St. Nick's Outlaws
By Jim Colombo
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Copyright 2001 Jim Colombo
It was Wednesday, January 29, the beginning of final exams for the fall
semester. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday consisted of two three-hour exams, one
in the morning and one in the afternoon. There was Religion and Trigonometry on
Wednesday, Physics and Literature on Thursday, and English and Civics on Friday.
The joy of comp testing was reserved for the last day of the spring semester in June.
Religion was a snap, because the same Baltimore Catechism was used every year, and
by the fourth year the routine was established. The Ten Commandments, the Seven
Beatitudes, the Seven Sacraments, the Seven Holy Days of Obligation, the Popes who
reigned, the Twelve Apostles, and all of the Saints could be recited backwards. The
significance of the Edict of Milan and the Council of Worms, the implications of Vatican
Two, and where was Joseph when the Holy Ghost impregnated the Virgin Mary. These
and other religious stuff were churning in Jim’s brain as he readied for Hell Week.
Physics consisted of solving equations for calculating the atomic mass of
elements, velocity magnitudes, and the compressibility of liquids. Once again, Azzoni
was useful for a price. Trig was solving equations with a slide rule. Literature
consisted of American authors of the nineteenth century, and English was more
composition. Civics was essay questions about the branches of government, the
Constitution, and Congress.
The lads had passed final exams an Augie got a B in Physics and a B+ in Trig.
He was as happy as a skunk eating shit. It was time for a beach party. Cowwa Bunga,
Dude, Surf City here we come. Surfing music was still boss with the Ventures, Jan and
Dean, and the Beach Boys, with songs like “Surfing Bird, Wipeout, and Pipeline.” The
English invasion was postponed until the beginning of next year. The lads met at
Ocean Beach and wore shorts, Hawaiian shirts, and sandals. A fire was made with
driftwood. They roasted hot dogs on a stick, grilled hamburgers, ate potato chips, and
drank Coca-Cola. A transistor radio provided music, until the batteries ran out. Augie and
Jim organized the beach parties, and usually twenty of the Outlaws attended. Each
contributed a dollar for the cost of the event. and someone always brought oranges
injected with vodka. By the end of the day it was difficult staying on the board while
Sometimes ladies joined the lads for a dog and an orange. These were public
school girls who were warm, lean, loving machines. The lads entertained and fed the
ladies, and in return the gals snuggled and swapped gum with the gents. Jim was going
steady with Lupe, but this was different because he was hanging out with the Outlaws, so
certain behavior was required, like went he was in Alaska. It wasn’t love. The catch of the
day enjoyed long wet kisses, and was history the next day. Sometimes the ladies got real
friendly and gave more than a tit feel. Blankets were brought after the first experience of
romancing on sand, and after having several oranges spiked with vodka it took a lot of
concentration and skill when entering the Forbidden City and parking the jet in the
hanger. Beach parties were held once a month for the Outlaws to unwind. The beach
bunnies recharged the lad’s engine, so that all systems were go. Sunset on Ocean Beach,
a bonfire, a cuddly bunny, and another Saturday beach adventure was history. At the end
of the day, the lads collected the residual food, beverage, and those who had fallen into
the dingle, as Dylan Thomas once wrote. Farewells were said and promises were made
only to be broken.
The lads rotated the beach party sites so that all of God’s creations could be
enjoyed. The quality of bunnies improved as the lads traveled south to Half Moon Bay.
Jim went along with the guys, but did not pursue the ladies. If a lady was friendly, he
was congenial and treated her with some affection. If a bunny was on fire she could
always be passed around behind the sand dunes. Jim never went behind the dunes
because he loved Lupe and feared getting the crud from a bunny with a welcome beaver.
The beach bunnies were plain girls looking for affection, not love, who enjoyed as much
affection from as many guys as possible. Nothing was lost or stolen.
Most of the chicks wanted to be desired as sexy foxes and the guys reaffirmed their
belief, and no one was hurt. It wasn’t cool to force a chick to be friendly. If the guy
was demanding, he was called a loser, and took off in shame. No one forced a bunny to
perform. If she was in need, the gents would oblige. When a chick made the team she
was called a rabbit. The notion of six guys drinking from the same bottle of Vodka gave
Jim the same bad feeling as when a bunny was shared. He was no saint, but he preferred
eating from a clean plate. Most of the bunnies were plain-looking with meager equipment,
but once in a while a babe with all the right stuff wanted to see if she could make the team.
It was a buffet of lust. Jim could never understand how a Bart could enjoy being with a
Chola who was forced to be affectionate. That was like begging. Jim was grateful
because he had a unique lady, who gave him a special love..
It was another Saturday at the beach, and it reinforced the bond between each
Outlaw. Each had drunk from the same cup. All had made their bones in the rite of
passage and each had a small scar on his left wrist from becoming blood brothers. The
Outlaws consisted of the guys from freshman football and Rensom and Duke were added
because they demonstrated outlaw qualities.
Jim returned home from the beach party. He showered, changed his clothes,
and went to meet Lupe at City of Paris. He arrived five minutes before seven at night.
Lupe arrived at seven with her loving smile, and bone crushing I missed you hug after
working as a sales lady.
“Hello, Cookie. How’s my guy?” Crunch.
“Swell, Angel. How about you?” Catching his breath.
“Wow, you sure get red-faced. Did you wipe out, dude?”
“Yes, Angel. I went out twice and fell off the board twice. I’m no surfer, just a
“How can you guys surf when it’s cold and foggy?”
“You get used to it after a while. It’s like playing football in the cold and rain.
After a while you ignore it.”
“Can I see you on a board some day?”
“Sure, this summer.”
Jim had explained to Lupe that the Outlaws went surfing once a month to unwind.
He told her that there were beach bunnies there who liked surfers. Lupe had nothing to
worry about because Jim didn’t cheat on her. He was there enjoying the company of his
friends, who he had gone to war with. Each had given up his body for the team. Rensom
saw all of the times that Jim went headfirst into the defense to seal the block for him. Each
guy had paid the price to be a team player. Like Coach Kepen always said, “Don’t think
about self. Each of you are a part of the equation for success. The sum of all.”
Lupe was more understanding than Jim realized and she knew that Jim enjoyed
being with the guys. She believed that Jim was not chasing girls, just hanging out. She
thought of it as look, but don’t touch. Jim thought of it as touch, but don’t feel. Lupe
loved Jim more than he loved her. There was no one else in her life but Jim. No
relationship is equal. One partner has more intensity than the other. One partner has
more love because he or she places a higher value on the relationship. Jim loved Lupe
very much. Lupe loved Jim absolutely.
The sun had set and the streetlights had a clouding glow around the white glass
bulbs from the fog. It was cold and windy. Newspaper whirled in circles on one side of
the street. City of Paris was on the clean side. Jim and Lupe walked to Market Street
and waited for the J Church trolley. A new store had opened across the street., and the
aroma was blowing towards a hungry Lupe waiting for the trolley. It was more than she
could stand smelling fried chicken and French fries teasing her senses. Jim could see that
faraway look in her eyes and took Lupe by the hand across the street to the red and white
They entered the store and looked at the menu. Jim noticed the complexion of
the cashier who glowed from the greased from all of the fried chicken eaten. Lupe
looked at the fresh made biscuits. Jim noticed that the workers in the kitchen had a fresh
coat of grease and a collection of ripe zits. The guy frying the chicken had the best
collection of zits that ranged in size from large to global.
“I’m starved. How about you, Angel?”
“Well, I could eat a wing. Are you going to get a couple of pieces?”
“What would you like, a bucket or a barrel?”
“Oh, a bucket.”
“Lets get a barrel so that Rosa can have some.”
“Okay. Can we have biscuits with honey?”
“Sure, Angel. We’ll get some French fries to munch on the way home.”
They left the store with a large bag of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
They got on the bus and walked to the back carrying a large bag containing fried
chicken, hot biscuits with butter and honey, and French fries. The smell of fried chicken
and French fries turned heads. Jim and Lupe felt uncomfortable eating while the others
watched, so they sat and waited for their stop. Finally they arrived at Liberty Street. Lupe
got off and felt the cold stare of ten hungry people who wished they had a barrel of
chicken. Jim followed Lupe and thought they were lucky to get off the trolley with the
chicken. They walked quickly up Liberty Street hill. Both ran up the stairs to the apartment.
Rosa opened the door and greeted them. She was filled with the fragrance of fried
“Wow. That sure smells good. Fried chicken?” asked Rosa.
“Yeah, mom. It’s Kentucky Fried Chicken.”
Rosa set the table. Jim helped Lupe arrange the food, and got dishes for Rosa.
They sat and looked at each other with anticipation, then Rosa said, “Thank you Lord
for these thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from they bounty, Amen.”
Rosa passed the chicken, then the biscuits with honey.
“MMMMMMM, that’s good,” said Lupe.
“The biscuit with honey taste great and the chicken, I’ve never tasted fried
chicken so moist and delicious,” said Rosa.
Jim was glad his special ladies were enjoying the meal. When they finished he
told Lupe and Rosa, “I talked to Henry at the drugstore. He is a member of the Bronco
Bench, a group of Alumni at Santa Clara who contribute to student athlete scholarships.
Santa Clara has other scholarships available, like the Bank of America scholarship for
finance majors. The Sons of Italy have scholarships for Italian students who want to go to
college, and need money. It’s a loan that’s repaid with community service. It’s a matter of
finding out what’s required to qualify. One way or another, I’m going to Santa Clara,” said
Jim with determination.
“You really mean it, just like when you talk about Lupe and you,” said Rosa.
“I want to try all of the possibilities to get there. If I can get accepted there and
graduate, it will open a lot of doors for us in the future. Man, I would like to be a
business banker. That would be great,” said Jim
Lupe admired Jim’s ambition, but was concerned if he fell short of his goal. She
had never seen him mad or lose his temper. She wanted Jim to be happy. Lupe’s fear
was how he would handle rejection. She would be happy with less as long as they were
together. She thought that if she went to City College it would reduce the pressure for
him to succeed. She wanted to help with the responsibility of their future. Rosa excused
herself and went to visit her sick lady friend Mrs. Lopez. Jim and Lupe cleaned the table
and washed the dishes. They sat in the living room and reaffirmed their love. Two hours
later Jim kissed Lupe good night. She walked to her bedroom and began thinking about
her and Jim, college, and their future.
The following Wednesday was Valentine’s Day. Lupe had told Jim not buy her
anything expensive. She was starting to become concerned about Jim’s goals, his
plans for the future, and if she would still be part of his future. She prayed that he
wouldn’t go to Santa Clara. She thought that San Francisco State was good enough.
Lupe felt that she was in competition with the Outlaws, school, sports, the beach
parties, and now Santa Clara. She prayed that she would be with Jim at the finish line.
She had been very understanding and had let him go to Alaska. She let him continue
to see his friends, and play sports while she stood in the shadows. Lupe was willing to
give Jim all the freedom he could handle. She hoped that the day would never come
when she would realize that the Jim she had met and fell in love with no longer existed.
Her fear was that it was just a dream of a foolish girl who wanted a little more that her
Mexican girl friends.
Lupe wasn’t ashamed of being Mexican. She had watched her relatives and
friends just getting by. If Jim graduated from college and got a good job, they could
have a comfortable life. Lupe wondered what it would be like being the wife of a
banker. One of the reasons she had liked Jim so much in the beginning was that he
had a desire to improve. She was starting to believe that they could have some of the
nicer things in life. Lupe did not doubt Jim’s love. She feared that Jim would succeed
and that she would be less than what he wanted. She was not as smart as other girls.
Lupe was cute, a little sexy, and would be a good wife and mother. That should be
worth something. No one would care for him, his children or house as she. Lupe went
to bed and prayed for guidance. She really loved Jim, and tried to show him how much
every day. Lupe lay in bed in the dark quiet of the night and prayed to the Virgin Mary for
guidance. She fell asleep with the belief that the Blessed Virgin Mary would finish her
More next week...