Targeted Age Group: 15-adult
Genre: creative nonfiction
Streaker approx. 1070 wds.
I pulled into a short wide drive and shut off the engine in my 1973 Dodge Coronet. Its two foot silver letters spelling “Blue Thunder” graffitied across the hood sparkled in the moonlight. Heavy hinges creaked and popped as I opened the door. A rush of cold air slapped me in the face and smothered the work of my heater. I stepped into the forbidding night and shivered. It was frigid, twenty below zero at least. With all the talk of global warming you’d have thought 1990 would’ve come in on a tropical breeze. I hadn’t seen weather like it in fifteen years. Technically, I was too young to remember that far back, but I’d heard so many of Dad’s stories, it was almost as if I’d been there. Snow squeaked under my feet as I walked toward Eddie’s ‘69 two bedroom trailer. Dark wooden vertical siding made it look newer. Cocoa, his white Malamute, barked and bounced in the window. A floodlight perched on the small mudroom’s outermost upper corner flared to life. The snow banks scintillated as if they were covered in fine crystals. Thick white clouds puffed from my nostrils; cruel air stung my nose. The front door slammed and Cocoa came barreling across the driveway. I braced myself but he still knocked me flat when he crashed his 150 pounds of hair into my chest. I gave him a couple of good natured cuffs then a bear hug.
“Hey, Cocoa, ya numbskull. How the hell ya doin’?”
When he finished trouncing my body and licking my face, I noticed the sky. Not a cloud in sight. It was black satin laced with a million sparkling pinholes. The moon shone full and bright; a werewolf’s moon. I got up, brushed snow off my good clothes and checked the small paper bag that never left my hand. Finding the fifth of Sloe Gin intact, I climbed the stairs. Cocoa blasted by me as I opened the door, almost knocking me over again. I faltered, righted myself and walked inside. An icy fog followed me into the warm kitchen.
“It’s about time ya got here,” Eddie cajoled me, “I thought we’d be ringing in the New Year without cha.”
“Not a chance. I plan on bein’ plenty drunk by then,”
Everybody was there: Mark and Toni, Eddie and Lisa, and me, alone as usual. Eager to keep from being left behind, I cracked a beer and set my Sloe Gin on the table. I pulled a plastic two liter bottle of Half and Half out of its bag then held it up to the light, “Looks like I’ll have ta stick ta beer fer awhile, muh damn mix froze.”
“Sa drink it straight.” Mark slurred.
My face puckered at the thought, “Tried that once, even drunk Sloe Gin tastes like crap straight. Here, I’ll set it on the register, it’ll thaw out in no time.” I took two steps left, put the Half and Half on a metal grate in the floor, then sat on a vinyl coated kitchen chair and started chugging beer.
Festivities continued with a vengeance throughout the night. I can’t say whether we counted down the new year or not. That memory seems to have slipped out the back gate. I do recall a partial game of “Truth or Dare”. The more we drank, the goofier our game got. On one of my turns, someone dared me to go streaking.
“There ain’t no way I’m goin’ out there neked. It’s downright cold.”
“Yeah, I knew ya didn’t have the guts.” Some blurry apparition replied.
“Oh yeah? Well hold muh drink and watch this.”
I handed my Sloe Gin fizz to somebody just before stripping off every last stitch of clothing and with a mighty, “Dun-dun-dahh,” hit the door running. I charged down the steps, thundered across the driveway, turned left (warm bare feet get excellent traction on frozen snow), and pounded up the road as fast as I could go. About a hundred yards out, I noticed two things: 1) I was starting to sober up, and 2) it was getting colder by the minute. Glacial air rushed into my lungs, feeling like liquid nitrogen. My feet started burning and my goose bumps grew goose bumps. I decided to turn back before I froze to death.
I cranked an about face and stared down the vast desolate country road; I’d gone further than I thought. I started back, slower now because I’d used most of my energy getting where I was. Three quarters of the way back, from out of nowhere, an idea popped into my head; like all my brilliant ideas do. Without another thought I leapt the snow bank in a single bound and landed in fluffy waist deep snow. It was so cold my nether regions rocketed into my throat in self defense. The icy surprise gave me new found vigor and in record time I bounded across the lawn like a deer.
I bolted up the stairs, pulled open the storm door, and twisted the inside doorknob; it wouldn’t turn. It took a few more tries before the message got to my cold numbed, booze soaked brain. They’d locked the door on me. Gales of laughter erupted inside.
I pounded on the door, “Hey you guys, open up. This ain’t funny.” Evidently I was wrong, for they laughed even harder. I bounced from one foot to the other. My soles stuck to the ice like Velcro, “C’mon guys, I ain’t kiddin’, it’s cold as hell out here.”
Eddie got up, staggering and giggling, then stumbled to the door. It seemed like it took an hour for him to figure out how to unlock it. He finally opened it a crack and I charged by him then bounced down the hall on tingly feet. I ran into his bathroom, grabbed a towel and came back wiping melting snow off my shivering body. Once dry, I put my clothes back on then stood on the register with a drink in my hand for about forever, trying to get warm.
When their ribbing settled down enough so I could get a word in edgewise, I spoke up in a distorted voice, “I’ll tell ya on thing, I sure as hell ain’t gonna do that again.”
I later learned that when I’m drunk, I forget such solemn oaths. But that’s another story.
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