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Page 42

"I went back stage after the concert. Stryper downs as much beer as anyone else Iíve ever seen. There were a lot of American girls with not much on, and the stage crew and the band disappeared with them one by one."

Shortly, we parted ways with Kevin and went to the store and picked up some food. After cooking and eating a dinner of my patented spicy vegetable soup with plenty of vinegar, pepper and Tabasco, we headed out to Johnnyís.

In the lobby we ran into Larry, a former member of the Way Ministry who had long since dropped out to pursue his own path. He now owned a successful construction company. In his forties, he was tall and lanky. Even in mid-winter his skin was tanned and weathered. He wore an oversized mustache that made him resemble a Western movie star. On his left arm was his girlfriend. Twenty years his junior, she was a slender drop-dead gorgeous blonde.

Larry greeted me jovially and shook my hand. Iíd run into him several times since coming to Yakima. Before that, I hadnít seen him since I was kid and was ostracized from The Way by one of their leaders who claimed I was Satan. Unfortunately, my family had agreed with him and kicked me out of the house.

Meeting with Larry, though, I could always feel his genuine warmth and, on and off, when we ran into each other, invariably when we were both out drinking, he asked if there was anything he could do for me, as though he were sincerely concerned with my welfare. Obviously, I was in hot water right now, but I didnít want to take advantage of his generosity unless it became absolutely necessary.

Paul let Max and I slide in the back entrance to avoid the cover charge. I immediately began drinking alcohol, while Max started in on his water. We sat down with a couple of guys from Seattle named Bill and John. Iíd hung out with them a few times. Even though they didnít originate in California, they both spoke as if they were beach bums, using the superficially happy tones and laid-back lingo of a surfer. They proceeded to get sloshed at an incredible rate- even faster than I was.

Larry got smashed pretty quickly, also, and before long he was over at our table telling us about how awesome his girlfriend was in the sack. When he retired to the bathroom, some dark-haired punk immediately asked Larryís girlfriend to dance. She hesitantly acquiesced. I hit the dance floor with Paulís girlfriend, Samantha, and as we danced to the thumping bass beat, a disco ball casting glittering patterns of light across the assemblage, I caught a glimpse of Larryís blonde girlfriend being pulled closer by the dark-haired man. She struggled, but he held her tightly as he thrust himself against her.

After excusing myself from my dance with Samantha, I tapped on the punks shoulder. "Leave her alone," I said.

"Yeah," he sneered. "You and what army are going to make me?"

I yelled and managed to make myself heard above the slam of the bass drum. I waved my hand and Max, Bill and John stood up from their table and began to approach the dance floor. The punk saw them coming, and turned around, immediately leaving the dance floor, and then the building.

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