“Whoa dude! What a gnarly ride!” Skyler flipped his shaggy hair, glistening with sweat, and had a grin ear-to-ear that only a day of long boarding in the sweet California sun could induce.
“I know, right?”
“Like, Kelson, I’ve like never experienced pavement as buttery as this.”
Kelson laughed at Skyler’s excitement; he needed to get rid of some stress. “I know dude, let’s hit it again.” Both boys fiddled with the wheels on their boards as they waited for their golden chariot – the elevator – to reach the top of their Mt. Olympus.
*DING* The elevator reached the top of the parking garage. “That was pretty gnar when I almost hit that car, though!”
“Yeah dude, might wanna, uh,” Kelson paused and started pulling at the 4 inch rip on the thigh of his tattered and seasoned Levi 514’s, “look out for that.” Kelson and Skyler forgot their location momentarily as they gazed out upon the summer view of quaint Palo Alto – and the distant mountains of the east bay – from atop the newly constructed ten-story garage on University Avenue.
“Uh, yeah. Good call.”
“You ready to go, dude?”
“Totally.” With a deep breath and hard shove of their boards, Kelson and Skyler began their descent down the garage. They rolled through the top levels – generally uncluttered by the numerous Priuses and mini-vans all to abundant in Palo Alto – gaining speed as if they snowboarded down the slopes of Tahoe.
Kelson shouted as he passed Skyler on a turn, “Yeahhh duuude!”
“Wooooo!” The brand new pavement was unlike anything they had ever experienced. Skyler could swear there was nothing even beneath him; today he rode not a long board, but a flying carpet. It was the most fun he’d had since what happened last Christmas. Now, behind Kelson, he noticed the light provided from the setting sun outside the garage would make for some interesting video footage for his long boarding film. “Hey dude! I’m going to film you!”
“Alright, do it – this run is steezy!”
Skyler began rummaging through his pack while cruising down the garage. He heard the noise of an engine and looked up. A blue Prius was making its way around the turn ahead. With a quick lean, Skyler followed Kelson’s path as he narrowly avoided the Prius.
Dramatically increasing in speed, Kelson turned his head around, “That was a close one, dude!”
“Keep moving, the camera’s rollin’!”
Nearing 25 miles per hour, Skyler looked on in awe as Kelson drifted around the turn to the next down-ramp. It was flawless. Brimming with excitement Kelson shouted, “Yeah du–”
*BLOOOP BLOOOP.* Skyler jerked his head up just in time to see the police cruiser barely avoid smacking Kelson head-on. Kelson slid onto his butt and Skyler jumped off his board; the high speed was too much for his legs to handle and he tumbled across the ice-slick pavement.
The cruiser slammed the brakes and the door swung open as if the driver was trying to escape a swarm of bees inside. A giant – 6’4”, 250 – stepped out, veins popping out of his skull, and screamed, “Put your hands up and get on the curb! NOW!”
“Uh, ouch, uh okay,” Kelson wiped the blood of his palm and muttered under his breath, “Tonto.”
“What was that, boy? You think your above the law? You think you’re God? Well guess what, burn-out, YOUR’RE NOT! Now sit down before I cuff you. What’s wrong with your “girl” friend over there… he gonna wet ‘imself?”
“Dude, Skyler, come here.” If Skyler had a tail, it would have been between his legs. He walked over and took a seat, hands on top of head, next to Kelson on the curb.
“Now you sit there, you little punks, I’ll be right with you.” He turned around and softly talked into his radio.
Skyler turned and looked at Kelson. Kelson had never seen such a look in his best friend’s eyes before. Well, maybe once before, the shimmer almost looked as it did last Christmas, when his mom died. “Dude chill, it’ll be okay.”
“No, dude, my dad can’t find out. If I get in trouble with the law one more time, he will–”
“SHUT UP, you little vandals! Now you, with the mop on your head, come over here – NOW.” The boys looked at each other’s hair; Kelson’s blonde and Skyler’s deep brown – both could easily be described as a mop. They both stepped, and then paused, and then looked back at the officer.
“God! What’s become of this generation? Punks! Blondie, get over here!”
“Uh, OK, sir.”
“What’s your name?”
Sweat began beading up on Tonto’s forehead, “Your NAME, Einstein!”
“Oh, right, Kelson. It’s Kelson.”
“Kelson, what? Forget it, do you have any ID?”
“Uh,” Kelson patted his pockets, “Nah dude, sorry.”
“…Dude…” The massive officer’s lip began to quiver, “YOU will address me as sir! Now go sit down and tell your punk friend to come over here.”
Kelson walked over to the curb and plopped down on the curb next to Skyler. Skyler looked like he was battling back tears, “Bro, the cop wants you. Just stay cool.” Kelson rose slowly from his seat and hobbled over to the officer as if he marched to his death.
“Alright, let’s see if you can do better than your friend. What’s your name?”
Skyler was somewhat frightened by the cop’s frantic appearance; sweaty, bulging veins, quivering, “Um, Sk – Skyler.”
“Sk – Skyler what?”
“Skyler Thomas, I mean Thompson.”
“Can I see some ID, Mr. Thompson?”
“Uhhh,” Skyler dug through his pockets as if he searched for a hidden treasure, “don’t have it.”
The officer’s face turned red – perhaps a deeper red than the stop sign at the bottom of the ramp, “Goddamn it! You good-for-nothing – little – punks! You’re both going to jail! I bet Kelson over there hasn’t even figured out his last name yet, huh?”
With the cop looking like he was about to kill Skyler, Kelson reached for his video camera and turned it on. “Uh, what?”
“GAHHHHH!” The cops face turned to the same color as his uniform. He stormed over to the side of his car and grabbed the truck of Kelson’s long board. As if he was hurling a shot put back on his high school track and field team, the cop launched the board off the side of the garage. It spun and twisted its way through the air above University Avenue like a shot duck.
Kelson caught it all on film. Even the painfully mortal cry from the street below the garage, “Ahhhh!” The sound of eleven-ply wood striking a pedestrian made the boys wince.
Onlookers everywhere on University shouted in wonder and amazement.
“Oh my God!”
“Where did that…come from?”
A smile cracked across Kelson’s face back in the garage, “Skyler, Skyler! Dude, Skyler! I got it! It’s all on film!”
Tonto turned around with a baffled look on his face. He searched the garage with his eyes fanatically, “I – uh – uhm.” Without another word the cop bolted for his car and sped down the ramp. Kelson held the camera steady as the cop skirted down the ramp to the ground floor.
Skyler exhaled, long and slow. “Dude, that was crazy.”