la Ketch

my life story

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

fill it up

“We should just keep going,” my sister said. “I know. we should,” I agreed. “Keep going, where?” our step sister muttered. “Back to California,” my sister and I chimed back in unison. I had decided that we shouldn’t actually go driving around on the roads. I didn’t want to get pulled over and thrown into jail. I was reckless but I still had an aversion to jail. It's telling that I was afraid of getting pulled over but it never occured to me that we could wreck the truck. Apparently, it didn’t occur to any of us because no one was wearing a seatbelt. It was a suicide mission of sorts.

I decided to drive up a gravel road near our house that lead pretty far into the woods between plots of land on which they would eventually build more houses. This is where my mom had taken me on my driving lessons. The road leads to a dead-end circular turn around, making our chances of making it to California very slim. Still, we rode along and I have to say, I was having a pretty good time. The music was awesome and we were crusin. It felt so good to be driving away from something, to be behind the wheel and in control of something, even if we were headed towards a dead end. My sister wanted to know when she could drive, “after me.” Story of her life. I was still going pretty slowly. Remember, it was a stick and my step dad had only taught me how to go from reverse to first and back again. I had made it to second gear. I decided to try third and then I shifted up to fourth. We were going pretty fast now, through the woods, trees whizzing by at about 45 miles an hour. 45 miles an hour doesn’t sound fast but on a one-lane, winding gravel road, it's pretty fast. We didn’t get much further once we reached this speed before the back end of the truck started to fishtail. We were sliding back and fourth all over. I was sort of trying to slow down but I panicked. I had no real driving experience and I couldn’t shift down. I should have just pulled the key out of the ignition or something. I don’t know what I should have done but I just kept going at the same speed, trying to regain control of the wheel. Our swerves got wider and wider until finally we hopped a ditch and the car flew up into the air and hit a huge tree head on. Hard. We hit the tree hard.

I just sat there. There was a mellon size indentation in the windshield from where my sister’s head had hit it, breaking the glass with her face. She was bleeding everywhere. She broke her nose. I bruised my ribs with the steering wheel. Our step sister fractured some bones in her hand. “Oh my God, oh my God, Oh my God, “we were all sort of screaming, muttering or chanting versions of this. We got out of the car, “is everyone okay?” I asked. “My dad is going to kill you,” my step sister said. She meant it in the same way that My First Friend had meant it when she said her brother would kill us for stealing his beer. I knew she was probably right. Meanwhile my sister had no idea that her face was broken. She looked like a mad woman, moaning to herself blood all down her shirt in her hair. As soon as I really looked at her I started to cry. I had to keep it together though. I had to devise a plan of action. “Ok, you two go back to the house, get her cleaned up and I’m going to try and move the car.” Never mind that my sister probably had brain damage, I was going to try and save my ass. They obeyed probably just because I was still speaking with some semblance of authority. Lord knows where I was getting it from.

I got back into the car. The music was still playing, “she was a fast machine, she kept her motor clean.” Fuck off. Turned off the stereo. There was steam coming out of the engine. I went to put the stick in gear but there were no gears. The transmission had fallen out. It just went around in a circle. I hopped out of the car and went around to the front. I lifted up the smashed hood to reveal the engine turned on it’s side. I went around to the back of the car and the tires were torn off the rims. This is what they mean when they say a car is “totaled”. It is unfixable. It would have to be sold for parts. The plan I had been devising consisted of me driving the truck back to the house and placing it in front of his tiny baby tree we had on our property. I would then tell my mom and step dad that it was this tree I had run into, that I had simply lost control and run into it. Clearly, I couldn't get the car back to the house. So I walked back behind my sisters. It was then that it started to rain. That’s nothing special, it’s always raining there. It just made the whole situation muddier.

When we got back to the house, it was about a mile and a half walk, my step brother was, of course, freaking out. Both he and my step sister were crying. They kept telling me over and over how their dad was going to kill me. They were seriously, actually afraid that he was going to kill me, with his bare hands I’m assuming. They were afraid for me. It was actually touching.

My poor sister was in pain and her nose was starting to swell. I had absolutely no idea what to do. I had no way to get a hold of my mom (no cell phones yet) and so I just started dialing my friends. What to do? What should I do? I got my friend J.S. on the phone in California. I have known her for a long time and she is still one of my dearest and closest friends but J.S. is not exactly the person you want to call for advice in a situation like this. She gets squeamish sort of easily, especially when she was younger. I start telling her what happened and she is just like, “well, ummmm… I don’t know! I mean, I think you are just going to have to accept that you are about to be in a lot of trouble.” Ummmm., yeah….. I was so fucked.

When my mom called finally, to check on us, I knew I had to tell her. I just came out with it. “We crashed the truck.” She didn’t believe me. I explained to her the entire story, how we had just gone up the road and I had lost control and I had and accident and that I thought my sister should probably go to the hospital. She still didn’t believe me. “You know, that’s not very funny,” she said. “Okay. Fine. Just come home and you’ll see,” I told her. They did come home and the first thing they did was drive the mini van down the road to see if I was telling the truth. My mom came tearing back to the house. She demanded that we all get in the van and she drove us all straight to the emergency room. She couldn’t believe we were alive, the truck looked so bad. She was furious. Much more so than I expected her to be. She was freaking out. Of course she was. I mean we could have been killed and how dare we put her in that position after all she had been through, didn’t we understand what that would do to her? How selfish we had been. I felt so horrible. Even writing this now, I can feel it again, how horribly I felt doing this to my mom. Even more so though, I felt horrible that I had gotten caught and that I was going to be in such trouble that I couldn’t even imagine what was in store for me.

I was the only one that suffered any real punishment. It was acknowledged that my sister and my step sister had gone along with me in a willing fashion but it was also pointed out that it was my idea to take the car out for a joy ride and that it was me who was driving and me who drove the car straight into a tree. The driving it into a tree part is sort of hilarious to me now because it’s such an intense metaphor for how I was feeling. I was so pissed off, so fucked up, that I just took a car and drove it right into a tree.

I was grounded for the rest of the school year. I think this happened in late Winter, so it wasn’t that long. I would extend it later. That wasn’t the big punishment though. The big punishment was that I had to dig a ditch around the entire house one foot wide and one foot deep. No, no, I’m not. I’m not kidding. That was it. By myself, I had to dig a ditch around the entire house one foot wide and one foot deep. I did it too. It took me a couple of weeks and when I finished, i handed the shovel to my step dad with a sort of feeling of acomplishment. I had completed this concrete task and could now be absolved for my sin. He handed the shovel back to me and said, “Fill it up.”

I did not fill it up. I don’t remember how it got filled up but it wasn’t me who filled it. I was done. My guilt had subsided and my rage was back in full force. No way was I filling that ditch up again, YOU SICK FUCK. No one made me but I was still stuck with the remainder of the punishment. I was truly not allowed to do anything but go to school and come home again until summer started. How could I possibly take over the school if I was locked in my bedroom like rapunsel every night. So, I did the only thing I could do in that situation. I snuck out. I was really good at it too. I made dummies in my bed. I faked sick and went to bed early. I would usually wait until they went to sleep and leave but once they stayed up watching a movie and I was challenged to crawl on my hands and knees behind the couch where they were sitting, slowly open the front door, silently close it behind me, get down on my hands and knees again, crawl under the window they were sitting next to and run for my life down the long driveway where two guys in a truck eventually came and picked me up.

What do you do when you sneak out of the house you might be wondering? Well I’ll tell you. A. drink B. make out. That’s pretty much it. I was still a virgin. Don’t think I had given it up already. No! I was always drunk and pretty slutty but I was still a virgin and in "the Claw" your virginity is everything. This was a popular joke:

Q: What do you call a virgin in "the Claw"?
A: An ugly ten-year-old.

That still makes me laugh.

A few months later my family went on vacation but I wasn’t allowed to go. I was still being punished. I had to stay at my best friend’s house instead. This was hardly punishment but for some reason they didn’t get that. It was while they were on this vacation that I found a way to get in even more trouble, to do something even more horrible. Oh yes. It gets worse or better, depending on how you're looking at it.


At 12:01 AM, Blogger Magazine Man said...

Holy crap that was GREAT! I had slightly similar experience with my brother and a truck and a stone wall, not nearly so gripping as this.

In freshman year it may have been trouble, but now it's just a really good story.

I think I must come back.

At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So great, I love it. The second your stepfather starts to diddle you though I'm out of here ;)


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