I had very few close friends in school but a lot of acquaintances that I wouldn't mind saying were friends. I knew them and they knew of me without knowing me which is the way my life has mostly gone. There were times that I did become close to a few of the people I went to school with. I was not choosy about who I spent time with. I was friends with every group depicted in the movie "The Breakfast Club". They weren't close friendships not even on a social level. There were a few that I let get to know me over the years though. In eighth grade one of those was Mike.
Mike was on the cutting edge of the new youth movement of the late sixties and early seventies. His hair was long and shaggy. Clean but seldom combed. He wore round eye glasses much in the style of John Lennon. I know he smoked cigarettes but I am not sure about drug usage. I can say that I never witnessed any drugs on Mike and that makes me feel that he did not use back in the eighth grade. The clothes he wore we classic hippie. Big bell bottom jeans with the seam cut out to make them even larger. Shirts with wild designs on them and tye dyed shirts as well. He never wore tennis shoes but wore a pair of black boots that would get him in trouble more than once for walking in them on the basketball floor.
Mike was also extremely intelligent. His math skills were out of this world. He loved to learn but he would not truly ever admit to that. It went against his social outcast facade that he was showing the world. I had classes with him in science and math and he always aced the courses. This is another reason why I doubt the drug use.
Mike loved music and along with Scott introduced me to some wild underground music. It was music that would stick with me right up to today. Music was going in so many different directions. A lot of us would listen to music whenever we went over to some one's house on a Saturday. We never came over to my house nor did we go to Mike's. I am not sure why Mike didn't open his room to us but most of the time we were over at Scott's.
We never went to the school functions much. It wasn't our style. A lot of it could be that none of us could get a girl to go to a dance with us. I was too shy, Mike was too cool and Scott was, well he was Scott and that meant he had a great sense of humor that would get him into trouble a lot. After being our own little social outcast gang for most of the eighth grade year we decided to go to a dance together. There were about five of us that decided we would go stag and just watch and maybe have some fun at the expense of some of our classmates trying to dance. The dance started right after school and would be over in time for me to walk home so there wasn't a problem with me going at all.
We all arrived at the gym after school and some of the teachers that knew some of us by reputation told us they were going to be keeping an eye out. Have fun, but don't get yourself in trouble. No problem as far as we were concerned. We walked into the darkened gym and found a place to sit on the bleachers to observe the entertainment.
What really drew us to this particular dance was that there was a live band there instead of someone playing records. That meant the music had a chance of going in all different directions. We sat and listened to the band and critiqued their style and ability. Actually they were a pretty good band for playing at a junior high school.
The entertainment on the dance floor was fun to watch. You could see girls trying to turn down guys for a dance but not being able to. You could predict who would run to who when a slow number came up. There were some people that clearly had no sense of rhythm. They were just out there moving around and not really doing much. Mike began to think that they didn't know how to dance. They weren't creative enough in their chosen style. The girls had a better dance routine than most of the guys. We figured that they had learned most of their dance moves on Saturday morning television..
After about an hour of sitting and watching we all started to become a bit bored with the situation. Suddenly Scott decided he would go out and dance and show them how it was done. He went out onto the floor and started dancing with another couple until the boy in the group just walked away leaving Scott with the dance partner. As far as we could tell Scott could dance no better than the others that were out there. He would flail his arms a bit now and then and we got a fairly good laugh watching Scott do his routine. When the song was over Scott cam back to the bleachers to sit down. He was sweating and had obviously been doing his absolute best.
Scott became defensive when we started talking about his dancing and laughing at some of his moves that he thought were pretty ingenious. Finally he challenged any of us to go out and try to dance. We all kind of shook it off and continued to sit. It began to get boring just sitting there so I decided to take a little walk. I walked a lap or two around the basketball court then went outside for some fresh air. One of my teachers was sitting out there so we talked a bit. This dance thing wasn't so bad. At least we were getting to hear some live music.
I went back into the school and to the restroom when it happened. I am not sure how or when it happened but as I walked out of the restroom Scott came running up to me. "THEY GOT MIKE!" he shouted. Calming Scott down once he got revved up was not an easy thing to do but I tried. Scott finally dragged me down to the cafeteria doors and through the windows I could see two policemen talking to Mike. They appeared to make him walk a straight line. They were questioning him intently. As I pushed open the door one of the policemen told me to wait outside. I just wanted to know what was going on but he insisted again that I wait outside.
I walked with Scott over to the trophy case to get a read on what had happened. Apparently Mike had decided to show the other kids how dancing was meant to be done. From the way Scott described it Mike was doing something between an Indian tribal dance and some interpretive dance that took a lot of interpreting to figure out. Scott had good information, which was always questionable, that the teachers thought that Mike was on drugs based on the way he was dancing.
After about twenty minutes the policemen walked out of the cafeteria with Mike between them. Mike had his hands behind his back with some police jewelry on his wrists. I tried to ask him what was up and he just told us not to worry. HUGE misunderstanding he said. We didn't see Mike all of the next week. We weren't sure what had happened but I was more than a little concerned.
When Mike returned to school it turned out that Scotts information was correct. They had seen Mike throwing himself around the dance floor to some music that really wasn't that loud or fast and they called the police in case Mike was on drugs. Mike had passed all the sobriety tests but the police still believed him to be on drugs of some sort. They had Mike figured for smoking some weed. Mike had been suspended from school for one week because they had to call the police out to the school dance to watch Mike dance. Since the police were already out there, they arrested Mike for dancing strangely. Well, truth be told he wasn't technically arrested but taken to the station and talked to and his parents had been called to come pick him up at the police station. When his parents arrived they promised the police that Mike would never dance strangely again I guess because they let Mike go home with his parents.
I imagine he got a good lecturing that night from his mom and dad on the proper way to dance and possibly they may have demonstrated proper dancing for him. At any rate, it was the last dance I ever saw Mike attend.