In 37 years of life, I have come to know a few things. Some of those nuggets of intellect are factual, while others exist merely as ideals. No matter the case, as the world around me burns and I am surrounded by apocalyptic headlines that boast from newsfeeds, I am left reminiscing on simpler times. An arduous task, considering the life I have lived… But irrespective of that, I do it anyways. Lately, I have taken to thinking on when I was a boy. An adolescent. A young man. Sixteen, to be exact. At that age, there are few things outside the thought of our female counterparts and what seductively silky things they may be wearing under their jeans that can evoke a puerile glee more than that of juvenile delinquency. Now, while I am not advocating for it, I must concede—I partook in my fair share of shenanigans.
I had a core group of friends, some really great guys. We were a mixture of types: We had the jock, Jade; the computer guy, Robbie; the rebel without a cause, Rob; the loveable oaf, Harvey; the odd-ball, Steve; and finally, myself and my best friend in the world—Drew.
We were all good kids overall… but within each of us rested an adventurous call to action. And all too often that beckoning call was of impish intent. It ranged from prank calling the local radio station to then let loose a massive, almost inhuman sized fart over the soundwaves. Laughing to ourselves at the thought of some poor trucker listening to the radio, only to be confronted by the fleshy clap of recently ingested Pizza Pockets. We would place Whoopie Cushions on the seats of our most despised teachers, flick broken bread tabs with sniper like accuracy at passersby and even break into song and dance while stood in line at the grocery store… scratch what I said about us being “good kids…” we were little assholes.
Growing up in a small town you often have to engender your own fun. Drew and I had hockey to keep us busy during the majority of our school months, sure, but summer was a different story. Somewhere along the line we found great pleasure in the act of knocking on strangers’ doors and then running away. Cowering in nearby bushes to watch the obfuscated homeowners scan their steps and surroundings. It was definitely a favorite of ours. Acts such as these would often leave us in fits of laughter as we reminisced in the confines of my bedroom late at night during sleepovers.
Sixteen’s a funny age; you’re stuck somewhere between emerging manhood and the awkward remnants of having been a boy. You were also given access to motor vehicles. Drew’s chariot was a 1980’s Honda hatchback, of which the original colour had been red. I say “had been,” because the sun had tongue fucked this thing so violently that it now boasted a paint-chipped hood that resembled peeling skin, and the entirety of this four-wheeled, backfiring, anti-sex machine was—salmon pink! But this was our introduction to vehicular freedom, and Drew was one of the first guys on our roster of friends to obtain full licensure. Believe it or not, we would all contort ourselves to fit into this thing at one time. We would then drive around town and attempt to wink and flirt with the ladies of our high-school class. Given what I know now and remembering what I was like back then… I am surprised that I have had sex at all!
On a warm summer’s night, Drew and I rested on the hood of the ole pink beast, sipping from our Slurpee’s while conversing on the levels of our boredom. The dog days had set in.
“Holy shit, I wish there was something to do.”
“Yeah… I hear ya” Drew said through a sigh of agreement. He was easy to please, so he was more empathizing with me as opposed to feeling the heft of small-town limitations. Drew was pretty much happy wherever he was.
While resting there, glaring out at the pristine lake bed of the Shuswap a rumble of an approaching engine crawled in from behind us. I spun my head only to be confronted by two blinding headlamps that screamed from the nearing vehicle. When it got close enough, we recognized it as being one of Harvey’s project cars. He was always buying broken heaps at auction and then restoring them to a somewhat driveable condition.
As the engine turned off and hearing was restored to our ears, a thick plume of bluish smoke shot from the muffler and danced skyward.
“Hey, fellas! What’s up… smokin some weed?”
“Haha… nah, man.”
“Oh… you want to?” Harvey said with a crooked grin as he held up a baggy of ganja.
“Nah, man. I’m good. Thanks.” I was not much of a weed guy. In fact, I have smoked pot a total of three times in my life. It’s not for me.
“That’s cool… I’ll just smoke one for ya! Ahahah!!” Harvey laughed his way through rolling, licking and lighting a joint. He took a large inhalation and then struggled to hold in a cough. As he let one or two chokes go, he spoke through raspy tone, “What do you guys wanna do? I’m fuckin bored.”
“Fuck, me too, man. You guys want to go to Kelowna?” I proposed. I suddenly felt Drew’s weight shift and he was now fully seated upright. He looked at me and without spoken word I knew his answer. I peered over to Harvey who was now fully encircled by a blue haze of plant vapor. He coughed out his answer…
“Fuck yeah, let’s do it!!”
Along the way we picked up our denim and plaid clad friend, Rob. He was always up for a good time. I rode shotgun and cranked the volume dial on the stereo. It was the middle of the night and we were now invigorated by a sense of unknown and unplanned tomfoolery! During the drive from our rural enclave to the bustling urban sprawl of Kelowna B.C., we chortled back and forth with ideas of what we could do upon arrival. Each suggestion more outlandish and extravagant than the one before it. It was Harvey that brought about a silence and concentrated ponderance…
“Let’s play Nicky Nine Door?!”
Brilliant. The idea was brilliant. Go to a city that we did not live in, where no one knows us and proceed to wreak thump, thump, thump havoc on the inhabitants of suburbia B.C.! The proposition was unanimously agreed upon! I felt the chassis lament as Drew increased the speed. I could now see a smile on his face, too.
When we got into the city the mood changed. We went from bumbling chuckleheads to quieted stealth fighters, examining our surroundings for the perfect spot. Drew pulled onto a side street littered with opulent dwellings. Drew turn the flickering headlights off and coasted into a parking spot along the curb.
“Okay… who’s going first?” I asked. We spent a moment tossing glances at one another.
“Fuck it, I’ll go.” Rob said with his usual tonality of confidence and carefree disposition. I hopped out of the car and pulled my seat forward so as to allow Rob egress. He tucked his shirt a little further into his Levi’s and readied himself. He jogged up the street a short distance. His silhouette motioned back to us that he had found a house. We all got out of the car now and with military-like movements, hobbled over to a shadowed place across the street from the target house.
We watched with excitement as Rob carefully maneuvered himself onto the steps without making too much noise. When I saw that he was ready to make contact, I leaned my ear a little closer to the street so I could hear the knock.
“Bump, bump, bump!” Three hearty knocks to the door and Rob dove from the steps and hauled ass to a nearby bush. I watched him dive over it as though he was trying out for the high-jump at some form of Olympic tryouts. This imagery already had me bursting at the seams with laughter. I stapled my hands over my mouth so as to silence my involuntary hiccups and snickers.
The door swung open and stood there on the step was a blonde woman dressed in a gown. She looked left, then right and then left once more. As the door was closing, she was heard saying: “I dunno, maybe it was a raccoon or something?!”
“BWAHAHAHAHA!! She said raccoon!!! She thinks it’s a fucking critter, holy shit!” Harvey belted out. Rob was now scampering over to us and upon doing so, joined in with our laughter. “Okay, okay… me next!” Harvey proclaimed. He withdrew from the bushes and quickly made his way to the sidewalk. He called back to us… “Fuck it, I’m doing the same house!!” Before we could advise him of our protestations, he had already made a beeline for the steps of the house Rob had just come from.
Our faces now shifted from tightly held smiles to gapes of apprehension and concern… smirking ever-so-slightly. Harvey looked back at us and gave us a thumbs up. He placed his ear to the door to get a sense of how close someone may or may not be to the other side. When he stood back we assumed that he was ready to knock… we were wrong…
Harvey looked to his left and observed a railing. The same observation was made to his right. He placed one hand on the left railing and one hand on the right. He looked like a skier preparing for dismount. The weight of concern now gripped our features.
What the fuck was he going to do?
Harvey leaned back, then rocked forward. He did this two or three times. On the fourth time going forward, Harvey raised his dominant leg and fuckin Sparta kicked the door, dead centre! Thunder cried out from the door and slapped each of our ears from across the street. Our eyes stretched into perfect circles as we watched in absolute terror as the door snapped from its hinges and dislodged slightly inward to the home.
Now, standing on the step was a shocked Harvey and peering down at him, an even more perplexed homeowner. This time, a man dressed in a gown. Harvey looked down at the broken door and then cast a nervous gaze up to the gowned man, then back to the door. This all happened in a matter of seconds of not sooner. Harvey turned around and screamed, “START THE FUCKING CAR!!!! WE GOTTA GO!”
A collective “Oh SHIT!” escaped from Drew, Rob and myself. We darted from the bush and began running for the car. Harvey had forgotten that he was standing at the top of 6 to 7 steps that led to the door and when he turned to run, halted for a split second. He shot a gaze over his shoulder and decided that the best course of action would be to jump. So he did. He hurled himself from the top step all the way down to the pavement below. In doing so, he rolled his ankle. While all this was taking place, Drew and the rest of us had made it to the car. Drew turned the key and the aging engine slowly mumbled to life. Drew put us in gear and we drove up to meet Harvey. It was at this time that we observed a figure chasing Harvey from behind—it was the bathrobe man! Harvey was sprinting to the best of his abilities away from his pursuer, but due to his ankle, he looked like a pirate with a peg-leg competing in a 50-yard dash!
And the man chasing him? Well… let’s just say he did not believe in underwear. It was like the worlds’ fastest grandfather clock just tickin time away! I believe this is what saved Harvey. The man became preoccupied with keeping himself decent and thus unable to maintain speed. Harvey dove into the car and toppled over me with limbs flailing while melting into the backseat.
On that night, ole pinky saved our asses.
I’ll tell you this, now: I’d much rather remember my times of being a little imperfect over suffering through the barrage of current world affairs. And I just wanted to share this with you in hopes that maybe, just maybe you can manage a smirk, smile or chuckle from it.
Oh! And Drew, if you ever read this… to this day, you are the best getaway driver a guy could ask for. Cheers, buddy.