September 30, 2004

More tales from a suburban misfit.

Part Two

I thought about that day for months to come, though I kept my thoughts to myself. Other words, such as voluptuous chick, had become associated with my name, though “rash girl” always stood out in my mind.

That spring break, I sat with Karen, a senior best known for her curly blonde hair and flamingo-esque legs, at a slumber party. We planned on wrapping a house that night and I convinced everyone that Jason was the perfect target. Karen hated Jason after he dumped her at homecoming; I still hated him for his “rash girl” comment.

Seventeen of us gathered together that night to head out to Jason’s house: 16 girls and one guy, Josh, the half-black, half-white guy best known as Cody’s best friend. The seventeen of us divided ourselves amongst three cars: The Toyotas that Karen and Jill, Cody’s current girlfriend, drove and my Oldsmobile.

We waited until midnight to make our way to his subdivision on the edge of town. Eager to begin throwing the toilet paper into the tall trees in his yard, we parked our cars down the street from his parents’ house.

As a group, we tiptoed our way to his house at the end of the street, silently motioning to each other like Army commandos in the darkness. Soon, the first rolls, thrown by a strong armed friend, made their way into the treetops before hitting the ground with the familiar “thud.” Other toilet paper rolls began hitting the lower branches, stringing a line of paper from tree to tree.

We giggled as we wrapped the toilet paper around the bushes, a trademark of a wrapping job done by girls. As self taught experts who had completed 13 houses that year, we knew girls worried about details, guys about height.

The events proceeded accordingly until a lone car drove by slowly, watching us as we continued catapulting toilet paper into the treetops. The group stopped and stared at the car as it sped off down the street. Scared of getting caught by the cops, we decided to head back to our cars and get out of the neighborhood before it was too late.

Our cars formed a mini-parade as we drove around, unsure of what to do. Though we had done a good job with the toilet paper, we did not consider it up to par. After stopping in the parking lot of a local Kettle restaurant, we decided the time had come to make it back to Jason’s house.

Again, we parked at the end of his street; far enough away that our cars could not be seen, but still close enough that we could make a run for it. Our trunks, overflowing with multi-colored toilet paper bought earlier in the night, quickly became the gathering places where we returned for more paper.

I heard Josh’s cry as I stood in a ditch, thinking about where to throw the next roll. His voice, piercing the rhythmic thuds and giggles of teenage girls throwing toilet paper, was frantic: “Cops!”

I could feel my running shoes pound the pavement as I fled down the street for a quick getaway, a feat I had grown used to making while in high school. Getting to my car, which happened to be the closest of the three, and making a fast exit was the only thing on my mind. I threw the roll of toilet paper in my hand into the trunk before slamming it shut. As I jumped into the driver’s seat, half of the girls clamored for spots in the back seat.

With one foot hovering over the break and my car in reverse, I had started to back up when the police officer reached into Jill’s car, grabbing her by the sleeve and pulling her out. We began to scream when he did the same to Karen, whose car was in front of mine. Sure that my car was next, I put it in park and jumped out, screaming for everyone else to do the same.

“Get your hands up!” yelled the officer as he shined his light into our faces. “Get on the ground, now.” I grimaced at the thought of having to climb on the ground in the outfit I had just bought that day. Realizing this guy meant business, I lowered myself, first on my knees, then on my stomach, onto the cement road.

I looked around at the dark suburban neighborhood surrounding us as we lay in the middle of the road. A few windows had figures in them, peering out from behind blinds to see what had caused a commotion in their quiet little hamlet.

Trees rustled in the spring wind, still with a little hint of the cold air that graced Houston for only a few months. I could feel a few loose pieces of gravel digging into my hands, making me desire to squirm in place on the street.

“Well, well, lookey here,” he said as he walked in between all of us as we lay on our bellies in the road. “Looks like we’re going to have to call out the bandwagon.”

Near me, Erin, a buck-toothed freshman who had never been in trouble with her parents before, began to whimper. “Not the bandwagon!”

Snickers erupted from the group as they lie still on the ground, though they were soon followed by whispers of “Shut up, you guys!”

Slowly, I moved my arms so that I could use them as a pillow, instead of the hard, black cement it was resting on. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of my white Oldsmobile with the door open, inside lights on, like a beacon in the night for all to see. I stared at the maroon interior of my car, wishing at that very moment that I had made the decision to try to outrun the cop. Instead, his voice brought me back to reality.

“I want to see some ID’s,” he said as he paced in between us, shining his light onto the backs of my friends. My friends, all having been passengers in the vehicles, shook their heads no when he asked about their identification. Slowly, the officer lifted his head and stared at my car, as if the interior light had set off a light bulb in his head. He picked up his pace and made his way to my vehicle. “Whose car is this?” he asked to nobody in particular.

I jumped up, eager to get off the ground. Soon I realized how foolish I was to do so, now he focused his attention solely on me. “It’s mine,” I said, meekly.

“Let me see some identification,” he told me in a monotone voice. My heart jumped, causing me to catch my breath. I had a horrible habit of not carrying my driver’s license with me. I hardly ever even had it when I drove my car, though I didn’t necessarily need it for the three months I drove illegally before my sixteenth birthday.

Thoughts of the officer calling my house swarmed my mind. I could imagine Stuart, my bushy haired stepfather, leaning out of the bed to answer the phone, only wearing his pink bikini briefs. He would then inform the officer that “They could leave me in jail overnight,” a threat he had promised to keep if the time ever came. Jail would not be an option for me that night.

I quickly scanned the inside of my car, hoping that I would have left the ID out in the open. No luck. Thoughts of all the bad things that could happen to someone caught driving without an ID flew through my mind. I had to find it!

I rifled through my glove compartment and then through my console, but still couldn’t find my license. Hoping that the officer had forgot about me, I glanced over my shoulder. He was still standing there, staring at me. All of my friends stared, too.

The elusive license hid itself in a compartment in my door and I felt a wave of relief as I held it in my hands. He took the license from me, placing it on his clipboard for a call in to the station.

He ordered my friends off the ground, informing us of our choices: Either pick up all the toilet paper or go to jail. Though grateful for not getting in serious trouble, we still groaned at the thought of having to pick up all the toilet paper.

He paraded us to the front door of Jason’s house, where still nobody was aware that a commotion was taking place in their front yard. We all nudged each other to knock on the door and inform Jason and his parents that we had given their yard some new decorations.

Josh, being the only male in the group, knocked on his teammate’s front door. Within a minute, a sleepy-eyed Jason, clad in boxers and a white t-shirt stood before us.

“Surprise,” I said. “Good luck at your track meet tomorrow!”

Posted by Rachel at September 30, 2004 03:29 AM

That was good!

Posted by: Lujza at October 6, 2004 05:16 PM

Hilarious! That was a close one.

Posted by: Ali at October 8, 2004 05:44 PM

Okay,SJ, why is it that I cannot access SHENUTS from this computer anymore? Is there something wrong with the computer, or did you purposely do something to block my access? Please respond on your next post at I am sitting here at school, and there's an Its-Pat-Like creature sitting next to be, belching, and looking at my computer screen for Pete sakes!!!

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