they left the storeroom.
She followed him up the stairs. As they turned into the kitchen from the hall, Lily was waiting with a dupe in hand.
“Ordering,” she said.
Bill put the things he was carrying in the back on Mary’s station. Then he came around front. “Next time just spear the dupe and hit the bell,” he said to her.
“I wasn’t sure what to do since no one was here.”
Bill looked around. Bea wasn’t in the kitchen either. Only ones there were the dishwashers.
“Next time, that’s all you have to do. If you hit the bell, someone will come. Whoever it is will be able to get you your order going.
Lily smiled at Bill. “Maybe I just wanted to see you,” she said.
“Well, here I am. Every bit of me.”
“Well, here I am,” Lily said. “Every bit of me too.”
Bill looked her over before he read the dupe. She saw him looking her over.
“You like?” she asked.
Bill was sitting on his milk cases. He was all messed up. Actually he wasn’t messed up, he was just tripping his brains out, which meant that he was seeing and doing things on multiple levels, as he thought of it. Others watching him might certainly have thought differently of it.
He had asked Brooklyn to bring him a beer and when she came out into the hall with it, he said, “So where in Brooklyn you from?”
She said “Flatbush.”
He said, “My mother was from Flatbush. My father was from Canarsie. My Uncle Sam lived in Prospect Park.”
“So you know Brooklyn.” Not thinking much of it, Brooklyn sat down opposite Bill, on Bea’s lettuce cases which were now about even in height with the two milk cases on which Bill sat.
“Not really. I grew up in Queens. We just went to Brooklyn when we were visiting and pretty much that was when I was a young kid. I didn’t go there much as an a grownup kid or an adult.”
Brooklyn was conscious of Bill staring at her. At first she shifted where she sat a bit, but then she just looked at him and wondered, like, what-the-hell. Then she asked him what he was looking at.
Bill didn’t say anything. He leaned forward on the milk cases and reached out toward her, to her blouse on her bosom. Without hesitation, he fingered the material of the blouse on her breast.
Brooklyn didn’t know what to do, what to say. She looked deep in his eyes and said “You like what you’re feeling?”
“The spider,” Bill said. “It’s multi-colored and whispering to you.”
“Well, I should get back,” Brooklyn said. She was completely weirded-out, but she didn’t get up right away. In fact, she leaned in closer toward Bill so he could feel her more easily. “You always feel-up the new waitresses? Is it a thing?” she asked.
Only as she said this did Bill become conscious of the fact that in effect he was feeling her up. The spider was on her breast and he was, according to what was happening in his acid-brain, touching that spider. It was whispering to him. Pet me. Pet me.
So despite now being somewhat aware of where his hand was, he continued feeling her up, petting the spider. “It’s okay,” he whispered softly. “I’ll keep you safe.”
Mary found them like this. She came out to the hall on her way down the stairs to get some things from the store room. She took it in, looked at it for what it was.
“He’s tripping,” Mary said to Brooklyn.
“You mean on acid?” Brooklyn asked.
“That’s what I mean,” Mary said.
“They let him trip here?”
“Tommy don’t know. But if he did, he wouldn’t say anything. Boy got to put up the dinner.”
“The spider’s soft,” Bill said. “And I know it’s on your tits,” he said to Brooklyn. “Maybe you ought to spread your legs and let me see what’s up there.”
“Maybe I ought to get back out to the dining room.”
“Come on, let me see if his friend’s up there.” Bill laughed. He started to reach for her there with his other hand, but Mary stepped in the way.
“Come on,” Mary said to Bill. “You can see if the spider’s up my legs in the storeroom.”
She took Bill’s hand and pulled him so he stood up. Standing between him and Brooklyn, Bill had to stop feeling her up. Brooklyn did not hesitate and quickly stood. She stepped behind Mary and out into the kitchen on her way back to the dining room.
“What’s the matter with you, boy?” Mary asked.