done a lot of stupid things in my life; why, just
the other day I accidentally ripped a chunk of flesh
the size of a cassette tape off ofmy inner thigh with
duct tape. So I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
But in July of 1994, I did what is hopefully the stupidest
thing I will ever do.
got myself kidnapped at the age of 17.
a little important background. I never learned how
to drive. I took Driver's Ed in high school, and even
got an "A" in the class due to my enthusiasm about
gory disaster films, but I never actually drove the
car. At this point in my life, I was not wearing my
contact lenses for some reason, so my vision was an
unaltered 20/2000. So I couldn't see more than a foot
or so in front of my face. And I had just graduated
from high school. I think that's about it.
yeah; my mother had just bought a new Jeep. Her old
Honda Civic was originally intended to be "my car,"
but obviously I couldn't do anything with it.
I was at home one Saturday in July. My mother, her
boyfriend and our dog had all gone camping, so I was
home alone, sitting at the kitchen table drawing and
eating a pear, when I heard a knock at the door. I
opened it to find an African-American guy in his 20's
sweating like crazy on my Welcome mat. He seemed very
tense, and immediately started into this speech about
how he had just got a call on his pager, and his mother
was in the hospital, and he wondered if he could use
my phone to call the hospital.
I said, and let him in.
went and got him the cordless phone and left the room
while he made the call. He came out of the kitchen
with the phone, no less nervous.
he said, "my mom's in the hospital in Tacoma and I've
gotta go see her. She had a heart attack, but my car
won't start; could you jumpstart my car?"
I said, "there's the Honda outside, but it hasn't
been started in almost a year; if it still runs, I
can probably give you a jump."
I got the keys and went out to try to start the Honda.
couldn't get it started for some reason, so the guy
(who had climbed into the passenger seat) said "Let
me try, I'm a mechanic." I climbed out of the driver's
seat and into the passenger side while he tried to
start the car.
to say, he got it started and we drove down the block.
man, I just remembered - I don't have any money for
gas!" he said.
you mind if I stop at the house of this lady I know
and borrow some money?"
I didn't mind.
off we drove in my Mom's car. He stopped about six
blocks away from my house and ran up a flight of stairs
to the door of this house. He knocked and had a brief
conversation with the woman who answered, then ran
back to the car.
man - she couldn't loan me any money. You don't have
any money, do you, youngster?"
I said, "I'm completely broke."
okay. I'm gonna have to ask somebody else that I know
in this neighborhood. Hold tight, youngster." And
we drove farther away from my house, to some other
house, where the previous routine repeated itself.
We ended up stopping at a total of six houses, ending
up a couple miles away from where we started. By this
point, I was getting fairly nervous, tapping my fingers
on my leg and looking out the window.
okay, youngster," the guy said, "don't worry. I just
gotta make one more stop to, uh, get my keys, and
then I can start my car."
parked in front of a small house and ran to the door.
A few minutes later, he came back and started the
car, but instead of driving back in the direction
of my house, he began heading down Avalon Way, which
heads out of West Seattle onto the freeway.
a minute," I said. "Where are you going?"
the lady at that last house told me I could do the
paperwork at Harborview Hospital. So I don't need
to jumpstart my car - I just need to go to the hospital.
Don't you worry, youngster. I'll have you back home
didn't even know what to say.
youngster, that radio work? Get me some nice jazz
on the radio."
turned the car radio on and tuned it to the local
smooth jazz station.The guy looked at the clock on
the radio display."Oh, man, is that clock right?"
I replied, "it should be."
no! I gotta go pick up my girlfriend!"