Paul Beckman | Nevena Katalina
We were having a campout in our backyard when the motorcycle gang showed up. They weren’t really riding motorcycles and I’m not sure they were a gang either. They were a handful of codgers, three riding mopeds and two on Vespas with one in a golf cart.
They had codger uniforms; hush puppies, flannel shirts, pants halfway to their ears with both suspenders and a belt and John Deere baseball hats. They drove down our driveway and cut across the back yard and stopped short of our tent and campfire.
The head codger asked what we were doing.
“Making s’mores,” I said, standing up guarding my two younger sisters and our two friends from next door. I was the oldest and the biggest at fourteen.
“Make us some,” he said, “and we’ll be on our way.” He revved the golf cart.
I told him to hold on while we huddled and I took my gang into the tent and explained the situation. “We can take those old guys and kick ‘em off our campground or we can be nice and have them over for s’mores. I say let’s have them over.”
So the codgers got off their vehicles and strutted over and sat down around the fire, they were whispering to each other and laughing and I asked what was so funny since we were being nice and all to them and the head codger said that we didn’t know shit about making s’mores and we should let them show us.
While they were making s’mores I went into the house and got hot dogs, rolls and the fixings and told them they could join us for the dogs if they showed us how to make those too. And they did and they told us stories the whole time and it was like having cool grandparents hanging out.
After we ate and talked for a while it was getting dark so we lit some candles and decided to say goodnight and go into our tent. They said before we go they’d like to pay us back for our hospitality and to hop on their ‘hogs’ and go for a ride to Mr. Yogurt and the treat was on them.
We left one of the codgers to clean up and went off to Mr. Yogurt. While everyone was ordering I wrote a note and discreetly passed it to the cute girl who took my order. It said to call the cops that these guys were kidnapping us. She looked at me and then at my sisters and the codgers and read the note aloud to everyone in the store. They laughed and so did we and instead of taking us home after finishing our yogurts they took us to an old warehouse and tied us up.
The codger left behind had written a ransom note and left it on the kitchen table but got caught when my parents got home and he gave his fellow gang members up by giving the warehouse address.
We got freed by the cops. The codgers got busted and our parents met with them and convinced the Judge and the police to let them go. Their penalty was babysitting for us every Friday for two months while our parents went out. It might have gone on longer if our parents weren’t busted for being the breaking and entering gang that had been plaguing our city for the past six months.
The codger’s kids and wives won’t let them hang out with us anymore and our parents have to wear ankle bracelets until we’re out of high school. We sneak around to meet the codgers and our parents can’t do anything about it. I found the list of unlocked homes and dates our parents had made up and gave them to the codgers who put them to good use and gave us twenty-five percent of the take from their scores.
There’s a lesson in all of this but none of us, kids or codgers, can figure it out.