Friday, February 10, 2012

You have to be kidding me...



     Okay, before I post this, don't judge me.  Turns out, as I've gotten older, I realize that I must have had a lot more "life experiences" than most people I know.  I was having a few drinks with a friend of mine and his wife, ended up telling them about something that happened to me when I was younger and they told me I needed to post this...so here goes.

BTW - This actually happened.  I'm not naming names or places or anything...but for better or worse it did happen.

     I was still rather young.  In my teens.  I lived about an hour away from a pretty nice beach, where groups of lovely young women flocked to every Spring and Summer.  So it became a frequent destination for myself and my close friends.

     My best friend John and I had just gotten off from work.  We worked at the same place.  I won't get into specifics, but there are some great stories from working there let me tell you...

     We're riding to our place when we decide to check and see what our other friend Tommy was doing.  When we get to his sister's house, he's the only one there. He meets us at the door

"My sister went to the beach with her boyfriend.  I got a guy at work to buy me a bottle of Jim Beam..."

     Did he need to say much more?  Now first off let me explain how we drank liquor when I was young.  We always bought a half-gallon. Volume is cheaper.  Everyone had their own chaser, my choice was a bottle of Mountain Dew.  So you sit or stand around, talking , bullshitting and more importantly passing the bottle, or passing anything else that might just “happen” to be around. (Just saying.).

     You take the bottle, you take a big drink from the bottle, then you chase it with a sip of your chaser.  Notice I said ‘sip’ of chaser and ‘drink’ of liquor. 

     The reason for this combination was that the first person who ran out of chaser had to be the idiot who goes to the store first when someone needed something.  There were also various “punishments” for being the first to drain your chaser. That being said..

Another couple of our friends showed up. Things progressed.

Now I feel I must interject here, before the story continues.  When I was young, my best friends and I loved to just get in the car and RIDE.  Didn’t matter where.  There are times we started heading to the beach, turned around halfway and decided to go to the mountains.  It is what it is. Don’t judge me.

     So now it’s dark and later in the evening.  Somewhere between that first drink of old Mr. Beam and the last drink of mean old Mr. Beam (yeah the half gallon was dry) we decided to ride to the store in my car. 

Again, an interjection.  I in NO WAY condone drinking and driving.  For whatever reason I’ve always had a really high tolerance.  I was always the one that drove everyone home.  When I was in my 20s I got pulled over driving a friend home.  He didn’t share with me that his car’s registration / tags were expired.  We got pulled over.  Since my buddy smelled and looked like a wino, he asked me to get out of the car.  I passed the field sobriety test and he let us go.  I had drank just as much as my friend.  So that being said.

     We made it to the store.  I don’t remember what we bought, nothing exciting, probably munchies and drinks.  So we’re leaving the parking lot and I step on a broken bottle that’s in the parking lot.  Did I mention I was barefooted?  I hate wearing shoes, still do.  My feet are calloused enough they don’t easily get hurt, this just sliced me open.  My luck.  I always tell people I’m God’s entertainment when the cable is out.

     My foot is bleeding pretty badly.  I can tell that I need stitches.  I’ve had enough of them, even then, that I knew when it needed stitched up.  At this point I’m now driving my car, it was a 5 speed, with a wad of paper napkins from the store duct-taped on my foot so it wouldn’t ruin my interior.  My buddies convince me I need to go to the hospital to get stitched up.  We all start bitching out loud about how not fun the hospital will be, especially on a weekend night.  That’s when Tommy pipes up with:

     “Hey, the guy I work with, his Dad is a Vet, I bet he’d stitch you up.”  (That’s Vet as in animal doctor, not a veteran. But I’m pretty sure he was both now that I think about it.)

     Sounded like a plan to me.  It was just a few stitches.

     A few hours later, I was stitched up and ready to roll.  Okay there was more to it than that, but the conversation and interaction with that guy’s Dad, his name was Dr. Walters BTW, was worth a story in and of itself.  Did I mention no local or pain killers?  I think he thought I’d back out at that point. Nope, it was my foot. Calloused remember?  It didn’t hurt that much.  No him cleaning it out?  That hurt.

     So now it’s pretty late.  We’ve since decided we are driving to the beach.  Don’t know how we got from A to M, but it happens, and it wasn’t that far away.  Not to mention gas was like $1 a gallon or something.

     Off to the beach we go.  Of course we decide to take back road, being kids that grew up in the country.  As we’re rolling along, I realize I need pee, badly.  Now the road we’re traveling on is a two lane highway, I think we’d passed maybe three cars since we’d been on it.  I see what looks like an abandoned store or something on the right, and I pull over in the parking lot behind it.

     I cut off the car, get out, and hobble over to the side of the building to relieve myself..  The parking lot was gravel, and I was still barefooted (my foot was bandaged up, give me some credit).  By this time both my friends have decided to do the same.  Now I’m standing right next to the building, and it has these wooden shutters that are bolted on.  Out of boredom I guess, I start messing with one of the screws while “aiming” with the other.  To my surprise, the bolt turns.  Before I know it, the bolt is all the way out and in my hand.

     By now, my friends have come over to see what’s going on.  By now I’ve got the second screw out, curiosity is getting the better of me. (Yes, I had already put my appendage back in my shorts). My friends join in, and soon all the bolts are out and the shutter opens up.  The window is open. 

     Somewhere between “Man, the window is open.” And “It’s really dark in there, I wonder what’s in there.” I had been elected to go inside.  So as I’m trying to fit through the window, I realize something is blocking it, it’s not just ‘that dark’ inside.  Before I can let my “Friends” (yes they get quotes for now) know this, they “help” me along by shoving me through.  Whatever it was blocking the window gives a bit, then finally moves…suddenly.  Next thing I know I hear a crash, and I’m inside of the building, laying on the floor, on top of a broken old TV set.  (What was blocking the window).
     The place was an old store of some sort.  Most everything was covered in dust.  The TV was older than I was at the time.  As I’m looking around, I hear my friends (quotes gone for now, they did follow me in at least) climbing in behind me.
     John lights his lighter so we can look around.  We see a counter with a cash register that is already rusty.  I still remember the jar of pickled eggs sitting on that counter.  They were already nasty the day they were bottled, much less after sitting for years.  We noticed there what appear to be some packs of cigarettes behind the counter.  We later notice an older stand up cooler that has beer in it.

     Another note right here: No we didn’t intend to steal anything when we climbed into that place.  We were young and stupid.  I don’t recommend or condone what we did.  And no we didn’t think about the fact that if the place didn’t have lights that would turn on, it wasn’t likely to have electricity powering the beer in the cooler, thus the beer was not going to be cold. Like I said we were young and stupid.

     So fast forward a few minutes and we are carrying some random packs of cigarettes and six packs of beer out of the place.  Yes I said six packs.  All the beer was in this configuration, no easy to carry cases or twelve packs. 

     Tommy makes the first run to the car to unload or ill-gotten goods.  He comes back for another load, as we hand him things through the window.  As he comes back the third time, he’s obviously worried about getting caught, as in really worried.

     “Come on man…hurry up.  Let’s get out of here, I don’t want to go to jail.  Hurry up.”

     Now I feel I must add something else here (yeah I know, sue me), the friend in question, Tommy, was a big, strong, muscular guy. Never afraid to have your back in a fight, I’d never seen him back down, and he was an absolute terror on the football field.  And he’s appearing to break down right in front of our eyes.

     “COME ON MAN…HURRY UP. I’M NOT GOING TO JAIL.”

     Now this worry with being caught didn’t stop him for making specific requests once we discovered a chip rack and shelf with assorted cookies, pastries and of course chips.  I still remember it..
     “Doritos man..COME ON. HURRY UP.  NO, I said DORITOS.  HURRY UP!!!!”

     So fast forward a bit, we’re now in the car.  Somewhere along the line, my buddy Tommy had decided to start the car, I guess to expedite our “getaway”. (I still hadn’t seen or heard a car at this point.)

     I remember noticing it, but not much past that.  So we hop in the car, and haul ass out of there.

     As soon as I turn onto the deserted highway, we notice headlights coming towards us. 

     “Shit, it’s a cop. We’re going to jail…dammit I told you guys, we’re going to jail.”  Tommy wails from the back seat.  The picture of this big, strong tough guy, wailing like a little kid, STILL makes me smile.  Then it comes, random and out of the blue.

     “If we get out of this without going to jail, I swear I’ll kiss you guys.”

     John and I still wonder about that comment.  Tommy had several very attractive girlfriends by that point, and would later accumulate quite a few more.  So, we’re not questioning his sexuality, but it’s still odd.  More funny than anything, but still odd.

     Now my heart is starting to pick up speed as the headlights continue to approach.  But at least they aren’t behind us.  Thoughts of silent alarms and trying to explain to my Dad, if he’d even take the call, why I was in jail were racing through my head.  (Silent alarms in a place with no electricity?  It’s easy to see the problem with that thought now.  Not so much then.)

     As the moment of truth closes, I hear John mutter from the passenger seat beside me.

     “Motherfucker. All this shit and the damn chips are stale. What a bitch.”

     I look over and he’s got an obvious look of disgust on his face.  The Doritos were stale.  As in WAY out of date stale.  Guess it served us right.

     The headlights pass us, and it’s not the police.  It was a pickup truck.  I slowed the car down a bit and listened to the rattle of my heart in my chest.  Adrenaline is a crazy, wonderful thing. 
    
     I’m just getting to grips with the fact we’re not going to jail, at least right then, when something grabs the side of my face, and I feel a warm presence that smells of whiskey and nacho cheese.

     The promise. This kiss.  Son of a bitch.

     It took my about four or five mile markers before I could stop laughing enough to realize I was driving like an idiot.  About that time is when the next bright idea surfaced.

     Now debate has raged on who spoke up, who suggested the action that led to the next turn of events.  To this day I swear it was Tommy.  John swears it was me.  Tommy swears it was John.  At least we’re consistent huh?

     So for argument’s sake, we’ll leave the speaker unknown.

     “Take this turn coming up, looks like an old road, there isn’t even a street sign.  We can check out what we have, so we can actually see it.” (The moon was full and bright that night, I remember that clearly too.)

     Regardless of source, I follow the suggestion and take the turn.  It’s obviously an old, hardly-ever-used combination dirt and gravel road.  Basically two ruts of dirt and a gravel strip in the middle.  It ends a mile or so in, in a wide turn around.
I swing the car around, right next to a large Oak tree and come to a stop.

     At this point I reach to turn the car off and notice the keys are not there.

     Now I definitely need to clarify.  I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth.  I paid for my car with my own hard-earned money, and I was still young.  So needless to say, it was a well-worn piece of shit.  A good running, well-worn piece of shit, I can fix anything.  But this car had a worn ignition switch.  Once started you could pull the key out while it was running.  Keep that in mind.

     After realizing I couldn’t shut the car off, the accusations started to fly.  I don’t remember who started it, but I’m leaning towards me.  I was pretty pissed off at this point.

     I accused John of removing the keys and losing them.  By this time we had thoroughly searched the interior of the car to no avail.  John responded by questioning my lineage and giving me directions for a rather short trip.

     The “conversation” escalated.  However many minutes later, John and I ended up standing in front of the car, engine running, headlights on, yelling and screaming at each other, getting ready to come to blows.  About this time I hear the distinct “jingle” of keys on a key ring.  The sound makes John and I swivel our heads like Pavlov’s dogs after hearing the dinner bell.

     To our surprise we see Tommy.  Standing in full view (full moon remember) with the keys extended in one hand, with a very awkward look on his face.

     “They were in the trunk.  When I opened it at the store.  Thought I better keep the car running in case we had to haul ass.”

     For a split second I’d say it was about to get ugly.  Tommy was a big guy, but I outweighed him by a few pounds and had a few inches on him.  As for John, that was a whole lot of mean packed into a lean 6’ frame when he got wound up.

     Don’t know how long we stood there like that.  Just staring at each other.  Still don’t know who, but someone chuckled a bit, and we all started laughing our asses off.  Well, Tommy didn’t right away.  He still wasn’t sure if we were coming after him.  But he joined in soon enough.

     Right as we started to catch our breath, the a bright light opened up near us.  We all turned to see a little house, that I never noticed when we pulled up…it was on the other side of the tree.

     Frame underneath a spotlight we could see a figure with the door open and what looked to be a shotgun or rifle propped beside them. 

     “What the hell are you doing on my property?”

     The person probably said other things as well.  That’s all I heard.  Hell, we were in the car and heading down the road (now correctly identified as a driveway) before the finished enunciating the word property.

     That’s it.  I think it’s better told than written, but that’s it as it happened.

     It’s been more than twenty years ago, but I still remember certain things from that night with razor sharp clarity.

     The beer was warm and stale.  But it tasted pretty good after being iced down.  I have a scar, to this day, on my foot.  Reminds me of that night.  We did make it to the beach.  I met a girl from Ohio.  I remember her vividly.  After several of those beers, she told me she had a boyfriend. (I hadn’t asked.)

     Then she added a few minutes later…
     “So I can’t have sex with you.”

     Another beer or so later, she climbed under the covers before making the comment, “But I can do this.”

     Memories.

         



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