Our First B&E
Joe and I started robbing houses in the summer prior to eighth grade. We were getting high in the tunnel under Perring Parkway, listening to ZZ Top on my boom box when he had an epiphany.
“Mann,” he jumped up and banged his head on the low ceiling, “there’s so much cool shit in other people’s houses. Think about it, anything we want, someone has it in their house. All we got to do is steal it.”
I said, “Cool. I’m in.”
So we went out looking for a house to rob. We stopped by my garage to grab some tools just in case, then walked around for hours smoking weed and looking for houses with no car in the drive. When we found one, we knocked on the door. If someone answered we just asked for Pete.
We thought it was going to be easier. We just needed an empty house, but we couldn’t find one. We walked around for hours. Joe got pissed after a while and said “Fuck it, the next house gets robbed. Fuck ‘em if they’re home.”
I knew he was joking. At least I thought he was joking. Regardless, just then I saw a house. “Joe. Look over there.” I pointed to a little semi-detached at the end of the court. No lights. No car. Trees and bushes in the yard.
Joe got excited. “That’s the one, Mann. That’s the one. Let’s go.” We walked up on the front porch and Joe rang the bell. No one answered. The mailbox was full. They weren’t home yet so we went around to the basement door. Joe pulled a pry bar from his belt loop and wedged it into the jamb to pop the lock. The bar slipped and smashed his finger.
“Fuck.” He tried again. Same result. “Fuck this,” he took off his shirt, wrapped it around his fist and punched the window, then reached in and unlocked the door. As soon as we got inside we realized we forgot flashlights. I tripped over something. Then Joe did. “Fuck it.” He turned on a light. The house was empty, except for some trash. There was a crumpled blanket on the floor and a torn poster on the wall. It was Alice Cooper so Joe rolled it and stuffed it in his jacket. Then he tripped over an ashtray and I tripped over a milk crate.
“Look around, Mann. There’s got to be something we can steal.”
“I don’t see anything.”
Joe was digging through a pile in the closet when I heard him start tapping the wall. I looked over and he was prying a crack in the wall. “What you got there?”
“Not sure,” he grunted as he pried. “but…” POP. A section of the wall cracked and came off. “Yup. Secret panel.” He looked down at the pieces of drywall on the floor, “Well, sort of.” He reached into the hole and fished around. “Bingo.” He pulled out a plastic baggie and held it up to the light. “Pills.”
“Pills? What kind?”
“Don’t know, but they look good.” He shook the baggie. “Must be good to be stashed.” He held it closer. “Must be a hundred here. Every color.” He smiled. “A rainbow.” He shook the baggie again and looked at me over the top of it. “What do you think, Mann. Wanna take a walk on the wild side?”
“What color would you like?”
“Black, of course.”
“Of course,” Joe nodded, sorting through the pills. “Let’s start off slow.” He handed me one, then he took one, then put the baggie in his pocket. We looked around for more stashes, tore some holes in the walls and pulled some cabinets out of the kitchen. When there was nothing else to steal, Joe said, “Let’s get out of here.”
When I looked up I felt light headed. The drugs were kicking in already. “Yeah,” I said taking a deep breath, “we don’t want to be in here tripping when someone comes home.”
“To the woods.”
We crossed the street and went down to the stream that ran behind the houses and under the parkway. We came up at the bottom edge of the schoolyard. I was really starting to get off. We climbed through a hole in the fence and up to the football field. When we reached the top the drugs took over. My head started spinning, my heart started pounding and everything started melting.
“Whoa.” I said, balancing myself against the bleachers.
“You feel it, too?” Joe dropped to one knee and took a deep breath. He rested his head on his arm, propped on his knee. “It’s gonna be a long night.” He looked up at me panting. He smiled, “Enjoy the fight… I mean flight.” His words echoed through my head and got louder each time. flight. Flight. FLIght. FLIGHT. FLIGHTTTT.
“Come on,” Joe stood and started walking. I tried to follow. When I took a step my legs gave out, but I caught myself. I stood wavering, ready to collapse. My knees were rubber bands. I leaned against the bleachers to practice staying up. Joe called back, “What’s wrong?”
“No sea legs yet.”
“Lock your knees.”
“Like this.” Joe demonstrated.
“You look like Frankenstein.”
He stuck his arms out and started growling, “I AM FRANKENSTEIN. I AM FRANKENSTEIN.”
“Stop. You’re freaking me out.” For a moment I forgot I took that pill and really thought he was a monster. I got anxious and looked for a rock to hit him with, but then I remembered that he was Joe and not a monster, and I was on drugs. So everything was cool.
Joe dropped his arms and stopped growling. “To the woods?”
“To the woods.” I let go of the bleacher and took a step. The ground got mushy and my foot sank into muck. I looked down but it looked fine. It was dark, but I saw my boot sitting firmly on the ground. I took another step and that foot sank too. I looked around. It felt like I was sinking. But I checked the ground and all seemed fine.
Joe was far away by now. He called, “Come on, quit lolly-gagging.”
That’s true, I thought to myself. Yeah, so what. I took another step, sank again, but I could still walk. I took a few more steps. I imagined I was walking on the beach…, soft sand swallowing my feet. It was warm and sunny and there were lots of bodacious chicks in bikinis. And they smiled as they passed by, “Hey Mann.” “Hey Mann.” It felt good to be recognized by hot chicks. I waved to them and said “Hey.” And they responded, “Hey Mann…”
“Hey! Mann!” I snapped from my daydream. Joe was calling from across the field. “Mann, come on. Quit fucking around.”
“Huh? Oh yeah. Uh, bye girls. Gotta go.” I ignored the mushy ground and hurried to catch up to Joe. But after a few steps I realized it wasn’t the ground that was mushy. It was my feet. They turned into marshmallows. Big, giant marshmallows wearing big, giant marshmallow boots. Now I knew I was tripping.
“Come on,” Joe said walking back to me. “What’s wrong?”
“What?” He turned and started walking again. I tried to follow. This time when I took a step, my head floated away. I stepped back and it came back down to my shoulders. I stepped forward, it floated up. I stepped back, it came down. Forward, up. Back, down. Forward, up. Back, down. Forward, up. Back, down. I rocked back and forth a couple of times. It was kind of cool. When I tried to show Joe, I couldn’t find him, so I ran after him, ignoring my marshmallow feet and holding my head on by my ears.
Joe was waiting at the edge of the woods. Actually he was crouched, peering into the woods. “Shhh.”
“What? What’s up? What’s in there?” I peered into the darkness.
“Oh.” My first thought was to get the fuck out of there. But then I remembered I was tripping. And Joe, too. I mean, his feet weren’t marshmallows, but he did think he heard lions in the woods of Parkville.
So I told Joe he was tripping and he said, “Oh, yeah,” and stood up. “Come on.” He waved his arm overhead for me to follow. What I followed were the rainbow tracers that trailed his waving arm, arching across the sky in vibrant Juicy Fruit stripes. The ribbon of colors grew longer and more vivid until everything turned bright white.
I opened my eyes but it was dark. I wasn’t sure where I was. I could tell I was lying on my back. But when I looked up I couldn’t see the ceiling. I turned my head to both sides. I couldn’t see the walls either. It was too dark. And the bed was hard. And the pillow felt like a rock. And it was wet. I was wet. Where the Hell am I? Whose house is this? This isn’t my room. And this definitely isn’t my bed. And my pillow isn’t this hard. This thing feels like a rock. I reached my hand under my head and felt the pillow. It was a rock. What the fuck? I leaned up and looked at it. It was dark but I could make out the edges. It was square. A square rock. A square rock? It felt like concrete. I looked around. I’m not in bed. I’m not even inside. What the fuck? I reached down and felt grass beneath me. I rubbed my head. I couldn’t remember anything and my head was spinning.
I laid back down to stop the spinning and to figure out where I was. I knew I was in a field somewhere. But where? And I was wet. Why am I wet? My hair was soaked. My shirt was soaked. The grass around me was soaked. The square rock pillow was soaked. Everything was soaked. It was raining. It was raining hard. I just realized. Rain was pouring down. I was getting soaked. I tried to get out of the rain, but I couldn’t get up yet. I rolled to one side and pushed myself up. Sitting with my head between my knees, I realized I could almost lick my own balls. But that didn’t stop my head from spinning. It did slow it down though, and I was able to look up and look around. I still couldn’t move, though, to get out of the rain. It seemed to be sprinkling one minute and pouring the next. Sprinkling one minute, pouring the next. Sprinkling, pouring. Sprinkling… Hey, wait a minute. That’s not rain. What the fuck? I peered into the darkness. Lawn Sprinkler. Fuck, sprinkler. Fuck. I was soaked. I tried to stand. I got to one knee then leaned against a big rock and stood up. I held onto the rock with both hands. It felt like the rock was moving, and me with it. I held on until everything seemed to settle down. Slowly I stood and looked around. Cemetery. I was in a cemetery. The pieces fell into place. Pillow. Rock. Tombstone. Cemetery. I am in a cemetery. How do I get out of the cemetery? I looked around for a path or road or sign or something. Nothing. Just tombstones for as far as I could see, which wasn’t very far. Faint reflections of light on tombstones dipping and rising on a hillside. I turned in a circle. I was surrounded by tombstones. Tombstones everywhere. This is the biggest cemetery in the world. Where the fuck am I? I remembered Joe. We were looking for a house to rob. Slowly the details cleared in my head. Soon I could remember up to the point when we found that bag of pills. The rest I could guess. But what about Joe? I looked around again. I was alone. Just me and the tombstones. I tried calling his name but that took too much energy. I tried getting out of the line of fire of the sprinkler but that took way too much energy. When the sprinkler came back around it blasted me in the ear and gave me the burst I needed. I dropped to the ground and crawled in the opposite direction. I got about ten feet and passed out again.
I woke a while later feeling a little better. My head was still full of feathers and my clothes were still wet. But I was out of the line of fire, and I was able to stand up. I could see the outline of trees not far away. I walked toward them and found a path to the edge of the cemetery. I walked the perimeter until I found a hole in the fence and cut through into the woods. I followed the path deeper. I wasn’t sure where I was going but I was sure I would find my way.
I walked for awhile, feeling my way from tree to tree, unsure if I was still on the path. I squinted into the dark, hoping to see a couple of trees before walking into them. I missed a few, but the ones I hit did help clear my head. I couldn’t believe how quiet it was. I thought I would hear crickets or frogs or something, but the only sounds were the ones I was making and a Harley off in the distance. I smelled the early dew but still had no clue what time it was. My shirt was almost dry but my jeans were still wet, and I was cold. I saw a flicker of light ahead. So I headed toward it. Soon the Harley was louder and I heard voices too. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but it was definitely some dudes talking and laughing. When I got close I could tell it was a bunch of bikers drinking beer and talking shit.
They were sitting next to a wooden shack, a crooked box of scrap nailed to trees and draped with a southern flag over the door. It all felt vaguely familiar. I stumbled around to the front. There were five or six dudes sitting on logs around a fire, and a topless chick dancing to no music. Another chick was giving head. Some dudes were standing in the background. Everyone looked up when I turned the corner.
“Hey.” Joe called from the side. I hadn’t seen him. There was a chick kneeling in front of him, too. “Come on over, pull up a log.” I sat next to him. “Where you been? I looked all over.”
“I don’t know. What happened?”
“You were following me, then you were gone.” The chick kept sucking his dick while he talked to me. “So, how was your trip?”
“I don’t know. I think I sort of passed out. My head is still whacked. How about yours?”
“Yeah, that was some intense shit, huh? Oh, by the way, this is Bang Bang.”
She stopped sucking and looked up, “Hey Mann.”
“Hey.” She smiled and went back down on Joe.
“You know her?”
“Oh,” he said looking down at the back of her head, “I like Sherry.”
She looked up, “Here, it’s Bang Bang.” Then she turned and deep throated him.
“Yup.” Joe replied as he took a deep breath. He pointed to a cooler on the ground next to one of the bikers, “Grab a beer. You know everyone?”
I looked around the fire and nodded. Faces were familiar, The Pagans. Now I knew where I was: The Shack.
Billy Bear raised his beer, “Little Mad Mann.” I nodded. He was a crazy one, a friend of Duke’s, suburban redneck, a real cowboy, even wore a cowboy hat and chewed tobacco. I thought he was in jail. None of us younger guys knew him too well because he was always in jail or in hiding. Someone handed me a beer and gave me a pat on the back. I pulled the tab and upended it. It felt good going down, nice burn. I leaned back and looked at the stars. My head was clearing, but I still couldn’t remember much. It seemed like a good idea to just relax and stare at the fire.
I heard someone grunt. I looked over at the biker getting head. Apparently he was done. He grinned, lifted his ass to pull up his pants, then sat down and drank his beer.
“Next,” he said, nudging the dude on his right. The chick shuffled over and that dude stood and unbuckled his pants.
Then Joe made a noise. I looked down at Sherry. Her head was bobbling fast. Her blonde hair was bouncing and Joe was ready to cum, too. She buried her head on him to swallow it. That was the rule. He collapsed over her and pumped it into her mouth. When he finished he sat up. Then Bang Bang sat up and smiled. She wiped her watering eyes, then grabbed Joe’s beer and took a drink.
When she tried to hand it back, he smirked, “That’s all right. You keep it.”
“Thanks,” she said, then looked at me, “Next.”