Friday, March 19, 2010

a day NOT like any other day


It’s 1972, I’m 22 years old. I’m working in a warehouse (when I show up) and partying (most of the time). I didn't make very much money, but with roommates, I managed. I spent a lot more time having fun, than paying attention to work. Obviously, I didn’t keep that job for very long. I shared an old house with two girls I’d known since high school. We lived together as friends and had a great time. If anybody today saw the inside of the house, I’m sure the first word out of their mouth would be “hippies!” Tapestries, water beds, candles, etc… There were always people over. They were either females, who were friends of my roommates, or guys who liked them. I was of course deep into self medicating, but at the time I just thought I was having fun.

A young couple moved into the old house across the street. The female was extremely attractive and seemed very friendly. The only real contact I'd had with her, was saying hello when I was going to work in the morning. She apparently worked the graveyard shift somewhere and was just getting home as I was leaving. I saw her boyfriend, husband, or whatever he was, even less. One thing led to another and she and I started talking. Her name was Bonnie and I was happy to find out that the guy she lived with, was actually her brother. One day she invited me over for dinner. I accepted the offer, the dinner went well, and we agreed to do it again.

I seldom saw her brother and only knew that he was going to a trade school, learning electronics. I’m actually very sorry that I ever saw him at all. One morning, I walked across the street to pick her up to go do something. We were just getting ready to go when there was a knock on the door. She opened it and three guys pushed their way in. All three of them had handguns. They were pointing them directly at me! Not that they even needed the guns. All three of them were very large and very rough looking biker types. Two of them had colors on, but I’ll just keep the name to myself. The first words that one of them said to me was something very close to, “you’re fucking dead meat!”

Not my idea of a friendly greeting.  I didn't know what to say.
“I am?” “Why?”
“You know why!”
“I have no idea; I’ve never seen you guys in my life!”
"We've never seen you before either, but you're still dead!"
One of the others said “you think you can narc on our brother and get away with it?”

I’m totally confused until one of them tells me they’ve been watching the house and were waiting for me to get home. My friend and I look at each other at just about the same exact time and realize that they are looking for her brother.

Oh my god, where is her brother? Well, she didn’t say anything right away, and I’m not about to take a bullet for her brother, or pretty much anybody else. Of course in the time it just took me to write that sentence, I’d already told them about 50 times that, a) I don’t live here, and b) I’m not her brother! She seems to be in shock. I can’t tell if she’s relived that it wasn’t me they were looking for, or upset because her brother is in danger.

Apparently, her brother had bought some drugs from one of the guys in their MC. Shortly afterwards he was busted by the Long Beach PD (who else) and did in fact cut a deal.  Those kind of deals usually go like this; "If you tell us who you bought the drugs from and it checks out, we will let you go."

I was supposed to have a beard, but I didn't. One of the guys left the house to make a phone call. They wanted to find out exactly what the guy they'd been waiting for looked like.  They were thinking that I might have shaved off my beard. We didn’t look that much alike, but I insisted that Bonnie get them a picture of him to compare to me. She did, it clearly wasn't me.

Once they were satisfied that it wasn’t me they were after, they turned their attention to her. They wanted to know where her brother was. She didn’t know… This went back and forth for a while, until one of the guys said that if she didn’t tell them what they wanted to know, they were all going to “do her.” She responded with something very close to “you’ll have to kill me first!” Oh shit, if they kill her, they will probably kill me as well. Tell them where your brother is!” I said to her.

She’s not having it; she’s not going to cooperate with them at all. She’s really starting to make them mad. A cocked pistol held against her forehead did nothing. One of them slapped her, it did nothing. She just glared at them. I swore to myself that if I should be lucky enough to live through this, I’d have nothing more to do with this woman.

One of the guys has the bright idea to search her brother's room. He’s in there for a while tearing it apart, and walks out with the schedule for her brother's trade school classes! And he’s scheduled to be in class at that very moment. I’m hoping that maybe they’ll just walk out the door and go to him. Nope! One of them said they were going to the school to get him and that we were going with them.

We all walk out of the house, one of them in front of us and two behind. The guy behind me wants to make sure I know he still has a gun, and keeps poking me in the back with it. I turned my head and gave him a dirty look. All that accomplished was to make him poke me in the back, even harder.  Down the street a couple of houses, there’s a ford van parked. I assumed that is where we were going, and it was. The driver in front, and the other two guys in the back with us. One of them told us about 10 different things that would result in our being shot. Don’t move, don’t yell, don’t try to get out of the van, etc.

So we drive to the trade school. It’s in another part of Long Beach, but not too far away. They discuss how they are going to get her brother out of class, and into their van. One of them goes in? She goes in with one of them? She goes in alone? I go in? It’s decided that she is going to go in by herself and bring him out. If she’s not back within 10 minutes, they are going to kill me. Stupid idea! But they seem to like it. So thinking of my own survival I said “we haven’t been dating that long, and her brother probably means more to her than I do.” She’ll probably tip him off and they’ll both split.

I think I’m making a good point. I know they heard me, but they aren’t responding. One of them finally says, “he may be right, what kind of car does he drive?” She said she doesn’t know what the make or model is, and only knows what it looks like. Sure she doesn’t… “1949 Buick Road Master,” I said “gray primer.”

So now were driving around the parking lot, and nearby streets looking for his car. We can’t find it anywhere. Where is he? Did he skip school and go somewhere else? Is he home now? This is getting too complicated. The driver said he was going back to the school. He was going to go in with her to see if her brother was there. If they didn’t see him in the class he was scheduled to be in, they’d ask at the office. I assumed he picked himself to go with her because he was the most “normal” looking of the trio. That may be true, but “normal” is an extremely relative term. He did not look normal to me. He looked like a maniac.

It’s getting damn hot in that van and I just want to get it all over with. My friend and the driver walk into the school. I don’t know if I’m hoping he’s there, or that he’s not there. We’ve been in the parking lot, or driving around this school for quite a while now, and somebody may think something is up, and call the police. At least that’s what I hoped for a minute or two. And then I was struck with the reality of the situation. If these guys would kill us without reservation, they would probably shoot it out with the cops. Hell they may be wanted already. Son of a bitch!

The two of them were gone for about five minutes. When they walked out, it was still just the two of them. Her brother hadn’t shown up for school and didn’t show up the day before either. So now we’re speeding back to her house to see if he’s there. The car isn’t there. We drive around the immediate vicinity, the car is nowhere. “What now?” I asked. The driver told me to shut up. I did… The van parks, we all get out. We all go into the house. We all sit down. And we wait, and we wait, and we wait. We wait for a few hours. After they get nothing further out of her about her brother’s possible where abouts, they stop asking.

Nobody is talking. Her and I haven’t said a word to each other for a long time. The three guys aren’t even talking among themselves. I’m not liking this at all. They seem much too serious about the whole thing now. Eventually two of them leave the room, and are talking in low tones that we can’t quite understand. They finish talking and go into her brother’s room again. I wasn't sure what they were looking for, but when they came out, it’s clear they found something. Well, it’s not what they found; it’s what they didn’t find. What they didn’t find was very many items of clothing. Pretty much everything in his room was on the floor from the first search, and apparently, the one who did it, failed to mention that there was hardly anything in his dresser drawers or hanging in his closet.  They are pissed off!

He had split…

The same two guys left the room again. I’m thinking it’s all going to end now. And not in a good way. There is no where to go, at least one of them always has gun pointed right at me. And I have no doubt that the one doing it now wouldn’t hesitate to shoot me. I’m working on a plan, I have to do something. I think I can over power the guy who is left to guard us, if I do it quick enough, I can grab his gun before the other two react and come back into the room. I can either go down fighting, or I can…the decision is made for me, by me, somewhere in the back of my head……I disassociate. I don’t care anymore, I’m not afraid. I don’t feel anything. I’m going to do it even if it gets me killed.

I’m going to grab the ashtray sitting on the table beside me, and I’m going to brain the one watching us. I’m going to do it when he’s looking at her. But he keeps l o o k i n g at me. I can’t wait much longer, the others will come back soon. I’m about to do it, even while he’s looking straight at me. My legs and arms are tensing, getting ready to leap out of my chair.

Just before I spring at him, I vaguely hear one of the others talking to us as they walk back into the room. His voice sounds distant and like a whisper to me. He said that they were leaving now, and if we call the police, some others will be visiting us, and they will kill us in a horrible way. I don’t remember if I believed him or not, or if I even reacted.

They walked out the door.
We didn't call the police.

After they left, bonnie told me that she knew her brother was gone the whole time. He had told her what happened with the police. He came directly home from jail, packed some of his stuff, put it in his car, and headed for their home town of Eureka. After she laid that gem on me, I knew she was capable of anything and that I had to get the hell away from her.  I've never laid a hand on a woman (in anger) in my life, but at that moment, I came so very close to ruining my perfect record.  She really did earn it.

I didn't get away from her for a while. The only good thing about that (which I'm sure could be debated) will be covered in future stories...

20 comments:

The Illustrious D said...

Loving these stories, Patrick. Makes me believe the 70's were awesome. Minus Travolta.

Tina said...

Patrick, what a life, man! Fascinating stuff and I want to know what happened with the girl that you didn't get away from her then. Encore!

Alle said...

goes to show some beautiful women are totally not worth it, and holy cow I think I would have soiled my panties. That is insane! I'm glad you did not end up taking a bullet for someone else problem yikes.. and by the way this one seems more like a movie then the acid trip.

seriously could make a good one with some of your stories. Would be awesome to just sit around and hear you tell them =).

Nat said...

That must have been an incredibly frightening experience! I don't think I could have coped with the stress of that aggravation.

You post such amazing stories...you really should write a book about your life experiences!

Nat said...

PS Posted a comment on your last entry but it seemed to disappear...unless it was offensive (wasn't intended to be!)

soft nonsense said...

Bah. Screw the blog. Just write a book. I'd certainly read it.

Jhon Baker said...

I would never blame her for protecting her brother. neither would the bikers - that is what they were doing right? Anyway, the story is totally believable and well written.Long beach? I know which group you are talking about. There is only one that operates there, bad mofos.

Pat Tillett said...

Everyone- thanks for reading and commenting. I wish I had the attention span to everything together, but I don't! shorts and poems seem best for me.
I ran into one of those guys about a year after the incident. We locked eyes for a few seconds and he gave me a nod! A friggin nod! Just like we were old buddies...I guess he thought he was just doing his job (and I guess he was).

Alice in Wonderland said...

WOW, Pat, you just blow me away! I love your stories, I'm sure that I was born in the wrong time. The 70s are just my favourite times to have lived in, but I was born in '79, so does that count?
Everything seemed to be going on during the 70s, and I just loved the clothes and life-style.
I reckon that every decade has it's ups and downs though and I couldn't do drugs I'm afraid!
I love reading about it though. One of my favourite books is "Candy" by Luke Davis and he was a junkie in 70s Australia, and the book is very graphic about finding veins that hadn't already collapsed to inject, even in their necks and feet.
Crazy times!

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

These are great stories. Tales of a Noble Hippie. Was this after the war? I was waiting for you to go all Rambo on them but glad you didn't.

TS Hendrik said...

You should collect all these stories together into a book. They're so fantastic it would make one heck of a read. This story was wicked intense.

Pat Tillett said...

Alice - I agree, there was nothing like the 60's and 70's, either before or after. It changed EVERYTHING.

Cal - It was after the war. I certainly didn't shy away from violence, but I'm glad I was wise enough not to challange 3 guys with handguns!

TS - I'm just to ADD to tie them all together. Maybe someday!

Jerry said...

I agree! You need to put these stories into a book and sell it. You could be rich!

Pat Tillett said...

Jerry, I'd settle for just being out of debt!

ASBLACKASOBAMA said...

Another amazing story! Your life is a movie my friend!

Pat Tillett said...

Thanks! I'm very happy to say that it's a "boring" movie now!

Brenda's Arizona said...

I can't wait for the future 'encounters' with Bonnie... I'm totally frightened of this whole situation!

Pat Tillett said...

She had some issues, that's for sure!
thanks for reading and commenting Brenda!

Shrinky said...

Shit Pat, I can't even imagine the terror you must have lived through. I do confess to a sneaking admiration that you were on the brink of fighting back there, despite the odds. I have no idea how I would react in such a situation, but I do often question why murder victims seem to go down so quietly - you know? What's to lose? I like to kid myself I'd at least blind any bastard before they took me out. I sense you would too. So glad you didn't have to (smile) and lived to tell the (very well recounted) tale!

Pat Tillett said...

Shrinky - Having grown up under my mother, there wasn't really any terror. I was VERY good at disassociating from what was going on around me. I'm glad I didn't have to try and do anything. I might have gotten killed anyway.

I ran into two of those guys a couple years later in a liquor store. They didn't say anything to me, and I didn't say anything to them.

Thanks for coming back and reading this. There are plenty more crazy stories under various labels; drugs, family stories, family, childhood, and crazy things. Thanks again! I really appreciate it...