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E. P. Ned Burke

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A Charlie Brown Prom Night
By E. P. Ned Burke
Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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Prom night turns into a hilarious fiasco!

A Charlie Brown Prom Night
Ned Burke

“That’s what all your classmates will be wearing, Jerry. Relax, you look very nice.”

“Nice! I look like a waiter at an Undertaker’s Convention. And what’s with these stupid suspenders?” I had to be careful not to let one of my standard vulgarities slip out. “I can’t wear suspenders. I’m gonna wear a belt. Suspenders are no ... darn good. They’re just not safe. You raise your arms up and your pants fall down. I’m gonna wear a belt. A belt is safer. A lot safer. Ya know, I think I should stay home. I really don’t feel very good, honest.”

“You’ll be just fine, Jerry.”

How could she be so calm? Her son was about to explode right before her eyes. Couldn’t she see the fuse attached to my skull?

“Here’s your bow tie, dear. Let me put it on for you. There. Oh, you look so handsome now.”

My mom was shoveling faster than I could swallow it. Handsome, my ass! I was a total mess. And on top of everything I had this big zit right in the middle of my forehead as if I was some goddam guy from India or something. Maybe I had a tumor and it was pushing itself out from the inside of my head. That’s what my head felt like anyway. “Why me Lord?” I asked, and the answer came back, “Why not you?” What did I expect from The Almighty but painful, humiliating revenge for my sinful thoughts of Angela and her magnificent breasts. Oh, what a teenage boy had to go through just to get a peek at a set of mammary glands.

Anyway, I took my mom’s car and drove to Angela’s house. Her family had this new ranch-style home behind the restaurant they owned. There weren’t too many ranch-style houses in Barryton then. So, to me, it looked like something I once saw in a magazine ad about living in sunny California. I parked my mom’s Dodge near some bushes where it couldn’t be seen from her house and walked over and knocked on the door. Angela’s father, Big Tony, answered it of course.

“Come in, kid. She’s in her room.” He turned and shouted, “Hey, Angela!” Then Tony turned back to me. “Ah, what was your name again, kid?” I told him and he nodded. “Angela! Jerry is here for ya!”
“Stop yellin’ Poppie! I’m comin’ for cryin’ out loud!”

The thought occurred to me that the entire family might be hard of hearing. I tried to sit down in a big chair by the front door but my damn cummerbund kept folding up to my chin so I told Tony I would prefer to stand. My hand with the corsage was wet and damp and I just knew I would wound her real bad when I put it on her chest.

Tony had a shit-eaten grin on his face. “Big night, huh?”

I nodded.

“Need anything? How’re ya fixed?”


“Yeah. Ya know. Money. Got enough?”

“Ah, right, right. I think so, Mr. Marino.”

“Hey, wadda I tellya about that? Tony, remember?”

“Ah, yes, yes. I think so, Tony sir.”
He reached over and shoved a twenty dollar bill into my coat pocket. “Here, I want ya to have a good time, understand? This is jes’ between you and me, get it?”

“I get it, Tony sir. Thank you. Thank you very much.”

He waved me off. “Ah ferget aboutit. Nothin’s too good for my Angela. You jes’ make sure ya show her a good time, hear?”

My head was going up and down as if I was bobbing for apples when Angela finally appeared before me. Zowie! She was a vision in red from her hair to her ruby lips to her red high heels. A feathery white boa around her shoulders was the only other color in evidence. She even carried a little red purse and her fingernails were long and blood-red. She was the color of passion.

Mrs. Marino stood beside her daughter. She was a small woman with dark hair twisted into a bun on the top of her head and she smiled with tears in her eyes. She had us pose for nearly a dozen pictures. One of those big bulbs went off just as I was pinning the corsage to Angela’s dress and I went blind and stuck it in her boob. She let out a cry and told me she would do it herself which was all right with me because my goddamn hands were shaking so much and, besides, I never really got to feel her boob that much anyway.
Finally, they let us go and we hurried to the garage where Angela had stored her car so it didn’t get too dirty. We didn’t have a garage. My mom just parked her car on the street. I mean who the hell was going to steal a beat-up old Dodge anyway? When she opened the door to the garage I almost shit. “Jesus H. Christ!” I said. She didn’t tell me her father had bought her a friggin’ brand new fire-engine-red 1959 Ford Retractable Hardtop automobile with dual exhausts and whitewall tires and white leather upholstery. What a set of wheels!

She took a set of keys from her little purse and tossed them to me. “You drive. It’ll look better.”

“Okay!” I said, and suddenly my migraine vanished.

When we arrived at the dance, heads turned and jaws dropped when I guided Angela toward a table where Winny and Willy were seated. I didn’t see the rest of the gang but I knew they would show up soon enough. I held the chair for Angela and watched her drop her cute ass into her chair. Willy stared at Angela’s exposed cleavage and appeared to be as much in awe of those fleshy mounds as I was.

She reached out her tiny hand. “Hi!” Her eyes were fixed on Angela’s chest. “I’m Willy.” She paused. “Are you a Junior?” Her voice had the sound of total disbelief in it.

“Do I look like a Junior to you, Sweetpea?” Angela was having fun with the Frosh. She leaned over and took out a Marlboro from her small purse and watched the expression on Willy’s face.

“No ... no, not really.”

Winny was oggling Angela too. He finally pulled his eyes away from her and began cleaning his glasses. He looked sideways at Willy. “She’s a Senior, Willy.” He put his glasses back on and took in Angela once more. “Can’t ya tell?”

Willy sighed and looked down at her own flat chest. “Yeah, I guess I should have known. Sorry.”

“No harm down, Sweetpea.” Angela reached across the table and patted the back of Willy’s hand. It was a nice gesture I thought. It was something a warm, decent woman would do for another female who was obviously chest-challenged. Instantly, however, Angela returned to being herself and sucked the Marlboro into her open mouth, saying to nobody in particular, “So, who wants to light me up tonight?”

I frantically reached for my Bic lighter, but before I could get it out of my pocket I heard three clicks behind me.

“I got it! I got it!” Mooch pushed his outstretched arm passed those of Ace and Froggy.

Angela turned and smiled. “Well, aren’t we all the little gentlemen tonight.” She caught sight of Boomer standing behind Mooch. He looked away when their eyes met. “What’s the matter? Don’t you want to light me up?”

“Me?” Boomer’s face was turning red. “Sure, sure.” He fumbled in his pants pocket and came out with his cherished silver lighter and flicked it open. I could see his hand was shaking.

Angela steadied it with her own until her cigarette caught fire and then blew a puff of smoke over her head. She released his hand and smiled. “A Zippo, huh? That’s one expensive lighter. You must be Boomer.” She looked my way and touched my arm. “Jerry here told me all about his friends.” Then she correctly guessed the names of Mooch and Ace and Froggy. She was fantastic.

Boomer quickly pulled a seat over to my right side so he wouldn’t have to look directly at Angela. Ace took the seat on the other side of Angela and tried to get as close to her as he could. Mooch and Froggy sat down opposite us, next to Winny and Willy. They just sat there with their dumb mouths open.

Finally, I said, “So where’s your dates?”

Mooch and Froggy pointed to a table across the room. Neither of them closed their mouths or took their eyes from Angela. Boomer then admitted that he and Ace decided to go stag.

I turned to Boomer. “I shoulda known,” I said. Then I looked around Angela’s chest and asked Ace if it were true .

“Friggin’ A.”

What other answer did I expect? But still I felt betrayed that I was talked into getting a date for the prom when they both chickened out.

Angela crushed out her cigarette and looked over at Willy. “I’m going to the little ladies room. Want to join me?” She pushed back her chair and got to her feet. Willy was at her side in a flash. She was beaming. And why not? The thought of joining Angela in the john was an invitation to the forbidden zone. All of us envied that little girl.
Before they were out of sight the questions came, hot and heavy with hormonal curiosity.

“Well, Killian, didja do it yet? Didja getta jump her bones?” Mooch was the first to thrust the question at me.

Froggy was verbally verbose as usual and ran his words together in a high state of excitement. “Come on! Didjagettafeelherup? Huh, didja-didja?”

Winny leaned over the table and adjusted his glasses so his eyeballs appeared to fill the entire frames. “Tell us, Jerry. Did you touch her breasts yet? We all want to know. Don’t we fellows?”

“Friggin’ A.” Ace was not to be left out of this discussion.

Mercifully, Boomer came to my rescue. “Okay, guys, relax.” He shoved Winny back across the table. “Killjoy here will fill us in on all the juicy details in good time. He playfully punched my skinny arm and gave me a toothy grin. “Won’t ya, buddy?”

Before I could fathom a fabrication I felt Father McAndrew’s clammy paw on my shoulder. He was our steely-eyed headmaster. All us prepsters called him “Keys” because he always wore a bunch of keys attached to his sash. Nobody really knew what all the keys were for. Some of us thought they opened the doors to forbidden pleasures, or perhaps a wine cellar beneath the creaky floors of old Barryton Preparatory. Those of superior intelligence and imagination--the true nerds--said they were the keys of knowledge. What a bunch of crap!
Anyway, when I saw the blood drain from Winny’s face and heard the jiggling sound I knew Keys was standing right behind me.

“So, Mr. Killian, you appear to be the center of attention tonight.” His tone was sarcastic. “Now, why do you think that is, Mr. Killian?”

I looked down at my hands and raised my eyebrows. But I didn’t bother to turn around. “Beats me,” I mumbled.

“Come now, Mr. Killian. “Surely, you can be more eloquent than that. Haven’t we Jesuits taught you superior communication skills?”

Before I could answer, I noticed a look of terror on the young faces across the table. Froggy and Mooch jumped to their feet in unison. “We have to go,” said Mooch. He grabbed Froggy’s arm and stumbled away without saying another word.

“Hey! What’s the big idea? Ya nearly knocked us on our keisters.” Angela adjusted the top of her dress and shot an angry look at the fleeing duo. “Ya can at least say yer sorry!” she shouted. I was waiting for her to throw them the bird but, thankfully, she noticed the black- robed figure behind me. She adjusted her dress some more as Willy took her seat beside Winny. Angela gave me a sugary smile and said, “So, who’s the priest? Aren’tcha even going to introduce us?”

I attempted to stand but Keys pushed me back down into my seat. “Don’t bother, Mr. Killian. I’ll introduce myself to these charming ladies. “I am Father Bernard J. McAndrew, headmaster of Barryton Preparatory School.” He tossed a limp palm to Willy, never bothering to ask her name and then turned toward Angela. His lips widened and he showed more teeth than any of us had ever seen before. “And you must be Mr. Killian’s date, I assume.”

“Yeah, ya got that right. I’m Angela.”
Keys reached out and smothered her hand into his sweaty palm. His eyes took in every inch of her and then he smiled. “Yes, yes. Angela. As in a true angel from heaven.”

Angela laughed. “Well, I can be a little devil too.’

Keys wrinkled up his eyes and finally let go of her hand and smirked. “Ah, I bet you can. Hmmm.” The saliva was all but oozing out of the corner of his mouth. He looked her over once more. “I must say that is a lovely dress you are wearing.”

“You like it, huh?” She twirled around so he could take it all in. “I got a great buy down at Stein’s. ‘Course I had to jew the old lady down.” She threw her red hair back and laughed. “No pun intended.”

Keys neck began to turn purple. “Ah, yes. Well, I need to check on some of our other students.” He turned and looked down at me. “You really outdid yourself this time, Mr. Killian. I hope you enjoy yourself tonight.” He looked around the table. “I hope you all enjoy yourself.” He stepped backwards, examining Angela once more. His head bobbed up and down and a silly smile was cemented on his face. He extended both arms as if he were giving her a Papal Blessing. “Enjoy ... enjoy ... enjoy.” He babbled on until he backed into Mooch and his date on the dance floor. Mumbling an apology, he scurried back to the safety of his clergy brethern.

After the lethargic five-piece band played The Tennessee Waltz for the fifth time Angela got antsy to hear some good Rock ‘n Roll music.

“Maybe we can go out to the car for a while and listen to the radio?” I said.
“Sure. Why not?” Angela tossed back her hair and adjusted one of her bra straps. “But I have to go to the john first.”

“Yeah, yeah. So do I ... real bad!”
My migraine was coming back, no doubt due to lack of oxygen to my brain. My swollen pecker had surely taken up all the blood in my body. Earlier, I had put on my basketball jockstrap under my boxer shorts for added protection against any embarrassing erection that might pop up, but after several slow dances with Angela I was ready to explode. I was very relieved to let it breathe for a while.

Once outside, Angela had this great idea that we could take the car up to the roof of the Park Easy parking garage, listen to WICK on the radio, and look at the stars. “It will be so romantic,” she said.

So I drove the car up the ramp and headed toward a dark spot but Angela directed me to the farthest corner where she said we could lean over the railing and maybe spit on some people below. That’s when beads of sweat began dripping from my forehead. I didn’t have the balls to tell her about my frightful fear of heights.

“What’s the matter with you?” she asked me.

“Ah, bad headache.”

She squeezed her eyebrows together, gave a shrug, and then went into her purse and withdrew two white pills. “Take these. You’ll feel better in no time.”


“Yeah. Somethin’ like that.” She smiled. “A prescription drug.”

“What am I gonna wash them down with?”

She smiled again and opened the glove compartment in front of her and withdrew a shiny silver flask. “Here.”

“What is it?”

“Just drink it for God’s sake. It won’t kill ya.” She pulled back the flask and put it to her lips. “Look.” She gulped down a hefty swig and handed it back to me.

I didn’t want to be outdone by a female so I took a bigger swig of the potion. Immediately, the liquid ignited my esophagus and burned a hole down into my small intestine. I hacked and coughed until tears ran down my cheeks. When I finally caught my breath, I gasped, “What the hell is that stuff?”

“What’s the matter? Haven’t you ever had good Scotch before?”

“Sure,” I lied. “Many times. Must be a different brand that I’m use to is all.” After a short time, I began to feel better. My head wasn’t throbbing as much and for the first time I noticed the stars dancing above. We sat and passed the flask back and forth several times while we gazed up into the night sky, not saying much at all. We listened to the DJ at WICK. He was telling all us “cool cats” and “hep chicks” that we were going to “dig” his next tune.
“Now listen up out there in Rock ‘n Roll land. This is the Big Bad Beaver comin’ at ya from WICK, the grooviest radio station in the northeast. We’re goin’ to rock your socks off all night long. So all you cats grab your chicks and get your tootsies out on that dance floor. And if you don’t have a dance floor then kick off your shoes and boogie on the roof. This is the Big Bad Beaver tellin’ one and all that Rock ‘n Roll is here to stay, baby!”

The Coasters went into their rendition of Charlie Brown and I just had to kick off my shoes and jump out of the car.

That Charlie Brown ... he’s such a clown.

“Come on!” I said to Angela. “They’re playing my song.”

Who walks in the classroom soft and slow? Who calls the English teacher Daddy-O? Charlie Brown. He’s a clown. That Charlie Brown. He’s goin’ to get caught, just you wait and see. And the deep voice answering: Why is everyone always pickin’ on me?

“Yeah, why is everyone always pickin’ on me?” I asked Angela as we twirled around and around on the concrete roof in our stocking feet and prissy prom outfits.

“Because you’re a clown, Charlie Brown!” She threw her head back and leaned up against the car. “And you can’t dance for shit.”

I staggered over to her side and focused in on her face and tried to tuck my shirt into my pants but my hand kept getting caught in my cummerbund. I finally extracted my hand and was confused by the rather peculiar garment around my waist. I couldn’t figure out what it was. “What the hell is this? Did you put this girdle on me?”

Angela emptied the final droplets from the flask and tossed it into the back seat. Her eyes had a glazed look as if someone had smeared petroleum jelly into her eye sockets. She fumbled at my waist and brushed aside my coat. “Take this thing off. Let me have a look at it.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. She wanted to see it! “Okay,” I said, “but I’ll have to take off my jockstrap first.”

She pushed me against the car. “What the hell are you talkin’ about? I just want to see that contraption around your waist.”

“Oooh, that. I thought you meant ... never mind.” I struggled out of my white jacket and tossed it on the ground. It was hard to stand still as the damn rooftop was swaying back and forth so much. I faced Angela and allowed her to examine the garment at close range. She dropped to her knees and said I would have to take off the suspenders so she could loosen the cummerbund. So I did as she asked. But when she pulled on the waistband down came my pants and boxer shorts too. All that stood between my manly pride and Angela’s red lips was my yellow-stained basketball jockstrap.
I guess we’d have remained in that position all night if it wasn’t for the black ‘55 Mercury that screeched up behind us. I didn’t bother to turn around, even when I heard the voice of Angela’s boyfriend.

“What the hell!” Arty yelped like an endangered hyena. Then he shot a fist into my kidney and I went down into a fetal position, my pants still curled around my ankles. Two swift kicks from his leather boots to my ass and then to my head followed.

I waited patiently for the pain to come.

Angela staggered to her feet and pushed Arty away. “Stop it! Stop it! He didn’t do anything!”

I turned and gestured with an upraised finger. “Ya see, it’s all on account of that damn cummerbund. Sweet Angela was just trying to get a good look at it when ...”

Another kick to the groin area by Arty’s greasy pal, Killer, shut me up fast. But, surprisingly, the pain only lasted a moment. Undaunted, I continued to talk. “What we have here is a failure to communicate properly. Now, if you will just let me ...” Two more kicks to the groin area and several to the head finally silenced me. I felt Killer and Arty lifting me up and dragging me to the railing.

“Any last wishes, prepster?” Arty asked.

I didn’t know why he was smiling until I realized he was planning to toss me off the roof of the garage. “You can’t do this,” I told him.

“And why not?”

I hesitated, looked sheepishly over at Angela, and then whispered into his ear. “Ya see, the truth is ... I’m afraid of heights.” The next thing I knew I was dangling upside down. Below me, nothing but air, and the hard pavement five stories down. It was a great way to sober up, real fast. “Heeelp!” I didn’t want to die ... especially in a jockstrap. I began to say the Act of Contrition. “Oh, my God, I am heartily sorry for offending thee. I detest the loss of heaven and the pains of hell ...”

After what seemed like an eternity they pulled me back onto the solid floor of the roof where I quivered at their feet like a little scared hare. “Thank you. Thank you,” I whined.

“Shut the hell up!” Arty turned his attention to Angela and said, “What the hell do you see in this wimp?”

Angela bent down by my side and wiped my tears away. “He’s a gentleman ... and he makes me laugh, okay? Now why don’t you and Killer beat it before I have to tell my father you ruined this prom night for me.”

Arty and Killer thought over the consequences of that statement and headed back to the Merc. Arty took one last look at me and laughed. “What the hell is that? A jockstrap? What a clown!” They both choked on their laughter until the Merc disappeared in a belch of smoke and headed down the exit ramp.

Angela helped me to my feet and pulled up my boxer shorts and pants. She handed me my suspenders and the white jacket that was now covered with grease. Then she wiped the smudge from my face and smiled. “Don’t give them no mind, Charlie Brown,” she said.

I looked at her and smiled pitifully as we got into the car.

“Why is everyone always pickin’ on me?”
She reached over and patted my cheek. “Because you’re a clown, Charlie Brown.” Then she kissed me lightly on the lips.

“What’s that for?”

“Because I had a really good time tonight.”

“Yeah, sure. The most painful and humiliating night of my drab existence and you say you had a good time?”
She leaned in close to me and put her hand on my leg. “No, really. I got to meet all your weird friends. I flirted with the headmaster of your school. Had some drinks and danced in my stocking feet under the stars. Then I got to see a guy in his jockstrap--and not many girls ever had that opportunity. I even watched Arty get pissed off and dangle you off the edge of the roof by your feet.” She tossed her head back and laughed. “It’s been a blast, Jerry. A real blast.”

She pressed her body against my arm and looked into my eyes with such sweet sincerity I almost believed her. “Kiss me,” she said. I told her I had a busted lip, but it didn’t bother her. Her mouth was on mine in an instant and her tongue darted inside of me igniting a warm glow down to my most precious body part. It brought back that first erotic experience I had with her when I was thirteen. Her hand slid across my leg to my crotch. I reached out and cupped her breast in my hand. She moaned and pushed me down hard onto my back.

“My God!” I thought. “I was finally going to get laid.”

In the distance, I could hear the soft purr of a ‘59 Buick ElDorado Roadmaster, just like the one Boomer’s father owned. The sound grew louder until it was right next to us.
“Go for it, Killjoy!” Boomer’s loud voice was unmistakable.
Then came Winny’s cry. “You said you’d do it. And you did! We’re all proud of you. Congratulations, Jerry!”
I knew Ace was with them when I heard the familiar “Friggin’ A” echo through the night air. There was much laughter and howling before the Buick roared off and silence returned. Angela abruptly sat up and told me to get out of the car.

“Huh?” I said.

“You heard me!” she screamed, and reached over and got her flask and began beating me over the head with it.

I stumbled out of the car, hitched up my pants, and looked down at my stocking feet. “Wait!” I pleaded. “My shoes!” She threw both of them at me; one hit me square on the nose, the other quickly deflated my boner. Then she tossed my white jacket over the trunk of the car and proceeded to back over it until she was sure there was enough tire marks on it. I begged her for mercy. “Please! Can’t you see I’m in pain here. What am I suppose to do?”

She gave me an evil smile.

“Suffer, you bastard! Just suffer!”

I limped home that night, not fully understanding the female species, or why everybody was always pickin’ on me.



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