when he opened his eyes again, he saw he was not alone.
two people were standing over him.
two uniformed police officers. a man and a woman, both young, both white.
jerry smiled up at them. “good morning.”
“good morning,” the male officer answered.
jerry held his hand up. “think you could give me a hand?”
the officer pulled jerry to his feet.
jerry felt in his pockets. whew! his wallet was there. and his keys. and his phone. he looked in the wallet and his cards were there, and a few bills.
jerry shook his head and showed the wallet and keys and phone to the cops and smiled at them again. “well, thank you very much, officers.” he looked down at the concrete of the alley and laughed. “i like to sleep till noon, but maybe not on that. bad for the bones.”
neither of the two officers smiled back at jerry. “mind telling us how you got here., sir?” the man asked.
“well, there isn’t much to tell. as you may have guessed, i had a little too much to drink.”
“where?” the male cop asked.
“where did you have this too much to drink?”
“oh - grady’s. grady’s, up on fourth street.”
“were you alone?”
“no, i was with some friends. we were having a bachelor party! “ jerry tried to laugh again. “i was getting totally hammered, and that’s the last thing i remember.”
“how many friends?” the female cop asked.
“how many? what difference does that make?”
“how many friends were with you?” she repeated.
“three. what has that got to do with anything?”
“three? you were with three friends?”
the two cops looked at each other. the young woman took out a phone and moved out of the alley into the street and began talking into it.
“you are going to have to come with us, sir,” the male cop told jerry.
“you will find out. just come with us.”
“what … what… do i need a lawyer?’
“that is not for me to say, sir. you have a right to remain silent, as i am sure you know. just come along with us.”
at the police station, jerry found himself in a room with detectives baker and collins.
the room was pretty bare, but bigger and less intimidating than jerry would have thought from watching tv and the movies.
the detectives asked him to repeat what he had told the two uniformed officers.
“i don’t know what this is about,” said jerry. “but i think i want a lawyer.”
“you can have a lawyer if you want”, detective collins told him. “why don’t you tell us what you remember about last night, and then we will tell you what this is about, and then you can decide if you want a lawyer.”
jerry hesitated. “all right.” he repeated his story about drinking with his friends but not remembering anything after about twelve or thirteen drinks.
“and that is all you remember?”
“yes. so what is this about?”
“what this is about is a young woman reported being assaulted by four men in colby park last night. colby park is the park right across from grady’s bar and grill.”
“oh. we - my friends and i wouldn’t do something like that.”
“no, we all have girl friends of our own. and we’re white men.”
“you do not say so?”
for the first time it registered on jerry that detective collins was somewhat dark-complected.
“i think i want a lawyer.”
jerry and keith got their own lawyers, and lionel’s and dean’s families got lawyers for them.
after an investigation of six weeks, the district attorney's office decided it did not have sufficient physical evidence against any of the four friends.
there were no witnesses to the reported assault, except for the accuser herself.
who had prior convictions for shoplifting and soliciting.
no charges were filed.
but things were never the same for any of the four funlovers.
keith’s fiancee canceled the wedding, and then broke off the engagement.
the four drifted apart, with all except dean moving to other cities.
jerry, keith, and dean all abandoned their secret lives.
jerry and dean threw their secret notebooks in the trash and moved on.
keith took to heroin, and to violent pornography, and his wholesome sound of music fantasies were forgotten.
lionel found more solace in his secret life than ever, but kept it more of a secret than ever.
when the sun goes down, and the world is dark, he can be found somewhere in the city, sitting on his mat, seeking nirvana.
jerry, lionel, keith , and dean were the four funlovers.
they would have been the four amigos but they thought that name was already taken.
they had some great times together.
you wouldn’t believe some of the shit they did.
but none of them really knew the others.
they all had secret lives. secret lives that they kept from each other, and from the world.
jerry was filled with futility and sorrow. he was secretly a liberal. his dream was to go on a peace demonstration or a peace march, maybe even to washington d c.
he filled up notebooks with a comic strip about a superhero named rainman who saved the world from global warming.
when he was with the guys, or at a company party, he laughed at jokes about hillary clinton and al gore along with everybody else.
keith dreamed of marrying a nice girl and living on a farm and having seven or eight daughters who would form a world famous singing group like the trapp sisters.
he, keith, would get old and fat and have a long white beard and everyone in the world would know who he was and call him “daddy keith”.
in real life he went to the gym with the guys and listened to rap music and to howard stern and talked about bitches and hos.
lionel was secretly a buddhist. when he was fourteen years old he had a secret friendship with a geeky kid named vince. lionel let vince hang out with him when none of his other friends were around.
vince had given lionel old paperback copies of “the dharma bums” and “zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance” and reading them had changed lionel forever.
but he never let anybody know. he only did his buddhist things after midnight, when the world was asleep.
dean had the most terrible secret of all, by a country mile.
he was a closet racist and homophobe.
like jerry, he drew comics in secret, but his were much more elaborate. he drew whole graphic novels about a group of superheroes called “the hunters”. each of the hunters was an outrageous and unconscionable stereotype - of a black, a jew, a muslim, a mexican, an asian, a gay man, and a lesbian. the villains and the secondary characters were stereotypes of other marginalized groups or just feminists. dean did nor know why he drew these comics, and he wanted to stop, but he just could not help himself.
their four lives went on, day by day.
keith got engaged to a girl named laurene.
the four funlovers had a bachelor party at grady’s, their favorite bar.
they got totally shitfaced, even more than usual.
jerry was the one most likely to get obnoxious when he got wasted, and to make unseemly remarks to women, and hostile ones to men.
true to form, when it was almost closing time, jerry kept staring at a young woman who was sitting at an adjoining table with a slightly older man, and loudly repeating, “oh yeah… oh yeah…”
the young woman was visibly annoyed, and the man turned to the funlovers’ table and said good-naturedly to keith, lionel and dean, “i think your friend needs some fresh air. it’s almost closing time, anyway.”
jerry’s predictable response was “fuck you,asshole! fuck you! don’t talk to my friends, say it to my face like a fucking man!” and he lurched toward the man, but could not get to his feet.
the other three got jerry outside, but they were all too far gone for the night air to do them much good.
jerry, calmed down a little bit, wanted to find another bar.
they had all come in dean’s car. jerry was the only one who thought he could drive, but dean would not give him the keys.
jerry staggered away down the street, mumbling, “faggots… bunch of faggots…”
it was a warm night. there was a park across from the bar, and lionel went over and passed out on the grass, between a park bench and some bushes.
dean and keith settled into the front and back seats of dean’s car and fell asleep.
on his own, jerry was lost. he was sure there was another bar around somewhere, but where was it?
as he stumbled along, he saw a figure approach.
a young woman. alone.
what a skank, thought jerry. he grabbed his crotch.
“hey sweetie,” he addressed the young woman.
she swerved to walk around him.
jerry kept his hand on his crotch. “hey, sweetie, want to meet my friend henry? he’s a big boy. he knows how to have a good time.”
“yes, i’m sure you and henry have lots of fun together. just the two of you.”