The summer after I got my license, the same summer I had my window inexplicably shattered while driving, I lived with my older cousin. His dad, my uncle, worked driving truck and he spent months on the road so we had free reign of the trailer they lived in.
Z (we will call him), my cousin, had already graduated. I was 16, he was 19 or 20 and our friends and a couple other cousins were around the same age. Like many other teenagers that age, we found ways of obtaining illicit beverages and since the trailer sat on acreage down a barely passable 150-yard driveway in the woods, nobody ever bothered us…when we kept to ourselves of course.
Z liked to drink, a lot. I didn’t start drinking til long after less the occasional beer or mixed drink sprinkled in. We had an idea to make margaritas using rum. Alcohol wasn’t readily accessible so we made due. I led the team in devising a plan to mix a large quantity rather than one drink at a time. Work smarter not harder, right?
I like to think I did a decent job, however, they came out much stronger than they probably should have. Z had a weird reaction to rum. The severity and direction in which his drunken nights followed varied greatly depending on what he drank. Sometimes he was a laughing guy, other times he was an instigator. On rum, he was a try to drive my truck and hallucinate kind of guy.
The night before, we had a guy throw up everywhere so, naturally, we went and picked his mother up so that she could come clean up after him. I couldn’t make this up.
Upon our return, we found Z passed out in his truck. The door was still open, door ajar alarm chiming, and his house key stuck halfway in the ignition. He was on a mission, luckily he didn’t quite have the kinks worked out before launch time.
Back to Saturday night.
He started drinking heavily. It was the leftover rumaritas on the menu and he was a few courses in early on. We had a few guns laying around, namely the .22 rifle we kept handy to take care of the raccoons and groundhogs that seemed to multiply like rabbits on the property. He found that weapon along with nearly 200 rounds of ammunition.
He was ready for war.
With who? I haven’t the slightest clue, and after talking with him the next morning, neither does he.
The hallucinating Z comes in at this point. He had a firm grasp on that gun while he went from the front door to the back door. Firing aimlessly into the woods at the people who were trying to get us.
A friend of ours named Dicky (again, can’t make this up) finally realized what Z was doing. At that very second, he screamed in a very, very feminine tone, ran into the main bedroom and jumped into the bed, over his girlfriend, behind whom he hid behind. Yes, he used his girlfriend as a human shield.
Being the only sober one, I told my other cousin, let’s call him R, to keep Z at the back door while I snuck out to his truck to grab his keys. If he were to attempt to drive somewhere this time, while hallucinating…and wielding a gun, I couldn’t imagine the consequences for him, any of us there, or the people wherever he decided to go. Getting those keys became something that had to be done, and I was going to do it!
**queue mission impossible theme song**
So here’s the plan again:
- R would distract Z and keep him at the back door.
- I would sneak out the front, quietly get into his truck.
- I would then extract the keys from the ignition (he had them ready this time)
- Upon extraction, I would stay close to the house and attempt to reinfiltrate the trailer
- Hide the keys
In theory, it was a simple operation….In theory.
When I went out the front door, Z must have sensed something because he quickly made his way to the front door. The truck was parked about 6 feet off of the front deck, at an angle so when the driver’s door was open, you could see the steering column. #nowheretohide
He flew out the front door just as I was bent over the seat grabbing the keys from the ignition. The dome light was on, so the shot was easy. He shot me in the ass.
Okay, so he didn’t shoot me. Thank goodness. What did ensue was an actual standoff.
A standoff between myself, unarmed and bent over a seat with a light shining on me surrounded by complete darkness (talk about a silver platter), and with my cousin Z.
Mind you, he had been hallucinating for a while now. Firing off into the darkness at invisible people who he had been convinced were trying to rob/kill/fight us. Now, he has an actual person literally stealing his keys from his truck.
Have you ever had to talk a crazed gunman out of shooting someone, or you, while they’re hallucinating? Chances are it’s a hard no, but, if it is a yes, Pppllleeeeaassseee tell me about it 🙂
If you’re picturing this in your head already, this is where I start to talk myself out of a hostage situation while being caught red handed stealing.
He yells at me to drop the keys. I try to tell him it’s me but I did drop the keys after the second warning. He told me he was going to shoot me if I moved. I didn’t move. R ran inside. Thanks R, love you too brother.This exchange went on for about 3 or 4 minutes but it definitely felt like hours. I eventually convinced him that I was his cousin, that I saw one of the “people” trying to steal his truck so I came out here to get the keys so they couldn’t.
I’m on your side Z, let’s kill these bastards together! (to this day I am amazed that I was able to do this with success)
I convinced him to let me move, to let me walk up on the deck with him albeit ever so carefully. I convinced him that I saw one of them. I “pointed” him out, he couldn’t see the guy. (They weren’t really there, remember)
Since he couldn’t see him, I told him that I needed the gun so that I could shoot him before he got away. Thankfully he handed over the weapon. I shot a couple times for good measure. I held on to the gun for a bit, we stood there staring off into the abyss talking about how we were going to get all of them.
Eventually, he needed another drink. He went inside, poured a drink, sat down on the chair in front of the air conditioner, and passed out…drink in hand. I took the ammo, clip, .22 rifle and car keys and hid them under the bed which Dicky used along with his human shield of a girlfriend to seek shelter.
We all slept well that night. Z woke up early as per usual and wanted to run to the store to get a few things to make breakfast for us.
He couldn’t find his keys. He woke us up to help him look for his keys. I told him
“Your keys are in the front bedroom under the bed, along with your artillery.”
That right there was the line of the summer.
He didn’t remember one bit of what happened the night before. As we told him over breakfast, he had a weird mix of emotions. First off, he almost shot me. Secondly, he almost shot me. Things like that have a weird way of becoming hilarious when looked back upon. I was scared to death in the moment, for sure, but even the very next morning I couldn’t stop laughing about what had happened. Even writing this brings back a few more good memories and a little bit of the laugh-out-loud kind of laughter.