This is the continuation and conclusion of yesterday's story.
That Wednesday morning the crew assembled at the concrete wall in front of the High School and plotted everything out. My friend was a little surprised at how many people were going to be part of this event. The plan was for Pete to steal the spare car key from the top drawer of his father's dresser. Then she, Pete and another friend named Brian were to meet at the church parking lot at 7:30. By that time, the sermon would be 30 minutes in and the likelihood of late arrivers or anyone hanging around the parking lot would be very remote. The three of them would put the key in the car without starting it, put the car into neutral and push it out onto the road. Once on the road they would start it up and take off, picking up friends along the way.
The three friends met at the church parking lot and the first part of the plan went off without a hitch. By 7:35 the car was in motion, heading for the first pick up. Pete, Brian and my friend all sat in a line across the front bench seat of Pete's fathers Oldsmobile 88. Pete looked a little nervous as he death gripped the wheel with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Approaching the first intersection, he stopped at the traffic light too nervous to look left or right. The other two passengers scanned the intersection for nosy neighbors and friends driving with their parents, but all was clear and the light turned green. The three friends exhaled and moved out of the intersection.
Pete turned into the development where his friend John lived, driving at a normal rate of speed as to not attract attention, then he moved on to the next friend's house and the next and the next and the next. Before they knew it, there were eight fourteen and fifteen year olds wedged into the car, bumping into each other with lit cigarettes and cursing each other out. Because of this, the mood in the car got rowdy. This seemed to have an effect on Pete, as his driving through the winding suburban streets grew faster and more erratic. He started to sway the car from side to side and he took corners at such a high rate of speed that the car tilted enough for the wheels to briefly lift up on one side.
As the car rounded yet another corner, Pete took it too wide and wiped out the side view mirrors on three cars parked on the side of the street. The Oldsmobile swerved wildly as he tried to regain control of a car that handled as elegantly as a tank. My friend was terrified at this point, sensing that there was a dangerous mob mentality at play. It occurred to her that she didn't know half of the guys in the car. What was to say that they wouldn't decide to rape her or escalate the situation further and wind up wrapping the car around a tree. At that moment, another car came down the block in the opposite direction, forcing Pete to slow down significantly. And with that, she panicked and jumped out of the moving car and rolled toward the curb. To her complete astonishment, she had nothing more than a few scrapes and bruises.
Within thirty seconds, Pete came screeching around the block and stopped in front of her in the street. Her friend Brian got out of the car, grabbed her and pulled her back in as silent Pete peeled away. She was too terrified and upset cry or make a sound. She just wanted the whole thing to be over. Glancing down at her watch, she realized it was indeed almost over because it was just five minutes from the pre-arranged return time. She swallowed the huge lump in her throat and squeaked to Pete that is was 8:50 PM. He had wanted to be sure that if his parents decided not to stay for the mixer after church, that the car would be sitting there by 9:00 waiting for them. He yelled at everyone in the car to shut up and he began shouting orders. He would drive to one block away from the church and let everyone out, then he would pull up in front of the church and turn off the car. Then the entire team would push the big boat of a car back into its parking spot and run like hell.
Pete let everyone out of the car a block ahead and they all started walking toward the church. Then, meeting at the driveway of the church, they slowly and quietly pushed the car into the lot. As they turned down the lane where the car had been parked, they realized that the parking space that the car had been in was no longer empty. As a matter of fact, none of the surrounding parking spaces were empty. He was going to have to park two rows further, on the other end of the aisle. They rolled the car into the parking space, each of them wondering and worrying over what was going to happen to them. They had stolen a car, scratched up the passenger side of it and put it back in the wrong spot. There was no question that Pete was bagged. The question remained, whether he would give up his friends or not.
Pete sprinted home to return the key before his parents got back. My friend walked home with her head spinning. If she got caught, she would not be allowed to hang out with Pete or his sister Suzanne, who was one of her very best friends. She got little sleep that night, worrying that she might be going to juvenile hall.
The next morning, the same group of kids waited for Pete at the wall in front of school. Pete walked up and stood next to them without saying anything. They looked at him with eyebrows raised in anticipation. Finally, my friend asked whether he got in trouble. Pete waited a second, threw down his cigarette and said "Nope". Then he turned on his heel and walked into school.
Later that afternoon at lunch, my friend and Pete's sister walked out into the courtyard outside the lunchroom and casually chatted. Suddenly a thought came to Suzanne and she grabbed my friend's arm in excitement "Oh, my god! You're not going to believe what happened. Someone stole my dad's car out of the church parking lot and banged it all up. Then they put it back in the wrong parking spot." As she told the story, Suzanne got more and more animated and squeezed harder on her friend's arm, forcing her to pull it away. "My dad thinks that it was the leader of a drug ring. Isn't that unbelievable?" My friend rubbed the bruises on her arm that Suzanne had been unknowingly squeezing. "Yes Suzanne. I would have to agree with you . That is unbelievable."