Somehow Ken got one of those portable flashing lights that undercover cops use, you know? So for a while in high school the fun thing for us to do was to ride around in his diesel BMW and head out to the country roads deep in Maryland where there weren't any streetlights. We'd find a car driving around, follow them, and then throw the flashing red on the roof. We'd pull them over. And then we had a couple of options: we could speed off, swerving all over the road like crazy people; we could pull up right next to them and look deadpan at them before driving away; we could roll down the windows and yell some nonsense at them.
Ken's car tape player was broken, so he had this piece of junk silver portable tape player that we would put in the middle of the two front seats and play tapes from. It only had the one speaker, and I'm pretty sure it had a shortwave radio on it, it was a real antique. For a while were deep into the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, first as kind of a joke, and then we got it non-ironically.
One night we were jamming Fever and pulling people over, and we pulled over some guys in a pickup truck. We drove up next to them and gave them the deadpan look. It was two Deep Maryland Rednecks who saw some high school geeks pretending to be cops. They got pissed, narrowed their eyes to slits and blew smoke out of their noses.
We hit the accelerator.
What I'll always remember is that as soon as we put the hammer down, the junky silver tape player started up with the Fever Soundtrack's "A Fifth of Beethoven". The energy was fierce. The rednecks were giving chase, really flooring it, getting all up on our tailpipe. And Ken was driving like a madman, giving it all he could. And the tape player was building, and building, and it was like a disco chase scene, country roads blurring by in the night. And at some point it actually got kind of scary, like what the hell are these guys going trying to do? We are miles and miles from anything, are we getting into some deliverance-style scene here?
But the disco kind of keeps it light, keeps it exciting, keeps pumping it up, so when they pull up next to us we're pretty much ready to explode. One of the Deep Maryland Rednecks pitches a beer bottle at us and it smashes on the hood of the car. He's leaning out of the window and screaming like a banshee, a high-pitched wail, and he's tilted his head back like he's howling at the moon. And I mean this is too much, like what the hell is going on? How did it get to this? What are we doing with our lives? A Fifth of Beethoven is at fever pitch, and tires are screaming all over the road.
And Ken takes a turn and pulls into some kind of gated community and the rednecks keep speeding down the road. There's still glass on the hood of the BMW and someone stops the tape player. Adrenaline pumps. How did it happen? We had been the cops, the pursuers, and how quickly we had become the pursued. The tables turned so quickly.
I blamed disco.