The Bad Guy

Fred’s Barbecue

It was a hot Summer night in Maynard, MA. I was relaxing in front of the TV, about to go to bed when I heard a knock on my window. I knew it was Fred, because only he would reach over from the balcony to knock on my window. Yes, I realize this makes Fred seems more like the neighbor from “Office Space” but trust me on this one, he was just like him…Except the “Office Space” guy had a job, wasn’t crazy and bathed regularly.

me: What’s up, Fred?

Fred: How’d you know it was me?

Me: I took a guess.

Fred: Heh-heh. Me and Slim are barbecuing out here. Want to join us?

[I know what you’re thinking: “Don’t do it!”]

me: I’ll be out in a minute. [what can I say, I make stupid decisions.]

Fred: RIGHT ON!!!

[So I grabbed the 12 pack of Pabst that I had just bought earlier that day and went out to the balcony to hang out with Fred and Slim. Goodness knows I wasn’t going drink all of it, so I might as well be “neighborly” with my supply. When I walked out on the balcony (the same balcony where I watched Fred get arrested months earlier) I saw a small grill with corn and chicken cooking on it, a mono boom-box, and Fred and slim sitting in lawn chairs.]

Fred: Sit on down, man. Hey, you brought us beer! Hey Slim, You see this?

Slim: I’m sitting right next to you…[to me] Thanks kid, we just ran out.

Fred: The chicken aint done yet…but we got something to tide you over.

[Fred pulled out a ziplock bag full of stems and seeds he liked to call…]

Fred: …SOME GOOD SHIT!!!

Slim: Give that to me, I’ll roll us a fat one. [Slim reached behind his chair and produced a copy of the Kiss album “Double Platinum,” opened up the gate-fold and spilled the contents of the baggy and began the arduous labor of love that is known as separating stems and seeds. And since that’s pretty much all there was in the bag, the real chore was finding something smokeable in that mess]

Fred: [Cracking open one of my ice-cold PBR’s] You alright, neighbor! [Fred slapped me on the back and turned to Slim] When this guy moved in I didn’t know what to think. Wearin’ all black, listening to loud music, not having any beer in his fridge…

[I was getting a little uncomfortable, so I cracked open a beer of my own]

Fred:…And then I saw the tail he’d bring home!

Slim: Oh, yeah?

Fred: You should see all the women this guy brings home!

me: …

Fred: Sweet lookers, and sweet talkers…Cheers to you, guy!

me: Thank you? [I clinked my beer to his.]

Fred: I understand, that’s none of my business. I shouldn’t be bringing up that kind of stuff up…Sorry.

me: Don’t worry about it.

Fred: [To Slim] How’s that joint coming?

Slim: I’m working on it…You going to turn over that chicken? It’s catching fire.

Fred: Aw-FUCK!!!

[Fred grabbed a fork and turned over two pieces of chicken that had been burnt beyond realms of edibility, but managed to salvage the other three. The corn, however, was a total loss.]

Slim: I told you to turn that shit over.

Fred: Keep rolling the joint and shut the fuck up, Slim. [To me] I’ve known this guy since ‘Nam.

Slim: You met me after you got back from ‘Nam.

Fred: Keep rolling and shut up!

Slim: I will fuckin’ stomp your ass!

Fred: Well, come on then.

[I chugged my beer and opened another.]

Slim: Maybe this [Holds the freshly rolled joint up in the air] will shut you up!

Fred: Now the party can begin! [Fred pressed play on the boom-box and out blasted Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen.” If I may make a quick aside, I always had my suspicions about the song. Was that guy talking about a woman or is he just “sticking to his story” that it was? Not like it matters to me. I think that if the “Mississippi Queen” in question was a dude, it would add a certain something that is sorely lacking from most Sixties and Seventies Rock.]

me: This song is about a dude.

Fred: Shut your fuckin’ mouth!

me: Oh, come on! “Mississippi Queen…If you know what I mean…She taught me everything“?

Slim: Yeah, so?

me: I always thought that “If you know what I mean” was a bit of a “wink-wink” kind of deal. And since the sexual event he spoke about most likely happened in the guy’s twenties. I don’t think he’s admitting to losing his virginity in his twenties…Unless it was another kind of virginity…[Fred’s eyes narrowed in anger]…I’m just saying it’s a possibility.

Slim: I gotta agree with the kid on this one. That Leslie West never seemed right to me.

Fred: Not one more fucking word against Leslie West, Mountain, or “Mississippi fucking Queen!”…Where’s that joint?

[Slim lit up the joint and passed it to me. I took a puff and passed it to Fred. As I did this a cop car rolled down the street.]

Fred: [Standing up] You see this, pig?!?! I’m smoking a fucking joint on MY balcony. Why don’t you come here and take it from me?!?!

[I got a little scared and sunk into my chair.]

me: Fred, sit down! This is not a very good idea.

Fred: Shut the fuck up! [To the cop car, which had stopped at our building.] That’s right, piggy! Why don’t you come over here and take this joint from me!!!

Slim: Shit, Fred, I’m still on probation.

Fred: And I aint? Come on, Officer Ham Hock! Come here and face a real man!!!

[The policemen got out of their car and walked to the building.]

me: Oh, Jesus!

Slim: You stupid mother-fucker!

Fred: Get up, we’ll face these swine like men!

me: It’s been real, I’m going home. Keep the beer.

Slim: I gotta get goin’, too.

Fred: Pussies!

Slim and I passed the officers in the hallway. Since these were the same guys who showed up last time, they knew we had nothing to do with it and let us go. From my apartment I heard a lot of “piggy” talk and the sound of Fred being slammed to the floor. The police booked him for the night at the police station and let him out in the morning. I guess they gave him a break because I never heard about any charges being brought against him for that incident. That was the last time I ever barbecued with Fred.

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April 19, 2007 - Posted by | Barbecues, MA, Maynard, Mississippi Queen, Mountain, neighbors, weed

3 Comments »

  1. We met in Nam too, remember? 🙂

    Comment by Myrtle | April 20, 2007 | Reply

  2. No, we met in THE Nam.

    Comment by thebadguy | April 23, 2007 | Reply

  3. The drummer, Corky Laing (not Leslie West) wrote Mississippi Queen about a hooker in Louisiana. Mississippi Queen is just a nice title for a southern hooker, that is the point of the “if you know what I mean”. Great blog though, and an awesome read!

    Comment by Jon | September 23, 2007 | Reply


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