A Night out on the Town

Albuquerque, NM – 1995

This tale marks the beginning of the end of my time in Albuquerque.

One afternoon my friend Mike invited me to spend the night at this house. My parents were fine with it as long as his were. We put them in contact with one another and it was agreed. As we walked together to his house, we ran into Dan. He asked what we were up to and we told him. He asked if he could join us.

Dan and Mike were not close friends so it was a little awkward. But Mike said ok. Dan ran inside and asked his parents if he could come along with us and spend the night at Mike’s. Without asking any further questions, they said ok. At this point, Mike had not cleared it with his parents who, at this point, thought only that I was coming over.

Shortly we arrived at Mike’s. By this time it was evening and the sun was down. With a bit of discomfort, Mike asked his parents if Dan could now stay the night, too. But to our chagrin they said no – one friend was enough, plus they didn’t know Dan, so they didn’t feel comfortable. Mike broke the news to Dan.

Dan seemed slightly annoyed, but had an idea. Since he had already cleared the night out with his parents, he had an alibi. He didn’t have to go home, even if he couldn’t stay at Mike’s. We walked him to the door where he bid us farewell and struck out on the town. He had the whole night to himself and seemed fine with it.

Meanwhile Mike and I had plans of our own. Earlier in the day I had rolled a joint the size of my thumb; we were dying to smoke it. To facilitate our escape, Mike asked his parents if we could sleep in sleeping bags in the back yard. They thought that it sounded like a lovely idea for a summer night and even set us up with a tent. We were golden. The only thing that separated us from the night was a quiet back gate.

When we were sure his parents were asleep, we struck out into the neighborhood. We walked up past the junior high to our favorite bridge. For the next half hour we smoked ourselves retarded. I have never been so high.

We finished our joint and pondered what we should do with the rest of our night. As we headed out from under the bridge, we ran into a small group of guys we knew from school. These were the same guys Lorna had gone out with on another occasion. We were all friends, so we asked what they were up to. They had a bottle of vodka between them and passed it as we walked. We decided to head over to Jeremy’s house to see if we could get him out.

The ditch that ran to Jeremy’s house ran behind a small strip mall containing a country and western bar. The lights from the parking lot made the ditch even darker and shadier; plus a large bridge crossed the ditch only twenty yards away. In the past, we had managed to sneak beer off of a delivery truck by waiting under the bridge by the bar. Someone in our group suggested the we pop up behind the bar for a moment to see what was going on. I followed my friends up to the side of the building.

The alley was dark and empty. One of my friends produced a pocket knife and said, “I hate country music.” He told us to wait where we were. We stood in the shadows and watched as he darted between cars in the parking lot popping tires. He popped tires on more than a dozen cars. He ran back to where we were and we darted back into the ditch and under the bridge. We laughed and hooped and hollered as we ran into the neighborhood.

Before long we arrived at Jeremy’s. We knocked on his window but no one answered. We figured he must be at his dad’s. If that was the case then he was in for the night. We spent the next half hour sipping vodka and writing graffiti under the bridge by his house.

By this point Mike was getting nervous about how long we’d been out. Being as high as he was, he was paranoid and fixated on the fear that his parents might check the tent and find us gone. I conceded. We bid our friends adieu and headed back to Mike’s. The coast was clear when we returned and we fell fast asleep in our tent for the rest of the night.

The sun drove us out of our tent early the next morning. We ate breakfast and watched TV before we decided to head back to my house. We walked and smoked cigarettes as we came to our bridge. As we approached, Dan peaked his head out and hollered at us. He was still out from the previous night. He was excited to see us and had some new stories to tell.

Apparently, after Mike and I had adjourned from our group the previous night, they had shortly run into Dan, who was lurking under the bridge by himself.  He told them that he was out for the night and ready to party. They all put their minds together to find something to do.

They headed back to the junior high and decided to break into one of the classes. They smashed the window out of the door to our shop classroom, broke in and stole as much spray paint as they could carry between them. They proceeded to graffiti the bold face of the front of the school as well as several other areas. They tore into the neighborhood and vandalized every surface they could reach.

We were interested to hear his story and glad that we didn’t stick around to be involved in any more trouble. We headed up the street together and Dan dodged into his house to check in with his parents. We rolled up to my house together and spent the rest of the day skateboarding.

All was fine and the next week was normal. But the buzz around school was that the authorities were investigating the break in that happened to the shop class. The school issued crime-stopper rewards to encourage anyone who knew anything about it to tell.

Now, my friend Robby didn’t like Dan. After Robbie’s friends had jumped me, Dan had threatened Robbie and tried to fight him. I knew it was not Robbie’s fault, but ever since then they had become enemies. Robbie recognized Dan’s graffiti name on the wall at school. He determined that the crime stopper reward would buy a lot of pot and decided to rat on Dan.

Wheels were set in motion. Robbie identified Dan’s graffiti to the school authorities. They quickly swooped down on Dan and snatched him up to the principal’s office. He was not in trouble yet; all he had to do was give an alibi for his whereabouts on the night of the break in. This should have been simple.

But Dan was not where he was supposed to be that night. The school called his parents to confirm that he was home that night. They said no he was not; he was at Mike’s. Mike’s parents were called, at which point it was discovered that they had denied him and sent him home around 8 pm. Dan was totally unaccounted for. They knew they were on the right track.

Once discovered, Dan’s ruse instantly brought attention to my own whereabouts. I had an alibi at Mike’s, but once they found out we slept in the yard they became intensely suspicious. Ultimately our alibi held up, although everyone suspected that we had some involvement. Dan was investigated, but all the evidence was circumstantial. They could not prove he was involved, nor could they prove the involvement of anyone else. The case went cold.

Dan got in trouble at home for his hoax. But it was peanuts compare to what would have happened to me. I think he was grounded for a week. And of course, my parents had been questioned as to my whereabouts. When they found out the prank Dan had pulled, they grilled me about my friendship with him and took very seriously the idea that he was up to no good, which he hadn’t been the whole time I had known him. This incident marked one of the last times I would ever see Dan. He got grounded, and we only had a week left of school. Unfortunately I would get suspended that last week so we didn’t get to see each other.

By this time my parents had taken to driving me too and from school so that I wouldn’t get into trouble with Dan and my friends. The noose was beginning to tighten. But the more the noose tightened, the harder we pushed to do what we could with any chance we had.




2 thoughts on “A Night out on the Town

  1. Pingback: Getting suspended from Junior High | Matthew J. Summers

  2. Pingback: Autobiography | Matthew J. Summers

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