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My Curfew

One of the guys who had worked years for my dad, went off to college at University of Wisconsin – Stout for their marketing program. Mike was about 5 years older, and I really looked up to him. He and his older brother were big advocates of UW-Stout’s marketing program. At the time I really wanted to follow in their footsteps and go to UW-Stout myself.

There was a marketing program at my high school, but I had to wait until I was a sophomore. When I did get into the marketing class, I was the only sophomore in a class full of junior and senior students. The marketing class had an activity club that went hand-in-hand with the class. The club was called Distributive Education Clubs of America, or as we referred to it - DECA.

We raised money for DECA events such as the leadership conference, regional and state competitions. I'll never forget the leadership conference in Minneapolis my senior year. Back in the day, soda sold in 2 liter bottles had a label that would slip right off, whereas today, they are glued in place. Well, slipping a clean Mountain Dew label over a 2 liter bottle of Sun Country citrus wine cooler with its label removed made the wine cooler look a lot like Mountain Dew, except the cap. My parents would question the Mountain Dew bottles with Sun Country labels in our fridge. I just told them it was cool, and check the cap if they wanted to see what it really was. We were loaded by the time we arrived, then had to sober up while we waited several hours for our rooms to be done - that part of the trip sucked. Our leader, Mr Tuschl came up and told us to make sure he didn't see anything. We pour him a glass of Mountain Dew in a hi-ball glass with ice, he drank it and reiterated that he didn't want to see anything bad.


Back to the main story my sophmore year, the regional competition was held at UW-Stout. Mr. Tuschl, our faculty advisor and chaperone, transported us a coach bus to UW-Stout, and home to La Crosse. On the way back I was near the rear of the bus, when I overheard a conversation.

It was about this accident this girl had a couple of summers earlier. I peered behind to take a look at her, and then I asked if her name was (insert name, I've forgotten). She said yeah, but how would I know. I avoided that question like the plague, but she interrogated me. It was too late, but I clammed up and didn't answer any more questions. Finally she figured where she and I had run into each other.

Suddenly she went crazy and tried to get at me to claw my eyes out, fortunately I only ended up with a scratch above the eye. Her friends held her back as she screamed at the top of her lungs. I ducked for cover as she kicked at me while Mr. Tuschl pulled her to the front of the bus to sit with him.

He later asked me what happened. I wanted to be invited back for Marketing II my senior year so I told him the story and hoped for the best. Here is what I told Mr. Tuschl;

Growing up in La Crosse my mother had never saw fit to give me a curfew, until the one night when I came home at 2:30 am. I was basically a good kid and hadn’t normally stayed out too late, so it never really mattered. The summer after my freshman year I started to stay out late, but only on Tuesdays.

Tuesday’s were poker night for my mother and her band of smoking cronies. I’d stay out as late as possible to avoid them. They'd smoke, swear, scream, and ask too many questions. They all played at my house, because their husbands all hated the collective group. I started hanging out at the local CITGO station (before I knew they were all owned by the terrorist bastard Hugo Chavez of Venezuela). I would play Ms. Pac Man and annoy customers. My dad stayed at work as late as he could, when he did come home he hid in the basement to avoid the crazy old bat-women playing poker.

One night at CITGO we came across some round cherry bomb style smoke bombs and started playing with them. The CITGO manager told us not to play with them in the area around the station, because he didn't want us to start the station on fire during his shift. We crossed the street to the adjacent K-Mart parking lot. After a while we noticed a car was rocking a little. We assumed some horny teenagers were getting busy in the backseat, the only response we could think of was to throw smoke bombs at the car.

I think there were only two of us left playing with the smoke bombs at this point. The first smoke bomb rolled under the car and did its smoking thing. Suddenly the car’s lights turned on. We took off. We raced back to the CITGO and the car gave chase. The two of us split up, hoping the car would give up and not chase either of us.

The fear of some senior football player kicking my ass helped me peddle faster than normal. I crossed back across the busy intersection avoiding traffic as best as I could heading back to the K-Mart parking lot. The car started catching up to me as I ducked through a pedestrian opening in the back fence. The car would have to go around the long way through the K-Mart back lot, allowing me to put some distance between me and the car, and maybe the car would just give up. Really, at this point I was hoping the car would give up, because we didn't do any damage, yet!

I raced as fast as I could through Doug Lietke’s alley towards Kwik Trip. At the end of the alley, should I chance heading home, or continue to try and lose the car. Being on a bicycle my advantage was I could jump curbs and change directions quickly. I was using as much of that advantage as I could, but I just could not shake this car. The car caught up really fast, I rounded a few corners, cut across parking lots and yards, but the car kept catching up with me.

Finally I saw an opening and darted across Losey Boulevard avoiding cars; it was one of the busier streets in town. I managed to not get killed with my daring move though I had the attention of a bunch of other cars that had honked at me. From my peripheral vision I could see the car was still coming right at me, so I changed directions about 7/8ths the way across the boulevard and darted back, like a squirrel.

The chase car was had jumped out in traffic after me, but my quick reversal caused the car to skid when the driver tried to mimic my maneuver. Before my decision to jump back across the street the car was hot on my tail. I heard a skid, but didn’t look back. The car had caught up to me too fast for me to feel safe yet.

I made DAMN sure she wasn’t followed as I ducked through alleys and shortcuts. I took a path that led to the railroad tracks. I grabbed my bike so I could run over the tracks and through the ditch as fast as possible. I continued down a couple of remote bike paths, not seeing very well, but steering by instinct and memory. I rode up to the park and hid under some trees and just looked out for anybody, especially the chase car. I was now about 15 miles from home.

It was past 2:00am, there wasn’t much traffic. Finally, when I felt it was safe, I made my way home. I was confronted by my mother who was upset I was out until almost 2:30 in the morning. No good could come from a child of 15 being out that late (she was right). I would be grounded and given a curfew once the grounding was complete. The grounding only lasted a few days (I could drive my mother insane in a couple days, and she'd lift curfew only to get me away from her).

Coincidently, about the time I was released from curfew something in the newspaper caught my eye. A car had hit a house and done a bunch of damage to a house. I read the whole article, the streets and times all matched. It occurred on Wednesday about 2:00am on the west side of Losey Boulevard. Witnesses said the car just bolted across the boulevard out of control and ran directly into a house. It was noted no alcohol was involved.

The car never made the turn when I reversed course. It lost control and jumped the curb and hit the house mentioned in the article. The cars that honked at me missed the accident, so the driver had no witnesses who may have seen me being chased, and possible instigating the whole thing. Maybe it was a good idea for the driver to not tell the authorities about chasing a kid on a bike. I also learned the name of the driver (I’ve forgotten it since). I was shocked to learn the driver was a girl.

Well, I pinned the article to my bulletin board and told my friends. Almost two years had gone by, when I was riding on that DECA bus back to La Crosse when the girl figured out it was me, then tried to gouge my eyes out. She did tell me that getting arrested was the worst thing that ever happened to her.

I asked Mr. Tuschl if I should apologize, but he thought it best if I just stay away from her because she was so vehemently upset, and since the school year would be over in a month anyways. Then I asked Mr. Tuschl if this would affect me getting into his Marketing II class.

I did get into Marketing II my senior year. I also became the president of our school DECA club. I also kept my curfew until my senior year. When I turned eighteen all bets were off again as to what time I'd come home.