Out with it!

February 3, 2010

People who know me know that I hold the truth above all else.

Today I was listening to an old episode of Radio Lab from NPR http://www.radiolab.org/ The show was about morality and the presenter was speaking about an incident when she was in grade three.  She had tracked down a number of her old classmates. They helped her to move the story along.  However that was not what got me thinking.  She did a small after-thought to the story.  Her old classmate told a story where he abandoned a friend after an accident and the guilt he felt about that.

It reminded me or a similar story that happened to me but from the other angle.  I didn’t abandon anyone.

I have a very good friend.  Let’s call him Jim, because that is his real name.  This was in the first year of my friendship with Jim which has now stretch over 25 years.  I immediately knew that this guy was a good guy and worth having and keeping as a friend. I am a very loyal person and I will reward your friendship twofold.  As Brett or anyone of my friends who visit here will tell you.

Anyway, Jim and I volunteered at a museum in my hometown.  We were smart and could miss school and not fall behind.  In actual fact we were bored and this was the school’s way of keeping us interested.  It worked.

We would walk to and from the museum and home along Main Street (yes, it was actually called Main Street).  Jim was picking up chestnuts and horse-chestnuts and all kinds of seeds and stuff and opening them and investigating them. He was always very curious.  He then discovered that chestnuts bounce, they don’t break.  So we bounced them on the sidewalk for a while.  And then fo no reason Jim tossed a chestnut at a moving van.  I guess to see if it would bounce.  Well it did, and then it bounced off a windshield of a car.  Jim’s face went white with fear.  As a joke a said “Run Jim run!  The car is turning around!’  So Jim took off like a scalded cat.  I was laughing my ass off right up until a car jumped the curb and nearly ran into me.

Here’s the storey I told everyone else.  Two guys hopped out, approached me and asked a lot of questions about stones being thrown.  A woman came out of a nearby house to ask if I was OK.  I said I was, then I gave my name and phone number to the guys so they would go away.  I then went home and called Jim.

Jim also had a bit of an adventure.  he hid under cars, in BBQ’s and from dogs (he has a big fear of dogs) and finally arrived home.  No big deal, we got away!

A few days later a Cop shows up at my house, asks a lot of questions and I eventual say I would contact my friend and get him to call the Cop.

Jim does call the Cop, and in the end nothing really happens as the guys insurance covered the broken windshield.  Jim and I still laugh about it when we think about it.

Now for the real story.

After I tell Jim the car is turning around, I laugh my ass of and then a car jumps over the curb and runs me over.  I mean flat on my ass under a Mercury Capri.  They reverse, pull me out and proceed to pummel the living crap out of me.  They steal my wallet.  A woman comes out of her house to see what is going on. They threaten to kill me if I tell her anything.  While a knife is pressed into my belly I tell the lady I am fine and to go back inside.

They throw me in the car and drive to a vacant lot where they kick and punch me, never hitting my face.  They eventually start asking questions.  Well, I button up.  I don’t say one word.  I know that if I give them Jim’s info they will go find him and beat him worse than me.  Eventually I fake passing out.  (You know how hard it is not to flinch when someone kicks you?)  I walk home and call Jim and I tell him the fake and we laugh about it.  I don’t tell Jim the truth because I don’t want to scare him.  I really think its over because they won’t be able to find me again as they don’t even have my name.  Later that night I realize I don’t have my wallet anymore.

I live in fear for weeks.  I leave and come back from school at odd times,  I never take the same path to or from school.  I felt safe doing my paper route as all my customers would protect me.  I always tried to travel in groups.

But I was one paranoid little dude. 

Then one day I am up in my room reading when my folks call me downstairs.  I walk into the living room and there is my mom and dad….and a Cop.

He has my wallet.  I am thinking he found it and is bringing it back to me.  I was a little naive back then. Anyway the Cop puts on his bad cop face and starts giving me the business.  He wants Jim’s name and address. I play dumb.  At some point the guys who were driving the car realized that there were two of us and the guy who ran was the guy who was guilty.  Not sure why they brought the cops into it, pretty dumb considering the beating they gave me.  Anyway, the Cop is playing all his psychological games to get me to talk.  But eventually he brings out the cuffs and says he is taking me in.  He must have made a deal with my folks because they just stood there and said nothing.  So he gets the cuffs on, and I sit in the back of the Cop car.

In my head is this thought.  I can give Jim up but then he will get beaten up or taken in by the Cops.  Not good.  But if I keep my trap shut then Jim is safe AND since everyone knows I didn’t do it I can’t go to jail, or get beaten up again.  Not telling the Cops what they want to know isn’t illegal and since I haven’t said one word, they don’t even know if I know who the other guy is. Eventually the Cop, who made a big fuss about taking me in gives up.  And he does what he should have done in the first place.  He gives me his business card and says give me a call if you change your mind or give my card to your friend and he can call me.

So he lets me out, I go inside, I tell my folks nothing and go back to my book.  My folks think that I told the cop my friends name, but they don’t even know who Jim is or that he works at the museum at that point.

I call Jim later that day from a pay phone (in case my line is buggged).  We meet at his place and say tell Jim the first story.  Not sure why, but I think I may have thought I was protecting him.

He talks to his dad, they call the cops and then insurance covers the damage.  Jim nor I ever see the guys in the car again.

So there is the truth, all of it.  And a small moral for you too.  Keep your friends, be loyal and it will be repayed.  Don’t cave into “the man” whomever he might be because when it comes right down to it, your friends and your family will be all that you have.

And Jim?  He has repaid that loyalty back to a degree that cannot be measured.  Good friends are worth taking a few body blows for.


P.S. I have not told Jim the truth yet.  I am curious to know if he reads my blog.  Keep checking the comments.


  1. Wow. That’s quite an adventure. I guess Jim doesn’t read your blog or at least doesn’t comment on your blog. Really. It’s the least he could do. Sheesh.

  2. After reading you site, Your site is very useful for me .I bookmarked your site!

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