One of my best friends when I was 14 was Vicki Moreno. I loved hanging out over at her house because Vicki's family was a bit, um, chaotic. Her parents were divorced but lived a few houses away from each other on the same street, and there were older and younger siblings plus step-siblings going back and forth between the two households so no one really kept track of who was coming and going...a perfect situation for teenage hijink-ery. Well that and her mom and her mom's boyfriend were total laid-back stoners who didn't really give a rat's either way. Her dad was married to a woman whom all the siblings despised and it seemed the feeling was mutual. She hated me, too. HATED me. Guilt by association, I guess.
There was one weekend during the summer that all the parents were going to be out of town (not all together) and they needed to bring someone in to supervise the brood. Someone responsible, dependable, with experience in dealing with kids. They called Uncle Dicky.
Uncle Dicky was a total drunk who had never been married and had no children of his own (that we know of). Good call! Immediately I tell my poor unsuspecting mother that I'm going to spend the night at Vicki's dad's house to "babysit" and can I please have my allowance first? When I arrived we promptly forked over our combined allowances and asked Uncle Dicky to please get some Old English 40 oz. for us on his next beer run, which he gladly did. That $5 allowance, back in the day, went a long way as far as purchasing malt liquor. And said malt liquor goes a long way in a 14-year-old's body. We all laughed and partied with Uncle Dicky for a while until he became incoherent and was soon snoring on the couch.
You know what sounds like a really good idea when you are 14 and drunk? DRIVING. Oh yes, we went there.
Vicki's dad's truck was parked in the driveway, just asking to be driven. I mean, it's just backroads, right? What's the worst that can happen? We called our friend Margaret, who was 16 and probably knew how to drive and she came right over to coach us through our adventure. All three of us piled into the tiny cab of the jalopy truck and our first (unofficial) driving lesson began.
Yeah, it went just as you might expect.
The first few blocks were amazing, we had never experienced anything like being behind the wheel of a car before...the freedom, the control, the exhilaration! It was all so exciting...we could go anywhere, anywhere at all!!! Where do you guys wanna go? We can go there! We can go there RIGHT NOW! We can go.....oh wait....we can go....oh shit, turn. TUUUURN!!!
When we uncovered our faces, we were looking at a tree. A big tree. With the front of Vicki's dad's truck wrapped around it. Well not WRAPPED, but there was a sizeable dent in the hood. No prob, he'll never notice, right? Right. We were drunk and we did what drunks do. We went home and passed out and blocked it out, in hopes that the universe would do the same. Except it didn't.
We were very rudely awoken the next day by Vicki's dad. But he wasn't angry, he was terrified. "Sweetie, WHAT DID YOU DO? WHERE IS HE? WHERE IS HE? WHAT HAPPENED?" He kept pleading...he was almost crying! What the hell was he talking about? Did something happen to Uncle Dicky? No, he was still sleeping peacefull through all the commotion, so he's fine, so what is so upset about? So Vicki tried to explain: "Dad, we took the truck, we hit a tree, I'm sorry, won't happen again, blah blah blah." Then Vicki's dad starts speaking REALLY fast Spanish and I can't understand but he's putting his hand over his forehead and then giving the universal "WTF??" gesture of palms outstretched. I'm looking at Vicki for interpretation and her eyes get all big like she just saw a ghost. This is not good. She goes into shock for a moment and then starts laughing. Like trying-to-control-herself-but-can't-help-it laughter. When he sees this, he gets even more upset. Now I'm freaking out and making the universal "WTF" gesture as well, wondering what the hell he is screaming about...then she tells me, in between gasps of laughter (we were still drunk) that he is convinced we ran over a human being, hence the dent in the hood that is exactly the size of a human head (hand over the forehead) and had some blood-colored stains on it (Northwest Redwood). Yeah. He thought we killed someone.
"Why are you laughing??" I asked her...and she replied (I am not lying):
"When I tell him the truth he's gonna be so relieved that he won't ground me!"