by Johnny Guano
Further Adventures At The Quonset Hut
|The name of my neighborhood bully was Matt Fletcher.He was a very vicious boy, with a permanent scowl on his face. Matt was one of those kids who, even at six years of age, was going on thirty five. For years he terrorized me, but after the age of twelve things started to change. I never did start liking Matt, but I found we had some things in common. Being the same age, we developed an intense interest in naked women.
Just after midsummer, when the heat began to ebb, Matt talked to a couple of us about a plan he had conjured up. "The Skyline Drive-In Theater has got dirty movies, " he said. "We can see these movies." The Sky-Line was about one mile from our neighborhood, over the low hills to the northwest. My mother and father had never taken us there. They were of the generation who had their fill of movies when they were kids, and always thought they were pulling one over on the theater owners by staying home and watching TV. No amount of pleading ever convinced them to take me to a theater. My parents also complained about contemporary movies all being about sex. They seemed to use that as an excuse for keeping us home. I was not sure what 'sex' was, but assumed it was about naked people. In any event, I was sure I was missing out on a lot at the movies. But I'd be damned if I'd miss out on this sojourn of Matt's.
"How can we get in? They're not gonna let us." This was Tom Reidy. I realized he was right, but I was buzzing with a combination of excitement and dread. Matt snarled at him. He had very cruel expressions.
"We are going to watch the movies from the top of the hardware store," he said calmly. "You can see the screen perfectly from there. Everything. Tommorow night. We are going to see Raquel Welch. Naked." Matt took a stick and scratched a diagram in the dirt. Here was the hardware store, here was the drive in screen. "These are adult movies. They've got orgies. Never tell anybody in your family about it. Raquel Welch, naked in an orgy. Can you handle that?"
"What's an orgy?" I asked.
"Boy, are you stupid," said Matt. "Let's see if you got the guts tommorow night."
The prospect of actually seeing Raquel Welch without clothes on excited and terrified me so much I could feel my heart begin to hammer uncontrollably. We went over our plan to sneak up on the roof of the hardware store. It was going to be difficult, but the reward might be worth it. I went home and looked at the newspaper. There was a large display ad for a big double feature at the SkyLine. SEE RAQUEL WELCH IN ONE MILLION BC it screamed. There was of course a picture of her but it only showed her head and shoulders. Obviously, if you were an older man, twenty years old maybe, you got to see the rest. The other movie was THX 1138. VISIT THE FUTURE WHERE LOVE IS A CRIME it advised me. THX 1138 sounded like somebody's phone number but it apparently featured robots and rocket cars and seemed like it could actually compete with naked cavewomen.
The following night me, Tom, and Matt made our way to the hardware store.This, of course, was no ordinary brick hardware store. It was a surplus army quonset hut, forty by one hundred feet long. It had once housed a temporary grocery store, put up hastily by the Foodliner Corporation to serve the suburbs while their big supermarket was being built. I had fond memories of going with my father to fetch milk at this store, nostalgic memories that were now overshadowed by the massive chilly supermarket across the parking lot. The hut wasn't really a 'hardware' store but rather a garden supply shop. Its cramped interior was stuffed with rakes, hoses, wheelbarrows, and stacks and stacks of fertilizer and grass seed. Come spring, they always did a bang up business supplying the needs of green lawn crazed suburbanites.
The curved ribbed steel of the quonset was still radiating daytime heat as we moved along it. At the back of the hut was a large square structure of corrugated aluminum that had housed the old store's refrigeration equipment. We climbed on top of this, then made our way onto the perilous slope of the hut's roof. It was dangerous going. Matt, being a vicious bully, had little fear and was the first one up. He hurled down some obscenities at us as we struggled upwards. I had to be pushed up by Tom, who heaved on the treads of my sneakers. With all my strength I applied a pinch grip to the riveted struts at the top of the slope. One extra burst of energy sent me scraping onto the roof. It wasn't really a roof at all, but just the steepest part of the curve. What made our effort so tough was the fact that we had to keep quiet or run the risk of being discovered and chased off.
When we finally made it onto our perch it was incredibly uncomfortable. We had our backs against a large metal ventilator, and realized if we had arrived even half an hour earlier the heat would have been too painful. The steel hut absorbed all the sun's rays all day long, and the blue paint that had been slapped onto the metal was slightly melted and sticky. The rivets and sheet metal screws cut into our legs. The reassuring thing was that the hut looked even larger from our position, and the ground much further away. Scary, yes, but from where we were sitting, we were almost invisible.
Matt was as good as his word about the view. The bright rectangle of the drive in screen was in our line of sight, just two hundred yards away. One corner was obscured by a maple tree, but that was it. Now all we had to do was wait for the naked women. In the distance we could see cars pulling into the drive in lot, some of them with probing headlights as darkness began to fall. We couldn't hear anything, of course, maybe just the rythmic hiss of the speakers, coming intermittingly from the distance.
"Jack Taylor told me he snuck into see this movie," Matt told us. "He says all the women are naked, and you could see everything. Everything. And they do it too. They do everything."
"What do they do?" asked Tom.
Matt laughed. "Boy, you are stupid. You know nothing. Did you ever even see your sister naked? No. You live what they call a sheltered life. Maybe you'll learn, maybe not. Youre going to see things you never have before. You're scared to death."
I know I was scared. Scared and waiting nervously for naked Raquel to appear. She eventually showed up, beautiful, colorful, tanned, but wearing some kind of fur bikini. We waited for it to be torn off. We waited. The movie was easy to follow without sound, and might have been enjoyable to watch, but I was too nervously anticipating nakedness. And maybe orgies.. There were lots of women, one a very cute blonde girl, all wearing fur bikinis. They didn't come off. There were fake dinosaurs, fights with sticks, earthquakes, but no nakedness. I waited and hoped, then prayed. I prayed for God to show me a naked women. He didn't listen. I began to feel disappointed, cheated. My arms began to cramp up where I was holding myself in position against the ventilator. The pain might be worth it, to offer it up as a penance, but no nakedness came. I remembered how, years before, kneeling at my bedside, saying my evening prayers, I asked my father if I could pray for Matt Fletcher to die. This was after a day of intense bullying. My father explained people should never pray for others to die.God, he said, would not listen to such things.
"Can I just pray that Matt gets a broken leg?" I asked.
The movie ended. Matt swore. Tom wailed in despair. Without a word, they slid down from the roof. I froze. Maybe it was fear of falling that caused me to stay, maybe it was stubborness. Maybe it was rocket cars and robots. I found myself alone on the roof.
My effort payed off. THX 1138 had a naked woman in it.