On Davey's mirror,
lights embossed,he'd ditch tailgaters at any cost!On it
went, this Belvedere thing,and she would be lent to a buddy that
spring.Jerry Frelson was a lumbering lad, imposingly tall and
powerful, with broad shoulders. He and Davey had attended some beer
bashes at different times throughout high school and the immediate
ensuing years, so it was no coincidence that Davey once again ran
into Jerry at the friendly neighborhood liquor store in this, the
waning segment of the Belvedere's tenure.The two struck up a
conversation;one had wheels, the other didn't.Good
Jerry had needed this.
He seemed to brim with a pained agitation that could only come out
sideways, manifesting itself in a downcast eyed, moping look akin to
a dog with his tail tucked betwixt his legs.Oh, it could have
been fear, anger, angst, or any number of things.Nothing a good
drinking binge couldn’t deal with.That said, so it was! A
trip to What’s-their-name’s liquors for a case of National
Premium beer which was hastily loaded in the old Belvedere.Time
to get loaded, that much was clear;no need to be goaded, and
nothing to fear!
It was a short ride to
Jerry's parent's pad, and both men knew what was soon to be
had.Davey knew Jerry not terribly wellbut knew, although
wary, he'd a story to tell.So let the telling begin. Davey
did know that Jerry would show up at most beer bashes, that he smoked
cigarettes like most of his classmates – having started the same
way, trying to be cool.Davey also knew that Jerry had an
eerie, sinister side; it was rumored that Jerry had once beaten his
own father up so badly as to put him in the hospital.
here, obviously, was a dude you didn't mess with.But to Davey,
hey, he didn't give a flip; a drinkin' buddy was a drinkin' buddy,
and that was that.And so it was off to Jerry's folks' flat.His
parent's pad was a yellowish clapboard ranch of modest size nestled
in that one lane horseshoe development off of Shilley Road.Jerry
unceremoniously ushered Davey in, carrying the case of bottles
effortlessly and setting it down on the counter, bellowing a “make
yourself at home” in the process.At first blush, this place
was indeed modest in size and heft.
Being in an 'executive'
home was obviously of no interest to Jerry's doubtlessly
conservative parents, neither of whom Davey had ever met.But no
matter; from the sweet, well laid out looks of that place – and the
accouterments contained therein – Davey had no doubt that Jerry's
parents were likable folks.One thing stood out right from the
start.Those folks were sure after Davey's heart!That
massive set of Klipsch speakers that sat ominously in opposing
corners of the living room was enough to make Davey drool.“Klipsch
'Heresys”. Jerry said, noting they packed a punch commensurate with
Holy Sh** – what a set of boomers! Davey was so floored even
by the sight of those speakers that he couldn't wait to hear them do their
stuff. Hell no, watching them sit there just was not enough. So after only an
opening salvo of opened beers, the two suds-soppin' lads had a feast for their
One of the coolest tests, Jerry assured, was to go up the street while he
cranked the stereo, then come back and report how far the sound traveled
Much obliged, dude!
Davey traipsed way up the street, accompanied by the cacophonous THUMP.
Actually, Davey had expected more 'gain' from those honkin'
sound-boxes; well, maybe if all the windows had been open. And then again,
perhaps the house was pretty well insulated, though this wasn't the widespread
paradigm in the late '70's.
Davey returned to the pad with only a modest assessment of how far the Heresy
sound had traveled: “only about 5 houses up, dude,” he noted.
But by this time, Jerry was well on the way to more than just a simple beer
buzz, so little factoids didn't faze him.
This said, the 'sound check' was as innocent as things got.
Indeed, as with any other infusion of ethanol, things went
downhill from that point.
Now Davey doesn't recall if the television went on, if movies were watched or
other household mischief was gotten into, but the beer was well on its way to
being finished before midnight, if faulty memory swerves.
Jerry had seemed tormented; haunted somehow, but didn't let on.Hell, Davey had
taken that as par for the course for this gent he never really knew.If only
Jerry wouldn't suddenly turn violent and smash up the place – taking Davey with
it – things could continue in honky-dory fashion.
As the evening swore on,
and with suds damn near gone,
some haggling may have been had;
now would Jerry get beer
with the old Belvedere
and bring it on back to the pad?
This detail of the evening remains a mystery, as one impetus for this meeting
was a loosely discussed arrangement to close the deal on the Belvedere.
Either Jerry would try it or buy it or away he would steer.
So most likely the point at which the tap ran dry was the juncture at which
Davey capitulated to Jerry's request to give the Belvedere a try.
So off Jerry wentfor some time not well spent.
A sad trope;
that the car would not dent.
Yes, hopefully trouble
would then stand well clear;
[with] Jerry back on the double
in that old Belvedere.
But it was not to occur. GRRRR.
Davey didn't recall being given instructions as to what he should do if Jerry
didn't return, and it looked, hour after hour, as if soon he would learn.
So he pulled up some bedding
and stared at the walls
whilst fearing bloodletting
dread often forestalls.
This was creepy: being alone in someone else's house.
Davey kept waking up, perhaps intentionally, though
inebriated, to find Jerry still totally absent.The hours ticked by and soon
daylight crept in through the not-so-closed blinds. Holy Sh** – this was a
friggin' mystery. And the Jerr-man would have to do some serious explaining.
So long story short: Jerry never returned. On that note, Davey may or may not
have left a note, not being entirely sure who would read it.
Should he lock the door? Leave it open?
Doubt galore; what's more, he was hopin'.
Did you, reader, ever have that queasy feeling of being in the wrong place?
Well, Davey was in the wrong place, but was damned sure he
would not see to it that the wrong TIME did not take place commensurately with
this, his horridly awkward placement.
Can you imagine the scene? Jerry's parents return to find disheveled Davey,
festering bags under both eyes,
rummaging about the fridge crisper, reeking of alcohol, wondering if and
how soon he should exit the place.
Horrors! NO WAY, Jay. That was NOT going to happen. And Davey wasn't crappin'.
He wasted no time taking flight from that place, and hoped that no neighbors
would see his pale face.
In hindsight – reputed, as per the old well-worn saw to be
'20-20' – Davey smirks at the irony of that setting.Even through the fog of
intoxication, it carried the ethereal deja-vu of many dreams past in which he
found himself inside another person's house – often without clothes – and they
DID come home. Funny, the recurring themes of trouble-making even in one's
So Deja-vu, he's telling you
can sometimes wax way close to 'true'!
One dreams and schemes
and, well, plans, too,
and luckily most of the BAD falls through!
Davey was off and walking, not running; his reliable transportation.
The most worrisome factor in this unfolding scenario, of
course, was Jerry's glaring disappearance from the face of the planet.
The revelations of what happened that night would come out in the wash, to put
it mildly, but they would come out not in conversation with Jerry himself, but
with Davey's subsequent queries and discussions with Dodd – surely not a good
It was at one of the typical Friday night gatherings at Dodd's place that Davey
got the news.
Sure enough, Jerry had indeed tumbled into some trouble that unfortunately
So hey, something WAS eatin' on him!
“I just KNEW IT!” Davey scowled as he recalled Jerry's
unusually somber disposition at the outset of what would otherwise have just
been a serious suds-slurpin' session.
Davey related to a suddenly inquisitive Dodd – and other ancillary ears – how
Jerry had seemed unusually out of sorts prior to, and even during, that case of
beer being consumed to the tune of one hell of a set of speakers.
“Something just wasn't right, but I couldn't put any fingers on it,” Davey
muttered, “now he's got the car – and he lingers on it.”
Then the rest of the sordid saga emerged.
Davey was not prepared to hear this, whatever 'this' this
turned out to be, and hey, he had suffered losses in the past, and would
perhaps grudgingly accept yet another one, but Belvedere ain't here!
At this point, he had only passing concern for Jerry's well being, feeling that
he had been screwed by the lack of at least minimal communication.
Dodd gave the scoop as to what went down after Jerry up and left his parent's
house with Davey in it.
“He showed up at his ex-girlfriend's, drove the car up to the house and started
a yelling match."
At this point, Davey was white as a sheet.
“Un-f**-ing-believable,” was all he could muster, Buster, and quite frankly, he
felt pretty beat.
“Jeez – I sorta started to wonder what the f** had happened when he didn't show
up after, like, six hours,” Davey said. “Didn't call. Not a word.”
“Of course!” Dodd shot back. “He was likely in the goddamn paddy wagon en route
to the cage he belonged in!”
Nobody had cell phones in those days. Or if they did, it meant they worked for
a major Fortune 500 corporation in some bigwig capacity that engendered such
But Jerry was probably such a drunken, potentially dangerous
basket case upon arrest that any possessions on his person would have been
confiscated immediately – especially a cell phone, had he one.
But then again, could he have called the parent's house thinking Davey might
have the wherewithal to answer and come bail him out?
Those were distant possibilities, not fit for dwelling on, but come to think of
it, Davey didn't recall the phone ringing that night, and even if it had, slim
chance existed of Davey answering the elder Frelson's phone.
By the way, did they have Caller ID?
Caller ID was probably only a distant daydream for most
land-line subscribers in that era, so scratch that one. Besides, what would
said Caller ID have said on its reliable reveal screen? County Courthouse?
Police Precinct #22? Blue Tassel County Jail?
No need to weep or wail.But DAMN! Oh, well, this scene was hitting Davey hard
as hell, And it was rapidly appearing as if he was canoeing toward the rapids
on the way to this becoming the proverbial 'water over the dam'.
“The Belvedere got impounded,” Dodd said. Why, but OF COURSE! What other option
could possibly exist!?
“Damn! I still had a sh**load of stuff in that trunk,” Davey
said with a clunk.
He mulled the fate of those old Guitar Player magazines, the nylon picks, and
other meager belongings suddenly dear but not at all near. And you can bet,
Chet, that their fate was sure clear.
At this point, Davey definitely was not going to go down and make nice with the
cops over a few guitar picks. No, that would NOT be shrewd, dude. Best at this
point to completely disassociate with brawlin' Jerry Frelson.
“It looks like I'm out 300 bucks,” Davey huffed.
Dodd already knew of the killer deal Davey had gotten on the
Belvedere, but lookie here: the bonus of that beer would come in a form of no
fear: old Belvie was still listed as belonging to John Akatan.
And that, man, was a PLAN!
How perfect, confiding
in this to be hiding!
The title not Davey's
and with Jerry not siding!
So this was yet another case of insolence and indolence on Davey's part – of
course peppered with a dash of sheer ignorance of bureaucratic processes
engendered in transfer of vehicle ownership – and this time, Davey benefitted
So now Davey could sit forward, kick back, and contemplate
his next non-move from the launch pad in Dodd's room, where so many
philosophical difficulties were ironed out, aided and abetted by whatever
cheapass beer was available by the case or quart.
On that note, Dodd had recently played his cards right after being sickened, or
so he thought, by some Schlitz beer.
“I got pissed off and wrote them a letter,” Dodd said, “and they sent me a
whole friggin case!”
That shut him up quick
made him think himself slick.
But Davey could neverperform such a trick.
Not completely given to grief at the unfortunate loss of his
dear Belvedere, Davey could well have uttered the following stanzas:
“This much should stand clear,
'oer the old Belvedere:
she was a great car
that did not go too far
and regrettably is no longer here.
But yea, have no fear;
Davey's still on the block,
and though sans Belvedere,
he can damn sure still walk!
Next, the planning stage revolved around his return to bicycles as the
preferred mode of transportation.
This was not a complete unknown to Davey, as he had ridden bikes for nearly two
It would be back to Guy Chen's Cycle Shop down on Shilley
Street, where Davey had bought that 20” DeCampli bicycle years ago.
As an aside, don't let the fancy Italian name fool you: that was no thousand
dollar racing machine, but a cheaper knockoff of such models.
This time, Davey sprang $265.00 if memory swerves, for a Fuji 10+ speed in sky
blue. Maybe the rear sprocket had six or seven disks, so likely it was more
than ten speeds, but needless to say, she ROCKED.
Funny, a brand new bicycle could cost as much as an old Belvedere!
As a point of reference, and to be somewhat exact –
something the grate Davey H has never to this day been known for – the Fuji
actually came long before the Belvedere, but for the purpose of this disjointed
non-collection of ill-collocated essays, and in the interest of entertainment
as opposed to accuracy, let's just assume that Davey, being of somewhat sound
mind and shoddy, and moreover occasionally in full, unremitting control of his
faculties, could rest assured that he could at least still get around in a
manner that didn't involve taking an hour to cover a mere two miles.
That hadn't happened to Davey in his peripatetic meanderings, fortunately, but
now, back on a fast bicycle, things could go wrong in a quicker way than on
foot. For one thing, the avid cyclist needed to be ever vigilant of sewer
grates, potholes, rocks, screws, broken glass and other debris on shoulders,
railroad tracks and just plain unforeseen and UNSEEN threats to her/his upright
No kickstand needed; property rights were heeded, with usually no need for
Dodd's Mom occasionally complained when
Davey's bike stuck out too far in what was HER car's cubby, damnit.
So Davey generally took good care to plan it.
But one time, fate intervened.
This was during the era that Dodd was employed as a school bus driver, so that
meant he had most of his days free.
First came his short morning shift, of which Dodd made short shrift.
Dodd could return to his party room and still have ample
time to get wet and sozzed long before the dreaded return trip in the
afternoons when he was slated to take unalterably rowdy kids back home.
This worked out splendidly for Davey, both when he worked a 3 to 11 shift as
well as whilst he was betwixt jobs.
So he and Dodd could party down and be like typical slobs.
Oh, but that one day when Dodd's Mom came up and sheepishly knocked on the
“I'm sorry, Davey,” she said, “but I think I hit your bicycle.”
But that wasn't the worst of it;he respectfully demurred,or rather deferred,so that well-honed worn curse termwould not be heard.
So he just THOUGHT it. Got it?
Sure enough, she had bent the rim, but not irreparably.
What a big lesson! Davey had thought himself so careful with the precious Fuji,
his one and only truly reliable form of transportation. And of all places for a
mishap to happen! At a party site. It didn't seem right.
Davey didn't hold it against her or get mad about it.
Davey forgot what happened after that, so don't ask him.
In closing, it is worth noting that Dodd had his own set of bigger problems to
contend with. Davey had often wondered how Dodd managed to keep a school bus
driving job when he would get so tanked up in the daytime.
It was just common sense, after all. What was WRONG with THAT picture?