A great escape?

(From Suburban Misfits)


It is hot at hell, and yet still only early June.

To make matters worse, Officers Capalbo and his batch of bad badge bullies have decided to pick on us Ė again.

They seem to think weíre responsible for all of the unrest on college campuses, and they secretly believe we all dodged the draft.

I keep telling Capalbo I had hippies as much as he does.

But he only looks at my long hair and laughs.

We were friends when I still had short hair, before I hooked up with Pauly and the others.

Now the indignant cop claims Iím as bad as Pauly and maybe worse because I say Iím not.

Maybe thatís what hurts most.

Although I once wanted to be as close to Pauly as anybody, he and the others have grown distant recently as if Iím not good enough for them any more.

Maybe itís because Iíve stopped playing their fool.

Or the fact that I went out and got a real job while they still go on and on about being ďartists.Ē

Yes, I admit, Iím upset about their plans to leave the state, Pauly plotting some magical mystery tour to which I am not invited.

I have to hear it from some barfly at the Old Mill, after she overheard Paulyís talking.

People ask me if Iím excited about making the trip with him, and I have to pretend I am when Iím secretly peeved.

Nobody had any of the details either, so I figure I have to find it all out for myself.

If those creeps are planning some great escape to some really cool place, Iím going with them Ė whether they want me to or not.

I figure Capalbo canít bust me if Iím not around for him to bust.

Let the son of a bitch pick on someone else for a change.

Okay, so I become a real pain in the ass, going to every house of everybody who knows Pauly, figuring one of them has to known something about Paulyís trip.

Most of them would rather find Charles Manson on their door step than me.

After all, Iíve spent years raiding their refrigerators and hogging up their dope so theyíre relieved to find out all I want this time is information.

Anyone of them would give up Pauly in a blink just to be rid of me.

Not everyone knows Paulyís secrets, but enough do for me to learn that heís planning to go to someplace called ďNova Scotia.Ē

I have to look it up on a map, and from that I can tell itís far enough away from New Jersey and far enough north to be a hell of a lot cooler than it is here, in every sense of the word.

Now that I know where heís going, all I have to do is find Pauly and twist his arm until he agrees to take me along, too.

So I go to Robís house, an ivy covered house near the great gorge.

Pauly claims he hangs out there because itís magic. I know he goes there because Rob always has good dope.

Rob is one of the few dead beats Paulyís knows who has a car.

I get there, the car is in the driveway, but nobody answers the door bell.

I know theyíre inside, and can picture the lot of them giggling stoned inside as they try to keep quiet until I go away.

Iím hot, and peeved, and I bang on the door with both fists, shouting at them to send Pauly out or Iíll knock the place down.

Just my luck, Capalbo passes by on patrol and pulls over.

He wants to know what the devil Iím up to and if Iím high again.

I tell him to fuck off.

He tells me heíll haul me into the station for disturbing the peace unless I tell him what he wants to know.

Why the hell am I screaming my head off in front of a house we both know isnít mine?

I say Iím here to see Rob, and Rob wonít open the door.

So Capalbo knocks and tells Rob to open up or else.

Rob gets intimidated easy.

Which is why Pauly gets over on him.

When he edges open the door, he looks like a scared mouse, his long nose twitching through the narrow gap.

He tells Capalbo that heís not supposed to talk to me on account of Paulyís orders.

Nothing sets off Capalbo like the mention of Pauly.

He suddenly starts acting like the real prick he is and demands to know what ďno goodĒ scheme Pauly has up his sleeve this time.

Rob panics, says he has to go now, and slams the door.

Iíve never seen Capalbo so red, and he tells me heís going to help me unravel this mystery, even if he has to kill me to do it.

He orders me into his patrol car.

I tell me Iíd rather walk, even though I know Paulyís house is down by the highway and itíll take me a half hour to get their in this heat.

Capalbo says if I donít get in voluntarily, heíll help me.

I get in.

The air conditioning feels so good after so many hours in the heat, Iím almost grateful, and wonder what it would take for me to become a cop so I could drive around in a car like Capalbo.

We reach Paulyís house just as his parents are going out to shop.

They actually like Capalbo and tell him Pauly has just left to meet up with Hank and if we want to catch him weíd better hurry.

Rob, to may amazement, actually kept a secret for once and managed not to spill the fact that the three of them are headed north TODAY.

We rush to the bus stop with sirens and lights, but find the bench near the park vacant, and the bus long gone.

But which way did Pauly go?

I see a kin in the park I know from my days in high school and roll down the window to ask if he saw where Pauly went.

The kids sees me in the cop car and thinks Iím a narc Ė running away from me as fast as his flat feet can take him.

I know heíll tell everybody Iím a narc, too, and I figure if I canít catch up with Pauly, Iím might have to head out of town anyway, just to let that cool off

Capalbo snorts in the seat beside me like an enraged hog.

He thinks Pauly is one to him, and has deliberately screwed up the trail so we canít follow.

He claims Pauly is trying to make him look like a fool

As if this is difficult.

Worse, he blames me for being part of it and tells me to get the fuck out of his car or heíll shoot me in the head.

I know I ought to feel grateful for his resisting the urge to shoot me or even busting me on some trumped up charge.

But Iím so hot and miserable, I might endure the fingerprinting just to spend a few more hours in cool air.

This pisses me off even more and I charge after the punk kid from the park, and corner him near the tank and tell him Iím really trying to save Pauly, not bust him, and heís got to tell me where Pauly went so I can warn him in time.

I must sound convincing because the kid falls for him, and tells me Pauly and Hank had to go to Hankís house, but would eventually wind up back at Robís place before they all head north in Hankís car.

I go back to Robís and hide in the bushes until Hankís car putts into the drive.

Pauly only blinks when I leap out of hiding and demand to go along.

Always a cool cucumber, Pauly says absolutely not.

I say we ought to hold a vote.

Pauly never feels guilty or scared, but a good glare at the other two will get them to vote for me.

Pauly says, ďno vote,Ē but he gives me a joint to go away, then orders everybody into the car. He even waves at me as he drives away, leaving me in his trail of dust, unlighted joint dangling from my lips Ė which of course Capalbo sees when he pulls up in his patrol car.

And the son of a bitch is grinning.


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