Starlight Starbright

10 – Guy Time Confessional

Chapter 10 – Guy Time Confessional


Someone was leaning heavily on the car horn and perplexed, Eric looked out the window to see who the fool was. "Jackie….who drives that silver car?"

She walked up behind him to look out at the drive, "Silly….that's your ride to the fishing shack…remember? You guys all get together in the winter and go fishing and do some bonding or something….I forget what Brooke calls it. Eric! You're not even dressed!"

Eric was drawing a blank until he remembered Christmas Eve:….Fez had dropped the boys off after the Santa visit and Fez whispered, "Don't forget this weekend….the fishing shack!" That was this weekend? He didn't fish! That was something his dad did…or used to do.

Panicked, he turned around, "Help me get ready?"

Jackie smiled," Your overalls are on the bed and there's a spare pair of dry socks in the duffel." She turned up a cheek for a kiss. Eric looked over at Ben who was playing on the floor. "Kiss her daddy!"

Eric dropped a chaste kiss on Jackie's cheek but when her arm snaked around his neck for a sweet hot kiss, any thoughts of a fishing shack disappeared. His arm went around her waist and she whispered, "Say it."

"You're hot." He whispered back.

She smiled against his mouth. "Sorry….wrong again." Withdrawing from his embrace, she pointed towards the bedroom, "Don't make Fez wait too long…it's cold out there."

Eric looked at Ben to determine what he did wrong, but the little boy shrugged his shoulders and went back to playing with his Batmobile.

The Tempo backed out the driveway with a shout from Jackie about not forgetting the New Year's Eve party the next day. Fez grinned, "You lucky sonuvabitch – partying with Pam and Jack. I'm so jealous."

Eric frowned, "Is this a family thing?"

Fez laughed, "No….just since Jack got out of prison…oh….three years ago! That celebration is THE most popular party in Point Place! You have to get me and Laurie invited!"

Eric did not have a clue about what to expect. He still hadn't met Jack or Pam and tomorrow would be a mystery….wait a sec….tomorrow was New Years Eve again! There was still too much to learn while he was here. "Sure buddy, I'll get you invited."

Fez almost giggled with glee, "Oh goody! I'm going as Zorro! What are you going to be this time?"

It was a costume party? Oh Crap. "I….I don't know. I haven't decided."

Fez shook his head, "Yeah…I think that dressing as Luke Skywalker has just worn itself out. You should go as…I know! A Ghostbuster! You'll be Dan Ackroyd….Dr. Raymond Stantz…..and oh! Yes! I can be Peter Venkman, the ladies man. Oh Eric, this is wonderful! "

Eric hadn't been to the movies in a long long time so he was clueless about what a Ghostbuster was, but he was sure that Fez would help him with the costuming. A New Year's Eve party with his fictional wife – what a concept!

Fez pulled into a snow covered parking loot and took a cooler out of the back of the trunk. Eric was curious, "Dude, I don't even have a fishing license or a pole for that matter."

Fez only laughed and trudged through the snow, indicating Eric should follow. Eric shouted, "Are you sure this is something we do all the time?"

That only made Fez laugh louder, "Eric….you are a silly guy…ayiiii...hurry up because it's freezing."

The door to the fishing shack looked eerily like the one his dad used to use to go ice fishing. Oh boy, this was going to be such a freaking good time. Eric could feel the sarcasm oozing out and tried to stop it because this might be the only other time he'd ever get time to spend with his supposed brother-in-law.

"DUDE!" You made it!" A thirty-something pudgier Michael Kelso lunged at Eric for a monkey hug! "I got beer and the good stuff!"

Eric was staggered. "Kelso? Oh-my-god! I haven't seen you in ages!" The years had been good to his older friend. A couple lines around the eyes and a definite receding hair line but he looked good!

"Man…did you hit your head or something? You saw me last week!" Kelso exclaimed.

Fez laughed and set the cooler on the floor and opened the lid. "I brought the beer and the fish."

Eric didn't know what to say. He was in a shack with his two buddies and it was like the years had slipped away. "Hey….we got…lots of…beer!"

Kelso sat on a worn wooden bench and held up a scrunched brown paper bag and waved it in the air. "Compliments of our friend Hyde!" He grinned. "This time he sent his private plane."

Fez pulled some rolling papers out of his jacket pocket "Let the party begin."

Eric fell down onto a stool. He was stymied. What was going on and where was Hyde?

Kelso popped open a beer and passed it over the ice hole. "Eric…hey dude, you need to relax. We got the fish in the ice chest this time so Jackie won't' get suspicious."

Fez laughed, "Yeah, I guess she figured out that we didn't really catch tuna so that was a dumb idea and the last time I send your sister to the grocery store!"

The tiny little *circle* had been reborn. Eric couldn't remember the last time he inhaled with his friends. This little escape from the craziness that was this life, this week, was a welcome respite. Eric leaned back against the shack walls and let the mellow feeling wash over him. It was exactly what he needed at that time.

They had smoked two more joints and dropped the supermarket fish in the water to keep them icy cold. Fez pulled out three Hershey Bars and passed them around. "I'm not such a candy hog these days….have to be a good example to my little Farrah…plus I don't want to pay for braces."

Eric decided that this would be the perfect time to get some of the answers he needed. He feigned that he was more stoned that he actually was and looked at Kelso with a mournful expression. "Dude."

Kelso looked at his friend."Dude?"

Eric scrubbed his face. "Man, I've been having these weird dreams….I can't tell Jackie cuz she wouldn't understand. I can talk to you guys…right?"

Fez leaned so far forward he almost fell in the ice hole. "Tell us Eric. We need to help you."

Kelso nodded ambitiously, "C'mon man, I need something to take my mind of shit."

Eric tried to look contrite but his friends were eager for him to speak so he began. "I think I have another life. I think I live in Chicago and I work for a Chicago newspaper and I live with Donna."

Kelso's mouth fell open. "You have a secret life?"

Fez was shocked, "How is this possible?

Eric could see this was not going as he expected so he held up a hand and said, "Wait a minute. It's not a secret…it's a dream guys….a dream. I just can't remember anything of this life before Christmas. I need you guys to tell me what happened."

Kelso slapped his thighs. "I knew it. You were abducted by aliens." He looked at the roof of the shack for confirmation of his brilliant deduction.

Fez frowned. "I was an illegal alien but now I'm not now, so….I don't think he was kidnapped."

Kelso looked at Fez, "No you tool…by a UFO….a flying saucer came down and took Eric to outer space – you know, they take over our bodies and….."

"Guys no! There was no alien and no other dimensions…." Eric knew that was what Kelso was thinking and it was confirmed by the open mouth speechless Michael Kelso's expression. "Think guys. What could have happened?"

Fez bit off a piece of his Hershey bar. "In this other life….are we in it?"

Eric paused to think. He didn't really stay in touch with his older friends, "Um…you could be..but no…not in that 1989."

Kelso's brows were furrowed. "Astronauts man. You were kidnapped by NASA and put in some mind control project and….hey…wait a minute…we're not in your other life? What kind of life is that any ways?"

Fez nodded, "True. Eric…tell me…what did you do at your newspaper?"

"I a copy editor."

Kelso pointed an accusing finger, "See! You were copying being an editor! That wasn't really you. It's mind control."

Fez dismissed the indictment and continued his questioning, "So….you say you live with Donna. Our Donna who lives in New York, London, Chicago and San Francisco? That Donna?"

Kelso had a proud moment. "Yeah, she sent me a set of monkey paws from China…did I show you guys? They are really cool."

Eric frowned. Donna really did go big time. So when he broke into her apartment in Chicago, it was just one of many others. Wait a minute, what did Kelso say about Hyde and a private plane? There was so much he still didn't know.

Fez looked at Eric over steepled fingers, "So in this other 1989 you talk about….you are NOT married?"

Eric shook his head no.

Fez sighed, "So then I'm assuming you don't have a family….how do you spend your free time?"

Kelso lifted a brow – this was an interesting question. "Yeah, what did you do for fun?"

Eric was taken aback. This was a legitimate question with no real good answer. When was the last time he had fun? "I went to a couple of film premieres….I visit the library – for research of course….god, I WAS boring. But let me tell you, I was really good at my job. I was popular and had my own assistant and made a ton of money."

Fez shook his head sadly. "Money can buy friends – not make them. Sounds like you were lonely. Why didn't you call us?"

Kelso spoke up, "If you were swimming in money, you could have taken a vacation like we did last year at the lake. Hey Fez, remember when Ben threw up on the picnic table? I thought Brooke was gonna pass out."

Fez laughed, "Made Farrah sick. Laurie was in the splash zone." Kelso giggled, "Damn that was funny. Seriously Eric, you don't remember?"

He shook his head with regret – yeah, it would be funny to see Laurie get barfed on and the commotion that would inevitably ensue….he just didn't remember it. Fez had a *aha* moment. "You know what else you forgot?"

Eric shrugged – this felt like he was being on a celebrity roast. "What did I forget?"

Fez sniggered. "There was this time last year when you were gonna take a shower but stepped on a fork and it jammed in your big toe." Kelso began chuckling also and continued the story. "Yeah, your kitchen sink broke so Jackie was washing dishes in the bathtub and you forgot! You were hopping around with a fork sticking out of your toe! Even I haven't done that one!"

Fez laughed, "Your mom tried not to laugh, but she drove you to the hospital and you cried like a little baby after the tetanus shot."

Eric could only imagine that walking around with a fork in his foot that would thoroughly entertain these nuts. "But seriously, why was my sink broke?"

Kelso sobered up a bit, "Dude…you bought a fixer-upper and I'm putting an emphasis on fixer."

Chewing on another piece of Hershey's, Fez swallowed and added, "Yeah, Ben's room had a hole in roof for like six months."

Eric was aghast that his little family, albeit pretend family, had to live with a bad roof and poor kitchen plumbing. Surely his dad helped out….wouldn't he?

Kelso continued to laugh, "Yeah and Red said that learning to fix your own shit would make you a better home owner."

"As if….." Fez continued to laugh. He rolled up one more last joint, lit it and inhaled before passing it to Eric. Pinched fingers took the weed from his brother-in-law and Eric took a big hit. He had to! A school teacher's salary and he couldn't afford to hire a plumber? What kind of husband and father was he? Jackie washing dishes in the bathroom? Damn, she must really love his poor ass.

She didn't deserve to live like that and the boys shouldn't grow up needing the basics. Surely there was a job that paid more than a school teacher! That was something that needed to be investigated.

Eric had one more question.

"Guys?" He said on the exhale, "Humor me. What happened to Hyde?"

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