Driving across Maryland in the middle of the night, from a state campground back to our flat in Ocean City. The end of the summer, college graduation, months spent standing around with lagers and our guts hanging out, passing pipes, sleeping in late, working until four in the morning delivering pizzas.
Driving across Maryland for what seems like hours on some shit-road, we get the idea to turn off the headlights, to see what it would be like. Your eyes get used to it, the light from the moon, the reflection on the sand and the dunes. The glow of the speedometer on the dash is the vision of the future as seen through the eyes of the year 1984, a Ford Thunderbird.
Music on the cassette by the artist Colin Newman, singer for the band Wire, a record called Singing Fish, where each song is called Fish 1 or Fish 2, and so on. It is deeply moody, dark, intense, difficult. Just like me and Dave.
Dave plays piano at funerals and weddings, makes about a hundred dollars a pop. He almost graduated from college but fell short by a couple credits and said screw it, he would leave home and move with us to the beach anyway.
Three of us share a one bedroom, and there is no AC. The property manager is a drunk named Glen who was in the Marines and props himself up against the rickety walkway overlooking the Texaco on Division Street, his shirt off, smoking and talking shit all night.
I should have come here earlier, to the beach. I’m only 21, but it’s already too late. I can’t get laid for the life of me, and I’m delivering pizzas, selling fudge and taffy out of the Candy Kitchen, getting caught in the back room taking hits off the nitrous tank.
We get off from the late shift about 4 AM, and drive down to the beach: they surf, and I sit on blankets with the cold sand drinking cans of beer and talking up one of the girls. She likes my music, “This Mortal Coil.”
There is always sand on the floor, in the apartment, at the beach. Your feet harden to the heat of the ground, and the boardwalk, and soon you walk barefoot, everywhere. I leave in a huff, I don’t show up for my last shift, and I don’t collect my last check because I’m embarrassed I blew them off. I move back home and get an apartment by the art museum, put in an application at the Domino’s Pizza.