[Note to my readers: the following is an incident that occurred back in the winter of 1984. I neither condone the actions, attitudes or events herein. This is merely what happened, as a part of my life, especially the part which Christ redeemed me from…]
My face was covered with fire ants, a cop had a foot on my wrists which were behind my back and was I glad to be alive, except for the part in which I was “about to be arrested,” and “those damn fire ants.”
“Officer! There are fire ants on my face.” I was trying to get his attention as he conversed with his fellow officers, who were busy arresting my three buddies, Richard, James, and Byron. Apparently, out of the 22 officers who moments before had had their guns drawn, safeties off, and pointed in our direction, they just couldn’t find four pair of handcuffs between the 22 of them. This is why one officer had his foot of my wrists and seemed perfectly content to let the fire ants camp out on my face and neck.
Of course, some might think that I was getting everything I deserved at this moment, after all, I got into the car with Richard, who was driving and had been drinking. We all had been drinking that night. I was back in Lufkin for the first time in more than a year after spending a tour of duty in Italy. It was the same Italy in which I became engaged to the lovely Nunzia, and then subsequently became unengaged to her. At the ripe old age of 23, I wasn’t ready for marriage yet (Given that I didn’t marry until I was 42, gives you some indication of how I wasn’t ready at 23). I think I spared Nunzia a lifetime of grief. She’s now happily married to a wonderful Italian man and they don’t have the language barrier we had when I was seeing her.
It was because of that experience that Richard, James and Byron…, or was it Dusty?, wanted to take me out on the town and find some “white women!” James said it early on in the evening and that became our battle cry. I think James picked it up from the movie Blazing Saddles, in which the star of the movie at one point says, “Hey, where the white women at?” Who knows. They thought it was funny even though I tried to explain that Italians were kind of white too. Remember this took place before the invention of political correctness or the mullet haircut, two bad inventions in the 1980s that still plague us today.
We had already had a few beers when we piled in Richard’s 1966 Delta 88. It was a four door, which is the reason we took his car. Never mind that it didn’t have air conditioning, it was two days before New Year’s day and we didn’t need it. We drove out 94 to a place that was a part-time garage, part-time pool hall. It really was only a pool hall but had plenty of garage doors like a garage so the owners could open up the place and let it air out during the night. Remember, this was also before cigarrettes were illegal and marijuana was legal. Typically a pool hall like the one on 94 had enough second-hand smoke (something that didn’t exist back in 1984), to give us all cancer. We played pool, drank beer and tried to meet white women. Although I don’t remember there being very many women of any kind that night, so we just drank beer and I lost at pool. Even though I grew up with a pool table in my home, I never seemed to learn how to make those spherical objects bounce off each other into the pockets in order to win. Fortunately, I’ve never been a betting man, and ended up just being pool cannon fodder for Richard, James and Byron…, or was it Dusty?
Al’s Garage, Hair Cair and Pool Hall got boring after a while, so we all loaded up into Richard’s 1966 Delta 88 and headed into town to find some… “white women.”
Moments later, we thought we struck gold because we actually spotted two women in a car… as if… that meant they wanted something to do with us. Looking back on it so many years later, I can see the absolute absurdness of the entire night and the premise of the night. But alas, as the saying goes, why is youth wasted on the young?
We were cruising around 287 when we spotted the two white women in a car and we all screamed “white women!” I’m sure they were ready to get together with us over that one. But it didn’t work out that way. Richard pulled up along side of them so we could talk to them, yet Providence reared it’s ugly head. As we came along side of them, the light changed and they took off faster than an Indy car coming out of pit row. Richard had to turn right onto Old Union Road, since we were in the turning lane. He was a stickler for obeying the law when it came to drinking and driving.
He drove half a block and we realized we wanted to go the other direction. He pulled a U-turn… illegally I might add and then ran through the same light we had just come through, only this time heading backing into town. Good thing he was a stickler for obeying the laws when it came to drinking and driving. I can’t remember whether it was the illegal U-turn that he made or running the red light, but something tipped off Lufkin’s finest who had witnessed the entire ordeal that we needed to be pulled over.
It’s at this point that the night became surreal. Not the sweet kind of surreal like you experience when you meet that true love, or hold your newborn son for the first time. This was more like the Twilight Zone kind of surreal, like being in bed sick with a fever with all the bad dreams to boot and not being able to wake up, but being able to dream about waking up and finding yourself in church with nothing more than a bath robe on and having to preach in front of a full house. That kind of surreal, the bad kind. Because it was bad.
“Richard you need to pull over, the cop just turned his lights on and he following us.”
You would think in a normal world that would be easy to do. But this was surreal world and Richard decided, for some reason to this day he still cannot explain, to run for it. Yup, there we were in his 1966 Delta 88 being chased by a Lufkin Police officer with a radio and enough cops already on the streets because of the impending holiday to start a war. For some reason, Richard seemed to think he could outrun the Police and their radios in his 1966 Delta 88.
“Richard, just pull over!“
“I can’t! I just can’t!“
He floored it and I could hear the big engine under the hood kick in. I looked back to see how far back the cops were. They were still crossing traffic at the loop. I thought that there might be some odd chance we could lose the police… but it was a vain hope. Richard turned left onto Gaslight Blvd., and floored it again. One can only hope that the power of that 1966 Delta 88 would speed us out of range of the Lufkin police officer… and his radio… but it was a false hope. I looked back and saw the police car making the same turn we had just made. They were a good half mile behind us… I was still hoping there was some chance this would not end badly.
(To be continued…)
Read part two here.