Friday, June 13, 2008

The Midnight Fishermen

There is no parking on Stanley, you used to be able to park a ways down the street and simply walk to the lake, but now you have to park somewhere behind the lake and hike in. The path is dark, steep, and it has several branches that might cause you to get lost.

[Shortstack] wanted to go fishing with a friend of his, [Catfish], and invited another friend of his to come with us. We parked off of a street behind some bushes and I met everyone that was in our group.

There was the guy driving the other car ([Star wars]), his girlfriend ([The Shy Blonde]), and a friend of [Star Wars]'s who looked malnourished ([Skinny]).

From our improvised parking lot there was two paths, and we didn't know which one to take. Needless to say we took the wrong one. Twice.

After getting directions from [Catfish] we were on our way, and at about the halfway mark we see someone walking towards us. It was a friend of [Catfish]'s who is just passing through this story, he had to work in the morning so was not a part of the nights fun and deserves to remain unnamed. We got directions from him and went on our way, when a few minutes later [Star Wars] remembered he parked behind the guy, boxing him in. His group heads back to let the guy out.

We made out way across the parking lot to the beach and find [Catfish] up on the lifeguards tower, with two good-sized catfish already swimming in the cooler. [Catfish] wants to move over from the beach to a little floating dock on the water, about 90 degrees from where we were.

The other group joins us after unboxing [Catfish]'s friend, and we all move to the floating dock. It's maybe 20' X 10' with a bench in the middle. Everyone was sitting down and just talking while watching the lines for bites. [Skinny] said he saw a car over in the parking lot. I looked over and it was a black & white cruiser. We all got up and ran back towards the path, and as we're running a flashlight falls out of my friend [Shortstack]'s backpack into the water. It wasn't just some cheap light that would have shorted out and died, oh no, this one was a top of the line Streamlight with waterproof seals and a broken switch.

The switch was a little finicky, it would go from steady on to this strobe function unless you hold it just right. It fell from his backpack into the water, illuminating the entire dock from below.

Then the strobe started going.

It was bad enough when we had the illuminated dock, now we had a giant flashing beacon attract the cops attention.

We're still pinned down by the road, with the searchlight from the cruiser pinning us down. It was pointed directly at us, but we were hidden behind some scrub and bushes. If we moved they would see us.

I had the bright idea that they might be pinning us down so another unit could circle and get us. It would be simple enough, tell a second cruiser to follow the path to the searchlight from the first cruiser. This made a couple guys panic.

The cruiser started moving up the path we went on to get to the dock. Coincidentally, it's also the only way to get back to the car. How convenient for us right?

We all hugged dirt as [Catfish] went and got the poles, and [Shortstack] ditched his coke (it was spiked and the only alcohol we had there, I had already finished and disposed of my joint). This is the part where [Shortstack]'s phone starts ringing and he has to find it in his backpack, and then [Star Wars]'s phone rang because his ride was here (more on that later).

The cruiser stopped right by us and used the searchlight to shine down on the dock, if it weren't for the angle of the hill from the dock to the road the cruiser was on we'd be in the limelight. The car rolled on and we scaled the hill up onto the road behind it.

The cruiser was out of sight and we ran down the road a bit, me and [Skinny] were behind because he stayed to help pull me up when a foothold dissolved while I was on it. I slid down about 15 feet on my hands and feet, losing a shoe in the process; I grabbed the shoe and scaled the fucking hill (at night, stoned, in my white socks. Because I am a fucking viking).

The rest of the group decided to cut their losses and ran another 100 yards or so down the road, [Skinny] helped pull me up and ran with me after I slid my shoe back on. I then discovered how fast you can run with a cop on your heels and a rock in your shoe. This was a big fucking rock, any pilgrim would have been proud to land on it.

Me and [Skinny] caught up with them and we scaled yet another hill to get up to the fence that separates shadow cliffs from Stanley. I didn't slide so much this time, but I was so fucked up a level floor would have seemed too steep to stand, and I'm fucking rock climbing.

I helped a few people over the fence, it was low for me and they all appeared malnourished. I lifted them up and they jumped to the other side. Then it was my turn. I just barely make it to the top of the fence and my arms give out, putting all my weight on my thigh that is currently resting on the sharp side of chain link fence. The pain was enough to motivate me to finish the jump. We all made it onto a public street and not a cop in sight.

It should be noted that [Shortstack] was not only a little high, but also a little drunk. He scaled the same hills I did,while soberer than me, but holding five fishing rods and a tackle box. He's hardcore. [Catfish] was almost as hardcore, he had one hand free, the other was holding two impressive looking catfish that were still alive.

Before any of this happened, when we were all sitting on the little dock and I was giggling because I could feel the dock moving on the water, the kids from the second car was getting bored, so they were going to leave. Not content with simply walking back to their car (which was maybe a mile hike or so, at night) they called a friend of theirs asking to pick them up on Stanley in a few minutes. Their plan was to make their friend get out of bed, come pick their lazy asses up, and drive them to their car. I thought it was supremely lazy, but it came in pretty handy when we got onto Stanley.

We crossed the street and went up and over the railroad crossing, to the other embankment. Just as we got to the other side we looked at the entrance to shadow cliffs and saw the cruiser pull out and turn towards Pleasanton. We were about 100 yards from the stoplight there, on the Livermore side. That was when I felt like we made it.

They called their friend to get an update on where he was, they had just told him to fly a holding pattern on Stanley until further notice. After a few close calls with cars that were not the friends, and another cruiser (I bet it was there to pick us up when the first cruiser had us pinned); the friend arrived.

He was drunk, and driving a tercel.

We all got up to run towards the car and the guy that called the driver completely ate shit as soon as he got up. You ever see in the army movies when the platoon is pinned down by heavy fire, and they all rise up at once and start charging? he would be the guy that gets cut in half by machine gun fire as soon as he stands up. He tripped on a railroad tie and went down (i thought at the time) headfirst onto the rail. He turned out to be OK, I didn't see any blood on his face.

Did you know that, properly motivated, you can fit seven people into a tercel?

[Shortstack] opened the hatch and jumped in the trunk, saving the seats with their fancy seatbelts for people who need both hands to climb a mountain, I performed the worst carjacking in history when I opened the drivers door and told him to get out so I could pull his seat forward and get in the back, and kids from the other car just stood there with their dicks in their hands.

I reached over and found the handle to move the passenger seat forward, well, I figure a handle was there once, but now "razor sharp piece of broken steel" would be a better description. I yelled at them to get in the car because there were headlights coming towards us.

Who do you think sat next to me? none other than Catfish Williams still clutching his prize. He held the fish on the line in mid-air in-between his legs under threat of physical harm from both me and the driver. The skinny guy that stayed to help me up got on the passenger side, and the guy that called the driver and ate shit getting up sat in the front seat with his GF on his lap in the footwell.

We began to drive.

Instead of driving directly to our cars, we asked our savior to drive us to a residential street directly opposite where we parked. our thinking was that if we hid our stuff in someone's bushes and walked from the houses to the car, any cruisers in the area wouldn't think we were the midnight fishermen. We could say we just left a party at one of the houses on the street.

We get to the car and all pile in, then drive across the street to where we were ten seconds ago. We pick up the poles, fish, tacklebox, and [Shortstack]'s backpack, then head back to [Catfish]'s apartment on Murrietta.

The fish were still alive. After everything that happened, after being in air for over 90 minutes, after being ditched in a bush at the top of a hill, they were still alive. Catfish are some tough bastards.

We formed a bucket brigade to fill an empty garbage can with water after throwing the fish in, which takes longer than you would think. Then they made some spaghetti and ate while I just sat down and tried to believe that all happened. I had [Shortstack] drive me home and I made it to bed just before my dads alarm went off. Another adventure over before the alarm.

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