My childhood was filled with stories of friendship, fun, and lucky happenings. This is possibly the most famous story to describe my group of friends.
It was a cool night in September, as I recall, and I was having a sleepover with my friends Justin and Robert.
Of all of my friends, Justin had a reputation of seeking out trouble and taking it on head on. He was always doing something reckless but coming out on the other side smiling and telling you how fun it was. This guy was the type to always have something to laugh at.
Robert, on the other hand, back then was more subdued. He loved to go out and make stories even if we were going to the store. I suppose I was like that too, but he was always looking to find someway to make things memorable. Now that we’re older, I appreciate his mentality more since it meant we’d remember more of the fun times we had. I’ll call him Bert from now on.
My parents told us that we couldn’t go out walking around late at night. We were in middle school, probably 7th grade, so I can understand why they’d be cautious. Never-the-less, we were all itching to do something besides sit inside. I had a few computers set up back then, but with only three of us we couldn’t do much.
So we decided to do what any boys would do, crash a birthday party of the girl Bert liked at the time. I’m pretty sure Justin has a thing for a girl there as well, so there was really no stopping them.
The girl lived down the road from me, just around a small pond. It was easily a two minute walk if you’re taking your time and around a thirty second run. These are important things to keep in mind, trust me.
So our first obstacle was getting out of the house. My dad was watching some television without paying us much mind. So I said, “Dad, we’re just going to go outside and hang on the driveway.” He told us that was fine and to close the garage door on our way in.
Bingo. Part one is done.
We head outside, triumphantly cheering as we felt like masterminds. So then we decided to plan out how we would infiltrate this party.
Well, that’s simple. There is a huge wooded plot of land just behind this girls house and even more conveniently they have a huge trampoline set up just on the edge of the woods. We decided the best way to get these girls was to creep into the woods and jump out at them while they were jumping.
Classic way to get girls, am I right?
So with our plans in mind, we start making our way down the road. This is around 8:00pm so it’s decently dark and we figured we had enough time to scare them, talk a bit, and head home.
We’re finally getting closer to the house and the nerves are kicking in. If we get found, what if we get in trouble? I was the type of jumpy kid to ask those questions during our journey’s but there was no stopping those two. I knew I’d be disappointed if I missed a story like this, so pushed all my fears back…
Until the pizza guy arrives.
We were just crossing into the driveway heading towards the woods when a car pulled into the driveway and illuminated all of us. We were dead before we even started. Now all my fears had come true as I was sure it was one of the girls parents about to get out and scold us. We did what any kids would do, though. Sprinted into the forest.
After the panic died down, we saw the light on top of the car shining in the darkness. Thank goodness, it was just pizza. That meant he likely just assumed we were part of the party and didn’t think to mention it to the parents. Thank. God.
Now we were in position and ready to exact our plan. The three of us crept closer and much to our glee, the entire party of girls was jumping on the trampoline. At least 8 were present and all were having a lovely time. Perfect conditions. No way we could have planned it better.
We creep closer and closer. We almost get ready to pounce when the girl that Justin was there for noticed a noise in the woods. Oh no, I thought, she’s going to find and embarrass us for failing our scare attempt.
She was so sure she heard something in the woods. All the other girls kept laughing at her paranoia, but it was hard to fault her as the one of the boys sitting in the woods looking right at her as she lightly searched the area in front of us. I swear to you she almost stepped right onto one of us when the saving grace came.
“Girls, pizza is here!”
Everyone quickly flooded out of the trampoline and rushed inside. The girl who almost found us shrugged and followed the pack of girls inside. Leaving us three sitting empty handed in the woods by the trampoline.
“Well, what do we do now?” I probably said, being the one who was most worried about things.
“Of course, we wait until they come back out.” Justin always had to see things through and Bert being here for a good story was not going to argue with him on that one. We decided to split up into two groups to really get them good. Seeing as he was the most ready, Justin slowly made his way to the other side of the trampoline while Bert and I moved a bit away from the area where the girl almost caught us the first time.
Then, we waited.
I actually remember falling asleep we were out there so long. I’m talking it was at least three hours of doing nothing but sitting and biding our time. Getting tired of waiting, I convinced Bert to follow me to find Justin. Upon conferencing with him, we decided to sneak around the house to hear what the hell was going on and when they’d make their way out.
Yeah, we were creepy and stalking but we had good intentions! I think? Scaring girls so that they like you is a good intention, right? Sigh, middle school was a different time.
Anyways, we made our way across the yard and hid behind a rock wall outside one of their windows. They were talking about… well things girls talk about. I mean nothing of interest to us at the time. Granted, we probably wanted to hear about what boys the girls of interest liked, but that’s not what happened.
Eventually we heard the mother say “Alright, time to go midnight bowling!” and the party gleefully gathered into two cars and drove off.
What. A. Waste.
We were pretty cheesed at the idea that we just spent an epic four hours waiting in the woods for a payoff that never came. I was probably worried about my parents knowing we weren’t just on the driveway.
We knew that if we got caught by a cop we could find ourselves in trouble for being out past curfew. Probably could have just said we were walking home and it would have been fine but that was not enough for us, so Justin said he would scout ahead by laying on lawns.
I don’t know how he would warn us to get down or anything, but we accepted as he rushed ahead.
Bert and I made some idle conversation, talking about how this story would be a huge hit among our friends even though we never did what we set out to do. Suddenly, we both heard bikes approaching. Instinctual as we were, we both hit the dirt and watched.
A gang of about twelve high school guys on bikes rushed passed, chortling to themselves about jokes and such. Bert and I knew that would mean confrontation if we were seen, so stayed silent and let them pass.
Thank goodness, I whispered, that we were able to spot them and hide. Who knows what could have happened if-
That’s when our brave scout decided to let us know about the impending danger the best way he could.
“POT HEADS, RUN!”
The next thing we see is Justin sprinting in our direction and all the high school kids turning around and heading our way. How absolutely wonderful that feeling was. Bert and I took off sprinting towards my house.
Along the way, there was a large stone sign that signified the start of the neighborhood. Behind it was a near row of trees that gave a nice backdrop. There was just enough room to fit between the trees and the stone sign. That was NOT where I wanted to be because they were right behind us.
So, of course, that’s where a panicked Bert rushed to. I couldn’t just leave him, so I followed him in. I told him that if we were quick enough we could make it to the house, but he was not budging. In retrospect, we were getting caught no matter what but this was just a trap. Justin came rushing in behind us and we waited for a brief second.
Suddenly hands were piercing through the trees and grabbing for us. They pulled us out one a time and lined us up in front of the sign so we were in the full light. The lot of them were chuckling menacingly and I thought we’d be dead here, or at best beaten up.
“You kids do drugs?”
That was the first question and all of us squeaked out a no. After a few more moments of mulling around, one of them asked, “Alright, do you know Luke?”
Luckily for me, I had grown up down the way from Luke and hung out with him in elementary school. We didn’t still hang out as our two groups were different, but I wasn’t about to divulge that to these guys.
“Of course I know Luke. He lives right there. Great guy.”
That seemed to satisfy them and they took off down the road they were originally going. After our adrenaline slowed down, we all slowly shuffled back to my house.
To this day, we have no answers for why Justin would scream what he did when he did. Could have gotten us into some real trouble. We went inside and waited around a bit more.
After this it gets a bit hazy but as I recall we found out the girls eventually came back. I want to say one of them was aware of our plot this time so when we went out it was a quick scare. The girls loved it and we ended up chatting them up for a while, until their parents came out and caught us. They told us we were in trouble and would tell our parents.
Nothing came of it on my end, but who knows about the other two.
Justin ended up with the girl he was going for that night but Bert never did close the deal. I guess we need to ask her why the scare tactics never worked!