In my senior year at Flushing High School, I joined the Junior Achievement organization in downtown Flint, MI. In the early 1970’s J.A. was a really fun and interesting nation-wide program that taught high school students the basic fundamentals of how businesses are started and operated.
One October evening I attended the Tuesday night meeting with my school friend, Debbie Gibson, so I could participate in her company’s meeting as an observer.
Each night’s meeting at the J.A. building hosted 4-5 different student-run companies in different rooms and each company had approximately 10-15 high school students. My company, “Hang ‘Em High”, met on Wednesdays.
Before that Tuesday night’s meetings began and then again during the first break that night, I noticed a tall, gangly and cute brown-eyed guy who kept trying to get my attention.
He was in the meeting room right next door to Debbie’s company. This guy also made several trips to our room during the meetings for really flimsy reasons.
Debbie kept teasing me, “Wow, he must really like you! I don’t know who he is but he’s always been kind of shy before now. You should find out his name.”
So during the last break I chatted with him and yes, flirted a wee bit with him. His name was Mike Lewis and he was a senior, like me, at Carman High School. We immediately hit it off and we both had a lot of fun with the witty banter we were tossing back and forth to each other.
So naturally I gave him my phone number when he asked for it and we began to regularly date after that.
One Saturday night a few months later, Mike picked me up at my house for our planned date. I was very surprised to see his younger cousin, Scott Donaldson, with him.
We were introduced and Mike asked me if I wanted to go to a party out in Grand Blanc that Scott had been invited to and I said, okay, that sounded like a lot of fun.
I had already heard quite a bit about this particular cousin of Mike’s: that he was a “wild child”, into drugs and skipping school, that his parents were seriously considering sending him to a military school in January, and that he had already been arrested a couple of times for vandalism and other misdemeanors.
We drove south to Grand Blanc and then we drove down Maple Road which is where Scott thought that the party was going to be held.
Mike was trying to drive as carefully as he normally did but Scott would periodically shout out, “That’s the street! Turn here!” Mike would be in the middle of making the turn when Scott would say, “Oh, wait, never mind, that’s not the right street.”
Mike would then straighten his Corvair out and continue driving down Maple Road. Scott would shout at him again to go down yet another street that turned out to be the wrong one as well.
I could tell Mike was trying really, really hard to not lose his temper. I also wondered why this cousin of his didn’t have a much better idea of exactly where this party was supposed to be. Something seemed really wrong with this whole situation.
By this time it was already dark and we were driving through a subdivision that Scott was now very sure was the right area.
He then excitedly pointed to a house and yelled, “That’s it! That’s where the party is at!” So Mike pulled into the driveway and turned the car off.
Scott quickly got out but I put my hand on Mike’s arm as I told him, “There’s something wrong here. How come there are no other cars around and why are the lights off in the house? I don’t think this is the right place, Mike.”
He frowned and then he said, “You’re right, this is too weird.” He then yelled out of the window, “Hey, Scott! Are you sure this is the right place? There are no lights on and there are no other cars around.”
Scott turned around on his way to the back door and said, “The kids are all in the basement, that’s why the lights are off in the house. C’mon, get out of the car!”
Mike and I looked at each other with very dubious expressions but we both got out and began to follow Scott to the back door as he began knocking.
After no answer, Scott said that they probably couldn’t hear us knocking on the door over the music and then he began to wander around the outside of the house, crouching down to peer into the basement windows.
Mike and I followed him, not knowing what else to do. We had gone around another side of the house and Scott was bending down to peer into that basement window while Mike, who was much taller than Scott and me, tried looking into a main floor window that had its drapes open.
Suddenly Mike yelled, “Oh, shit! We gotta go!” He quickly picked me up in his arms and then grabbed Scott by his coat collar and dragged him to the car.
We had just scrambled into the car seats when the back door opened with a bang and a man in his 50’s came running out, aiming a shotgun directly at us.
I shrieked and dove for the car floor. Mike slowly got out of the car with his hands up. I watched him as he told that man with a very shaky voice, “Sir, I am so sorry, so very sorry! We were trying to find the house that belongs to a friend of my cousin (Mike then pointed to a trembling Scott).
“I did not mean to peek into your bedroom window on purpose! Please believe me, we are all very, very sorry that we disturbed you and your wife because we were obviously at the wrong house!”
I raised my head up to peek out through the windshield at the man who stood there, still holding a shotgun right at the chest of my boyfriend.
I nudged Scott with a very strong and sharp elbow to get out there and apologize too. He slowly got out and apologized to the man as well for having had the wrong address and for bothering him and his wife.
I sat up on the front seat so that the man could see me better. I also loudly said that I was very, very sorry as well.
The man slowly lowered his shotgun as he sternly told us, “There have been some burglaries around here lately and I didn’t know what to think when I saw you (pointing at Mike) looking right into our bedroom window! I can understand how it is when you have the wrong address but you still should not be creeping around people’s homes like that, got it? So just get back into your car and get off my property.”
The man waited until we had pulled out of his driveway before going back into his house. We were all pale as ghosts from coming this close to being shot by a rightfully angry home owner.
We stopped off at a nearby McDonald’s to get some food and calm down. While we were eating our burgers in the parking lot, Mike began to give Scott hell.
“We almost got killed back there, you dumb ass! If that man had been one of those ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ guys, we’d all be in the morgue right now! Just admit it, you have no clue where this party is at!”
Scott yelled back, “I know the general area of where the party is and that the house is definitely on a street just off Maple Road. I was there last weekend and I thought for sure I would recognize the house again.”
“Yeah, maybe, but you were probably too fucked up last weekend to remember, you stupid shit.” Scott said, “I’m pretty sure the party is on the very next street so let’s try that.”
By this time I wanted to go home. This was just getting to be way too much for me. But Mike explained that he had promised Scott he would take him to this party so off we went again.
But the same thing happened though. Mike would be in the middle of making a turn onto a street when Scott would belatedly realize that no, this was not the right one. Then Mike would drive down to the next street.
After doing this for about five streets, I really wasn’t too surprised to hear a siren and see flashing blue lights behind us.
Mike heaved a huge sigh, pulled over, shut his Corvair off, and rolled down his window.
The Grand Blanc police officer strode up and curtly demanded to see Mike’s driver’s license and his insurance and car registration papers.
After checking those out, the officer asked Mike why was he driving so erratically. Mike patiently explained that we (him and I) were taking his cousin to an acquaintance’s house but that Scott had lost the paper with the directions and address on it.
Mike also said that Scott wasn’t exactly sure where the house was but that he would recognize it if he saw it again. That was why he (Mike) was driving like he didn’t know where he was going because he really didn’t know where he was going.
And then Mike profusely apologized to the police officer as he told him that he was normally a very good driver and I vigorously shook my head “yes” in agreement.
The police officer scowled at all of us then he handed back to Mike his license and his other papers. The officer told us to please be more careful driving from now on and then he walked back to his patrol car and drove away.
We all heaved huge sighs of relief. Mike told Scott, “I think we’ve all had enough adventures for tonight so I’m going to take you home and then take Jeneane home.”
A few minutes later Scott began chuckling in the back seat. Mike and I gave each other puzzled looks because so far nothing had happened that seemed to be that humorous.
After a few more chuckles out of Scott, Mike irritably asked him what the hell was so funny. Scott said, “I’m just damned glad that the cop didn’t demand to check out your car because he would have found the several pounds of pot I have wrapped up in my jacket here on the back seat.”
“What the fuck did you just say?” Mike slammed on his brakes and then sharply swerved into a parking lot. He jumped out of the car and yanked Scott out of the back seat.
Mike unrolled Scott’s jacket and sure enough, there were several packets of weed stuffed into the jacket’s arms.
“Is this why you were so hell-bent on us going with you to that party?” “Well, yeah, you knew my dad had grounded me and took the car keys away from me. How else was I supposed to get there and sell this shit? I was going to give you a cut but we had to find the party first.”
Mike yelled at Scott, “Thanks for telling me all of this now, you selfish son-of-a-bitch!” “Well if I had told you about the pot, you wouldn’t have driven me there!”
“You’re damn right I wouldn’t have taken you there! And to drag Jeneane into this too? No, Scott, this is bullshit and you know it! Just get your sorry ass into the car and don’t ever call me again asking for any kind of favor because we’re done, you hear me?”
Mike and Scott got back into the Corvair and there was a deep, uncomfortable silence as Mike drove to Scott’s house.
Mike pulled into the driveway and Scott, now feeling a bit of remorse, told him, “Hey, man, I am sorry because you were right. I was being selfish and I should have told you everything right up front. No hard feelings okay?”
Scott held out his hand but Mike pretended not to see it. “You got everything out of my back seat? I don’t need to have you accidentally drop one of your packages in my car so make sure you have everything.”
“Yeah, I got everything. Are we okay, dude?” “No, Scott, we are not okay, dude. We almost got killed by a man with a shotgun, and we could have been arrested for possession of drugs when I got pulled over by that cop. So no, dude, we are most definitely not okay. We’re leaving now. Goodbye.” And Mike rolled up his window and began backing down Scott’s driveway.
Mike and I were both very quiet as he drove me back to my house. I was stunned into unusual silence over his cousin’s selfish stupidity.
How could Mike and I ever adequately explain to our parents that we didn’t know that Scott had weed with him if we had been arrested? What if we had been shot and injured, or worse yet, killed? This whole night had turned into a nightmare!
At the closed gas station on the corner a quarter-mile away from my house, Mike pulled in and shut the car off.
He turned to look at me and then he grabbed me and hugged me and kissed me. “I am so, so sorry this whole date was ruined from the very beginning and that it was my stupid cousin who ruined it.”
“It’s okay, you didn’t know what he was up to. But I’ll tell you, I was seriously impressed with how calm and cool you were throughout everything! But, please, I would be very happy if I never saw your cousin again and I hope that you’re not offended.”
Mike laughed as he hugged me again. He told me he was not in the least bit offended because he didn’t want to see Scott again either for a long, long time.
On Monday afternoon I was the first one to get our newspaper at the end of our driveway. I was sitting at our dining room table reading it when I shrieked! I got out our Genesee County road map to check on something and then I ran to our telephone and quickly called Mike.
“Mike, have you read today’s newspaper?” “No, why?”
“There was a huge drug bust at a home in Grand Blanc very early Sunday morning and the street address of the house was just one block from where we had been pulled over by the cop! The newspaper article said that there were over 70 teenagers in the basement and in the rest of the house. The neighbors had called the police because of all of the loud music and fighting. The cops then found large amounts of weed, amphetamines, and cocaine inside and had made numerous arrests!
“Oh my God, Mike, that had to have been the party Scott was trying to find! If that cop had not pulled us over, we would have found that house and we would have been arrested too! I cannot believe how lucky we had been! And I cannot believe how close we had been to finding that damned house too!” And then I started to cry from the shock and the fright.
Mike calmed me down, “It’s okay, it’s okay, we didn’t get arrested, we didn’t find the house, and yes, we were damned lucky. Scott won’t be so lucky, however, when I catch that selfish son-of-a-bitch because I’m going to pound him into the ground!”
I told Mike, “I never thought I’d be so grateful for getting pulled over by a cop but I am now! And I’m so glad we got lost so that we didn’t make it in time for the drug bust too!” Then we both laughed and thanked our lucky stars.