"Nuts! Hot nuts! You get 'em from the peanut man! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!"
"It's the Hot Nuts, man!" Folly pier was jumping that night. "How 'bout another beer?" I was yelling to my old friend. We'd come to the pier to drink and check out babes. The drinking was winning at this particular stage of the night.
"Thanks, man," R-- yelled at the bar tender. He slid two paper cups of suds his way. I reached over to grab mine. "Next round's on you!" R--- yelled at me. The band was loud and raunchy as they ploughed into their version of Barnacle Bill the sailor.
"Be glad they aren't playing Super Grose!"
"What? What do you mean Super Gross?"
"When the perform they guarantee one of three ways. For the regular fee, they perform like they are tonight. For a little extra, they perform in bathing suits which would be fine for the beach, but if they are paid their highest fee they appear on stage Super Gross."
It was difficult to hear over the performers on stage and the listeners joining in below.
"Still don't know what you mean by Super Gross," I shouted back.
"Super Gross? They perform in jock straps!"
Whether that was true or not I don't know but it made a good story. We laughed. Some beer spewed out of my nose.
"That would be hilarious. It would be too raunchy for Charleston and the Bible belt though.'
We continued to laugh quaffing our drafts. R-- finished first. He looked at me as I gulped the last of mine.
"Yeah, we need another," I yelled pulling some ones from my pocket. Manipulating my way through the mass of bodies, wriggling toward the bar with money in hand I finally grabbed the railing and pulled my way through.
"Two drafts!" I yelled at the man drawing beer into cups and pitchers. He nodded my way. He was constantly pulling on the lever filling cup after cup, sliding them to customers. He finally slid mine over and lifted the bills from my hand. I grabbed them turning to tough it through the crowd. R---'s sloshed on my shirt as I was drinking mine. There was no way to know who bumped me that hard. It was like walking through a buffalo stampede.
"Here ya go!" The boys on stage were hitting the beat to Baby Let Me Bang Your Box as I offered R--- his cup.
"You only got me half a cup?"
"Got bumped on the way. See my shirt?"
"You got more in the other cup. How come I didn't get that one?"
"Next time you can go. Then you get the cup that's fuller."
He took it, downed it, then headed for the bar.
"Get me one too!"
He nodded then was lost in the mass of drunken beach bums.
I'd finished mine by the time he returned handing me a half full cup.
"Spilled some!" he yelled. His upper lip was covered in foam.
"Yeah, sure," I said. When my half cup was gone, I started toward the bar.
The trip to and from the bar was made with no mishaps this time. I handed him a cup as the band quieted down.
"We gonna take a break now. Ya'll drink up now. Back in fifteen." Dave Clark of the Hot Nuts turned away from the mike after his announcement. The band slipped outside to catch a smoke and a quick snort of hootch. Their red jackets were soaked through with sweat. Theirs was a hyper performance making use of the entire stage. The energy from the performance was reflected in the audience on the dance floor.
R-- and I turned toward the ocean and leaned against the rail.
"Lookit," I said. "Think it's high tide?"
"Looks pretty close don't it?" R--- said leaning over the rail.
"Watch out, brother," came a voice followed by a hand grabbing R--- by the collar. "You don't want to be falling over."
R--'s brother had seen us. "How you doin', Slick?" he said to me.
I lifted my near empty cup in his direction. "Drinkin' just fine."
"Bands coming back on stage. You boys be careful. Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
That left the field wide open. We laughed and waved as he left.
"Do you think we could jump over the rail?" R-- asked when his brother was out of range.
"We might but do you wanna get you clothes all wet. Plus, you know you're a little drunk, don't you?"
"Of course I am. I wouldn't consider it if I weren't."
"Well, let's don't and say we did."
"OK." He turned toward the stage. "Let's get another beer and see who's here. Maybe pick up a chick."
As the band started up with My Din-A-Ling we got a beer and began to walk around the pier between the dance floor and the tables.
"Wow, would you look at that! Ain't she something?" R-- said.
I looked where he pointed. There was a girl about 5'2" with deep blue eyes and red lips framed in deep chestnut hair drifting in the sea breeze. A vision unaffected by beer goggles. She was being chatted up by a pimply faced bruiser in a black leather jacket.
Being slightly tipsy...naw, we were three sheets to the wind...we made comments as we passed.
"Look at him," I said.
"Now don't judge a book by its cover," R---said.
"He looks like a farmer," I chipped in.
"But thinks he's a lover," R--- finished up.
Pimply face looked up at that. He said something to Miss Universe and walked away. R-- and I thought nothing of it. We were just enjoying the beer buzz and excitement all around.
Something tapped my shoulder. I turned. There was pimply face.
"Whadid you say back there?"
"We were just funnin'," I replied.
"Well, I didn't take much fun in it. All I can say to you is you better find some friends because I'm telling you that I want you over that end of the pier in 10 minutes. If you ain't there I'm coming lookin' for ya. Not alone neither."
Startled by this I said, "OK." He turned and walked off.
"Hey, R---. Where do you think your brother is?"
"I don't know. Why?"
"Weren't you listening to that guy?"
"Yeah, so what?"
"I think he means it. I think we need C-- and his friends behind us when we meet this guy."
OK. I'll go find him."
After about five minutes R-- came back with his brother and five of his friends.
"What did you two do now? You gonna get your asses kicked? Good thing we were here. Show us the way. We'll back you up."
R-- and I started toward the back rail of the pier with his brother and frineds in tow. Pimply face was there with a couple of guys in leather jackets. In the back ground we could here the first refrains of Roll Me Over.
"Hey," I said. "You wanted to see us?"
"Yeah," pimply face said eying the six bruisers behind R-- and me.
"Well, I want you to know that we apologize for what we said to you. We were only mouthing off. We've had a few beers and were just joking around. You Ok with my apology?"
"Well, yeah," he said looking at R---'s brother and friends. "Yeah, I do. We been drinkin' too. Ain't no use gettin' all worked up over something so stupid. I accept."
He and his friends nodded and walked off toward the exit.
"You know, I oughta beat the shit outta you myself, Rickey. You chicken shit bastard. You should have waded into him, not apologized. You chicken shit."
"Well, C---, I couldn't see any sense in getting R--- and me beat to a pulp over a few words said in jest. We weren't itchin' for a fight. We just came to have fun."
"I still oughta beat the shit outta you. If you weren't Clyde's nephew I probably would."
With that he and his friends left still calling me chicken shit. In his eyes I still register as chicken shit. To me it was just stupid. Killed the rest of the night for me, though.
R--and I left as the hot Nuts ripped into Bang Bang Lulu. The cold air had a sobering affect as we walked to the car.