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This was a personal experience of mine and thought it should be written. We needed to find something to be passionate about and this was the first thing I thought of.
“How’d we get into this mess Jake? I hope we all get home in one piece.”
Over the summer I spent a lot of time hanging out with my closest friends. Most of my friends are juniors like myself. I am three sport athlete with a stocky build being only 5’8”. I’m a funny person who gets along with just about everyone. I have lived in St.Helens my whole life and made lots of connections this way. I have bright blue eyes and curly brown hair that looks almost like an afro once grown out. My friends and I would always do a variety of things depending on how we felt that day. Sometimes we would simply take long walks with no apparent destination and talk about our feelings on everything going wrong in our lives. Other times we would grab poles, bait, and weights to head out and fish in the greatest spots. With occasional times of bad weather everyone would just lie around and play games, nothing special. Although one time my friend Richard shook me into consciousness whispering, “How about we try something new?” Richard was quite the individual, you never knew what to expect from him. His attitude changed so quickly and often that you would think he had MPD (multiple personality disorder). Somehow i had come to accept his ways which often led me to join in and make a complete fool of myself. He is around six feet tall weighing in at around 135. He is quite strong but resembles a string bean from a far. He had always been a friend of mine but with others having jobs, girlfriends or better things to do he essentially jumped to the top. I was never worried when driving with him he had his license and had been behind the wheel of something since he was very young on the property. But when someone is faced with something they’re not used to the best outcome doesn’t always happen.
It was the middle of July, prime time for any kind of warm water fishing. I had just been in California for two weeks so I had already missed time angling and was ready to get right back to it. I’d spent the night at Richards’ house with the aspirations to wake up and go out with his dad on the Columbia. Instead I woke up to clothes being thrown and things crashing to the ground, “I’ve heard of this place called Warm Waters what’dya say we try her out?” Richard yelled while searching through his closet for the right jacket.
I didn’t have a clue where this was but if there was fish I couldn’t say no to a great time, “Sure, you know I am always down for ripping lips”, I responded excitedly.
“Let’s go then, daylights fading be ready in ten!” he yelled through the halls. I rummaged through his closet to find pants that fit, tossed on a name brand t-shirt, along with a random NRA or whatever other offensive type of hat he possessed, finishing it off with some crappy shoes I had worn the year prior. My mom would have lectured me that these were still good shoes, if she was there, but luckily she wasn’t so I was in the clear.
After around ten minutes Richard came storming in screeching out a, “Let’s go.”
“Not so fast Rich. You need to be home by four we have a family dinner, if you’re not here we are leaving without you.” Richard's mom interjected just before Richard twisted the doorknob.
“Ahhh, ehhhh, okay”, he replied as he then closed the door behind him.
I jumped up and ran out to the passenger side of his dark green Ranger,”Close the door, hurry up!” he announced as if I was across a field.
“Yeah, yeah get moving would ya”, I slyly replied. It wasn’t the best truck but had a canopy over the back making it look a little nicer.
Richard once mentioned to me about how terrible the weight distribution was but always finished that thought with a thorough description of what he would install to fix the issue, “I think i’ll add a bunch of cement blocks in the bed for added weight you know, even things out”, this was reassuring.
As soon as I had closed my door he took off backing down his gravel driveway nearly missing chickens every fifteen feet, “Move ya good for nothing egg layers!” he screamed towards them with the aspirations they would understand
He ended up taking a different turn then normally, heading towards the highway which caught me off guard. Before I could say anything he told me, “Seth called asking what I was doing so I invited him along with us that alright?”
“Sure”, I responded quickly “I got nothing against ol’ seth.” Seth wasn’t my best friend, but wasn’t a bother to me as well.
My dad had told me prior to entering high school, “If you are nice to everyone you talk to no matter what group they were in, or yourself, High School will be much better for those four years.” I always listened to his good advice and this was exactly how I became friends with Seth.
He lived way up Pittsburg where nobody even thought about going. Pittsburg is a notorious road for crashes and has been held accountable for tearing apart many families. Even with that I wasn’t worried with a great driver like Richard controlling us. He always knew what to do and by far had the most experience behind the wheel. I myself am scared to travel up that road because of the tight turns, narrow views, and recklessness of other drivers.
After around fifteen minutes of driving we hit a part of road that just wasn’t paved, “Hold on here it gets a little bumpy in this old thing”, he relayed to me. This was so far up, with only a small amount of people living beyond what went without being paved.
Upon reaching Seth’s gravel road with a large trough halfway through we were back at dodging animals. Seth’s dogs came screeching off the back deck, skidding through gravel right to the front grill of his truck, “If they don’t stop I’m gonna hit them.” Richard slammed his foot firmly on the brakes shooting us both forward, “God dammit you stupid mutts get out of the way!”
Seth came hurdling out in the same manner as his pets, with a less graceful look, “Hey guys it’s about time you got here”, latching onto the handle as he came sliding through gravel in his beat up shoes. He ripped open the door to its full extent and leaped in pushing me into the middle of the truck.
“Hey I really don’t want to sit in the middle”, I exclaimed.
“Too bad, Richard let's move out!” I was now in not so technical terms riding “b****”, which I found to be unfair since I was so much larger than Seth meaning he should have switched me. He was another smaller friend but not nearly as strong as Richard. He is pretty secluded up in the woods and his edumacation isn’t all that great. He get’s by and would rather go huntin or muddin then try and learn Algebra over again.
I ended up dealing with my new spot and not complaining which would have made things harder. We took a left coming into his house so I figured we would take a right back out the same way we came. Instead right before making this choice Seth suggested to Richard, “Take a left here. I know it sounds weird but I know where we’re going.”
“Really? Cuz I don’t wanna get lost.” Richard replied in an unsure tone.
“Once we head down this road a little while we take a right onto a gravel road. Stay on that all the way until you hit pavement, then boom, Deer Island Store!” If we did indeed follow the correct roads he told us we would be much closer to our fishing spot then taking Pittsburg.
Having never been down this way I suggested to Richard, “Hey, this looks a little abandon to be honest take it easy would ya.”
“Sure, don’t worry about it Jake”, he assured me.
We drove down a narrow road barely wide enough for two trucks like Richards to pass. With banks on each side reaching down only about a foot or two below the roads level. Throughout this new road we went a reasonable speed limit especially when turning, making it safely out to HWY 30. We took a left heading further out of town to a little side road spot right near our fishing spot. “Here we are boys grab some s*** and let’s go!” Richard instructed.
“I’ll grab the tackle boxes, Richard take the poles, and Jake grab all the worms and chairs would ya.” Seth said with an assuring tone. We all grabbed our crap as told and began our journey of half a mile down to Warm Waters. Ducking under a “NO TRESPASSING” sign we shuffled our way down a gravel trail.
“How far down is this stupid place!” Seth complained.
“It’s right around this next turn calm down!” Richard shouted over his head to Seth trailing behind us.
“Why did I offer to grab tackle this s*** is heavy!” Seth responded with a struggling voice.
“Calm down let’s just keep going then you can rest!” I shouted.
After taking the corner I could see the river banks ahead as Richard had promised with trees all around. Blocking out the smell of the quarry and waving through some of the loose dust, I voiced my opinion. “This looks like a small little place Rich?” I questioned.
“Don’t worry I can hear the fish gods blessing us”, he said with a god-like appeal to his voice. Knowing all about the fish gods I chose to go along with it and just get to the spot.
“Alright set the stuff down and let’s bait up and rip those lips!” Setting down the poles they resembled what would occur when you stick three sets of headphones in your pocket all day.
“God dammit Jake, how’d you manage to do this!” Seth yelled right in my face.
“Sorry it just happened I couldn’t control it”, I responded with no time wasted or reaction to his pissed off attitude.
“It’s not a big deal just get them undone would you two”, he assured us preventing any further quarrel. After spending five minutes on this Richard reached in retrieving all he cared about, his pole. Hooking a worm around the barbed Eagle Claw hook with ease he was in the water before I even found which pole I would use. Before his bait hit the water the peaceful river resembled a mirror.
“Damn Dick how the hell did u do that?” I wondered.
“Skill Jake, skill”, he slyly responded with a c***y aspect.
“I’m still trying to attach my hook you bunch of buffoons!” Seth added. Once all of us were properly equipped, fishing could commence. Everyone settled down with a pole nestled between our thighs, hands at the ready. It didn’t take long before all the hard work began paying off, “I got something guys!” Seth erupted with surprise.
“Reel it in would ya!” Richard responded stating the obvious.
“Almost there, I got a pretty great cast!”Seth replied implying he had a lot of line to reel in. Whipping his wrist in a circular motion like beating an egg, his line slinked into place around the reel. Spraying small amounts of water in various directions, before his weight stopped any further movement. Raising his remaining line out of the water to reveal a small colorful fishy. “What is this little thing?” Seth spoke with uncertainty.
“You got a little Bluegill there Seth!” Richard explained. This wasn’t the end of our fishing adventure, but only the beginning. All of us ended up reeling in a total of fifteen fish consisting of Crappie, Catfish, Bluegill, Smallmouth Bass, and even a random brown trout. Being caught up in the thrill of things Richard had forgot about a prior commitment with his mom, “Ah s***, we gotta leave now, I need to be home!”
“Grab your s*** Jake, he still has to take me home!” Seth shouted at me. I grabbed the remaining amount of Night Crawlers (bait worms), tossing the contents of feces and food into the vast depths of the river, which really wasn’t that deep. Wasting no time I was jogging my way uphill to Richard’s Ranger, hucking my supplies in the back. Being pushed back into the middle Richard put it in gear and took off. Choosing to retrace our steps in order to save time, we took the same route up the barren gravel road.
“Ahhh… we are taking this road back.” I uttered under my breath.
“You wanna walk Jake or deal with it. This is the quickest way and we are taking it!” Richard put me right into my place with that so I shut up. Figuring either way I was getting home I decided not to argue back.
Upon reaching the road we noticed tire ruts where we had traveled on the way down. “Let’s follow in our footsteps so to say, in order to maintain our traction.” Seth suggested.
“Yeah that’s a good idea Seth, watch that side let me know if i swerve out of them.” Richard replied with instruction.
“Yep, will do Rich take it slow huh?” Seth urged uncertain how Richard would react.
“Yeah, yeah, I don’t need to hear how to drive from someone who doesn’t even have a license!” Richard yelled out still facing ahead. Seth knew he had lost and just slumped down with no rebuttal.
Continuing down the road we reached a point where there was no signal for any phone, zero people in a decent walking distance, and really just nothing around us.
We had been traveling fairly straight until I noticed a right turn coming up, glancing over at the speedometer which read 35 mph, I voiced my concern, “I think your going a little fast especially for a turn on pure gravel?” I brought to everyone’s attention.
“Oh s***, yea we should hit it around 25 mph, that should be just fine.” RIchard insisted.
“I’d take it a little faster than that Rich come-” Seth spoke upon being interrupted.
“Shut up you idiot, don’t think i’ll be driving with you when you get your license!” Richard screamed right in his face, reaching past me to smack him on the head. Richard slowly pressed the brakes bringing us to around 25 mph, while even still slowing down. At this time everything that went wrong did.
I hadn’t been on gravel roads much in my life, but I still felt like we were too fast. Richard reached the turn with two hands on the wheel and eyes completely focused on the road ahead, if you could call it a road. Near the middle of the turn our back wheels fell out of the grooves we followed, losing all traction. This swung out the back end to our left turning us nearly around but luckily, being the experienced driver Richard was, he turned into the slide with hopes to balance everything out. Remembering from earlier Richards’ truck has a terrible weight distribution, which came into play for this circumstance. It ended up causing the back end to whip in the opposite direction faster than before. so when he corrected the slide it came back the other way much quicker. We jetted across the gravel now facing the opposite direction we were traveling, cascading towards the shallow dip on the roadside. Trees came into a larger perspective as wheels sprayed gravel all around us before reaching our final position. The vehicle screamed as it approached its fatal end. Our front end hit slightly before the back end absorbing most of the force on impact jetting all three of us forward. This crash occured to me in complete slow motion, I glanced over at Richard to see how he was feeling. His wide-eyes revealed to me everything he was thinking, “S***, what is my dad gonna say? How did this even happen? F***, I can’t do anything else. Here we go…” His fingers tensed in struggle grasping the wheel, his face was blank and pale being in such shock, and his body loose as a wrestler may do when being throw down to prevent injury. Switching views I turned to Seth reading him in a similar manner as before with Rich. His body was pinned to the door in a sort of ball shape with hands grasping around his head to absorb any blow, forearms guarding his face, and elbows shaking. Eyes clenched close not wanting to see his possible demise, or anything around him. In a short time later we were turned up on our side with the possibility of landing upside down. Reaching over, Richard and I leaned our weight against the roll preventing the tip as if we communicated telepathically on this task, landing us right side up thankfully. “Is everyone alright?” Richard spoke in a shaky tone.
“Fine...”, Seth and I spoke in unison to give him reassurance.
“Nothing hurt or broken that you know of?” Richard questioned hoping for the same response as before.
“I feel fine, just wanna get out of this s***. Life’s a roller coaster you know?” I provided giving Richard a sort of relief.
“My shoulder hurts, it got banged against the window when I was basically touching the ground”, Seth uttered.
“Alright then, let’s get out and check the damages”, Richard instructed everyone.
Richard ushered all of us to follow him out his side. Seth’s side was damaged and wouldn’t open easily, so we hobbled out Richard’s side. Richard quickly sat down shocked at what had happened and what he had caused. “God dammit, how’d did it get this bad?” Richard uttered with anger.
“Don’t worry Rich i’ll go check around the front” I responded. Strolling my way to the front I was surprised at what it felt like versus what it looked like. Richard’s front end was down in the dirt hiding the grill from plain sight. Over to the other side I found the entire wheel well to be dented around along with the door handle. This answered why it wouldn’t open, because something in there was crushed up. Although, I hadn’t even seen the worse part, “Uh, Rich come around to the backside would ya?”
“Man I swear if it’s something terrible i’m gonna be pissed!” Richard screamed jumping the gun before truly knowing the issue at hand.
After joining me, he shared in my same line of sight. His back right tire was deflated and needed to be changed, “Crap, luckily I got a spare under the bed.” He said walking to the back of the ranger.
Crawling his way under discovered it was held up by a bolt, “Hey Jake, find me that tool in the bed”, smacking the bottom of the truck.
“Sure thing Rich!” This was something I was used to. Rich would ask for something with no detail expecting you to always find it. After turning the handle which acted as a lock and pulling it out to open the window, I noticed something nobody would appreciate. As a result of us flipping on our side all of our tackle, poles, and chairs had flown around. All three tackle boxes had miraculously unhinged and scattered their contents all across the bed. Hooks were dangling from the top, weights had rolled into the deep grooves in the bottom, rubber worms clung onto anything they contacted, and everything was a disastrous mess, “Here ya go Rich, hope this is it?” I chose not to tell Rich at the time with everything else going on.
“Ya that’s the one, thanks babe!” He uttered winking his right eye. Everyone has a tad bit of gay in them and this was his little portion. Hearing squeaks and grunts of struggle I could tell that spare wasn’t used very often. Once the bolt fell off it wasn’t long before the bar holding it up followed. Luckily the tire required some wiggling and prying to get off, “Whew that could have been much worse!” Richard blurted with a gasp of relief.
“Ya, I could see that, get out of there and let’s get this thing off”, as I pointed over to the messed up tire. He crawled out bringing the lug wrench with him. Placing the wrench over one of the nuts he gave it a strong pull down to loosen them. This was nearly impossible because as he tugged the tire would just spin in the free air because one side sat higher than the other.
“Get over here and hold this thing still would ya?” he ushered with his free hand directing me to his side.
“Which way are you going?” I asked in order to find where I should apply my strength.
“You just hold it steady either way, i’ll do the opposite”, Richard instructed me.
Although before we could start Seth began yelling, “JACOB, JACOB, follow me quickly!” Without hesitation I began sprinting behind Seth like a lion chasing down his prey. following right behind Seth who wasn’t that fast.
Stopping about a hundred yards deep I questioned him with a huffing voice, “Why, did we, run, up here?”
“You must not have heard the car coming?” Seth responded, now with a soft calm voice.
“No, why would, that matter, anyway? Wait, they could, have, helped us.” I replied now being slightly irritated but still out of breath.
“Think about this for a moment. If they stopped what would be the first thing they do?” Seth muttered as if I was being interrogated.
“I would probably try to contact a tow truck or something to help if I was in that situation”, responding in a very sure attitude now regaining my breath resting my heart.
“Exactly and when that person arrived they would find Richard wasn’t finished with his six months, and driving with two passengers one of which was riding in the middle. Thus they would call someone of a higher power now placing Richard in an even worse position.” Seth explained leaving nothing to the imagination. This opened my mind towards how smart Seth truly was. He made this decision so quickly and knew where to go, it makes you wonder how many times this sort of thing has happened.
“You’re a regular Einstein!” I made apparent to him.
“Truck’s gone!” Rich blurted, while waving his hand carelessly above him, “Hold this s*** Jake!” Richard shouted echoing through the barren woods.
“On my way!” I returned jogging my way past trees and over thorns. Arriving by his side we began working away. I struggled to hold on as he wrenched down on each nut prying them loose. This method worked for them all except one which absolutely wouldn’t budge.
“Hold it tighter”, Richard screamed.
“Pull it down harder”, I responded sarcastically. This wasn’t going to help either of us. After yelling it added to my already bulging veins to the point where I had to let go.
This release caused Richard’s hand to slam into the dirt still holding the wrench, “F***, you little retard why’d ya let go!” he screamed out, not even being in any pain.
“We weren’t getting anywhere and I think if we switched I could get it?” I asked not knowing what to expect in return.
“Fine let’s see if you ARE stronger than me!” grabbing the wrench I popped it over the nut ready to go.
“Hold on Rich!” I shouted even though he was right there beside me.
Putting all my weight on that little metal wrench I reared down on the tire. Peering over I could see Richard trying his hardest to hold on knowing if he let go I would make fun of him. After two seconds that seemed like forever the wrench shifted the nuts position.
“Finally, now get off the rest of them would ya?” Richard spoke walking away.
“Oh yeah sure I would love to Rich!” I responded glaring in his direction with a passive aggressive tone. Spinning the wrench as if I were part of color guard the nuts glided off their threaded homes, falling helplessly to the ground below.
“Ah thanks, I can do the rest”, Richard uttered shoving me aside. He yanked off the tire and rolled it out behind him, where it toppled over soon after.
“Seth, make yourself useful and grab the spare under the truck”, Richard suggested, thankfully not to me again.
“Fine, i’m rolling it out be ready” Seth assured us as he slithered his way under. After shoving the rubber wheel out I latched on, changing its direction to roll back to Richard, who was kneeling down beside the bare wheel well.
“Coming at you Rich!” I shouted over to him, shoving the rubber along loose gravel. With reactions resembling that of a ninja he stopped the tire without breaking our eye contact.
“Thanks guys, I can put this on no problem go check the other tires”, Richard insisted as he hoisted the tire onto the car’s bare axle.
“Yep sure thing Rich!” I replied starting my search around the back of the car to the left side. I noticed something didn’t look right so I called someone who might know more, “Hey Seth, can you tell me what this is?” I questioned to him.
Running over to my side sliding to a stop, “Woah, what’s going on there?” He spoke in a hushed tone so RIchard couldn’t hear.
“That’s what i’m saying. What does it look like?” I whispered under my breath in his direction.
“I think his axle is bent.” he spoke a little louder on accident this time, allowing Richard to hear.
“WHAT, are you kidding me, I swear to god if it is we aren’t going anywhere!” Richard shouted now alerted to the news. Finishing up the last nut for the tire he lowered it off the jack and calmly walked over. Taking no more than a two second check he knew what was wrong, “You idiots, it’s just sitting with one side lower than the other. Let’s get this thing out of here, you two push in the front.” he commanded us slightly pissed off. Without hesitation we walked to the front grabbing under each side of the car and pushing with feet firmly planted. “Push you imbeciles!”, as he put it in neutral. After some struggle it came loose and rolled out onto the gravel.
“There finally, get in Jake i’ll be right behind ya!” Seth uttered pushing me ahead of him. I slid my way back to the middle as Richard put it in drive and took off to Seth’s house.
“Man, I need to be home but at the same time I don’t wanna screw up again”, he spoke with an unsureness about him.
“How about we find the happy medium and get all of us home safe.”, I suggested knowing it was the right answer. We made our way off that dreaded rode back onto ones all of us knew. Arriving at Seth’s house I proceeded to kick him out taking back my original spot, “Thank you for sharing in that fun experience!” I shouted sarcastically with a sly little smile.
“Oh yea let’s do it again sometime” Seth replied as he ripped open his sliding glass door releasing the two hounds it was holding in. Slobbering, running, scratching the dogs made their way to my open door which I was able to close soon before their arrival.
“Well looks like you got these things to worry about again”, I made clear to Richard as he shifted it in reverse.
“Sure I do”, he commented while revving the gas frightening them away right before he barreled down the bumpy driveway. Coming to a stop before pulling out into the road that would lead us home because he needed to call his dad.
“Hey Dad”, he began as normal as he could.
From here there must have been a simple reply because Rich kept on soon after, “So I may have flipped the truck in attempt to dodge a small deer.” He spoke with a regretting tone.
This struck a nerve for Richard, he was silenced for around a good half minute listening intently to his now pissed off father.
“Yea... will do see ya soon” was the last thing Richard said before hanging up a very short call.
“So…what did your dad think of it?” I started with in a hushed tone slightly louder than the country music.
“Well, he called me a retard right away! Then told me to figure it out and get home safely. To which I replied thanks, will do!” he responded quickly, “Oh and my mom is going to kill me for being careless!” he spoke letting his head droop. This didn’t come as a shock to me since i’ve been around his mom and dad. His dad is a very straightforward guy and doesn’t butter anything up. He passed this trait right onto Richard which is something you have to get used to when being around him, while his mom is a hot headed red head who reminds me mostly of a firecracker. “I’m gonna drop you off now, since I need to be home ASAP!” Richard assured me as we headed down Pittsburg Rd.
“Yeah no problem. What about my stuff all mixed up in the back?” I questioned back in his direction.
“Leave it alone, i’ll get it all sorted out in time”, he responded while yielding to an oncoming lane.
“Okay then i’ll let my dad know.” I assured him looking back at the road ahead.
“Hey, don’t tell your parents about what just happened back there!” Richard yelled with a demandingness to his posture and tone.
“I wasn’t planning on it Rich, that wouldn’t be good for either of us.” I calmly responded with, bringing some relief to Richard. We continued down to Sunset and took a right. From there he drove a ways until reaching Salmon St. where he took a left. This final turn was a sort of relief to me and my overall well being. I knew all that was left would be a soft press on the brake to bring my adventure to an end. Searching for this answer and bracing my hand on the doors handle I prepared to exit the damaged vehicle.
Upon reaching my left foot towards the earth below I was interrupted by a shaken Richard, “Thanks for coming, even though it wasn’t all you hoped for”, he spoke slowly turning back froward.
“No worries Rich, let’s do it again some time!” I replied, giving a final seemingly harmless smile as I turned around closing the door.