Saturday Night to Monday Morning - 04.08.02|
"OK, so I totally have to tell you what happnened the other night after I left Todds barn party. The thing is, though, you have to promise not to tell anyone what happened, because this is the kind of shit that could seriously ruin the rest of my senior year."
"No, I mean 'OK' isn't quite good enough on this one. You have to fuckin' swear on your mom's soul that you won't tell, because this could mean prom, graduation, everything flushed down the toilet, not to mention my car, and my parents absolutely grounding the shit out of me for probably years, me renting my own place with you guys... Pretty much everything fucked basically.
"OK, so we were all out at the barn on Todd's property on Saturday, and suddenly I realized that it's 2 in the morning and I was supposed to be home at 1 or something. I tried to find you and tell you that I had to go, but you must have been out in back smoking or whatever. At any rate, I couldn't find you, and all I remember is that I looked at my watch, realized that I was in trouble. I looked for you quick, then told Todd that he threw the best parties, thank him for buying me beer again, and hop in my car to book it home."
"Sure, I'd had what I usually have. I think maybe eight beers or so, but I wasn't totally drunk. I've driven on ten beers before and gotten home fine, and there was no way that I was asking anyone else to drive. Plus, I only live like 10 miles away and most of it is country roads. My only worry was that I'd make it home and my dad would be sitting up at the kitchen table staring at the kitchen clock, then lay into me as soon as I snuck in the back door. You know he does that sometimes. He won't even leave the kitchen light on, he'll just sit there in the dark at the kitchen table, and the outside light by the barn shines through the windows just enough so he can sit there with his hands folded in front of him and see the clock across the room. The first time he did it, it scared the absolute shit out of me. I came home late thinking that they were both asleep since all the lights were out. Then, I come in the back door all quiet as can be, and find him sitting at the kitchen table just staring at me. He didn't hit me or anything, but he laid into me something fierce, yelling about how I came home late every weekend and about how worried he and my mom were about me. In some ways I think he was just being overdramatic, because my mom came down about five minutes into the thing and she looked like she'd been sleeping for hours. If she was up worrying about me, she sure didn't look it. At any rate, I think my dad just has some weird thing about trying to catch me sneaking in late. He did the same damn thing when he was a kid, so maybe it's something that gramps did to him and he feels that he needs to carry on the tradition."
"Oh, so anyway, I get in my car after waving to a few people. I've still got four cans of beer left over from the case that Todd bought me, so I chuck those in the backseat of my car and drive on out of there. As soon as I pull out onto the highway, I put the pedal to the floor and crank the Nova up to 85. Just to see if I can skim a couple minutes off my time in getting home, I step on it a little more and the needle is hovering right about 100."
"So yeah, I'm clipping along right about 100 when I zip by a car at a cross intersection that's hidden by some trees. I only catch a glimpse when I go by, but the cherries come on about an instant later and a fucking cop is on my tail."
"No fucking way. There wasn't even a second thought about stopping. First off, I'm probably easily over the limit in terms of alcohol, and not only would I get MIPed, but I'd lose my license for who knows how long. I've already spent over 100 dollars on a tux and shit for prom in a couple weeks, which would be just an ancient memory if I got thrown in the can. Not only that, but I can just imagine my dad sitting at the kitchen table in the darkness waiting to bust my ass when he gets a call from the cops saying that he needs to come in and get his son from the police station. Getting my ass chewed out from my dad when I come home late is one thing, but getting my ass chewed out from my dad after he picks me up from the police station in the middle of the night is something that I don't even want to fucking think about."
"All this runs through my head in about 2 goddamn seconds, meanwhile whatever buzz I had has been replaced by pure adrenaline and I get the Nova up to about 120 or so. I'm absolutely flying at this point, and although the cop is behind me, he's definitely not gaining."
"At the next intersection, I tromp on the brakes and fly around the corner onto the gravel road. Now, you know me, I grew up on a farm and I know this county like the back of my hand. I was driving my dad's pickup around the farm when I was 10 years old. I learned to drive on gravel roads, and I know how a car slides and what you can and can't do in them when you're on gravel. Crap, the only time I put my car in the ditch was on a paved road, so I actually prefer driving on country roads."
"Anyway, I slam on the brakes and slide on the pavement, cranking my wheel as I accelerate through the turn and the next thing I know, I'm flying down the gravel road leaving a cloud of dust behind me. I can still see the cherries a little bit, but I crank up my speed to 80 again, and they get dimmer and dimmer."
"Now, you have to know something about a county cop. They're dumb, but they're not completely stupid. If they have a choice between catching some damn kid who's speeding around and not wrecking their cop car, they're going to slow down and give up ninety percent of the time. It doesn't matter how big their ego is, because they know that if they fuck up a police car out on some country road, they're going to get there asshole torn open sideways. That's taxpayer money they just spent wrecking their car while trying to catch some stupid kid. Plus, they'd get demoted to some pencil-pushing job so fast their head will spin, and although it fucking burns them to get outrun, they know it's an easier blow to the ego to take than getting stuck behind some desk getting their ass chewed every day from someone they used to be able to pull rank on."
"Plus, while they might have caught some kids trying to get away on gravel roads, it's not like every kid with a permit knows how to drive like I do. Some kid last week tried to do the same damn thing over in Murray and he lost control of his car and slid into the ditch. The dumb crap still he could still get away, though, and he got out of his car and started running through a field. The cops just let him go. He ended up walking six miles home and the cops were waiting at his house, having some coffee with his very hugely pissed-off parents."
"So like I said, I know how to drive these roads like nobody else. After the cherries fade a bit, I slow up and turn, then barrell down another road again for a mile, then slow down and turn again. It was a clear night and the moon was full, so at one point I even turn off everything but my park lights and speed along in the moonlight. Sure, that cop could have followed my cloud of dust, but by that time he's so far behind that I couldn't even see his lights."
"No way. I was nowhere near home at that point. When I first saw those red lights in my rear view, my mind went into full-on Do Whatever The Fuck I Need To Do To Get The Fuck Away From The Police mode. Like I said, my buzz was gone, and all that mattered was the getting down those roads as fast as I could and trying to make those twinkling lights from Johnny 5 disappear. I'd been down every one of those damn things hundreds of times, but I wasn't paying any real attention to where I actually was."
"Once I was absolutely, completely fucking positively sure that there was no way in hell that the cop was still following me, I knocked my speed down to about 65, then looped back around the long way home. By this time, it was 2:30, and when I pulled in the drive, all the lights in the house were out. I parked my car in the shed, stashed the beer over in the corner behind some tools and stuff, then walked up to the back porch, knowing and fully expecting my dad to be sitting in at the kitchen table just ready to rip me a new one."
"When I cracked the kitchen door, though, he wasn't there. The kitchen was quiet other than the ticking clock and I listened to see whether I could hear any movement upstairs. None. It was like everything that could have gone wrong that night, didn't. I snuck into my room and went to bed. I didn't even have a hangover when my parents woke me up at the buttcrack of dawn the next morning for church."
"Hell no, man. If they'd seen my plates, do you think I'd be here at school right now? It was fuckin' lucky, that's all I'm saying. Everything that happened that night was like all the stars were shining on me, and I'm not saying that just to sound like a cheeseball."
"The only time I thought my dad was going to lay into me was when he found the beer that I'd stashed. We were doing some work on my car Sunday afternoon while my mom went grocery shopping and they clunked out on the floor when he was moving some tools around. He got this look on his face like he was going to go all apeshit on me, so I just played all dumb and shrugged. Then his face got even more crinkled up and pissed-looking and he said, 'Aren't you going to offer your old man a beer?' I didn't know what to say to that, but just about the time I thought he was really going to start laying into me, he cracked a big grin, then opened up two of the beers and handed me one. Right before handing me the beer, he jabbed me in the shoulder with his left hand and gave me a wink, saying, 'Just don't tell your mom.' We fumbled around working on my car for about an hour and ended up finishing off that beer. He's weird like that sometimes, but so is life, man."