now that the statute of limitations is over...
by Turtle Jones
Stupid is as stupid does. And when you’re a kid, or a teenager, or even a very young adult, stupid pretty much goes with the territory. We all did things as kids that tempted fate or even death. Things that, if we could reach back into the past, we would slap ourselves upside the head for doing. Obviously, we got away with them because we are here to tell the tales. Here’s ours. What’s yours?
Michele is up first.
1980. I was 17. We had just graduated high school. That diploma didn’t phase us. We were still stupid. Doing stupid kid things. Dangerous, idiotic things.
When you’re bored on Long Island, the only thing to do is get in your car and drive. You leave your town and go find someone else’s town to be bored in. Yea, we still spent the night trying to figure out something exciting to do, but at least we weren’t doing it in front of our own house. Sometimes the question would get asked. What can we do besides sit here and get wasted? Sometimes the answer would be: North Shore. We’d pile into the car and drive, away from our middle class town and toward the place where the rich people live. Sometimes the answer would be more specific. Sweet Hollow Road. When someone said that, you knew what was coming. Because that wasn’t just a suggestion. It was a dare.
The thing about Sweet Hollow Road, this unspoken but known thing, was that if you drove down it, you had to do it with your headlights off. And you had to pound the gas. If you took the road at 20 or 30 or even 40 everyone would hear about it the next day. Want to feel lame? Drive that road slow. Everyone will be calling you ‘Grandma’ the next day. Cause word gets around.
So this particular night, we pulled up into a school parking lot not far from the turnoff to Sweet Hollow. We sat in the car for a bit getting high and getting drunk and getting to be a really lethal combination of the two. Yes, even the driver. Yes, we were really fucking stupid. And then we took off. Mickey driving. Making the turn onto the dark, dark road. Headlights off.
I was sitting in the back. You have to know this about me first: I’m a complete wuss. I mean, I’d act all brave and excited when we did something like this, but I was really ready to shit my pants most of the time. Yet I kept going on these trips.. Sometimes I think the fear was more intoxicating than the vodka. And there we were, doing 60 on a road that called for 10, stoned out of our minds and Mickey pressing the lead as if we were being chased by a ghost. Which we might have been. Because those woods were haunted. So I hear.
We were all dead silent, fingernails dug into the fabric of the car seats. Just feeling the wind and the rush that comes with doing something so stupid. This road was winding. Not just a few curves, but winding like a freaking slinky. Mickey just had to feel the road out. Squint his eyes and figure out which way the road was curving now. Slamming back more beer while he did this. Everything quiet except the wind and the Clash coming from the cassette player.
Someone lights a cigarette
Just driving. Mickey was doing good. I started to relax. Soon the road would open up and we’d be able to see the turnoff to the main strip. Soon. I sat back. Let the night air into my lungs. Sang along with the Clash.
And then. A bump. The car seems to jump into the air. We hear a loud cracking sound. Oh. Fuck. Me. We’re gonna die. I know Mickey has lost control of the car. Everyone screaming. What the hell? Mickey is yelling above us. We just hit a rock, he says. Or maybe a boulder. I don’t know. I just know the next day the story was saying we hit a wall of pure concrete. Cause word gets around.
Mickey’s girlfriend was screaming that we hit a body. I started rambling about UFOs. Leave me alone. I was toasted. Mickey, thought he saw a man crawl down from the hood of the car and smash the window with a rock. This, my friends, is how urban legends begin.
Either way, the sudden surprise of the crack! on the windshield caused Mickey to swerve. We go off into the woods, control lost, panic ensuing. Mickey manages to slam the brakes before right we hit one of the huge oaks. The car fishtails to a stop about one inch in front of this enormous tree trunk. We sit in silence for a few minutes. Everything is deathly quiet except the hesitant gasps of the still running engine and Joe Strummer. Singing Somebody got murdered, his name cannot be found. A small stain on the pavement, they'll scrub it off the ground.
I don’t know how long we sat there. Eventually Mickey backed the car up away from the tree. His girlfriend announced that she pissed her pants. Relief. I thought that smell was coming from me. Guess that was just beer in my lap.
We got back on Sweet Hollow Road. Drove toward the main strip. With the headlights on.
That was the last time I was on Sweet Hollow Road. -M
Who knows what night it was. We did this every night. Like some sort of sick twisted ritual that only took an hour out of our life but ruined people's check books for a while. Hey dude. Stupid things topic. Gimmie a break here. I've done so many stupid things in my life there is really too much to go into. One night of stupidity is sure as shit not gonna stick out in my mind as some be all end all dumbass thing to do. For me it had to repetitive. Stupidity on a day-by-day basis. We can all laugh at the Summer of Swayze, but we haven't even touched the completely ignorant things the turtle has done. You haven't even scratched the stupid surface of my shell yet.
Where I lived there was a four lane street going both ways. Pretty main street. It had a side road about five feet above it covered in bushes and dirt. Forgotten road that gave us a look down on the main road while being protected from eyes while we drank beer and flipped cigarettes onto the road. Sitting on the road talking about some dumb movie, someone came up with an idea.
Let's go buy a couple dozen eggs and nail these fucking cars as they go by!
Ok. Four of us started this out. Every night. By then end of the week there 20 of us nailing cars as they passed. One car would go by.
BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM MISS MISS BOOM BOOM!
*Remember to read the disclaimer kids. *
The last night we went out armed with about five dozen eggs. We didn't mean it to be our last night. This was just the end. Except we didn't quite know it yet. Slam a beer and grab an egg. Look down the street and see a car. Pulling thru going about 35 miles an hour. That was a cop. I know that shit. I yelled at everyone to hold fire as he pulled thru going slow with one of those damn cop lights. Searching for us. We hid and he continued. We were safe.
See here is the part of the story you should be saying to yourself "why didn't you just go home?"
Can't do that, mien readers. Quest for fun. We all got out of the bushes shaking and full of adrenaline. Looked at each other and decided that this will be it for the night. The next car gets all of it. God dammit, I'm not going home with eggs. I hate omelettes and I have a wild imagination so I don't want these in my possession. Lets do this.
Lights coming down the street. 1 AM and twenty kids loaded on bad beer and bad ideas. We were going to nail this car. That was it for the night. One more. One cop car should be a sign to go home, but we just took it as a warning to cool out. So we will. Just this last car and we are good. One more ruined night of a driver and the laughing of kids. Here it comes.
BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM MISS (it happens) BOOM BOOM BOOM!
We covered that truck and laughed. We were out of eggs and done for the whaaaaaa???
The truck turned around in the middle of the street and stopped. Turned all of the lights on and searched for us with a spotlight. Great. A tow truck. Totally lit up it found one of our eyes and accelerated towards us. Fuck. Drove up thru the bushes over the embankment and on to our private street as we ran away. Most of us, read the ones being chased by a huge truck, went into a field behind an old abandoned church to hide in the grass. Overgrown grass. He wouldn't come in here. He couldn't.
Drove into the back and got out of his car. I looked at my friends and the fear on the faces. "You guys need to calm the fuck down, ok?" They looked at me and shivered. Great. At 13 I already had to take control when things go wrong. See, you wonder why I am like this? Here is the rest of the story. Maybe this will fill you in about me a little more.
The tow truck driver grabbed his CB and was talking to someone. Who? I fucking can't tell unless you shut the fuck up. I could hear back then! I could hear him mumbling as he pulled out a tire jack and whacked the side of his truck with it. What was he saying? Once again, I will be able to hear if you calm down and shut the fuck up.
"Anyone want to beat some punk ass kids ass tonight?"
"I'll be there." "Sure" "I'm right there." Gimmie three minutes" "I'll be there."
Oh double fuck.
What did he just say, turtle? Looked at about 12 kids and slowly told them that this might get ugly really quick. We have run out of room and this isn't gonna get any better. Our backs were crunched up against the fences of residential backyards. Not ones that you would go into unless you had to. We had to. Some kid started crying. More tow truckers were pulling up. The whole field was lit up. There was only a matter of time now. We couldn't stay. I knew it. They all pulled out tire irons and instead of checking bushes, they would just whack them with an iron then step on them hard. Move to the next and keep the same theme going. I surveyed my options as I looked around.
"Ok. We can't stay here. You see this and I see this. We need to hit that fence and keep running. We need to all do it on the count of three. Just stay calm and we will all get thru this alive, ok?"
Everyone agreed as we heard the swings getting closer.
Everyone got on their haunches as I kept watch on the progress of the tow truck drivers. They were yelling and getting closer to our spot. This had to be now.
The hair stood up on my neck as I kept looking at the drivers. 15 feet. Fuck. This is gonna be close. They heard me say "one" as I turned my back to them and focused on the fence. None of us were getting left behind if I had any say. The drivers were here.
Everyone bolted towards the fence.
Doesn't anyone get the 1 2 3 thing? Fuck. They were in a sprint as I sat there wondering why the public education system couldn't teach these idiots to count to 3. Anyways. Being last I bolted and helped some fat kid over the fence. I was the last one to go over. Some shitty yard with a doggie that was ignored and passed by everyone. I was on the top the fence and jumped down. Hit the ground. Fuck. I blew my ankle. The drivers were running back to their trucks to cut us off or climbing the fence. Gotta move, turtle. This hurts like fuck, but it's gotta get you thru tonight. I hit the front fence and got thru. The end of the street was filled with truckers driving down towards us. Kids running.
See, when you are faced with an option of limping down the street to get your ass beat by truckers or giving up to get your ass beat by truckers, you have to do the only sane thing.
Crawl underneath a car and wait till they pass.
And I still don't like eggs. - T
So that was a couple tales of stupidity and well, stupidity that we both have had in our past. We know you have some interesting tales.
We would like to hear them.
Cause that's what we do on FTTW.