Memoir of a War Resister—A Novel of the 1960s

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Chapter 23—"I Go To Pieces"

“Big party at Stinson’s tonight. Want to go?” R.J. asked me the next Friday night.

“Who the hell is Stinson?”

“New Sociology professor.”

I thought about the parties my dad used to throw for students. Sit around and play games. Banana splits for dessert. “Doesn’t sound like much fun.”

“He’s a cool dude. Promise.”

Stinson lived in a small house about a half-mile south of campus. On the walk over, R.J. pulled out some hash he scored straight from Turkey, the type of hash that got you stoned looking at it. Take a toke and you were more than stoned. Take a few tokes and you were way beyond stoned. I toked and handed it to R.J. He toked and handed it back. I kept smoking and was way beyond stoned by the time we got to Stinson’s. Way way beyond stoned. Way ‘dizzy the world is tilting’ kind of stoned. ‘Everything has a hazy glow around it’ kind of stoned. ‘I might fall on my ass if I’m not careful’ kind of stoned.

We entered the side door of Stinson’s house. Incense burned on every counter in the kitchen. Six people were gathered round the kitchen table. I could see another half dozen people in the living room on the couch or on one of the beanbag chairs scattered on the floor. I sat down at the table next to R.J.

“That is the biggest jar of Vitamin C I ever saw in my life.” I picked up the huge jar. Seven hundred and fifty chewable tablets, multi-berry flavor. “What’s up with that?” The jar glowed.

The guy next to me said, “Some scientist guy by the name of Pauling said Vitamin C was the answer to everything. Stinson said if we were going to smoke dope we had to eat a C.” I opened the jar and picked out a red one. It didn’t taste like a lifesaver.

The guy across from me lit up a couple joints. The girl next to him took a joint and smiled. She had huge teeth. Panther teeth. She inhaled and laughed and the teeth disappeared. The other joint went the other way. I was smart enough to know that they were going to get to me about the same time. I was so smart I could hardly believe it. One came to me as I finished sucking on my Vitamin C and I toked. The joint was in my mouth when the second one came from the right. I handed the first to R.J. and savored the second for a couple of tokes. What was I doing? I was already beyond stoned.

Sitar music came from the stereo in the other room. “I want the Beatles,” I called out. R.J. put his hand over my mouth to keep me quiet.

Someone handed me a bowl filled with glowing round cookies. I put one in my mouth. “Damn, that’s good.” I took ten of those cookies and placed them in a line on the table in front of me. I put them in my mouth whole one after another.

“Where is Stinson?” I asked.

I almost forgot I asked the question when the girl across the table, who now had a pink halo around her head, said, “He disappeared a long time ago. Told us to make ourselves at home.”

“Where is he?” I asked.

“Who knows?” she said. She smiled again with those panther teeth, the pink halo turned green.

“Who cares?” I said. At that point, I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore. "I need to lie down somewhere," I said to R.J.

R.J. carried me to one of the beanbag chairs in the living room. He took my pants off. Then he was inside of me. But it wasn’t me that felt it. His breathing was hard and fast. He came as I passed out.

As the sky lightened I woke still curled up in a fetal position on the beanbag chair, my pants on the floor next to me. I had to pee. I stood up, grabbed my pants and stepped over two bodies on the floor in front of me. I walked to the bathroom, peed, put on my pants, splashed some cold water on my face and rubbed some toothpaste on my teeth with my finger.

I walked back in the living room to look for R.J. He was one of the two bodies on the floor, entwined with that girl, both of them with their pants off, both of them fast asleep. I was the only one awake in the whole house.

I kicked him. “Wake up.” He moaned and put his arm tighter around the girl. “I said wake up.” I kicked him harder.

“Shut up. We’re sleeping,” someone said from the couch.

“I don’t give a fuck what you’re doing,” I turned back to R.J. “What's this all about?” I pointed to the naked girl next to him.

He looked up at me, still half asleep. “You passed out on me,” he said. “What was I supposed to do?”

“What were you supposed to do? You weren’t supposed to fuck someone else when you’re my boyfriend,”

The guy from the couch again said, “Shut up.”

“Fuck you,” I said back to him.

“Don’t get so bent out of shape,” R.J.

I leaned down close to R.J. and spit in his face, “I’m done with you.”

He grabbed my leg as I stepped over him. "Let go of me," I shouted.

He wiped the spit off. “This isn’t over, you know. You’ll be back.”

I looked at the pathetic man lying there and knew then and there that it was over. I turned and left. I found a joint sitting on the kitchen table and smoked it as I tried to find my way to campus.

It was a harder task than I anticipated. I had not paid too much attention on the way. I was angry at R.J. for doing some chick when I was passed out. I was angry at myself for passing out. Then a thought came to me. What am I doing? Here I am stoned again. After smoking more than I should have last night. After having sex with him in the living room in front of everyone. After passing out. What am I doing with my life? I stopped walking and stood there for a while. Why was I even with a guy like that?

More thoughts came. Maybe if I quit chasing the pain with cheap wine and dope like Ginger said. Maybe if I quit thinking that a quick fuck would move Jeff out of my head. Maybe if I did what my dad and Jake told me to do and stay true to myself. Maybe if I listened to Hook’s warnings. Maybe then the pain would go away.

I found my car and started driving. I needed sleep. I was surprised ten minutes later to find myself knocking on Hook’s door. It was 6:45 a.m.

U.S. Soldier Body Count: 34,074

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