beth's family moved several times growing up, so we marked periods of our lives by the street they lived on. during the hathaway house period there wasn't much to do except walk across the street to the trashy shopping center and hope some high school boys were skateboarding in the parking lot.
one night we asked her parents if we could walk across the street to kmart. we liked to play in the close-outs sections of the stores and laugh at things like giant pairs of undies.
"only if you take your brothers with you," they told us, "we have to take your sister to her basketball game."
with nothing better to do, we rounded up joey and kenny. it was already dark when we set out, but for some reason we didn't bother to check just how late it was. kmart was closed for the nite; there was no fun to be had in the undies aisle. but there WAS a strange pile of crap in the snow in the middle of the empty parking lot. the four of us started poking around. it was a pile of frozen clothes! apparently someone had intended to drop the garbage bag in the goodwill donation box at the other end of the parking lot and never made it to their destination. soon we were yanking out items left and right like it was buried treasure.
"look, a pair of gym shorts!" i held them up to my waist. i traded them to one of beth's brothers for a gym shirt instead.
"hey, here's somebody's id card. i think this kid goes to my high school," beth said, sticking the card in her pocket and pulling a stylish blue sweater out of the frozen mound. in an ironic twist of fate, beth and i would eventually become friends with the kid on the id, whose name was john. i think we even told him how we took some of his clothes home with us that night, and for whatever reason he stayed friends with us even after an admission like that. on second thought maybe its not so strange after all, as john would eventually attend one of my birthday parties and walk around for a portion of the night with my mom's cow toaster cover on his head before pressing his naked butt against our sliding glass door. but i digress...
so me, beth, joey and kenny each carried a frozen prize home with us. halfway back to their house, someone noticed that there was a man walking behind us in the dark.
"he's following us," we whispered to each other, "he must have seen us take these clothes and now he's coming after us!"
we ran. we didn't stop until we reached the front door, and even then we didn't stop. the family dogs started barking when we stampeded through the door.
"the dogs are barking! he must be outside!"
we panicked. we ran into the kitchen and grabbed weapons, then locked ourselves in the bathroom. joey suddenly realized he didn't have a weapon handy and he scanned the bathroom counter for something suitable. and so the four of us crouched and waited for the next 45 minutes, clutching an apple peeler, a butter knife, a letter opener, and a bottle of lysol.
we debated what we should do: should one of us risk leaving the safety of the bathroom to run across the kitchen for the phone to call 911? should someone sneak out the bathroom window and run to the neighbor for help? how would we explain to their parents that we ruined the window screen? he WAS in the house, wasn't he?!
when we heard the dogs barking a second time, we grabbed our weapons and held onto each other for dear life.
"hello, anybody home?" their dad called out.
"HELP! HELP! WE'RE IN HERE!"
we refused to come out until their dad thoroughly checked the house for any intruders.
"check the closets one more time," we told him.
then we filled the utility tub with hot water and thawed out our frozen clothes.
beth's frozen sweater
wearing my frozen bulldogs gym shirt (with a special appearance, down low, by cwis wayhew)