It was late at night when I heard a tapping on my window. There are only a few reasons to hear such a sound, and I had a good guess as to the cause. I went around the side of my house, creeping in the shadows, and popped up over the brick wall proclaiming Andrew’s famous line: “Idiots doing in my backyaaaaaaard!?!?”
Just like that, me and my partners in crime, Charles and Gabin, were hitting the streets, ready to cause all sorts of trouble. On the itinerary tonight was a sort of disposal operation. The ungainly raft we had constructed a few weeks prior never actually met the water, and was deemed undesirable. We had to discretely get it away from Gabin’s house, and to a place where it could rest; the bottom of a barranca.
We snuck it out from the side of Gabin’s house, and on to a long board. Gabin then took it upon himself to drive the crude now-wheeled vehicle down the sloped street. It didn’t take long to realize that the thing was making way too much noise for secrecy. The blinds that had been draped over it were grinding against the street like sand paper. I’ve always been a solution oriented guy, so I sprang to the rescue, flicking open a switch blade in my hand. Gabin held her steady, while Charles separated pieces of the blinds as I cut into them. After a quick sweep of the pieces on to the top of the raft, we were off again, quieter this time. The raft wobbled like a sea saw, it stretched over the long board far on either side. Any rational person would have never guessed that it rode like it did that night, never tipping once, like it actually was sailing through calm seas with Gabin at the helm. When we reached the barranca, we simply tossed the thing over a wooden fence and left. It slid on its own to the bottom.
That night, we decided to have a fire to celebrate. We started by chopping wood in the abandoned church behind Gabin’s house. The reason we were over there, was to be as far away from Gabin’s neighbors as possible, so as not to disturb them with the sound, (they were usually very cranky). The church itself was extremely creepy. It had rows of rooms, like that of an outdoor school. The window to each one was pitch black, until you got close enough to see inside, but none of us wanted to get that close. Charles found something especially unsettling: One of the doors was actually open, just by a crack. It was completely dark inside the room, so it could have been a door someone just forgot to close after leaving, or someone could actually be in there for whatever reason. I was holding the flashlight and looking out while the other two chopped the wood. This wouldn’t be the first time I had been tasked as the paranoid lookout. A few times we heard noises, car doors closing, faint voices in the distance, but it was never actually in our vicinity; never, until we heard it clear as day, “what are you guys doing back there?” It sounded like the voice of a posh white guy who probably owned lots of sweater vests. Immediately I flicked off the light and we froze. Silence.
“Hello?” Gabin asked the darkness around us.
“What are you guys doing back there?” The voice repeated.
This time we’d caught the direction it was coming from. It was Gabin’s neighbor Vern, who had an especially stuck up reputation. He was peeking his head through the back of his fence to look over at us. Gabin went over to talk to him.
“Should we stay here or go with him?” Charles asked me.
“Well, I’m staying right here unless he calls me over,” I said.
Gabin managed to talk Vern down, but we had to stop the chopping. Apparently we were making the neighborhood dogs bark and it was keeping Vern up. We took the wood that had already been chopped and hopped back over into Gabin’s backyard. The fire that night was good, and I brought over a backpack of little fireworks to toss in it. Green and blue smoke bombs colored the fire itself, making us look like wizards performing some foul magic. We experimented by skewering marshmallows on sparklers, so they would cook from the inside out as the sparklers burned. According to Charles, they didn’t taste all that good. Rummaging through Gabin’s garage, we came across a stash of old cardboard boxes to lob in the fire. I was impressed at how far they made the flames jump. The fire roared taller than a grown man at points. We were up until maybe four in the morning enjoying ourselves. Little did we know of the dangers that awaited us the next day…