The Gangster of Love

Now let us speak of the pompatus of love.

When you’re on the verge of eighteen and your inner Joker is on the loose, everything seems possible.

You’re a senior in high school, you have some friends, maybe a little money, and—if you’re a guy—you’re looking for a girl. That one special girl with whom you will magically make a connection that you both will never—ever—forget.

Hey, never said we’d be talking about the truth now, did I? I mean, what do you take me for?

Some kind of Space Cowboy?

Since our school newspaper field trip to the University of Minnesota, Darla and I were spending nearly every day together. We stayed after school for a drama club meeting; we worked together in the Smoke Signal office, typing up stories for the next issue; and, on the rare occasions Mom let me borrow her car, I drove Darla home at the end of the school day. Jeff was left smokin’ in the dust—Darla and I were fast-becoming the item.

So, one wet Friday in late September, I drove us to the football game. We sat in the home field bleachers flicking rain out of our eyes. Darla looked cold. I remember wrapping my arm around her and studying her soft brown eyes. What was she thinking? Or was she wondering what I was thinking? She seemed sad. What was wrong? Or was there anything wrong at all? The diary reports that our team beat Shakopee 7-0 and “it was miserable weather and hardly anyone was there at the game. We didn’t stay long.”

—Cut to the slide guitar wolf whistle, because this is the part in the story where Maurice cuts in.

Chad had just started dating Kim, driving her around in his Triumph TR6. Being the Joker he is, Maurice pretended this didn’t bother him. When he picks up his friend Steve after a shift at Koney Island, Steve reveals to Maurice that what Chad and Kim really talked about on their date was … Maurice! Oooowie, baby. The cat is still in the picture!

Maurice goes to church the next day and hits up Kim’s friend Joni for more info that may or may not confirm Steve’s earlier report. Meanwhile, the diary states, Skeeze believes Maurice is “on an ego trip” and, for the hell of it, he’s going to ask Kim out, just out of spite.

Now, this shouldn’t matter if your main squeeze is truly Your Main Squeeze. Right?

On Monday, Sept. 26, Maurice drives Darla to the Powder Puff football game where a mini-drama breaks out between Chad, Kim, Darla and Maurice. The diary spells it out clearly: “Darla and I walked to the Tom Thumb in Mound where we were supposed to meet Chad. I talked to her openly about Kim and everything. She told me things that seem to indicate that Kim doesn’t like me at all. I got so bummed out by that I couldn’t do this entry on the same night.”

Homecoming week brought an awkward silence between the new couple.  On the night of Saturday, Oct. 1, 1977, Maurice drives Darla to the high school homecoming dance. Everyone is there “all dressed up.” The couple talks with Kim and her date, another kid named Jon. Then they attend an after-party at a senior girl’s house and he drives her home by 12:30 a.m.

Two days later, at lunch period, they get in a shouting match in the high school courtyard. The following day, Darla tries to talk to Maurice in the Smoke Signal office, but he just “gets depressed” and reveals he “WON’T LISTEN.”

So now we’ve come full circle.

The true definition of the pompatus of love, as only a gangster schooled in the ways of romantic deceit can know it: Love is a secret that only two can share.

When three are involved, one must needs be the pompatus—the elusive dream lover with the killer features, the one who makes you wanna shake their tree, the one you wanna get lovey-dovey all the time with.

The second—the love-starved, hopeful pursuer of the pompatus—abandons the third: the moll, the tool, the victim chalked up at the crime scene, leaving the investigators to discover whodunit.

~ by completelyinthedark on June 29, 2012.

One Response to “The Gangster of Love”

  1. Reblogged this on Completely in the Dark and commented:

    Ah, autumn rains and a high-school romance turned sour. Next week, an all-new post walking the edges of Halloween. Cheers my friends! MM


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