The walk around that tired asphalt track seemed to go on for miles, This was most definitely not how I remembered it.
I do remember walking passed the basketball courts and peeking inside to see the toothpick skinny hallways,
Matched with the painting of that sinister little girl in her ragged pink overalls and deceiving brown pig tails.
This was Carnegie. Our stomping grounds. Where we went to school, caused mischief, and made memories.
I’ll never think of the school the same as I used to,
not after I’d heard about the “boxer bandits,” on the news.
The “big green building” as we called it,
with “rise to excellence” as its motto,
turned out to actually produce “excellent” convicts.
In the early hours of July, 22nd 2010, a couple of boys, or who the Media referred to as “men”, drunkenly broke into that very same elementary school. Not to vandalize, steal, or intrude, but simply to take a look into life as it used to be. They didn’t mean to upset anyone, sometimes drunken thoughts just make us long for sober memories. We’re all just bubbles in a Pabst can, waiting to go flat.
The Boxer Bandits
The law however, did not buy into their scheme of things.
The place that I used to claim as a safe haven,
no longer seemed so innocent.
Elementary school was a luxurious daze,
a rambunctious roller coaster,
and a plentiful pity party.
A time to grow up, but, not too much.
I was making bets with myself on whether the water fountain across the field near the jungle gyms was working properly or not.
I remember those blazing summers when the water would scold me,
but it was still the best water I’d ever had.
Back then, we’d scrounge up a backpack full of goodies, nick-nacks, and treasure maps, anything to curb our interest in adventure.
We always wanted to outdo ourselves.
I fought a ferocious bee with a stick in that rock pit by the jungle gym once,
but not to impress the ladies or anything.
We would play ninjas and Dragon Ball Z over there in that lonely sandbox.
We were the “cool kids”, or at least I thought we were.
My best friend was the fastest kid in the school at the time.
His dirty curly brown locks echoed Ryan Sheckler,
and must have given him a couple MPH’S during the 50 yard dash.
I was always jealous, very jealous.
I wanted to run as fast as lightning, but I couldn’t.
My specialty was jump-roping.
Yipppeee Chi-O I could do so many gosh darn double unders,
criss-crosses, and scissor jumps. You’da thought I was training for the Winter Olympics.
The school gym teacher even signed me up for the city festival,
and I won 1st place.
But I didn’t want to be that.
I wanted to be like my curly haired best friend.
The fast one, who would sneak out after dark,
who let me take a sip of beer!
The one who migrated an abundance of lawn chairs under a tree in the middle of the school’s forest area,
to do, naughty things.
The one who hung out with girls!
Eww girls have cooties, I remembered.
Gosh I liked Jayne Ratliff a whole lot though.
We became stereotypical rebellious teenagers.
That’s about the time I met the 2nd of the Boxer Bandits. He was a free soul, used to clothe himself with dresses.
His motto was to keep it no, but preserve a drawer of yesses.
I remember thinking he was an alien, or the closest thing to it.
I just went with it, hey, it’s not everyday you get to become friends with a martian.
In our later years, the school became a scapegoat from our problems.
Or rather, our chicken shit survival sanctuary.
We’d doorbell ditch, egg cars, and TP houses,
only to escape to our precious Carnegie.
Hanging out there, I felt less and less like a kid.
We’d all just get drunk and forget what we did.
The captain though, got them into deep.
A 100 proof bottle, never sounded so steep.
They dropped their garments and let the good times roll, or the bad ideas roll in. We all have those moments with our best friend.
Cunning smiles, a terrible mutual decision, and no regrets.
Nothing could stop them, they were infinite.
A stone was salvaged and catapulted at one of the giant glass windows of the school,
and a silent alarm was triggered. An unknown sense of fear and embarrassment set in.
They maneuvered up to the metal green roof to take a look at the world,
and wrote obscenities in chalk upon the white boards of the classrooms.
“Hello children twat monkeys,” explain that. Yeah, I couldn’t either.
They ran around to look at old photos, reminiscing on their past lives, and rekindling a fire from within their inner demons.
They were crazed, possessed, and looney.
But they were still human.
Upon the departure,
something was amiss.
With the wind at their back,
and a solemn nakedness.
Bright lights, and imaginary dogs that were only meant to scare.
Arrested was my curly headed friend, somehow, in his underwear.
Helicopters, local jail, the bail bearers now in transit.
The articles swiftly ensued, have you heard of the boxer bandits?
It was hard for people at first to grasp that the boys didn’t mean anything by their actions. The community was shaken and confused.
“How could a boy centered around the roots of the school do such a thing?”
“Lock them up and throw away the key.”
“They deserve what they got.”
These were comments the boys were subject to. They didn’t deserve it, and of course no one deserves to be called a criminal. Especially two souls with good hearts, who just so happened to get too friendly with some liquid courage. We have to remember that good judgement can be clouded by curiosity, and even the best of us make mistakes. It could have been me, you, or the world sitting in their shoes. Bad things CAN happen to good people, there’s no doubt about it.
We all just want to remember what it was like to be a kid again.
When our imaginations were endless. When we were unable to drive, and a walk to the local blockbuster was considered the greatest of adventures. When there was no one to impress, and nothing to worry about.
When “best friends” meant walking into the house down the street uninvited, and a certain Mrs. was considered to be your second mother. When riding shotgun wasn’t as mandatory, cos you always had your partner in crime in the back seat with you.
When we could pretend we were magicians, power rangers, or detectives. We were whatever we wanted to be, something I still believe in.
When playing hide and seek was the cool thing to do, and Disney Channel Original movies were hip on a Friday night (BRINK). When we could look up to the older kid next to us.
When creating a new friendship meant that it was Forever. No matter what happened
When goofiness was embraced, and using chop sticks to look like a walrus was completely normal. When we created something, out of nothing. When we were all still close by.
When we could camp out in the backyard and tell scary stories, like we weren’t actually scared. When we were certain we had it all figured out, when we were invincible.
When the city was “ours”, and we weren’t unsure of where “home” was.
When each and every moment was important, and wasting time together didn’t mean we were wasting away our lives.
Maybe we were “bad” kids for a time as they say, but we always had good intentions. We were just yearning to know what else was out there. Maybe we all just needed to grow up, and maybe that’s exactly what we did.
Maybe we’ll all be doctors, lawyers, and engineers. Maybe we’ll be lovers, givers, parents, and dreamers. What I do know for certain though, is that we will stop at nothing to be successful.
I am by no means calling this, our “childhood”, a success story. We made our mistakes, we laughed, and we cried. We overcame fears, we hurt, and we lied. That’s a part of it though, this whole LIFE thing. We all go on our separate ways, and possess an extraordinary amount of potential.
You gotta dig deep, trust, and be yourself.
The Boxer Bandits grew up, maybe breaking into that school was the perfect mistake. At least, I like to think so.
We can carry on the story for the rest of our lives, and attribute it to the kind of people they’ve become.
People don’t forget, but they sure as hell remember people that are genuine. Believe that.