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Drama Funny Teens & Young Adult

My friend and I have made a very grievous mistake. A few weeks ago, my friend, Korey, bought a brand new car. He's been saving up for this machine for years, probably since middle school. Yep, this car's been on his mind since long before he could even drive. On his 14th birthday, he went straight to the local grocery store to work as a clerk and he's become more than a little bit miserly. He kept the money saved up in what he calls a secret stash, but in the real world, it's a damn shoe box.

Obviously, one job wouldn't have been enough to buy this beast on wheels, so in and around school, he's been doing favors for cash for almost everyone in the class. Distracting a teacher for someone, letting a guy down for a girl, offering to do math homework; rinse and repeat. I think he made the same amount being an errand boy around school that he did as a clerk for a grocery store.

But that's not all. Every Saturday around the neighborhood, he'd continue to offer his "generous" services. Dog walking, babysitting, car washing, digging cars out of the snow, helping people moving carrying their stuff to their cars or moving vans. Keep in mind, this was over the course of at least three years. My other friend, Jocelyn and I used to tease him night and day that he was collecting money he’ll never spend; we didn't believe the money was going to go to a car. He told us when we were 13 that he wanted to buy a car and we assumed at the time that he meant when he was, like, 25 or so. He was speaking in the moment.

It should’ve clicked that all that money was going to the car. But by the time we were 17, he surprises us and pretty much the rest of the graduating class. Do you want to know what car he bought with all that cash? He bought a used 2012 Chrysler 300. Not leased, not given to him by a rich uncle for a joke. No, his dad drove him to the house of the guy who was selling it and Korey was trying to hand the guy his shoe box full of money. He had a shoe box full of $13,000.

Rubber banded wads of money, odd jobs around town, school favors; out of context, you'd think he was selling himself or funding a drug addiction. Jocelyn certainly thought that. So, he handed the seller all of those cash wads, he assured him that he’s a trusted driver with hands on instruction (Jocelyn and I are witnesses); he knows what a car is and how to drive one. This was his negotiation. If I were the seller, I'd probably be taken aback by this teenager coming at me full speed ahead with a shoe box he says is full of money and nothing else. But what do I know? I'm just a stupid teenage girl as you're about to see.

So we see this black Chrysler pull up to the school's parking lot, shining as it cruises into position. Jocelyn motions me and goes, "Look at that thing. What kind of jackass would have that?" Our kind of jackass, Jocelyn. When the door swings open, we were expecting some wealthy transfer student or a new teacher with an attitude. Nope, it was just Korey making good on an undercooked promise. We were shocked. Jocelyn was all like, "Oh, you son of a bitch!" and I was like, "Color me surprised, he actually did it!"

Korey closes the door, dons his sunglasses and moseys on over to us to flex. "Hey girls! Are you impressed?" he asked. And for a split second, I wondered if I should be truthful or mess with him. "I half-expected your granddad's jalopy from 1945 to make a come back."

"Your words and your thoughts don't match, Madeline. I know you weren't expecting that monster on wheels." And he was right, but I just wanted to mess around with him.

"It's not that impressive," I retorted while turning my head away from him. Jocelyn was more honest with her thoughts.

"Dude, you have car! I thought you were joking all this time."

"Well, at least you were honest, Josie," he was definitely talking about me. This will teach us to never underestimate this man again. We couldn't see it at the time, but he opened our eyes: Korey Sullivan was going places while Jocelyn and I were just sitting there, letting the days go by (water flowing underground).

In all seriousness, the surprise that he actually put a dream to reality hit us with a wave of reactions. We were shocked, impressed, slightly intimidated and I don't know about Jocelyn, but frankly I was kind of jealous. Not that he got the car, but that he followed through on a goal. I remember when we were 9 or 10, and he used to give up too easily. We didn't know about his plan and the steps he was taking until after he showed up with the car, and it all started making sense why he was jumping through all these hoops, taking on the twelve labors of Hercules. He knew what he was doing, but to us it was madness without a method.

About a week later, he started taking us to school free of charge. When he got his prize, he stopped doing favors for everyone. He still had that clerk job, and the odd jobs around the neighborhood. Gas money and maintenance were minor annoyances for the time that he had the car. And then in a spur-of-the-moment move, I made a dumbass proposition to Jocelyn.

She was sleeping over at my house one Friday night, trying to finish up her homework, while I was glued to the TV, playing Grand Theft Auto. Call it a coincidence, but that may have been the main influence for this next "grand idea." I proposed to Jocelyn that we take Korey's car out for a joyride, just this once and she did a double take.

"Do you have any idea what you're thinking about doing?" and looking back, I wished I thought as far as Korey did in buying that car. "This is grand theft auto - the game you're playing right now - we could get arrested."

"He's not going to know," I tried to assure her, "we'll take it once around the block, and head back home."

"He's going to know. Every car has an odometer. When he says a bigger number on that thing, who do you think he'll go to first? It definitely won't be his dad."

"It won't even be a mile. Come on. Just once. This could be a learning experience."

"What the hell are we gonna learn, Maddie? How it feels to have handcuffs? Or what it's like to have whiplash as we crash our best friends car?!" Her voice was rising steadily.

"Keep it down! Look, we aren't even gonna leave the neighborhood. We'll drive down to the end of the street. Go once around the block and go right back to Korey's house. The odometer won't even turn."

We spent the next ten or so minutes debating and arguing like lawyers in court. I kept trying to justify my horribly bad idea and she just wasn't having it. Eventually, she got tired and only tagged along to make sure the car was fine. Promises were hard to make...

It wasn't too late, say, 7 or 8PM. Jocelyn and I scurried like bandits scouting houses to burgle. That black car was in sight and I just wanted to drive it around just once and forget about it. Jocelyn rightly wanted to punch my lights out for even thinking about this and she didn't want me to forget it for the rest of our natural lives.

I had a wire hanger with me. I was hoping I'd be able to use it to unlock the door. I checked first to see if it was even locked and it turns out I didn't even need the damn hanger. Remember when I said Korey was forward thinking? I take that back. If he thought that far ahead, he would've locked the damn car. He also didn't have the alarm set up, so if I was a thief, I'd think the owner was an idiot.

On that day, I learned driving is hard. I had to step on the brake as soon as I put it in drive (automatic transmissions, man). Then I put it in reverse and continued my haphazard, hands-on lesson on driving.

"Okay, that was a bit of a mess, but no damage, no regret," I told Jocelyn with a nervous grin.

"I will feed those words to you, girl!" Jocelyn said back, anxious and angry with me, "Why am I even here? You haven't the slightest clue what you're doing, do you?"

"I got it! I got it. Calm your tits, Jocelyn. You worry too much. Down to the end of the street and once around the block." Then I realized our neighborhood was kind of big so I thought of something more reasonable. "On second thought, you may be right."

"The gods shine down upon us! About time you came to your senses. Come on, let's go."

"Actually, I meant we could just go twice to the end of the street and then go. The neighborhood's pretty big."

"I spoke too soon. I'm out."

"Don't leave!"

"This was your idea, Maddie. I'm not gonna be there when it blows up in your face."

Then I took some very drastic measures. I locked her in the car.

"Yes, you are, Jocelyn. We made it this far and you want to quit now?"

"Let me out now."

"Please. Look, I'll compromise. Once to the end of the block and then I'm putting it back where we found it."

"I will hold you to that, little girl."

For the next few days, I would go through periods of shame. Jocelyn just sat there sulking in silence while I still figured out the scary new world of driving. I was really on the clock here. I didn’t want Korey or his dad to find out I was doing this.

I drove to the intersection and then made a U-turn back to Korey’s house. I slowly eased into the driveway of the car. I put it in park and placed my hands behind my head, smug as a slug bragging about that time it slept with a bug. She couldn’t believe the car was intact.

"Oh my god," she muttered as she put her hands in her face.

"See? What'd I tell you? And you were worried something bad would happen." As if on cue, when I lowered my arms I accidentally knocked the knob into drive and we struck Korey's garage. My heart sank. Jocelyn slammed into the dashboard. We were scared for our lives. Korey spent the better part of 3 to 4 years vacuuming every penny in sight. He paid for this car with his very, very hard-earned money and we trashed his prize in just one night.

Jocelyn couldn't believe her eyes. The tears wouldn’t stop. We ran back to our houses and I cried well into the night. My mind was marathoning through multiple outcomes. How mad was he gonna be? Who would he blame first? What's his dad gonna do? Are the cops gonna get involved? I wanted to text him. I wanted to tell Korey about my infinitely stupid idea, but I was scared beyond the tombstone. I texted Jocelyn first and she still wasn't happy.

"Can't you tell what a bad idea is?! That was the worst possible idea you could ever come up with!"

"I know! I know! I'm sorry."

"Why the hell are you telling me?! Tell Korey you trashed his prize!"

"I can't! His dad and my parents will murder me in cold blood!!!"

"I'm gonna tell him. You better get a head start and suck up to him right this moment. Let him down gently."

"We can't do that. Do you realize just how long he spent saving up for this car? He showed more commitment in getting this than we ever did in our schoolwork!!!!! He's gonna flip out! He'll never forgive us!"

Jocelyn called me after that block of text, telling me to calm my tits. And she was right. I was behaving like her from the previous night. I was gonna tell Korey that I saw a thief at his door. Jocelyn said she was gonna go straight to his house to confess the truth. I tried to run across the street to meet Korey before her and pass off this diarrheic mess of words as a truthful retelling of events. Jocelyn saw me and ran after me. We were wrestling to get to the door and tell Korey what happened.

Then Korey came out, saying this, "Why are you two fighting on my lawn?" Oh lovely. "Does this have anything to do with the car? I heard the bang last night. My dad thinks someone tried to steal it."

"Uh..."

"You have something to say, Maddie?"

"Yeah, do you?" asked Jocelyn. So there was definitely no lying my way out of this, since Korey knows we're involved. But was there any shame in trying?

"Crazy, huh? I heard the guy strike the garage door. You really got to be careful next--"

No there wasn’t. Jocelyn dealt me the meanest slap in history.

"Ow!"

"Be honest already!"

"Alright. Korey, I took your car out for a joyride last night and I accidentally hit the knob and struck the garage and I'm really, really sorry. I just wanted to drive it once! I know you've been saving up for years and I just totaled your car."

Korey facepalmed in frustration. "Was it gonna kill you to just tell me you wanted to drive around a bit? We could've gone to some abandoned parking lot! I would've let you drive there." And the tears came back with the force of a Category-5 hurricane. Jocelyn's disappointment was equally immeasurable.

As mad as Korey was at us for taking his car out, it struck him that he may be to blame as well.

"Now that I think about it, this was my fault too," he said. Jocelyn and I couldn't believe what we heard. "I really should've locked my car. I had to convince my dad that I could own a car, and it seems I have to do that again. We're really in the shit, girls."

I felt like the worst person in the world after that. Korey went back inside to tell his dad what happened. Jocelyn and I went back to our houses to tell our parents the same. I had to face my mom and dad, red as a tomato and rinsed of all the moisture in my face from all the crying, and tell them to their face that I took my friend's car out for a quick joyride and drove it straight into his garage. First, they asked if I was fine, then they sat me down and explained the usual "actions have consequences" routine. I would've cried more, but my tear ducts needed a refill and my eyes were desert dry. I was grounded. No electronics until Monday.

I went to school on Monday hating myself for what I did over the weekend. Until the car got fixed, Korey had to ride with his dad. He was also barred from parking in the driveway for a few weeks, so he had to park in street. I was too embarrassed over what I did to try to talk to him or Jocelyn. On our way to the class, Korey was trying to hide a smirk. The mystery man had something to laugh at and part of me hoped that he was recounting some ridiculous gag in a TV show he watched over the weekend, but I knew. Jocelyn and I knew what he was laughing at.

"I can't believe you two rammed it face first into the garage!" he said through muffled laughter, "How did that even happen?"

Jocelyn, reciprocating the chuckles, said, "I was nervous watching her trying to drive automatic. It was like watching a caveman work a TV."

It was pretty useless to see it regretfully, so I joined them and retorted, "Hey! Caveman or not, that wasn't bad for a first attempt."

"Maybe if it was a stick shift, that wouldn't have happened, Maddie."

"That's the only reason my dad didn't want me to buy that car," Korey said, "he was worried I'd have less control with an automatic and wanted me to get a manual transmission."

"Is it really hard to drive stick?"

"It's doable, but for me, it was like if a headache and a nightmare had a love child. I couldn't do it."

"Oh god, really?"

"Yeah! Couldn't do it!"

And that was how I bungled a seemingly innocuous joyride. If you're wondering about the car or the garage, it took Korey's dad about three days and a couple hundred bucks to fix the bumper, headlights, grill and other stuff. The garage took longer to fix; again, since Korey was such a go-getter and hard worker, expenses weren't very problematic. The contractor measured the extent of the damage for the first day, it took a few more days to take out the door and come back with the replacements. It thankfully didn't cost too much, (about $260) but I still had to repay Korey back somehow, so as he did it throughout high school, I was saddled with his English homework. That's one way to learn a lesson. Why the hell did it cost me a reservoir's weight in tears?

November 30, 2020 22:25

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1 comment

Carrie O'keefe
18:40 Dec 10, 2020

It had a nice even strength to it through out. The climax and ending was nicely spaced.

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