Disclaimer: None of the illegal occurances in this node ever happened. They are included simply for story enhancement. Yeah, and I'm the king of England.



I've known Josh and Mike since the third grade. Mike has been my best friend ever since I moved out to this little suburban utopia. Josh was always just...there. Well, time passed, as time is wont to do, and even today we find ourselves hanging out, talking about the same old shit, havin' a beer, smokin' a bowl, whatever.

New Years' Eve. There were parties all over. Women and booze and just about any vice you could think of got free rein on this night. We'd had our fuckin' fill of all that shit by now. All our old friends were getting picked off by life like flies at Mr. Miyagi's house. You couldn't trust women in our town, either. The Santa Clarita Valley has a way of turning even the sweetest girl into a gold-digging bitch. If I sound bitter, it's because I am. So it was down to us. Josh ran weapons to the local gangs. He knew exactly where he was going in life: nowhere. He was always kind of zen about that. Mike sold ingestable happiness. Weed, acid, shrooms, never anything hard or particularly deadly. Me? I was the thief mentioned in the title. You know how CDs cost fifteen bucks a pop and every major electronics store has their own security now? They call it "shrinkage". Yeah, that was me.

Here we were, our own three-man mob, with shit to do on the party night of the year. Well damn, let's hang out. Yeah, I'm cool with that. Josh, you're on beer. Mike, you're on bud. We can use my place. Sure, why not? It's not like we had anything better to do. Thirty minutes and we were set up. We toasted the sunset with a Tequiza, and got on our way to blissful inebriation.

Five, six, n beers later, we were all feelin' it. Suddenly all the world's shit was set for someone else to deal with. Nice. I wish every moment was like this. It didn't matter that we were three smart kids goin' nowhere. It didn't matter that we were slowly killing ourselves, as well as the world around us. Fuck no. We had our alcohol, we had our friends, what more did we need? Oh yeah, Willow. Mike popped it in the machine. Shit, those guys run funny.

Loaded and loaded, it was time for a walk. After midnight, the festivities dropped off quickly. The streets were empty, the grass smelled like booze, bottles littered the sidewalk. We took a stumbling stroll down a major residential artery of our little burg, bumping into each other more often than not. Josh was checking the parked cars for alarm systems, a habit he'd never quite gotten rid of. Mike made a pipe out of tin foil and blazed up then and there. I guess that made me the smart one. I kept my shit in the background. After pushing these two fucks onward, we made our merry way around the block, seeing not a soul the entire time. On our way back to my humble abode, The Man pulled up in his black & white Crown Vic. Where you boys headed at this hour? Shit. Just out for a walk, officer. Celebrating the new year with some fresh air. Mike, the fool, brought his weed with him. Josh always had his tec close at hand. You know, officer, we spotted a house with a ton of fireworks outside a little bit up the road. Fetch the stick, boy. ...Thanks. I'll check it out. Have a safe night, fellas. Of course, you too, officer.

I never said it was an interesting story.

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