Our Lady of Perpetual Vexation


It’s 1964 and Smitty, Mouse, and Kelso are in their last semester of high school. These three fellows manage to get themselves into some ridiculous, bizarre, and hilarious situations—all in their pursuit of one thing. Girls. They plot; they plan; they try so hard; they get into such trouble; they meet with so little success. Smitty has a knack, though. If anyone manages to find romance, he’ll be the guy. Mouse is the blind squirrel who finds the occasional acorn. Kelso, poor Kelso, borders on hopeless. Whether it’s the parish dance, a friend’s funeral, a babysitting opportunity, or a first sexual encounter, these are engaging, entertaining and sometimes ribald slices of life that will strike a chord or two.

Through some diabolical quirk in scheduling, “In the Still of the Night,” another slow song, filled the hall, but the boys could not take advantage and stood watching other couples move oh so slowly around the floor.    

“This is too much to take,” Mouse said when the record ended.    

“We still have half an hour,” said Kelso, but fast song after fast song played, and by now the boys had lost interest in the gaiety of the Stomp and the Mashed Potatoes.    

“Oh, man, when the next slow one comes on, I’m dancing,” Mouse vowed. “It’s twenty to eleven already.”    

As if in answer to his prayer, Lee Andrews advised them to, “Try the Impossible.”    

“Just grab anything,” Kelso advised and so they did.    

Mouse planted his nose above the girl’s ear and tried to gauge whether she held him out of mere necessity or had he really detected a slight squeeze of his hand a second before. They danced in silence until the music stopped. Mouse glanced at the clock. 10:45    

“What’s your name?” Mouse began safely.    

“Eileen Ewing. What’s yours?”    

“Uh, call me Mouse. Everybody does.”    

Mouse began firing questions at her, trying to keep her attention. When the lights came on, Mouse popped the question. “Can I give you a ride home?”    

Eileen looked at him closely. “I came with my girlfriends…”    

“Oh, don’t worry about your girlfriends,” Mouse blurted, cutting off the ominous beginning of Eileen’s sentence. “They can come along, too. I have two friends. I mean I have more than two friends but only two are here.”    

“I don’t know. Wait a minute. I’ll ask them.”    

Mouse Grouchoed his eyebrows to Smitty and Kelso.    

Eileen returned and said, “Joyce will come.”    

“Okay. Good. Great. Wait here and I’ll get one of my friends.”    

“We’ll get our coats.”    

“Hey, I need one of you,” Mouse reported. “She has a friend. Joyce.”    

“Which one is the friend?” Kelso asked. Suddenly faced with the possibility he might need to perform, Kelso quailed.    

“Who cares?” Smitty cut in quickly, knowing the girl was his if he wanted her. “I’ll go.”    

“Okay, come on.”    

Soon the four of them settled in Mouse’s car with a whole hour ahead until curfew. Mouse cranked the heat to maximum, a ploy he and Smitty developed to get the girls to doff their winter coats. Smitty knew immediately Mouse’s destination–Little City in Pennypack Park, an after-dark parking emporium.    

“This isn’t the way home,” Eileen said.    

“Just going for a ride,” Mouse explained. A few minutes later he pulled into the park and found a quiet spot under a tree.

He left the motor running, heat blasting in at maximum.

“Hey! This is Little City,” Joyce exclaimed from the back seat.  

“How do you know?” Smitty smirked.


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