The Trailer Park Incident.
Foreword: I told this story live without notes at the February installment of Trampoline (a competitive storytelling event) at Lot 10, and won the event with it. Below is a link to the audio from that night. https://soundcloud.com/bob-proehl/going-out-for-ice-cream
The Trailer Park Incident
My younger brother and I were both homeschooled for most of our lives. I entered school in the ninth grade, leaving my brother Asa alone with our parents. After the ski season ended and Asa was stranded with nothing to do, he decided that he too wanted to enter school. He enrolled in the fourth grade with only five weeks remaining in the school year.
As far as background information on our district is concerned, we’re in a small town outside of Ithaca called Enfield. If you’ve never been to Enfield, allow me sum it up for you: we have a sketchy gas station that sells beer and lottery tickets, two trailer parks, and a strip club. Welcome to Enfield.
One day, after a few short weeks in Enfield Elementary School, Asa returned home beaming, saying ,"Hey, guess what, I have a girlfriend." We were all very intrigued and pestered him with many questions about her. Although slightly bashful, he complied happily. We came to learn that her name was Ariana, she was in his grade, she lived in the trailer park, he asked her out on the playground, and “she was really hot”.
Time passed, and we would occasionally ask questions about Ariana, although without any particularly forthcoming answers. "So what do you do together?" we would ask.
"Oh, we sit together at lunch."
He tried a few times to call her with a number she had given him, but unfortunately the number did not seem to work. One day when his friend Ethan came over, who also went to Enfield Elementary, there was a large expedition in an attempt to find her real number and call her to see if she wanted to see a movie or something that weekend. This was to no avail.
More time passed and within a few weeks it got to be summer. A few days into the summer vacation we asked him if he was planning on seeing her over the break. He said sadly that he still didn't have her number, but assured us the relationship was still quite valid.
Maybe a week later, Asa and I wanted to go out for ice cream. Our mother said no, as it was kind of late and she had already driven us multiple places that day, which she hated. A few minutes after this, she had an idea.
"Okay," she began, "Asa, you said you sort of knew where Ariana lives..."
"Yes..." replied Asa, warily.
"Why don't we drive down there, and invite her to come for ice cream with us?"
This was clearly a foolproof plan. After some flip flopping on Asa's part, we decided to go for it. Asa changed, brushed his hair, put on deodorant, and we all got in the car.
On the way to the trailer park where Ariana lived, Asa had about five or six mini panic attacks, during which both mama and I comforted him with remarks like, "Don't worry, it'll be fine." and, "What's the worst that can happen.”
As we drove, it began to rain. The rain came in spurts, as if it was only ever falling from clouds every three hundred yards. During the 5 minute drive, it probably started and stopped raining about 4 times. This lead to much dismay, as our mom, was wearing an all white shirt. Asa had another panic attack.
We drove around the trailer park for a few minutes, Asa having a guess at where she lived and knowing her mom drove a black Subaru. We found a trailer in the general area Asa thought she lived with a black Subaru pretty quickly, and upon Asa's refusal to go up to the door, our mom went up alone. I watched from the passenger's seat of our car as she knocked on the door, but was distracted by a whimpering from the back seat. Asa was lying on the floor of the car. "Asa," I said, "What are you doing??"
"Hiding!" He replied.
"Why??" No response. "Asa," I began again, "If they look in the car and you're hiding, it's going to look like it's just me and mama and we're going to kidnap her." I was blunt.
Then, after a quick moment of thought Asa cried, "YOU GET ON THE GROUND TOO!"
Laughing, I refused. "That would look even worse!" I insisted.
“Get the fuck on the ground!” He cried frantically.
There was a moment of him screaming over my reasoning, until he simply sat up.
By this time, our mom had spoken with somebody at the door, and was now walking back. "Wrong house," she said. I think Asa sighed, though with disappointment of relief, I'm not sure.
We began to drive away, when a little boy ran out of the house and waved at us. He ran up to the car and breathlessly informed us the Ariana lived just down the road, 'The trailer next to the big tree'.
We drove down, and although seeing many trees, we guestimated which was the biggest and parked. Once again, mama walked up alone, however Asa stayed seated this time. She knocked, and after a moment a man answered the door. "Who's that?" I wondered aloud.
"I think her step-dad." replied Asa.
After talking for a moment mama returned to the car. "She's not home right now." she said. As fate would have it, however, before mama could even get into the car, an old pickup truck came into the driveway, with who were presumably Ariana, her mother, and little sister.
The woman got out of her car, and upon mama's introduction of herself, clearly never heard of Asa. Within seconds she took a cell phone call and entered into the trailer, with Ariana following her.
This left me and Asa in the car, and mama out of the car with the step-dad and the little sister. Although I was in the car the entire time, I can imagine how awkward that shit must have been. A moment later, Ariana reappeared, and mama made Asa get out of the car. I don't believe he or Ariana spoke to each other the entire time. They sort of just awkwardly stood looking at their shoes.
Apparently through some dialog that I didn't hear, since I was safely in the car, it was said that Ariana was allowed to come with us for ice cream (though what kind of parents let their daughter leave in a car with complete strangers is beyond me).
However, after a few very awkward moments of everyone being totally ready to go, Ariana stayed clingy to her step-dad, and when he asked her if she wanted to go she mumbled that she didn't really.
Their real phone number was given to us, by the step-dad, in case the opportunity arose again, but it didn't. Asa flip flopped more after this as to whether or not they were still dating, and sold us, "As soon as school starts again, I'm breaking up with her!". I told him I didn't think there was really a need.