Instances of Trouble
At the Barlow School in the eleventh grade, I was involved in numerous instances of trouble. I will elaborate on three. The first was when I was showing off for Lisa D. one of the hottest girls at school, if not the hottest as she was a free spirit with the best looking figure you can imagine. This was a boarding high school of about only 50 students. This was a Thursday afternoon and we snuck off campus to go to the nearest pool hall bar that served pitchers of beer for about $2.50, if my memory serves me well.
This little bar sometimes carded us and I happened to borrow John M.‘s I.D. which stated I was nineteen. I was actually 17. John M.‘s family, (Step.father being Billy Hitchcock), owned the Leary Estate in Millbrook, New York, nearby, This was the house that Timothy Leary traveled to with the famous Magic Bus, in Ken Kesey’s book the Electric Kool-Aid Acid test. The bus was called Furthur and had the Merry Pranksters aboard. So here we are drinking in this little bar in Amenia New York, probably the only bar.
The jukebox only contained a few songs that were cool enough for me so we would play Steve Miller’s Joker and Living in the USA, I believe. The Jukebox may have also contained a Lou Reed song, this was 1974. John M. who’s I.D. I had borrowed, turned me on to Weather Report, Gentle Giant, Lou Reed and the Mahavishnu Orchestra . John McLaughlin. John later went out with Lisa D., because I probably blew my chance with this instance of trouble.
We are drinking pitchers of beer, listening to Steve Miller on John’s I.D. I was on a date and we hitchhiked from school to the town of Amenia, during the afternoon break. We had no Marijuana so the next solution to expanding our minds to escape the doldrums of campus life at Barlow.
The principal explained Barlow life to me, that it was a fish tank and that with a small school such as Barlow everybody knows everything about everybody. He also warned me of the Black Cloud, which is a group of students that controlled the social life on campus that I was entrenched with. The Barlow School was on an old Farm in the middle of nowhere. Amenia was a second close to nowhere spot. So we spend our cash, we got something like five dollars a week from the school. Enough for four pitchers of 3.2 beer, for two students.
We finish the Schlitz Beer, and hitchhike back. Lisa’s got her thumb out and I am sitting on the curb. A New York State Trooper drives by. Being, the belligerent idiot that I was loaded, I say F.U. Pig and flip the bird as he drives by. Hitchhiking was illegal in Amenia.
The cop screeches to a halt backs-up and gets out. He asks me for my I.D. which I produce however I have my own and John M.‘s. The cop arrests me for having John M.‘s wallet, which is mine with two I.D.s. The cop speeds away with me in the cruiser leaving Lisa at the side of the road. The cop drove faster than one hundred miles per hour giving me the adrenaline rush that I never ask for almost making me sick to my stomach.
In the Police Station, I explain that John M. is my roommate, and I just happen to have his I.D. to purchase cigarettes. The cop asks me where my parents are and I attempt to explain that I truly am from Washington D.C., attending boarding school in Amenia New York and that my father is the Deputy Chief of Mission in Cambodia that we are currently bombing.
There is no way to phone my parents as I am a minor and the trooper is contemplating calling the Cambodian desk officer through the State department which I attempt to explain in slurred speech. The state trooper gave up on booking me on any charges once he interviewed John M. at school to see if indeed he lent me his wallet to purchase cigarettes and that I was not a teenage runaway from Washington DC.
What actually saved me was that this trooper served in Vietnam and that because of the fact that my father was serving his country in the American Embassy in Cambodia gave the trooper a connection to me that made him think twice about further intimidating me.
I believe this was the first time that I urinated with handcuffs on. The trooper then puts me back into the cruiser and we head out for school. It is now dinnertime and the whole campus is having dinner. The dinning room cafeteria has a huge window overlooking the campus and every in school is able to see the cruiser arrive with the trooper and me. I am AWOL and someone at our table assigned to me is serving the other students. My campus job was as a server.
We walk into the cafeteria and the trooper speaks to the principal who in turn can’t find John M. anywhere. John was real skinny and missed a lot of meals. The principal verifies that John M. also resides in the Yellow House my dorm and in fact I am Chris Keeley. He can’t verify that I haven’t stolen John M.‘s wallet but will get down to the bottom of the incident. John M. is very reluctant to lend me his I.D. in the future to buy booze so I am shit out of luck.