Rick the Stick and the Elusive Number 13
From Rick the Stick: What happens when you mix two young, handsome, single guys (still in their teens), a six-pack of beer, a drive-in movie, and a really lame pick-up line? One muddy car and an unrequited search for number thirteen.
It was a dark and stormy night… Wait a minute, that’s the opening to my next mystery novel. It was a pleasant summer evening when the aforementioned young, handsome single guys had nothing better to do, so they decided to grab the Stick’s family station wagon (remember station wagons?) and go to the drive-in. I can’t even remember the movie. Regardless, we also grabbed a six-pack of Joe Coors’ finest brew and headed north to Lakewood and life-long notoriety. As I said, it was a pleasant evening and we arrived at the drive-in a bit early, found a good spot, and proceeded to stretch out on the hood to check out the scene.
A couple fine young ladies pulled up on spot over in a VW bug. Of course, to the aforementioned young single guys, anything female would have seemed fine at that time. Anyhow, Stretch and I were discussing the possibilities when two other suitors for the fair maidens’ hands came upon the scene. Being only one parking slot away and sitting outside, we could easily hear the ensuing conversation. All we could do was look at each other in dismay as one lame line after another issued forth from the two interlopers. When we heard the line, “You know, V-dubs have a lot of class!” we could only roll our eyes at each other and then groan in utter amazement as the now not-so-fair-maidens granted them entrance into their domain.
With that, darkness fell, the movie began, and we retreated to our four-wheel cave to revel in the fact that we did not approach these two girls who obviously had very low standards and how lucky we were to find this our before we made our move. The beer continued to flow and the movie rolled on until it was time to leave.
With nothing better to do and still nursing bruised egos, Stretch and d I headed south to the land of Columbine Knolls. At this time, the land to the west of my house on Marshall was under development. As we neared the Knolls, we determined that we had an urgent need to relieve ourselves of some excess water. We came upon a home construction site with a San-O-Let and decided that this was as good a place as any other to do the deed.
After completing our deposit into said San-O-Let, one of the two young men wondered aloud what a toppled San-O-Let might sound like. As this was several years before Al Gore invented the internet and we couldn’t just Google the query, we decided to put the little house to the test and tipped it over with ease.
Gaaaawoooosshhhhhh! What a cool sound. Goodness what fun that was. Let’s do that again. Being an area with a lot of construction, it didn’t take long to find another Port-A-Potti. Number two hits the turf. Gaaaawoooosshhhhhh is heard once more. Then, like junkies in need of a fix, the search was on for numbers three, four, five, and six. Was it enough? No! We wanted, needed more.
Seven, eight, and nine all hit the ground with that satisfying sound we so desperately needed to hear. But like any junkie, sources to satisfy our addiction were becoming scarce. We searched high and low throughout the Columbine area. Finally number ten was in our sight and soon it, too, was vanquished. Agonizing minutes passed by, but they seemed like hours. Again our quarry was spotted and number eleven also fell.
Number twelve. Where was number twelve? The arc of our search began to widen. The opportunities were becoming few. At last we found our even dozen. Once more our hunger was sated. Would twelve be enough? The answer was clear. NO! On to number thirteen.
The search was becoming desperate. The object of our quest seemed out of reach. Then, as if in a revelation, we saw it, number thirteen. Just the appearance of a silhouette in the distance, in the middle of an open field we were sure was another construction area. We searched for a route for the noble vehicle. There were no roads; we had to go cross country.
Did I forget to mention that while it was a pleasant summer night, that we had received a bit of rain that day? Did I mention that the field we were about to traverse was muddy as hell? Did I mention that there was no number thirteen? Did I mention the bog we stopped the station wagon in to assess our situation? Did I mention the fear that began to rise in our bellies as we considered how we were going to explain how we got the car, my Mother’s car, stuck in the mud at least 200 yards from the nearest road? Did I mention any of that?
What were we to do? Hope was fading fast. Our live were flashing before our young eyes. Can your parents really impose an eternal grounding? Then a beneficent God stepped in to help. Just a few yards away was a pile of new construction lumber. Salvation! We arranged a series of boards to the rear of the wagon something akin to railroad track ties. Stretch positioned himself in the rear of the wagon to guide me out of the muck. “To the left” Stretch would instruct. So I turned left. “No, no, the other left” he would say, forgetting that we were facing in different directions.
Finally, we escaped the bog that nearly swallowed us. We were on our way back. We once more believed that the sun would rise in the morning with our lives intact. One minor problem though. The way were going out was not the way we came in. We found ourselves headed directly to occupied homes with no sign of a path to the street. We had no real choice; we found an unfinished yard and crept our way quietly between two houses and back to pavement. Yes, there is a God!
I dropped Stretch off back at his house and proceeded to mine. I pulled the car in the garage and, breathing a sigh of relief, began to enter my house. Then I looked at the car. What car? All I saw was a mass of mud on four wheels. Not only was that, but the back of wagon, where my intrepid guide was stationed, also caked in mud.
Nothing I could do that night but to go to bed and have a good story in the morning. I told a partial truth saying that we needed to heed natures call, pulled off the road, and got stuck in the mud. My parents seemed to buy it, I committed to cleaning the car, my Mother’s car, and that was that. But I still wonder; where was the elusive number thirteen? Would the thirteenth really be better than the first twelve? We’ll never know. Some things are best left unanswered, like does Bigfoot really exist? Is Elvis still alive and living in a cheap hotel in Memphis? And what technologies do we have today that were discovered on that alien spacecraft kept in Area 54? Like I said, we may never know.
Baby Fiat, or the Altered States of
Remy Julienne! By Mongo
A life time can be pretty long if we work at it! Sometimes we work at making it shorter also. So goes the stories of Stretch and his Fiat 124 sedan. A small, light blue, four door Italian fun car.
Our buddy Stretch came into this car from his parents. It was the magic carpet that took us to the ends of the earth and back again, a veritable time machine.
If you can remember back far enough Fiat was running ads on TV with stunt driver Remy Julienne. Jumping canyons, jumping from roof top, to roof top. Flying through train cars, over waterfalls and sooo much more. The stuff a boys dreams are filled with and we tried most of them!
Start with one small Fiat, Now add three fellows, one was over 6’3” at about 175 pounds. Another was 6’3” and 285 pounds and one other friend about 6’7” and about 160 pounds. (He had to lie across the back seat!) Now that’s a load, the fact that these guys could even get into this car was amazing in itself, sort of like a clown car when 12 guys jump out! Add a little French stunt driver blood into the mix and Mario Fiat was born. (a tall skinny white kid from Colorado with an Italian accent…Ha Ha Ha)
Close calls, flying through dips, around corners and sometimes even picking up the car and turning it to get it into or out of a tight place….with a little help from our friends of course.
Ah, if that Fiat could talk!
It was a time when an automobile was the key to discovery. As a group of friends or flying solo.
There were many times when Mongo, Stretch, and The Stick went on important errands or adventures all in this tiny car that, in spite of four doors, only had room for two adults.
Stretch drove, Mongo held down the co-pilot seat (and rather well I might add. It wasn’t going anywhere) while all 6’7” of The Stick had to open a back door, grab the top door jam, and thrust his feet forward to the other side. He then sat sitting sideways with his face between his elevated knees. He looked like a Mercuty-era astronaut only much, much longer. He was praying he wasn’t kissing his ass goodbye.
Decades later who would of known that something as simple as a little blue car would prove to be the source of many emotions and enduring memories of a time, a place and the people that have made us who we are today… I would not have wanted it any other way.
My hat is off to you, Mr Mario Fiat (Stretch) Thanks for being my friend!
“Power to the P*n*s”
A group of six young men in a Plymouth Valiant, Bull included, go out in search of the meaning of life and instead just sing beery songs, including the above to the tune of John Lennon’s “Power to the People” as they cruise the town. They had been reading entirely too much Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin.
Outside of underage drinking we were only guilty of overenthusiastic optimism in the pursuit of women and of being a bunch of juniors trying to fill up the senior court at school with water and urine.
So we left…
Miss K. was on a rampage about one thing or another and was deep into teacher-upset-with-students mode, lecturing the speech and drama class. We listened to this for a minute or too, looked at each other and decided we didn’t have to take it any more. We got up, left the classroom and didn’t return.
Fast forward to Concert Choir class. Dress rehearsal and we were all decked out in our iridescent robes that slightly changed hue as they caught the light from a different angle. A student messenger walked in handed Mr. Weiker one of those pink office notes. He looked up and announced that the two of us had to report to the Vice Principal’s office. Off we went, robe sleeves flowing, but not without first stopping by one of the counselors who we thought might be sympathetic and act as an intermediary. He walked us down the hall to the V.P.’s office, introduced us as the two fallen angels and left us at the doorway.
We sat down and there flashed that incomparable Steve Baum smile, followed by some witty remark, which elicited a growl from the V.P. Vic “VD” DaRosa, and resulted in our chastened silence. He wasn’t having any excuses or alternative points of view (or clever witticisms, for that matter). We wound up cleaning the art rooms for a week.
1/31 New Note: Bull has emailed me to remind me that we actually faced the music together in a total of 3 counselor’s offices. Visit 2, with Mr Bates (known sometimes as Master) was due to us attempting to organize a sit-down in the cafeteria and number 3, thankfully a simple misunderstanding, was in the office of counselor Tommy T. The reason there was no escalation in the counselling or in discipline was that these were just verbal reminders to get back in line for the most part and, and here’s that luck thing again, were with three different guys who never shared cases.
( Incidentally Bull has now been an award-winning teacher and counselor in Colorado for thirty years. Think of the personalized training he received!)
Brian P visits Steve at UAB Hospital
My friend Brian P., truly the straightest of the straight among my friends, surprised us one night while cruising aimlessly through South Denver.
Fellow good citizen Thom was at the wheel in the family Rambler wagon. It was so uncool as to be ironic.
With no notice Brian P. rolls down the window as we pass a packed neighborhood park and yells out: “Hey, Chicano! Hey Chic-Chic-Chic- Chicano!” Thom hastily headed us away toward safer suburban neighborhoods with the radio blaring to drown out Brian P.
When we got to Columbine one of us had the bright idea to shine a high-powered flashlight at passing cars. This was funny until the fifth or sixth car turned out to be a JeffCo deputy sheriff. He slams, spins, and follows us but luckily we were only a couple of blocks from my home.
Thom whips into the driveway across the street from my own and the deputy pulls in behind us with tree flashing.
I was dispatched to get out and talk to the deputy. This would become the story of my life.
“What do you boys think you’re doing?”
“Well, we’re getting home late and we were trying to flag my Dad down so he wouldn’t go looking for us.” (Silent prayer)
“Do you know you could cause an accident?”
“Well no sir but we thought it was the right idea. And look! There’s my Dad now!”
Dad had emerged in his bathrobe on the driveway in the nick of time.
“Sir, do you take responsibility for these boys?”
Pause. Must have lasted hours in our minds.
“I’ll take care of it, Officer.”
And he did.