The Night I Almost Killed Someone

country road overpass


The noise startled me.

I ran to my dining room window to investigate. Nothing seemed wrong.

I stepped outside to look around. The investigation didn’t take long.

A huge, bright orange paint splat was on my house, evidently from a drive-by paintball gun shooting. I wonder if it was those same cocks who chucked a raw egg at my front door a while back!

I didn’t know who it was. And I have no way of ever finding out.

Conventional wisdom suggests it was the work of unsavory teenagers. Dicks!

It was hard for me to understand why someone would arbitrarily choose my house to shoot. I don’t have any history in town. It would have been impossible for me to be an intentional target.

They just happened to be driving down my street, and they just happened to pull the trigger toward my house.

Simply chance doing what chance does.

I couldn’t believe someone could be so reckless, disrespectful and irresponsible!

Twenty Years Earlier

When I was 17, one of my older friends (20) was an assistant manager at a local Pizza Hut restaurant. He would “accidentally” put the wrong toppings on pizzas so they couldn’t be sold to customers and so that his friends (us) could have free pizza.

After 9 p.m., the restaurant would close and a few of us would often hang out to munch on pizza or breadsticks and drink pitchers of beer while the staff blasted loud rock music and cleaned the kitchen and dining room floor.

After my friend got off work, we would typically go cruising and flirt with random girls along a popular avenue for doing so.

But one night, we thought of something else to do first.

It may not still be this way today, but nearly 20 years ago, Pizza Hut and restaurants like it, would serve soft drinks from machines that mixed syrup and water.

The syrup came in very large, silver bags. When completely full, they were quite heavy.

When empty, the staff would throw them in the dumpster behind the building. But that night, someone had a “better” idea.

Kids Will Be Kids

My phone buzzed in my pocket when my neighbor Ryan who lives across the street sent me a text message.

“Do you know whose car that is parked in front of your house?”

“Yeah. It’s my mom’s. She’s visiting. Do you need me to move it?”

“No man. Someone broke through the driver’s side window.”

“Shit. Really? Okay. Thanks for the heads up.”

I told my mom what Ryan had just told me. We both went out to investigate. And sure enough, the window was broken, only it had exploded outward, not in toward the driver’s seat as one would expect if someone had smashed through it to steal something.

It didn’t take us long to spot the tiny bullet hole.

Not like a 9mm or anything. More like a small pellet from a powerful air rifle. I called the police to let them know. The officer agreed with my amateur crime-scene analysis. Vandals had shot through the driver’s side window with a pellet gun, and then the window exploded outward from the reverse pressure.

Probably teens.

They just happened to be driving down my street, and they just happened to pull the trigger toward my mom’s car window.

Simply chance doing what chance does.

I couldn’t believe someone could be so reckless, disrespectful and irresponsible!

Almost Involuntary Manslaughter

A couple of the guys filled up the empty soft drink syrup bag full of water. We were going to make the biggest water balloon imaginable and drop it from the highest place we could.

Four or five of us piled into a pickup truck with the huge, and now very heavy, syrup bladder full of water.

We drove just a little bit outside of town to a country-road overpass which sat above a highway.

This was going to be awesome.

Sometimes I wonder about the person driving that car.

Maybe it was a young kid like us. Or maybe someone’s mom or dad. Maybe there was a family in the car with a baby in the backseat.

It could have been anyone.

Travelling 60 or so miles per hour in the dead of night, any animal jumping out in front of the car could have made the driver lose control. Most alert drivers are at least moderately aware of that possibility in such locations.

But they almost never look up.

I don’t know who suggested we wait for a car to come. But everyone thought it was a good idea.

The plan WAS NOT to drop the heavy bag on top of a car travelling at high speeds. But we did think it would be funny to drop a large dark object in front of an oncoming car, giving them enough time to see it fall and explode on the road in front of them.

A hilarious joke!

We saw a set of headlights ahead. This is the one! Hurry!

“Go!” someone yelled and we all moved to pick up the large water-filled bladder and heave it over the short wall. We didn’t plan for the difficulty involved in maneuvering the heavy bag and it took us longer than we’d intended, but with so many people lifting and throwing, there was no way to stop it from happening.

The car was coming fast.

Our massive water balloon dropped over the side and exploded onto the highway below entirely too close to the oncoming vehicle. Some of us watched. Some of us ducked down behind the overpass wall.

Tires screeched.

We gritted our teeth, hearts racing, waiting for the crash.

But there was no crash.

The driver saved the car somehow. We ran to the other side of the overpass. We watched the car slowly inch forward, the driver trying to figure out what had just happened. We didn’t stick around to see what would happen next.

We jumped in the pickup and fled back to Pizza Hut.

To our cars.

Back to the avenue where girls were waiting to be flirted with and asked for their phone numbers.

Just kids being kids.

Just chance doing what chance does.

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11 thoughts on “The Night I Almost Killed Someone

  1. stinkin’ story telling abilities! I was riveted….

  2. You people do stupid things. Sometimes those stupid things stick with us, reminding us not to do them again.

    Wonderful storytelling. Clearly you remembered, bet you didn’t repeat the stupidity.

  3. mollytopia says:

    Wow – I can only imagine how relieved you were that no one got hurt during that shenanigan…Now the hot new prank is putting cereal crumbs in mailboxes – it draws ants from two states away…I’ve been the lucky recipient twice. Good times!

  4. When I was assistant manager at a pizza place, one of those stupid soda syrup bladders exploded on me while I was getting it set up. It was totally full of syrup. *I* was totally full of syrup. It took forever to clean up and I had to go home afterward and change clothes.

    I loved the ending to your story :)

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