The casualties of war

Over the course of my life, I have been knocked unconscious two times. Both times there is an incredible tale of how I came to find myself on the ground, in darkness. This is the tale of the first time.

Growing up in my church there was a group of us who were all the same age and had developed a friendship of sorts. Among all of the guys I would say that the other Travis, our friend Josh Edwards and I held a sort of trifecta of leadership over the rest of the guys.

Without there being any sort of spoken rule we just kind of lead the others and we each had our role. Travis was the cool and collected one, the pretty boy. Josh was the wild card, he would bring the trouble and I was the nervous one. I made sure we never did anything too terrible by being neurotic about everything. Together we brought balance.

The rest in our group of friends just sort of followed suit with what we decided to do. At least that’s how it was until the civil war happened.

Just as it sounds, the civil war was a time when one of the other guys, named Taylor Stevens, decided to break rank. Frankly, I don’t remember what happened but a disagreement happened and our crew was divided. Would they stick with the old regime or follow Taylor into a brave new world? It tore us asunder and eventually leads into a full on war.

Honestly, overtime the details have faded. Words were thrown out. Acts against other people were committed and sides were chosen all leading to one faithful night when Josh decided that we were going to end this with the ultimate toilet papering job ever.

Josh had some good ideas. Like I said, his role in our trifecta was to bring the trouble. Josh was the first guy I ever met who was brave enough to meet my dad and then still doorbell ditch him at 11 pm. Josh was the guy who put soap bubbles into fountains or taught me the trick of wiping your butt with a dollar bill and then leaving it poo-side down in a parking lot for people to find. So when he tells me that he has a way to stick it to Stevens, I listen.

Still it wasn’t going to be easy. You have to know that Taylor Stevens’s dad was our scout leader and while he was a fun guy, he was also incredibly intense when you really pissed him off. I will never forget his face when he found out that the other Travis and I had climbed onto the roof of our church. He was shouting at us to get down and chasing us but he could never quite tell where we were. We were eventually able to shake him and escape on the far side but I will never forget his screaming as he continued to yell at the roof of the church unaware that we had jumped off and were hiding in some nearby bushes watching.

So this was going to have to be an extra covert mission. We were going to have to really work on some ninja skills if we wanted to slide by undetected. I wasn’t too worried about this because this wasn’t my first rodeo toilet papering anyone’s house. I had started young, even before my parents were divorced. My very first toilet papering happened with my friend, Stephen Kuehn.

We were sleeping in his yard in a tent when we decided we were going to toilet paper a house. We collected a couple rolls from his bathroom and went out walking the streets of Bountiful around 10:30 to find our target. We passed by several houses but for whatever reason we didn’t dare toilet paper any of these houses. We finally found the perfect house: Stephen’s own house.

It was genius (or so we thought) we could toilet paper his house and if for some reason we were caught, well, it wouldn’t matter because a man (or boy) can do on his own property as he see fit… or something. So we did just that, and spent less than an hour carelessly flinging and unrolling our two or three rolls of toilet paper all over Stephen’s forest-like front yard.

The next morning we sat at his table for breakfast, waiting to see who noticed. Stephen’s mom walked into the room and looked at both of us and then spoke; “Now guys, we were toilet papered last night but I don’t want either one of you to mention to anyone at school. We don’t want them to get the satisfaction of all the trouble they’ve caused us.”

It was amazing. That very statement had given us the satisfaction that Stephen’s mom had so desperately hoped to keep hidden. We were the victors! The troublemakers! The toilet paper-ers! But our proud victory was quickly deflated as we were asked to help clean up the toilet paper. It took over two hours. I learned that day, if you’re going to toilet paper, toilet paper someone else.

But since that time, I had hit several other places, so toilet-papering Taylor wasn’t going to be a problem but Josh had bigger ideas than just toilet-papering.

If there was one thing Taylor loved, it was basketball. He lived and breathed it. I don’t know if I had ever met someone who was a bigger fan of the Jazz. Taylor would play basketball all the time and Josh decided to use that to our advantage. Among the roughly 30 rolls of toilet paper we would purchase, we would put almost 10 just to the sole purpose of covering his basketball hoop.

But the real genius of Josh’s plan involved a padlock. We would swirl the basketball net up and then slip a padlock in it, locking the net shut. This would force him to have to replace the net. We’d strike him right where it hurts: In the five dollar net.

The night of the job, we purchased our thirty rolls of toilet paper from the store. I am sure the cashier was completely aware of what was happening when three 14-year-old boys purchased 30-40 rolls of toilet paper. We also purchased a pack of plastic utensils to shove into his lawn to make it a spikey death trap and off course we purchased a padlock and promptly threw away the key.

While Taylor didn’t live far from us, Josh’s older sister Natalie would act as the getaway car. This would insure us a quick escape should the need arise. Taylor lived on a big, steep hill and we parked just down from his house. We hiked back up and spent about forty-five minutes silently swinging rolls of toilet paper over the roof and into the trees. It was a glorious job.

The other Travis focused his efforts on the basketball hoop decorating it in so much toilet paper that the Charmin Bear could poop for years on this toilet paper alone. Finally we brought the big piece, the padlock on the net. We spun the net around and placed the lock in it. Just a few more rolls of toilet paper and we were home free when suddenly something happened.

I can’t remember what caused the noise but there was a bang, a loud bang. The lights in the house began to flip on and we heard movement inside. Someone was going to peak out the window and then we’d be screwed. We began sprinting down the hill towards Natalie’s park car. Josh threw open the drivers side and hoped in and told Natalie to drive. The other Travis barely got in the other side as the car took off.

Here’s where it went wrong. I opened my door but the car began driving off before I had a chance to get in. Fearing for my life I began chasing after the car. I was the nervous one; I would be the worst one to get caught by myself. I’d crack in ten minutes tops.

Natalie was getting further away when the other Travis must have noticed the door was open and his brother was missing. He began shouting for Natalie to stop and in a panic she slammed on the breaks.

Now I don’t know much about physics. Frankly, I don’t even know if this physics but the fact is I was traveling down hill quickly and couldn’t stop running. I slammed right into the open door.

Then darkness.

I vaguely remember opening my eyes as the other Travis pulled me into the backseat. My legs were hanging out of the door as the car roared off. As if in slow motion, the other Travis looked at me and said, “We did it! We got away!”

And we did. We were never caught and while the escapade didn’t end the war (Taylor moving away a few months later handled that) it left it’s mark in the history of wars. We went out like heroes… heroes who committed a light version of property damage.

Uh, I probably shouldn’t post this sort of stuff.

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