â€œWhereâ€™s the scotch?â€ Butch asked above the blaring stereo.
â€œEy?â€ Donner said, putting a hand to his ear.
â€œThe scotch,â€ Butch repeated.
Donner took a pipe from Jackson and pointed across the barracks room to Davis and Cassaday.Â Butch nodded and moved over behind them.
â€œI donâ€™t think I feel anything,â€ Cassaday said.
â€œYou will,â€ Davis said, wiping off a record and sliding it into its sleeve.
Cassaday took a deep drag from another pipe Davis handed him and held the smoke in as long as he could.
â€œOoh,â€ he coughed, handing the pipe back to Davis.
Cassaday lay flat of his back, waving his arms to the music.
â€œDavis,â€ Butch pleaded, â€œhand me that scotch. Will you, dude?â€
Davis handed it over. Butch moved back by Donner and Jackson. They were talking music.
â€œThe Stones are best,â€ Donner argued.
â€œNot any more,â€ Jackson said.
Jackson, a Californian, figured it was his duty to oppose anything originating east of Laguna Beach. Donner, from New York, thought anybody west of Manhattan was an inbred hillbilly.
â€œCâ€™mon, what about Their Satanic Majestyâ€™s?â€ he asked Jackson.
â€œWhat about Sergeant Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour?â€ Jackson countered.
â€œWhat about all those Stones songs while The Beatles were makinâ€™ Help, huh?â€ Donner shot back.
â€œThatâ€™s yesterday,â€ Jackson said. â€œThe Beatles are king again.â€
â€œForget it, dude,â€ Donner said, tiring of the argument. â€œHey, Butch, gimme a hit of that scotch.â€
â€œYou white boys fight over seriously dumb crap,â€ Butch laughed, handing Donner the bottle.
Donner winked at Butch and chased a pipe hit with scotch. He handed the bottle over to Jackson. Jackson took a swig just as Cassaday popped up like a jack-in-the-box.
â€œWhat the hell?â€ Jackson said, almost choking.
â€œOh, man, I can see it,â€ Cassaday said. â€œUp, across, down. Ho, ho, ho, hee, hee, hee, ha, ha, ha. Like a line going up, across, and down. Cool.â€
â€œWhat are you talkinâ€™ about?â€ Butch laughed.
â€œThe Beatles,â€ Cassaday mumbled. â€œThey went ho, ho, ho, hee, hee, hee, ha, ha, ha.â€
â€œLovely,â€ Donner sniffed. â€œReal bright, Cassaday.â€
â€œAnd you ainâ€™t feelinâ€™ anything, right?â€ Davis joked. Everybody laughed.
â€œOh,â€ Cassaday said, lying back down. â€œAfter the Beatles,â€ he muttered, â€œput on the Stones, â€˜Another Land.â€™â€
â€œWhat?â€ Davis asked.
â€œHeâ€™s out of it,â€ Butch said.
â€œâ€˜Another Land,â€™â€ Cassaday repeated.
â€œHe wants â€˜Another Land,â€™â€ Davis said to Butch.
â€œHeâ€™s in another land,â€ Davis laughed.
â€œWeâ€™re all in another land,â€ Butch joked, â€œthis is North Carolina ainâ€™t it?â€
Cassaday waved his arms around feebly.
â€œWeâ€™ll play it, buddy boy,â€ Donner told him. â€œYou try to stay here in this land.â€
â€œHey, Davis,â€ Jackson said, â€œplay the Vanilla Fudge album.â€
â€œOh, come on,â€ Donner moaned, â€œthatâ€™s old crap.â€
â€œWe still like it,â€ Jackson said, pointing to the other guys.
â€œYeah,â€ Butch added, nodding at Cassaday, â€œbut we gotta play the Stones for Cassaday.â€
â€œGod,â€ Donner laughed, â€œwhat a hick. These first-timers always overdo it.â€
Jackson reached one of the pipes across to Davis, who put on the song Cassaday wanted to hear. Cassaday made an unintelligible sound. Donner got the pipe from Davis, took another drag and offered it to Butch.
â€œYou kiddinâ€™,â€ Butch said. â€œSmoke yourself to death if you want to. Iâ€™m gonna stick to scotch for awhile.â€
â€œSuit yourself,â€ Donner said.
On the floor, Cassaday continued to wave his arms weakly as if directing the music.
â€œDum-ta-dum,â€ he sang out loud, his speech slow and slurred. â€œAnd the feathers floated by.â€
Davis looked at him and broke up laughing. Jackson and Donner resumed their Beatles/Rolling Stones argument. Butch clung to the scotch like it was the head of one of his opponents when he was an All Big-10 wrestler at Iowa. From his position just behind the others he watched with amused detachment.
â€œJesus Christ,â€ he said, smoke and music blending with the buzz of conversation to give the airmenâ€™s room the atmosphere of an anonymous 1950â€™s tea or coffee shop gone badly astray, â€œlook at these people, nothinâ€™ but a bunch of potheads.â€
He took another drink of scotch and laughed. No one was paying any attention to him or anything else; they were all completely out of it.