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How It All Got Started 024: Carson

Friday, June 22, 1984

It was well past nine o’clock by the time Carson drove up to Abbeque Valley to pick up Lina, spent a few minutes making small talk with her folks and little brother, drove back down to San Clemente, and finally reached Preston VanHart’s house. It took another ten minutes to find a place on the street to park.

“I’m gonna have to circle around.” Car chuckled; it was self-evident. “Obviously.”

“Yeppers.” Lina looked out the window at the parked cars.

Carson grinned. “Looking for someone?”

Lina sat back in her seat and sighed. “Not really.” She brushed imagined hair away from her forehead. “More like looking to see who’s not here.”

“Same diff.” Car found a spot about eight houses down the street from Preston’s place, almost at the corner. He was glad for his little Volkswagen Bug as he slipped into the tiny space between the red curb and a pickup truck’s front bumper. “Are you gonna—”

“I don’t know.” Lina sounded impatient. “Okay?”

They’d been friends for a long time. Carson knew when to back off. “Okay.” He made a point of waiting until she looked at him so she would see his smile. “Really. Okay.”


They got out of the car. Carson noticed the relatively low level of noise leaking out of Preston’s house. He could hear laughter and voices and an undercurrent of music, but nothing to give the neighbors cause to call the cops just yet. Preston wasn’t really one to blast his music. It was more important it be unique and uber-cool; it didn’t need to be loud to make you want to plug your ears.

The front door opened as they walked up. Crystal Dubois tipped the gray porkpie hat on her head. Pale makeup accentuated her dark eyes and red lips. She affected a carnival barker’s nasal tone.

“Carson Meunetti, plus one!”

She reached out her hand and Lina shook it.

“Hi. I’m Lina.”

“Crystal.” She gave Car a quick hug and whispered in his ear. “Kinda young..?” Her breath smelled of clove cigarettes.

He shook his head slightly and laughed once. Crystal gave him a friendly leer and ushered them both inside with a wave of her arm.

“C’mon, awreddy, yer lettin’ all the noise out.”

Inside, the lights were low. From the glowing stereo came a whine of feedback before Gibby Haynes screamed, “There’s a time to fuck and a time to pray but the Shah sleeps in Lee Harvey’s grave,” followed by machine gun splashes of percussion and guitars.

Lina put her lips near his ear. “I swear I’ve seen that Crystal girl before!”

He shrugged. “Maybe?”

Car saw that a few people lingered just inside the door and in the living room, but most seemed to be in the kitchen and out back. If Car knew this crowd, a few people would be in Preston’s room, getting smoked out.

Ah, and there was Eric Finn, clustered near the stereo with Ian and Tammy. Finn raised his hand and beckoned; this confused Carson until he realized the wave was intended for Lina.

Behind him, someone hollered, “Hey! Carson fucking Meunetti! Dude!”

Carson automatically turned toward the kitchen and the source of the call. Lina touched his arm. He glanced back to return her quick, uncertain smile before she crossed the room to go to Eric.


Much closer now, the owner of that voice punched Carson on the forearm.

“Hey!” Carson turned toward him. “Jim…” Jim what? He Rolodex’ed through his memory, but it was no good. “Uh… dude! I didn’t know you’d be here.”

They clasped hands. “Yeah, I came down with Brett Flannery; you know him?”

“No, I don’t think so.” Car checked on Lina one more time. Was it cool to leave her? Was she okay with that prick?

Jim grabbed the nape of his neck and pulled him toward the kitchen. “Let’s get beered up and caught up, dude. How’s it going? Fuck! Fucking Carson Meunetti!”

Car let himself be led. “I know, huh? I haven’t seen you since… uh… junior high.”

“Totally,” Jim nodded. “Fuckin’ gnarly. So, like, how was high school and stuff, right?” He laughed, and just to be perfectly clear, added, “Hardy har, yuk yuk, and stuff!”

Carson flinched a little when he saw Cary O’Dell, the short, musclebound guitarist from the Donny Zombie Murder Show, turn from the refrigerator with a beer in his hand. Cary saw Carson, turned to the guy next to him, and mumbled something Car couldn’t catch.

Cary’s friend laughed and looked at Car. Cary’s eyes and lips were narrow and smirking. “Hey, bro. Awesome practice the other day.”

Series Navigation<< How It All Got Started 023: AlexHow It All Got Started 025: Lina >>
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Copyright 2003 ~ 2018 Matthew Wayne Selznick.
The Sovereign Era, The Shaper's World, Daikaiju Universe, Protector Universe, Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights, How It All Got Started, Thing, Carson Meunetti, Lina Porter, Alex Kent, Crystal Dubois, Abbeque Valley, Dana Cove, Pinnacle Records, Hagar's and related characters, institutions, situations, and representative depictions in media are trade marks of Matthew Wayne Selznick.
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