TRUMPETS AT MIDNITE

TRUMPETS AT MIDNIGHT, DEWEY BEACH 

Matt was taking his last summer as a complete human being off from work. In the fall he would go to Drexel for his MBA, and he was savoring every vacation minute. His tan glowed in the dark; he ran five miles every day at NOON! We bought a net and strung it to the basketball hoop and played with whoever showed up. Matt lost twenty pounds; he was beautiful. The women of our beach housemates called him “Conan.” 

Our beach cottage sat between a picky woman with a small child in back and the front house full of lawyers. The lawyers were from DC and hence, interlopers, Republican pricks like the SOBs who were overdeveloping and tidying up the closest thing to Key West we had. 

"Hey, lady," Matt told the picky lady when she complained about our radio at 10 o'clock on a Saturday night, "the family towns are down the road, either way, north or south. This is Dewey Beach ­you know, 'A Way of Life'? Read the sign." We were on Salisbury Street, two doors from the Starboard, where they had couples’ Sumo wrestling, “the running of the bulls,” and whatever else they could dream up that sold booze. 

At 2 AM that night we played trumpet duets for the lady until the police came. 

They were nice duets: a selection of Christmas Carols I had picked up when Matt noticed my old beater trumpet and retrieved his high school axe from his Mom’s attic in New Jersey. 

We had been working on "Joy to the World," the answering part "Let earth (let earth) receive (receive) her King." Matt stopped to quibble about the "King" part, and I told him to just imagine it meant Martin Luther King, or think of it as "Let Earth-just do-her Thing," and anyway it was an instrumental, and he'd known he was Jewish when we started. 

So at about quarter to three we took a break. Matt was on an all-meat diet—actually all-hot-dog diet—that summer, and he was microwaving his MDHDR (Minimum Daily Hot Dog Requirement—six) as I watered the lawn next to one of the front-house lawyers' cars. 

The squad car almost ran over my foot. 

The rookie cop who swung out of the car hyperventilating, flashlight in hand, porky neck oiling over his collar, asked if I was the one who called in the complaint. . 

"Sure did, officer. It was them guys in the front house, makin' such a racket they woke the baby an’ I come out to check my shiny new Volvo here to make sure they hadn't disturbed it." 

I patted the lawyer's Volvo proprietarily, turning to the side to zip up. About that time one of them thievin' out-of-town lawyers came out on their porch. Natural enemies, he and the cop sized each other up over the Volvo: the cop's beady eyes gleamed, he fingered his nightstick, pawing the ground and snorting, tossing his head. 

The lawyer began to fume and cite precedent. But this was Sussex-by-God-County Saturday night, not the District of Columbia at noon, and it was no contest. The cops arrested the lawyer for disturbin' the peace. 

All in all a good night’s work. 

Despite our new role as crimestoppers, the landlord wouldn't renew our lease because, he said, our dogs kept running through the screens; plus, someone, probably the lady in the back, had reported we took group showers. A filthy lie. Those screens were that way when we moved in.

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