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Saturday night. I'm in a Sports Bar for most of it. It's not my demographic in there. To start with, there's a giant TV screen that plays sport at some hideous level of sound, and then, in the quiet corner you can find, there is a car. One of those to scale models they build in malls so you buy tickets in competitions you'll never win. Still, the main attraction is the TV, and people who look like they've taken their fashion advice from Big W brochures, and who sit and stand and drink and shoot pool while watching this screen. I try to block it out. I'm there because one of my friends (D.) is meeting up with his Ex-Girlfriend and her Boyfriend and, y'know, I have nothing better to do.

Eventually, we leave. It's about twelve thirty, which isn't too late, but four hours of the Sports Bar has ended the night. Still, we're a bit hungry, so we head to the 24 Hour McDonalds in Parramatta. I've given up on keeping any kind of respect for myself by going to places I like and, in a rare choice, D. and I decide to actually go into the McDonalds. If you've never been to Parramatta Maccas at midnight, you're missing the crowd of scum and shit that linger in the parking lot waiting for their virginity to expire, the continual line of semi drunk people heading in, and the fact that no one cleans inside. Upon entering, I was greeted with the vision of dozens of empty tables, each of them with brown take away backs and wrappers lingering in the middle like the people sitting there had suddenly been hypnotised and turned into the unhappy Mcdonalds staff working there.

Still, if you don't do these things every now and then, you'll forget why you're avoiding them. Besides, we'd already parked the car and entered. There was no going back.

D. got served before me and so he picked the table area. It was round a corner, and when I turned it, I heard him saying, "--He's big and mean looking so you might not want that."

That means he's talking about me. I say, "What?" cause I'm in full charge of my wit.

"They want a ride to the train station," D. says, pointing to the table in front of him.

It was filled with three teenagers. Disturbingly young teenagers. Two girls and a boy, and if any of them were older than fourteen, then this post is being written by Zombie Jesus. The leader girl (there's always one) told me she was fifteen, but that was obviously a lie. I mean, some strange guy asks you your age, you respond by upping it a few years. At any rate, when these three saw me, the boy and the other girl started saying, "No, it's cool. We'll walk. Do you know the way to the station?"

"What?" I say again, still impossibly witty.

"They want a ride," D. says. "It's your car, man. I told them I can't help them. I'm too drunk for this."

The 'I'm too drunk' defense. It always comes out when a morally dubious choice of life comes up. Previous, I'm sure he was telling me how he was going to go back home and work, which suggests that D. wasn't that drunk. Still, who wants the responsibility of making the decision to allow three teenagers into your car at midnight. Something goes wrong and you're all fucked up. As Girl Two explains the con of the situation loudly, "They're going to kidnap us and rape us!"

Evidently, you can say any old shit in Parramatta McDonalds and not cause anyone to turn their head.

I say, "Look, the station is up the road. Just keep going straight."

Girl One asks, "Is it walkable?"

"It'll take about half an hour."

For some reason, that doesn't strike her as an appealing idea. D. thinks it's because people are lazy. I suspect it's because walking up the middle of Parramatta at midnight, past all the bars and clubs and through the empty alleys to the station don't exactly fill people with joy. Still, I'm all about passing the responsibility to other people. So I start looking around the McDonalds for someone respectable.

Girl One, perhaps suspecting my wish to palm them off, says, "We asked some other guys for a ride, but they told us they'd only give us a ride if we came them blowjobs."

Fuuuuuck.

Not one of the people in McDonalds looks trustworthy enough to hold my burger. Damn this natural distrust of people. Dimly, I'm aware of the three teenagers asking each other if the guys are still out there, and the boy and girl arguing that they should just walk to the station. Girl One has pretty much latched onto me and my car and she's not letting that go. She tells her friends to walk 'cause she's getting a ride. Did I agree? Did those words actually emerge? I'm sure they didn't. Girl Two says we're going to rape them, which sounds like a reasonable fear. I'm mean and scary looking. They make prison movies about guys like me.

But of course, I'm there with D.

They make romantic comedies about guys like him.

Obviously, he's the weak link in my plan to shunt responsibility off onto some other poor fuck.

Then, people from a wedding enter. They have girls with them. Fucking A! The girl two latches onto this as a sign that these well dressed people will not kidnap and rape them, and so the two girls begin working on one of the guys. They ask if he's been to a wedding. I bless their ability to state the obvious.

Girl Two says, "We need a ride to the station, can you give us one?"

"Oh, man, I'm too drunk to give anyone a ride," he says. He looks at me and points. "Why don't you get those guys to help you, they look cool."

You. Fucking. Cunt.

That was it. Girl One brought the others to the idea, though I refused to assure Girl Two that I wasn't going to kidnap and rape her. The boy had said nothing, so who knew what he thought. He started telling some story about Girl One doing bad things with boys, but she shut him up and I simply didn't care. If only I was drunk, then I could avoid this whole situation. Still, what the fuck was I to do? Leave them in McDonalds for some other shit ride to come along, or just give them the fucking lift and end my misery of their company?

When D. and I left McDonalds, we had a trail of teenagers behind us. No one said a word about it. They jumped in the car and I drove them to the station.

It took five minutes.

Comments

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bug_girl75
Mar. 28th, 2005 02:19 am (UTC)
Fuck. Why are kids that young out on the street alone at the hour? If I did that at that age, my father would have kicked my arse! Let alone if I got into a strange guys car!

I think they were in no danger of being kidnapped because their parents wouldn't have given enough of a shit to pay the ransom - not if they let them out alone at that hour, they can't care too much!!

I won't walk alone at night in Melbourne, let alone Sydney and I'm bloody 30 years old!! Shit!!
benpeek
Mar. 28th, 2005 03:25 am (UTC)
they we out because their parents had gone away for the weekend, apparently. so they were out having a good time. as you do.

bug_girl75
Mar. 28th, 2005 03:47 am (UTC)
Still sounds a bit sus to me!
benpeek
Mar. 28th, 2005 03:53 am (UTC)
probably, but since i'm not their parents, i don't really care. i'm just some minor character in their night out.
doctor_k_
Mar. 28th, 2005 05:57 am (UTC)
You can always call the DCD or the police if you're concerned about the welfare of children without guardians out in unsafe situations.
benpeek
Mar. 28th, 2005 06:18 am (UTC)
yeah, i know. the thought occured to me after i'd dropped them off. by then it was a bit late, natch, but i reckon they did okay. three kids make a nice unit.
dragoneletra
Mar. 28th, 2005 03:13 am (UTC)
A few years ago, myself and a bunch of friends were at a mates apartment having a few drinks on the verandah. Chatting away, putting a few drinks away and generally having a good time. I heard a large thump from 6 stories down, and looked over the verandah. There was a girl slumped over the hood of a mates car, as I watched she slowly worked her way back up to standing, took two steps and thumped back into the side of the car again before hitting the road.
I thought I might wander down to check out what was up. Everyone else was just a little too pissed. So I wander down, a I get to where she is at, I notice she is half awake, but pretty out of it. I also noticed she was about 14 years old, if that. I lift her up and sit her on the hood, laying against the windscreen and start asking her if she is ok. Where does she live, where are her friends and the like. She couldn't answer me properly, but managed to make out "Only two blocks" I pull her back up and half carry her/drag her for a while, trying to make her walk it out of her system a little. Even borrowed somebody's hose and turn it on her.
We get two blocks and she mumbles something about going the wrong way. Turns out she lived about 8 blocks in the opposite direction, and then she drops out on me. So there we are, on a Saturday night/Sunday morning at about 3am, me carrying this very heavy dead weight on my shoulder, stopping frequently. About a block from home she wakes up again, and I ask her the house number, we find the place and she has sobered up a bit now. I take her to the front door, and keep asking her if she is ok, because she still looks like she is going to drop. I ask her where the key is and find it in the pot plant, open the door and help her inside, tell her she needs to drink a lot of water. This whole time, at the house, she is leaning against the wall just staring at me, maybe wondering why I was helping her or something. Finally she whispers a "Thankyou" and closes the door, I got out of there just as I heard her knock over the hallway table and a light went on in another bedroom (parents?) I didn't want to be grilled about why I was dropping home a very, very drunk young girl, and smelling like alcahol myself.
I finally got back to the apartment at 5am and took up where I left off. She is lucky, that I was the one who found her. She was young, but many would have found her attractive, as she will no doubt be in a few years. I'm glad that I may have been able to avert some disaster from happening. But still, when you see other 'kids' out there doing the same thing, you have to wonder.....

Jc
benpeek
Mar. 28th, 2005 03:27 am (UTC)
eight blocks!

that's a lot of walking, man. i think i might have just dumped her in the apartment until she sobered up and could walk. but still, the things kids do. suppose it's all part of growing up, but for every story of some folk helping,t here's another of them not.
dragoneletra
Mar. 28th, 2005 05:18 am (UTC)
I've gone out and trashed myself completely on many occasions, when I was but a young lad. When I grew up, I still trashed myself, just nobody could tell, and i'd always be home safe and have a blast. But some of the things these kids do.......

That was the reason I put in the hard yards, if I didn't help her. She was probably a nice girl too, obviously hanging around the wrong crew though, if they just dumped her and wandered off...Who's to say someone wouldn't stop, throw her in the back of the car and get some ? Or something worse.

Jc
(Anonymous)
Mar. 28th, 2005 06:45 am (UTC)
Man that redefines the boundary of my travels. I use to make Parramatta the furthest west that I would go but obviously I have to pull the boundaries back in.

Two things that confuses me:
1) Haven't those 3 fuckwits (no point in euphemisms, that's what they were) got any ounce of responsibility for themselves?
2) And haven't they heard of the girl that got gang-raped by X amount of guys? Gee whiz some people...
(Anonymous)
Mar. 28th, 2005 06:46 am (UTC)
Man that redefines the boundary of my travels. I use to make Parramatta the furthest west that I would go but obviously I have to pull the boundaries back in.

Two things that confuses me:
1) Haven't those 3 fuckwits (no point in euphemisms, that's what they were) got any ounce of responsibility for themselves?
2) And haven't they heard of the girl that got gang-raped by X amount of guys? Gee whiz some people...

john
benpeek
Mar. 28th, 2005 07:42 am (UTC)
i hear plenty of people pulling their boundaries in. i personally try not to just past penrith and up into the mountains. it's a strange place up there.

and of course they've heard of the girl. that's why they were worried i'd kidnap and rape them ;)
future_conduit
Mar. 28th, 2005 12:22 pm (UTC)
you'll be glad to know that for about $60 you can get a universal TV off button shipped to your door. it's also a key ring. if i can remember the site, i'll send u a link.

when i was 15 we use to ride 5km to the truck stop for a pack of camel of a saturday night. but that was regional victoria 12 years ago, not paramatta now.

things are pretty fucked up. when/if i have kids, i'm doing what they did in "the Village".
benpeek
Mar. 29th, 2005 05:55 am (UTC)
when/if i have kids, i'm going to return them :)
future_conduit
Mar. 29th, 2005 08:39 am (UTC)
make sure you hang on to the receipt.

my dad always says he's totally in favour of post-natal abortion.
misanthropoid
Mar. 28th, 2005 03:22 pm (UTC)
Wow, I think I understand your reluctance. They seem just scatterbrained enough that their photos will wind up displayed next to a composite sketch of the person with whom they were last seen.

You did drop them in a brightly-lit, heavily traveled area, right?
benpeek
Mar. 29th, 2005 06:04 am (UTC)
actually, there's a lot of construction round the train station at the moment, so there were no well lit, heavily traveled areas. but there were people round, so it wasn't such a bad thing.
mariness
Mar. 28th, 2005 03:54 pm (UTC)
24 hour McDonalds are evil.

benpeek
Mar. 29th, 2005 06:05 am (UTC)
i know, i know. they're always the ones i end up at, too. i don't know what it is about one in the morning and my desire for maccas.
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