Richmond Virginia, sometime in the late 90’s.
Two of my buddies had come over to my apartment in the fan after a long night of getting our asses kicked in the Kitchen. Even though I worked with them, they were cool and we all smoked and so it had become a nightly ritual to either go drinking or go get stoned at someone’s place nearby.
We proceeded to get stoned off our asses, surprise surprise. Looking back on the quality, or lack of that we were getting at the time, I’m surprised we got high at all. I wouldn’t even try to cook with the shitty brown swag we were smoking and yet, back then we treated it like gold and it did the job just fine. It was around three am when the munchies hit and while we had no business driving, we were high and didn’t give a shit. At this time of night, only weirdos like us who know the risks of being out at this hour are out at this hour.
4th St cafe.
My God I miss that place. I knew it was a special place when I was a regular and have missed it since it closed a few years ago……. This is where we ended up, this was where I always ended up when I was in this condition. Or the Village on Harrison but I think I was 86’ed at the time. Omelets and coffee and milkshakes and God knows what the fuck else. I may look like a skinny bastard but when I get high and hungry, I will eat until I hurt myself.
By the time we left, we were starting to sober up and this was not going to fly so one of the boys packed another bowl and away we went. The sky was starting to lighten a bit and though we had an hour or more before sunrise, we hurried like vampires back to our dwellings. It was Danny who was in the backseat, one of the biggest dopiest hippy kids I’ve ever known, that noticed that something wasn’t quite right about the state of our surroundings as we headed west on Main past the world famous Jefferson Hotel.
I wasn’t sure what he was talking about at first but as I looked around, there it was all over the place. Bumper stickers saying things like “Jesus saves” and “What would JC do?” and the little fish thing as well as a virgin Mary air freshener. I’m not talking shit, I’m stating facts. When you’re 19 and have been up all night cooking and doing drugs and you find yourself in this situation, it tends to be rather shocking.
Josh, the driver of and supposed owner of the car looked around and you could see his eyes widen and his mind start to scream in the milliseconds between seeing what was going on, processing it and reacting to it.
“What the fuck? What the fuck? This isn’t my car” he screamed. “What the fuck are we going to do? We’re in a stolen car?!?!” He was starting to panic.
One of the powers I’ve developed over the years of being a Chef is I can more or less handle most crisis with an eerie level of calm and humor. Don’t ask for details, just know that I had, at that point, already been in enough stolen cars to not be freaking out.
‘The keys are yours though you idiot! We didn’t steal a damn thing! Just shut up and go back to my place!” I screamed, trying to regain some level of control over the situation. This would have been bad enough without the drugs but without the drugs, we wouldn’t have gotten into the car. It wasn’t just one or two of us, it was all three of us, inside the Biblmobile for a good ten minutes before any of this dawned on us.
No, it wasn’t his car.
When we got back to my place minutes later his car, with all his Phish bumper stickers, was still parked across the street where he had left it when he got to my place at the start of the night. We had, from what we sorta remembered, must have just walked out and seen a blue Acura and gotten in and since the keys worked, we drove it. This car was parked in front of my place, his car was across the street the whole time.
Josh took the time to call Honda and found out the odds of his keys fitting both the door and the ignition and it being the same color was roughly the same as winning the lottery. Our prize was that we didn’t go to jail.