Another 30-Day Blogging Challenge entry…
I have never been more embarrassed than on the night my parents had to fetch their fifteen-year-old daughter from the county jail at three in the morning.
There were four of us–three girls, and the boy with the car. They met me at the bottom of my driveway. I’d crawled out my window after tucking blankets over a bunch of pillows in my bed.
I was the youngest and the newest in the group, having just moved to the small town a few months before, and had already earned a reputation for being a good little nerd. The drama class had a running tally of how many times I cussed; it took weeks and weeks to hit double digits. So when the opportunity came up to sneak out of my house on a school night to drive around town with friends, I jumped at it.
It wouldn’t have been a problem… except the group had brought other things along for fun. Not beer, not pot, not coke. Soap flakes and eggs. The soap flakes we dumped into the town fountain. The eggs we used to vandalize cars. I remember swinging between the shame of doing something wrong, exhilaration of being free to do it, and gut-shivering fear of being caught. The last won out, and I eventually just sat in the back seat, trying to come up with a cool-sounding reason I should be taken home right away.
We pulled out of the last parking lot, all of our eggs splattered on targets, and had gone about half a block before red and blue lights appeared behind us. The cop pulled us over because the driver hadn’t turned on his headlights. He asked for each of our names, and walked back to the car to run a routine check on the driver. I thought my eyeballs were going to explode from the terror of waiting for that cop to come back, and all the while my friends are telling me to stay cool because no one had mentioned eggs or soap flakes. At worst, they reported, the cop would follow us back home. Maybe tell our folks, but probably not.
The cop came back to the driver, gave him his license, and told us to get home because it was after curfew.
Then he shined the light into the backseat area one more time, and noticed the empty egg cartons. A quick turn through the parking lot behind us turned up the cartons’ missing contents. We were taken to the county jail, where the girls were locked in the jail’s single cell and the boy was handcuffed to a chair in the lobby. Our parents were called. It felt as if hours passed before we were let out of that cell and handed over.
My best friend, who was not part of this fiasco, lived just up the street, and she usually drove me to and from school. Her father was a Highway Patrol officer. When he saw me the next day, he shouted, “Hey, jailbird, did you have scrambled eggs for breakfast?”
I couldn’t look my parents in the eye for days.
But I couldn’t help smiling when I passed the town fountain, filled with mounds of frothy bubbles that rose tall above the water, spilled over the sides, and slid along brick walkways of the main street.