Hallowe’en Spooktacular Party, at Gary and Elaine Dow’s house in Center Township, PA, Friday, October 31, 1975:
Costumed invitees cram the living room. A mixtape (to use an anachronistic word) plays on the stereo’s cassette deck; the exceedingly mellow song “Those Summer Nights” by San Jose’s biggest musical artist, Benjamin Plum, nears its chorus as Donna—wearing a headband, peasant blouse, fringed leather vest, bell-bottom jeans, and sandals—spots an uncostumed guy exiting from the kitchen. Glass in hand, she barges toward him, threading past a princess and a cowboy and a blowdried Dracula, electric guitar creeping along, Plum asserting in a reedy voice that “Those summer nights that brought us passion / Will never, ever go out of fashion.”
“Chuck Roland?” she asks.
“The one and only,” Chuck replies, holding a drink himself.
“I’m Donna Henningsen. Milo’s mother?”
“Tell your son to quit beating him up.”
“Tell your son to quit grabbing my son’s ass.”
“You believe that story?”
“Hey, your son is half Greek, so—”
She tosses the contents of her glass at Chuck, punctuated by the background tune’s somnolent saxophone-and-piano bridge.
“Now look what you made me do—waste a perfectly good whiskey,” she says reprovingly.
“You know,” he says, wiping off his face with his sleeve, “you’re lucky you have a great pair of tits.”
“Thanks. I’ll tell your wife you said that. Where is she?”
“At home. She didn’t feel good. You ever try a Harvey Wallbanger?”
“A Harvey Wallbanger? Orange juice, vodka, and some Eyetalian liqueur called Gallyanno?”
“You should. I’m having one now.” Chuck holds up his glass.
“Hooray. The next time your brat attacks my son, I’m calling the police.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Plum’s song fades out. “So I can make you one here, if you want. A Harvey Wallbanger.”
“Fuck off.” Another lifeless, piano-heavy track, one Donna’s never heard before, commences.
“Aw, you hurt my feelings.” He walks away a bit jauntily.
Copyright © 2019 by David V. Matthews