Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Great Bowling Alley Heist

It has been well established that I was not a good kid. If you need a reminder, just take a look at some of my previous entries. Revenge is Sweet, The Great Poopie Caper, King Tit and the Eraser That Saved My Ass, Construction House Pee Party, King of the Hill, Gardening 101, and The Rush Pt. 1, Pt. 2, and Pt. 3 are all shining examples of how I had a dark side as a kid. When I was with bad influences, such as Leo, my badness really came to the surface.
Picture it if you can. 1986. Many moons ago, I admit. I was seven years old at the time. If you read through Revenge is Sweet, you'll remember my friend Leo. We were truly partners in crime. We fed off each other in negative ways and when we got together, we got up to all sorts. When together, we decided it would be fun to throw rocks at the neighbour's window and see who could smash it first (I won, though another neighbour caught me, told me to tell my parents or she would, and when I refused to tell she ratted me out). When together, we decided to go behind a garage and shatter several brand new windows that a neighbour had purchased for an extension he was putting on his home. When together, we dropped (admittedly small) rocks through the chain link that enclosed the pedestrian overpass that went over the #2 highway (Deerfoot Trail for Calgarians who never leave the city) and caused several dings and dents I'm sure. We lied, we cheated in school, we were truant...and we stole. To be fair, we didn't steal from stores like Curt and I did in The Rush. We stole from friends. We stole from our mothers' purses. We stole from our teachers' desks. And we stole from strangers...
There was a strip mall within walking distance of our homes and in that strip mall was Shamrock Lanes bowling alley. Leo and I often went there (without asking as we weren't allowed to go) to watch the bigger kids play arcade games. On one occasion that Leo and I went to the bowling alley, the place was packed. Every lane was being used, which was quite the feat back then as Airdrie wasn't very big. As Leo and I worked our way to the arcade section of the bowling alley, I noticed a boy, about ten or so, holding a Transformer toy. It was the Dinobot brontosaurus called "Sludge." Here's a pic I scooped from the internets ( since I feel it wise to give credit for the picture):
All right. I saw the toy. I wanted the toy. Leo also wanted the toy. When you had two bastards like us in the same room with the same goal, it was trouble. Running on impulse, we walked over to the boy and complimented him on his toy. As he got up to take his turn bowling, I asked if I could play with his transformer while he bowled. He was a nice kid and let me do so.
Well, as soon as he turned his back, Leo and I made a mad dash for the exit! I heard "HEY!" come from behind me but I didn't turn to look at the source. We bolted up the stairs and out the door and ran as fast as our little feet could carry us. We got away with ease. Unfortunately, as evening approached and Leo had to go home, we got into a tussle because we both wanted possession of the toy. I ended up getting to keep it as I threatened to kick him in the jewels.
The next day, I was worried. Being a thief in the making, I knew I had to launder the evidence, though I had no idea it was called that. All I knew is that I couldn't keep the toy because questions could be asked and it made my hands dirty. I took it to school and traded it swiftly with some kid for his Transformer, a microscope (WTF???) called Perceptor (pic courtesy
It was a kind of sucky replacement for the ultra-cool Dinobot, but my anxiety was reduced so whatever. I, of course, told Leo that I threw Sludge away so he wouldn't try and take my Perceptor.

I digress. About two weeks later, for reasons inexplicable (perhaps because we weren't the brightest kids on the block), we decided to go back to the bowling alley to watch people play video games. Well, it wasn't ten seconds that we were down there that the owner, Linda, ran over to us and escorted us into what I believe was a party room for birthdays or whatever. She made us sit down and held us there while she called our parents. Yeah, we were bad kids but we were pretty young and pretty scared, so we gave our phone numbers. My dad came to the bowling alley, as did Leo's mum and I vividly remember my dad giving me the scariest look ever! He was right PISSED! The parents and Linda left us in the room (Linda's husband Marshall watching us). About ten painful minutes later, they returned. But they were not alone.
No sirree. Behind Linda, dad, and Leo's mum, were two police officers. Our parents and Linda done gone called the fuzz on us!
The police entered the room and sat down while the parents waited outside. I cannot begin to express how terrified I was. These officers were scary business! And it didn't help that they were telling us that they were going to take us to jail!!!! I remember one of the cops asking me "do you want to go to jail" and "do you want to sit on the cold floor and not have any toys or TV'. To a seven year old, it was just traumatizing. Once they'd put a scare into us, we got the "lecture" about why it's wrong to steal and we were made to promise never to do it again. It felt like hours in that room with the boys in blue, but in reality it was probably only a few minutes. The cops left and my dad made me apologize to the boy, who Linda had obviously also called down to the bowling alley. The family asked what happened to the toy.
"I don't know. Leo took it," I lied. Leo protested of course, and our bedrooms were later searched for the toy to no avail. So while I wasn't seen as not guilty of possessing the toy, it couldn't be proved that I did keep the toy. Boy was I happy I dumped Sludge and got that lame-as-fuck microscope Transformer instead!
I was grounded til hell wouldn't have it...weeks and weeks I think. The worst part was when my dad and I got home. I got the spanking of a lifetime. Ouch!

Perhaps you wondered how on earth I could remember the names of the bowling alley owners over twenty years after the fact. That one's easy. I ended up working there the better part of a decade later. Fortunately, Linda and Marshall didn't remember me.

There you have it. Another tale of Terrible Dave. One of these days I need to start posting some stories that show how I'm also a good person. Sadly, they're just not as funny.

P.S. Dear dad...spanking me didn't help. It only made me resent you. Dear parents...don't spank your kids. It teaches that hitting is an acceptable behaviour and it makes your kids dislike you, but doesn't really teach a lesson. Well, that's my opinion anyway...I just happen to always be right.

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