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  • Writer's pictureJoel

The Party

The 2-story clubhouse stood in what could be called central-Lompico.  A dead-end valley deep in the woods of the Santa Cruz mountains.  It was built in like the 50’s or something, when Lompico was a summer home location for the city folk from SF or San Jose.  They would dam up the creek next to the clubhouse in the Summer and create a swimming pool…of sorts.

Through the 60’s Lompico became less of a summer home place and more of a hippy/biker/red-neck Viet-Nam Vet hideout….and pot farm.  The Clubhouse hosted lame hippy rock bands while the bearded folks played pool and drank.

2 things happened at the end of the 70’s to change all that.  1. Lompico creek got so polluted they couldn’t dam it up anymore to swim in it and 2. The Clubhouse burned to the ground.

In the 80’s they began rebuilding it but ran out of funds, so there stood a 2 story shell of a building, windows and doors in place with nothing inside but framed out walls.  It stood sentinel over the empty cement plot where the pool used to be and the Metro bus turn-around.  The end of the line.

Enter, the Mountain Boys.

It started with a broken window on the second story roof.  A sketchy climb, but once in we were able to open the doors from the inside.  We got us a hideout, got us a hangout, a hideout.  Where we would smoke the shake off our Dad’s Thai-sticks, drink unknown alcohol lifted from the back of our parent’s liquor supply, play 2-tone, California punk rock and later Oi Oimusic on a shitty old boom box.

At one point, probably around 85’ we actually planned a party in the clubhouse and invited the schoolyard chums we knew from other parts of the valley, Quail Hollow, Boulder Creek, Felton.  Heck, we even got 2 girls to show up!  Strictly a mountain-folkdo.  Things were looking good.

From memory it was Sidd, Matt, Gardner, Mark, James Wild, Scott Green and myself.  Might have been a couple of the younger-brother surfer crew “Buffalo Soldiers” there too but my memory fades.  I’ll leave the girls un-named even though this evening would not involve them in any uncompromising positions.

It was then late afternoon and really quickly we realized the single 12 pack of beer was not going to cover this mess.  Me and James drew the short straws, which meant we either had to hitch-hike, or catch the hourly Metro bus to Zayante Market to shoulder tap.  We managed to hitch a ride pretty quickly and jogged down to the crappy little market from the Zayante/Lompico fork.

We bought some smokes and I’m fairly sure James shoplifted a log of Copenhagen in between shoulder tapping.  As expected, a burly biker pulled up and bought us a couple 12 packs of beer.  Just in time to catch the bus back to the clubhouse.  It was all coming together.

The first thing we noticed when the bus was turning around was a couple of our crew running up the creekbed with alarmed expressions on their faces.  Hmmm.  Me and James hiked up into the treeline to scope the scene but eventually heard voices at Matt’s house which was just up the road.

We joined the party crowd at Matt’s parent’s house and learned that the old folks that lived just up the road from the clubhouse had burst in and started screetching about calling the cops, telling parents and so on, just screetching.  The old man grabbed one of the girls by the hair and she swung around and slugged him in the gut, causing him to double over…and then he got pushed to the ground as the entire group of kids ran past him to exit the building.

Mountain Boys were never known for logic or well thought out plans.  Our plan in this case was to wait until it got dark and then return to the clubhouse to resume our party.

And we did.

By that point we had drunk most of the beer in the woods already and had a healthy buzz on.  Back in the clubhouse the mood was not what you might call “discreet”.  As you might have guessed after an hour or two of moronic deeds our dark little hidey hole suddenly erupted in floodlights.  A loudspeaker broke in “This is the police, come out the front door with your hands raised!”

This, of course, sent the entire party sprinting out the back through the large busted-out window.  The back opened to a small clearing and then the mountain side, angling directly up to the right…or down to the creekebed to the left.

We were half-way out into the clearing when night turned to dayagain.  Another cop car was across the creek and snapped on his flood light.  Shit.  Flashlights were coming around from the front of the clubhouse.

And we scattered.  The Lompico locals knew where we were going in the dark.  An advantage over the kids from outside of the valley.  Sid, Scott and I scrambled up the steep hillside over marble-sized rocks and eventually reached the road above.  I turned around and looked down just in time to watch as Gardner lost his footing and slid all the way down the hill right into the clutches of the coppers.  The girls were still there too.

Scott dove under a parked car and into the mud and would spend the next couple hours watching the cops and old people drive by looking for us.

Me and Sidd simply walked into the forest after aimlessly running up the road a hundred yards or so for no good reason.  We waited until the coast was clear and cautiously walked back down the road to the clubhouse.  One cop car was still there but it was quiet and still otherwise.  We hiked over to Matt’s house, figuring that is where everyone ended up but didn’t see anyone so kept going down the dirt side road.

We ended up playing cat-and-mouse a bit as the cops kept driving on the roads while we hopped into the woods, or at one point hung from steel pipes where the road dropped off steeply down to the creek.  The cop car passed by so closely I remember feeling the heat from the exhaust in the cold-ass Lompico night.

Did I mention it was raining off and on all night?

What we didn’t know then was that the cop-car was carrying the old screetching couple and were on the way to Matt’s house.  All the kids that didn’t get busted did end up there but for whatever reason me and Sidd never saw them.  The cops and the old people would get chased away by Matt’s Dad, stating they’d been at home the whole night.

Me and Sidd, believing we had nowhere else to go, huddled up miserably in a small abandoned shack in the woods and shared the last beer one of us had in our pockets.  The rain had begun dripping into the shack through all the rotted roofing so we found the only 2 small dry spots, curled into fetal positions and pretended to sleep.

So much for our party planning.

Epilogue:  One thing we’d all learn about James Wild was that he enjoyed upsetting his Mom.  He was originally from Danville or something like that but recently moved with his Mom to Zayante when we met him.  The very next day when his Mom asked him what he did the previous night he told her exactly what he did, drinking, smoking, playing patty-cake with girls and running from the cops.

A short time later the phone rang at my house.  My parent’s and I were probably sitting down watching Magnum PI or something, so my Mom went over and answered the phone.  It was James’s Mom.  After listening to her a bit she said “Well, OK, thanks for sharing.”

Then I was my turn to explain what I had been doing the previous night. By Glen McHenry

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James Wild
James Wild

Your memory doth fade, my old friend. It was 86. The girls were Shannon and Michelle. It was Gardner who got busted. My mum didn’t know about that one, as I wasn’t grounded. I moved to Zayante from Campbell. Admittedly, my memory doth fade as well. Stud was there also. Damn I was a good shoplifter! OI!

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