Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mostly True Tuesdays

I was wearing the outfit he got me for Christmas at Contempo Casuals which was a big deal because 17 year old boys don't usually buy their girlfriends clothes and my friends, they all squealed when they heard. The top was orange and the pants were printed. I did not like the outfit but I wore it and we sat outside of school while he held the slip of paper with the phone number in his hand.
I want my car back, he said, so I gave him ten cents and he called the guy who he'd sold it to. I sat on the curb in the parking lot. I remember the gravel around my shoes but I cannot remember the print of my pants.
It only took the guy a half hour to get to our high school but he was not in the car but another car: an El Camino. The car's in Petaluma, he said, so we climbed in even though Petaluma was an hour away and let the guy drive us.
He took the backroads. I sat in the middle of the bench seat and for some reason the guy was talking about Hitler. Lampshades made of skin. Trucks and Nazis, engines, or maybe it was ingenuity. I dug the fingernails of my right hand into Bryan's thigh as we sped around curves and hills and into valleys. Nobody knows where we are, I thought, or I think I thought. Surely I must have thought that? In the car of a man whose phone number was only on a slip of paper in Bryan's pocket? Mostly I thought about how I hated what I was wearing and how gross the man was in the way that all adult men are gross to teenage girls.
When we got to Petaluma it was already dark and the man went inside his house real quick to do something. Bryan and I looked at each other and smiled. This is funny, right? one of us said. Weird, huh? All the world a story to be told during 3rd period. So we waited there outside standing on a Rorschach of oil in an otherwise empty driveway. My outfit had not come with a jacket and I was cold in just my orange shirt. I wonder how much longer this is going to take, and then the man came out and said the car was up in the mountains, that we had to drive a ways to get it.Can we use your phone? Bryan asked, we need to call our parents to tell them we'll be home late, but the man said no, his phone wasn't working, and opened the door to the El Camino. Run, Bryan said, run, just like that, not an exclamation point but a period. Run. And so I did, we did, we ran and we ran and we ran until--I don't know? Until we came to a bus stop and the next thing I knew we were doubled over laughing in the back of a bus with fluorescent lighting not really knowing if we were going in the right direction but we were laughing. And then twenty years later I wrote this story thinking it was the 1970 Chevy Cheyenne with the airbrushed wave on the dashboard that we were trying to get back only to read it to Bryan who told me that no, it was the 1974 Chevy Caprice with the fishbone spray painted on the hood, and that he doesn't remember ever buying me an outfit for Christmas at Contempo Casuals.


tiffany said...

Wow, that is quite a story! Beautifully written!

Cathi said...

Great story....

Misplaced Country Girl said...

Holy crap! Good story! I was scared to death for you, but good story.

krista said...

that story just...whoa.
what the hell did that guy go and get out of his house? what the hell were you thinking?
i am so old.
because i think back to taking tequila shots with strange men in tijuana when i was 16 and understand so many more things than i did then.

and, um, HELLO. contempo casuals was awesome. do you remember how they always had the registers in the very middle of the store surrounded by glass and chrome and all the really pretty girls would be in there singing along to al b.sure?
maybe that's just me.

Cindy said...

I am terrified for teenage you.

Petunia Face said...

Believe me, I know. I think of that and feel so lucky, then so stupid. So young. I was such a good girl because I never ever once ever hitchhiked. But that?

Years later when photos of Richard Allen Davis surfaced (after he killed Polly Klaus in Petaluma) I thought he looked just like the man who we tried to buy Bryan's car back from. But I think I figured out the dates and Richard Allen Davis was in prison the winter of 1989~90.

And Contempo Casuals was fucking rad.

my favorite and my best said...

contempo casuals was the best store ever. you my friend were a dumbass. but you must also know i was a bigger one.

Gini said...

Holy shit, you totally almost got murdelized!

Cindy said...

P.S. And by the way, another reason to love your Bryan. Good work, my man.


Sparkie said...

When you said Petaluma I totally thought of that dude.
I had a 1970 Chevy Caprice in 1980. The First Car I Bought. She was named The Duchess after my favorite character on All My Children. She had an 8 track player that I had to go out and buy a tape for just so I could use it. And a HUGE trunk - big enough for you, Bryan and lord knows what all else. I also have subsequently driven an El Camino.
Don't we all have those stories where we go, "What was I thinking?". Sorta nice to have in your back pocket though.

ZDub said...


Contempo Casuals was the bomb, but not as bomb as Units.

Also, WTF. You almost were dead.

Richie Designs said...

oh I thought that was going to have a bad, bad ending. I'm so glad it didn't. Good boy Bryan for getting you out, although I wish you were never in.

and yah Contempo? That was the Shizzle! Bryan gets gold stars for that purchase even though he doesn't remember.

yes, registers in the middle! and all of the fancy jewelry that I couldn't afford was in the little glass cases there. omg I remember that.

The rich girls in school bought all their clothes there along with Judy's. They had a new outfit for everyday of the week with matching shoes and jewelry. I did not, as you can tell by my pithy recount.

ho-hum been making up for it ever since!

Rosalie said...

Holy cow. The fact that you still have stories inside you I have not yet heard is pretty amazing.
Digging in the back of my brain for one to top that.

Benson said...

that makes me want to slap you for being so stupid and then hug you for being safe.
A girlfriend and I were sitting and waiting for the train to pull out in the southside of Chicago when a bigger than big African American man with a flashlight came up to us and asked "what you two girls doing on a dead train?" We looked at each other "dead?" He replied "this train ain't going nowhere and you lucky you ain't been killed."
gulp. so stupid.

Erin said...

How have I never heard this story?? Holy crap!!!

Petunia Face said...

Rosalie and Erin--maybe you've never heard this story because I know what total dumbshits Bryan and I sound like for doing that. And because even then we didn't realize how dangerous. Not until years later did I think about it and go, damn. Duh. Fuck.

Kristin said...

OMG, that is freaking frightening. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh