The same summer as the rollerskating incident, I hung out a lot at Margaret's. She was almost two years older than me, had a brother a year younger than me, and a little sister about three years younger than that. Her mother, a busty tall redhead, was a long-divorced woman in her 30s, having had Margaret as a teenager. I found their family completely fascinating, the opposite of my mom-dad-brother-sister live-in-a-house deal. They moved from apartment to apartment, the kids were unsupervised and everyone smoked except for the littlest. I was awed at this total freedom Margaret had. To be able to smoke in front of her mom when I was 13? Stunning. They were all so much more loose than my family, not always in a bad way. They were so comfortable, not uptight, talked about everything. I was accepted as a member of their little tribe.

But, of course, you get a bunch of unsupervised teenagers together in a big apartment complex in the summer, and shit's gonna go down. That's what they do, teens, they do shit that goes down.

So one night we were all gathered in a ratty pack, various boys and girls, looking for something fun, a.k.a stupid, to do. We ended up in the storage area, where there were rows of chicken-wire cages holding peoples' various extra junk. I spotted a case of Budweiser, and pointed, soundlessly. All eyes saw, all eyebrows went up. Margaret's brother went over to the door of the locker, pulled on it -- padlocked. Fortunately, although not for the owner of the Budweisers, there was a more resourceful and criminally-minded soul in the group, who ran back to his apartment to procure a wire cutter. Ooh. Serious. Giggle. Beer. Shit!

A look-out was posted at the door while Junior Burglar worked on the chicken-wire. In a few minutes, he had made a total mess out of one side of the unit, scratching himself bloody in the process. Margaret's little sister was then enlisted to squeeze under the wire that had been cut and lifted. She did, flat on her little elementary belly, and rolled out 24 cans of beer, one by one to our waiting hands, finally pushing the cardboard case through, then herself out. SCORE!

The beer was placed back in the case, with two of the boys holding a side, as we got the hell outta Dodge and went over by some tall grass by the dumpsters to drink our evil-gotten brews. Margaret's sister was offered one for her help, but refused. We drank and laughed and drank, mainly high on the thrill of the steal, beer cans littering the ground.

It was then decided that we would all go swimming in the apartment complex pool in our clothes. It was supposed to be closed but the rule was never enforced. All the lights were off as we jumped in, one by one, howling and pushing. After a few minutes, we saw some men coming towards the pool from a different part of the complex. Shiiiit. Busted, we thought. Everyone got out of the pool and sat, sopping wet trying to dry off in the hot and humid night air. As the men grew closer, the sight of them got more curious. Instead of the expected Mad Adults, here were a bunch of guys, maybe in their 40s, beer guts, in robes and boxers, smoking More cigarettes. Three of them were carrying bottles of wine. Hmmm. HMMMM. We all fell silent.

The main guy, who looked like Porky Pig in a smoking jacket, came over and sat down by us. He started making small talk: "Hey, looks like you guys are up for some fun tonight, huh? Cool." His squinty eyes disappeared further as a slow icky smile went across his fat ruddy face. He started offering cigarettes to us all, which we took. He smiled again, as he lit them for us, one by one. More bottles of wine appeared, shared by the men, and swigs offered to us all. I saw Little Sister take a gulp of red wine.

Two of The Men decide a swim is in order. They both strip naked. WHOA. WHOA. WHOA. They laugh and call us to come in. No one does. But everyone keeps drinking and smoking, and Porky's smile gets wider and slimier. Porky offers us weed to come back to his apartment and "party." My heart is starting to beat faster, TROUBLE ALERT. When Porky strips down right in front of us, that's it. No more. To his protestations, one by one we get up, still wet, stumble out of the pool gate and run like hell up the hill to the other side of the complex.


Gratefully escaped.