A bottle of red, a capsule of white:
A senior trip story
Newsday features an article today about senior trips. It's not good enough to give full coverage to the missing girl in Aruba, you've got to have the scare-mongering, extraneous articles to go along with it. According to the piece, schools around here are pretty rigid about rules and regulations regarding senior trips.
It wasn't always that way. Let me tell you a little story.
In 1980 our senior class trip took a trip to Disneyworld. Looking back, I still can't believe my parents let me go, given my reputation for causing or getting into trouble. I'm sure they thought the chaperones - teachers from my Catholic high school - were of high moral fiber and integrity and would never let me get into trouble.
Right. On the first night of the trip, we caught the typing teacher making out with one of the students. A history teacher spent the night in the motel lounge. Another one disappeared for a few hours, but he was spotted in a rent-a-car making out with what looked to be either a really big girl or a guy with a blonde wig. High moral fiber, indeed.
No chaperones, no problems. The drinking age at the time was 18 and because several of my classmates had already turned the magic age, we were set to party. A bunch of us left the motel in search of a convenience store. We found one right down the block and bought more beer and Boones Farm wine than could be carried. Luckily, Tommy found an abandoned shopping cart outside the store. We dumped the beer and wine into the cart, then bought enough bags of ice to cover up the goods.
We carted everything back to the motel and didn't even have to sneak around, as no teachers were in sight.
Back in my room, the bathtub was turned into an impromptu cooler, filled with ice and enough alcohol to get all of Kissimmee drunk.
And then it started. I had some ridiculous flavor of wine in my hand - not a glass but the whole bottle. The pot was free flowing; joints were being passed around the room at a pace I could barely keep up with. I was doing shots of something that one of my friends had stolen from motel bar.
Earlier in my high school career, I earned the nickname "One Drink Michele," due to the fact that all it took to get me wasted was one drink. Boones Farm wine to me was what a bottle of tequila would be to a hardened drinker. Mix the wine with alcohol and pot, and you have a disaster waiting to happen.
So there I was, stoned and drunk and starting to feel the effects of the combination of chemicals and alcohol running through my bloodstream. It wasn't long before the room was spinning around me. Voices went in and out of my head; I could comprehend none of what my friends were saying. I swayed and slurred and stood on my feet only to fall down again. Who needed the rides at Disney when you had all this?
I developed an intense headache. It was part because of the cheap wine, and partly from the tension I was feeling at the prospect of a) getting caught; b) getting sick in front of everyone and c) getting homesick. I was never very good at traveling without my family. Oh yea, I had this cool exterior and a reputation to match, but inside I was just a run-of-the-mill nerd. The pot paranoia and alcohol melancholy had combined to make me a complete emotional wreck.
I guess looking as bad as I felt, because suddenly Tina was there, taking care of me, putting a cold towel on my head and rubbing my back. Tina was my best friend at the time, even though I was really starting to hate her slutty ways, her giant breasts and her penchant for getting me into trouble.
Tina pulled a little tin full of white pills out of her purse.
"Take these," she said.
"What are they?"
"Just Tylenol. You'll be better in a few minutes."
In my half-stupor, I trusted Tina and took two of the little pills she handed me. She smiled and patted me on my head like you would a two year old.
Within minutes - or maybe it was hours, I couldn't tell - my headache was gone. Unfortunately, it was replaced with other ailments.
For starters, I was having trouble breathing. My chest was tightening up and I felt like my lungs were going to collapse.
My senses were dulled. I could barely hear anything. I couldn't feel my hands. Everything was a blur, a haze, a slow motion movie of my friends laughing and throwing their clothes around while I was sinking into oblivion.
I felt my eyes roll in back of my head, the way it happens when you are falling asleep while watching tv. I kept trying to snap myself out of it. I was terrified. I was going to die. Right there and then, in some skanky motel room in Kissimmee, Florida, in a room full of half dressed Catholic high school students while my chaperones fucked each other and several classmates in the rooms next door.
I think the last word that went through my mind before I fell on the floor was scandal.
Tina was there first, panic written on her face. I started to say something, but she put her fingers over my mouth to shut me up. She leaned in close and whispered harshly in my ear, "don't tell anyone I gave you any pills."
That bitch. I should have known better than to trust her. Those pill she gave me were not Tylenol.
"What the hell did you give me?" I asked her. At least I think I asked her. Maybe I said it in my head but thought I said it out loud. Everything was so unreal. She didn't answer me, anyhow.
I felt some hands on me and suddenly I was being lifted up and then thrown on the bed. They would make me better, I thought. My friends would make it all better.
They left me laying there. They continued partying and undressing and drinking and smoking. I laid there on one of the twin beds, with that itchy motel comforter scratching my skin like a thousand needles.
And then the scariest moment of my young life happened. I thought I had died. Tina came over to say something to me and I tried to answer her. I couldn't. I could form the thoughts in my head; I could see and hear everything that was going on, yet I couldn't respond to it. My limbs were stiff. My entire body was frozen in a semi-concious state. I struggled to reach my hand up, to scream at Tina to call an ambulance or get one of the teachers, to make them know I was dying. But I was paralzyed.
I heard Tina scream "OH MY GOD, SHE'S DEAD!"
Shit. They thought I was dead! I tried again to talk, but it was like one of those nightmares where you want to scream, and nothing comes out. A million thoughts ran through my head at once, none of them good. They would bury me alive. They would throw me on the side of the highway and claim that I had just gone missing. My parents were going to be so pissed that I died in such a stupid way.
They were shaking me and poking me, but I couldn't respond. I think my muscles had just gone slack and were rendered useless from the wine and liquor and pot. And whatever that was Tina had....
"What the hell did you give her, Tina?" Some voice. A male voice. A panicked voice.
"Tylenol, I swear!" Tina's voice was shaky. Fucking liar, liar pants on fire. That's what was going through my head.
They had propped my head up on a pillow.
"You have to keep her head up so she doesn't choke on her own vomit."
"Ohh, like Jimi Hendrix!"
"Totally. Die like a rock star! How fucking cool!"
I was watching. Listening. Just not responding.
"Tina, you have to tell us what you gave her."
"Fucking Tylenol, I told you."
Kerry dove for Tina's purse. Tina tackled her. Tina's little tin fell out of the purse. Kerry grabbed it, opened it, looked at the pills and hauled off and smacked Tina clear across the room.
"What. The. FUCK?" Kerry screamed. "What the fuck is wrong with you? These are Quaaludes!"
"I just wanted to see what would happen!" Her exact words. My best friend risked my life for some kind of bizarre science experiment.
Oh shit. I was going to die, die, die. Overdose. My poor parents.
The rest happened on super speed. Tina ran from the room. I was lifted off the bed, stripped down to my bra and panties (oh jesus I think they have a hole in them, I should have listened to grandma), and thrown on top of the ice in the bathtub. They turned the shower on. I had hot water streaming down on my face and frigid ice up my ass.
Finally, a scream escaped. It came from the bottom of my soul, traveled through my heart and gathered momentum all the way up my throat and out of my mouth and I bellowed:
"Tina, you fucking cunt!"
And then the typing teacher whore was there, telling everyone there was no need to call the police, no ambulance needed. Our room cleared out, all the drunken senior stumbling back to their own rooms. Cups were cleared, beers taken away, wine dumped down the toilet. The teacher took me back to her room where she and the music teacher watched over me through the night. I felt like such an ass.
That was the end of my friendship with Tina and her giant breasts. I spent the rest of the Disney trip with the drama club, ignoring those who would rather have watched me fall into a coma than ruin their party by calling for help.
Last I heard, Tina was living on the east end of the island, making her living as a crack ho. No, that's not true. But it could be.
That was twenty five years ago this month. I still can't look at a bottle of Boones Farm wine without feeling sick. Then again, most people can't. I just have a whole story to go along with it.
[And for those of you who remember the grudge post from a few weeks ago, Tina and that person are one and the same]