When Janey told me she was finished and was going to move in with her supervisor, Jimmy, I really lost myself. I had no one. Night after night in the dingiest bar in Newark. It’s a good thing I can’t even remember a lot from those months. Things reached an all-time low when I showed up at Jimmy’s place at 2 a.m. Long story short, things got physical and I spent a night in the clink. The next morning I took a good, hard look at myself. I quit my sales job at Cisco and I called Billy, one of the boys from high school.
“Stevie!” he says to me. “Me, Johnny, Rocko, we miss ya!”
He says they’re still working construction, 20 years on from graduation.
“You still workin’ for those suits?” he says to me.
“Oh, I’m out of that business,” I say to him. “You know I’m not the uptight type.”
So Billy says to me that him, Johnny and Rocko are still living together after all this time.
“Look, Billy,” I say. “I’ve hit rock bottom. I could really use you guys.”
Later that week, I’m back in Long Beach. Billy gets me a job with the construction company. Us boys are livin’ like kings. We drink beer and sing Bruce late into the night after work. It’s like I never left. I sees everyone from high school everywhere. All the places I go, “Stevie! How the heck are ya?” I’m back where I belong.
A few days before Halloween we’re doing our thing. I’m about eight deep and halfway through “Rosalita” when Rocko pauses the music.
“Rocko!” I say, gettin’ in his face. “You can’t stop before I’m about to tell Rosie I just got a deal, my friend.”
“No, no Stevie, you’re gonna thank me,” he says to me. “You were Mr. Bruce back in the day, that curly mop and the toned arms.”
I blush a little bit. I look in the full-length mirror leaning against the wall. Yeah, a lot of the hair is gone and I have a bit of a gut, but Bruce is still there deep down.
“Whaddaya say we go trick-or-treating again, you go as Bruce!”
I tell him I don’t know. Then I remember the Halloween party back in ‘83. Oh man, I was the talk of the town! “Little Springsteen,” all the chicks called me. I look around at the boys and smile.
“Rocko,” I say. “That, right there, is an idea.”
We all high five.