As I’m sure some of you may be aware by now, my friends always got me into some kind of trouble. It was always hilarious, yet here are a few short stories that come from the backyard of my old friends Bert and Justin (See Potheads, Run!)
First, there was a time when we would love to run around in the huge backyard at Bert’s house. This backyard was so big that they had a small river running through half of it and it could still be bigger than most yards. It was a great place from which we could play games or do other things.
Of course, in middle school that meant we would love to go explore other people’s yards in the night. I realize now how sketchy that must have looked but I promise we never did anything beyond running around and hiding.
On this night, most of the neighbors were gathered outside for a small party. It was away from where we were playing and we wanted to test the waters since the danger levels were lower. We gathered a small group and headed out to play along the river.
After awhile, we were heading back when we noticed the party was breaking up. That meant people would be walking home and if we got caught, we might be in trouble. Most of us got out but a small group including Justin and Bert were with me hiding in a small patch of trees by a home.
The owners were slowly walking inside, carrying a few things. We knew that in order to elude them we’d have to send one of us to scurry across to the other side of the deck to view when they weren’t looking and signal the others to go.
Bert most likely stepped up and was about to go when Justin stopped him. With no hint of doubt in voice, he declared something profound to the group.
“No, I’ll do it. I’m the stealthiest one here.”
What he did not take into account was the fact that he was wearing explosively loud nylon pants. Before any of us could object, off he went into the fray.
SWISH, SWISH, SWISH.
I feel that in that moment, everyone in the neighborhood was able to hear him running and suddenly flashlights were on him. It was as if he decided that any stealth tactics were foolish and only in noise could we find refuge.
We decided to walk out and admit we were running along the river. No one let Justin live down that fateful day when he proved he was the stealthiest one among us.
Another story from those times involves my friend Simon. He’s a loyal friend and always down to help out. He’s the guy that makes sure people pick up their trash and will drive the extra mile to drop someone off.
On this night, he was fed to the wolves.
Bert had a tree house that had multiple levels. We would always hang out in the tree house especially at night when the stars were out (as much as they could be in a suburb).
We were all piled into the house and watching as a group of much older guys were having a camp fire down the way.
Around that time, we had some sort of an odd fascination with screaming out an old friend’s phone number. It was an odd joke that started when someone wrote it in a bathroom stall in Florida. Luckily I don’t think it was ever used, at least that I know of.
It was the funniest thing in the world to us so we were yelling it out to the boys at the campfire. Well eventually they took notice and decided to start running at the tree house.
Panic ensued as the shadows rushed us in the dark night. Everyone was able to scramble out of the tree house and rush in a frenzy to the porch of Bert’s house. All… except for Simon.
Poor Simon was on the top of the fort laying prone hoping to go unnoticed. It did not go as planned for him. They boys climbed into the fort and forced Simon down to the main level.
At this point the rest of us are watching the darkened tree from the safety of the porch, only wondering in our wildest imaginations what’s going on with our forgotten friend. We assumed they would either beat him up or taunt him.
After around ten minutes, Simon comes rushing out of the darkness with a neutral look on his face. We quickly interrogated him about the happenings of the tree house.
Simon relayed that the boys were clearly at least five years older than us, and had begun asking him about his sexual exploits to that point. Simon presumably gave them a good enough story to satisfy their desire for a hearty laugh, and they decided to leave the tree house and go back to their fire.
Our friend Simon braved the cold dark night alone and came out without a scar on him. We’ll always remember his brave stand against the dark forces of the boys down the way!