I'm picturing myself sitting in a dark musty confessional with a heavy breathing priest sitting behind a screen waiting for me to spill my guts. All that comes to my mind are some adolescent things I did when I was pretty young and most of it isn't even anything worth confessing. I got caught for just about every thing I ever did when I was young. I couldn't get away with anything. It wasn't until junior high when I started actually doing bad things.
I do have a funny story for you though.
This story is actually one of those childhood stories that stay with you forever. It has sort of a Lean on Me feel to it. It was sixth grade. I remember loving sixth grade. We were the top dogs in school since our school ran from kindergarten thru sixth grade. I was also part of Becky's group (which is a story I'll have to dive into later; my friend Jenni is probably laughing right now from me mentioning that). I'll put it like this; there were two cool groups in sixth grade as far as the girls went and it was Becky's group and Jenni's group. It was all very Mean Girls.
Now, since I have the worst memory of anyone I know I can't account for everyone that was with us this day. Of what I remember it was Marissa, Milinda, Logan, Lance and I. Next to our elementary school was a canal. Looking back on this now, it probably wasn't the smartest thing to build a school next to this but I'm not sure which one came first. Either way it was pretty dumb. Let's put a fast moving body of water next to our children's school.
The canal runs for miles and miles. I'm not even sure exactly how far it extends. It ran right next to our school, under the freeway and to Never, Never Land.
Never, Never Land is what we called the place where the canal ran to where there was a rope swing and where the homeless people were. If you looked closely you could see it from the frontage road when you drove by but it was mostly covered in trees. There were tents back in the trees where the homeless people stayed and it was right next to the railroad tracks. The tents were not visible from the street. You had to walk back there to see it all.
One day after school we were beginning to walk home (remember when kids walked to and from school? yeah, we did that.) and got a bug up our butts to follow the canal, which was empty at the time, under the freeway; under the six lane wide freeway. As naive as we were at the time we did however know that bad things happened under there. Like where all of the devil worshippers of the town did there evil deeds.
As we walked in the empty canal there were broken bottles and dead animals and various puddles of stale water. Before we actually made it to the freeway entrance we had to go under a two lane road. This was great practice for us before we reached the freeway entrance. This part wasn't actually that dark but we could see all of the graffiti that was on the walls. I'm not talking about tagging like gangsters do because we didn't have much of that when we were this young. It was mostly just from the Satanists or Wanna-Be-Satanists. The thug movement didn't reach our small town till the nineties. I remember on the wall it said Satan Lives and Logan, one of the boys with us spray painted over Satan and wrote Jesus.
Take that Satanists!!
This was our first attempt at following the canal. We stopped here this day before we got to the freeway and turned around and went home.
The next day we were feeling adventurous again and decided to give it another shot. When we got to the point where Logan had spray painted over Satan's name we saw that what he had wrote had already been crossed out by someone else. You can imagine how this would completely creep a bunch of sixth graders out. It just fueled the Satan worshipping stories into making them seem even truer. We ran like hell after that.
As we came to the part where we had to follow the canal under the freeway we hesitated. There were a few triple dog dares and empty threats exchanged between us until we finally mustered up enough courage to enter. Plus the adrenaline was still pumping pretty hard from running so it was either go under the freeway or go back to where we came from. I don't think any of us wanted to venture back there. It wasn't entirely dark the whole way but the middle part was Angus cow black. I think at this point I decided to walk as fast as I could with out running in order to appear that I wasn't that scared. Walking fast doesn't admit fear but running sure the hell does.
We didn't walk through all together; some were more daring than others. My friend Milinda was fearless and if I remember correctly she and Lance were the first ones through. The rest is a bit of a blur until we finally ended up at Never, Never Land.
Exactly what conversation conspired between us to do what came next I have no idea but when we saw those tents we became intrigued. After a bit of nudging I ended up following directly behind Lance and right up to the entrance of an old army tent. Just as Lance reached forward to open the tent door a man popped his head out and began chasing us out of there. I don't think I have EVER run faster in my life. We flew out of there straight down the rail road tracks.
A couple hundred of feet down the tracks we stopped to see the man standing on the tracks with a gun in his hand. At least that is what we thought we saw and that is the story I'm sticking to. The man watched us as we walked the rest of the way out of there. At this point we were near Lance and Logan's neighborhood and finally felt safe. This is probably the point where the smart ass comments began because you know that's how a group of sixth grade boys and girls roll when they're out on an after school adventure. Plus a good way of relieving some stress is to start cracking jokes.
Thinking back on this I wonder how long this whole experience took and if any of our parents were worried about us not coming straight home from school. It was definitely something we bragged about for a few years. It bonded us, well, that is until we went our separate ways over time.
We all definitely went our separate ways that is for sure.