Sunday, July 24, 2011


            There once was a pair of nun-chucks. I bought them on a trip to Hawaii I took with my marching band during the final months of my senior year in high school. The way I acquired them was fairly standard, the way I lost them was quite out of the ordinary. The wake of their loss was definitely unfortunately, however, not as bad as it could have been I assure you.
            It was April 2005, and I with my best friend Elliott had shipped off to Hawaii. At the time we had both recently left our jobs at the same sticker kiosk in the local mall, and with this in mind we had made off with about six hundred dollars each; for spending money. Of course two kids with too much time and quite a bit of money will always make you cringe, but this is not the cause for concern here.
            Like I said, their acquisition was nothing special. I bought them the same way you buy anything in Hawaii: with bullshit. The scam was this: you carry no more than 60 dollars on you at all times, in groups of no more than fifteen. What this means is you have fifteen cash in the main part of your wallet, fifteen tucked behind your license, ten in your right pocket, with a pack of cigarettes, which also contains ten bucks, and five in your shirt and left pocket.
            We approached the carts in the international market, which is essentially a permanent swap meet, and coincidentally the first one I had ever been to, so I am not totally sure if all are permanent, or just this one. First we would walk around the cart to see if it had anything we liked, if it did, we would stare at it, smile, stare at the worker, smile, and stare at it again. This method would show us as being sheepish, yet aware, and would usually illicit some type of response from the store-owner.
            The nun-chuck cart was the same as the rest. Illegal weapons, lighters, illegal weapons hybridized with weapons (I personally own a night-stick lighter, and a switch blade lighter, both considered “novelty items,” and not “potential murder weapons.”). The nun-chucks however, are legal in Hawaii, so they do not require to be mutated in such a way, although it would be pretty rad to nun-chuck the shit out of someone and then light a cigarette with them.
            The store owner (I’m still talking about carts, but out of respect for this man, I label him as the owner. Basically he was old.) Smiled a disturbing smile at Elliott and me, and walked over to us. His smile was disturbing because of his severe lack of full teeth, and the ones that were mostly there were shaded odd colors of black and grey.

“You like those?” I cannot come close to the thickness of his accent without coming off as a complete racist, but trust, this was the most butchered engrishu I have ever heard in my life.
“Yes-sir, they’re pretty sick.”
“You want?”
“How much?”
“Hm. Normal price thirty dollar.” At this I smiled at Elliott, and as planned we both inhaled sharply.
“Wow, no we’ll pass. Thanks though, have a nice day.”
“Wait wait wait!! Special price! Twenty dollar!” I looked at Elliott, and again, as planned we both inhaled sharply. The old man did say the magic words “special price” which meant that that was his lowest lowball offer. This meant that we had a bit more work to do. I reached into my right front pocket and pulled out my cigarettes.
“I hide all my money in here.” I said to the old man, and smiled, he smiled back. He looked quite confused since I am quite certain he was not listening, or was deaf. I pulled out the two crumbled five dollar bills I pre-hid in the pack. And I looked at Elliott.
“Hey man, how much you got?” he didn’t say anything, so I just looked at the man with ten dollars in my hands and smiled again.
“This is all I have sir.”
“Oh okay. Good bye now.” And he began to walk away. Just as his shoulders made it all the way around Elliott called out.
“Wait!” the man stopped, and turned back, “I got 5 more.” And Elliott reached into his shirt pocket, pulling an obsessively compulsively creased five dollar bill.
“Fifteen dollars? Cash? Okay.”
And we were in.
            That was it for the nun-chucks. They were originally not for me at all, but for my friend Douglas, who handed me twenty bucks before Elliott and I left for the islands and said in his ever so majestic timbre, “dude. Get me something tight.” It is quite hard to believe that the same person who crafted the above sentence would be able to collect a high school GPA of 4.5, but believe it.
            Douglas was second in the class, and with his extra curricular sports: basketball and golf, he was a shoe in for salutatorian. The only person ahead of him was a girl who nobody had seen on campus since our sophomore year on account of her being a certifiable genius far beyond her peers’ intelligence and being so, had to take classes at the local junior college. To be quite honest, I don’t remember her name, but her bumper sticker read “my karma ran over your dogma,” which was about the most tasteless thing any educated person could ever think since as we all know, every religion is flawed, and the ideas of karma and dogma are on completely different levels, and we all know that is a different conversation altogether.
            Fast forward 2 months to the end of May. We graduate in about three weeks, and we are all feeling very good. As was custom with our group of friends we would sprint from our 4th period classes to the parking lot, jump into whoever’s car was the closest to the exit, and leave, thus maximizing our lunch break, allowing for whatever trouble we could get in to. This day was a bit more than we bargained for along the lines of trouble.
            It started with the common Trent-esque prank of opening the car’s gas tank cover. Harmless enough, but as Douglas was a bit anal retentive, it had to be closed. Since we were moving at a high rate of speed on our way to the local greasy spoon diner we patroned on a daily basis, Douglas did not want to stop his 1996 white VW Jetta, for fear of not having enough time to eat, relax and make it back on time.
            It was Trent’s idea to use the nun-chucks to close the cover. It was not a bad one, since the nun-chucks were in the magazine holder on the back of the shotgun seat where I was sitting, and therefore were in his ADDed face, taunting him. He snatched them, undid his seatbelt, rolled down his window and began to swing for the tank cover. Success was his in a matter of moments, and after a few more flourishes at 55m.p.h. (in a 25 M.P.H. zone) he was back in the cabin of the vehicle, welcomed by hysteric laughter from Douglas, Jack and myself.
            And then it was my turn with the nun-chucks. As we were stopped on the corner of Foothill and Towne Avenue, I noticed a college aged student eyeing Doug’s sweet rims. If my memory serves me correctly, they were eight-spoke 16” rims and when purchased were silver. Since Doug refused to keep them clean, at the moment we were stopped at the light, they had been reduced to whatever color brake dust and engine oil combine to form, and when we saw this guy staring at the wheels and smirking, we knew he was mocking us.
            Not to be outdone, I planned on showing him who was boss. Armed with the nun-chucks, I slid out the front window so that the only part of me inside the car was my left hand (holding on to the oh-shit handle) and my legs. I began yelling incoherent gibberish at the laugher and swinging the nun-chucks willy-nilly around. At one point I began saying, “Huh? Huh?” over and over, but when the light turned green, I slipped back into the car, re-fastened my seatbelt and laughed along with my cronies who were almost in tears.
            The rest of the lunch break went pretty normally, we went in, stood in line, paid $2.66 for the route 66 special (a cheeseburger, fries with M.S.G. and a soda) and sat down to eat. Trent and I had our daily soda drinking contest which ended as usual in a tie, and we all poured out our cups and filled them back up with horchata (For those who are not aware of horchata, it is basically rice pudding in drink form).
            Again, bound by tradition, we piled back into Doug’s car, and sped back to campus. Winding through the residential streets at high speeds, each of us took turns pelting one car of our choosing with the horchata. Just like any other day. We laughed, sped on, parked the car and went our separate ways to class.
            Just like any other day that is, until during “quiet time” in my stoner-English teacher Mr. Bustard’s class the proctor filled the doorway with her six-foot-four-inch frame and spoke my name. I shit a brick. At the time, my grandfather was quite ill, and I was sure this was their pathetic way of making it so I did not cry in front of the class. They needed to bring me to the office. I needed to bring all of my things. I needed to hurry.
            The police were waiting.
            The police were waiting? Why were the police there to break the news of my grandpa’s death… “Oh fuck.
The police are waiting.”
            Now devoid of any color in my face or arms, I walked slowly with the silent giant to the office. I am greeted by the dean of students, former basketball coach Mr. B, Douglas, and two of Claremont’s finest, with the crackling radios and creaking too-tight leather boots. Then came the rigorous questioning, Mr. B spoke first.
“So Mr. Boytos, tell me about your lunch break.” Uh, seriously? I didn’t know where to start. Luckily, smug Mr. B thought I was playing dumb, so he brandished my buddy’s ‘something tight from Hawaii.’ I sighed.
“Oh. Those. Yeah. Uh. What about them?”
Mr. Police number one had a fit and stepped between my seat and Mr. B’s.
“Those are a felony to posses unless you are licensed as a martial artist. You don’t look like a martial artist, so you know what I’m thinking?” I knew what he was thinking. I was almost as much of a fat-ass as he was, so he must have known the impossibility of me being a deadly fighter.
“Oh. A felony? Why a felony if I have no training with them? I think it should be a…”
“I think you’re wrong. That’s the law son. A felony means a strike, two more of those and…”
“So Doug tells me these were a souvenir from your trip to Hawaii.” Mr. B thankfully interrupted the rupturing officer.
“yeah.” I admitted.
“Is that the marching band trip?”
“Yeah. But…”
“Well… you know this is pretty serious. Doug’s not getting these back unless his mom comes to pick them up. We’re going to have to call your mom as well.”
Douglas and I smirk a bit, because neither of our parents would have given half a shit except for being interrupted at work. And the cop took particular offense.
“Funnnnnnny, huh guys?” his lame condescension was met with silence from all other parties present. Mr. B just looked at the two officers, smiled and spoke.
“Thanks guys, I think I will take care of this one.” and they left with their too-tight leather boots begging to be loosened all the way out of the office. Thankfully they never thought to check the trunk of Doug’s car, which at the time contained two pony-keg shells, two air-soft guns, two pellet rifles, a bong, about an eighth ounce of pot, and one of the most disgusting porn magazines any one of us had ever seen, but none could bare to throw away.
            Mr. B made the calls, Doug’s mom told him to keep the nun-chucks, my brother pretended to be my father and told Mr. B I’d be in a lot of trouble as soon as I was done with my studying, and Mr. B turned to us, took our off campus passes away and assigned us to a week of lunch-time trash pickup. Being the wise-ass Douglas is, he told Mr. B that he had an AP test on Tuesday, so it got knocked down to four days. Being the opportunist/con-artist that I am, I told Mr. B that I had one on Tuesday, and he knocked it down to three.
            All in all, going from at worst (had they searched the vehicle) prison time and 1 strike on our record, to three days of trash pickup, I would admit we got off easy. Well, I did. Douglas got knocked out of his salutatorian spot, so at graduation, when we should of heard wisdom from the brain of “get me something tight” we heard some pseudo-intellectual stumble words that were too big and too quiet into a wind-buffed microphone. Thankfully, Douglas smoked enough pot to not be mad at me about it, although Jack and Trent don’t let me off so easily. 

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