No, somebody didn’t die on me, but the amount of things that happened to me on this one evening had lasting effects on my teenage years. First, the setup.
It was March 1983. Very cold outside but no snow. And I was doing something not many 17 year olds did. I was on a bowling league with my dad. I LOVE bowling, and used to go with my dad to his league all the time when I was younger. When I turned 16, I was old enough to bowl on the league, and as fate would have it, one of the guys quit, so I became the newest member of the team. My average at the time was about 160. Not many strikes but I was pretty consistent and good at spares. The downside to this was that the league was on Friday night, starting at 9:30. We also had a friend of mine, Scott, who was a better bowler who subbed with us from time to time.
As fate would have it, both me and my friend Scott were scheduled to bowl one Friday night, the same night that another friend was having a party that we wanted to go to. We talked about how we could do this, because not going bowling was NOT an option. If you knew my dad, you would understand. So we hatched a plan to go to the party AFTER bowling. This thing would be going on until morning, so if we got there about midnight or so it would just be getting started! So Scott and I devised a plan. As far as his parents knew, he was spending the night at my house after bowling. As far as mine knew, I was spending the night as his house after bowling. We only lives about 10 houses apart so no big deal to walk there. Once we got back from bowling we would then leave my house, supposedly on the way to Scott’s, but instead run to the party at Mike’s. And I mean run since it was about a mile away, and cold! On the way running there we both slip on some ice and fall. I land funny on my left wrist and my fingers hurt like hell. But we keep going.
We get there and as we thought the party was jumping! We walk in, grab a beer and proceed to mingle. I need the beer to forget this pain in my throbbing left hand. Music is playing, other friends are there and we are having a great time. And then things just started to not go quite right.
A few hours into this shindig, I was seated upstairs. I had a beer in my hand (my right hand, left still hurts), talking to a cute girl and all is right in the world. Then all of a sudden I hear my name being screamed at me. I look up and there stands Chuck, holding a switchblade towards me and swearing at me. “I know you sent me that bra on Valentine’s Day you bastard!” (This is the same Chuck from an earlier post) At least that is the general theme of the string of words he is bellowing at me right about now. I am just sitting there, trying to think of how I could get away without getting stabbed. Then a savior of sorts appeared. As I am looking at Chuck I see a head appear behind his, then a giant hand slaps down on his left shoulder while another giant hand grabs his right wrist (the one with the knife) and appears to be squeezing. It is a kid named Brian from down the street. I KNOW Brian, but we are not friends. He is a class in front of me and we really don’t hang around at all. But here he is, in the middle of my ‘fight’. “Hi Frank! Is this guy bothering you?” he asks me, all while smiling a very maniacal smile towards Chuck while simultaneously squeezing the shit out of his right hand. I can see Chuck’s fingers turning colors as they stand there in a stalemate. A few seconds later the knife drops from Chuck’s hand, as Brian pushes him away and picks up the knife. As he is closing the knife, Brian looks at me, winks, then looks to Chuck and says “If I see this knife out of your pocket again tonight I am gonna slice off your dick.” He tosses the knife back to Chuck, then hands me a beer and says “drink up!”. I am beginning to regret coming to this party. Needless to say I am acutely away of where Chuck is for the rest of the night.
The host has a sister that I really liked. A lot. We went out a few times on dates but I could never get her to commit to me in any fashion. I think she just went out with me because her parents loved me. So she is here at this party and I am hitting on her big time. We are hanging together, getting ‘friendly’, if you know what I mean, and life is good again! Then Don shows up. This is the other guy she has been hanging out with. Not a lot to say here other than just as I thought we might be ‘going someplace more quiet’, I get left in the dust as she goes off with Don. AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!
About half an hour later, things get even more dicey, but thankfully not quite involving me. There was a girl at the party that the host had been dating on an off. She was also wanted by just about every other guy there. Tall, blonde, supposedly ‘easy’, a teenager’s dream, right? Well apparently she was also a bit crazy, and at this point in the night, quite drunk. This was an ‘off’ phase for Mike and the blonde, and she was flirting with every guy in sight trying to make him jealous. Let’s just say that she succeeded. Mike finally yells at her to leave. She sort of starts for the door, all the while cussing him out, spilling beer and making comments about other people at the party. I am staying out of this one, watching from the other side of the room. As they near the front door she tries to kick Mike right in the family jewels. He blocks it but is now quite mad and yells at her to “Get the fuck out, NOW!” and proceeds to ‘help’ her to the door. Out of nowhere, Chuck appears and jumps between Mike and the blonde. I don’t know if she was flirting with him too, or if he saw a drunk blonde chick or what, but he decided that he was going to be her savior that night. Mike wasn’t having any of that and the comments yelled back and forth would have made a sailor blush. Now Mike was ushering out a drunk blonde and Chuck as well.
Once outside the yelling continues. I am now starting to get just slightly nervous. I don’t need the cops busting up this party because a neighbor calls about the yelling. I walk over to the window to peek outside while this is going on and I see Chuck and the blonde down by the bottom of the driveway with Mike standing on the porch, with several other guests also milling about, yelling at him to keep going and to “get that whore out of my house!” Chuck has had enough now and stops holding blondie up and starts to come at Mike, pulling out the switchblade again. I quickly look around for Brian but he is no where to be seen. Didn’t matter however because just then I notice Mike pull out a gun from somewhere and say “Keep on coming, fatass, I pop you while you are holding that knife I get off scott-free”. HOLY SHIT! I stand there watching in horror, thinking only of myself. If he shoots, there WILL be cops, I get caught being here, I am screwed. A neighbor for sure will call the cops, we get raided, I am caught, I am screwed. I can’t just leave, if I go home, I would have to explain where the hell I was and why I smell of beer. Same for us going to Scott’s.
By the time I process those thoughts several times thru my beer-addled head, Chuck had left, Mike and the other guests were back in side and the gun had ‘disappeared’. Everyone was going back to normal. Paranoid me was sitting right by the front window keeping an eye out for cops. I was gonna bust out the back door if I had to if we got raided. But an hour later no cops had arrived so I started to calm down. Until the phone rang.
Mike started shushing everyone so he could answer the phone. We didn’t know who it was, since this was pre-caller ID. Mike answers the phone. “Hello?” “Yes.” ” Sure, one moment please”. Then he turns and looks at me and says “Phone is for you.” Oh crap. Nobody knows I am here, WTF! I take the phone and say hello and it is my mom on the other end. “get your ass out front, your father will be there in 5 minutes to pick you up!”, then she hangs up. I am toast! My mom NEVER swears. So I gather my coat and walk outside, all the while wondering how they found out. I have NEVER been caught before. Chuck had to have ratted me out. Oh I was going to kill that bastard tomorrow. My dad picks me up and i am expecting to get a beating or something. The drive home was silent. As we approached our house, I could see fire trucks all over the place. Now I am puzzled. When we pull in the driveway I can see that they are there for the house next door. Apparently it had caught fire in the middle of the night and since the house was pretty close to ours, our house had a little damage on the side, right where my bedroom was located. Seems mom had called to Scott’s house to ask me to come home, only to find out that according to them Scott and I were at MY house. Mom isn’t an idiot and figured out where I was. Chuck was safe for another day.
So running in the cold, fall and turns out I broke a finger, almost getting knifed, getting shot down by a girl, almost witnessing a shooting, getting busted at a party and my house gets fire damage. I lose all the ‘good will’ I had built up because I had never been caught up to this point, and at 17 was grounded for a month, no car other than work and had lots of work to do fixing the damage to our house. 1983 was not a good year for me.