graveyard antics II.
© 1996 Jamie Zawinski <>

I was visiting Ian, sitting in his attic and watching him pack for his trip back to Chicago. I was rooting through his CDs, listening to samples here and there before he packed them all away, when Ellen stopped by to return some things to him. She was wearing these crazy-huge wraparound gold sunglasses that she had just bought at a flea market, and she had her hair done up in thin blonde braids, tied back, fading to black at the ends. She was looking not entirely un-insect-like.

She mentioned that she and her posse might be doing a graveyard trip later that night, and I said I'd be up for it too. So I called at around 10pm; they had already left, but I chatted with Pauline for a while. She didn't go because she had sprained her ankle the night before while shakin' it to the oldies at New Wave City. She said that if I didn't manage to hook up with them I should come over and watch Candyman with her.

I called over to John's, to no avail; I don't know whether anyone ever listens to the answering machine at that house, but I haven't seen any evidence of it.

It's a big graveyard, and I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to find them, but I figured what the hell, I might as well give it a try. I drove there, parked my car in a secluded spot, and walked a few blocks to a place where I knew that the stone wall was relatively low.

Next to the graveyard is a wide street, gently curving up the hill. On the other side of the street, set back from the road, is a seemingly endless row of suburban houses, most with porch lights aflame. Fortunately, the graveyard's wall is set ten or fifteen feet back from the road, and is partly hidden by a line of bushes and short trees.

I pushed my way past the bushes, and stood in the undergrowth trying to decide on a place to vault the wall with minimum visibility. Just then I heard a car coming down the road, so I ducked down to wait for it to pass. The car, however, parked directly across the street from me, and sat there with the headlights on for a while. Finally, the lights and engine went off, a group of people got out, and they began walking across the street, right towards me! I slid to the right of the tree I was nearest, and the new arrivals walked up to the wall to its left, not more than ten feet away from me.

They were whispering to each other, and it was very dark. I couldn't make out their voices or faces, so I just stood there, completely still, completely silent. They seemed nervous about being seen, and were trying to get over the wall; it was a fairly pathetic display, as not a single one of them was able to do even a single chin-up.

It was only at this point that I was sure I had found my friends.

After a minute or two, there was a flurry of whispering, culminating in one of them taking a pair of cautious steps toward me. I guess someone had finally noticed that one of the shadows was shaped more like a person than a tree!

``Who is that?!!'' Joe said nervously.

I took an audible deep breath, and then let it out. I let the silence hang there for a few seconds, messing with his head, before I said, ``Jamie.''

``Oh my god, I can't believe it, I haven't seen you in ages!'' He had been traveling around Europe and Asia for the last year or two, and had only gotten back into town the night before; I hadn't even talked to him yet. It was great to see him again.

``I like the facial hair,'' he said. ``It makes you look like a pirate.''

That night's expedition consisted of me, Joe, Ellen, and two other fellows whom I hadn't met before, and who weren't very talkative. The patrol at the graveyard was pretty constant; more so than it had ever been before. We were hiding from security almost the whole night, whereas most other nights we only had a few such encounters. At one point the truck drove down the road right past us, and I had to circle around a tree to stay out of sight, keeping the tree directly between me and the truck. It was kind of difficult; I had to keep looking at my shoulders to make sure that they weren't in the light, and to make sure that the shadows were falling in the right direction.

Afterwards, we went to Denny's. Being at Denny's at 3am is always an interesting experience, but this night we saw something surprising even for that cultural melting pot: we saw The Road Warrior. Shortly after we arrived, two men walked past us. They were wearing full-on motorcycle leathers, worn and abraded like they had hugged more than their fair share of high-velocity concrete. They had utility belts resplendent with arcane devices. Their clothing was covered with buckles and straps, and their boots were without compare. One of them was wearing a ski mask. I expected the other to be carrying a sawed-off shotgun, but perhaps he had checked it at the door when he came in.

They were killing machines. I wanted to be them so bad.

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