This story, it’s more than can be contained in just one quick tale. At least, if I tell it right, it is. So how about I tell it right, huh?
There’s a number of things you need to know going into this. I could reveal them all in the course of story telling through clever character development and dialog, but we simply don’t have the time for that. So here’s the facts in a dry list, void of humor.
1. I am impatient and immature (at least, I was. I’d like to think I’ve grown a little since then)
2. I did NOT like Scott LaMountain at the onset of this chapter of my life. He would come to be one of my best friends, eventually, and I would even be a groomsman in his wedding.
3. This story takes place 2 years before You Will Respect Me
4. I seriously thought this list was going to be longer…
There is no greater use of a single, 18 year-old male’s time than to go off into the woods with a bunch of other 18 year-old males. My best friend Albie Pickens and I had made a habit of it. He was old hat at it, having camped with his dad from a very early age. I was a newer convert, growing up without a male influence (at least not one that wasn’t an abusive alcoholic). It really can’t be beat, though. The smell of the campfire, the soft sound of the lake’s gentle waves lapping at the shore, the park ranger touring around the paved roads with his bicycle (chiming his bell every few seconds). Each trip was as much escape as I could get from my life. Also, the girls (but that’s a story for another time, I promise).
So Albie and I planned a weekend camping trip. He came to me before hand, sheepishly (see, he knew about my childish temperament), and asked if it would be an issue if Scott LaMountain tagged along. I agreed, reluctantly. I actually swallowed my pride and put someone else before me, a landmark moment. We made our arrangements for pick-ups and supply shopping (Freihofer cookies, ham-steak, and Diet Mountain Dew), and as I should have suspected, Albie did not show.
I sat in my living room, bag packed, feet tapping anxiously on the hardwood floor, and stewed. My mother, that paragon of good parenting, egged me on in my anger; she suggested things he might be doing instead of picking me up. All of her ideas were stupid and insulting, she saw what a good person he was (hell, what good people his whole family were) and it ate at her ego. Nevertheless, it worked on me, and I could feel my face burning redder and redder as the hands on the clock made their way around their cigarette smoke-stained face. Finally I had my fill and I needed to act. Luckily for me, Albie’s house was only about a 25 minute walk from my house.
I stepped out into the sun-scorched late morning and planned out my actions. I was going to march to his front door, ring his door bell, and when he came to the door I was going to punch him in the mouth. Then I was going to punch him again, and again, and again. I was going to punch him until he choked on his teeth (I honestly didn’t think I had an anger management problem, I thought the world was just deserving of my wrath). My street connects to Sand Creek Road, which would take me all the way down to the scene of the impending confrontation, Rondack Road.
I made it about 3 blocks down the road when what do I see: a forest green (this is a pattern with Albie, I see now) Mercury Cougar with a flustered, little blonde man behind the wheel. I see him, he sees me. Somewhere, Ennio Morricone readied the orchestra; baton in the air, a bead of sweat resting at the tip of his nose, just waiting to drop. I make my move: I lift my left arm and turn my wrist to look at my watch in a condescending manner. It was a pretty shitty thing to do, but I didn’t stop there. I looked up from my watch, right into his eyes as he sits at a red light. I shrug my shoulders in an exaggerated, cartoonish manner, then break from the sidewalk. I cross the main road, disappearing down a side street. I had made my cowardly statement, I had no real world intentions of staying around to back it up.
Again, I don’t make it far before I’m confronted by Albie, only this time it’s more than just some nasty/frustrated looks. The front end of his car, roaring to match his rage, cut off my path. The door thrust open and he jumped out, finger in my face. “Get in the car!”
“No.” I’m not sure what punctuation there is that can express how I said that word. It was not at all unlike a spoiled 3 year-old, unwilling to give up his favorite toy to a friend. It stoked the fires, it was the reaction I was going for. A smile spread across my face as he spoke again.
“Get in the fucking car, Matt!”
“Lower your voice. You were late, by almost 2 hours. Fuck off, I’m going home.”
“I am not late! I said I would shop first, then get you! Get in the fucking car, now!”
“No.” With that, I turn on my heel and skip on down the road, to home.