St. Nick's Outlaws
By Jim Colombo
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Copyright 2001 Jim Colombo
It was Valentine's Day, 1962, and the lads were going to have their first mixed party.
The nuns and priests of St. Philip's parish fervently believed that no lady was safe with any
male in the parish. In an effort to preserve the purity of the young ladies, only casual
encounters, while under the supervision of the nuns and priests at teen club functions were
permissible. A gentleman danced with a young lady and maintained a respectful distance
or engaged in a conversation about religion or philosophy. Catholic girls were frigid and
feared warm-blooded males. The nuns had told the girls that they could get pregnant from
a boy’s kiss and would give birth to a deformed baby. The lads were brimming with energy
and lust. It was unhealthy having so much energy bottled up. Why, one of them could
have a serious malfunction with his plumbing, and spring a leak. The environment was
detrimental to spontaneous fun. It was like dancing with an iceberg.
Reverend Mother wore sunglasses twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
She had x-ray vision like Superman. It was believed that she didn’t have eyes, but two
infra red, atomic, glow in the dark, heat seeking eyeballs. Some of the lads speculated that
Reverend Mother had a black leather jacket, a whip, and a tattoo of the German swastika
on her arm. She was the Iron Maiden of St. Philip’s grammar school. Under her
supervision the lads couldn’t look at, speak to or walk home with a girl. They were content
with that in grammar school. They hung out at Pete's Smoke Shop or played cards in
someone's basement for pennies. They didn’t need companionship with blocks of ice who
didn’t know about sports, cards, or cars. They were useless, and wanted to spend what
little money the lads had.
Now as sophomores it became apparent that they had to socialize with the
maidens. Some of the lads had older brothers who did stuff with a lady that was suppose
to be fun. Some of the enlightened ones carried little packages in their wallets that said
Trojan. The lads thought in case of a fight, you could use this Trojan in battle. Little did
they know what a gift this Trojan horse was. Absolute secrecy had to be maintained for
fear that if Reverend Mother or any of the priests found out, the lad’s parents and they
would be guilty of violating the total authority that the priest and nuns imposed on all in the
parish. Also there was the obstacle regarding the ten o'clock curfew imposed by the San
Francisco Police. The lads would have to deceive the cops, the nuns, the priests, their
parents, get beer and cigarettes, and on the way home hope not to run into the Courts, a
local gang. The lads hoped the young ladies attending this first social gathering would
cooperate and try to have some fun.
These were desperate times and desperate men will do what has to be done,
without regard to the consequences. Jane Harmon's mother agreed to orchestrate this
first attempt of a social encounter of the first kind. Jane's father, Dutch, was an electrician
by trade and enjoyed the company of friends while socially partaking of beverage. Dutch
would only partake of beverage on special occasions, such as, dawn or when the little
hand was on any number and the big hand was on the twelve. Dutch thought that the
gathering was an opportunity for him to meet the lads and bend the elbow. The party was
a chance for Jane to get to know John. She admired him at the teen club dances, but
could not convey her sentiments, because of the scrutiny of the religious bodyguards
cruising the perimeter. It was also a chance for Jeannie to show her intentions to Ed. Jane
and Jeannie had decided in a secrete pack signed in blood, that somehow they would
demonstrate their affection and woo these unsuspecting lambs. John had spent the early
part of the evening combing his sexy eyebrows, while Ed was trying to fit into his tightest
pair of pegged pants that had tapered legs like tight stovepipes. The rest of the lads just
happened along for a beer and to hangout. If the party didn’t materialize into a rousing
evening with the ladies, the lads could always play cards with Dutch.
The ladies had been deposited earlier in the day at Jane's house. This relieved
the lads of the obligation to pick up and take home the ladies. Actually, Mrs. Harmon
had guaranteed the wellbeing of each maiden to her respective parents, knowing that
the lads were like Neanderthals concerning the escorting and conduct required to
respectfully socialize with the young ladies. Most of the lads didn’t know how to dance
or engage in proper conversation with a young lady. It was a required function now.
There was peer pressure to attend and look cool. The lads tried to look like they knew
what they were doing. There were ten ladies and twelve gents. The social encounter of the
first kind began at eight o'clock and was schedule to concluded at eleven o'clock. The
Harmon's sound system was exceptional. They had a back room on the second floor
where dancing to music awaited the gathering of the ladies and gents. It over looked the
patio and garden. One could be in the back of the garden relieving spent beer and clearly
hearing Ricky Nelson singing " Traveling Man." The dance began with spirited music with
The Twist and the Peppermint Twist. After a few hours of fast dancing it was time to
settle into the evening with slow dancing with romantic Elvis songs. Quickly, Jane and
Jeannie zeroed in on the catch of the day, John and Ed. They were hugging, not dancing.
Gina approached Lonnie. They to began to gaze at one another and rock back and forth,
though the music had ended. The lads had disdain for the remaining ladies. They referred
to the corner of the room were the wallflowers sat as the pound. The fear of one of these
doggies approaching the remaining talent and entertaining the notion to swap gum scarred
the hell out the passive fools that remained. Jim reminded the lads about Albert getting
trench mouth from kissing a public school girl. He couldn’t play baseball for two weeks.
There was nothing that any lady had that was worth not playing baseball for two weeks.
Mike suggested that if they played cards with Dutch, that no lady would interfere. Dutch
was a safe harbor. The rest of the lads moseyed downstairs to where Dutch was nursing a
bottle of I.W. Harper 86 proof whiskey. He splashed some whiskey in each of their Dixie
cups of beer and shook his head, implying don’t tell the old lady, Mrs. Harmon, that they
were accompanying him in "big boy's beverage." Each time he said the phrase he fell into
uncontrollable laughter. After a few of cups of beverage, the lads began to fall into giddy
laughter that Dutch referred to as getting shit-faced. It was the first time getting drunk for
some of the lads. It was fun being with Dutch. Why the hell would any gent need a lady for
fun? It made no sense.
Meanwhile, upstairs romantic music played, and the three couple were dancing,
hugging, and kissing. A few of the lads and Dutch had to venture to the garden to squeeze
the lizard. An empty bladder is new life. The food was on the second floor. Some of the
lads were getting hungry and had to sneak into the room to get nourishment. They ran like
hell, avoiding the wallflowers who ended up grabbing air as the lads ran by. Then Farmer
stuck his head in the second floor window, walked in and shook hands with all of the guys.
On the way out he took a beer and told all to continue with the party. Jane was shocked
and horrified that Farmer had crashed the party. Who would show up next? The three
couples resumed their positions, and continued swaying to music or silence.
Finally eleven o'clock mercifully came and it was time to leave the party. The lads
walked to John’s house. They sat on the steps, and listened to Ed, Lonnie, and John tell
the others vivid details of the romantic evening. If one didn’t pay attention, it implied
immaturity. Most of the lads considered themselves men. John began to tell how warm it
gets down there. "Down where?" asked Mike.
"You know, down there," said John.
Mike and Gary began to laugh. Mike referred to it as erecting a tent. They continued
laughing. The rest of the lads were eager to learn more. Ed told of getting hard and having
Jeannie hold him closer. Mike and Gary were now rolling with laughter. They imagined Ed
breaking bricks with a boner or walking into a bank and saying that this is a stick up. They
were dismissed as immature. Small minds at large
It seemed that when a girl wanted a guy, he had to comply, but if he wanted her, he
would be guilty of forcing himself on her. It was one-sided. Jim still thought hitting a home
run was better than any girl. He realized that he needed money to spend on a girl. Girls
were a luxury that he couldn’t afford.
It was Sunday and time to pretend going to 10:30 mass. Jim was walking with Bob.
He noticed that Bob and Joan spent time together just talking. It was a more sensible way
to begin a friendship. He was curious how Bob approached Joan and what they talked
about. Bob said they talked about school and going to college. Bob was quiet and smart.
Jim respected him. Bob said he and Joan were just friends. Both enjoyed talking about
stuff. They exchanged phone numbers and talked every day. Jim asked Bob if that meant
that they were going steady? Bob said they were good friends. He was busy with school
and sports. Joan called more often than Bob. They both liked Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
Bob began calling Joan Minnie and she called Bob Mickey. It was the courtship of Mickey
and Minnie Mouse. Jim admired Bob and Joan. Their relationship was the way it should
be: respectful. Not like the others who were only interested in discovering sex.
After three months Ed and Jeannie had broken up. John was seeing another girl at
the same high school as Jane. She was deeply hurt and found Bill the next day. Gina and
Lonnie had found and lost new loves twice in three months. Bob and Joan remained close
friends. If Jim were to have a girl friend his relationship would be like Bob's: respectful. Jim
thought about Lucy. She was the type of lady he hoped to become good friends with some
day. There was responsibility having a girl friend. Jim wasn’t ready for that kind of
responsibility. Maybe next year, but for now saying hello to Lucy and having her as a friend
was good enough.
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