I was driving. Brett was in the passenger seat. Russ, with his always present cup of iced tea, and Woody were in the back seat. We were driving around and looking for girls. So basically we were just driving around. The car was Dodge 600ES. It had everything. Digital dashboard. Tape deck with auto play. Power windows. Power locks. It was a sedan, but it was stick shift. And it talked. From “Your door is ajar” to “Your oil pressure is low. Prompt service is required.” We called it The Spy Car.
I was third in line for the spy car so I got it around 1989. By then, a lot of the James Bond stuff had stopped working. Digital dash only came on in metric. Tape deck needed a pencil jammed in it to work. Power windows only worked ½ the time. Power locks only worked 1/6th of the time. The voice had stopped annoying us two year prior. But we still called it the Spy Car.
Brett had bottle rockets. This wasn’t unusual. As we drove around neighborhoods, he’d fire one out the window saying, “This is my last one.” Fifteen seconds later, “This is my last one.” I tried to roll up his window with the master controls, but they were not functioning on that day. We all shouted for him to quit, but he didn’t. He finally said, “This is my last one,” and he was right, though he didn’t know it at the time. As he went to poke the lit-fuse rocket out the window, it clipped the door frame and rebounded back into the car at his feet.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! (We all scrunched our bodies as far as physically possible from the passenger seat. I couldn’t see, but I’m sure Russ and Woody were clasping each other in a girlish hug of fear. It's also pretty tough to drive stick scrunched up in to a fetal ball. With neither of my feet on the pedals, the car started to shudder and jerk.)
Brett put his sneakers on top the rocket. “Don't worry! I've got it!” He shouted.
The rocket shot up from under his feet and up the dash and in front of the glove compartment and it hit the ceiling and shot back down between the passenger seat and Brett’s back. Now wedged, the rocket blew pinkish fire on to the seat and Brett’s back. He leaned forward and the rocket shot off, disappearing somewhere in the car and, with a suggestion of muffled silence, exploded.
Even with all the windows open, the car was filled with acrid smoke. The car managed to stall to a stop. Everyone was bailing out of the car. I looked over and the passenger seat had a small oval of fire, eerily growing larger. I slapped it out with my hand. I quickly learned that burning passenger seat is comprised of fire and hot melty plastic that sticks to your hand and burns like napalm. Well, napalm jr.
While I was having a chemistry lesson in the front of the car, Russ was putting Brett’s shirt out. During this whole ordeal, Russ had managed not to spill his large cup of Baskin Robbins ice tea. As he exited the car, he saw that the back of Brett’s shirt was on fire. He calmly threw the entire contents of the cup on to Brett’s back, dousing the flames. Brett turned around and said, “Thanks for saving my life Russ.”
No, he didn't say that.
“Thanks for putting out my shirt that was on fire and on me at the same time.”
Not that either.
“Fucker! You ruined my shirt!”
See, Brett was wearing a one of a kind, Bowling Green, 1989 Doyt L. Perry Stadium Night Game t-shirt. Bowling Green University spent about $50,000 for huge portable lights to illuminate the football field and play a night game. Brett bought a shirt and he was very proud of it.
Brett was not aware of the fist sized hole burnt into the back of his shirt. He was also not aware of the fist sized 2nd degree burns on his back. In less than five minutes, he was very well aware of the burns. He’s got a scar there that he never gets to see.
I got out of the car and walked to the other side. We were all a bit shocked and forgot to beat the shit out of Brett. My car was sitting in the middle of a side street. Doors open with only the smell of the smoke left. I reached down a felt a pain in my ass region. I pulled my fingers back and there was blood on them. A quick inspection revealed that a chuck of my ass was gone. A small chuck by ass standards, but still. When Brett leaned forward in the car, the rocket must have shot over and between my ass and the car seat where it exploded. Inspection of the front seat revealed a little red stick poking out of a small blackened crater.
When we tallied up the losses it came out to:
One shirt (ruined, though I think he kept it)
One passenger seat top part (later covered in the taxi driver bead stuff)
One driver’s seat bottom part (matching taxi driver bead stuff)
One glass of ice tea
One pair of yellow shorts
Part of my ass
We got back in the car and drove to Monica’s house. Her mom patched Brett up and I used a lot of gauze and the white cloth tape in the privacy of the bathroom to patch myself up. We spent the rest of the afternoon swimming and thinking about what it would be like to have sex with Monica.
I told my folks a partial truth lie. Friends of friends (not our friends, honest) had been setting off fireworks and one ended up flying into the car. The perfect story. They didn’t believe it for a minute.