Let me take you back to a time before Facebook. A time where your only choices for digital media were Myspace or Xanga. A time where Hot Topic thrived and teenagers drank Smirnoff Black Ice at douchy high school parties.
This is the 2000’s.
I was an angsty 18 year old who just walked out on her job at JC Penneys as a photographer after yet another parent of a clan of sh$%tily behaved children had mouthed back at me because there was still 3 families in front of her getting Christmas cards taken 2 1/2 weeks before Christmas because two of our three camera rooms were down. I yelled something about how her children would have been better off swallowed, threw a ton a paperwork everywhere, walked out and never came back. But that’s a completely other story.
I was still pretty pissed. Thinking a long drive from my apartment to my hometown might calm me (And to be honest, there was nothing like listening to a Radiohead cd at full volume while chain smoking clove cigarettes.)
I knew my at-the-time boyfriend wasn’t around, so I stopped by a mutual friend’s work where we all some times hung out. It was a crappy little gas station that belonged in some dusty deserted long stretch of highway in the middle of nowhere but some how was right near the center of our little town.
My friend S saw that I was a complete mess. Walking out of locations by thowing a huge scene was very out of character for me, especially in the presence of children. I was pacing back and forth in the bay of the empty garage, smoking and muttering to myself as I ignored calls from a frantic manager at the portrait studio who was pleading that I come back and finish the sessions.
S decided to distract me with a story.
“Did B tell you about what I and A did the other day?”
I stopped pacing. I knew this would be good.
I and A were twin brothers who lived across the street from gas station S worked at. They were a towering 6 ft something, blonde and quiet. In fact, if I hadn’t heard stories and seen film photage B captured I never would have expected the amount of mischief created between them. In school they had always been quiet and seemingly well behaved. I was one of the lucky few who knew better.
From starting a paint ball war with S at the Gas station to one of them doing a spot on impression of Howard Stern in costume, wandering into random stores demanding free stuff because “I’m f#$cking Howard Stern, b#$ch!”
And don’t get me started on the Strip dance mobile, D’s giant ass van with only two seats as the rest was of it was occupied by giant speakers and a disco ball. The bottom of the van lit up in rainbow colors and flashing lights.
“No, B didn’t tell me, what happened?”
S began his story.
” I was here the other day, at work. It was really drizzy out. I and A showed up. A was carrying a flattened cardboard box. They came up to me and asked to buy 10 cents worth of gas. I immediately told them to F#$k off.
They took off for a few minutes, then came back.
‘How about 5 cents?’ A asked.
‘How about 1 cent’ I said.
It was a deal. I asked them what container they wanted me to fill and A pointed to the box.
I told them to f#$ck off.”
They left and quickly returned with some sort of container. This happened so long ago (Can you believe that the 2000’s are 14 years ago?) that the details are a bit fuzzy.
S filled the container with about a penny of gas and instantly regretted it as I and A went to the middle of the busy street, placed the cardboard down on the yellow line, poured the gas and immediately lit in on fire and ran away.
As S panicked and was suddenly grateful for the slight drizzle, one of the twins came back stomped out the fire, and disappeared again just as quickly.
“But why?” I wondered out loud. “What was the point in all that? Why did one of them run back”
“I don’t f$#cking know, but I better not see them again for while.” S grumbled. I believe it was almost a week later that they paintballed the gas station for a second time.
I wouldn’t hear the rest of the story for a few months, and it came from a different source.
B was my at-the-time asshole of a boyfriend’s little brother. He was a film student obsessed with Sam Rami and Bruce Cambell. We both had a love of classic rock, taking last minute poorly planned adventures and horror movies. We got along well and hung out often.
I asked B about the the twins, the box fire, and why one of them ran back. He immediately burst into laughter.
Apparently, strick with panic, one of the twins had decided the best way to not get busted for the fire was to call the fire department and file an incident report themselves.
As one stayed on the phone, the other did as directed and stomped out the fire. The Fire department thanked them for their couragous effort and sent them a certificate for being good citizens.I believe it is still proudly framed somewhere.
That is how I and A received a certificate and became honorary fire fighters.