Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What I say, I mean. What I mean, I say.

This hails from my day of truancy as a sophomore in high school. My grandparents lived a couple blocks from my high school. They went out of town, so Roy and I hatched a plan to skip school for the day. After our parents dropped us off we had our friend Ross drive us the three blocks and then we used my grandparents' hidden house key. Ross had the good sense to go back to school.
Roy's older brother was going to call in pretending to be my dad to get my absence excused. I don't think anybody could have gotten ahold of Roy's parents that day for some reason. At least, I don't remember the plan involving anyone calling in for Roy.
I don't think we really knew what we were supposed to do with our freedom. We had this big ass house full of liquor and cigarettes at our disposal, but we just drank Cokes, played pool, and watched TV in the game room. Until my Aunt Ann came by the house.
When I heard the car pulling into the carport I slapped the TV off, hollered, "Dude, we're fucked. Run!" to Roy, and took off. We skidded past the kitchen just as she was fitting her key into the door. Luckily the shades were down. By the time she was inside were huddled together in a closet upstairs. I'm pretty sure I know what Anne Frank felt like. [Kidding! Geez.]
The hiding spot was perfect because Ann had no reason to come upstairs and she would probably not have looked in the closet anyway. It was less than perfect because we couldn't hear her movements downstairs or see her car to know when she left. So we sat around the closet smelling Roy's farts for what was probably ten minutes but felt like five hours. After that we were still too scared to go downstairs but we decided to at least check out the upstairs bedroom.
We found some of my Uncle Pete's (I assume) old shorts and T-shirts with the sleeves ripped off. We changed into these clothes in what now seems like kind of a gay decision. I think the clothes change reminded me that I had forgotten socks to wear to the Y after school. (I would go to the Y with Wes Tumlinson between school letting out and driver's ed starting.) So I called my mom at home to see if she could bring some socks for me to the Y.
"Hey, mom."
"Matt, where are you?"
"Uh, I'm at school."
"No, you're not, Matt. The school just called me looking for you. Where are you?"
"Uh, I'm at Mamaw and Pawpaw's."
"Well, you're dad's on his way over there right now."
At this point I'm waving frantically at Roy to get our stuff and leave. "Uh...uh...bye, mom."
We grab our bags and school clothes and take off toward school. We decided to run along the railroad tracks instead of on the road in case my dad was driving by. We changed clothes as we ran, pulling on polos over our pilfered ripped tees. Our English teacher saw us walking up to the football field as he was walking home for lunch. He nodded and said nothing.
We went straight to the office to turn ourselves in. I was in full-on panic mode. My heart rate was probably 200. I was scared, but I was pissed too. I thought Roy's brother had me covered, but it seemed he had fucked me. When I checked in with the secretary, however, they didn't bat an eye. "Oh, you were sick but now you're feeling better? Okay then. Go on to lunch and have a good day." Seriously? That's how easy this shit was? Turned out Dwayne had called in for me but only after they had called my mom. I don't remember what Roy told them, but he got off pretty easy too. Hell, Roy used to go to the sick room and make out with his girlfriend so he was practically a pro at this shit.
I spent the rest of the day imagining the various ways my dad was going to inflict pain on me. I seriously thought he was going to beat. that. ass. I had never done anything like this and was sure this would be the end of me. If I survived at all it would be as a crippled shell of what I had been. Of this, and only this, I was certain. Classmates were genuinely concerned for my safety. One girl told me the next day she almost called the cops for me because I was so worried she thought my dad might actually murder me.
Anyway, I don't remember much of the rest of that day. I know that at the beginning of religion class, when we always said prayers and intentions, somebody prayed for me not to get killed. I know that my mom didn't really talk to me at the Y and that I did go to driver's ed. I know that my dad was really late to come pick me up, giving me an extra few minutes to dream up methods of torture he could use.
Finally, he arrived. I got in the car and we didn't go anywhere. We just sat in the parking lot, listening to each other breathe heavily. One in fear, one in anger. Finally my dad said VERY calmly, "Why do you think you don't have to go to school? You can't just choose not to go to school. I have to go to work. I can't just choose not to go to work." And that was basically it. I was almost more embarassed that nothing happened when I went to school the next day than I would have been if he'd smacked me around a bit. But his approach worked. I never cut school again.


roy said...

it's funny that this is the post for the week. i told this story after duane, my youngest brother and i drove by your grandparents' house on Christmas night (there were a crap-load of cars outside, were you there?).

i remember us laughing (nervously) about what would have happened if you hadn't talked to your mom and we had seen your dad pull up. we probably would have done the same thing we did when your aunt showed up and hid in a closet somewhere. the way it plays out in my mind, your dad would have found us crouching in the corner, cowering in the stench of my farts, and destroyed you right there in front of me.

good thing you called your mom.

"dude, we're fucked. run." is still one of the greatest quotes of all time.

llogg said...

I was in the big D over Christmas. I share your vision of an alternate universe where I don't call my mom. Didn't we also steal my grandpa's Wagoneer at some point that day?

Ojo Rojo said...

I think we all have a "busted at Mamaw & Pawpaw's" story. I have several. I must have still been living at home at the time this happened, but I don't really remember it. Dad really knew how to throw the curveball when it came to the expectation of corporal punishment. I wonder if he knew that the fear was enough.

Snake Diggity said...


That is f'n AWESOME.

It reminds me of all the times that I misbehaved and just KNEW it was the end. Dad was weird like that. Knock over his glass of milk? Get the full-on Full Metal Jacket verbal lashing. Get wasted and nearly total your truck while simultaneously destroying one of his customer's mailboxes? No big deal. "It happens." I don't know if he knew fear was enough or if he was too stunned to beat that ass.

Chris' story about putting that middle finger drawing in Cricket's mailbox summed it up; waiting in our room for Dad to get home. Trapped like a rat in a cage. LMAO!