You Didn’t Scratch The Paint, Right?

Not the actual car, but close.

At the risk of offending anyone, this essay will involve a name change to protect the identity of a person involved. If you know you know, feel free to chuckle. It’s all in good fun. No judgment will be passed as we are all guilty of some idiocy.

It’s up for debate whether the events occurred in the summer of ’99 or ’00. Some suggest even earlier. I believe it took place in 2000.

On a nice summer night at the park, we found ourselves drinking beer behind the handball court. Nothing out of the ordinary. The last three men standing, well, two were standing and one was asleep on the floor. Drew and I were finishing a 12 pack while our friend Lomax was passed out against the fence, holding his bent legs with his face buried in his knees.

Lomax had a habit of overdoing it but didn’t we all. He was the recent recipient of a DWI and had a conditional license. A conditional license that only permitted him to drive to and from work. Lomax was employed by a utility company and wore his laminated identification around his neck constantly as proof. When he wasn’t wearing a FUBU jersey, he rarely wore a shirt in the summer, just the laminated ID and a gold chain with a small gold Sisqo dragon, that he swore, “for God” and not “to God”, was not the same dragon but I assure you it was indeed the same dragon.

The company ID was apparently sufficient proof of age in order to purchase alcohol or booze, the rationale being that the proprietor would and should assume that he was 21 or older in order to work for such a company. In reality, he was not yet old enough to purchase beer but as ridiculous as it is, it did work more times than not.

Lomax was a good hearted person, never malicious, a hard worker and always good for some laughs. He saved and saved, and when he had enough money he purchased the car of his dreams. A 1987 Monte Carlo SS. He was jubilant about it. Mint condition. And he just had a fresh coat of metallic blue painted. The car was rad.

Drew and I finished the beer and were feeling a little hungry. Cherry Valley seemed appropriate only we had no ride, or did we?

“Hey Lomax, wake up bud. you hungry?” No response.

We prodded him and he tipped over. I don’t know whose idea it was but Drew and I would always be synonymous with mischief, ever since elementary school. His keys dangled from a retractable keychain attached to his belt loop. We removed the keys, which there were many, thinking he would awaken and swat at us, but he remained unconscious. I grabbed his legs and Drew took his arms and we carried Lomax out of Memorial. We placed him on the sidewalk, unlocked the car, opened the passenger door, pushed the seat forward and threw him in the backseat. He did not stir. Drew drove.

We did a lap of the Whitestone 500 before making our way to Cherry Valley, laughing most of the ride. Drew got a TCS on a roll with a small couch potatoes, Cherry Valley’s version of Poutine. I got a chicken parm sandwich. We were thoughtful and got Lomax a TCS and a Boneless Rib, because he could never decide which hero he liked more, and we got him a Dr. Pepper to wash it down. He loved Dr. Pepper. We ate our food on site and figured Lomax could have his food whenever he woke up, whenever that was.

We ventured on in what I imagined was our version of Weekend At Bernie’s driving around the neighborhood with our friend dead to the world in the backseat of his own whip. I’ve never actually seen the movie.

The car’s only flaw was that it was automatic. We did neutral drops and floored it and then ripped the E brake, Lomax snored while we skidded and screeched around town.

We came flying down 160th street, and when Drew turned the steering wheel to make a left the car didn’t turn. We were driving too fast. The car hit the high curb of the sidewalk and seemed to send us straight up into the air, completely vertical, the big hand striking twelve on a clock, before slamming the car down hard. The Monte Carlo was hissing and smoking. Lomax was in the front seat, between the two of us, with his face on the floorboard and his legs in the air, asleep.

An electric power pole has many components and we just missed crashing into one. There are insulators, lightning arrestors, cutouts and primary wires that might carry 12,000 volts of electricity. This particular pole hoisted a distribution transformer which converted electricity from the primary wires. There is also this thing called a guy wire, which is a tension cable that enforces stability to the pole. A galvanized quarter inch strand has the strength of 6,650 pounds. And that wire had sawed into the front of Lomax’s Monte Carlo.

We threw Lomax back into the backseat. The guy wire snapped, whipping up through the air and connecting with the transformer. The transformer exploded, like a mortar on the Fourth of July, resulting in a black out for all the surrounding street lights and houses. Pitch black, except for the passenger side headlights.

We might have discussed putting Lomax in the front seat and leaving him there but that is humorous in thought but cruel in practice. A second DWI in a short amount would not have faired well for him. What the fuck do we do? Does the car even start? It did, thankfully. Well, get the fuck out of here.

Drew reversed off the sidewalk, and we drove off. We made it to where I was living at the time. Which was only a handful of blocks away. We parked and actually woke him, he didn’t notice that his car was smoking or damaged, and we were able to get him into the house without carrying him. There were two houses that I lived in where my room was the basement, this was the second. People often crashed there, no pun intended.

Lomax fell alseep in a chair almost immediately after arriving. He didn’t touch his food. Drew left early in the morning. When I got up, Lomax was awake, he seemed fine, no hangover, no nothing.

“Good morning,” he said.

“Good morning. How do you feel?”

“I feel great.” Cheerful.

“Cool. I have to tell you something. It’s about your car.”

“You didn’t scratch the paint, right? I just had her painted.”

“You might want to go and take a look.”

We walked outside, it was hot and sunny and the car was parked on the corner. Another thing happened on that corner involving Lomax and the Monte Carlo a month or so later but that story is for another time. Upon first glance Lomax was furious. Cursing and flipping out. Rightfully so. After a mildly heated exchange, he wanted Drew to pay for the damages, which if he had I would have split the cost with him. I told him to cool off and eat his sandwiches and drink his Dr. Pepper and we’ll sort it out.

Lomax wanted three grand to fix his car. He added the cost of lights because each time it rained the lights shorted out due to the water getting in through the gash in the front of his car.

Lomax brought up the the crash and the debt fairly often in conversation until one night NHL ’97 on Playstation absolved us. A bunch of us were hanging out in my basement, the beer was flowing, music was blasting and people were taking turns playing video games. Lomax boasted about being the best at NHL ’97 and after some shit talking, he challenged Denis to a game for a thousand dollars. And after two double or nothings, Lomax pouted in the corner and the debt was forgiven and pizza was on him for a while after that.

That ’87 Monte Carlo SS was pretty bad ass though, I swear for God.

Drew and I in 6th Grade, PS. 79. Whitestone, Queens. 1993.

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