Closed ’til Spring

I did not write this story. Nor did I tell it, nor did it happen to me. It actually happened to Daniel’s high school friend, Jonathan, who relayed this informational work of glory to us from the backseat of my car on the way to see Return of the King on a brisk Friday morning after being turned away empty-handed on Thursday night in 2003.

Many years later and several years ago, when Bryan was still known as Brian, Daniel took it upon himself contract the story into written form, and I can only say that while it reads like a gem, hearing in firsthand at the red light in front of Hardee’s will forever be remembered.

From Daniel, and originally written an thrown all across the Internet in April of 2006.

A noticeable thing that I’ve noticed on many of my favorite blogs (Kevin Smith’s for one good example) is that they often share many of the greater and more lengthy stories of things that have happened to them or their friends. Many of them are mostly exaggerated to some extent, but the obviousness of that fact usually lends to their credibility. You know you are reading a true story, but the “made up truths” just make it a more entertaining read.

These kind of stories aren’t exactly out of line with southern stories, best illustrated in popular culture by the underrated Tim Burton / Ewan McGregor movie Big Fish. That movie illustrates how the heritage of story exists in the south really well. In fact, it’s a pretty accurate depiction of the feel and atmosphere of where I live. Again, obviously many things are exaggerated, but that’s just how stuff goes down around here. Everything is just slightly surreal in nature.

So anyways. Point of this is that I’d like to start sharing some of these surreal experiences. In fact, at least once a month from now on, I am forcing myself to “debut” one on here. The first I’ll share isn’t my own, however. It is, byfar, the funniest story I’ve ever heard in my life. Like, ever. I won’t do it justice telling it to you here. The only person who can do that is the guy who participated in said story, my friend Jonathan.

Part of the story of his retelling of this story even adds to the humor of it. It was in December of 2003 and we were trying to see Return of the King on opening night, but we had missed the first showing because it had quickly sold out. However, Brian and his girlfriend had made it in due to an Act of God, where a couple had decided they didn’t want to see it and sold their tickets to him. So this left us, ungrudgingly, out in the literal cold where we had to wait until the next day to see the movie. The next day on the way back to the theater after having bought some biscuits at Burger King, Jonathan decides to tell us this account of what had happened to him and Brian the past summer, since our jealousy of Brian having seen the movie the night before was a topic of conversation.

Firstly, I just cannot stress this enough. The way Jonathan told this story at this specific time is a milestone in the history of my friends and I. It’s so funny how such a seemingly insignificant point in time can be so memorable and poignant, but it is. He tells us about how that past summer, neither of them had much to do, and Brian was prone to stay at Jonathan’s house overnight quite a few times. We’d often do this, watching movies and playing video games all night after going out and about and committing various acts of tomfoolery. One night, very late around 2:30 am, while the two of them were doing just this, they had noticed a pair of car headlights shining brightly in their window. It stayed for a few seconds, and the car that the lights belonged to turned around and went back where it went from.

Now, for some background information. Jonathan’s house is one of two at the end of an old country road that is more or less a dead end. It is so country in fact, that his older sister lives at the entrance of this road with her husband. Futhermore, only around six or seven houses are on this road. Which made the event of this car even more curious.

This didn’t just happen on one occasion either. The next night, Jonathan noticed that the lights again shined through his window around 2:30 in the morning. Again, and again it happened. He realized that it had happened five nights in a row, and that something was most definitely up.

As we return to our story, it’s important to remember that this was during the summer. And it was during the summer following our senior year at high school. We were in the process of finding summer jobs, getting ready to start college in the fall, and not really doing much of anything else at all, leaving us with a lot of time to become really inquisitive and highly likely to do something crazy. Much of this free time led to instances such as my friends leaving a mountain of political campaign signs in my front yard. Point is, we were, and still are stupid. And dive headfirst into things like this.

Jonathan and Brian became quite literally flabbergasted by this mystery driver, who continued to pull into Jonathan’s driveway every night around the same time. Another development was that Jonathan noticed that this guy would sometimes get out of the car, which obviously was even more cause for alarm. This said, the two of them decided that one night, they would camp out and wait for this guy. The two of them took this so far, that they stayed in Jonathan’s truck that night around the time that this person would drive up in front of Jonathan’s house. I can imagine that the two of them became really bored for a while, waiting for this guy to show up. They probably wondered if this guy would show up at all, given the trouble that they were going through in order to find out about this guy.

He showed up. Right on time, like clockwork, the guy pulls into the driveway. He must have thought that everyone was in bed like normal, obviously not noticing that my two esteemed colleagues were waiting very patiently for him in the back of the truck. The guy even got out of his car, as Jonathan suspected that he’d been doing. They jump out of the back of the truck, screaming at this guy while they jump into the cab and peel out after this guy who has jumped back in his car and done the same. They chase him back down to the outlet of the road, past Jonathan’s sister’s house, and through the neighborhood. Eventually, during this high speed chase, they do lose the guy into the night.

After that fateful night, the guy didn’t show up again for around a week. But yes, he did eventually come back, returning to do the same thing that he’d been during the time before the ambush.

nd now we begin to come to the conclusion of our tale. Before we jump back in, and finish this story with what is the craziest part, be mindful that this really happened. Some things are slightly exaggerated, but not to the point that makes it fiction. As likely as you are not to believe this, it really did occur. We’ll pick up the next week after the late night chase, in which the mystery caller most likely had the unmentionables scared out of him as Jonathan and Brian ambushed him. Yet, even after this, the guy continues to come to the driveway and back out during the wee hours of the morning.

At this point, Jonathan is becoming concerned about this guy. He’s questioned his neighbors, who haven’t even seen this guy because it’s so late at night. They don’t know a thing about him, or what he’s up to. It sounds so crazy, they probably thought Jonathan was simply making the whole thing up. So he decides to take manners into his own hands. After yet another week of this guy coming to the driveway, he decides that he’s going to catch this guy red handed in whatever it is that he’s doing.

So he gets a gun. Well, let’s rephrase that. He gets a “dummy” gun. I don’t remember exactly, but it’s either a toy gun, or an unloaded gun. Jonathan decides, that on his own, without Brian, he’s going to camp out in his sister’s yard and trap the guy. See, since Jonathan’s house was at the end of this dead end road, he’d more or less have the guy caught. Apparently, he’d planned on standing at the outlet of the road, gun drawn. But it doesn’t really go down like this.

You’d think he’d have to be insane to try this. Whoever this is, we didn’t know who he was, what he wanted, what kind of person he was, or whether this mystery guy would be armed or not. Jonathan doesn’t even tell anyone that he’s going to do this. Not me, not even Brian. We’d probably have told him that it was a crazy idea and would have convinced him not to do it. But he’s nuts and does it anyways.

In doing this, he’s waiting, lying down on his front side in his sister’s yard. And the guy actually comes. Again. And it would seem that Jonathan actually has this working. He can see him turning around in his driveway at the end of the road, and he’s planning to trap him and finally ask him what in the world he’s been doing. But there’s a problem. As I mentioned, Jonathan didn’t mention to anyone that he had planned on this. Not even his sister or her husband.

As you might guess, this is where the crap hits the fan. And remember, he’s lying down in their yard with what appears, to the naked eye, to be a live gun. As he lies there for a while, he starts to get nervous and realizes it probably wasn’t such a great idea after all. He decides to hide his gun, but still wait for the mystery driver. Having nowhere to stow his gun and not wanting to wake anyone up, he decided that his sister’s car would be the best place. Only the first door he tried was locked, and he had to try all four to get them open. Around that same time, his brother-in-law looked out the window, only to see a six-foot, three-inch shadowy figure failing a gun around and trying to get into the family car.

The door slams from their house, and his brother-in-law comes out. This guy’s favorite show is COPS, and he’s memorized all of the CB lingo that the police officers use. He sees this shady character fooling around with a gun, not knowing that it’s Jonathan, and starts screaming things like “burglary in progress” in this high pitched, accented voice. This inevitably wakes up Jonathan’s sister. She immediately dials 911. During this confusion, Jonathan gets up and tries to explain to his brother-in-law what is going on, but it’s too late. Not only have the cops been called into this, but the mystery guy pulling into the driveway has gotten away while this was going on.

About 20 minutes later, the cops pull into the yard, confused as everyone else is. Jonathan has to explain to everyone involved, even his parents who have now come, what exactly happened. He gets a scolding from everyone involved, even though inside, they are probably rolling with laughter at the situation.

Now, back to the origin of our story. Jonathan has just finished telling this to Sharla and myself in her car, on the way to go see Return of the King. He’s a master storyteller and has taken around a half hour to get to this point. Of course, he’s neglected to mention one thing, and we are asking him about it. What happened to the guy who was pulling in to the driveway? Did they ever find out who it was? What was he doing?

“Well”, he says. “Two weeks later we found out that it was the paperboy.”

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