An extremely vivid memory from the past popped into my head this morning as I drove The Clark Boys to school.
David wanted to hear AC/DC’s Back In Black on CD while we drove; when the first song “Hell’s Bells” rang its way in, I was immediately transported to 1981, and a club in North Seattle called Mister Bill’s. One night like many nights those days, a friend and I were cruising in his Nova SS. We ended up at Mister Bill’s parking lot, near a beautiful red 1969 Chevy Camaro parked across two spots. I didn’t know the owner, a guy in his early 20s, but I knew his leather-clad copilot: a 15-ish year old classmate of mine who I hadn’t seen at school for a few months. Her coat was black, her brown hair was feathered, and her jeans were wide. All perfect for the time, down to the heavy Joan Jett makeup. To this day I don’t recall her name. She was cagey about why she hadn’t been at school. Talk turned to his Camaro, then Hell’s Bells came on the guy’s stereo.
With the windows down, the bells in the song echoed across the parking lot and attached that time and place permanently to my brain.
He explained all the work done to the car – fast motor, sound system, red lacquer paint, Crager S/S rims, and a suspension rake that had 1979 written all over it. The car was beautiful, and presumably fast. “Yeah, it gets me in a lot of trouble,” he explained. “Cops pull me over all the time, just because it’s red.” Since that night I’ve always wondered if that was a myth, because I’ve heard arguments from both sides. Still, I can close my eyes and see that car – jacked up in the rear and gleaming under the parking lot lights. And the girl leaning against the front fender. I always remember the girl.
And whenever Hell’s Bells plays, I see her in my mind – all over again – and wonder whatever happened to her.