This, my friends, is the Story of the Red Shirt.
The year was 1991, I believe. I was living in Los Angeles with my best friend, Jane. We shared a two-bedroom apartment in the Valley. We were young and single and living it up in Southern California. Every night you’d find us drinking chardonnay at our dining room table and every weekend we were at our pool or the beach. Not a bad way to spend your twenties, really. Our apartment building was filled to the brim with young musicians and it was more like a Fraternity house than an apartment complex. On any given night there was a party going on and Jane and I certainly hosted our share. On this night however, we were returning from our favorite metal bar, The FM Station.
Ah yes…acid washed jeans, mid-riff baring tops and big hair, and those were the dudes.
Anyway, we were staggering down the hallway to our apartment giggling and reminiscing about the evening when we noticed something hanging from our door handle. Upon closer inspection we found it was a red see-through extra large shirt from Frederick’s of Hollywood. I think it’s the type of thing a lady (a large lady) would wear over her lingerie, perhaps? I’ll find a picture of said shirt and post it tomorrow, I promise.
We had no idea where it had come from or who had placed it there. We were just drunk enough to find it funny so we took it inside and forgot about it until the morning. Over the next few days we tried to solve the riddle of the red shirt. No one would confess to putting it on our door and everyone thought it a pretty arbitrary occurrence. Finally Jane tired of the nonsense and put the shirt in my room. I didn’t want the damn thing so I hung it in her closet. The next morning I pulled back my shower curtain and it was hanging from my shower head. Can you see a pattern developing? For the remainder of my cohabitation with Jane, the red shirt went back and forth continuously. Sometimes it would be days or weeks before one of us would discover it. The funny thing is, she and I never spoke aloud of our stealthy goings on. It just became a bit of a game, really. She once wadded it up and stuck it in our butter dish. Good grief.
And so it began. If only we knew then what we had actually started. Or what had started, despite us.
I eventually moved out and Jane moved in with her boyfriend. For two more years the damn red shirt went back and forth across the valley to our respective apartments. In 1994 I decided to move to Albuquerque, New Mexico. As a going away present, Jane and Schell did a fun video of all of my old haunts and residences in Los Angeles, and somewhere in each and every shot the red shirt was apparent. Hanging off of a balcony, in a Palm tree and even upon Joel, my favorite bartender at the still famous “Frolic Room” on Hollywood Blvd.
Upon arriving in Albuquerque I discovered the ‘effing red shirt as I unpacked. Stuffed inside a spice jar, no less. Oh, burn in Hell, Jane.
The next year Jane and Schell came to visit me in New Mexico and I keenly hid the shirt inside one of the legs in Jane’s jeans…her dirty jeans that during her travels she eventually packs separately from the rest of her clothes. She didn’t find it until almost a week later doing laundry. Take that, Evil Master.
This was just the beginning , for the year was 1995. The red shirt had traveled quite a bit in those few years but none of us, lest the shirt itself, knew what we/it were in for.