Jackpot!

 

    My friend Tara and I set out on a perilous journey across the mighty high school grounds and onto Taylor Ave, where the adorable Ryan would be taking a road trip to Virginia with his best friend Jeff. We were young, hopeless and in love, so we took this journey to Jeff’s house to bid them adieu. Little did we know how big our little farewell would become.
    As we got to his house we saw them loading up their truck, taking out unnecessary usual ‘junk’ and putting it in boxes. We approached them and they greeted us. Jeff asked if we had come to walk his dog as usual. “Ooo…that’s a good cover-up reason for visiting them,” we thought as we leashed up his dog Ripley and walked around the block. We giggled about “cute little Ryan” and plotted about a way to stay until they left.
    We walked with Ripley back to the house, only to see them pulling out of the driveway. We were too late. But our hopes were raised again when we saw them stop and get out of the truck again. We had seen that they had only pulled out to make room in the driveway for a big long Tupperware filled with Ryan’s things from his truck.
    Once Ripley was back inside, we came out and headed for Ryan. We stood around him adoringly, watching and loving every move he made. We were 13 and 14 years old, and Ryan was our crush. With his brown Pantine Pro-V hair, million dollar smile, and his freckly, rosy cheeks, we couldn’t help but love him.
    Five minutes later, they said good-bye, closed their truck doors, and pulled away. We waved them along and started on our way home. Then suddenly we paused. Right below us, at our feet, was Ryan’s Tupperware box of stuff. Gazing at it, we wondered if we should dare peek inside. We knelt down and opened the top. We starred wide-eyed down at the goodies like a child on Christmas morning. It was indeed, “A whole box full of junk, Ryan’s junk!” we exclaimed. He was going to be gone for a whole weekend. We would never get caught, and we could take anything as long as we returned it the next day. We thought we were pretty slick.
    We dug into the treasure. There were CDs, papers, fishing tackle, business cards, and things galore! We decided to take some of his business cards, a burned CD that he made himself, and a random little Velcro strap. With the ‘treasure’ in hand and the strap around Tara’s neck, we set off to the ‘Pirate ship’. We walked with big grins on our faces. We examined what we had discovered and held them up so both of us could see. We repeated, “A whole box full of junk, Ryan’s Junk!” We laughed and paraded. “Jackpot!” we screamed with joy and laughter.
    I looked at Tara with delight and she looked back at me. But then she looked past me and her face turned from joyful to shock in an instant. She covered her wide-opened mouth with her hand as if her hand was on fire and her mouth was water to put it out. Wondering what could have caused this unpleasantness on such a wonderful occasion, I turned my head behind me, in the direction she was looking. At that moment, I saw the truck carrying Ryan and Jeff drive by from a slow and steady speed. I saw that the back window and the driver’s window were down. I saw Ryan looking out the back window at us, shaking his head with a smile, as if to say, “I saw everything you guys just did.” I saw Jeff in the driver’s seat, laughing his ass off. I turned to my friend to see her shocked expression. They saw the business cards we were holding up. They saw the Velcro strap around Tara’s neck. They saw the CD sticking out of my pocket. They heard us say, “Ryan’s Junk!” and “Jackpot!” We had been caught.
    We stood frozen in our tracks like squirrels. We couldn’t take in all that just happened. We had taken our crush’s stuff and had got not only caught, but humiliated. We started pondering how they could have known that we were up to no good. Perhaps Jeff’s wife had seen us digging through the Tupperware and called them on their cell phone. Perhaps they had forgotten something, went back and saw us walking back from their house. Whatever the reason, we were dead.
    Turning back then and returning the stuff would have been pointless. We had the stuff, got caught, and were screwed. We might as well have made the best of it. So we went home and made a copy of the CD (which happened to be very corny, but adorable). We kept the business cards; he had plenty left in his bin. After the CD was done being copied, we set off on a journey that would be just as perilous as the other, if not more.
    We started for Jeff’s house again, this time with our heads down and our tails between our legs. We weren’t too slick anymore. As we approached the house, we examined the target. The Tupperware was on the top of the driveway; the rock driveway. Then we saw that it was under a window; an open window. So we hid behind a bush on the neighbors’ yard and plotted out a plan. Sneak up slowly and quickly past the rocks, go real close under window so nobody could see us, slip the junk back into the bin, and then once off the rock driveway…run like hell.
    So we crawled up the driveway like army men, and with every step we took, we would get more nervous and another drop of sweat would be added to the collection on our foreheads. We stopped behind the car to rest, take a break, and wipe the sweat off. Then we pursued to the window. With our backs up against the house, we listened to any kind of sound. We heard Jeff’s wife, Shelley, on the phone talking, so if we could hear her, she could hear us. Tara put her finger over her lips and pointed to the window. I nodded, understanding what she was trying to say. We put our hands on the bin and gently tried pulling up, but it wouldn’t budge unless we used more force. So, taking a deep breathe we pulled up hard. It popped opened, omitting a great sound. We paused with squinted faces and listened to hear if there had been any pause in Shelley’s conversation. But we were in luck for once, she just continued with her speech.
    We quickly slipped the CD and strap into the Tupperware bin, and gently closed it, this time making a bigger effort not to make a sound. We turned around. With the street in sight, we crawled over the rocks and jumped behind the neighbors’ bush again. For the most part, we had made it. But that’s what we thought last time too. We couldn’t take anymore chances. We got up and bolted toward Tara’s house and didn’t stop running until we were sure we were out of sight from Shelley. As we walked home we made sure to keep an eye out behind us. When we reached home we sighed with relief that it was over. “Well,” we said to ourselves, “At least it will make a good story.” Then we laughed as we recited, “Jackpot!”