I always got caught. I couldn't spit without my parents seeing me.
"Why am I always in trouble?" I asked my mom once.
"Because, I've caught you doing some bad things. They say parents will only see ten percent of the mischievous stuff their teenagers do. Imagine the ninety percent I'm missing."
There was no ninety percent. There was only one-hundred since the woman caught me EVERY TIME I did something bad, seriously. The time I battled in a spray paint war and got my best friend in the eye--my mom knew about that right before we went to the doctor. The time I accidentally started our driveway on fire--of course my mom saw the smoke. The time I made holes in the bookshelf since it made a nice waterfall with all my mom's fine glasses angled just right and water flowing down--she found that too--what were the odds?!
I was a pretty good kid--who never got the ninety percent--but I hoped change hung in the wind. That's when I decided to sluff. I put it in my planner because I refused to get anything less than a "B." I was on track to graduate two trimesters early and earn a scholarship. I wouldn't screw that up for anything.
*As a side note: I did graduate early, I never used my scholarship. Instead, I fell in love, ran away to Hawaii with Cade and then went to college years later--after my scholarship ran out--real smart AND expensive . . . I know.*
Anyway, some of my best friends at the time were four boys. They were all Mormon and extremely happy-go-lucky. I'm still not sure who thought of it, but when we left the school, I hid in the trunk with one of the guys. I always had a crush on him, but I would have rather died than let him know. After all, he believed in Joseph Smith and I didn't. At the time, I refused to date someone with such different beliefs.
"Why are we in the trunk again?" I asked him a bit confused. I did like the sensation, though, and I vowed to try it again soon.
"It might be funny to scare people," he said.
We hadn't closed the trunk the whole way. "Scare . . . people?"
"Yeah, when Dave stops at a light, I'll open the trunk and we should both start screaming for help, like the other guys have taken us hostage."
It was the best idea ever--better than spray paint, fiery driveways and waterfalls all mixed up. "Let's do this thing," I said because I was fifteen and a goofball.
So, we stopped at a light. My buddy pushed up the trunk and started hollering. "Help!" I yelled with him. "They've taken us hostage." The guy in the car behind us looked stunned AND pale! The light must have turned then because we sank back into the trunk and I swear the driver behind us cracked a smile right before I lost sight of him. Good, he knew it was a joke, after he almost pooped himself.
We drove around town, really pressing our luck. I remember worrying that sometime the car behind us would be a cop--after all, I never got the ninety percent.
It wasn't until the last time we did it that I felt bad. My friend opened the trunk and by that time I'd turned into the actress of the century. "We're gonna die," I yelled. I grabbed my friend by the collar and screamed into his face, shaking him all the while. "They hid us in here." I probably even had fake tears streaming down my face. But when I looked at the woman in the Cadillac behind us, I felt terribly bad. She was old, really old. She didn't realize it was a joke. She started gawking at the license plate. She pulled out her cell. "NO!" My friend and I screamed. She just jotted down the numbers and looked serious.
Dave floored it after that. And I swear the woman followed us for a bit because if old ladies know anything, it's how to drive fast and make good tea! Every time we opened the trunk, there she was with that short, curly hair and those penetrating eyes of doom.
We finally did lose her and I punched my friend in the arm. "This was a bad idea! I finally got my ninety percent and we pushed things too far."
I explained things to him and he laughed. "No, she must have known we were joking at the end."
"That's what I'm worried about. You should have flashed your CTR ring. Maybe she would have given us a break." CTR is a Mormon thing. If I've learned anything from growing up in Utah, it's that Mormons forgive each other. Odds were, that woman was Mormon.
"Do you think she called the cops?" I asked after a moment.
"Maybe, but we're under age. We have a few more years to live things up and have the time of our lives. Don't worry so much. Today is about having fun. This is Dave's car; he'd rather die than rat any of us out. Concentrate on not getting caught, and you'll finally get away with it."
So we went to Burger King and I felt pretty neat. We'd pretended to be hostages and gotten away with it. I was the lanky prankster, the one who finally got a ninety percent.
We sat down and I ate a huge Whopper. Life never tasted so good. "You know, having a ninety percent, well it feels real great."
The guys chuckled. "Yep, and you're practically one of the boys now. You passed our initiation."
Another one nodded. "Plus, it's nice having a girl around to play hostage; it's more believable."
We told jokes and laughed. I was the luckiest girl in the world . . . until my dad walked into Burger King!
"Oh crap." I whispered and felt my ninety percent flying out the window. "Why do I always get caught?!"
My dad looked as happy as ever. He's one of the most amazing people, who never goes INSIDE fast food restaurants.
"Did he see us?" I asked the guys.
One shook his head. "I don't think so. But like I said before, you're one of the boys now. We'll get you out of this. Here's what we're gonna do."
To be continued tomorrow . . .