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Stolen

It all started as a prank. A stupid prank. Warner had called excitedly saying Mr. Florin, his much hated advanced math teacher, had left his car keys on his desk and, long story short, he wanted to know if I would join him for a joy ride tonight. About five of my friends would drive to a party in the teacher’s car, probably get drunk, and then go get their stupid selves in a wreck. “Can’t, I’m working,” I laughed into the phone instead and hung up. Still, the image of a burning car with five screaming teenagers inside it was stuck in my head. Could I really let them do this?

If I let them, they could get hurt or arrested, but what are they odds? Besides, they’d hate me forever. Warner’s not a moron, he can drive! I told no one, but it bothered me until it was only an hour before he told me they’d be leaving. It only took me two minutes to send an email to Mr. Florin to hopefully save my friends lives. I went to bed that night wondering if my friends had still gotten in a crash and died.

The next morning I awoke to a phone call. Warner.

“You told,” was all he said.

“What?”

“Mr. Florin, Mr. Florin, mean ole Warner’s got your car, Mr. Florin, naughty Warner’s gonna drink and drive!” Warner said in a high pitched imitation of my voice.

“Look, Warner, I?”

“Just shut the hell up,” Warner said quietly. “Guess what? I’m going home today. I got expelled. That’s right, I can never come back to school. I was gonna do Broadway, Benny, I was gonna do Broadway for the rest of my life ‘til I was 90 but I still got cast as the old grandpa that only had one line, but it was the best damn line in the whole damn musical!”

“I was just trying to?”

“But you know what? Now that can never happen,” his voice was still calm, though with an edge. “Now I can never live my dream because you took it away.”

“You’re the one who took it away when you picked up those keys!” He was silent for so long I thought he had hung up.

“You stole my future, Benny-boy, you stole my dream, you stole my life!” Then he really did hang up. Luckily, the others who had planned on joining him hadn’t been turned in as well, and I didn’t even know who they were. The rumors at school the next day claimed Warner picked up a hooker but killed her in a car accident. No one thanked me for saving my friends, no one told me I did the right thing. Mr. Florin didn’t even thank me for telling him who stole his car. Was it worth it?

Let’s say I didn’t tell. Let’s say Warner went to that party and had the time of his life, had a few drinks, and the bunch of them cruised down the highway for a joy ride. Let’s say they got home fine and returned the car, never got caught. Or let’s say they never came home. But that moron can’t think for himself. In his mind it always ends up being the best night of his screw-up life and he leaves the keys in the lost and found and everything’s fine. In his world, kids don’t die in car accidents. In my world they do. But in my world, friends don’t get mad at friends for saving their lives.

I’m sorry if I ruined his life, I was just trying to stop him from ruining it himself. Maybe I also spared his parents the grief of losing him. But I still stole what can’t be returned. He may be able to go to another school to major in acting, but it won’t be the same. He’ll just be doing local plays for the rest of his career because I stole his life, and I didn’t even get a single thanks out of it.

It was these thoughts that led me to steal another thing that day. When it was dark, my backpack no longer carried books but the necessities to live. And I stole away.





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