Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 34

The Time Mookie and Friends Stole A Lot Of 
Political Signs And Put Them All In One Yard

(Editor's Note:  As the "political season" is upon us, I thought I should share this gem because it's highly appropriate.  This is easily one of my all-time-favorite stories.  Please note that what occurs in the story is a much bigger crime these days, so don't copycat the activities that lie within.)

A year after we graduated high school, "Rick"(*) and I thought we should do the "alumni thing" and go back to our high school for their Homecoming football game.  We met up with our other good friends "Russ"(*) and "Junior"(*) - who actually were still seniors in high school, and headed out for the game.

The game itself was unmemorable (we predictably lost), except for a nice moment where Rick and I exchanged a joke where we made fun of the fact our school routinely had a horrible football team.  We somehow found ourselves along the sidelines after the game, and I proceeded to walk out on the field about 5 yards and told Rick to join me.

I asked "Can you feel it?"  To which Rick replied "Feel what?"
"The magic." I said.  Rick looked at me with confusion and flatly said "No."
"I KNOW!" I said. "No one feels any magic on this field.  That is why we suck."

Rick liked that for some reason.

After the game, Rick, Russ, Junior and I hopped in my trusty Ford EXP and headed out on the town.  We ended up at Hardee's as usual, and socialized with everyone that had also came back for the game.  Eventually we soon found ourselves bored with the status quo of the evening.  As history had always shown, when we became bored - we turned to deviant behavior.  Tonight was going to be no different.

It was a big political election year, and the town was full of signs for every city, state, and federal candidate on the ballot in November.  I don't recall who's bright idea it was, but we decided we needed to remove as many political signs out of people's yards as we could.  What were we going to do with them?  Eh...we'd figure that out later.

We again piled into the EXP and headed out on our stealthy sign stealing mission.  I should note that my car was a two-seat car - no backseat -  with a fairly large hatchback.  Russ and Junior had the pleasure of sitting in the hatch.

We stalked out our prey up by driving up and down the darkened streets of our town, looking for places where we were least likely to get caught.  When the coast appeared clear, Rick or I would jump out and yank a sign or two out of a yard, throw it in the hatch, and depart as quickly as possible.  As a cautionary measure, I would leave my lights off so my car was not as identifiable, and no lights shown on my license plates.  When there was a yard with multiple signs, we would all jump out and swiftly clear the yard of its political ads.  After getting a few "pulls" under our belts, we were like a finely-tuned sniper team.  In. Out. Boom.

Not everything went off without a hitch though, and there were a few hiccups along the way.  At one house, Rick got out and went for a nicely built "wood" sign.  This baby had 1X2 inch wood legs that unfortunately were driven into the ground pretty good.  He yanked, and got nothing.  He pulled again and the thing didn't budge.  Not wanting to give up on this prize of a sign, he gave it one more big pull - but with a slight twist.  "CRRAAACKK!!"  His twisting motion broke the legs off the sign, and the next thing we hear is Rick going "SHIT!"  He comes flying to the car with a broken sign in in his hand, and in a "yelling whisper" going  "GO GO GO GO."  We got the hell out of there and Rick said he swore that wood cracking sounded like a gun going off.  Once we realized we were safely away we laughed and laughed at the ordeal Rick had just created.

Yards like this were a gold mine.  We stripped them bare.
After a good 20 minutes of driving around and getting brave with our endeavor, we drove through a particular neighborhood that had TONS of signs.  We quickly drew up a game plan where we'd park the car at Russ' house (which was very near by), paired up (Russ and Rick / Junior and Mookie), and hit the area on foot.  We cleared yard after yard of political signs.  Occasionally, we'd leave one...because we didn't want to be totally greedy. After the fact it was rather funny.  There were 3 yards in particular right next to each other that had approximately 5 signs in each yard.  We took them all except one random sign.

Finally we rounded the block and we all met up together again, each of us holding a boat-load of signs. We decided we "had enough" signs, but weren't sure what to do with them.  Then we remembered that we were near a particular house, and someone said:  "Let's put them in Joe's yard."

"Joe Steele"(*) happened to be the step-dad of one of our old high school classmates.  Joe was a chronically cranky person - at least that was our opinion of him.  One particular story we heard about him was that he was "goddamning" someone about their car, or making "Jesus Christ" exasperations in regards to his wife "Julie"(*) or his step-son "Eric"(*).  In our private circles, we would impersonate Joe, and of course just embellish the shit out of the impersonation based on these hearsay stories.

-Jesus Christ Eric!  Do you wanna tell your friends not to park their f**king cars in front of my house?
-I don't know where the f**k Eric is.
-Julie!  Bitch!  Jesus Christ.  Make me a f**king sandwich and bring me some Canadian Club!
-What do you think this is?  A f**king barrage?

Again, most of these comments were embellished for our entertainment, but not by much.

We made our way back to my car, got the rest of the signs, and walked up the street towards Joe's house.  The entire way there we were hoping no one would see us, but yet made no real effort to hide our activities during the walk over there.  We get to Joe's house, and there isn't a light on in the place.  As it is about 1AM, there is nary a light on in the neighborhood as well.  So we went to work.

We began randomly putting signs into the yard and quickly covered the entire front lawn..  We had a LOT of signs.  We put them in the bushes, against the house, all over the yard, and even put a couple up on the front steps.  It was just an overall ballsy display of non-damaging vandalism.  When we finished we were dying with laughter.  I remember laughing so hard I could hardly breathe.  We had to then walk the 4 or 5 blocks back to Russ' house, and the entire way I was literally crying with laughter.  This was of course in-between our impersonations of what the dialogue between Joe and Julie would be when they saw all the signs the next morning:

-Jesus f**king Christ Julie!  What the f**k?  Who f**king did this?
-Where's Eric?  He's not home.  Who the f**k did this?  Jesus Christ!
-Who the f**k is going to clean up this shit?

We all went back to Russ' house and laughed some more, and then decided to call it a night.  I remember just being exhausted and my stomach hurt from laughing so hard.

Rick had asked me if I could help him move a couch he had a acquired up to his dorm at college early the next morning, and I said sure.  So I set my alarm for 6AM, and crashed.

I awoke the next morning - still grinning about the prior night's activity - and got ready to head out and go over to Rick's house.  As I left my house, I decided I needed to see Joe's house again.  You know...in the daylight...and see what it looked like.  As I turned the corner that went by Joe's house I was left in total shock:  Every sign was GONE.  There was no trace of any sign that we had put in Joe's yard less than 6 hours ago.  This of course caused more laughter, and when told Rick of what I had seen he couldn't believe it.  We determined that Joe and Julie must have come home after we had completed our mission in the middle of the night, and removed the signs.  We aren't sure what they did with all those signs, but I'm sure Joe wasn't happy about it.

One thing I know for sure is that a good laugh like that doesn't come around very often.  While it was unfortunate that our entertainment was at someone else's expense, I can sleep at night about it because Joe was probably so drunk when he got home that night he doesn't even remember it.

Good times.

(*) - Named changed to protect the mostly guilty and not-so-innocent.

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