Sneak Peek

There was no better rite of passage from childhood innocence to arrogant adolescence in the 1960s than to see how many kids you could stuff into the trunk of a car and sneak into the drive-in movies.

Bub had a car in which several guys got stuffed into his trunk about a half mile from the entrance to the Denison Drive-In Theater. Bub drove and I sat in the passenger seat. The trunk was so full of bodies that the bumper was bouncing off the ground as he drove up the dirt lane to the ticket booth. As Bub and I paid to enter the movie, I could tell that the owner suspected we were sneaking in a few. Just how many, she didn’t know.

The idiots in the trunk were fighting, farting, and fidgeting as we approached the gate. Bub and I tried to tell them to shut up, but I can’t say we were very successful. At last, we pulled into the parking space and opened the trunk. The movie was irrelevant. I doubt any of us watched it.

Once the movie was over, we jammed everyone into the front and back seats and drove into Denison. At the time, the Holiday convenience store had this brilliant idea to rent Honda S90 motorcycles. A Honda S90 was about the smallest motorbike ever made. It might be able to go 60 mph down a level stretch of highway if the wind was behind you. Holiday had two available Hondas for rent that evening.

Besides Bub, Honcho and Hot Dog were the only two of our group that had drivers’ licenses. In the mid-sixties, you didn’t need a motorcycle license to drive one. Quite frankly, we didn’t even have probationary drivers’ licenses back then. Any license worked. It may have cost an insurance fee of $25 to rent the Honda, and it was refunded if the bike came back in original form. There was also a nonrefundable fee for renting the bike for an hour. Gas was no problem; you could drive for hours on a quarter’s worth of leaded gas.

Honcho and Hot Dog rented the two bikes and took off up the hill with a bit of difficulty. If you have ever been to Denison, you would know that the streets north of Highway 30 were almost 45 degrees, and these little motorbikes struggled to make it to the top.

The rest of us waited, doing whatever bored teenagers do in a gas station parking lot on a warm summer night. While we were standing around Bub’s car, the drive-in owner and a sheriff’s deputy pulled into the Holiday lot. She got out of the car, mad as hell. She started yelling at us before the deputy calmed her down.

“I know you snuck a bunch into the movie in the trunk of the car. But I’m going to turn you in to this deputy unless you give me back the speaker you broke off as you left, and also, you are going to have to go back and clean up your mess!”

About that time, Honcho and Hot Dog came down the hill, saw what was going on, and turned around to go back up the hill. The rest of us got into Bub’s car and drove back out to the drive-in, followed by the deputy. We didn’t know about the speaker. We found it a few yards from where we had parked during the movie. I’m not even sure it was our group that tore it off. I couldn’t believe the mess we made. There must have been a garbage scow of litter within several feet of where we had parked during the movie. It was obvious to the owner that we spent a considerable amount of money on hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn, candy, drinks, etc. at the concession stand.

We cleaned up the mess, handed the speaker over to whomever, and headed back into town to the Holiday station. Honcho and Hot Dog were laughing their butts off. They thought it was funny. It wasn’t. Especially for me. I was in the front seat of the car and had to pay with my own money to get into the fleapit.

The lesson learned: Next time I should be in the trunk. But I never got the chance.


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