Sometimes my tongue would get stuck on the roof of my mouth and I'd accidentally call Roseanne Rodan.
Roseanne had long frizzy blond hair like the kids on the Houses of the Holy cover, or the topless woman holding the airplane on some other album cover, fine if you're some late 60s big-eyed waif, but when it's 1976 and you go to Egbert Jr. High on Staten Island, well, it makes you the object of taunts and spitballs. She had it easier than I did, though, at least she was white. But Roseanne unfortunately had the additional burden of a beautiful older sister, one who looked just like her but with a slightly straighter nose and hair. Roseanne and I tried desperately to be bad girls, with unmitigated listenings to Quadrophenia and her sister's Rolling Stones records. We smoked, we drank (at school! We'd pour bourbon into cough medicine bottles and drink in the school yard!), we cursed out teachers... but, the truth is, you'll never be accepted as bad when you're getting straight As. There was nothing I could do to stop that short of dropping out, but Roseanne let her grades slip to Bs and Cs with very little effort on her part. We were allowed to revolve around the fringes of the bad girls, like the debris-filled rings of Saturn, but we were too moody and intellectual to be fully accepted.
Roseanne invited me to her house one afternoon. We rode home in her sister's mustang, "Angie"; blasting from the radio. I hated that song. Lyrically, it didn't flow from one logical phrase to then next, and Mick Jagger was whiny. What the hell did he have to whine about?
Upstairs in Roseanne's room she refused to play The Sweet. She insisted we listen to her sister's Black Sabbath record. She turned off all the lights, but it was 4 in the afternoon so it wasn't exactly dark. She laid back on the bed.
"I want you to choke me," she said.
"I want to know what it feels like. Come on. You choke me first, then I'll choke you."
"Come on! Just get on top of me and do it!"
I didn't want to do it, and I don't know why I did. I guess I just didn't have the nerve to say no. I straddled her and put my hands around her neck and tightened my grip.
"Tighter!,"she yelled. "Tighter! Get into it!"
I gripped her neck and started to throttle her. After a few minutes she sort of went limp. Her sister had left to hand out with her boyfriend. I went downstairs and got some soda.