Halloween night 26 years ago marks the first time I ever kissed a girl. Not only was I finally liberated with my sexuality, we were also celebrating Halloween with being shot at, a trip to the hospital and [almost] arrest – Yes, it was a busy night!
It all started when……
……..I was trying to be the good college student (we’re all laughing here) and was calmly studying in my dorm room when all of a sudden Nancy burst into the room. This was typical since hers was next to mine. She always came into my room at weird times –usually after she had been out drinking. I admit I had a terrible crush on her but she wasn’t the one I actually lost my virginity to (kiss-wise and “the other”).
“We have to get some pumpkins!”
“Because then we can carve them up, get the seeds out,dry them and bake them. And, Mmmmmm, (licking her lips) I love to eat them with salt on them.”
Everything with Nancy always had to do with her stomach or getting drunk in those times.
“I can’t tonight. I have a big physics test tomorrow”
“Please! Please! Please? I already have Robin driving us in her car and Heather is going along and I want YOU to come” (Being as I had a crush on this woman, and come to think of it, Heather, too – how could I resist?)
“What’s the big deal? We’ll just go to the store and buy a couple”
Nancy was also [always] about not spending any of Nancy’s money, too. So, the next exclamation should come as no surprise:
“What? Buy? Why buy when we can steal some? There are pumpkin patches all over this country!”
I could really see it all start to go downhill at this point – picture pumpkins rolling around on the ground because that’s what’s coming up.
So, off we went in Robin’s classic Mercury with the stick shift on the steering column.
Nancy is riding shotgun while Robin drives (she hadn’t taught us to drive that car yet. – Notice I said, “yet”)
We cruised down between the fields – we are in farmland central so there are several fields to choose from. The first field we came to looked like a pumpkin patch. We stopped the car and got out to investigate. And, one of us stepped into…
…..a watermelon! Wrong field.
Back in the car we cruised around for quite sometime until we passed a farmhouse with an old fashioned wagon in the front stocked full of pumpkins.
Nancy – “The mega load! Let’s go!”
Heather – (who was, ironically, majoring in law enforcement) “No! There’s no cover, trees or nothing! It’s too out in the open! We’ll get caught!”
Robin – “No we won’t!”
Me – I was just looking back and forth between all of them wondering if they were lesbians.
Heather – “Well, I’m not going. This could hurt my reputation if we get caught”
Robin- “Your rep is already blown girlfriend!” Looking at me.
Me – Thinking “Maybe they are lesbians.”
Heather – turning red “Just go! I’ll stay in the car and provide getaway if anyone comes.”
Robin – “You don’t know how to drive the car” (just yet)
We parked the car 100 yards up the road and sneak in. The wagon is RIGHT in front of the house. The porch light is on. There are practically no trees for cover and there’s a barn about 200 feet from the house with a big utility light on shining down. This doesn’t look good. We might as well be in broad daylight.
We get to the wagon each grabbing two pumpkins and carrying them away hunched over. I guess we thought if we hunched down no one would see us even though we were out in the open and in daylight. I’m sure we looked ridiculous regardless. Later we also wondered why the three needed to grab 2 pumpkins each – 6 pumpkins just for seeds? I guess we figured it was the pumpkin seed mother-load.
Sneaking away, hunched over, I looked over at Robin and said, “I feel like Dolly Parton” since we had the pumpkins right in front of our chests . Suddenly, Nancy took off. Robin looked at me and said, “Where’s she going?”
I managed a shrug and suddenly we heard this noise. It was sort of like a humming sound. It’s was coming from in front of us where we just noticed Nancy laying spread-eagled on the ground with the pumpkins she dropped laying beside her.
Robin and I dropped our pumpkins and ran over.
Robin – “What the fuck happened?”
Me – “She just told me the other night that she has a heart arrhythmia! I think her heart stopped!”
As I am relishing doing mouth to mouth, I look closer and she’s breathing. It’s then I notice a goose egg on her forehead and her upper lip starting to swell. Hmm, this looks like she hit something. It was then that we noticed an iron bar protruding out of the ground and bent at the top just to catch Nancy in the face as she ran into it. Then –
Robin – “Holy shit! RUN!”
Me – “Help me with Nanc.”
We drapped Nancy’s arms over our shoulders and started running dragging her feet. Just then we heard a squeal of tires and Heather [trying to] drive Robin’s car erratically down the road. The car is jerking and revving as Heather tried to get it into gear. Robin groaned hearing the gears grind.
We threw Nancy in the back seat, I dove in behind her, Robin shoved Heather over and put the car in gear and peeled out of there.
Heather – “See, I told you we were going to get caught. I hope he didn’t get the license plate numbers.”
Nancy is starting to groan.
Me – “Do we need to take her to the hospital?”
Robin – “I think the transmission is still ok. I hope there’s no bullet holes in the car. My Dad is going to kill me if there’s bullet holes.”
We’re all in the waiting room of the hospital waiting for Nancy to come out. There are several people in costume waiting as well. It’s a busy night. A nurse walked out and said our friend was ok – just to make sure she keeps ice on her face and she was going to give her something for the pain.
Nancy walked out with an icepack on her face. She looks even worse than before. I wondered [later] if she could possibly postphone seeing her girlfriend the following weekend.
Robin – “Why did you take off so fast back there?”
Nancy – “I thought Lanie said ‘Someone’s coming’ so I took off. I don’t remember anything after that. “
Me – “Well, you ran right into an iron post that was sticking out of the ground. We thought you were dead.”
Heather – “Thank God the police weren’t involved. I hope they didn’t get the plate number.”
Robin- “Enough with the plate, already!”
Nancy – “Well, the night is still young! Let’s get some beer and go out to Purple Head ”.
Heather – “Have you lost your ever loving mind?” She turned to Robin – “I think she has a concussion.”
Me – thinking – “I wonder if they were ever together.”
The folklore of Purple Head Bridge: – is an old one-lane toll bridge that crosses the Wabash river on the outskirts of Saint Francesville, Illinois. It is said that long ago it was a place where a man jumped from the bridge to hang himself. When he did his head ripped off, and was never found. If you go there on a rainy night and park on the bridge and wait you will see a purple head floating toward you. The other story is the bridge is supposedly a bridge they hung people off of in the 1800s, giving it its name purple head. And, yet another legend has it that if you go out there you will hear screams from the spirits that have been hung.
This was a place that we always “hung” out during my college years. I never saw a purple head or heard spirits screaming. The only spirits we saw were ones out of a can or bottle.
After picking up as case of Little Kings we headed out. The bridge was out in the country quite a distance from our college town so by the time we arrived it was close to midnight. Robin pulled the car over near a lane that disappeared into a cornfield. It was always important to hide the vehicles as local police were always trolling the bridge for [us] drunken college kids.
As we got out of the car I said I had to make water and took off through the corn.
Heather said, “Wait!” and took off after me. It became a playful chase through the cornfield. As she caught up to me I stopped and turned around and kissed her. And, kissed. And, kissed.
Eventually, we heard Robin and Nancy calling our names, searching for us. Heather and I pried our lips apart and yelled “Coming!”
We walked out of the cornfield acting casual. I still hadn’t peed.
We grabbed some beer out of the car, walked down to the middle of the bridge and slipped over the side climbing down to the concrete pylon support. We sat down and looked over the Wabash River. It was such a beautiful spot. Robin took out some “whacky tabacky” and passed it around. I get pegged to go get more beer out of the car.
Robin – “Wait! Take all the bottles back with you. We have to keep the case intact for a souvenir of the night”
I walked off the bridge with 4 beer bottles. A bright car light shined in my eyes. I couldn’t see and thought it was a local out to cause trouble. I raised a bottle up by its neck as protection. That’s when I heard from a mega horn:
“Drop the bottle! You’re under arrest!”
It was the local police, of course. They had found Robin’s car, the case of beer and were shining a light in my face.
“Have you been drinking, young lady?”
I looked at the bottles laying on the bridge I just dropped and stammered, “Y-yes. A little.”
The sheriff smiled and said, “Four bottles of beer is quite a bit for someone your size. Where are your friends?”
I had a foolish thought that I could save my friends and be the only one who got caught. “It’s just me out here.” Then we heard,
“Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall. Ninety-nine bottles of beer. Hey, Lanie. Bring back an extra bottle. Nancy’s needs to slam one.”
The officer looked at me and I looked back and for a moment we didn’t say anything until I broke the silence and said, “Oh, yeah. Those friends.”
“Well, you stay here and I’m going to go get them.” he said.
Just remembering the wacky-tabacky I said, “No, no – I mean – I will go get them, officer. I know just where they are.”
I walked down the bridge and stopped where they were perched underneath. I looked over and Robin said, “Where’s the beer, Lanie?”
“There’s no beer, guys. The cops are on to us. He sent me to bring you all back.”
Heather –“Shit! I knew we were going to get arrested! This is going to go on my record!”
Robin – “Did he take the beer?”
Nancy – “I’m really stoned.”
The cop gave us all breathalyzers and tickets for underage drinking. Since I only blew a .01 he let me drive everyone back to campus. (We later had to appear in court and attend alcohol awareness school. You can imagine how this sounded in my awareness school when after everyone talked about what they “were in for” -bags of coke, second dui, a pound of marijuana- I’d say, “I drank a beer.” ) That’s when I had to learn how to drive Robin’s car.
Heather and I started seeing each other after that. Nancy went home to see her girlfriend the very next weekend and she broke up with her (she thinks it was because of the busted lip and not being able to kiss her) Robin’s transmission was ok and there weren’t any bullet holes in the car.