........I found myself in a van on a beer run into "town". The town I speak of is Springfield, Oregon and it's about 40 miles from sleepy little Blue River. I remember wondering why we didn't just stop at bar back there and buy some beer to go but hey, I wasn't the driver. I was just along for the ride having a couple of bucks to contribute to the cause. When we pulled up to the 7/11, my new found friend's thirsty expectations vastly exceeded our funds. A discussion of sorts was taking place and out of the darkness in the back, one guy uncovered a rifle. It was one of those old 8mm Mauser WW II surplus
guns and these guys were discussing the best way to get a quantity of beer and some gas money to get home on.
"Are you guys drunk or are you just plain crazy?" I exclaimed. (After all, my 2 bucks were in the kitty for the beer)
"Hey, if you dont like it, there's the door" said the guy with the rifle.
It was around 10:00 at night and it was raining hard (like it usually does on the west slope of the Cascades). As these guys were discussing "the plan", I made a split second decision. "See you guys later, I'm outta here" and I eased on out the door. Once into the shadows, I ran like a bat out of hell across the parking lot of a grocery store that had closed for the night. Seeking shelter from the rain (and a place to hide quick) I dove into a Salvation Army collection box and buried myself amongst the bags of clothes in the darkness. My heart was pounding in my chest and I soon heard the sound of speeding tires hissing on rainswept streets, followed soon by the sirens.
I buried myself a little deeper as I could see the reflections of the strobes reflecting on the wet surface of the parking lot I could hear the sound of the police radios. "247-three sixteen #@$##" "Driver, come out with your hands up" (or something like that) I then realized the dang fools never made it outta the 7/11 parking lot. And here I was, 200 yards away! My mind was racing, my heart pounding and by gawd, I really had to pee! (must have been all of that beer I'd been drinking) My mind came up with "my story", just in case I was discovered in the Salvation Army box. I was just going to play dumb and "pretend"
to be a bum. It wouldn't be hard to convince the cops of that!
after a while, things grew quiet and I must have passed out. I awoke with an old toaster jabbing me in the ribs and by gawd, I still had to pee. Gathering up my courage, I peeked out the door. All was quiet and the 7/11 was closed. It was starting to get on towards dawn and I was thinking about a cup of hot coffee when I realized, "Dang, them fools got busted with my 2 dollars!"
Dang, it's a 40 mile hitch hike back up to Blue River, I look like hell and feel even worse but hey, I had narrowly escaped going to prison and then I realized life wasn't so bad after all. So, out to the curb by the light I went and stuck my thumb into the breeze. About 20 minutes later, I see a familiar truck coming up highway 126 and a Blue River local that I had met before pulls over and gives me a ride.
"Did you hear about the robbery last night?"
" No. Really? What happened?" I replied..................My friend worked at the mill in Springfield and was just getting off the graveyard shift. It sure felt good to put some miles between me and that 7/11.
The next day my friend Larry showed me an article from the local Lane County newspaper. The article listed the full names of my drinking buddies on that fatefull night including the middle ones and the article went on to say....The POLICE were still searching for one unidentified suspect who had escaped. I guess someone saw me running away or something like that. It was about then that I decided the climate was much too wet around Blue River, Oregon and maybe a change in climate would do me good! And so, with my thumb in the breeze once again, I headed south into the desert
I'd say, for utter stupidity, that certainly beats anything I ever did. I didn't hang around with felons. That explains a lot.