How To Slash A Tire

Submitted into Contest #140 in response to: Write a story inspired by a memory of yours.... view prompt

73 comments

Creative Nonfiction Funny Middle School

Step One: Let some air out.



“You have to depressurize the tire,” the older boy explains, pulling out his switchblade. With a flick of a button, a two-inch blade appears. My eyes grow wide—I have never seen anything like it. 

With a vulpine grin, he hands the knife to me to hold. I shake my head. 

His hair is long, blonde, feathered. He’s wearing a black AC/DC concert t-shirt. I don’t know him very well since he goes to another school, but he’s a friend of Susy Watts. 

“Why do you have to do that?” I ask, watching him use the tip of his blade to push down the metal pin in the center of the valve stem. Air from the tire comes out in short bursts.

He waits until he is done before he offers me an explanation. 

“Because if I don’t let some of the air out before I slash the tire—it’s going to be very loud.” That smile again.

I quit asking questions. It’s best that I don’t know more than I already do. 

At that point, I decide Suzy Watts’ slumber party is far more exciting than I had bargained for. 

Seeing her parent’s new microwave pop popcorn in less than two minutes was a revelation. Unrolling our sleeping bags in their tan Winnebago bonded us four giggly thirteen-year-olds. Eating pepperoni pizza and drinking orange soda in our bathing suits by her pool seemed beyond cool. 

Now in the motorhome parked on the driveway, we play Crazy Eights and sing “Happy Birthday” to Susy, shoving wedges of bakery cake into our mouths. The pink Crisco frosting is an inch high, leaving our fingers covered in grease and sugar when we pluck off the decorative red roses to eat whole. 

Around midnight, the boys show up.

I look out the windshield to see the one with the feathered hair.


🜋 🜋 🜋


Step Two: Use the right tool.



“I don’t think we should go,” Alison whispers. She’s flat-chested, her hair pulled back into a low ponytail. She’s wearing a sweatshirt with DYN-O-MITE in neon rainbow print. She won’t hit puberty until 10th grade.

Suzy Watts is already out the door of the recreational vehicle, her tongue half way down the throat of the boy she promised her parents she would never see again.

I look at Robin and we shrug. 

We leave Alison in the Winnebago with a bag of Cheetos and assorted Jolly Ranchers. Alison starts to cry as we leave, but it’s the middle of a summer night. Adventure calls.

There are four of them and three of us. We pair off quickly, the odd man out deciding to pull out a pilfered pack of Marlboro’s. His BIC lighter flashes, illuminating him in the darkness until the tip of his cigarette glows red. Ironically, I note he’s wearing a Joe Camel t-shirt, the cartoon dromedary looking particularly studly on the back of a motorcycle. 

I look at the smoker and wonder if I had paired off too quickly with the tire slasher? The smoker talks very little, looks off into the distance, combs his black curls back with one hand when they fall into his eyes. I watch him put away the lighter and the cigarettes. He blows smoke rings.

“Now you try,” the boy with the feathered hair laughs, putting an arm around me. I like it, I think, that he’s claimed me as his.

“Try what?” I ask. 

“Taking a car out. Slash a tire.”

“Which one?”

We look up and down the cul-de-sac. There’s a station wagon parked on the street by a mailbox. It’s an ugly car. Deserving of vandalism. 

“What do you want to use?” the boy with the feathered hair says.

“What are my options?”

He reaches into his white painter pants, the kind with an inordinate amount of pockets. He retrieves an awl and a Swiss army knife.

"Pick your poison." 

“Can I use your switchblade?” I ask.

“No.”

I’m disappointed, opting for the awl instead. 

I look over to see Susy Watts and her boyfriend writhing on the ground, just behind the bushes. 

Robin and her date are sitting on the curb, discussing Star Wars like distant cousins at a family reunion. 

The smoker smokes, looking wistfully at the constellations. I want to go over and talk to him, but the boy with the feathered hair takes my wrist.

We head over to the driver’s side of the station wagon.


🜋 🜋 🜋


Step Three: Turn your head. 



I’m taking this job seriously. 

I crouch down by the tire, awl in hand, feet poised to run if anyone interrupts our hooliganism. I place the awl in between the treads, prepared to jab deep into the radial ply tire. 

“What are you doing!” the boy with the feathered hair says, chastising me. A dog barks as we crouch down further from view.

“I’m. slashing. a. tire.” What did he think I was doing?

“You can’t put your face next to it. It could explode. You gotta protect your eyes.”

I drop the awl.

“Then you do it,” I say, disgusted with myself and him. 

I walk back to where Robin and her boy are talking to each other in C-3PO voices, cracking each other up. They’ll eventually marry, have three children, then bitterly divorce. 


🜋 🜋 🜋


Step Four: If you do it right, it’s over in seconds. 



We head back to the Watts’ house.

Susy and her boyfriend manage to slather themselves all over each other while walking upright. Robin and her future ex-husband are debating what Star Wars implies about the Vietnam War.

The smoker continues to smoke and look impatient with the rest of us. He wanders off into the night, walking home, blowing smoke rings. I will never see him again. 

Just as we approach the driveway, the boy with the feathered hair puts his hand up my shirt. I let him. 

Alison slams open the door to the Winnebago, face streaked with tears. We push past her, the boys helping themselves to cold pizza and candy.

Robin and her boy are yammering about Industrial Light and Magic’s special effects. 

The boy with the feathered hair pushes me into the front of the cab. His mouth is all over mine.

“Suzy—” Alison says after a time.

“What?” Suzy replies from the back of the Winnebago. She's annoyed, pulling up a crocheted afghan to cover herself and her boyfriend with.

“Your dad.”

I’d never seen Mr. Watts so angry.

I’d never seen three boys run out the door so quickly, leaving most of their things behind. 

Including a very fancy switchblade. 


April 06, 2022 00:59

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73 comments

K. Antonio
05:54 Apr 06, 2022

OH THIS TITLE! and the fact that this is creative nonfiction...how could I not read it?! ------ HAVING READ IT: Damn these kids were fun. Why is it that they reminded me of well...me? LOL. I enjoyed the format of this entire story. How its real, angsty, and super funny. ALSO THAT ENDING... do you still have the switchblade? I think what makes this story successful is the dialogue tags which capture the action beats during the conversation really well. Also I found the way you captured these characters to be very appealing. Honestly, ...

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15:19 Apr 06, 2022

No memory of slashing tires? There's still time, K.

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Scout Tahoe
19:06 Apr 06, 2022

I feel like I missed out on some serious fun as a teen. (And to think I just left teenagedom . . . *tears*.) The title definitely drew me in, and I liked how you organized them with neat steps. Wish I could see that switchblade. What a well-executed plan.

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21:48 Apr 06, 2022

The steps are meant to be double entendres... Not sure that worked, but I'm happy with it.

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Mike Panasitti
16:01 Apr 22, 2022

Deidra, double-entendres for what? Suicide? Possibly. Sex? Possibly. They work, but in a somewhat bizarre way. I'm happy with it as well. Cheers.

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19:17 Apr 23, 2022

Totally double-entendres for sex. C'mon. Don't make me spell it out...(blush)

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Delia Tomkus
11:12 Apr 06, 2022

This was hilarious oh my god. I loved the insight that the narrator gave. "They'll eventually marry, have three children, then bitterly divorce." This story is amazing.

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15:20 Apr 06, 2022

Late 1970's. Before cell phone cameras. Best era to come of age :)

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Graham Kinross
10:48 Apr 24, 2022

This sounds quite familiar, minus the cigarettes and girls. I wonder if kids now are doing this kind of thing or just playing Fortnite faking their lives on instagram and Facebook.

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18:05 Apr 25, 2022

Digital cameras and social media ruined fun. Today, the kids put the fun in dysFUNctional.

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Andrea Doig
09:47 Apr 15, 2022

Haha. Unlike a comment below… damn these kids were naughty … and fun… and in my next life… i shall be like them too! Sadly I identified with Alison the most haha… except for the crying. Thanks for an enjoyable, funny and sweet read for Good Friday! Oh to be young again.

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Chris Williams
06:27 Apr 14, 2022

These kids remind me of everyone I knew in the 1970s. I can't believe some of the stuff we did in those days.

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14:52 Apr 14, 2022

Good times, indeed. All ruined for future suburban juvenile delinquents by the digital revolution and its evil spawn, social media and smart phones. :)

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Stevie B
19:39 Apr 13, 2022

Deidra, I must remember to bring along these tips the next night I'm out and about wreaking havoc. That was one DYN-O-MITE of a tale!

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21:21 Apr 13, 2022

Stevie B, I’m sure you know all the midnight tricks and treats 🎃👠

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Stevie B
21:35 Apr 13, 2022

Been around that proverbial block a time or two...

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Neala S
16:59 Apr 12, 2022

ahhhh this is so cool- i love it so much youre really good at writing :)

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18:43 Apr 12, 2022

Incremental improvement...a long way to go to being good. :)

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Riel Rosehill
08:44 Apr 12, 2022

Wow what a round number, 100 submissions, congrats! This story was golden, that ending was great... I wish I had memories like that of parties!

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11:41 Apr 12, 2022

All before cell phone cameras. The digital age ruined everything :)

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23:53 Apr 11, 2022

Deirdra, this was STELLAR!! I love this so much. The subtitles of the sections are quite a thrill just themselves, but the story is also so engaging :)

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00:01 Apr 12, 2022

It's also almost completely true. Oh, the late 1970's. What a time to be alive...

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23:40 Apr 11, 2022

The nostalgia! It was wonderful to read, and the details were perfect! Thank you for sharing :D

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23:42 Apr 11, 2022

I feel like I've contributed to your delinquency...

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01:19 Apr 12, 2022

Who, me?! Nooooo. Never.....

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Kevin Broccoli
16:11 Apr 11, 2022

Such a great story--no surprise there--but I really came here to say-- Congratulations on 100 submissions!

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16:28 Apr 11, 2022

Thanks for re-living some 1970's trauma from my childhood with me :) As for the 100, I quote Ray Bradbury: “Write a short story every week. It's not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”

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Kevin Broccoli
16:51 Apr 11, 2022

And that's why he was the best of the best!

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Kevin Broccoli
16:52 Apr 11, 2022

Although I bet I could prove him wrong (See My First 52 Stories on Here)

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17:01 Apr 11, 2022

I'm still a huge fan of "Meep Meep."

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Kevin Broccoli
17:30 Apr 11, 2022

I still need to do that Elmer Fudd story.

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Shea West
23:25 Apr 09, 2022

Step One: Let some air out. Step Two: Use the right tool. Step Three: Turn your head. Step Four: If you do it right, it’s over in seconds. I loved these lines in particular because of what they imply to the reader. I would like to go on record and say that John Bender from The Breakfast Club really ruined us all! But here you were living your life with a bad boy, slashing tires. Wonders never cease! So many fabulous layers. I loved this story of mild teenage anarchy.

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15:54 Apr 10, 2022

Just to set the record straight, I did NOT slash tires. I simply aided and abetted. And fun fact: that particular night, those teenage hoodlums pretty much hit every car on the street but Susy's parents. Not suspicious at all .... hahahhahha

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Adorable Dogs
17:43 Apr 09, 2022

This was amazing! GREAT STORY! I loved how it was written and how you wrote about the other characters, it was all just an exceptional read!

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15:55 Apr 10, 2022

Thanks Mx. Dogs.

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John K Adams
14:45 Apr 09, 2022

Beautifully done! Capturing that ballsy ignorance of 13! 'Feather Hair' was out of his depth. You don't puncture in the tread, where it can be repaired. Always rip the sidewall. She was better off without him. great!

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15:20 Apr 09, 2022

THE SIDEWALL. Of course! No wonder I could never do it properly... I'll put that in the sequel :)

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John K Adams
16:16 Apr 09, 2022

These little used skill sets. Once learned, never forgotten. That was a fun read. 13 year old girls were so mysterious to me.

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16:17 Apr 09, 2022

Oh they are mysterious to everyone. Freaks...

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12:44 Apr 09, 2022

Oh to be young again, wait when I was young I knew nothing about love. Oh to be old and in love. That's the ticket. Oh and about your story, it was equal parts humor and nostalgia. I love coming to your stories every week. I'm never disappointed.

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14:18 Apr 09, 2022

I think humor is really the only lens to view the past (and present and future, for that matter.) Love is such a rare thing in this world, but definitely the most transformative. I'm sure the main character often wondered about the Smoker, all the what if's, all the roads not taken. :)

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Dhwani Jain
10:36 Apr 09, 2022

How are you doing?

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13:10 Apr 09, 2022

Really well. How's things with you?

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Dhwani Jain
13:19 Apr 09, 2022

Good. I have finally started my senior year of high school!!!!!!!!

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14:14 Apr 09, 2022

Congratulations! What big plans are next?

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Dhwani Jain
04:47 Apr 10, 2022

In life, I'm still thinking about it. Writing wise, I am inspired due to the routine change!!! Please check out my blog and maybe leave me a review there? Its link is in my bio.

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15:31 Apr 10, 2022

Lots of time to figure it out. Definitely will check out your blog. Exciting :)

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Okashi Kashi
03:08 Apr 09, 2022

99! Gosh darn it, let everyone else catch up! Congrats on another submission. I liked that each step sort of had a second/hidden meaning, although I'm uncertain what you mean by 'Using the right tool'. Still, very clever. If I had to sum this piece up in one word, that's what I would say: Clever. Thanks for this story. (P.S; If you ever have the time and energy, would you mind critiquing my latest submission? )

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15:57 Apr 10, 2022

100 NOW BABY. Off to read your latest :)

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Phoenix Osborne
02:01 Apr 09, 2022

But it's illegal to own one...

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16:02 Apr 10, 2022

That just makes it more fun :)

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Phoenix Osborne
21:07 Apr 11, 2022

Haha :))

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Phoenix Osborne
02:00 Apr 09, 2022

Awesome story! And I'd love to see a switchblade!! They're so cool...

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