A while back, a friend of mine asked me “do you remember when?” I did.
When we were teenagers, we were quite devious at times. We did things we shouldn’t and put on the sweet angel face to our parents. I believe that deep down they knew better, but who wants to believe that their child is doomed for juvenile detention or the Jerry Springer Show.
It was a spring night. Almost every weekend, the three of us would congregate at one of our houses to spend the night. This weekend, it just so happen that Karen and I were staying at Tracy’s. Our original plan was that we were going to stay in Tracy’s tent outside and really rough it, you know? (Really roughing it means that we were sneaking over people we shouldn’t have been hanging out with in the middle of the night to hang out in a tent that we had popped up right in the middle of a town.)
Our plan was that Stevie and Timmy would head over after midnight for us all to hang out. Surely, Tracy’s parents would be tucked in and well into dreamland by that point. The guys definitely wanted to make sure that they were sound asleep. Tracy’s father was feared by all of the local teenage boys and no one wanted to meet the wrath of him in the middle of the night, cornered in a floppy tent.
Damn parents. Sometimes they can almost just sense that you are up to no good. Right after sunset, Tracy’s mom came upstairs to announce that we were staying inside. There would be no camping in the yard tonight. Slightly discouraged, we pouted until a plan was formed. Obviously, we did not have fully developed brains at this point in our life because we were sure that sneaking them into the house was a fantastic idea.
Around midnight, Karen snuck outside in full stealth mode to meet the guys and explain the newly formulated plan. Tracy and I, to provide noises to cover up the sounds of Karen’s stealthness, were in the kitchen raiding the fridge and pantry.
For your enjoyment and mental picture, I think I should give you some physical descriptions here. Tracy and I merely broke the five foot four mark. I was a light footed ninety pounds at this point in my life, so I’m not sure why I wasn’t nominated in the herding of the boys. Karen, who we nick-named Emmitt Smith for her wide football player shoulders, was almost six foot tall and all jokes aside could have really played football for our high school. Stevie was much like Tracy and I, though I would say that maybe five three would have been more accurate. (Hey, when you are five four, you really need to split the hairs.) Timmy was frequently referred to as beanpole. Timmy was a towering six foot seven inches at least and he was so lean and lanky it made him look much taller. I’m sure if you had put me on stilts he would have still been taller than I was.
Tracy and I were still idly chatting in the kitchen, which was just outside of her parents’ bedroom. We had a timeframe of how long we were going to stay downstairs to allow Karen and the boys to move on up. I crammed some potato chips in my mouth, when in the dim lighting, Tracy and I had the sudden need to make eye contact with each other. Please, don’t be Cape Charles.
We heard her dad’s firefighter scanner let out a series of beeps in the other room. This was to alert fireman that there was a potential need for them. Next, a dispatcher would come on and announce which fire stations were actually needed. Please, not Cape Charles. We received that answer before the scanner even gave it to us. The town siren that could wake the dead began howling. Shit.
At least we did have some warning. Karen, Stevie and Timmy had just made it to the front door when the town siren began. “Fuck!” Karen panicked and did the only thing a football player shaped girl could do and tackled the boys into the bushes. They all laid there in pain from the impact and the holly leaves, completely frightened by the sound of Tracy’s dad running out the front door and barely missing them.
We all met at the front door and ran up the stairs in a frantic swarm. “Jesus, he almost caught us! We were right there at the front door!”
“Shit, my mom’s coming up the stairs! Hide!” The boys hid and Tracy’s mom barged into the room.
“What the hell are you guys doing?”
“You sound like a herd of elephants running up those stairs! How do three girls make enough noises to sound like an army?”
“You girls need to go to sleep, right now.”
She slammed the door and went back downstairs. The boys joined us and we started working on yet another plan.
“We have to get the hell out of here!” Stevie was as white as a ghost. “I am not getting killed by your dad!”
“I think he’s right.” Timmy almost looked like he could be called ‘Wilted Beanpole’ instead.
“Fine, let’s get you guys back outside.”
We all silently crept back down the stairs, everyone was trying to be extremely delicate. If her mom heard us we were certainly done for. Just a few more tip toes and we would be to the front door.
We all froze. That couldn’t be….
Tracy’s dad pulled up in front of the house. It was apparently a false alarm and he returned in lightning speed. “Go, go, go!”
No sooner than we got upstairs, Tracy’s mom was right back up there to lecture us again. “What did I tell you about the noise?”
“Go to bed!”
The boys came out of hiding again. “What do we do now? We’ve got to get the hell out of here.”
It was now completely unreasonable to believe that they could get out the front door. Tracy’s mom was on high alert of us traveling up and down the stairs.
“We are going to have to jump off the roof.” Everyone turned to look at Stevie.
“Are you nuts?”
“We are nuts if we stay in this house.”
The boys took of their shoes to soften the sound of their feet crossing the roof that was just over Tracy’s parents’ bedroom. Timmy proceeded first out the window. We handed him both pairs of shoes and he tossed those down to the ground below. As Stevie was about to approach the threshold to freedom, Tracy rested her hand on her desk. For some reason, likely karma for our outrageous behavior, a leg broke on the desk. It collapsed with a thunderous THUNK! I looked at Tracy and mouthed to her, ‘Don’t you do it.’
Tracy has the loudest laugh with a deadly combination of stress hysteria. And here it came. Her laugh bellowed out. Karen shoved Stevie out the window and shut it as quickly as she could, just in the nick of time for Tracy’s mom was at the door again. As she came in the room, Tracy still couldn’t get her laughter under control.
“I know the three of you are up to something!” Tracy had nearly collapsed on the floor at this point, she struggled to catch her breath and her mother was not seeing the humor in any of this. “Are you girls trying to sneak out?”
“No, honest to God, last thing we are trying to do.” I looked at Karen. Couldn’t she tackle Tracy and knock her out. I realized that she couldn’t. She was standing in front of the window doing her best to block what was on the roof.
“I think you are.”
“No, seriously. We are not going anywhere.” Of course we weren’t, we had two friends stranded and shoeless on the frickin’ roof.
Tracy’s mom left even more furious than she had the first two times. Karen opened the window back up. “Are you okay?” I think I heard Stevie moan in pain, he had not planned on being assaulted by Karen over and over again that night.
They edged to the side of the roof and began sizing up the mission of getting off a twelve foot roof. It wasn’t long before they decided that it was impossible. “We’ll just sleep on the roof.”
“You can’t do that.”
“What else can we do?”
We sadly shut the window on our friends after providing them with what blankets we had available. Tracy’s parents were planning a shopping trip in the morning and we would just have to wait it out until they left. Tracy, Karen and I all laid in the darkness. “We can’t leave them on the roof. They are going to freeze to death.”
We opened the window back up and begged them to come in. Stevie slept underneath the bed and we crammed Timmy and his never ending legs into the closet. No one was comfortable, but everyone was warm and not suffering from frostbit toes.
In the morning, we woke up the sound of Tracy’s parents gathering their things. I peeked under the bed. “How are you?”
Stevie looked at me, “How do you think?”
Tracy got up and opened up the closet door. Timmy squinted at the bright morning light and said, “I can’t feel my legs.”
“They’re leaving soon. Just sit tight.” We closed the door back on Timmy and sat patiently. We could hear her dad go outside and start the car. Minutes later this was followed by the relieving sound of Tracy’s mom shutting the front door behind her. It seemed that we were all going to survive this disaster.
The front door opened and you could hear the footsteps of a woman with angry intent coming up the stairs.
Tracy said, “What the hell now?”
She opened her bedroom door and was greeted by her mother’s upset face. “What is this?!”
She produced an image than none of us had considered. Timmy and Stevie’s shoes.
“Well, what are these doing in the yard?” There was all the evidence they needed. Timmy’s size thirteen shoes and Stevie’s size sevens. We were doomed.
“Those are ours.”
Karen, Tracy and her mom turned to me in shock.
“These shoes are yours?”
“Yes, Karen and I were playing around last night and I threw her shoes out the window, so then she threw mine out the window. We were just goofing off.”
“You girls need to have more respect for what your parents do for you. They work hard and spend their hard earned money on clothing you. And this is how you repay them?”
We mumbled how sorry we were.
“You should be. We’re going to K-Mart now.”
Oh the power of thinking under pressure. The story was the least bit believable but it worked. The boys were re-shoed and quickly hustled out the door, surely never to return to such a situation again.
We hadn’t seen Timmy in years. Tracy and I ran into him two years ago when he returned to the Shore. “Hey, do you remember the time that you guys snuck me and Stevie into your house?”
Ha, how could we forget. I guess what really seals the deal on some of the greatest friendships is what you have survived. How we survived those years is beyond me, but I’m glad we did. We can now reflect back on how insane we were and how we shouldn’t have lived to tell some of the best stories of all time.
Back in the day:
The Ladies….from left to right : me, Tracy and Karen
Stevie…. (I chose this photo because everyone in our group was always stealing my sunglasses… for example….)
The incredibly gigantic Timmy….
Doesn’t look like a whole lot has changed, hmmm?