CHAPTER 124 of The Island Country
On the pool deck of the Flynt Estate on the North Shore, Joyce, legs outstretched on a deck chair, margarita on the small table beside her, lit a cigarette, and stared across the night lit water at Bobby Rydell and his band performing “Volare”.
She then looked over at the kitchen window screen, through which she saw Roger, drunk, in his Hawaiian shirt and baseball cap, holding a giant beer stein, loudly asking Islander head coach Al Arbour if Canadian Customs had ever searched his suitcase. Next to them, Fred was telling team president Bill Torrey about how all of the public golf courses on Long Island were covered with geese shit. She then looked back across the pool at Bobby, who smiled at her as he sang.
The sliding screen door opened and out of the house stepped a mustached man with dark, curly hair, who looked a little like Burt Reynolds, but shorter.
He slid the door closed and came straight to her.
“Howdy,” he said, standing over her, lighting a Marlboro. “Having fun?”
“Not really,” she said. “Do I know you? You look familiar.”
“No. I would have remembered a beauty like you. Mike Ramone.”
“Joyce Ramsey,” she said, reaching for her margarita and attempting to sip it, but the salted rim missed her lips and some of the drink spilled onto her Sassons. “Shit. Shoot. I’m sorry, I’ve been here too long. I’m also married.”
“You’re Roger’s wife.”
“You know Roger?”
“Then how do you know I’m Roger’s wife?”
“Someone told me.”
“I’m Dolly’s friend. Not really a big Fred fan.”
“Mind if I sit next to you?”
“Be my guest.”
He sat and spread his legs out.
“Any requests?” Bobby called from across the pool.
“I’ll Never Dance Again,” Joyce called back. Bobby gave her a thumbs up.
“Big Rydell fan?” Mike asked.
“I feel kind of bad for him. He had a bit of a comeback with Grease, but now here he is right back in Dolly’s backyard.”
Inside the house, the noise level escalated when goaltender Billy “Hatchet Man” Smith went downstairs to Fred’s rec room and started trashing it with one of his own autographed goalie sticks. Many of his teammates hurried downstairs to spectate, only to find him gently replacing the stick back on the wall where he’d found it.
In the vacated kitchen, Dolly had superstar right winger Mike Bossy trapped against the counter. From behind a closed door in a distant wing of the house, the echo of a woman could be heard pleading, “Denny, please don’t hit me!” and a man yelling at her to “Shut up!”
“Have you been to a Flynt party before?” Joyce asked.
“This is my first. Fred’s luxury suite at the Coliseum is next to my company’s, and sometimes I go over there because they’re usually having more fun.”
“What company do you work for?”
“Hammersmith Nuclear. I sell parts and equipment to nuclear power plants all over the world.”
“Oh,” she said, exhaling, “that sounds exotic.”
“Not as exotic as the woman before my eyes.”
“You seem thrilled to be here.”
“I didn’t want to come, but Roger got into the whole hockey thing and wanted to hang out with the players. Why aren’t you in there with them?”
“I was in there, but I was bored. Then I saw something interesting out here. And it wasn’t Bobby Rydell.”
There was another commotion inside when “Mr. Islander”, right winger Bobby Nystrom, who’d been in the foyer ladling Molson Golden from the Stanley Cup into drinking glasses, burst into the kitchen exclaiming, “The Rangers are here! The Rangers are here!”
Islander players swarmed the foyer, which had been infiltrated by members of the rival New York Rangers, among them co-captains Barry Beck and Dave Maloney, centerman Ron Duguay, left winger Don Maloney, defenseman Ron Greschner, and goaltender John “JD” Davidson. Fights broke out all over the room, men pulling each other’s shirts off, throwing punches, head-butting, a Ming vase shattering over someone’s head, beer sloshing out of the Cup.
On the pool deck, where Bobby and the band had abandoned their instruments to watch the action in the foyer—
“It sounds like Fred’s luxury suite in there,” Mike said to Joyce.
“We usually leave when the fights break out,” Joyce said, getting up from the deck chair. “It was nice meeting you, Mike.” ▪