"Hide the booze. We're getting stopped by the cops" I bellowed, turning off the music and shoving my beer under the front seat. I pulled over to the side of the road. The car was silently bathed in bright white light shone from a spotlight mounted on the cruiser. My breathing stopped as the officer peered in my driver's side window. "Good evening son. Can I see your license and registration?". I opened the glove box and there was the empty pint of Blackberry Brandy. I quickly shoved it under some paper napkins my mother had accumulated from trips to various fast food joints. I deftly pulled out the registration from under the napkins and empty booze bottle. I turned to the officer, handing him the documents, expecting an inquiry about the contents of the glove box, but he didn't notice. "You got your license yesterday?", he chuckled. He poked his head in the car. "Looks like you've got your hands full in there" he said to Jeff whose look of ecstasy was replaced by one of someone who had just shat himself. "Was I speeding officer?" I asked trying to get the attention out of the backseat where the beer was hidden somewhere in the mass of bodies. "No son, but you rolled through a stop sign about a mile back and I noticed you had too many people in the car. Where are you guys going?". "The movies", I lied, quickly. "Well this is a warning. Come to a complete stop next time and don't overload your car. Have fun." He handed me back my license and registration and gave me a smile that might as well been a high five. I started breathing again and the party rolled on.
We got to the party spot just a few minutes after getting stopped. We parked in front of a strip mall and went around to the back. There was a wooded hillside with a trail leading upward, dimly lit by the from the parking lot. We ascended the trail fumbling and feeling our way up the hillside. I strategically place myself behind Terri. Near the top of the climb the trees were basked in an orangish glow. At the top of the hill was a wooded glen formed by four huge rock faces in a semi circle. There was a roaring bonfire in the middle of the glen with dozens of kids drinking beer from a keg that was placed next to one of the rock formations. The hum of chatter hung over the glen mixing with the crackle and smoke from the fire. It was a modern, teenage Stonehenge. I imagined teen aged druids doing the same thing thousands of years earlier.
Our arrival was accompanied by drunken screams. Girlfriends of our girls coming over to give hugs and proclamations of their drunkenness. There were a few inquiries about us strangers, but we naturally blended into the scene. I struck up a conversation at the keg with a guy wearing a North Easton High hockey jacket. I asked him if he knew Jim Craig, the goalie from the 1980 US Olympics Hockey team that had defeated the Russians en route to winning the gold medal, being that he was from Easton. He drunkenly regaled me with stories of Jim Craig playing hockey and partying with his older brothers. After some time he asked who I came with. When I mentioned Terri he asked "You bangin' her?". "Not yet." I replied with a hint of self assuredness which got me a high five and a loud, intoxicated "WHOOOO, HOOOO", the closest we get to a rebel yell here in stoic New England.
I found Terri, Renee and Lisa hanging with some of their girlfriends by the fire. I did a sweep of the glen looking for Jeff. Jeff was nowhere to be found. Neither was Charlene. I went back to the fire to hang with the girls. I pounded down keg beer listening to the girls chatter about who was dating who and who was wearing what and who was doing what drugs. I watched Terri and even while spewing gossip she was adorable. Our eyes met for a second and I nodded my head away from the fire in the direction of the keg. We walked side by side toward the keg, playfully bumping each other. I grabbed her hand and held it tightly leading her past the keg to the edge of the glen. As we reached the darkness I turned to face her. Her form was silhouetted against the glow of the fire, breath rising in the cold November air. I couldn't see her eyes or mouth, so I reached up, brushing her cheek, searching for her lips. As I leaned in toward her, a commotion broke out in the glen. "Cops", someone shouted. Sure enough four uniformed officers appeared over Terri's shoulder entering the glen from the trail. Kids scattered in all directions like leaves in the wind. I grabbed Terri by the hand and led her deeper into the woods. We reached a small clearing where Jeff and Charlene were cozying up on a log. "What's up?", asked Charlene.