• E.J. Findorff Findorff

My near (distant) death experience

Back when I was a kid, before video games and social media, when neighborhoods were overrun by bikes, skateboarders, and tree-climbers, I belonged to a group of friends who played lot ball, collected comics, and had pool parties.


Opposite of our gang were the boys we considered trouble-makers. They hung out as their own bike gang, crossing paths with us often. I usually avoided them while riding to my best friend's house, but sometimes it couldn't be avoided. Generally, we stayed out of each other's business.


However this one day at local fair, their leader, I'll call him "Roger" came up to me with a few of his buddies. He asked if I was talking about him behind his back. I had no idea what he was talking about and I told him so. I remember he said, "I better not find out you're lying."


Ever since that day, Roger and his buddies would harass me when they could. If I was walking or riding my bike to my friends house. They never threatened anything more serious until the day I shot the middle finger at Roger. I was by myself and he had his whole gang with him. I was lucky and nothing came from the confrontation, but it was close.


Soon after that we went to different high schools and started driving and saw less and less of Roger, to the point of practically forgetting about him.


Until prom night.


A friend and I double-dated that night and after dropping off our dates, I was driving us back home at about 5 in the morning. Just two blocks from my house, we saw search lights and policemen searching the canal, wading in the low water. We were curious, but didn't stop to see what that was about.


The next day while watching the news, they showed the very scene we drove past. It turned out that Roger had shot his girlfriend in the head with a shotgun while on drugs, killing her and he had his pal toss the weapon in the canal.


Needless to say, it hit close to home. My near (distant) death experience is probably a stretch, but this guy wanted to beat me up for years and it could have escalated had I not been so easy going about it.


I heard, and I was never able to confirm, that he had only spent six months in jail before him and his family left for their country of origin as his father was some kind of diplomat. If that's true, then it sucks, but it doesn't shock me.


How about that mid-80's style in a rare prom photo above!

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