Grinding the Night Away


I went to our Homecoming dance with a girl friend. She wasn’t a girlfriend, just someone who happened to be a girl. Nobody is allowed to go by himself or even with another guy, no matter what kind of friends you are. You have to have a date to go to Homecoming. The dance was at St. Mel’s in the main gym the night after we smashed out a win over Moeller’s, the Fighting Crusaders.

The Crusaders slouched back to Cincinnati and afterwards we called them the Sad Taters. St. Mel’s takes no prisoners on the football field. No, SIR!

My dad worked the refreshment table at the dance. He’s a member of the Father’s Club. It was awesome for my friends and me. We had a boat load of free drinks, for sure.

Homecoming was the night Jake and Jess broke up. It isn’t the kind if thing that usually happens at Homecoming, but that’s what happened. It started when I saw Bert making out with Jake’s girlfriend. They were dancing and the next thing anybody knew they started kissing, right on the dance floor. When you’re somebody else’s girlfriend that’s rude and inconsiderate.

Allan and I both saw it happening. Allan is one of my best friends. He’s a football player, not much taller than me, but he’s 250 pounds. He’s a lineman on the team, although he had to sit out after he got a concussion. He’s a white kid and pretty pasty, which isn’t pretty.

We all saw Bert kiss Jess as plain as day. Allan walked right up to Bert. He was angry.

“Bert, what the fuck, what are you doing?”

Bert plays soccer, is taller than me, but he’s a toothpick. He’s sort of ugly, too.

He was really scared for a second.

“I was, like…” he stuttered.

Allan was angry about it and I wasn’t happy, either. Allan faced Bert down, who started backing away. I stood there for a few seconds and then ran to find Jake. I didn’t want to leave him hanging. Hanging for what? I had to tell him. Bro’s before ho’s. That’s what a brother does. Everybody says so. She was obviously that if she was kissing another man.

Jess is short, skinny, and blonde. She’s sort of pretty. I might even have liked her once. She had been to my house for dinner, with Jake, one night when Allan and Paul were over.

Jake was outside getting a drink at the refreshment table when I found him. There was Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite. He was picking up a can of Sprite. The can looked big in his hand. Jake is almost a midget. I’m on the short side, but he’s shorter than me, by a long shot.

“Jake, Jess kissed Bert,” I said.

“Are you kidding me?” he asked.

“No dude, I’m sorry, but it’s true.“

He was sad at first, and depressed, that he had just lost his girl. “I’m going to talk to her about this.”

“I’m sorry, dude,” I said. He was sad and really down. Then he jumped her on the spot, surprising everybody.

“Yeah, gangster,” I thought out loud.

“Thanks a lot,” he said, all sarcastic, and then said something to her nobody else could hear.

“We’re done,” he said, flashing his thumb and finger and walking away. He dumped her on the spot. Her jaw dropped. She was left standing there. Jake wasn’t blue the rest of the night. He had only been going out with Jess for less than a month, anyway.

I was grinding in the mosh pit later when a girl threw up all over the floor because she was totally wasted. Someone slipped on the mess and fell down, hitting his head and getting puke on his clothes. He smelled like beef liver with onions in a can after that.

Everybody merks their crap load of beer and booze before the dance. It used to be weed, but this last summer the school principal’s brother got a sweet contract for himself to drug test us, so now it’s drinking instead of drugs. At least it is during the school year. It doesn’t even do any good to shave your head, because they snatch a different kind of hair from you, and the test works exactly the same way.

“Maybe I’ll just do LSD,” DB said, spinning his head in fast, tight circles.

They don’t test for LSD because they have to get your pee, not just your hair, to do that. The St. Mel’s men would start peeing on each other. It’s too expensive, anyway. Our military even stopped testing for it because it costs so much.

I don’t drink much of anything, nor do my friends, but that doesn’t mean anything. If it weren’t such a big deal to drink or not to drink guys wouldn’t do it so much.


It’s mostly about being rebellious. They think it’s cool and makes them be cool. If guys could drink whatever they wanted they wouldn’t do it as much. Honestly, they just wouldn’t, since the temptation would be all gone. But, that’s the exact thing, because they’re doing something forbidden, it makes them feel SO MUCH cooler.

Drugs, smoking, and drinking at Homecoming are a tradition. Oh, yeah, I can feel it and smell it when I’m in the mosh pit. When you’re in the pit it’s pushy, noisy, and hot. It’s sweaty and the odor is bad, like armpits and hot dog water. You dance and grind in the pit and have fun. There are a thousand guys and girls all pushed in together and the teachers are stuck on the outside.

Not everyone crams into the mosh pit, but a large crowd does, for sure. There’s a stage at the front of the gym and everybody swirls it, surging tight, and facing whichever which way. We dance to slow songs, rock, techno, whatever. The best are Skrillex, Kid Cudi, and M & M. I love ‘Stairway to Heaven’, except I hate it at summer camp, where Stupidhead plays it every night on his guitar in our cabin. There’s another song, ‘White Roses’, or something like that, I’m high on for slow dancing.

Nobody’s brains are guaranteed in the pit. Everybody goes to the pit to have fun, that’s all. The girls like it. That works for me. We all get going get amped get excited in the pit. No one can help it. Grinding is the greatest when you’re rubbing up against some girl to Lady Gaga’s ‘Disco Stick’. You don’t even have to look them in the face since most of the time it’s from behind.

The parents don’t know the grinding that goes on. Girls put their butts on you and figure eight. It’s like doing it with your clothes on. Sometimes we form lines, forty or fifty of us in a line grinding on each other. Nobody’s parents want to know about that.


You can get in trouble for grinding. All the teachers are there and they watch out for it. They call it pelvic thrust dancing, or at least Mr. Rote does, who’s got a sharp eye for it. There’s a rule that you can get kicked out of the dance for doing it, but none of the teachers can ever get into the mosh pit, so hardly anybody ever gets caught.

They will mark your hand with a Sharpie if they do catch you, and if they catch you a second time, they kick you out of the dance. Guys go all crazy, all sweaty and flustered, trying to rub the indelible Sharpie mark off as fast as they can.

Not many guys got kicked out of theHomecoming dance, but Allan’s older brother did. It was funny to everybody, although he wasn’t laughing. Girls don’t get kicked out because it’s at our school. Just the guys get the boot. I saw a couple of them being dragged from the pit and kicked out of the gym. The Dean of Students had their cell phones and was looking through all their messages.

St. Mel’s is a private school. They aren’t funded by the state. They don’t have to stick to the state rules like the public schools. They can’t hit you, but they can, if they want to. If a teacher hit me I would be very, VERY upset, but they can do just about anything.


They can look through your phone and anything else of yours. They can drag you away. I don’t even know all the stuff they can do.

They can kick you out of school, for sure. If you do something bad it becomes Steck Time, the Dean of Students, who is a very mean man. He can say, “Don’t come back tomorrow.” When Mr. Steck-It-To-You says it he means it and he can make it stick. Because it’s a private school they can lock you out and you can’t ever go back. And then you’re out, that’s all. I’ve heard of some kids who got thrown out once-and-for-all for good.

You’ve got to be careful.

They won’t kick you out of school for grinding. You have to get caught stealing computers, or smoking weed, or something like that. Not always, though, since it depends. There’s a guy’s father who owns a jewelry store in Rocky River, and his son got caught smoking weed on campus, but he didn’t get kicked out. The diamond man talked to the Dean, somebody probably got a karat, and after the deal was done the guy might still have gotten thrown out, but didn’t, obviously.

It wasn’t even close.

The girls at our dances sometimes come from some public schools, but mostly from St. Joe’s, Magnificat, and the other Catholic schools. Are good Catholic girls the same as good girls? Are you pooping on my face? God, no, they’re not good! That’s why we’re all grinding at the dances.

There isn’t much difference between a Catholic girl and a public school girl. Sometimes it seems like Catholic girls are even worse than regular bad girls. They can go to extremes, like wanting a guy more than regular girls do. They just want to have boyfriends. They want to have somebody, anybody, they can say is their boyfriend, someone to be on their hip side. They are thirsty for guys.

They’re thirsty and need to be quenched.

The Catholic girls aren’t even that hot, at least not usually. There are more hotter public school girls than Catholic girls. Some of the Catholic girls even think they are better than other peeps, which is rude, and mostly mistaken.

Many of them seem to think they are on a totally upper level over other girls. They absolutely believe their status is higher, which I think is ridiculous. They truly think they are better than other people, at least better than public school girls, for sure.

I have some good friends who go to Mag’s, but St. Joe’s, no. St. Joe’s girls are Catholic girls all out. They are ever not so nice.

If you are hanging out with public school girls, or Catholic girls, and the other side walks up, it tends to be that public school girls are nicer. They are like your friends right out of the box and they are nicer to you, too. The Catholic girls are kind of low and frank. The public school girls are nicer, asking what your name is, and being interested in you. Catholic girls are like, “Oh, hi, WHO are you? I have to GO.”

You can tell they don’t care.

The only time they CARE is when they’re GRINDING, but that’s a TOTALLY different kind of caring.


Click here to see more writing between fiction and non-fiction by Ed Staskus.