The story so far: After rushing off to check on Allison, Brian came downstairs to find Kate kissing another guy. It was Kate’s plan to make him jealous and it succeeded nicely. Brian took Kate to the basement and they had a fight. She stormed out of the house. The year is 1987.


I’m not chasing after her. I’m going to sit here on this grungy couch in Eric’s basement, stare at the wall size Rush poster hanging to my right, and listen to the party upstairs. What is that, Robert Cray’s ”Smoking Gun?” Great song.

Did I just call Kate a bitch? I deserve to be slapped.

Something under my ass makes the seat uncomfortable. I reach under the couch cushion and discover a stack of old Playboys, dating back to the mid-70’s.

The basement door opens. Eric trots down stairs.

”Seems like old times.” Eric says. ”You and me, missing out on the kick ass party in the other room. Thought you might want this.” He hands me our bottle of Jack Daniels.

”You have a stack of old Playboys hidden in the couch.”

Eric smiles proudly. I pick up one of the magazines.

”Who do you have there?” he asks.

”November, 1977.”

”Oooh, Rita Lee. Yeah, she’s a looker.”

”Where did you get all of these?”

”Drew and I found them in my uncle’s basement.”

”They’re musty and water damaged.”

”Naked women are naked women. They’re very useful.”

”You mean you…?”

”Uh, yeah. Everyone does.”

”I don’t.”

Eric stares at me a long beat, as if I’ve just told him I’m a Soviet spy.

”You… are full of shit.”

”What? Really, I don’t. What’s the point, when I can be reading or shooting hoops?”

Eric’s expression turns to pity.

”I feel so sorry for you. You’re dad never told you about this. He’s a MONSTER!”

”Oh jeez, we did talk about it. It was the most uncomfortable half hour of my life.”

”It is weird, isn’t it? My dad used his Star Trek dolls to demonstrate for me.”

I laugh.

”It’s not funny. Well, it’s no wonder you’re so stressed. Take the Rita issue, she’ll help ease your tensions.”

”No thanks,” tossing the Playboy over to Eric.

V1ColorI twist the cap on and off of the Jack Daniels, tempted.

”Kate and I just had a blow out.”

Eric replies, ”I saw her storm out of here.”

He takes a seat on the matching couch perpendicular to mine.

”I’m going to ask one last time, then I’m never going to bring it up again: what are you doing with Kate?”

”This is how we are, Eric. We bicker, she storms out, I chase her down and things work themselves out.”

”Hmmm, sounds real healthy.”

”It is what it is.”

Eric shrugs, his patience shot. He opens the Playboy and admires Rita Lee.

”How’s it going upstairs?” I ask.

He smiles. ”She’s here.”

”You mean, Michelle Ito?”


”What the hell are you doing down here? Go get her!”

”We need to resolve the matter at hand.”

Eric’s loyalty continues to amaze and inspire me. Seems like whenever I’ve been teetering on the edge of oblivion, he’s always there to lend his support. He knows me better than anyone. He knows me because after you sleep over a guy’s house, go to the lake with his family, have him over for dinner, pat his back while he’s puking, cover for him when he sneaks out to see a girl, tell him your most painful secrets, and defend his honor when you know he’s wrong, after all of those things, you know a guy.

”What do you think?” I ask.

”Well, Kate will probably cool off, and you guys could work things out.”

He doesn’t believe a word that just came out of his mouth. For some reason this irks me.

”You really believe that?” I ask, annoyed.

He shrugs.

”Come on, Eric.”

”That’s what you want to hear, isn’t it?”


”What do you want me to say, Brian,” he replies. ”It’s your decision.”

”Just tell me what you fucking think, Eric! Don’t give me this it’s your decision’ shit. I need your help. Don’t sugarcoat it.”

”I’m not–”



”No, you dude.”



He slaps the Playboy down on the couch.

”You’re afraid, afraid of failing, afraid that if you let Kate go, you blew it. And you’re afraid of what’s next, like, what happens if you ask out Allison and tarnish that squeaky clean image of yourself just to be happy.”

”It’s complicated, you know that.”

”Complicated is not an excuse to mess with the hearts of two girls. Stop being a dick and make a fucking decision! It’s not fair to Kate or Allison to act this way.”

This is much heavier than either of us thought the conversation would go.

”Bri,” he says, ”I can’t tell you what to do. Maybe… maybe you should just close your eyes and think of one person. Whoever that is, whoever your heart leads you to first, well, that’s your answer.”

I close my eyes.

When I open them, Eric is staring at me.

”Eric,” I say, ”I need to see Kate right now.”


Today’s artwork was by Bob Bellamy. Bob is a moderately skinny white boy from Cleveland, Ohio who’s come to chase your women and drink your beer. His activity in photography has weaned in recent years, but he is sincerely humbled to have a piece be part of this series. This photo is not endorsed by PETA, AA or the surgeon general. Cigarettes and whiskey were consumed during its creation.

The Robert Cray Band’s song, ”Smoking Gun,” is found on their 1986 album, Strong Persuader.

Previous Chapters: Chapter 25, Chapter 24, Chapter 23, Chapter 22, Chapter 21, Chapter 20, Chapter 19,  Chapter 18,  Chapter 17, Chapter 16, Chapter 15, Chapter 14, Chapter 13, Chapter 12, Chapter 11, Chapter 10, Chapter 9, Chapter 8, Chapter 7, Chapter 6, Chapter 5, Chapter 4, Chapter 3, Chapter 2, Chapter 1, Introduction

Read Chapter 27 of Legendary.

About the Author

Scott Malchus

Scott Malchus is a writer, filmmaker and die hard Cleveland Indians fan. His memoir, “Basement Songs,” is available in paperback and Kindle. He wrote and directed the film “King's Highway." His family is heavily involved in fund raising to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. Scott Malchus is an employee of Cartoon Network and Turner Broadcasting. The opinions expressed on Popdose are his own and do not reflect those of his employer. Email: Follow him @MrMalchus

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