**This is a story that is 75% memoir and 25% fiction about a typical afternoon of life a few years back**
This car swerves in front me, some prissy old lady sitting stiff like a plank in the driver’s seat, and we all are pretty pissed. It’s not like we’re genuinely upset but we’re pissed for the principle of the matter: it’s summer, in fact, it is our last summer before we have to start learning how to be grownups, go to college and leave the world as we know it behind. The fact that this old lady is turned all the way around showing us the insides of her nostrils with her pointy old lady nose held high in the air does nothing to help calm our jittery, momentarily enraged nerves. We can’t afford to tolerate stuck up old ladies with their stuck up noses slowing us down.
I slam my foot on the gas, switch lanes and pass her from the right. She scowls as the beating rhythm of the bass blares from my open windows, so loud that the glass in her rear view window rattles a bit. She shakes her puffy white head bitterly as John, sitting beside me, flicks her off. As soon as I’ve passed, I cut sharply in front of her and speed away, leaving her and her cotton ball head drooping in the dust. Patrick whoops and does a sloppy victory dance in the back seat. He is a little bit drunk and his high fashion white sunglasses are crooked in a way that, I think, really completes the casually beer-stained look.
In celebration of our grand victory, John turns up the music so loud that I can hardly hear Patrick yelling at me to open the back seat sun roof.
“I don’t have a back seat sun roof!” I shout back.
“How do you open this thing??” Patrick is struggling in the backseat, searching for the nonexistent button that will slide an un-slidable segment of my car’s roof open.
Laughing, I shout even louder, “DUDE! That isn’t a sun roof! Only the front one slides open!”
It is not clear whether he doesn’t hear me or is simply choosing not to believe me, but Patrick continues his search for several minutes, mumbling with frustration, his sunglasses becoming more and more lopsided. John and I snicker in the front seat as we move to the beat of a raunchy Britney Spears song that’s just begun.
Suddenly, Patrick’s arms shoot out from either side of my head rest, one hand flailing out the window beside me and one waving straight up through the sun roof above my head. He’s got a big, goofy grin on his face and is flopping around with an apparently violent passion for Britney Spears’ music. Patrick, a typically soft spoken boy of a particularly worrisome nature, has obviously flipped his shit, and John and I can hardly stand it, we’re laughing so hard. I can barely breathe, choking on my giggles—the hysteria of the passengers mounting along with the speed of the car.
We, as a trio, sing in discordant harmony along with Britney and suddenly it’s raining. Shrieking, I attempt to close the sun roof but the sliding glass panel seems to be feeling pretty leisurely today and crawls shut at the steady pace of a drowsy sloth. Consequently, John and I are drenched, and Patrick, sitting dry but for the damp patches of beer on his t-shirt, is snorting with laughter and continues to dance, now to a cool, vaguely metrosexual techno beat.
Seemingly unfazed by the torrential downpour that seconds ago had flooded my car, John’s eyes are all bright and inspired as he exclaims with enthusiasm, “Guys, let’s make a band! I’ll do vocals, Patrick can play the keyboard, and Normando,” he says, looking at me with a mischievous glint in his eye, “can play the tambourine.”
“Dude, what the hell! This better be some kind of sick joke. I know how to play the piano, probably a frickin’ lot better than Patrick,” I protested, still grinning a little.
“I took piano lessons for ten years,” Patrick slurs, tossing an empty beer can out the window.
“Well, that settles that, then. Bring on the tambourines, bro!” I shout, enjoying the feeling of the wind blowing my hair around all crazily and the raindrops spattering all over my face and half-blinding me.
Up ahead, I see our old elementary school and I turn with a screech into the little parking lot reserved for the teachers. John and I hop easily out of the car but Patrick is still trapped in the back seat. I drive a Mini Cooper, referred by many as the “clown car,” and have to push the driver’s seat up all the way so that Patrick, standing over six feet tall, can hope to escape the cramped confines of the backseat, suitable only for midgets and small children.
With some difficulty, Patrick gets out of the car and both boys decide they need to piss—not in the bushes, but on the cars parked on either side of mine. It’s still raining, so I’m not too mad or grossed out about it. I turn away, covering my face and laughing a little as I hear the cars become covered in something very different than rain.
All of a sudden, a voice shouts through the rain, “What do you boys think you’re doing?!”
I flip around and see Patrick and John frantically zipping their flies, trying to play it cool and, seeing this, I can’t stifle the startled laughter that I’d briefly considered suppressing.
“Katherine Normando, is that you?” demands a portly, red headed woman who I now recognize to be my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. McCulloch. Freaking out a little bit, I feel my cheeks turn red and smile a little, trying to act like my friends hadn’t just peed on a couple of cars.
“Hi, Mrs. McCulloch!” I say, my voice cracking even though I’m a girl, which is pretty embarrassing, “Did you have a nice summer?”
“Before we get to that, may I ask these boys just what the hell they think they were doing just now?” she says coldly, little red apples sprouting on both of her cheeks.
Patrick is staring at her blankly, speechless and John is grinning sheepishly, hoping to win this ginger battle axe over with his charm.
“Give me your names,” Mrs. McCulloch demands curtly, “I’m calling the cops. Katherine, I couldn’t be more disappointed with your choice of friends. I expected more from you. You were such a bright little girl.”
She turns away with apparent disgust and dials 9-1-1. I can’t look anyone in the eye right now and just look down at the damp pavement, staring blankly at a drawing of a frog some kid made with chalk, now getting washed away by the rain. Summer is over. I guess it’s time to grow up.