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Good Times

The 1970s was a golden era, marked by the institution of the sitcom. 

Their fictional stars became demigods to us. And some, rightly so, remained as such. 

Good Times by Beau Johnson



Peter Brady is exactly who you think he is.  He’s older now, sure, and likes to go by Pete instead of Peter, but damn if he didn’t always have something interesting to say.  Not that I minded, him being such a big part of my growing up and all.
         
“And by no means was it ever my idea.  I want that known.  I was part of it, you bet, and some of it was fun, but if I had my choice to go back and do it over again, no sir, I can’t say that I would.” 

We’re outside, the both of us smoking, the both of us leaning against the back end of the liquor store’s half-dumpster.  What Pete’s on about is what I’d brought up, the fabled Secret Episode: the one purported to house every proclivity created by man—the one where all the shit goes down.  True or not, it was touted to take place towards the end of the show’s run, once everyone had grown, but I’d never known, not for sure, not until Pete Brady formed a habit and our worlds collided because of it. This happened three years ago, over an eight ball, two chicks and one very pissed-off Chinaman.  We’ve since corrected the slight, but during such times is when me and the Pete-man came to find each other, as junkies often do.  That Pete was now a little off-center, well, that’s what coming off the good stuff and taking to a lesser product can do to you.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but chances, yeah, they are in fact the things we come to take.
       

“Don’t get me wrong, it was fun doing Marsha but it would always be better doing Jan.  Preferably from behind, but hey, what do I know?  Little Cindy though—that chick, I’m tellin’ you, that chick could chug cock.” 

I loved it, every word.  The best parts were coming though, and I pretty much knew most of them by heart; that Mrs. Brady goes down on Alice as Alice begins to take on Greg.  Gagging, she instead calls forth Bobby, the smaller brother, and him she can fit into her mouth.
          
“But Mr. Brady,” Pete says, and I know where he’s going with this—the place he always went.  His hands up, palms out: “Who’d have thunk?  I mean, now that I have hindsight, sure, you can see him checking out more of the guys than the woman, so yeah, there’s that, but my actual point is this: how were we to know?”  And the face he ends his question with: priceless.  Made me want to hear the whole shebang again, especially the after party parts, so secret that Pete said for years that even he never knew they existed.  The five minute scenario is what people today call Easter eggs.  It contained Florence Henderson, Sam the Butcher, and what I’m told was just buckets of Wesson Oil.
          

“Damn, what it must have been like,” I say, saying it as I always do, with reverence.  Made me more than smile too, there as I took out my mask.  Allowed me to reimagine my youth into more than what I remember it being; that the good times the Brady Bunch brought me could continue to quash the bad, twisting them into an even better pretzel for me to recall.  And that I was lucky enough to get it from the horse’s mouth of all things, oh man, that’s what made things so much sweeter.  Also made what we were about to commit a little easier to digest.  Because who in their right mind would ever want to hold up a liquor store when they were in something of a bad mood.  Pete and his stories—they’ve always been a good counter to this.  Not as good as the high we were working towards, no, but every little bit helped.
     

“You ready?”  I say and Pete immediately looks me in the eye, his one brow raised.  This is followed by a smile, one which is fast becoming filled with teeth like my own.
        
 “As ready as the Fonz that time he jumped that shark.” 

I try not to lose my game face as I pull my piece.  It doesn’t work, not totally, and beneath the ski-mask I can do nothing but smirk and shake my head.        

Pete Brady.  Fucking guy.  Who knew?

In Canada, with his wife and three boys, Beau Johnson lives, writes and breathes. He has been published before, on the darker side of town. Such places might include Underground Voices, the Molotov Cocktail, and Shotgun Honey. He would like it to be known that it is an honor to be here, down in the Gutter