The Party

When I was riding around with my sister in New York City, something caused us to talk about my teenage mishaps. It wasn’t very long before “The Party” came up. Since the blogosphere is mostly dead these days, I don’t feel guilty about telling you a high school story.

It was November of 1997. I was a high school senior. At the time the only residents of the house were my mother, younger sister, and me. My mother was set to go to the west coast for a week on business and was taking my sister with her for some reason I don’t remember. Learning this, that Monday I did what any reasonable kid at 17 would do.

“Hey guys, party at my place on Friday”

Word filtered through the school quickly. By the end of the week, people were coming up to me regularly saying they heard about the party and were excited. I was sent to Deep Cover’s to stay with him and his family while my family was gone. On that Friday I got together with a bunch of guys and went to my house. A few went to get the keg, one went for solo cups, and the rest of us made phone calls and sent pages (pre cell phone boom, people). The keg arrived and we tapped it and had our first beers of the night. I don’t remember what time people started to arrive.

Really it was a blur. Before I knew it, the basement and foyer was packed. Moving around was difficult. McLean, Langley, and O’Connell were all out in force. Graduated seniors from the class of 1997 were there. I was in a bit over my head. Someone came looking for me, telling me that a female friend had just got there and was looking for me upstairs. I went upstairs and was told that a male soccer player had taken her “upstairs to find me.” Thinking something was up since nobody was upstairs, I ran up the stairs and was met mid-flight by my friend coming down the other way. She hugged me, telling me that the soccer player took her into a dark room and told her I was “right in here.” Sleazy.

As the night wore on, the party was still going strong. The keg was tapped and a couple guys made a beer run, trying to beat the midnight cutoff. A group of 20 or so of us were in the foyer and 2 people were leaving out the front door. One of them turned around and shouted “Guys! Guys! The cops!” and we all ran for the doorway to the basement. We funneled down the narrow stairway and into the basement, as people went out the side entrance that leads to the lower level of the deck, jumped the railing and ran into the woods. I’d already been collecting bottles, cans, and cups in garbage bags and those were heaved into the woods. Everyone was out except me. I ran and grabbed the empty keg, moving it to a place behind a door and throwing a sheet over it. I looked around and it hit me like a ton of bricks.

The front door was wide open.

I ran back upstairs and saw the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man of all cops standing in the open doorway with a flashlight, shining it around the foyer and then shining it in my face.

“Can I help you?” I asked, squinting into the light.

“Where’s the party?”

“Party?” I watched as kids ran from the woods behind the cop and down the street to their cars. “What party?”

“All the people that were just here?”

“Oh. I had a few friends over, a bunch of people heard about it and tried to crash it. I sent them all away.”

“Did you know it’s illegal for a minor to have alcohol?”

“There’s no alcohol here,” I said, ignoring the bottle of Jim Beam on the stairs behind me to my right, “the people that were here must’ve had it, but I told you I sent them away.”

“Party’s broken up,” he said into his radio, “there’s nothing here.”

He left.

Once the bacon smell faded, people started coming back to the house. One was looking in the woods for her pager, lost during the escape but on vibrate so paging it to hear the beep wasn’t helping. Deep Cover, House, and current Roommate 2 came back after running through the woods, walking through a creek, and at least a full mile if not a mile and a half to Deep Cover’s house to get his car and come back to my house. Supposedly Deep Cover kept saying “it’s just a little further”, but he was also very drunk. There were a bunch of leaves and stuff in the basement. I decided to come back early in the morning and clean it up. I went back to Deep Cover’s house and went to sleep.

I was awakened by the phone ringing. I heard DC’s mother answer and come down the stairs. She came into one of his brother’s old rooms where I was sleeping and gave me the phone.

“Hello?”

What I learned next was each of the following:

1) I should’ve cleaned up before I left or gotten up much earlier
2) The housekeeper came to pick something up in the morning and saw the mess and called my mother
3) My mother was very pissed and quite capable of stringing together enough expletives to make even me blush

I didn’t even get a word in edgewise.

Knowing that I was doomed, I carried on like I would have anyway. It was either cheerleading regionals or states and a few of our girls had broken curfew the night before to attend the party (there was a phone check to ensure all the girls were home). I went in support of a few friends of mine who were on the squad. I walked into the Robinson gym and found many of the people who had been at my house the night before. They bombarded me with questions about what happened. Our girls did not win that day. I wonder how much, if anything, I had to do with it.

Deep Cover and I met a few others out later in the evening. When we returned to his house my mother’s car was out front. My heart nearly stopped. I guess she’d hopped on the next flight out. I was grounded indefinitely, a period that amounted to 3 weeks or maybe a month – mostly because I was as annoying as I could be while grounded. I missed a few parties but my own party had the unexpected side effect of showing my mother that I was not this innocent angel of a kid and that I was going to get into shit sometimes so after I was ungrounded I had almost no restrictions on what I could do and no real curfew under which to operate.

To this day “The Party” is talked about among those of us who are still around that were there whenever we get nostalgic. We talk about how House one-hopped the fence railing despite being bigger than everyone else who couldn’t do that, and how most of the thrown trash bags crashed into the first line of trees in the woods and made the most noise they could have, and how that was the night we first discovered that Deep Cover turns thermometer red when he has so much as a sip of alcohol. Greatest party ever.

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