Mike and Jerry went over the Writer's latest script. She was in a slump, and couldn't seem to write a good movie. She procrastinated a lot when she did have an idea, but half the time, she couldn't seem to start it. And whatever she came out with in the meantime, Mike hated.
"I think we're all in a slump," Jerry said. "My ratings are down again."
"That's not good," Mike said.
"Wanna play DJ? You get better ratings than I do."
"That's because I play the Beatles on your show."
Jerry nodded and heaved a sigh. He was under a lot of stress. The radio station he was working out of was complaining about his ratings, the studio was giving him grief about the movie situation, Bob was complaining about the Discophonics not being in the recording studio for days, or on the charts for months, and Linda began complaining about him never being home.
"You know, Mike, I feel like I'm a piece of taffy," he said. "I'm being stretched out all over the place!"
"It'll get better," Mike said. "After they give us some time off, Linda won't complain about you not bein' home."
"I hope so."
Luckily for the boys, Bob was giving them a week off. Jerry could get some of his priorities in order. He went home and practically collapsed on the couch. It was only one thirty, so Linda was still at school. Jerry kicked off his shoes and propped his feet up on the couch. Christine walked by and swatted them.
"Get your feet off of there," she said. "I just vacuumed."
"Sorry," Jerry said, sitting up straight.
"You said it. I'm glad Bob gave us a week off. I don't think I can handle much of anything right now."
"What about your radio show?"
"Yeah, I'm still going to do the show. But Linda won't be complaining so much about me not being home."
Christine walked into the kitchen. Jerry waited until she was out of sight, and then propped his feet up on the couch again. An hour went by. Linda finally walked through the front door. Jerry had fallen asleep on the couch. Linda didn't know that. She put her books down on the table and turned to him.
"What are you doing home so early?" she asked, waking him up, and scaring him half to death. He rolled off the couch and landed flat on his back on the floor.
"Ack!" he shouted. "Linda, don't do that when I'm sleeping!"
"I didn't know you were sleeping," Linda said.
"You bet. Couldn't have been much better than school, though."
"Well, there's a dance coming up, I've got a lot of tests coming up, and . . . . oh yeah, my grandparents are coming to visit, as well as the rest of my mom's side of the family, since my cousin is getting married her in LA."
"You'd like my mom's side of the family. They're Italian."
Jerry finally got up and he and Linda walked into the kitchen as Jerry told Linda about his problems.
"You do too much at once," Christine said. "You've got to tone it down a little!"
"But I can't stay away from the radio," Jerry said. "And I signed a contract with Screen Gems, and I also signed a recording contract with Bob."
"I don't think you know how to say no."
"Heh, heh, heh."
If there was one thing Jerry didn't need, it was his mother-in-law getting on his back. What would be worse if Hank began getting on his case. A few hours went by. Jerry went down to the radio station and did his gig. When he went to commercials, another disc jockey that worked at the station, Fred Robinson, walked into the room.
"Hey Geator," he said. "Been busy I see."
"You've been reading those teen magazines, haven't you?" Jerry asked, sorting through his records.
"What can I say? My chick digs the teen scene. And so does yours, mind you."
"Yes, she does, and I don't call her a chick."
"Eh, my chick digs stuff like that."
"It's obvious she's not liberated, then. So what do you want this time, Fred?"
"Well, seeing is how you've got this gig, and the movies and the recordings, I figured you'd need a slight pick-me-up."
"Great, thanks, my man. I need one. What have you got? Coffee or sugar?"
"Neither. I've got something different. It'll give you a great high, man. Dig?"
Fred pulled a small capsule out of his pocket and handed it to Jerry, who eyed it suspiciously.
"Where did you get this?" he asked.
"On the corner of Fifth and Main," Fred replied. "It's called Fantasy, and it's a trip, man!"
"Fantasy? Trip? I don't think so. I'm not into that sort of thing."
"Aw, come on. I saw that flick you did, dude, Studio Fifty-six? Man, you were really doin' it, man! You swallowed pills, you drunk like crazy, and you snorted coke!"
"One, that was a movie. Two, the 'cocaine' was really powdered sugar, and the drugs were really Tic Tacs and breath mints. Three, I only drink socially. I'm not into drugs. I don't like them, so please, get that pill out of here before the station manager comes in and kicks us out. You know he's got a drug policy. Anyone caught doing them is fired."
"Sure, dude. Listen, I'll catch you later, okay? Maybe you'll need a slight pick me up later."
"Yeah, only if you bring me coffee, pal, okay?"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah."
Fred left. Jerry rolled his eyes. Both Hank and Linda would kill him if they find out he was doing drugs. The next morning was a rough one. The alarm went off at six a.m. Jerry staggered out of bed and trudged downstairs.
"I'm not getting enough sleep," he said.
"You're working too hard," Christine said, for what seemed to be the fifty zillionth time.
"I know, I know. Please don't bug me about it, Chris. I might fall asleep in the middle of the lecture."
Christine swatted him in the arm. Linda came downstairs next and flopped at the table.
"Why does Daddy make us get up this early even on weekends?" she complained.
"Because he does," Christine said. "He likes a little order, and there are times when he thinks he doesn't get it at the station."
"Personally, I wouldn't mind sleeping in a little."
"You're pathetic, Linda," Jerry said.
"It's not fair," Linda groused. "You've got more energy than me and Mom put together! How do you do it?"
"He's probably hyperactive, honey," Christine said.
"Either that or he's on drugs," Linda replied.
Jerry began to choke on his coffee then. Christine ran over and began whacking him on the back.
"Jerry, are you all right?" Linda asked.
"Fine," Jerry said, stifling a cough or two. "Uhh, just a little surprised you'd suggest I did drugs to keep me going. Which I don't."
"I know," Linda said. "I was just teasing you."
Both Linda and Christine stared at him as if he were nuts. Jerry just shrugged and went back to his coffee. This was going to be a long Saturday, or as far as Linda was concerned. Both Linda's maternal and paternal grandparents were visiting, but for different reasons. The Stanleys were just popping in for a couple of weeks, and the Giuseppes were in town because of a wedding. Linda's aunt Marlene and uncle Frankie's daughter, Lucy, wanted to get married in California, and since the Giuseppe family was a lot bigger than the Stanley family . . . . . well, things were about to get crazy.
"Why are Italian families so big?" Linda asked. Jerry gave her a sneaky look.
"Because we're the best romantics," he said, rolling the R. Linda smacked him in the shoulder.
"Very funny," she said.
"I tell it like it is. And speaking of romantic . . . ."
Jerry moved in, trying to kiss Linda. Once he was close enough to smell her lip gloss, somebody whapped him over the head with what felt like a rolled up newspaper.
"Ow!" he shouted.
"Back away from my daughter," Hank replied. "And get your hands where I can see them."
"Daddy!" Linda groaned.
"Honesty, Cap!" Jerry shouted. "You didn't have to clobber me!"
"Sorry, I couldn't help it," Hank replied. "But hustle. The ol' battle ax and Mario are gonna be here any minute, along with Frankie, Tony, Maria, and their spouses and kids, and this place is going to be a zoo! But you should know something about that, Jerry."
"Oh yeah," Jerry replied. "My mom was one of eight, I've got seven uncles, six aunts, and we lived in a row house in South Philly."
"See what I mean?"
Linda rolled her eyes and began making a list. She grabbed a photo album and pulled Jerry over to the couch.
"Okay, here's the deal," she said. "My grandfather is from Italy, and he came to New York a long, long time ago. His name is Mario Giuseppe, but I call him Poppy, okay?"
"Olay," Jerry said.
"He's married to Agnes, whom I call Gram. And their kids are, in this order, Francisco, or Frankie, Mom, or Christine, Antonio, or Tony, and Maria. Uncle Frankie is married to Aunt Marlene, and their kids are Frankie Jr and Lucy. Lucy and I are practically best friends, and Frankie Jr is married to Sara, and they have a three-year-old named Joey."
"Okay, I think I got that. Who's next?"
"My mom, but you don't need to know that much."
"Right. Get to Tony."
"Uncle Tony is married to Aunt Sophie, and we don't see them or my cousins Emily (nine), Martin (six), and Ritchie (three) too often. Aunt Maria is married to Uncle George, and his last name is Vasilakis. He's Greek. Their kids are Anita (thirteen), Diane (ten), and Nick (four)."
"Okay, now Lucy's fiancé is Brian Marshall, and I met his family. His parents are Ward and June, and they have two other sons named Wally, who is twenty-two, and Ted, who is nineteen. Lucy's twenty-one, and Brian's twenty-four. Wally is married to Caroline, and they have two kids, Rachel (ten) and Gene (eight)."
"This is gonna be some wedding!"
"Don't I know it! Also, along with the Stanleys, my aunt, JB, is flying in, and she's still single. The Stanleys are just getting together for awhile. Daddy has a lot of time off from work."
Jerry let out a low whistle. He knew what he was going to be doing on this week long vacation! The next morning, Christine's parents, and her brothers and his family arrived at the airport, since all of them lived in New York. Maria and her family lived in Seattle, and they planned to drive to LA.
"Chrissy!" Tony called out. Then he ran over to his sister, followed by the others.
"Hi, Tony," Christine said. "Long time, no see. Hi, Sophie, hi kids."
"Guess what, Aunt Christine!" Emily shouted. "I won second prize in a gymnastics meet!"
"Christine!" Agnes shouted as she and Mario came over.
"Hi, Mom, Dad," Christine said. "Oh, gosh, it's great to see you two!"
"Says you," Hank mumbled.
"Hello, Henry," Agnes said. "Oh for goodness sake, you're a fireman! Stand up straight!"
"Yes, ma'am," Hank said, standing up straight. Jerry bit his lower lip to keep from laughing.
"You are looking lovely, Christine," Mario said. Then he turned to his granddaughter and broke into a smile. "Ah, bella Linda! Look at you! All grown up! How old are you now?"
"Hi, Poppy," Linda said. "Sixteen. And there's something I gotta tell you guys . . . ."
"This isn't my little girl," Agnes said. "Last time I saw her she was a skinny little thing! My, how kids grow up so fast!"
"Hey, Linda," Emily said, smacking Jerry in the leg. "This your boyfriend?"
"Sort of, Em," Linda replied.
"He's ugly!" Emily shouted.
"Emily!" Sophie admonished her daughter. "That's not a very nice thing to say!"
"But he is!" Emily shouted.
"He's funny looking," Martin said. "And he's got funny looking teeth, too!"
Jerry blushed scarlet. Clearly, he wasn't prepared for Christine's side of the family. He just folded his arms across his chest and cleared his throat.
"So, aren't you going to introduce us to the young man, Henry?" Agnes asked.
"Yeah," Hank said. "Mario, Agnes, this is Linda's husband, Jerry Blavat."
"Husband?!" Mario shouted.
"Linda got married?!" Tony yelled.
"What a goofy name!" Emily laughed.
"How old is this guy anyway?" Sophie asked.
"How much money does he make?" Martin said.
"She's only sixteen!" Agnes yelled. "How could you let her, and how come we weren't invited to the wedding, Henry?!"
Jerry wanted to disappear at all the looks Christine's family was giving him. He wanted the floor to swallow him in one gulp. He had never been more embarrassed in his entire life.
"Let me explain," Christine said. "Jerry and Linda met one night at a party and became inseparable. Hank got mad because of their age difference and . . . ."
"Just how big is this age difference?" Agnes asked.
"Only ten years, Gram," Linda said.
"Ten years?!" Agnes shouted. "Henry!"
"I can explain this!" Hank shouted. "I didn't want them dating at first, but then I tried to drive the two of them apart, so Linda and Jerry eloped, and that's why you weren't invited. No one was invited."
"Yeah, Gram, it was a spur of the moment thing," Linda explained. "I told Jerry I couldn't live without him, he told me he couldn't live without me, so I asked him 'what are we going to do?' and he said 'elope' and then we went to Las Vegas and got married that night."
"Well, I can only hope that you two really love each other," Agnes said. "You nearly gave me a heart attack! I don't think I can take anymore surprises."
"Well," Mario. "What's done is done. Not much we can do about it now. Besides, we don't have time to worry about it now. We've got a wedding to prepare for."
Jerry breathed of relief. So did Hank, although he wasn't too thrilled with having to explain the whole thing to his parents once they arrived. Pretty soon, the rest of the family showed up, and Hank and Christine did a lot of explaining. Everyone got used to the idea, and then complained about not being invited to Jerry and Linda's wedding, and not being told about it sooner. Things got crazy when Frankie, Marlene, and Lucy arrived. Linda went directly for her cousin, wanting every single detail of the wedding, as did the rest of the family. Jerry had never seen anything like this. It was like a family reunion or something. Linda explained right off about Jerry to Lucy.
"That's Uncle Hank for you," Lucy said. "Losing his temper at every little thing!"
"You definitely would have been a bridesmaid if we'd gone that way," Linda replied. "Actually, if Daddy hadn't gone so nuts, we wouldn't even be married now."
"Well, you never know," Jerry said, shrugging.
"Well, even though I didn't get to be your bridesmaid," Lucy said. "You're still going to be mine."
Linda let out a high pitched squeal, like she always did whenever she got excited. Jerry hated it when she did that. The squeal was so high, even dogs could hear it. But he didn't say anything. He had to leave for the radio station anyway. It was a good thing, too. He had to escape the crowd somehow. He knew he was in for a stressful week. And Fred Robinson noticed, too.
"Hey dude," he said once Jerry went to a commercial. "Looks like you need a boost."
"Do I ever," Jerry said. "My wife's mother's family is in town for a wedding, and they're Italian, so it's a big family, plus my father-in-law's side of the family is in town as well . . . . . this whole week is gonna drive me completely out of my mind."
"Man, you gotta loosen up. Here, take this. It'll give you such a high."
"No. No way, no how, nothing doing. I'm not taking that drug of yours. Nope. Uh-uh, no way."
Fred rolled his eyes and left the studio. Jerry put on another record and sighed. He propped himself up on the desk by his elbows, pinched the bridge of his nose, sighed, and began to massage his forehead. He was getting a headache just thinking about what was ahead for this week, and the week after. The week after meant going back to the studio, and possibly do some promotion for his stalling singing career, or something to do with the Discophonics. Then came the Writer and her movies, and then the radio station. Plus Hank's side of the family was still going to be around, and probably breathing down his neck every chance they got. Just the thought of all that gave him a major headache. Fred clicked his tongue against his teeth and went into the other room. He grabbed Styrofoam cup off the table and filled it with coffee. Then he took one of his capsules and dropped it into the cup. It sank like a stone. Perfect. He took the coffee into the studio, just as Jerry put on another record.
"Hey dude," Fred said. "I thought you could use a little coffee."
"Thanks," Jerry said. He took the coffee and downed it in one gulp. About ten seconds later, he felt somewhat of a buzzing sensation going through his body, and he was thankful he decided to put on a long song!
"Wow!" he shouted. "What'd you put in this coffee?"
"One of these little babies," Fred replied, handing Jerry the pill.
"Man, I asked you not too."
"Aw come on! You needed it! You had to loosen up a little, and Fantasy does that, babe. Come on, admit it, admit it. You liked it. You liked the buzz. You're energized!"
"Yeah, I'll admit, I do feel a little energized. But the buzz . . . . I dunno . . . ."
"Well, you're a beginner. The buzz takes awhile to get used to."
Jerry stared at the blue and yellow capsule for awhile. Then he popped it into his mouth and swallowed. He felt more energized than ever. When the record was over, he grabbed the microphone and another record, and began his usual thirty-mile-a-minute, only going faster.
"Hey, Los Angeles, hey San Diego, hey San Francisco, hey Anaheim, hello, how are ya, huh?" he said. "This is the Big Boss with the Hot Sauce, the Geator with the Heater bringing you an all time jam fest with the big sounds of yesterday, and to kick this dance party into high, the biggest of the big, the Supremes!"
Jerry practically threw the record onto the turntable and flipped the needle on it. Then he sat back in his chair and propped his feet up on the desk. He sighed contentedly and turned to Fred.
"Man, what a high," he said. "I haven't felt so great in a long time."
"What did I tell you, dude?" Fred asked. "This is the stuff dreams are made of, man."
"Hey, where can I get some of those, man? I gotta have them. They keep me going, man, they keep me going!"
"Oh, don't worry about it, dude. Here. You can have my stash. I can get some more later today."
"Great, my man, great. With these babies, I'll have a stress free week."
Fred threw Jerry the plastic bag containing the pills. Jerry immediately popped another one and went back on the air. He was still on his "high" when he got home that night. Hank had tuned in, and was staring at him like he was from another planet.
"What were you doing at the station?" he asked. "You were going faster than you usually go!"
"I was on a high," Jerry said. "It was fantastic! I've never felt so great in my life!"
"Sometimes, I wonder about you."
Jerry just laughed. No one knew how serious the situation was about to get. The Giuseppe family was in and out, preparing for the wedding and the reception. Jerry was in and out as well, going back and forth to the radio station and home. The next day, Jerry was at the radio station, doing his show, and Fred dropped in.
"Hey dude," he said, after Jerry wrapped up. "Brought you a little something."
"Great," Jerry shouted. Fred threw him a bottle of beer, and then opened his own.
"This'll help relax you," he said. "But don't mix it with Fantasy man. It'll get you too high, dig?"
"Dig," Jerry said, opening his beer. He took a long drink out of it, and then turned to Fred. "Whoa, this is good stuff."
"Bud always is, dude," Fred replied. "Believe me, dude, you gotta relax! It's okay to go thirty miles a minute on the show, but after the show, you gotta let it all hang out!"
"I can dig that. I haven't been this relaxed in a long time."
"Come on. I know where we can go to really let it all hang out."
Jerry agreed and he and Fred left to go to a local bar. The two of them got completely stoned out of the gourds. Then while walking back home, Fred ran into a buddy of his, who was carrying a marijuana cigarette in his hands.
"Hey Freddy!" he shouted. "Wanna hit?"
"Why not?" Fred asked, taking the joint. "Hey, Jer, wanna try it?"
Jerry just nodded and took the joint. His mind was practically mush by this time anyway. He had no idea what he was getting himself into. He took a drag and immediately got completely silly. He staggered around, barely able to stand up straight. Since Fred and his pal were completely stoned as well, they thought it was funny. It was a miracle Jerry made it home without falling flat on his face, or worse. Of course, the minute he walked through the door, Linda and Christine demanded to know where he had been.
"Just out," Jerry said.
"Out where?" Christine asked.
"Out," Jerry repeated. "With the guys."
"You mean Mike and Reggie?" Linda asked.
"No, Fred and this other guy," Jerry replied. "You know Fred. He works at the radio station with me. He's a colleague."
"Uh huh," Christine said. "And what were you guys doing?"
"Just drinking," Jerry explained. "That's all. We were trying to relax."
"Oh yeah, he's been drinking," Linda said. "Look at him, Mom. He's plastered."
"Yeah, I see," Christine replied. "We can't let my parents see him like this. They weren't too thrilled when I told them he was a disc jockey, since they think anybody in the entertainment business is into drinking and drug use."
Linda and Christine practically had to drag Jerry up the stairs by the arms. The minute they were upstairs and in the bedroom, Jerry collapsed on the bed and passed out. He had a little too much to drink at one time.
"What are we gonna tell Gram and Poppy?" Linda asked.
"We'll tell him he had a rough day," Christine said. "That way, they'll never find out he's drunk."
"They don't like him, do they?"
"They just have to get used to him, dear. They'll warm up to him, like your dad did."
"I hope so."
The next morning, Jerry staggered out of bed, and practically crawled to the bathroom. He was hungover. Linda followed him and watched him as he puked his guts out (or at least that's what it sounded like).
"Ooh boy, am I sick," he said. "I feel like I was hit in the head with a brick!"
"Well, that's what you get for getting yourself drunk," Linda replied. "Be glad Daddy isn't here, because if he finds out you're drunk, you'd be dead meat."
"He should be happy I don't try to get you drunk. I'm over twenty-one. I've been over twenty-one for five years, and what I do is my business!"
Linda rolled her eyes and left. Jerry groaned then. His head was killing him. He could barely see straight. Once he got himself in order, he called Mike and asked if he was interested in getting together. Mike agreed, and said he'd be over in a few minutes. Once they got together, they began a slight jam session in the living room. Mike played his guitar, while Jerry used the coffee table and his hands for a drumset. As they were doing that, Linda and Lucy walked into the room.
"Could you hold it down in here?" Linda asked. "We're talking about the wedding!"
"Sorry," Jerry said.
"Looks like you're cured," Lucy said.
"What do you mean?" Jerry asked.
"All of us heard you toss your cookies this morning."
"Feelin' a little sick, Jer?" Mike asked.
"Oh, that," Jerry replied. "Yeah, I was hungover. I got completely drunk yesterday and nobody wanted Christine's family to know about it. They don't like me too much."
"Neither did Uncle Hank," Lucy said. "But he got over it, and so will the rest of the family."
Jerry just nodded. The doorbell rang just then. Linda walked over to get it, while Lucy sat down and began jamming with the guys, clapping her hands with the beat. Linda and Brian walked into the room just then.
"Your fiancé is here, Luce," she said.
"Great, I want him to meet Mike," Lucy said.
"We've met," Mike said, standing up.
"Hey, Mike!" Brian shouted. "Long time, no see!"
"How do you know each other?" Jerry asked.
"Oh, he entered into San Antonio College just as I was leavin' it," Mike replied. "We ended up gettin' together at one point and we'd jam a little."
"Cool," Jerry said.
"Yeah, we're not exactly best buds, like you, Jer," Brian said. "But we got around."
"Oh yeah," Mike said. "Little did I know this guy was marryin' my best friend's wife's cousin."
The five of them got to talking then, mostly with Mike and Brian catching up on old times. The girls were well into the conversation as well. Jerry just nodded a lot, but didn't say much. No one noticed, except Mike. Usually Jerry was the one who would dominate the conversation, and there he was sitting there, barely saying a word. Something was up. Once Brian, Linda, and Lucy left to go over the wedding, Mike and Jerry walked outside for a little air.
"Somethin' wrong, Geat?" Mike asked.
"No, why?" Jerry asked.
"You seem kind of out of it."
"I'm fine, really."
"Feelin' a little left out?"
"Nah. Well, maybe. I dunno. It's already been a crazy week, and it's gonna get worse."
"Well, it'll get better. Trust me on this."
Mike patted Jerry on the shoulder, and then left. Once he was gone, Jerry pulled a medicine bottle out of his pocket. He was using that to store the Fantasy pills in. He opened the bottle, popped a pill, and then walked back inside to get his records. It was another night of going at least fifty miles a minute. The next morning, Bob called, and told Jerry he needed everybody at the studio post haste, due to some problems. Nobody was too thrilled about being at the studio.
"I'm sorry to cut your vacations short," he said. "But it's an emergency."
"I hate to think," Mike said.
"What, you need us to save the world?" Peter joked.
"No," Bob said, glaring at Peter. "We've just got a problem. I got a call from the producer of the Todd Bailey's Dance-O-Rama show, and they want one of my groups to appear on Saturday night."
"Count me out," Davy said. "I've got a date."
"When do you not have a date?" Bob asked.
"I'm gonna have to bail, too," Peter said. "I've lined up a weekend trip to Connecticut, since I thought we were still on vacation."
"I'm going to a hockey game," Drake said. "Anaheim Mighty Ducks versus the Middletown Hockey Pucks."
"You only go to the games because your brother-in-law's on the Ducks team," Bob said.
"I know, but hockey's grown on me," Drake replied. "Besides, I promised the girls I'd take them to see the game. Gosalyn's a hockey fanatic."
"I can't, either," Quackerjack said. "Camille and I are going out."
"That counts out Elusive Butterfly," Bob groaned. "Discophonics, how 'bout you?"
"Don't you think it'll be kind of weird if I go on Dance-O-Rama?" Jerry asked. "I mean, what with me and The Discophonic Scene and all . . . ."
"Jer, The Discophonic Scene is dead," Bob said. "You know it, and I know it. Besides, I'm desperate."
"Okay," Reggie said.
"Sure," Mike replied.
"All right," Jerry sighed.
"But you owe us," Mike said.
"Sure, sure," Bob said. "Thanks guys!"
Bob ran off. Mike, Jerry, and Reggie looked at each other then. They weren't exactly sure if they understood what went on in Bob's mind, but they decided to just let it go. Jerry did his gig again that night, and Fred walked in.
"Hey dude," he said. "What's shakin'?"
"A lot," Jerry said. "My wife's cousin's getting married, her family hates my guts, and Saturday night, I'm supposed to go on this Bandstand rip off with Mike and Reggie . . . . and then I gotta go back to work at Screen Gems."
"Man, what a schedule."
"Hey, it was a lot worse than this way back when. But way back when I enjoyed it. Now . . . . well, I'm not really sure what I want to be doing anymore. I like this crazy lifestyle I've got going, but there are times when I wish I could pick one career and stick with it."
"You need a little Fantasy, dude. Get yourself keyed up for the week."
Jerry popped another pill and went back to the show. Saturday rolled along, and the boys found themselves at KXIW-TV, where Todd Bailey's Dance-O-Rama was filmed. Todd wasn't too thrilled with having the Discophonics on the show. He wanted the Monkees, but Bob had told him he had to take what he could give. Todd especially didn't like Jerry and the feeling was mutual.
"You better not be plugging yourself," he said. "That's just what I need on this show. The city's favorite dancing DJ plugging his radio show and his TV show."
"I'll have you know my TV show hasn't been on the air in years," Jerry said.
"Just don't give yourself free publicity."
Todd walked off. Jerry glared at him.
"Just don't give yourself free publicity," he mimicked. "Sheesh."
"Forget him," Reggie said. "He knows not what he does."
"He's a Dick Clark wannabe," Jerry replied. "And obnoxious."
That was true. Todd had a habit of barking orders right and left whenever the camera wasn't on. When the camera was on, he'd be the nicest so and so around, but when it wasn't on, he was a complete jerk.
"Come on, guys," Mike said. "We're on in a few minutes."
Reggie nodded and followed Mike. Jerry hung back for a second. He pulled out his pill bottle, and took a couple of capsules. Unknown to him, Reggie saw him. He put the bottle on the desk, and caught up with Mike. When they were introduced, they came out on stage, singing. When they were done, Todd came over and began interviewing them.
"So what are you guys doing now?" he asked.
"Well, we're gonna be makin' another movie pretty soon," Mike said.
"We're also planning on an album," Reggie replied.
"Ah ha," Todd said. "Well, we can't wait to hear it. So, Jerry, what station are you on now?"
"KGLD," Jerry said. "Five to seven, weekdays."
"Cool," Todd said. "We'll be sure to tune in when we can."
Todd then turned to the camera to introduce the next number. The Discophonics walked off, Jerry ready to throttle somebody.
"I hate him," he said.
"I know he's a hypocrite, but what can you do?" Mike asked.
"I can't take him," Jerry said. "I can't wait until this show's over. Too bad we've got another song to do."
"Yeah, but not for awhile," Reggie said.
"If you guys need me, I'll be in the dressing room," Jerry replied, storming off. Once he was inside, he slammed the door. Both Mike and Reggie flinched.
"Whoo!" Mike shouted. "I've never seen him like that!"
"Yeah, I wanted to talk to you about that," Reggie said. "Right before we went out on stage, Jerry took a couple of pills."
"It's probably nothin', Reg. They were probably Aspirins or somethin'."
"I don't know man. They didn't look like any headache medicine. They were capsules."
"So what? Tylenol and Advil make capsules."
"So they were yellow and blue. And Jerry's been acting really weird lately."
"Yellow and blue. You know you may have somethin' there. I'll be right back."
Mike walked over to the dressing room and knocked on the door.
"Yeah?" Jerry asked.
"It's me, can I come in?" Mike asked.
Mike opened the door and walked inside. Jerry was sitting in front of the mirror, just staring out into space.
"If Todd Bailey came in and saw you starin' at yourself, he'd make a crack about how vain you are," Mike said.
"I wouldn't have let him in," Jerry replied. "What's up? Are we on?"
"Not yet. Uhh, Reggie saw you take a couple of pills, and he's kind of worried 'cause he didn't exactly see what they were."
"Oh. Well, it's no big deal. A friend of mine at the station gave 'em to me. They're harmless."
"Let me see one."
"Sure. I gotta tell you though, they'll make you feel phenomenal! They'll give you such a high! You'll feel better than you've ever felt in your entire life!"
Right away, Mike knew what the pill was, without having to scan it. He knew it was a drug the minute Jerry told him that.
"Jerry, have you lost your mind?!" he shouted. "Do you know what these things can do to you?!"
"Oh come on!" Jerry shouted. "They can't be that bad!"
"All drugs are, Jerry. I oughta know. I've experimented, and really regretted it. Everybody was doin' it back in the day."
"Well then I've missed out on a lot of good stuff, man! These really relieve stress."
"Jerry, you've said so yourself, drugs will mess you up. Please, don't take anymore. Promise me you won't take anymore!"
"But Mike . . . . ."
Mike left. Jerry clicked his tongue against his teeth. He took a pill from his bottle and swallowed it. After all, he never said he promised not to take another drug. All he said was "okay." After awhile, the Discophonics went back on and sang. Jerry seemed to have more energy than usual. He was practically bouncing around the stage, as if he were on a sugar rush. Something told Mike he went back on that promise, but he didn't say anything about it. Once the show was over, Mike and Jerry walked back to Hank's house. Mike needed to talk to Christine.
"Is this weddin' invitation only?" he asked.
"Yeah, why?" Christine asked.
"Jerry popped a couple of pills at the show tonight, and I have a feelin' it wasn't the first time he did, and that it's not gonna be the last time he will. I think he's doin' some kind of drug."
"Jerry's too smart for that."
"Look, Brian and I are friends. If you can get me invited to this weddin', I can keep an eye on him. You don't know how worried I am, Christine."
"I'll talk to Brian, but I can't promise you anything."
"Okay, and whatever you do, don't tell Cap."
"Oh no, definitely not. He'll blow a gasket!"
Mike nodded and left. His sixth sense was twinging as he did. Monday rolled around. Mike kept watching Jerry like a hawk. Jerry just sat around, going through his records.
"What ah you staring at 'im for?" Davy asked.
"He's been poppin' pills," Mike said. "I think he's on some kind of drug."
"Well, maybe it's not as bad as you think. 'Ave you actually scanned the drug?"
"No, but I don't think I want to. I just get a bad feelin' about it."
Davy was about to say something when Quackerjack came over, carrying the morning newspaper. He unrolled it and handed it to Mike.
"You might want to take a look at that, Mike," he said.
Mike took the paper and began to look through it. Then he clicked his tongue against his teeth and turned to the others.
"We've got a craze on our hands," he said.
"What's the mattah?" Davy asked.
"One word," Quackerjack said. "Fantasy."
"What?" Davy asked, confused. "I don't get it."
"The drug," Mike said. "This piece in the paper wrote up about this new designer drug called Fantasy. Says here that it's highly addictive."
"You don't think . . . . ." Davy said.
"I do think," Mike replied. He walked over to Jerry.
"Yo, Jer," he said.
"Yeah, what?" Jerry asked.
"Those pills that you've been takin'. What are they called?"
"Fantasy, why? Want one?"
"No, I most certainly don't. Listen to me, they're addictive, man, and dangerous."
"Aw, come on. You don't know what's in 'em."
"Not yet. But I will shortly."
Mike took one of Jerry's pills and walked off. Jerry shrugged and continued to sort through his records. Mike went over to Rampart General and handed the pill to Dr. Brackett.
"Analyze that," he said.
"What is it?" Dr. Brackett asked.
"That new drug, Fantasy. I have a feelin' it's big trouble."
"What makes you say that?"
"The paper. It said it was highly addictive. Come on, doc! Jerry's been takin' these things and I'm worried about him."
"I'll see what I can do."
"See that you do."
Dr. Brackett just stared at Mike, wondering if he popped any of the pills. But he took it into the lab to have it checked out. Mike went back to the studio. Bob was talking to Jerry about something or another. Jerry nodded after awhile, and Bob left. Once he was gone, Jerry took a bottle out of his pocket, opened it, and took a pill out. He popped it into his mouth and swallowed. Mike practically sprinted over to him.
"What did you take that for?!" he demanded.
"It's no big deal, Mike," Jerry said. "Bob wanted me to lay down some tracks later today, and believe me, I'm gonna need the energy."
"Oh boy. Jerry, you promised you wouldn't take anymore of those drugs!"
"I never said those exact words, Mike. Technically, I'm not breaking any promises."
Jerry walked off. Mike slapped his hand to his forehead and groaned. This wasn't going to be easy. Later, Mike, Jerry, Reggie, and Micky were in the recording studio, ready to start. Jerry popped another pill, when he thought no one was looking. The others noticed, though.
"He's been taking those things a lot, hasn't he?" Micky asked.
"I'm beginnin' to think he's addicted," Mike replied. "I'm dyin' to know what's in those, but I can't scan 'em like I usually scan 'em. If I have to scan a pill, I have to swallow it. Pill poppin' ain't good for hypoglycemics."
Mike, Reggie, and Micky just looked at Jerry, and the four of them started the recording. Bob managed to get three good tracks, but one song seemed to be taking forever to get right. Mike was losing it. Jerry was going crazy as well, and he opened some alcoholic beverage or another and took a swig from it.
"Bob, get it together in there!" he shouted, banging on the window.
"I'm working on it," Bob said. "These things take a little patients, Jer!"
"I've nearly run out of patients!" Jerry yelled.
"Yeah, me too," Reggie said. "Give me that bottle."
Jerry handed Reggie the bottle. Reggie took a huge drink out of it and passed it back to Jerry. Both Micky and Mike stared at them as if they were crazy.
"Reg!" Mike yelled.
"What?" Reggie asked. "I'm not driving!"
"I don't believe this," Micky moaned.
"Let's get outta here," Jerry said. "We'll pick it up tomorrow."
The others agreed on that, and decided to hit a bar or something along those lines. Micky brought along a tape recorder, Mike packed up his guitar, and Reggie carried his saxophone. Mike, Reggie and Jerry, who had completely run out of patients with Bob, were drinking like crazy. Mike had modified his drinks a little so that the alcohol wouldn't cause him to pass out, but he still felt the effects of the stuff. Micky was the only one of the four not getting totally plastered.
"I didn't think asthmatics could drink alcohol," he said.
"It can't hurt me," Reggie said, downing a shot of Red Eye. "My asthma has gotten better. It was a lot worse when I was a kid, I tell you!"
Micky nodded, and downed a shot of Red Eye himself. He figured if he couldn't beat 'em, join 'em, and pretty soon, he was as inebriated as the rest. Mike took out his guitar and began strumming on it. Reggie took out his saxophone and began tuning it up as well. Micky fiddled with the tape recorder. Jerry was the worst of them. He was staring up at the ceiling fan, watching it spin, and laughing at it.
"Dude, you're gonna get yourself dizzy doin' that," a voice said. Jerry turned around and smiled.
"Hey, Freddy!" he shouted. "How are you, my man?"
"Wonderful, just wonderful," Fred replied. "So, got your posse here, huh?"
"Oh yeah. Yeah, my man, we just came from a recording session. I gotta tell you, it got hectic! Oh, it was driving us insane!"
"Yeah, ol' Florence Nightingale over here couldn't get the song right!" Reggie said, smacking Jerry in the back. With that, Jerry fell off the bar stool and landed flat on the floor. He began to laugh as he pulled himself back up.
"Ooohhh!" Reggie shouted. "Don't know my own strength!"
"Ha, ha," Jerry laughed. "Hey, I gotta tell you, I gotta tell you. If I was messing up the singing, these two were wrecking the instrumental track!"
"Hey," Fred said. "Hey, how 'bout you sing it for us? You know, you've got the instruments!"
"We need a drum set for what we were doing," Reggie said.
"Gotcha covered," Mike said, snapping his fingers. A drum set appeared in his hands.
"Mick, go to it," Reggie said.
"I dunno," Jerry said.
"Aw come on, man, come on!" Fred prodded. "Hey! Hey everybody! Wanna hear the Geator with the Heater sing? Huh? You wanna hear him?"
Everybody at the bar began applauding, prodding Jerry to sing. Jerry put down his drink and nodded.
"Okay, okay," he said. "You win, I'll sing. Hey, guys, guys, give me the downbeat, okay?"
The entire bar began applauding. Mike, Reggie, and Micky nodded and began the downbeat.
"A one, a two, a one, two, three four!" they shouted, and did a little intro which included their voices and hand clapping.
Reggie raised his sax to his beak and blew into it. Micky banged on the drums, Mike played his guitar, and Jerry had jumped onto the bar and began to sing and dance. He began jumping from table to table while singing! And throughout the entire thing, Micky's tape recorder was running! The entire bar was going wild! Once the boys were done singing, there was a lot of whistling and applauding.
"Yeah, good one," Fred said. "Hey, yo, Fuzzy. You left your recorder going."
"Oh jeez," Micky said, turning it off. "There go the batteries."
The others laughed and continued to drink. All four of them went back to their homes, drunk. They staggered into work the next morning, totally hungover.
"I'm surprised we don't have to call the paramedics, Mike," Drake said. "You know what alcohol does to your system."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Mike said. "Where's Bob?"
"Yeah, we gotta talk to him," Micky said.
"What's up?" Bob asked, coming over.
"You know that song we couldn't get right last night?" Jerry asked.
"Yeah?" Bob said.
"Well, Micky left his tape recorder running in the bar, and I think we've got a hit," Reggie replied.
"Let's hear it," Bob said.
Micky pushed the play button on the tape recorder. At first, all there was on the tape were sax squeaks and guitar twangs, with a mix of the background noises, and of course the talking.
"If this is supposed to be a hit . . . ." Bob threatened.
"Wait, it's coming," Mike said.
So, Bob waited. Finally, Mike, Micky, and Reggie's downbeat came onto the tape, followed by the vocals. Bob was completely flabbergasted.
"Where in the world did you guys record this?" he asked. "Everybody in the background sounds like they're drunk!"
"Well, we did get this in a bar," Micky admitted.
"Jerry was completely smashed," Mike replied.
"'E nevah sounded bettah," Davy said. "Personally, 'e should get drunk every time 'e goes to make a recording."
"Aw, shut up," Jerry growled.
Bob didn't waste any time. He took that tape and put it with the others, in order to edit it. He liked the beginning, and the end as well, and decided to leave it in, for effect. Jerry ran his hand through his hair. Reggie groaned.
"This thing's gonna sound like Gary US Bond's 'Quarter to Three'," he said. "You know there was a lot of alcohol consumed when they recorded that one!"
"Don't I know it," Jerry said. Then he sighed. "I gotta get going. Got stuff to do."
Reggie nodded, and Jerry walked off. He left the studio and proceeded walking down the street. He ran into none other than Fred Robinson.
"Hey, dude," he said. "What's shakin'?"
"Not much," Jerry said. "Got anymore Fantasy? I'm almost out."
"Sorry, dude, but I can't hand 'em out for free, you know. Come with me. I know where you can get some more."
Jerry nodded and followed Fred into an alley, and down to the seedy side of LA, where all the drugees hung out. There were people smoking marijuana, shooting heroin, and popping every kind of pill known to man. Jerry found it somewhat intimidating, but he had to get his hands on some Fantasy before he went completely insane.
"Hey, Lou," Fred said to some guy standing in an alley. He was wearing a trenchcoat and hat, and kept his hands jammed in his pockets.
"Hey, man," he said. "How's my best customer?"
"All right. Hey, listen, dude, this here's Jerry. He needs some Fantasy. You got some?"
"Yeah, I got some. But it don't come free, you know. I can barely keep my hands on it."
Jerry pulled his wallet out of his pocket and began separating bills. Fred watched over his shoulder.
"Two hundred fifty," Jerry said. "It's all I've got on me right now."
"Well, I dunno," Lou said. "That won't get you a whole bottle or anything. Uhh, maybe I can give you about . . . . . let's see . . . . five and a half pills, I guess."
"Five and a half?" Jerry asked. "Look, I gotta have a whole bottle! I can't stand the stress I'm under without Fantasy!"
"Well . . . . ."
"Wait, wait a minute. Here, take my watch, and my ring, and the two fifty."
"You've got yourself some Fantasy, my friend."
Jerry took off his watch, and his ring, and handed them and the money to Lou. Lou then pulled a bottle of pills out of his coat and handed them to Jerry. Immediately, Jerry opened the bottle and popped a pill into his mouth. Then he and Fred left the scene. Later that evening, Dr. Brackett called up Mike.
"I've analyzed the pill you gave me," he said. "I've got to tell you, I was shocked!"
"What's in it?" Mike asked.
"There are traces of opium, morphine, marijuana, and amphetamines."
"Oh good lord. Thanks, doc."
"Why couldn't you have scanned it yourself, Mike?"
"If I did, I would have had to take that thing, and I didn't want to become addicted. But I appreciate you goin' through the trouble."
"What are you going to do now, Mike?"
"Try and get Jerry off this pill, what else?"
"You'll need it."
Mike hung up and took a deep breath. He had a lot of work to do. The next day, Christine dropped by Mike's place.
"I pulled some strings with Brian," she said. "I got you an invitation, on the stipulation that you sing."
"That's not a problem," Mike said. "I'm only goin' so I can keep an eye on Jerry. I'm worried about him."
"So are the rest of us, Mike. There are times when he's just completely energetic, and when that passes, he's moody and doesn't want to be bothered."
"Sounds like the highs and lows of drug and alcohol abuse."
"Well, he's been coming home from work drunk these days."
"Yeah, I've noticed. I have a feelin' we oughta keep an eye on him at your niece's weddin'. Who knows what he's gonna be up to."
Christine nodded. Saturday rolled around. Nine o' clock in the morning, and Linda was rushing around, trying to get things in order. She was panicking.
"I need my dress, my flowers, everything!" she shouted. She was still running around in her bathrobe and pink fuzzy bunny slippers. Jerry was still laying in bed. He was awake, but he felt like he'd fallen and couldn't get up.
"Jerry, would you get up?!" Linda shouted.
"Aw, do I hafta?" Jerry groaned, burying his head underneath his pillow.
"Yes, you hafta. The wedding's in an hour!"
"What wedding?! What do you mean what wedding?! My cousin's wedding!"
"Oh, that wedding, right."
"Yes, that wedding. Now get up!"
"Oh, what's the rush?"
"All right, you leave me no choice."
Linda walked over to the door and opened it. Then she walked over to the stairs and took a deep breath.
"DADDY!" she screamed at the top of her lungs. Jerry shot to attention.
"Okay! Okay! I'm up!" he shouted. "Just please don't drag your dad into this!"
"Never mind, Dad!" Linda called. Then she got a good look at her husband. "Good grief, Jerry! You look like you've been run over by a truck! Hurry up and get into the shower. Go, go, go!"
"All right, all right," Jerry said. He rolled his eyes and staggered into the bathroom, grumbling about how Brian and Lucy couldn't wait until noon or one o' clock in the afternoon to have the wedding, and how it just had to be at ten o' clock on Saturday morning. Linda just rolled her eyes and continued getting into some kind of order.
Linda walked down the stairs twenty minutes later, as slowly as she could, since she was wearing heels.
"Mom, how do you walk in these things?" she asked.
"Very carefully," Christine said.
"That's the dumbest answer I ever heard," Hank said. He was sitting at the kitchen table, talking to his parents, Mitch and Marianne.
"That's a woman for you, Hank," Mitch replied. "But on the lighter side, Linda, you look beautiful."
"Thanks, Grandpa," Linda said. "Did Jerry come down yet?"
"I haven't seen him," Christine replied.
"Well he'd better shake a leg," Hank said. "The wedding starts in a little over half an hour."
Hank walked over to the staircase and leaned against the railing.
"Jerry! Whatever you're doing, hurry it up!" he yelled. "We've got to get a move on!"
"Okay!" Jerry called. He took his pills from the bottom drawer and popped one into his mouth. Then he combed out his hair, grabbed his shoes, and made a mad dash down the stairs.
"What took you so long?" Hank asked.
"I was trying to get myself into some kind of order," Jerry said. "I was planning on sleeping late."
"He forgot about the wedding," Linda said.
"How could you have forgotten?" Christine asked. "It was all any of us could talk about these past two weeks!"
"I just forgot, okay?!" Jerry shouted. "It's not a big deal!"
"Okay, already, don't have a cow!" Christine said.
"Look, let's just get to the wedding before we're all late," Hank replied. "Let's move. Hustle! Hustle!"
Christine, Linda, and Jerry groaned and left, Hank practically marching behind them.
"Dad should've been a drill sergeant," Linda whispered to her mother.
"I heard that," Hank said. "One more crack like that, young lady, and I'll put you on KP!"
Linda just laughed at that. Christine swatted Hank in the arm. Jerry didn't say anything. He just jammed his hands in his pockets, making sure he had his stash of Fantasy. The wedding started at ten o' clock on the dot. Brian and Lucy went for a huge one, unfortunately. That meant the ceremony was probably going to be long and involved. Jerry, Hank, and Christine took their seats close to the front. Mike arrived about ten minutes after the Stanleys. He sat down towards the back, about three or four pews behind and across from Jerry. That way, he could watch him without looking suspicious. The ceremony seemed to drag. Neither Mike nor Jerry were paying attention to it. Mike was too busy watching Jerry like a hawk. Jerry kept shifting his position every two minutes, fidgeting. He glanced around, and saw that everyone was paying attention to the wedding. He reached into his pocket and flipped off the cap of his bottle, and took out a pill. He glanced around again, and in a lightning quick move, swallowed the pill. He didn't even notice Mike. The Texan Monkee just watched in shock. He wanted to get up and throttle him, but he knew he couldn't do it in a church. He'd wait until after the wedding reception.
Jerry finally noticed Mike was there at the wedding when everyone was clearing out to go to the hall for the reception.
"What are you doing here?" he asked.
"I was hired by the groom to be the weddin' singer," Mike replied. "That way I can keep an eye on you. I saw what you did durin' the ceremony, and you'd better be thankful Captain Stanley didn't see ya. If he knew you were on drugs, you'd be a dead man!"
Jerry blushed scarlet. Mike did have a point, so he decided to lay off the pills until after the next day. Besides, Mike was going to be watching him the whole time. The reception was a huge one. Mike started the thing off by taking requests. While he was doing that, he managed to lose sight of Jerry in the crowd. As it turned out, Jerry was over at the bar with Mario, and Brian's father, Ward, and his brothers, Wally and Ted. They were all drinking like crazy. Jerry was just watching them, thinking Mike was watching him.
"Hey, kid," Mario said. "You know you're just fiddling with that thing? You're supposed to drink it!"
"I'm sort of on probation," Jerry replied.
"Ah come on," Ted shouted, giving Jerry a light punch in the shoulder. "This is a celebration! One drink won't kill ya!"
"Well, okay," Jerry said, and drank.
Of course, Mario kept it coming, and pretty soon Jerry was as drunk as he was the night of the recording session. Unfortunately, Mike couldn't very well keep an eye on him and concentrate on singing at the same time. One of Lucy's cousins on her father's side of the family requested he sing a Lou Christie song. Mike groaned inwardly.
"How the heck am I supposed to do 'Rhapsody in the Rain'?" he said. "I can't go that high!"
"Oh we'll help you out!" Wally shouted. "We'll swat you in the groin if we have to!"
Mario, Ward, and Ted cracked up. Jerry just sighed and took a sip from his drink. Mike spotted them, and just nodded.
"Ah ha," he said. "Very comical."
Mike sighed and started singing "Rhapsody in the Rain," doing his best with the falsetto parts. Throughout the whole thing, he kept his eyes glued to Jerry. It wasn't easy, but he managed to do it. All he was doing was getting himself intoxicated, and that made Mike slightly nervous. But he didn't say anything about it. He just sang the songs.
Finally, Lucy climbed onto a chair, preparing to throw her bouquet at all the single women in the room. Most of the men continued drinking. Without thinking, Jerry pulled a pill out of his pocket and popped it into his mouth. Mike's danger sensors began flaring then and he threw down the microphone and made a mad dash for the bar.
"Jerry, don't!" he shouted.
Too late. The pill was already in Jerry's mouth, and washed down with a shot of some alcoholic beverage or another. Nobody seemed to notice. However, right after that last drink, Jerry felt sick. He felt like he was going to throw up any minute. He dashed out of the room as fast as he could. Mike followed him, and tracked him down to the men's room. He walked inside, and heard very harsh gagging sounds coming from one of the stalls.
"I tried to tell you," he said.
"I know," Jerry replied. "I wasn't thinking."
"Gee, I wonder how come?"
"Please can the sarcasm."
Mike nodded. Jerry went back to tossing his cookies. Mike leaned against the stall and watched. After awhile, Mike started feeling a little queasy himself.
"Hey, man, you all right?" he asked.
"Oh yeah, fine," Jerry replied. "Considering I think I'm puking my guts out."
Mike nodded. Jerry stopped after awhile and was just sitting there, feeling miserable. Mike just stood there, not really saying much of anything. Hank walked in just then.
"Hey, you guys all right in here?" he asked.
"We're fine, Cap," Mike said. "Jerry just had a little too much to drink, that's all."
"That all?" Hank asked.
Jerry just nodded. Mike sighed and pulled the Geator to his feet.
"Come on, you," he said. "I think you've had a little too much party. Cap, I think maybe you oughta go home or somethin'."
"Yeah, I think we'd better, too," Hank replied. "Jerry, honestly, you look sick."
Jerry didn't protest. He felt too awful. Mike and Hank hoisted his arms over their shoulders and proceeded out to the parking lot.
"I'll go get Christine and Linda," Mike said. "I'll be right back."
Hank nodded and climbed into the car. Christine and Linda arrived a few minutes later, followed by Mike.
"What's going on, Hank?" Christine asked.
"Nothin'," Mike replied quickly. "Jerry's feelin' a little sick, so I suggested to Cap that you guys take him home or somethin'."
"Well, the party's almost over anyway," Linda said, climbing into the car. "Oh, Brian and Lucy want you to do one more song, Mike."
"All right," Mike sighed. "I'll go be the weddin' singer again."
Mike watched as Hank drove off. His sixth sense was beginning to twinge then. Monday rolled along. Bob was setting Jerry up for a concert. Jerry agreed, and then popped another pill in his mouth when Bob left. Mike walked over to him.
"I thought you'd learn your lesson by now," he said.
"I need these, Mike," Jerry said. "Without them, I'll be too stressed out to do anything."
"But Jerry, these things are gonna make you sick!"
"Don't worry about it so much, Mike. I know what I'm doing. You gotta learn to lighten up a little!"
"I know how to lighten up, thank you very much. I've done these things before. And Peter's been busted for drug possession. Jerry, these things can very well be illegal, and I don't want you to get in trouble!"
"What do you know, anyway? You think you're so great just because you've got magic! Well, I need the highs, and I can't take the lows!"
"But Jerry . . . ."
"Just stay out of my way!"
Jerry glared at Mike and walked off. Mike sighed and kicked the wall out of frustration. A few days passed. Jerry was still going on strong with Fantasy, using it to perk him up for his radio show. And, like clockwork, after his show, he and Fred would go down to the bar and get themselves plastered. However, Wednesday night, Jerry had to bail, because of the concert Bob wanted him to do. There were teenagers packed to the brim in the arena. Jerry thought it was because Davy was one of the background musicians. Mike tuned up his guitar and kept glancing at Jerry. Jerry took another pill right as he was being introduced. He swallowed, and then walked out on stage. He gave the Monkees and the Mallards the downbeat and began singing. Jerry danced during the instrumental interlude, doing something totally crazy, as if he were high on LSD.
"What's he doing?" Reggie asked.
"I don't know," Mike said. "But I don't like it."
Jerry continued dancing, and advanced towards the edge of the stage. At one point, he jumped into the air and crash landed in the audience area. There was an uproar after that. People were panicking. Mike threw his guitar to the ground and dashed down the steps to the audience.
"Nobody touch him!" he demanded. "Micky, call an ambulance. Now!"
"Right, man," Micky said, running off. Quackerjack and Davy ran down to the audience as well.
"Ovahdose?" Davy asked.
"No," Mike said. "Thank goodness. His coordination must've been thrown. He just knocked himself out, that's all."
The ambulance arrived a few minutes later and took Jerry to the hospital. When he came to, he found himself laying flat on his back in a room. Mike was sitting in the room as well, leafing through a magazine.
"Mike?" Jerry asked.
"Yeah?" Mike replied, not looking up from the magazine.
"You call that a smash act, huh? Pretty groovy, huh?"
"Groovy my foot. You were a smash, all right. You smashed your lower back! You could have broken your neck, or even been killed! What's the matter with you?!"
"I needed the high."
"You needed the high. I'll tell you what you need, Jerry. You need a brain transplant!"
Jerry didn't say anything then. He just closed his eyes. Mike sighed and sat back down. He picked up his magazine and began looking through it again.
"Mike?" Jerry asked.
"Hmm?" Mike said, not looking up.
"You still here?"
"Yeah, I'm still here. I'm not goin' anywhere."
"What are friends for?"
Jerry smiled and drifted off to sleep. Mike sighed and continued to go through his magazine. After that escapade, Bob refused to let Jerry perform on stage until he promised not to get so out of control when he was dancing. A few days went by. Jerry was still hooked on Fantasy. The others were watching him.
"And you know what the scary thing is?" Quackerjack asked. "I think his body's used to the pills!"
"I agree," Mike said. "He's addicted all right, but I can't get him to admit that. I'm goin' with him to the radio station today. Just so I can keep an eye on him."
The others nodded. Mike and Jerry left a little later for the station.
"Maybe I'll let you play DJ," Jerry said. "Maestro Mike will ride the airwaves."
"Hey, I'm just here to watch you," Mike said. "Make sure you don't take anymore pills. And make sure nobody's around to give you anymore pills."
Jerry nodded and he and Mike walked inside the station. They went to Jerry's studio and set things up. Jerry watched Mike like a hawk for a moment. He was going through record albums for Jerry, looking for something to play if he wanted to play DJ for a bit. He wasn't paying any attention, so Jerry quickly downed a pill. Then the show got started. Mike played DJ for awhile when Jerry needed a slight break. The slight break turned into an hour. Jerry and Fred were in the men's room, popping Fantasy, drinking alcohol, and smoking pot. But it wasn't Mike who caught them. It was the station manager, Harry Deerborne.
"Great Caesar's ghost!" he shouted.
"Hey boss dude!" Fred shouted. "What's new?"
"I could have suspected this sort of thing from Fred," Mr. Deerborne said. "But not from you, Jerry."
"Looks can be deceiving," Jerry said, taking a drag. Mike heard the commotion and put a long record on. Then he left the studio to see what in the world was going on. He saw Jerry sitting there, smoking weed, drinking god only knows what, and popping pills.
"Oh dear lord," he groaned. "He's reached the point of no return."
"I have no choice but to fire the both of you," Mr. Deerborne said. "You know I have a strict rule about drug use at this station! Nesmith, I want you to take Blavat's place on a permanent basis."
"You want him to do my show?!" Jerry shouted. Then he fixed Mike with a hard stare. Or so he thought. Mike looked at him, and he could see hurt behind his eyes. He sighed and then turned to Mr. Deerborne.
"Today," he said. "I'll take over for today, but you're gonna have to find yourself another DJ. I'm not gonna do it permanently."
"Fine with me," Mr. Deerborne said. "Jerry can pack up his stuff while you're on the air."
Mike nodded and he and Jerry walked back to the studio. Jerry packed things up while Mike spun the records. Neither of them said a word to each other.
"Why didn't you agree to take over the show?" Jerry asked as they were leaving.
"I don't know," Mike replied. "I should've. It would've taught you a lesson. But I didn't. Somehow I couldn't. But did you honestly think you could get away with poppin' pills and smokin' marijuana durin' workin' hours?"
"Hey, I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
"Jerry, I want you to stop takin' those pills. You were fired because of them once, and if Bob finds out you're on drugs, he's gonna fire you, too!"
"He wouldn't do that. I signed a contact."
"Jerry, I've known Bob a lot longer than you have, and believe me, I know what he's capable of. You gotta stop takin' those! They're dangerous!"
"Why don't you just mind your own business?!"
Jerry gave Mike a shove in the shoulder and stormed off. Mike watched him go and sighed. This whole matter was driving him crazy. He was talking it over with Bob the next day at the studio.
"Drugs?!" Bob screamed. "He's on drugs?!"
"That's why he fell off stage the other night," Mike said. "He was high on Fantasy."
"I heard about that drug. There was a riot down on South Street the other day. It involved a mob of Fantasy addicts. They took cans of spray paint and defaced a lot of property down there."
"Yeah, the police arrived and busted at least twenty people!"
"Sheesh. Look, Bob, let me talk to Jerry. Please don't toss him out of here. He was already fired at the radio station."
"Don't worry, I won't. I couldn't fire one of my friends, anyway."
Bob stood up and walked off. Mike sighed and drummed his fingers on the table. Quackerjack and Davy walked over to him.
"'Ow's it going, mate?" Davy asked.
"Nowhere," Mike said. "Jerry refuses to listen to me."
"I think there's only one thing to do," Quackerjack said. "Take his supply of Fantasy and get rid of it."
"Now that's a good idea," Mike said.
No sooner than that plan was hatched, Jerry walked onto the set, and pulled a small, plastic bag out of his jacket pocket. It was full of Fantasy. Mike, Davy, and Quackerjack shot to their feet and dashed over. Mike grabbed Jerry by the shoulders and tried to hold him down.
"What the heck do you think you're doing, Mike?!" he shouted.
"Stoppin' you!" Mike yelled.
"You're crazy! Let go of me!"
Jerry was about to swallow the pill when Mike quickly clamped his hand over the Geator's mouth and kept it there. Jerry let out a few muffled shrieks and squirmed.
"No way, Jerry," Mike said. "I'm not gonna let you go! Guys, get the pills!"
Both Davy and Quackerjack reached for the pills but Jerry began kicking then, ready to kill anyone who even tried to touch his Fantasy. Luckily, Micky and Reggie were walking by and saw the struggle.
"Mick! Reg! Get over here!" Mike called. "I need your help!"
"What's going on?" Reggie asked as he and Micky ran over.
"Grab Jerry's legs and hold them," Mike said.
Micky and Reggie shrugged and took hold of Jerry's legs, trying to restrain him. Jerry continued to kick, which made holding him down kind of difficult. He was also trying to pull Mike's hand off his mouth, while holding onto his bag of pills with the other hand. He had even resorted to biting Mike's hand, but the Texan wasn't going to let go for anything.
"This is for your own good!" he kept shouting.
Luckily with Jerry's legs detained, Davy and Quackerjack had an easier time going for the pills. Jerry saw Davy coming and swatted him upside the head with the pills as hard as he could.
"Ooh!" Davy shouted.
"Jerry, give me those!" Quackerjack yelled, grabbed the edge of the bag.
Jerry screeched, and pulled on the bag. Quackerjack did the same. The soft plastic tore into two pieces then, and pills flew everywhere. Jerry screeched again. Mike breathed of relief.
"Guys, gather up the pills and get rid of them!" he shouted. "But don't throw them in the trash. I don't think I can hold him down until trash day."
"You want us to help hold him down?" Micky asked.
"No, I can handle Jerry," Mike said, struggling to keep his hands on the squirming disc jockey. "You two help Davy and Quackerjack get rid of the pills."
Reggie and Micky nodded, dropped Jerry's legs, and began to help gather up the pills. Jerry was practically hysterical. He began tearing at Mike's hair, scratching, biting, writhing around trying to break loose. Mike just kept increasing his grip.
"No way, Jerry," he said. "I'm not gonna let you go. You're not gonna get your hands on those pills even if I have to tie you up!"
Davy, Micky, and Reggie took their pills and dashed off. Quackerjack was about to follow them when he turned to Mike.
"You think we oughta call a doctor or something?" he asked.
"No, he's all right," Mike assured him. "I'm lettin' him wear himself out, and then I'll let him go."
Quackerjack ran off. Jerry shrieked again, wanting desperately to go after him and get his pills back. Mike just pulled him back and shook his head.
"No, no, no, no," he said. "You're not goin' anywhere, buddy!"
Jerry glared at Mike and bit down as hard as he could. Mike merely cringed, but he didn't let go. Finally, he began to tire out. He stopped squirming and began to breathe heavily.
"You ready to calm down?" Mike asked. "You gonna relax?"
"You promise not to kick, scratch, bite, and scream like a little kid?"
Again, Jerry nodded. Mike nodded as well and took his hand off of Jerry's mouth. Then he backed up, letting Jerry hit the ground slowly. Jerry just lay there on the ground, staring up at the ceiling.
"You all right?" Mike asked, sitting down Indian style next to him.
"Yeah," Jerry said. "I didn't hurt you too much, did I?"
"Well, you didn't break the skin," Mike said, looking at his hand. "But you left some visible teeth marks, I tell you."
"Ehh, forget about it. Now, do me a huge favor, okay?"
"Stop takin' those things. They're hazardous to your health."
"They are not hazardous to my health!"
"Yes, they are. And another thing. Even if you don't think they're hazardous to your health, I'm gonna tell Captain Stanley about it if I see you take another one of those pills and he is gonna kill you!"
Jerry sat up, and glared at Mike. Then he stood up and stormed off. Mike shook his head.
"How am I ever gonna get through to him?"
The next day, Jerry was out at the slums, looking for Lou. Fred was hanging out with him, since he needed a Fantasy stash, himself.
"Your friend, Mike, can't relax," Fred said.
"So I've noticed," Jerry replied. "But I've gotta get some more of these pills. I can't stand anything without them!"
"You guys here for some Fantasy?" someone asked. Jerry and Fred turned around.
"Yes!" both of them shouted.
"How much you guys got?" Lou asked, walking over.
Both Fred and Jerry took out their wallets and began pulling out bills. Neither of them had enough for a bottle of Fantasy. They didn't even have anything of value on them!
"How long will you give me to come up with the money?" Jerry asked.
"An hour," Lou said. "But you know, I can't hold this stuff. It's a lot little item."
"Just give me the hour, and I'll get you the cash."
Jerry ran off after that. He snuck inside the house and began digging for things that he figured Hank, Christine, or Linda wouldn't miss. He ran across Hank's wallet sitting on the table, and just stared at it. Then, he grabbed it, and looked inside. It was loaded. Jerry grabbed the bills out and dropped the wallet on the floor. Then he dashed out the front door and raced back to the slums. He put that together with his money and Fred's money, and they were able to get their bottles. Then they walked off.
Things got worse from that point on. Jerry began to take money out of not only Hank's wallet, but also Christine's purse and Linda's piggy bank. He was hitting his friends up for money all the time, but very rarely would they give it to him. Jerry found it was easiest to worm money out of Micky, Quackerjack, and Peter. He steered clear of Mike when it came to money matters. One day, he was asking Quackerjack for a slight loan until payday when Mike came over.
"Look, it'll just be until payday," he said. "Then I'll pay you back! I promise!"
"That's what you said the last time," Quackerjack said. "I don't know, Jerry."
"Come on, Quacky-baby! I really need the money!"
"Well . . . ."
"Don't give him a cent," Mike said, coming over. "You know he's just gonna use the money to buy Fantasy."
"Yeah, you're right," Quackerjack said. "Sorry, Jerry."
With that, Quackerjack stashed his wallet in his pocket and walked off. Mike turned to Jerry and glared at him.
"I warned you," he said. "I warned you that I'd tell Captain Stanley the next time."
"But Mike!" Jerry shouted. "Without Fantasy, I can't stand anything else!"
"You leave me no choice. You're ruinin' your body and your mind. I mean, look at yourself. You're a mess!"
"Please don't call Cap, Mike! I'm begging you!"
"Sorry, Jerry. I have to."
Jerry got so panicked, he fled the scene. Mike gave him a good half hour to run home. Once there, Jerry burst through the door and slammed the door shut. Linda, Hank and Christine stared at him.
"Something wrong?" Christine asked.
"Not yet," Jerry mumbled.
"Are you all right?" Linda asked.
"Oh sure," Jerry said. "Fine. Phenomenal. Just great."
Jerry didn't sound "fine," "phenomenal," and "just great." The phone rang then, and Hank answered it.
"Hello?" he said. "Oh, hi, Mike. Jerry's right here, if you want me to put him on. No, huh? You want to talk to me? Oh, okay. No, I had no idea. Yes. No, I wasn't aware of that. For two weeks, huh? And how long has it been since? Nearly a month? I'll kill him."
Jerry tried to sneak upstairs. Hank covered the mouthpiece of the phone and turned to Jerry.
"Stay right there, mister," he said. "You and I have some talking to do!"
Jerry froze and gulped. Hank turned back to the phone.
"Don't worry, Mike," he said. "I'll pound some sense into him. Okay. Goodbye. JERRY!"
Jerry nearly jumped out of his skin. He got so nervous, he unthinkingly took a pill out of his pocket and threw it into his mouth, right in front of Hank, Christine, and Linda. All three of them were shocked.
"So it's true," he said. "You really are on drugs!"
"They're not drugs!" Jerry shouted. "They help with my stress!"
"How many are you taking a day, Jerry?" Hank demanded.
"Oh, I don't know," Jerry said. "I lose count after the first three."
"Jerry, this can't be good. Where did you get these?"
"A friend of mine gave them to me, Cap. It's no big deal."
"No big deal?! No big deal?! How can you say this isn't a big deal?! You're hooked on a dangerous pill! I've heard about this Fantasy junk, and it's got loads of illegal drugs in it! What happens if the police come and find these pills? You could go to jail!"
"It's my life, Cap! Why don't you stay out of it?!"
Jerry headed for the stairs then. Hank slammed his hand down on the table.
"I'm not done talking to you!" he shouted.
"Well I'm done talking to you!" Jerry yelled, and started up the stairs.
"You're ruining your life, Jerry, and I just know you're going to ruin Linda's life too. How do I know you haven't tried to hook her on this drug?"
"How could you even think that?! I wouldn't even get her drunk! I never offered these to Linda, and I'm insulted that you'd think I would! You know what? Why don't you just forget it?"
"As long as you live under this roof, what I say goes, young man! I'm the boss here and what I say goes!"
"You won't even listen to me! You can't stop me from doing anything! You're not my father! Why should you even care about me? Everybody knows you hate me!"
Jerry stormed up the stairs then, clomped into the bedroom, slammed the door shut and locked it. Hank stomped up himself and began banging on the door.
"You open this door right now!" he yelled.
"No!" Jerry shouted. "I'm not coming out! Not ever! I've got my supply of Fantasy in here to last for awhile!"
"Not for long at the rate you're taking it, Jerry! Open the door or I'll break it down!"
Jerry didn't answer. Hank began beating on the door as hard as he could. Both Christine and Linda ran up the stairs and tried to calm him down.
"Hank!" Christine shouted. "Stop! Do you know what you're doing? Both you and Mike are driving him farther into the hole he's fallen into! He's digging himself in deeper and deeper because of threats from Mike, and now you!"
"This isn't the way to help him, Daddy," Linda said. "This whole thing is going to tear this family apart, and I don't want that to happen!"
Hank took a deep breath, and pulled his wife and daughter close to him. Then he leaned against the door.
"Jerry," he said, calmly. "I don't know if you can hear me, or even if you want to listen. I'm only trying to help you. I know it doesn't seem like it now, but you have to trust me that I am. I know you think I hate you, but I don't. And if I didn't care, I'd go ahead and let you continue to take the drug. Do you really think you need that drug?"
"Yes," Jerry said. "I can't stand the stress I'm under without it. If you only knew what I was going through, you'd understand why I need the drug."
Hank didn't say anything. It was obvious it was going to be awhile before Jerry actually admitted he was addicted. A few more weeks went by. Jerry was still taking Fantasy to reduce his stress. He was over at the studio, going through his records. Mike was reading a new script, but not really paying attention to it. He was getting somewhat of a tingly feeling in his sixth sense. Something didn't seem right. Jerry then walked into a dressing room. Mike followed.
"Still takin' Fantasy I see," he said.
"What's it to you?" Jerry asked.
"You know that stuff is dangerous?"
"Yeah, so's all the stress I'm under."
"I'd think you wouldn't have as much stress since you were fired from the radio station."
"As a matter of fact, Mike, I'm under a lot more, trying to find a job at another radio station. A lot of station managers heard about Fantasy, and they're refusing to hire me."
"Well, that's your own fault."
"It is not!"
"I'm only tryin' to help you. I'm your friend and . . . ."
"Fine. You wanna cook your own goose, that's fine with me. But don't expect me to bail you out if you land in jail because of that stupid pill! It's none of my business anymore!"
Mike stormed out of the room and slammed the door shut. Then he stomped across the area to his director's chair, sat down, and then began to massage his forehead. Jerry stared in the mirror, and took his bottle of Fantasy out. He popped a pill and walked out of the dressing room. Mike stared down at the floor, getting a strange feeling. He looked up and started to stare into space, not really seeing anything. Micky noticed the faraway look on his face and came over.
"Hey Mike?" he asked. "Is everything all right?"
"No," Mike said, shaking his head. "No Micky. Somethin' is wrong. Really wrong."
Mike stood up and then turned towards Jerry. Micky looked over as well. The minute they were both looking at him, he collapsed. The tingly feeling in Mike's sixth sense increased.
"Jerry!" he shouted, running over. Micky followed. The others saw what happened and began to crowd the scene.
"What happened?" Peter asked.
"What's going on?" Davy asked.
"I dunno, man," Micky said. "He just collapsed I guess, and . . . . ."
"He didn't collapse!" Mike shouted. "He overdosed! Somebody call the paramedics or an ambulance . . . . or somethin'! And hurry!"
Reggie was off, faster than lightning. Mike began checking Jerry's pulse and breathing, and then started CPR. Everyone else just stood there, watching Mike, and waiting for something to happen. It seemed to take forever. Finally, the paramedics arrived, as well as an ambulance. One of the medics slipped an oxygen mask over Jerry's face, and then loaded him onto a gurney. They pushed the gurney into the back of the ambulance. Mike jumped into the front seat, and they were off with plenty of speed, and sirens blaring. Once at Rampart, the paramedics wheeled Jerry into the emergency room, and Mike went directly to the phone to call Hank, Christine, and Linda. Dixie walked over to him.
"I hope you know what happened," she said.
"Oh I know what happened," Mike said. "He OD'd. That's what happened."
"Do you know what he's on?"
"Heck yeah! He's been gettin' jazzed on Fantasy for about two months now. Believe me, we all tried to get him to stop, but he just wouldn't listen to us."
"If he comes out of this, I'm sure he'll listen to you."
"All I hope is that he pulls out of this. I don't care if he ever listens to me again, I just don't want him to die!"
Dixie put her hand on Mike's shoulder reassuringly. It was all she had to do. Mike just sighed and looked down at the floor. Dr. Brackett emerged later, looking like he was ready to kill Mike.
"Exactly what did you give him?" he asked.
"Nothin'," Mike replied. "I gave that stuff up."
"But you still smoke."
"Only regular cigarettes. Look, I told you he was takin' Fantasy the day I brought that pill in to have you analyze it, doctor!"
"And where did he get it?"
"How should I know?! He said a friend gave it to him!"
"Look, I didn't give him those pills! I don't know how in the world you could even think that, Dr. Brackett! I didn't think you'd be the type to jump to conclusions."
"But you have gotten high on drugs before, and Jerry hasn't. And you gotta admit, it doesn't look like you're going to quit any time soon. Besides, Peter did them too."
"I have quit! I don't pop pills anymore! And Peter quit a long time ago! It's not fair, doc! Every time one of my friends ends up in here you put the blame on me and then you refuse to believe that it isn't my fault!"
Mike turned away from Dr. Brackett then. He sat down in a chair and folded his arms across his chest. He was steamed. Dr. Brackett was making him mad, and at any moment, he was going to explode. But he was trying to curb his temper.
"Well, most of the time Mike, it is your fault!" Dr. Brackett shouted. "When it involves Jerry, it's your fault."
That did it. Mike jumped to his feet and glared at Dr. Brackett. His face turned a pleasant shade of red, and steam began to come out of his ears.
"You . . . . you . . . ." he started, but nothing came out. The ground below Mike's feet started to rumble, and finally . . . . . . .
Mike went into orbit just then. The noise brought Lynn, Joe, Carole, and Dixie into the room. They saw the hole in the ceiling and glared at Dr. Brackett.
"Now what did you do?!" Lynn shouted.
"You didn't blame Mike for Jerry's overdose, did you?" Dixie asked.
"So what if I did?" Dr. Brackett asked.
"Ho boy," Carole said. Mike landed then, crashing. He was still sore at Dr. Brackett.
"Could someone please talk some sense into Dr. Feelbad?!" he yelled.
"Kel, we need to talk," Dixie said. "Mike was trying to get Jerry off the drug. He doesn't know who gave it to him. But I never thought you'd be the one to jump to conclusions."
"We all know you hate Mike's guts, Kel," Lynn said. "But this is going a little too far."
"Okay, okay, I'm sorry," Dr. Brackett said. "So, Mike, what do you want me to do?"
"Whatever it takes," Mike said. "Pump his stomach if you have to. Get him out of this."
"I'll do my best, Mike, but I can't promise you anything."
"Just try to, okay, doc?"
Dr. Brackett nodded, and he and Carole went into the treatment room. Mike sat down in a chair and massaged his head. Fifteen minutes later, Linda and her parents came dashing into the waiting room.
"Well?" Linda asked.
"I don't know," Mike said. "I don't know what the heck they're doin' in there, but they're tryin'."
"How long do you think it's going to take?" Christine asked.
"Hours, maybe even days," Hank replied. "But there isn't anything we can do about it, except wait."
The Stanleys sat down and waited. The minutes seemed like hours. Finally, Mike stood up and started to leave Rampart.
"Where are you going?" Hank asked.
"I'm gonna go find the moron that gave Jerry the pill in the first place," Mike replied. "I'm gonna find out where he got it, and knock him into next Tuesday!"
Mike stormed out of Rampart on a mission. He ran into Reggie on the street.
"Where are you off to?" he asked.
"I'm gonna find the guy who got Jerry hooked," Mike said. "He's a dead man."
"I think I might know where to find the guy. Remember when we recorded that song in the bar?"
"Well, the guy who talked Jerry into singing . . . . . I think that was the guy who gave him the pill."
"Yeah, come to think of it, he was with Jerry when I caught him smokin' marijuana at the radio station."
"He may be at the bar. Come on!"
Mike and Reggie ran to the bar, and sure enough, there was Fred Robinson, drinking, smoking, and whooping it up. Mike stormed in, and zapped him with his magic. Fred just laughed and looked up.
"Oh, hey, dude!" he shouted. "How's it going?"
"I don't know where it's goin'," Mike said. "But you're goin' straight to the moon!"
Mike wound up and gave Fred and good uppercut to the jaw. WHAM! Since Mike jazzed up the punch with his magic, Fred flew through the ceiling. Reggie watched in amazement.
"Wow," he said. "I knew you had a good punch, but I didn't think it was that good!"
Fred landed a few minutes later, but he was too jazzed on drugs and alcohol to feel any of it. At least until Mike grabbed him by the shirt collar and shook him.
"Now tell me," he said, ominously. "Where did you get Fantasy?"
"Uhhh . . . ." Fred stammered. Mike shook him harder.
"WHERE DID YOU GET THAT DRUG?!" he screamed.
"Down on the strip," Fred said. "Why? You want some? If you do, I can hook you up with Lou and . . . ."
"Lou, huh? He your dealer?"
"Well, sorta. He's gotta great stash of this stuff."
"Not for long. I hope you're satisfied, Freddy. Thanks to you, Jerry got hooked on these stupid pills and overdosed!"
Mike threw Fred onto the ground. Reggie stared at his friend as if he were crazy. Mike then turned to leave. He threw open the door, and then turned back to Fred.
"If he dies, you may not be so lucky," he said, with a snarl. Then he stormed off. Reggie felt a shiver down his spine, and then followed Mike down to the strip.
The strip was filled with every kind of trash imaginable, and all of them high and drunk. Someone grabbed Reggie's ankle and held up a marijuana cigarette.
"Hey man," he said. "Wanna hit?"
"No way," Reggie said.
"Aw come on. It won't kill you!"
"No, but I might," Mike said, coming over. "Listen, you tripped out junkie, where can I find Lou?"
"In the alley," the guy said. "Hey look, you guys sure you don't wanna hit?"
"How'd you like a hit?" Mike asked.
"Lay it on me!"
Mike reeled his fist back and clobbered this guy right in the face. Then he stormed over and searched every alley, until he found a guy wearing a trenchcoat and hat, secretly handing out every kind of drug imaginable. Mike grinded his teeth and walked over.
"Are you Lou?" he asked.
"Yeah," Lou said. "What can I get you? You interested in a little Fantasy?"
"I'm more interested in kickin' your butt," Mike growled. "Thanks to that stupid Fantasy, my best friend is in the hospital because of a drug overdose!"
"Hey, it's not my fault. I just hand out the stuff."
"I don't believe this guy!" Reggie shouted.
"Hey, Reg?" Mike asked. "What would I get for killin' a drug dealer?"
"Five to ten. But I think they would call this justifiable homicide. They wouldn't convict you for this."
"Now wait a minute fellas!" Lou shouted.
Too late. Mike jumped on him and began clobbering, throwing punches right and left, as well as his magic. Lou put up a pretty good fight, but he was no match for Mike. The Texan Monkee began pulling out the drugs and throwing them down the sewer grates. Some he threw into the air and destroyed with his magic. When he finally got off Lou, he and Reggie went to a pay phone and called the police.
"We've got people all over the strip with marijuana, crack, LSD, and that new one, Fantasy," Mike said. "I already took care of the guy handin' the stuff out."
The police arrived fifteen minutes later. Many drug addicts were arrested, and some were even brought into various hospitals. Mike and Reggie headed back to Rampart to get a progress report.
"Well, we don't have to worry about Fantasy anymore," Mike said.
"That's good," Dixie said.
"I hope you didn't kill the guy," Dr. Brackett said.
"I didn't," Mike replied. "I just clobbered him and called the police. That's all. Oh, and I destroyed every single piece of illegal drug that dealer had. So how's Jerry?"
"Well, we did all we could," Dr. Brackett said with a shrug. "We've admitted him into a room, but . . . . well, we're not exactly sure . . . ."
"He's still alive, isn't he?" Reggie asked.
"Yes, but . . . . well . . . . . well, you know drugs are tricky things, Mike," Dr. Brackett replied.
"Say no more," Mike said. Then he sighed. "Can I go in there or what?"
Dr. Brackett led Mike into a room. It was really dark in there. The shades were pulled down. You could barely see a thing in there. Jerry was laying in the bed, unconscious. The oxygen mask was still over his nose and mouth.
"I really hope you'll be able to take that thing off his face soon," Mike said.
Dr. Brackett didn't say anything. He left the room. Mike pulled up a chair and sat by the bed.
"You've really messed up this time, Jerry," he said, suddenly feeling angry. "I don't understand why you'd get hooked into drugs in the first place. You know darn well they mess everythin' up. You've said that yourself. You're nothin' but a hypocrite, Jerry Blavat. A hypocrite! If you weren't my best friend I'd pop you one right in the mouth! If you'd just listen to me for once in your life . . . . . you really screwed up!"
Mike wanted to slug him. He wanted to just stand up and knock that oxygen mask off Jerry's face with one shot. But he didn't. He hit the wall instead, and screamed. Of course, Dixie and Carole ran in.
"What's going on?" Carole asked.
"He took out the wall again," Dixie replied. "Mike, is everything all right?"
"No!" Mike yelled. "Everythin' is not all right! Everythin' is all wrong! Darn it, Dixie, why did he have to take that drug?! Why did Jerry have to mess everythin' up?! Everythin' was goin' so great . . . . ."
"Mike, whoa, hold it," Carole said. Mike was nearly hysterical by this point. "Calm down a little."
"How can I calm down?!" Mike shouted. "Everythin' was just fine! He didn't need that stupid drug!"
"That's the thing, Mike. People who take them don't need them, but they think they need them. They take drugs because they're bored, or they're stressed, and they think that drugs will help them. But sometimes, drugs make their lives more stressful."
"But why wouldn't Jerry listen to me? He acted like I was the bad guy, or somethin'."
"I know, Mike, I know. But when you're addicted, you tune out everything around you. You start to think that everyone trying to get you off drugs is the bad guy. You did all you could, Mike. Jerry just wouldn't listen, that's all."
Mike sighed and turned away. He realized he wasn't really angry. He was scared. He was scared to death about losing Jerry, but he didn't want to admit it. However, Carole sensed there was something going on in Mike's head, other than anger and frustration.
"Mike?" she asked. "What's really the matter?"
"I'm scared," Mike admitted. "I'm scared to death. Jerry lost control completely, and I'm scared I'll lose him, like I lost Pam. He's my best friend, and I don't want him to die! I figured it was easier to be mad at him."
Carole hugged her stepson and stroked his hair. There wasn't much either of them could do at the time, except wait. And it looked like they would have an extremely long wait ahead of them.
Hours went by. Mike fell asleep in the chair he was sitting in. It was past midnight, and clearly, visiting hours were over, but Mike wouldn't budge. He zapped anyone who tried to come near him and get him to leave, so everyone just decided to leave well enough alone. Finally, Carole had talked Mike into going home and getting some sleep. She told him she'd call if anything happened. Mike nodded and agreed to head home. Morning rolled around. The Screen Gems studio wasn't exactly the perfect place to be at the time. Nobody was getting any work done. The phone rang, and Mike dove on it.
"Yeah?!" he shouted. "Oh, Carole! Thank goodness you called. I was about to go completely insane. What's the buzz? Uh huh. Yeah? That's great! Boy, that's a load off my mind. I'll be right there!"
Mike hung up the phone and then began to dash out of the studio. The others stared at him as if he were crazy.
"What's going on, Mike?" Reggie asked.
"Jerry's gained consciousness," Mike replied. "They got all the drugs out of his system. I gotta split!"
Zoom. He was gone so fast, a gust of wind blew into the studio. Mike went directly for Rampart General Hospital. He ran into Dr. Brackett and explained a few things.
"He's suffering from withdrawal," he said. "He'll be a wreck for awhile, but I'm sure he'll be all right."
"Okay," Mike replied and walked into the room. Linda was already in there, and she and Jerry were talking about Jerry's Fantasy habit.
"Hey Geat," Mike said. "How's it goin'?"
"Great, except for the shaking, and the nervousness, and the insomnia," Jerry replied.
"Well, if you'd listen to Mike in the first place, you wouldn't be in here now," Linda replied.
"I know," Jerry replied. "Man, was I stupid. I can't believe how hooked I got on those, after Fred plopped one of those pills into my coffee."
"Well, you were duped," Mike said. "Fred thought he was doin' you a favor. He didn't know any better. So how long did they say you were gonna be in here?"
"A couple weeks. Maybe more if this withdrawal gets worse than it is now. You wouldn't believe it."
"Try me. I gotta tell you, stoppin' cold turkey is the hardest thing, but it's the safest, trust me."
"Hey, once I'm out of here, I'm never taking another drug again!"
Mike, Jerry, and Linda laughed over that one. A couple of weeks later, Jerry was released, and back to his routine. He and Mike were over at KGLD, trying to get Jerry's gig back. It wasn't easy, but Mike managed to convince Mr. Deerborne to give him another chance.
"There are times when I'm glad you're half witch, Mike," Jerry said.
"Thanks," Mike replied.
As the two boys were leaving the radio station, they ran into Fred Robinson, who was coming down the street, looking like he was high on LSD or something just as potent.
"Hey dudes," he said. "Have I got something for you! I ran into this guy, Dean, and he gave me some really great stuff! It'll give you such a high!"
Mike and Jerry looked at each other, and then they looked at Fred.
"No way," they said in unison.
"After what happened with Fantasy, I don't wanna see another illegal drug for as long as I live," Jerry said.
"I'm off pills and junk for good," Mike replied. "Come on, Jer. Let's get outta here."
"Your loss, dudes," Fred replied, and left.
Mike and Jerry watched him go, and then turned and walked off themselves.
"Can you believe it?" Jerry asked. "Didn't that guy learn anything?"
"Well, old habits die hard, Jer," Mike replied. "What can you do about it? If he wants to mess up his life, let him."
"Yeah. You know his problem?"
"He just won't listen, that's all."
Jerry sort of stopped and stared down at the sidewalk. Mike sighed and put his arm around Jerry's shoulder.
"Hey, don't sweat it," Mike said. "When you're addicted, you don't listen. I've learned that the hard way."
"Did you really go and get high way back when?"
"Oh yeah. Peter did it a lot worse than any of us. But he stopped after he got busted. These days, I look back on it and ask what I ever saw in drugs anyway."
"Hey, during that time, everybody was getting stoned. I don't think it was until the eighties until people realized it wasn't such a good idea."
"Good point. Come on, let's go."
Jerry nodded, and he and Mike walked down the street, talking about the Writer's
latest script, complaining about the slump she was in.