We’re trying something new – CarStories, stories about your car. This week we have author of After You Die and stand-up comic Ramin Nazer. Like what you read? Stay tuned for future car stories featuring comedy writer Andrew Tavin, Bay-Area renaissance publisher Alexandra Naughton, columnist and translator Ann Manov, and more.
The six of us were sitting around at a friend’s house on a Friday in late December. It was our senior year of high school and a friend of mine decided that we all had not been deviant enough and that we should go out and cause mischief around the neighborhood. Nothing major, no theft or vandalism, just rearranging people’s lawn reindeer into the humping position as young boys my age like to do. I wanted to stay in and keep sitting around, but I wasn’t going to look like a wuss. So I agreed to participate. And drive.
The six of us all crammed into my red 1996 Toyota 4Runner and took off into the night looking for reindeer. After a couple of minutes of driving, we came across our first victims. The house on the right had two beautifully lit-up full-size reindeer ornaments on the front lawn. The house on the left had some signage and a couple of small rabbit statues. The plan was to swap the ornaments between the houses and make the reindeer do the horizontal mambo. We got out to execute the job. We hear a loud beeping sound. We run back to the car.
A kid runs out of the house and stands in front of the car with his hand out. There was no way to drive forward without hitting him. Apparently they had the ornaments wired up to an alarm system. I had no idea this was something people did but we were now stuck.
I think I recognize the kid so I shout out what I think his name is.
I know who he is and he’s a bit taken back by this and decides to come over to the car. I try to think of an opening statement but there’s just nothing there. I’m just sitting there in my car staring at this horrified kid. All of a sudden, I hear the sound of a siren. The way was now clear and I didn’t remember how to speak, so I stepped on the gas. We pass the police car on our way out and it doesn’t turn around to follow us. We’re free.
We arrive back at my friend’s place and it has been no less than 20 minutes since we first left. We try to wrap our heads around what all just happened. No more mischief tonight! We had our fill. I decided to head home and leave on a good note.
I pull up to my house. A police car is parked in the driveway and an officer is talking to my dad. They wrote down my license plates. We had NOT gotten away. Since we were all 18, they said they could press charges for theft. The rabbit statues. He didn’t make it to the other house with them. What lame awful unintentional criminals.
The rabbit statues were returned, no charges were pressed, but the disappointment I felt from my parents will live on for many many years to come.
R.I.P. Friend Who I Will Not Name But Who Is No Longer With Us
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