Don't Listen to Linda
I'd seen her with him a couple of times, but I never paid it any attention. After all, who seriously dates Peter? Sure, he's a decent looking guy, but it's kinda... wrong. You don't pick up boys at the playground when they're still swinging on the monkey bars, right? So I didn't really think about it at first. And yeah, he was coming home kinda late with that starry eyed look on his face, but that could just mean he'd been looking at flowers all day or something.
So when she asked me if I wanted to dance, I figured she was fair game. Seemed harmless enough to me. We danced one number, while Mike and Micky were negotiating our pay with the new management, but I wasn't in the mood for more than that. I'd only tagged along to get a look at the new people running the club, not to party. She, on the other hand, was more than ready to play. She got excited when a slow song started, and started putting her hands all over me. In retrospect, I really should have expected things to have gone down the way they did, but you can't predict the future, can you? I managed to extricate myself after some fumbling, and ran out to the Monkeemobile to wait for the guys.
"Where were you?" Micky asked when he finally got to the car. He hopped over the door and bounced in the seat next to me. Mike slid in the front and settled down behind the wheel. "We thought you were gonna come and check out the new people with us."
"Micky, you know Cassanova here only came to dance with the girls. I'm surprised we didn't have to pull him off some girl's face."
I sneered at Mike's reflection in the rearview mirror. If I'd told him what I'd been doing before I came out to the car, I might have saved everyone a little time and energy, but I didn't think it was worth talking about. Besides, I had a reputation to uphold! So I kept quiet.
A few days later, Mike was going on and on about some chick he'd met at Lucky's. Nobody put it together, not even Peter, even though he must have described her ten times over. But honestly, how unique is long brown hair, big brown eyes and a little turned up nose? I mean, you could scramble up The Monkees and get something that fits that description. So, of course, we let it go.
It wasn't until I saw her with Chris Gentry from The Music Box two days after that that I began to wonder. After all, she did fit the description. And I'm pretty sure I'd recalled Peter saying that he was going to stay in his room, because his plans were canceled at the last minute, again. I decided to get down to the bottom of things.
"Hey, Chris, who's the lovely lady?"
You'd have sworn I was a mugger, he pulled her behind him so fast. So much for worrying about the rep, right? Anyway, he was protecting her like she was made of pure gold. "Oh, this is Hermalinda. We just met, about a week ago."
Alarms went off in my head. I knew good and well that it couldn't have been a whole two weeks since she'd tried to sink her nails into me at The Cassandra - we had a three week gig, and it wasn't ending anytime soon. And Mike had just gone grocery shopping not more than three days before. Talk about bad news. But I didn't want to tell Chris any of that. I knew he'd just figure I was trying to cut him out and get her for myself, which is nonsense. I can have any girl I want, and usually do, in the wink of a eye. So I played it cool. "Oh, that's great, man. Oh, gee, look at the time, I gotta split!"
Well, I didn't say I was cool, I said I played it cool.
When I got home I tried to ask Micky for his opinion, but asking Micky to be serious about anything is like asking a waterhose to put out the Sun for about ten minutes. It ain't happenin', jack. Besides, Mike was a big boy and could take care of himself, right? Right.
See, I always thought that Peter was at least as dumb as he looks, but... apparently not. While I was sitting in my corner of the universe trying to figure out what the heck was going on, Peter was sitting in his corner of the universe planing the destruction of one R. Michael Nesmith. It was little stuff at first, like stealing his hat (which evidently didn't bother Mike as much as we thought it would) or shrinking his shirts in the wash (which made him look a little silly, but he was used to the open closet policy and just stole Micky's shirts instead). It started to get more serious when Mike's notebooks were suddenly missing pages, or his keys suddenly disappeared whenever he planned on leaving the house alone. Peter also seemed to be less interested in keeping the peace, barking at us whenever we did something particularly... well... dumb. It shocked us all, because we never would have yelled at him.
But nothing was half as shocking as the sight of Peter dragging Mike's six string to the beach, trailing it through the sand. I could only imagine the resulting mayhem when Mike got back from... where ever he was, to find his precious Black Beauty abandoned in the sand, or worse. I ran out of the house as fast as I could to... do... what? "PETAH!"
He stopped and turned round slowly. His face was cast in dark shadows in the nearly moonless night, the picture of evil and hate. "Yes, David?"
"Erm... whacha got?" Pathetic, I know, but stalling was never my department.
"Michael has taken the most important thing in the world to me and destroyed it. I'm just returning the favor." He turned back to the ocean.
"WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT WA- oh." Peter was staring at me like I was crazy. Nevermind he was the one dragging Mike's guitar through the sand... "Peter, is this about, Herme- Hera- Hemer-"
"How do you know Linda?!" I swear my life flashed before my eyes when he asked that. I stepped back, afraid he was going to take a swing at me with the guitar. "How do you know her?!"
"I -I saw her with Christopher Gentry the other day! They were hanging out on the corner!"
"No, really! I mean, she did try to talk to me, man, but I told her no! Peter, I didn't even know you guys were serious, you don't talk about her!"
Peter deflated suddenly. "No. I didn't want to have to share. Well. That went well." He looked at the guitar in the sand. "I guess I should take this back."
I smiled and reached for the guitar - nah, for Peter - when a blood curdling shriek could be heard up and down the coast. "WE'VE BEEN ROBBED!" Peter and I bolted for the house, positively terrified. When we got inside, there stood Mike, in the middle of the living room, looking at the band setup by the bay window. "Guys, we've been - hey, there it is. Nevermind." Mike took the guitar from Peter's hand and started towards the front door. "Waitaminit. Peter, what the blue blazes were you doin' with my Beauty in the middle of the night?"
"Where are you taking it in the middle of the night?"
Mike turned round very very slowly. He didn't like being challenged, especially by one of us. And he certainly didn't want us being irresponsible with the instruments, particularly if we were messing about with something that didn't belong to us. Being irresponsible with the rent was a-okay, but that's another story. "You know, Peter, the funny thing is, I bought this here guitar with my very hard earned shares of our money, so I do believe that I can take my guitar whereever the fuck I want to. Normally, I don't give a good goddamn where you sit when you play my guitars, so long as I know where they are when you're doing it. But I gotta draw the line at you taking my Black Beauty out to the goddamn ocean in the middle of the night, especially since you think you get to ask me things like where the hell I'm going with my guitar."
"Fine. Point taken. Where are you going, Michael? You just got home." Peter folded his arms across his chest, mimicking Mike's stubborn stance.
"Go to bed, Peter."
"Hey," I tried, "don't you want to leave us a number where we can reach you? In case of emergencies..."
"Oh for cryin' out loud, what is this? What, are we kids trying to get around curfew now? Sheesh, Davy, it's on the dresser in my room! Now I gotta go, the engine is running, and Linda's getting- uff!"
I'd never seen Peter so much as smack a biting insect on his arm. But I swear on my life, he knocked Mike flat on his ass that night. And he was just getting started. Mike didn't even have time to get to his feet before Peter was on him. They tumbled around, swearing and punching and yelling and grunting and pulling and scratching - if they weren't pummeling each other like boxers, they were shredding each other like a couple of pissed off school girls. I tried pulling them apart, but all I got for my efforts was a bruised shin and a black eye.
Micky appeared out of nowhere with a couple of friends, but they soon disappeared when they saw trouble brewing. Micky didn't waste time trying to intercept the fight - instead he ran to the kitchen and came back with a bucket of icy cold tap water to dump on them (and me). It got their attention, and they sprang apart like polarized magnets. Micky tossed the bucket away, and it clattered and rolled out the front door. "What in the name of all that is right and true is going on in here? Geez, I can't leave you guys alone for a minute!"
Peter and Mike almost looked sheepish. For a minute, I thought they were going to try to apologize, but then someone came in the door, carrying the bucket. Hermalinda - and her button front smock was half open to her waist. She clutched it daintily at the breast, though she wasn't really hiding any of her assets, which were plentiful, I must say. She smiled sweetly when she stepped in, holding the bucket out towards us... until she realized she knew not one, not two, but three of the people in the room.
"Hey, Linda. You know your dress is undone?"
Erm, make that four.
"You... you know Hermalinda," Mike asked meekly.
"Oh, yeah, we kinda... wait... you -you know Linda?"
I just sat on the floor and waited for Peter to start bawling. But instead he spat on the floor. "You vicious, lying little whore! I can't believe I let you talk me into... You slut!"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, I only made it to third base, Peter," Micky cried.
"Third base!? I don't wanna hear any more of this shit!" Peter covered his ears and started to sing off key as loudly as he could.
"Linda... I thought I meant something to you," Mike said softly. "Do I even want to know what you and Peter were doing?"
Linda's eyes darted to each of us, until she finally settled on me. "I'm not a bad girl, you know that! Tell them!"
I snorted. Peter stopped singing and uncovered his ears when he saw her talking to me. I shook my head. "Peter. I owe you an apology. I bet if I'd told you that a girl who reminded me of the chick you'd been going to the movies with tried to put her hands down my pants at The Cassandra, this might not have happened." I turned to Hermalinda. "I can't tell them you're a good girl. You don't even know my name and you were pawing me. I wouldn't be surprised if you'd slept with half of Los Angeles." That wasn't exactly true. I was very surprised when both Peter and Mike winced. "I think you'd better go, miss."
"She ain't no fuckin' miss," Mike growled.
"She's a whore," Petter hissed.
"And a lousy kisser," Micky added.
"Well, I'm sold." I got up (nearly slipping several times in the water), pushed her out the door, and slammed it.
"Bucket," they said simultaneously.
"Oh, heh, right." I opened the door, to find a startled and weeping girl, buttoning her dress. I grabbed the bucket by her feet and slammed the door again. "So, how about we pretend this didn't happen?" They agreed, and all was right in the world.
At least until Mike saw the sand marks in his guitar. But that's also another story.