Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

It Was An Accident
Zalman Velvel

It was a cool Saturday night in April on Long Island, New York. Tony and Dennis, two 16 year olds, were standing in the shadows under the Massapequa High School football bleachers, each drinking a two quarts of Budweiser. Tony's older brother, Michael, purchased the beer at Mung Nose's Deli using his phony proof.
Tony was Italian, of medium height, but a strong young man who liked to fight and feel reckless. Dennis was tall, slim and Irish, proud of his drinking, and mischievous by nature. They drank their first quarts in silence, like two masons laying a foundation. Midway through the second quart, they got the lift they were looking for. They were interrupted in their reverie by the roar of a crowd from the brightly lit gymnasium several hundred yards away.
"What's going on tonight?" Dennis asked, wiping his mouth on his sleeve after chug-a-lugging his beer.
"I think it's some kind of championship basketball game," Tony answered, finishing his bottle, and shattering it against the bleachers.
"Want to sneak in?" Dennis asked, breaking his empty bottle, also.
"Don't have to," Tony answered, unzipping his fly and urinating against one of the uprights. "They let you in for free in the fourth quarter." He looked at his watch. "It's almost 10:00. They should let us in soon."
The teenagers staggered toward the gymnasium, from equal parts of imagination and alcohol. Two quarts of beer were enough to loosen a young man's hold on right and wrong, but not enough to make him reel and sway.
When they arrived at the box office, a sign was posted that said, "Absolutely No One Admitted Without Paying Until The Last 2 Minutes". The score clock still showed 6 minutes left in the third quarter, and with all the entrances guarded, and all their money spent on beer, the boys had no choice but to wait outside for another ten or so minutes.
They walked to the rear parking lot to have a smoke. Dennis stood next to the visiting team's bus while Tony urinated against a tree. Dennis took out his pack of Lucky Strikes and lit up.
"Don't you have a bladder?" Dennis asked.
"Hey, what can I say? Beer goes right through me," Tony said, watering the roots of the big oak.
Dennis inhaled deeply on his cigarette, leaned back against the bus, and looked up at the stars. As he did this, he felt the bus door he was leaning on give a little. He turned around and pushed on it, and it slid open.
"Tony!" he whispered. "Check this out!" Dennis disappeared inside the bus.
Tony walked over and peered inside. Dennis was sitting in the driver seat of the bus, playing with the stick shift.
"What's up?" Tony asked.
"Man, I'd loved to drive one of these things!" Dennis said, making shifting noises.
"The keys in it?"
"Then I guess you won't be driving it tonight," Tony said, sitting on the front steps of the bus.
Dennis was whipping through imaginary gears, revving up an imaginary engine, when he accidentally touched a lever and it sprang back.
"What was that?" Tony asked.
"Don't know." Dennis said.
Dennis started shifting again, and when he stepped on the clutch, the bus started to roll backward. He stepped on the brake pedal and the bus stopped.
"Damn! That must have been the emergency brake lever I let loose!" Dennis said.
He lifted his foot from the brake pedal and the bus starting rolling back again. He stopped it again.
Tony looked at Dennis, and Dennis looked back at Tony, and they both smiled because they got the same idea at the same time. Dennis took his foot off the brake pedal and the bus started rolling backward, this time picking up momentum. Tony jumped off the bus steps. Dennis slid out of the driver's seat, leaped down the steps, and jumped out right after him. The bus continued rolling slowly backward. When it reached the end of the parking lot, it slid soundlessly down the embankment into the lake.
© Copyright 2012 by Zalman Velvel Inc.
You may print this story for yourself, but not make copies without author's permission.

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