Alan Catlin

After graduating from

high school, the Kiwanis
invited the seniors to
a yacht club dinner as
a reward for years of Key
Club service. The food
was passable, conversation
with the red neck suits,
surreal, and would have
been unbearable if most
of us weren’t stoned.
After dinner, showing us
around, I stood before
life-sized oil portraits
of the founders: my grand-
father and great uncle,
who never had a real job
in his life. I debated sharing
family lore of how they
were bootlegging rum
from Cuba and Canadian
whiskey from up north.
Business must have been
good given Uncle Manny’s
resume and our relative
affluence during the depression.
I thought: we were men now,
in a smoke-filled room,
sharing man talk, after a couple
of three underage cocktails
but decided some things are
better left unsaid.

In a few years, two of us
would be busted for on campus
drug sales, another would be
a Green Beret and one guy
dead. The rest of us would be
draft dodging and heavily involved
in perusing our college majors
in substance abuse. It was the 60’s
and we were hell-bent and crazy
like everyone else.

By the time Doug

was 16 he was more
junkyard dog than
anything else. Spent
half his time working
the motor shop and
the other half as lord
of the landfill. Knew
where all the stumble
bums hid the good
stuff like Mexican
cigarettes you could get
high from, naked women
with men, white lightning
tequila with the worm
in the bottle. Said, “You
weren’t a man if you
didn’t eat the worm.”
not that anyone had actually
seen him do it. Still,
he always had the goods
people wanted. Those real
fuck books, not the air-
brushed commercial American
bunny ears crap, the hard core
stuff he’d sell you for
a price. No one knew
where in the hell he got
them but I had a good idea.
The musty odor was a dead
give away, not that anyone
cared about that, it was
the pictures they wanted.
Doug always sold out
faster than he could steal them.

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