Junkyards and Stitches (Final)

It was near midnight when we finally decided we should go looking for a part for my friend’s car. I’m not sure I remember the thought process or reasoning behind our decision to leave at that time of the night. I also don’t know why there was such a sense of urgency in our trip. Perhaps the car had broken down and we were planning on drag racing the next day, or maybe we just knew we’d never be able to afford the parts and figured that it was as good a time as any.

Admittedly, none of the above implications or thoughts really make much sense; but we were teenagers, we were stoned, and we were convinced that we were invincible–or very near to it. As I write this, I’m lying in bed, typing away on my laptop, listening to music and watching the time round very near to midnight. This was the witching hour that Rob, Tim, and I always looked forward to. It was the time we could visit graveyards and run through downtown and cause all manner of mayhem and almost always succeed in not getting caught. Almost always, that is.

On this particular night, as I said, we were on a mission: we were searching for a part for Rob’s car. I don’t remember what. Probably something reasonably cheap that would have been easily attainable, had we spent less money on drugs and alcohol and partying. But this story isn’t about reconsidering our motives. This is a story about survival of the fittest and every man for himself.

There are a few rules that every person should know when they’re out and getting in trouble with their friends. As the old saying goes, “There is no honor among thieves.” It is also true for when it comes time to run for your life. If you fall, if you trip, if you stumble in any fashion, you should be prepared to be left behind. You should know that, as much as your friends would love to pick you back up and help you get away successfully, they’re much more concerned with covering their own ass.

We threw a blanket over the barbed wire fence, climbed over, and were very easily inside the fence of one of the major junkyards in the Willamette valley. I won’t tell you which one, but it was very well known for having just about anything you could possibly imagine and more. We weren’t very concerned about being caught, as it seemed like alarms were fairly rare in most junk yards, and there was no way that an owner or operator was going to be hanging around at such a late hour. Everyone knew of the supposed “junkyard dogs”, but it was usually an urban legend and, if not, we were convinced that they’d been outlawed.

The thing about being stoned is, you don’t really realize how much noise you’re making. You try to walk lightly and talk softly, but you’re really just thumping around and carrying on like a drunk walking home with a box of firecrackers and a lighter.

We ended up getting that part fairly quickly. I think we’d only been over the fence for maybe ten minutes, which was lucky since it was such an enormously huge yard. In the dark, it could have easily taken hours just to find what we were looking for. Sometimes it truly is better to be lucky than to be skilled or smart. The only problem is, luck tends to run out at the worst possible times, and when you least expect it.

As we were walking back to the portion of the fence where we’d left the blanket still draped over the barb wire, that’s when we heard it: breathing and shuffling. And it was coming toward us.

Glancing back, and even as stoned as I was, I knew what was coming toward us: it was a junkyard dog, and it was a big one. It was some kind of hybrid mix from hell. I want to say it was a doberman with pit or something similar. I just remember seeing the glint of its eyes at it made its initial bark and started running flat out. It covered the distance at a frightening speed.

“FUCKING RUN!” I screamed, and bolted. I didn’t wait for my friends to figure it out. Screw that. You know why? Waiting for them wasn’t going to improve their chances any. If anything, seeing me run was going to make them realize that much quicker that they needed to get moving.

Running is hard when you’re stoned. Walking is hard enough, as the world seems to tilt one way or the other, your equilibrium is thrown completely off, and it’s difficult to really tell which way you’re going. On top of that, it was dark, there was very little moon, and we were panicked and hadn’t paid a whole lot of attention on which was it was back to the portion of the fence.

I risked a glance back to see that Tim was just behind me, and Rob was a little ways behind Tim. Behind Rob was the dog, closing distance and only 20 or so yards away. I could hear it breathing and plodding methodically in our direction. Even though the chase lasted for maybe fifteen seconds, it was an eternity. It may as well have been a year long chase from start to finish.

I was the first to hit the fence. Just as I started climbing at about 185 miles per hour over the top, I heard a loud thumping sound and Tim yell, “Wait!”. He’d tripped about ten yards from the fence, just as Rob was almost over and about to join me.

Through the chainlink fence, we could see the dog was already on top of Tim and had a hold of him by the arm. It was growling and shaking him pretty hard. I couldn’t leave him there to be eaten by a damn junkyard dog, even if my sense of self-preservation was stuck in overdrive. But as I went to climb over the fence, I heard more shuffling in the dirt heading toward us. People. At least two of them, and they had flashlights.

I backed away from the fence, and Rob and I both screamed, “I’M SORRY!” and we ran.

Hey, he knew what he was getting in to, and by god, we weren’t going to wait around to get caught just like him. What can I say? I didn’t want to get into trouble, and I was reasonably sure that Tim wouldn’t rat us out even if we did leave him behind. Rob and I peeled out of there like there was no tomorrow. At least we didn’t do some inane bullshit and tell Tim we’d come back for him. He knew that wasn’t happening.

So what happened to Tim, you may ask. Well, he didn’t talk to Rob or me for a few weeks after that. He seemed bitter about our “callous attitude”. But hell, he would have done the same thing and we knew it. And he only needed a few stitches in his arm. And his leg. And I think one on the top of his head. But that was it. Nothing major, or so I thought. The owners of the junkyard didn’t even press charges since they figured he’d been tortured enough.

The first day he talked to me again, I told him he was just being a pansy and overly sensitive. So all in all, it took another week or so after that before he talked to me again. But he came around. He always did.


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