Usually, walking around Myrtle Beach for me back then was one of those magic experiences that only a young person can experience. In those days, I would stroll around aimlessly in search of whatever cool thing might happen next. No plans, no schedule, no cares and of course, looking back on it now…..
No freakin’ CLUE!
It was a wonderful time in my life.
I would love to think that EVERY young person could experience such a carefree time..at least for a year or two anyway. Life gets really serious after a certain age. I think everyone should be a _________ (fill in your description of such a person…hippy, derelict, bum, bohemian, etc.) for a year or so.
It nourishes the soul, defies barriers and reveals character.
I can remember getting up in the morning, eating half of a left over sandwich procured from a cooler full of cheap beer, smoking a joint and wandering off down the beach with absolutely NO plans. I remember running into friends and acquaintances and total strangers and getting caught up in one adventure after another.
Hell, I met a girl one morning at a breakfast buffet joint with whom I struck up a conversation. I was doing what any starving artist did in a cheap restaurant which advertised an ‘All You Can Eat Breakfast Bar’ at the time….I was filling my second or third plate and several pockets of a winter Army coat in the middle of July with mass quantities of food to feed my voracious youthful appetite.
She was probably nineteen years old and wearing as little as was allowed in a public place. A thin yellow halter top and a white bikini bottom. Not to mention a ‘please make love to me’ grin.
I can’t say that this is a verbatim account of the conversation but…it’s damned close.
“Hey there……I saw you play a couple of nights ago.” She cooed. “I really enjoyed it.”
I grinned and basked in the praise while piling food on my overburdened plate.
“What are you doing today?” she asked. “Maybe we could make love.”
Before the reverberation of her words on my ear drums had subsided, I was on my way to jump into her Corvette! It was a ridiculous orange color but DAMN! It was a brand new ‘Vette’ with side pipes and much to my delight…
She tossed me the keys!
Her name was Debbie Shook. Go sue me…that was her name and I’ve never seen her again but…she was HOT!
I remember spending the entire day cruising Ocean Boulevard occasionally stopping at one bar, beach, restaurant or the other.
The memory is etched in my mind for a couple of reasons.
Back then, the premier social activity was joining the mass of traffic on the two laned Ocean Boulevard and traveling at a blistering two miles per hour while hollering at the pedestrian traffic and sharing joints with perfect strangers. Several times during the day, we returned to her motel room, made love and headed back out onto the town.
While that IS a great memory……..the ONE dominant memory is that, at least twice that day, while exiting the ‘Vette', I accidentally laid the back side of my left calf onto the red hot side pipes of that damned car!!
MAN that shit HURT!! I had a HUGE blister for a week or two.
Of course, we made love on the beach that night as well and…by that time…I had a few blisters elsewhere!
Ah to be young and incredibly horny!
Another great memory is playing at a place called ‘The Upper Room’ and being invited to play at a private party the next day. Before I knew it, I was on a private plane flying to Key West where I spent one hell of week and arrived back in Myrtle Beach $500.00 richer! Dear God…that was BIG bucks back ‘in the day’!
Okay….back to the story.
I finally found Grunt at an Arcade in Ocean City. He was half stoned/drunk and in no mood to be pulled away from his quest of the record on the SuperBoy pinball machine.
“Give me a minute dude…..I’m almost there!” He shouted.
I can recall going over to the snack stand and grabbing a hot dog and a beer while I waited for him to tilt the machine. While I munched on the dog and drank the beer, damned if Steve didn’t come boppin’ in!
Damn was I glad to see him!!
I walked over to him urgently and our eyes met.
I’ll never forget the look on his face.
Looking behind him, I could see three county sheriff officers and of course…I knew we were busted!
Oddly enough, I couldn’t get mad at Steve for giving us up. As I later found out, one of the ‘victims’ of our alleged crime spree knew Steve’s name but, even before I knew that…I couldn’t get mad at him.
Hell, we were all caught up in a situation that had careened WAY out of control!
Sure, he had given us up but DAMN….we were being accused of some SERIOUS shit!
As I was beginning to accept the fact that I was about to be arrested, Steve and I discovered that Grunt had no intention of being so forgiving toward Steve.
He took one look at Steve and the constabulary and went absolutely crazy!
Before I knew what was happening, he lunged at Steve and delivered a horrendous right hand to his unsuspecting face. Steve went down and Grunt went after the first cop with a fury I had never seen!
He kicked him in the groin and headed toward the second and third officer. I watched as he grabbed the next officer by the arm and slung him onto a SkeeBall alley as though he were a rag doll. By then, the third much older officer had pulled his pistol but, he wasn’t nearly quick enough. Grunt rushed him head on and they went down in a heap as the cop’s pistol went off.
Holy shit!! People went scurrying and screaming everywhere!
To this day, I don’t know what possessed me to do it but I ran over to where the officer and Grunt had landed. I jumped on Grunt’s back and did my best to subdue him as he was wrestling with the older cop. Between the two of us, we managed to get him under control and before I knew what was happening, the three of us were handcuffed and on our way to jail in three separate vehicles!
I remember thinking of what my Grandaddy Rock used to say….
“Boy…..no good turn goes unpunished!”
In my mind, I had saved a cop from getting his ass kicked and here I was going to jail on a bunch of trumped up charges!
Oh well….such is life.
To Be Continued…..