My friend Roger, who was probably experiencing some sort of second puberty, wanted to go push big rocks down a hill for no reason.
It sounded like an okay idea to me because I am impulsive and easily entertained, so after we got out of school, Roger and I set off to find some big rocks and a hill.
Roger and I drove up a long dirt road, which I had always assumed was simply a Forest Service road, and parked my mom's car where the road petered out. We figured that if we just hiked uphill, we were sure to encounter some rocks that we could push back down.
Sure enough, there were rocks on the hill. We pushed them and watched them roll down, ricocheting off trees and destroying everything in their path. It was fun -- so fun that we ended up pushing rocks down the hill until nightfall.
It really isn't as fun pushing big rocks down a hill when you can't see them destroying things, so we decided to head back to the car once it was dark out.
On our way down the mountain, we spotted police lights in the distance.
Roger yelled "Five-Oh!!"
I yelled "fuck the police!" like in that NWA song -- because I was cool, not because I actually hated the police. I had never actually had much of anything to do with the police except for one time when my friends and I were filming my friend Brian pretending to rape a stuffed animal (yes, the same Brian from my drunken boat adventure.) A police officer stopped and asked us what we were doing. I said "making a funny video..."
The police officer squinted at me and then said "I know you!"
I said "You do?" And hoped fervently that I didn't look like a serial killer or anything.
He said "Yeah! I see you at the gym sometimes! You're a good kid."
I was baffled as to how "going to the gym" translated to "good kid", but I decided that I'd take it.
I stuttered "Oh... oh yeah. I go to the gym - to work out... I work out at the gym sometimes..."
The officer grabbed my pathetic biceps in his big, meaty paw and shook my arm. "Keep up the good work, kid," he said.
I awkwardly patted him on the shoulder and said "will do!" in a really, overly excited tone of voice.
He waved and drove off.
He never asked me about why we were filming Brian pretending to rape a stuffed animal.
I guess I just don't look like someone who gets into trouble.
I'm a good kid.
Kind of interesting side story: This past Fourth of July, I was very, very drunk. I was stumbling around town with a bottle of Kahlua in a paper bag.
My friends warned me that it is illegal to have an open container in public, but I assured them that drinking in public was fine as long as you had your alcohol concealed in a paper bag. I mean, bums do it...
We got into a heated debate over whether or not the paper bag was sufficient to render my behavior legal and, because I was drunk in a desperate attempt to support my argument, I staggered up to the first police officer I could find, who turned out to be the exact same officer who never asked about the stuffed-animal raping. At first, he looked excited to see me.
Still clutching my bagged bottle of Kahlua, I asked him if it was legal to drink in public if the alcohol was concealed in a paper bag.
It isn't... in case you were wondering.
The officer said "in fact, I could arrest you right now..."
I made a sound.
He looked pained and said "well, at least you are being honest... how about you pour out the contents of your bottle there and we'll pretend that this didn't happen..."
I nodded, sat down on the curb, and poured out my drink. It was probably for the best.
The police officer laughed at me. He called his friend over and his friend laughed at me too.
I just sat there on the curb, wondering how my impeccable argument could possibly have been wrong...
Anyway, back to the feature story, which was interrupted by a tangent that was interrupted by another tangent... do you even know what I'm talking about anymore?
Okay we left off when Roger and I saw the police lights from the top of the mountain where we had been destroying things and Roger was all "Five - Oh!" and I was all "fuck the police!" because of that one NWA song -- because I was cool, not because I hated the police... remember?
Roger said "I'd hate to be that guy... " referring to whomever was being arrested. Roger actually said that. I promise.
The police lights disappeared into the trees and Roger and I continued our descent to the car.
When we started to get close to the car, we could hear someone yelling. It sounded like my mom.
Yes, it was definitely my mom, but why was she out there yelling at me?? How would she have even gotten there without her car?
Roger and I turned a corner and were instantly blinded by police lights.
My mom was there. And there was a police officer who, unfortunately, did not have a preconceived notion of me as a "good kid."
Roger and I scrambled down the rest of the trail to see what on Earth was happening down there that would warrant police attention. Did someone break into my mom's car? Did we kill someone by pushing a rock down on top of them? Oh God... we probably killed someone with a rock..."
As soon as we were within range the police officer told us to put our hands up. I could hear my mom in the background saying "Oh, she won't hurt you..."
The officer read us our Miranda Rights and explained that he had found my mom's wallet in the car and called her to ask if the car was missing and she didn't know what he was talking about so he had her come out to help him find us. I tried to interrupt him to ask him why we needed to be "found" and why we were being read our Miranda Rights and what was going to happen to us, but he didn't appear to like being interrupted.
When he was done, I politely asked "what did we do? Was it the rocks?"
He said "what rocks?"
I said "rocks?"
He said "would you mind telling me why you fled the scene?"
I said "what?"
It was beginning to feel like we were playing the game where you have to answer every question with another question. The officer was winning.
He repeated himself.
I was very, very, very confused.
I think the officer could tell by my face that I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. He said "so you didn't run up into the hills to escape the law?"
Roger and I both shook our heads. I said "we were... hiking..." ---which was true, but we were also pushing big, destructive rocks down a mountain and we probably killed someone and I thought it would be best that the police officer didn't know about that part.
The police officer said "did you move that log in the road?"
I had no idea what he was talking about.
When it became clear that no one was getting anywhere with anything, the officer said "Okay, how about you guys get in the car and we'll go talk to the property owner..."
Property owner? Did he mean the government? Because last time I checked (which might not have actually happened because I was probably just assuming) we were on Bureau of Land Management land.
Apparently he didn't mean the government.
I gave the car keys to my mom and then Roger and I climbed into the back of the police car and waved goodbye through the window. I am sure it was a sight my mom will not soon forget.
I asked the police officer if he would turn on his lights.
He said no.
We drove back down what I had previously assumed to be a Forest Service road and it would have been a lot cooler if the flashing lights were on but they weren't.
We finally arrived in front of a cute little farm house that would have seemed quaint and inviting under any other circumstances. Well, maybe not any other circumstance - like probably not if we were there because we thought we were going to a costume party but it actually turned out to be a mandatory sex party. Do people have mandatory sex parties?
Anyway, we were greeted in the driveway by a very angry man wearing a flannel shirt and overalls. He looked like a farmer, so I am going to call him "the farmer" because I didn't exactly catch his name. I think he was really tall, but maybe he just seemed like that because he was so angry and intimidating.
The farmer looked at the police officer and said "are these the kids that have been starting fires and leaving their broken beer bottles all over my property?"
I was beginning to grasp that we were not wanted for rock-pushing and that there was probably some third-party involved.
The police officer asked us if we had been partying on the man's property. Roger and I shook our heads.
The farmer asked if we had moved his log.
We said that we hadn't.
I'll spare you the details of the next 10 minutes because this post is going to be long enough as it is and I don't remember much of the exact conversation because I was distracted by the fact that I was being arrested, but I seem to remember crying a lot and yelling "why won't you believe me???" and the farmer definitely didn't believe me and he kept saying "officer, I want to see these kids in jail" with a completely unnecessary emphasis on the word "jail" and I started crying even more because fucking JAIL, you guys...
The police officer finally stepped in and told Roger and I that he wanted to talk to us in the car.
When we got in the car, the officer looked at us for a long time and it was awkwardly silent except for my random bursts of post-crying hyperventilation. Finally the officer said "okay, I believe you guys, but I'm not the one you need to convince. If the property owner decides to press charges, there is nothing I can do..." Then he looked at me very pointedly and said "how about you let me handle this, though... okay?"
I nodded and used the seatbelt to wipe the snot off of my face. I probably shouldn't have done that, but I'm sure worse things have happened in the back of police cars.
The police officer locked us in the car and went back inside to try to convince the farmer not to send Roger and I to jail.
We played the alphabet game, but only got as far as "C" because we were way out in the country and it was dark and we were locked in a police car.
Then we waited some more.
Finally, just as we were starting to wonder whether there actually was a mandatory sex party going on in there and maybe the police officer had been forced to participate, we saw the door open.
We could see the silhouettes of the officer and the farmer standing in the doorway and they seemed to be still discussing our fates. We tried to guess what they were saying based on their body language. I started crying again because jail is really fucking jail-y and I didn't want to go there.
The police officer eventually made his way back to the car and unlocked the doors. He stooped over and leaned in to talk to us.
"He really wanted to press charges..." he said. "But then I told him that there was no possible way that someone with your physique..." he pointed at me "could have moved that log. So he agreed to let you go with a warning. I'm still going to have to get your information though..."
I was so happy I didn't even care that he had insulted my tiny Tyrannosaurus Rex arms. I didn't even care that I had absolutely no fucking clue why or how anyone moved this mythical "log" I kept hearing about and what, if anything, the log had to do with us being in trouble. All that mattered is that I was obviously too weak to move the log and somehow that meant that I wasn't guilty of something. That was all I needed to know.
Roger and I had to spend another hour or so filling out forms, but we were eventually allowed to go home and go to bed.
My mom was still awake when I got home because she is one of those moms that can't sleep when they know that their daughter is being arrested.
When I walked in the door, she said "what were you guys doing up there, anyway?"
Me: "pushing big rocks down the mountain."
My Mom: "What?"
Me: "Um, you know - pushing big rocks down the mountain... No? Like... big rocks... on mountains... and we push them...? And they fall down...?"
My Mom: "Oh..."
My Mom: "Why?"
Me: "I don't know, Mom. I hadn't really thought about it. I guess I just like destroying things..."
My Mom: "That's nice, Sweetie."
Me: "I'm going to bed now because I have to get up for school in three hours..."
My Mom: "Oh, okay. Sweet dreams, Pumpkin! I love you!"
Sometimes I feel like there was a point in my life where I had done so many worrisome things that my mom had no choice but to become all Zen about it. You always hear about parents causing psychological damage to their children, but I think that the situation was kind of reversed in my case.
I felt the worst for Roger's parents, though. They were asleep when he got home and found out about our adventure in the Police Blotters the next morning before Roger even got out of bed. I'm sure that the breakfast table conversation wasn't awkward at all...
Edit (because I know you are going to ask): I never did find out what exactly we were being arrested for. I know that it involved some broken bottles and possibly a fire and it definitely involved a log, but I am unclear as to how that all adds together. I think that there was probably a log over the road at some point that got moved by teenage hooligans who later drank beer and made a fire. Or it possibly could have been a mandatory sex party. Actually, it was definitely a mandatory sex party.