Chapter 8 Summary
The friendship between Johnny and Jude grows quickly, as Johnny finds in Jude the little brother he never had, and Jude finds an entrée in the world of underground New York. The two spend their days together riding their skateboards, going to concerts, and visiting the Hare Krishna temple. Jude is initially reluctant to go completely straight edge, and still uses drugs occasionally, but it is clear that Johnny’s philosophy of spiritual and mental sobriety is having an effect on him.
Johnny, however, is tiring of the rapidly expanding scene. He sees that people are co-opting the straight-edge culture just to be cool, which bothers him. He even dissuades someone from getting the name of his band, Amy of One, tattooed across his chest, because he’s sure the person will end up regretting the decision. Johnny asks Jude about Eliza, and Jude says that the only time he saw her was the night Teddy died. Johnny doesn’t know what to think about Eliza: in part he envies her for being so close to his brother on the night he died, but there is a trickle of suspicion within him regarding the cocaine found in Teddy’s system.
Jude thinks he is finally going to see Eliza again when he and Les are to meet Eliza and Di, Eliza’s mother and Les’s girlfriend, for dinner at a Japanese restaurant. Di says that Eliza isn’t feeling well, however, and shows up alone. During the dinner the trio talk about how Eliza seems to have made a change for the better, devoting herself to her studies and staying out of trouble.
One night Jude goes to see Army of One perform at CBGB, the infamous punk rock club. Jude has taken psychedelic mushrooms before the show, which allow him to experience the music with a kind of ecstatic intensity. Even as he is losing himself in the narcotic experience, Jude realizes that this is the last time he will use drugs, that he is going to join the straight-edge lifestyle. After the concert, with Jude still high from the mushrooms, they go to the Hare Krishna temple, and in a hallucinogenic stupor, Jude sticks his hand onto a plate of candles and burns himself.
After Les receives a desperate call from Eliza asking him to tell Jude she needs to see him, Jude and Johnny make a trip uptown to see her. They find Eliza in bed, weepy and depressed. They give her tissues and bottles of Yoo-hoo, and she explains her situation—she is pregnant with Teddy’s child. Jude and Johnny are shocked and nearly speechless at this news.