It wasn't that last Christmas Eve in '95. That year was it's own unlovely tale of violence and loss, and a game my ex used to like to play called "Read My Mind You Fat, Nasty, Whore." It wasn't the Christmas Eve of '94; that was the Christmas Eve that the ex spent in a Crown Royal haze, trying to hook up with a girl wearing a short skirt and a vest while I left the party and went home to finish his Christmas gift of artwork for his next tattoo. It still makes me feel a little odd that Mr. Thatguy is running around with my artwork on his shoulder. The artwork that I completed that night, with my teeth clenched and tears burning hot tracks down my cheeks. Humorously enough, I suspect that the man rarely, if ever managed to cheat on me. Not enough social skills and too many drugs will kill that sort of philandering like a ... I dunno, but it makes it hard to imagine he'd managed it it much.
Pretty sure that it was the Christmas Eve of '93 that my story takes place. We were living in the house in the student ghetto of UNM in Albooboo Noo Moo, the house that his parents had purchased thinking that they were helping him get his college education by letting him live there for free. Across the street from us lived a very nice man, his young wife and his younger brother whom we were acquainted with in a druggy culture sort of a way. The brothers name was Dave, and he worked at the pet store where we got the feeder rabbits for the Burmese Python, and sundry other animals and pet food to feed everybody else in the menagerie. He was also the guitarist for a punk band that went by the same name as a book by Charles Bukowski, and for the purpose of anonymity, that's all you need to know. Except, perhaps for the purposes of giving you a better idea of the guys we were dealing with, that I'm pretty sure they did NOT get their name from a Charles Bukowski novel, but rather they pulled a fairly obscure name for an employee or servant out of the dictionary, and named their band that, because the word sounded kinda cool.
The band usually used Dave's room to practice, and that was a pretty tight fit even though at the time this story takes place they didn't actually have a vocalist. The roster included Dave the guitarist, Dwight the drummer, and Dominic the bassist. Huh, and until I just typed in their names I never realized that they all had names that started with "D".
But a drum kit takes up a lot of room, and so does a bassist like Dom. He was a very large, and very mean former skinhead who had literary pretensions; he's the reason that I cannot say that I am POSITIVE that the name of the band isn't from a novel. He's also a key player in this story, so I'll give you a bit more back story. In Albooboo NM, being a skinhead is way more about the music, the fashion of Doc Martin steel toe boots, flight jackets, shaven heads, intimidation and violence than about race. As a matter of fact, I was aware of only three racist skins who even tried to make their home in Albq, sadly one who was a quarter American Indian and tried to hide the fact. Near as I can tell these three white power boys spent much of their time in NM hiding and/or getting the crap kicked out of them by the rest of the skins. Most of whom were all or part Hispanic. There was even a black skinhead named Tommy, and that was something see! Dom was one of those full Hispanic skins, and additionally was part of a fairly exclusive crowd with a clever name and and a tattoo on his forearm. These boys were the uberviolent of the scene, but he had since then grown his hair and married the girl he'd gotten pregnant at age sixteen. I think he may have been a whopping nineteen at the time himself, but they were Catholic, and he was not stupid... the girl he got knocked up was beautiful and smart, and better than he deserved.
This was Christmas Eve though, and the nice couple across the road had gone out of town to spend the holiday with her family, leaving a gleeful Dave the run of the house, and he decided that a band practice-party was in order. Thatguy and I were invited, as we were friends with Dom and Dave, and I suppose... by a long stretch of imagination and by default we were "friends" with Dwight too. Dwight was one of those unpeggable floaters in the punk scene. He was a decent drummer, but a raging and unapologetic drunk. The kind of guy you never let crash on your couch to sleep it off, because he would often as not soil the couch. The man was full blood Navajo, and a fairly OK person when he was sober, but the sober times were so rare and his drunks were so vile that it's hard to hard to think of him as anything other than a guy who kept a beat.
So far as I can remember, the guest list that night was Dave and his girlfriend, Dom and his wife, Thatguy and myself, Dwight, and an amazing array of alcohol; most notably a bottle of Jose Cuervo that Dom claimed as his own. A large bottle. THE bottle.
Dom used to say, "if you ever want to see one pissed off drunk Mexican, juts watch me drink tequila." And he would always pronounce "tequila" with an impeccable accent, and I always got the feeling that he felt being pissed off whilst drinking it was his birthright when he said it. This night, I guess, he felt like screwing "peace on earth and goodwill toward men," and he'd just get himself tossed and terrorize everyone awhile.
...to be continued.