As bored 20-somethings at home from college, my friends Lexi, Lisa and I decided that we needed some excitement one particular night, but we were limited on funds and options. Lexi proposed that we take advantage of the time that her parents were out of the house at their weekly Bible study to go streaking in her neighborhood. This sounded like harmless, youthful mischief, so we all agreed to meet at Lexi’s house an hour before her parents left that night so we could “prepare” by buying whip cream. Our plan was not to be totally naked, but to wear whipped cream bikinis.
“Whipped cream? You can’t use that. It just melts right off your body. You have to use shaving cream. It has the same effect you’re going for. I mean, it’s just as enticing and sexy, but your body heat doesn’t melt it off. It’s temperature tolerant!” Lexi said while holding up a bottle of shaving cream triumphantly. “And cherries. We have to have cherries. What would a streaking session be without them?” Lexi quipped.
Armed with our bottles of cheap, store brand shaving cream and several bags of cherries, we headed back to Lexi’s house. We only had a couple hours before her parents would come home, so all three of us took off our clothes and began strategically covering ourselves with shaving cream.
I had large circles of shaving cream over all my delicate parts. So did my friends. Laughing, we each posed for our individual photos and then a group shot. It didn’t even cross our minds that we were taking evidence for the crime we were about to commit. As soon as we were done, Lexi and Lisa each grabbed a bag of cherries and we headed out the door, completely exposed to the world.
It was a perfect summer night, cool and crisp in Lexi’s suburban neighborhood. “Okay, remember the game plan is to run down to the end of the street and then back to the house. Turn around when you hit the main road at the end of the street.” Lexi instructed as she walked briskly through the backyard to the front of the house. This seemed like a simple enough task. It was dark and around dinner time, so we presumed that no cars would pass by and we would be able to go streaking without ever actually being seen.
After a minute into our jog down the quiet street, my heart skipped a beat when I saw a light shimmer off a truck turning down the road. We knew this was a possibility, but we hadn’t come up with a plan to react to it. My first instinct was to hide. I stopped dead in my tracks and dropped down behind a bush that was about a foot tall.
I figured that we would hide the best that we could and just wait for the truck to pass us by. What I didn’t realize was that Lexi and Lisa had a different idea in mind. They stood in the middle of the street in a bold stance, in shaving cream bikinis that were barely clinging on to their bodies and armed with handfuls of cherries waiting for the truck to drive by. It wasn’t until I heard the loud thud, thud, thud and the truck screeching to a halt that I realized their plan was to throw handfuls of cherries at the car and then run.
“Run!” Lexi yelled.
I darted down the street in the opposite direction that the truck was driving with Lexi and Lisa in a full-blown sprint behind me. If there was any shaving cream holding on for dear life at this point, it was gone. The truck immediately pulled into reverse and began following us. It quickly occurred to me that I was heading straight for a main road. What then?
I panicked as my over-analyzing brain ran through the numerous possible scenarios that would happen next—all of which had a bad ending. I made a gut decision and instantaneously cut left along a tall, wooden fence that lined a random house.
I ran along the fence to the back of the house and suddenly realized that I was trapped. The fence that I was running along connected to a wire fence that caged two large dogs in the back yard. And the dogs were losing their minds.
I slid like a baseball player in one swift motion behind a garbage can on the side of the house. I laid flat on the ground, motionless and covered in nothing but mud. I watched Lexi and Lisa sprinting towards me and without hesitation they jumped the wooden fence and dove into the neighbor’s yard. I was impressed that they cleared the fence so easily.
I didn’t make a sound.
The two dogs were barking hysterically, trying to jump the wire fence they were caged behind. Time seemed to stand still as I imagined Lexi and Lisa either injured from their fall or sprinting away, leaving me to be arrested alone.
The truck stopped in front of the house where I was hiding.
I held my breath. I pictured being draped in a blanket and forced to make the agonizing phone call to my father about why I was naked at the police station and needed to be bailed out.
I watched the woman stalk around the house. Her heavy walk suggested a determination that terrified me. I could tell she wasn’t quite sure exactly where we were because she began to backtrack and pace through several front yards.
But then, she honed in on my location and started walking towards the trashcan that I was hiding behind. She was about ten paces away when I accepted my fate of being caught. It is also when the lights of the house turned on.
The thought of being charged with indecent exposure flashed through my mind. I couldn’t fathom having a criminal record and having to explain this night over and over to future employers. Even worse, I heard rumors about people losing their scholarships when they were charged with DUIs. Would I lose my scholarship over this as well?
The truck driver stood in place and swiveled her head to see if she could find evidence of our existence without scaring the owners of the house whose yard she was in. Defeated, and surely fearing that the owners of the house would come out to see what the dogs were barking about, the truck driver slowly stepped backwards. Once she reached the truck, she furiously slammed her fist on her hood. She got in the driver’s seat and turned on the car.
I didn’t move.
She sat in her truck, just waiting. My mind was blank from fear. Instinct told me not to move. So, I didn’t. The truck slowly inched forward, then I watched as the tail light crept out of view past the fence we ran down.
Suddenly, I saw Lisa and Lexi clumsily climbing over the wooden fence they had so easily cleared just moments before. Their hair was covered in bark and dirt. Despite the circumstances, I couldn’t help but laugh.
The truck was gone, so we began sprinting back towards Lexi’s house. It became clear to us that shaving cream was a terrible idea for many reasons, but one of them was because we left a trail that led straight to Lexi’s house. With our adrenaline pumping, we were able to shower, dress and clean up the shaving cream well before Lexi’s parents came home.
I spent that night wide awake, contemplating the events and terrifying possible consequences of the night. I acknowledged that irresponsible behavior like this and the seldom occasions that I drank and drove would be my downfall. And the silly thing was that I could just decide not to do these things. I chalked the night up to life lessons learned and fell asleep.
But the universe still found a way to punish us.
A panicked Lexi called me the next day to tell me that her father found our photos on her digital camera. I chalked that up to another life lessoned learned: Don’t take photos of your criminal activities. And um, next time you’re bored? Netflix is a better option than streaking
Jen Mac is a rolling stone who writes the blog at jenmacblog.wordpress.com. They say that you shouldn’t write until you have a story to tell, that’s why Jen waited until she was 31 to become a writer. Now, with a catalog of stories stemming from college follies to time as an Iraq War Vet to exploring life as a newlywed, Jen can be found either with her husband or in front of her computer writing short stories.
[Image via Dreamworks]