In The Beginning (by Stephán Amery McKenzie)

The scene is something out of “Project X”. An overindulgent two-story mini-mansion with dunk-able sized golden-frosted-tip hedges around the perimeter and opulent towering stone statues on the front and back lawns that would be better stationed at a century-old London castle family cemetery instead of the middle of nowhere, has scantily-clad limbs flailing out of every entry point to this mega-dome; including the three-hundred and sixty-five days Christmas decorated chimney. This further scarred the five-year-old spying from across the street as he gasps in horror. He surveys all the action through his great-great granddad’s World War Two military issued binoculars. I imagine him screaming, “Mom! One of Santa’s naked helpers needs our help!”

​This is the best pool party we have ever thrown, the best of my existence. There is more alcohol than Diageo and Bacardi combined. Every HOT woman and every HOT man in the city is in attendance. They all starved themselves for a month, making two percent milk seem grossly fattening. And of course, they all brought their attractive, but less attractive--than them, friends. So, we all knew there will be guaranteed ‘ass take-out’ when the time comes. Because let us get real, I mean cutthroat real. When it comes down to hitting on confident hot women or hot men (a category I do not fall), you start with the hottest, the top of the sex chain. If unsuccessful, you work your way down to the ‘promising’ hot types. The ones on the cusp. If that does not pan out, you enact a full-court press on the less-secure hot ones. If a bust, well, you end up with the ‘out-to-please’ types. Hence, hooray for the hot person’s not-as-hot and less-than-hot friends.

There is the slickest (can I still say ‘slickest’ in twenty-fourteen?) DJ, this side of the Mississippi, willing to be paid in ‘The Original’ Ecstasy pills, booze, and a guaranteed lay by the Greeting Party (also known as Betty & Boop, blonde and petite orally-fixated twins). Granted, they were not the newest and shiniest edition. They were the slightly used model. But ran like a classic Thunderbird with all the original parts.

The best thing, besides the clang of the tribal, body-vibrating gong that sounds every hour, signifying you ‘have’ to switch an article of clothing (or something you are wearing) with the opposite sex, or be forced to gurgle Magnus Opus’s balls, about this jollification is no fear of the festivities getting shut down. Magnus Opus’s father is the chief of police. It is guaranteed no cops are coming until sundown, unless someone dies, someone kills someone NOT at the party, or one of the actors from the TV show “Chips” shows up (his dad is a huge fan; he has the whole series. His dream is to get each DVD signed).

​GONG! Hold please. This is funny. Missy P is running up to me waving her hands, “Hurry. Hurry.” I kid with her, “Going for a beer run?” “What? We outta beer? I’ll get Poppa Smurf to do that. I gotta pee!” She squeals, as she performs her ballerina version of the pee-pee dance. She gives me her sarong, exposing the tiniest two-piece bathing suit bottom. The lower half of her suit would barely cover a baby hamster and, from what I can tell, there is nothing furry down there. I give her my swimming flippers. She is not pleased. “You really know how to treat a girl,” she jabs, as she waddles away. “So, you are saying taking you to the Post Office for our first date would not be good?” I add to the fresh cut. She flips me off. She falls. She flips me off again. She crawls her way into the nearest port-a-potty.

Let me paint you a picture of the happenings at this little get-together:

In the clubhouse, there are guys smoking ganja through a home-baked three-decker double stuff Oreo contraption, as big as a one-point-five-liter sports bottle, dubbed Cookie Monster’s Cookie-mare.  Dashing Davies harkens me to come over and join them. I pretend I do not see him. I know he is too lazy to try twice; I am in the clear from getting my brain smoked dry.

There is a group of athletes concocting relays that consist of participants blindly choosing slips of paper out of underwear that were previously worn by Snatch Jelly’s pet potbellied pig. The paper would dictate what each team of two ‘had’ to tie-together for each race. In case your imagination is made up of the same stuff as the person who came up with the dunce cap, let me draw you a graphic portrait. Head Cheerleader Chic is tying the two spring musical leads’ tongues together. Hmm. Now she is tying the female doubles tennis champions’ breasts together. Oh my Christmas tree! No she is not! She is tying the Captain of the Football Team and the Captain of the Baseball Team’s penises together (I will let you figure out whose pigskin is thicker). “Ready...Set…,” she says, holding a BB gun in the air. The gun goes off. All three teams crash toward the finish line as spectators throw strawberry jam dipped marshmallows at them.

In the gazebo, yes there is a gazebo too, gamblers gamble with their parents’ money, their rent money, and their children’s savings. I see someone’s father’s Tiger Woods-signed putter scribbled on a piece of paper in the middle of the pot. I hope he wins. His dad likes collecting scars, on his son’s body. He gets too many more, we will have to change his son’s name from ‘Two Pair’ to ‘Intensive Care’.

The dance department is on the second floor of the house. Though they are not as adept or limber as they were ‘back in the day’, they always come up with an original routine during the party to perform. They say it is for us, but we all know it is to prove they still got ‘it’.

I know this sounds like a high school or college party but we are waaaaaaaaaaay past those days. In the beginning, we had decided to throw one last party to end our adolescence. But this is what happens when you are from a small town in the middle of nowhere and no one ever leaves—relive, reenact, regurgitate the best times of our lives (or at least they seem like it since none of us believe we will do anything better). Even if that means acting as if the movie “Pleasantville” has hijacked our little town. Hence the greatest party of my existence to end the greatest summer. And yet… I am not feeling it.

Something is not right. I am usually in the thick of it – high as The Burj Khalifa, as my ass is being tied to some other dude’s ass as we race down a Slip N’ Slide to beat the other hog-tied competitors while fellow partygoers toss peanut butter dipped Twinkies at us.  

But not today.

I usually can be found instigating the girliest of girls to kiss each other, and the most masculine of guys to kiss each other or suffer the consequences of wearing the ‘I Am A Little Bitch’ medal we had made (It is a cat on its hind legs, freaked out. I designed it. We always have an engraver at the party that inscribes the scaredy-cat’s name on it).

But not today.

I would normally be sitting with the committee to create the apparatus for next year’s End of Days Summer’s End Party to smoke out of during the soirée. I spearheaded the sausage link tower we dubbed ‘Smoken’ Dog Tired’. And I consulted on the frozen banana split masterpiece with Ike Turner that made you feel like you were inhaling a soothing cloud of Vic’s cream. It was dubbed ‘Blow Me or Be Slapped’ (the girls named it that by the way).

But not today.

It dawned on me you do not know this colorful group of Fat Albert rejects:

Papa Smurf – He was class president every year since grade school. Every year he would turn blue and puke before every speech, debate, vote and while the winning results were being read. Does not necessarily inspire leadership confidence, but we followed him anyway.

Dashing Davies – Anytime he received any type of sexual affection he would immediately run all the way home. It did not matter where he was, how late it was, or who was providing the sexual affection. If he was hugged sexually, he would run. If a girl had a crush on him and kissed him, he would run. The first time he had sex, his girlfriend had to not touch him. Let me explain. She was standing, pressed against a wall with her right leg elevated as high she could (with assistance from a nightstand) for easy access. He walked up and, with precision accuracy, inserted his penis without ‘coming’ into contact with anything else. After amassing cheetah speed in forty-two seconds (YES, she timed it. We, including her, were all amazed it lasted that long with his ‘track record’), his body opened the ‘release valve’. Upon experiencing this virgin flood of sensation, he immediately ran home; butt naked while his appendage was still ‘releasing’. She got three counties over in hopes it would keep him from dashing off. Nope. His parents found him asleep, butt naked, alongside a dirt road, thirty-three miles from where his girlfriend called them in a panic.

Magnus Opus – Simple. He has the biggest balls of anyone at our school, any school for that matter. How did we know? We had a ball–off; anyone balls enough put their baby sacks next to his.  He won by several ounces.

Snatch Jelly – First, let me preface this with the notion that Snatch Jelly fancies himself an avant-garde artist. He wanted to do something no one has ever done since he was three years old, according to his favorite Aunt Greta. As the story goes, he started collecting his ‘jelly’ ever since he could… ‘extract’ it from himself. He wanted to build on that premise and began collecting others’ ‘jelly’, including his friends. If this meant walking around with an ultra violet light in people’s bedrooms and cutting out patches of sheets or stealing fully intact underwear then that is what he did. (I think we are still friends with him because either we really want to see the end result of this life-long ‘jelly’ project or we are afraid if he is a serial killer and we are hoping he will not kill us since we are his friends).

​Ike Turner – Not what you think. Unfortunately, it is the exact opposite. Never understood how or why, but all of this guy’s female sexual partners beat on him! It was sooo sad. Even if the girl had not hit anyone in her previous relationships and never again in a future one, she hit him. Maybe we named him that to build up his self-confidence, or Karma for the original Ike Turner. Who knows.

Missy P – If you have not figured it out already, she always has to pee.

My best mate walks up to me, pinches me on my ass. Always the left check for some reason. Kisses the back of my neck (he has been drinking) and says, “You’re not feeling it, are you?” “You came over here because Laurie sent you, huh?” Laurie is his girl-wife. They have been dating TEN YEARS. My oldest friend in the world cannot, or will not, pull the trigger. He loves her, there is no doubt. He is faithful and that is a first. But something holds him back. We have the best ‘threesome’. The best threesome you could ever have because there is no sex. So, it is not complicated. Yet with three times the love, respect, and honoring any threesome could desire. “Does it matter? I’m high. I’m trying to get drunk. My mom just ‘disappeared’ again, and Magnus Opus’s father just called to remind me to save his cop buddies some of the ‘good stuff’ before the reefers smoke it all. So, I apologize that I don’t want to deal with the fact one-third of me is going to leave me again,” he says, jovially fighting back emotion. “What? That is crazy-talk!” I unconvincingly spouted to dismiss the truth. Right then, the post-nerds, who now made more money than most of the revelers in attendance, but still desired to be cool and come to the party they were shut-out of in their youth, fulfilled their promise. This was, they could gain entry into the party every year if every year they devised something to stamp the event. One year a horde of balloons descended on the party, when they popped glue-filled glitter sprayed everywhere. It was perfect because that year the theatre-dance folks did a nineteen-seventies revival of Jesus Christ Superstar and took the glitter as their cue. Two years ago, they cut the power and released a hundred or so doves that were genetically modified so they glowed in the dark. On impulse, we all started singing “Little Drummer Boy” as Michal Jackson’s “Black or White” played in the background.

As my best-bro and I look up to see what is happening in the sky, fireworks erupt. These are special fireworks. It is day time. They somehow orchestrated black-star formed fireworks to shoot over the house. To add icing on this already fantastical cake, each firework is supposed to have each guest’s name in the center. The stars were modeled after the ones on the infamous Hollywood Boulevard. Except there must have been a glitch in the program. I am assuming my name was inputted first in the program because all the stars rocketing over the house had my name in the center.

​My bro-husband pulls me in tight, his lip quivers as he remarks, “You’re going back, aren’t you?” I hate to admit it to him. Or maybe I just hate admitting it to myself. He is right. I am leaving, again. Going back to the land that was once my home that I so quickly ran away from. I kiss him on the forehead then confess, “Yep. I guess I was…looking for a sign.”