Kendra was so beautiful she made me uncomfortable in my house. Even though she was with her boyfriend John, her beauty (and my attraction to her) would prevent us from ever having a normal relationship.
They came up from Philly with Pete, in Pete’s 240 Volvo, with his pit-bull Mimi, a drum kit, a couple electric guitars, and amps. Though Mimi was mellow as far as pit-bulls go, she took a liking to our dog Chumley, and would dry-hump him upon arrival, leaving Chumley looking ashamed.
Pete, John and Kendra came that weekend so we could record some music. Pete thought I could sing (which wasn’t true), because I told him I could when we met at an Irish sports bar, a few weeks before.
Kendra’s boyfriend John was a sound engineer who took things apart and put them back together. He was one of those people who wouldn’t look you square in the eye when you talked, and couldn’t sit still. There was always some low-level argument going on between him and Kendra, and I felt for her.
Pete and I went to grade school together but were never friends, because I got put in the Gifted classes, and Pete was in another section. Back then, he was just another awkward looking kid with poker-straight hair and freckles. When I saw him at the Irish bar 20 years later, he was wearing artsy glasses and donning a thrift-store hat.
We got the equipment set up and I offered them a drink. Kendra was allergic to alcohol and John wasn’t in the mood. Pete and I got into some German beer, and I got out the cigars. They asked about the hot tub, and could we check it out?
We went outside on the deck, overlooking the valley below, and all three of them started taking their clothes off. I was left to do the same. We got in and sat in the water puffing our cigars, looking out the window of the hot tub. Kendra took tokes off John’s cigar, and coughed.
At once, they all got out and without a word, dried off and went inside. The music was unremarkable, and I mumbled my way through it, aping Jim Morrison, Calvin Johnson, and Damo Suzuki.
John was concerned that Kendra would be allergic to the down pillows, and asked if they could sleep elsewhere. Though it was nearly midnight, he suggested they drive back to Philly. But Pete had a half a dozen other musicians planned to come up the next day, for the real recording, and so he talked John down, and John went off into the study to be alone.
Kendra had jet-black hair cut in tight bangs like an Egyptian princess. She made life-sized puppets for theater productions, and through the haze of alcohol and lust, I imagined she resembled the same puppets she made, whose eyes were as large and bright as hers, and whose skin, the same bone China white.
The others turned up on Sunday, and I immediately regretted letting Pete organize the session: they had come with carloads full of gear, girlfriends, dates, bottles of wine. I didn’t know any of them. And it wasn’t my house, it was my parent’s.
My step-dad collected African robes though, and I offered one to everyone who came. There were about 20 of us, and we all got into the robes and giggled at one another. We looked like a white-guy’s version of the Sun Ra Arkestra, which was ironic since (like Sun Ra) everyone lived in Philly and liked playing experimental Jazz.
We plugged in and started recording, filling the house with sound and pushing the dogs to the periphery. It started to snow, and I killed the lights so we could enjoy the glow of white on the inside of the house.
More friends of Pete’s turned up: the guy who owned the Army Navy store downtown, his girlfriend, and their roommate who had recently kicked heroin.
With the snow, it wasn’t safe for them to drive, so I offered to let them spend the night. The roommate was nervous and scratching his arms though, and having a hard time staying clean. I was worried he would find the handguns, so I stayed up with him until morning.
Drew woke me a couple hours later, saying Emmet was gone. He was scratching at the door, so Drew let him out with the other dogs, but Emmet never came back.
Mom called a few hours later from France, asked if Emmet was okay, said she had a bad dream about him. We launched a search and rescue, but he never was found.