First published August 2, 2018
One time, me and my brother Ben hosted a party at our neighbor’s house while they were out of town. Due to the legal liabilities involved in such a joint venture- we determined to maintain strict controls over who would be advised of this event. This was slightly easier in the days before cellphones- but was still considered high risk behavior. The home phone/pay phone/pager/friends & associates network was very effective.
As the evening unfolded, we were intoxicatingly impressed with how grand things were going. Almost everyone who came and went had been authorized. No crashers or flashmobs. No one had puked on the carpet or stolen the TV. The party was generally contained to the walkway between the driveway and front door, the staircase just inside the doorway up to our friends’ room, his deck, and the garage roof which was accessed by stepping over the deck rail and was the designated ‘smoking section’. It was while we were in the smoking section, the night rider arrived.
He roared into the driveway in a big black pick up truck. It was a make and model I didn’t recognize. So, I went to see who it was.
I opened the front door and could see a short fellow standing by the driveway. I didn’t know him, but he smiled and nodded at me. He looked vaguely familiar so I decided he must be one of Ben’s friends and went back in.
As I got to the top of the stairs, I noticed he was standing inside the door. I briefly had a thought that he had sure gotten to the door awfully quickly and I didn’t hear it open or shut. I looked at him again and he gave me the same smile and nod. I paused and then turned and headed back towards the deck.
As I walked out onto the deck, I noticed he was already up the stairs and standing in the bedroom doorway. I noticed he was an odd looking fellow, and had a very small and strangely shaped mouth. He smiled and nodded again. I was beginning to get an uneasy feeling.
As I sat back down on the roof I saw him standing on the deck. The smoke was passed to me. I took my turn and as I went to pass it to my left, I realized the person sitting next to me now was the new fellow.
Undaunted, I offered him the smoke. I saw his eyes were black. He smiled and nodded no.
Well that ripped it. This refusal confirmed that this was not somebody that we knew. I turned to Ben and asked “Do you know this dude?”
The reaction from my brother, who had witnessed our visitors faux pas, was bizarrely agitated. “Who the hell is that guy?” he bellowed. I turned to him to ask him who are you anyways?- except he was now standing on the deck, smiling and nodding.
This enraged my brother and we both jumped up to see who this dude is. As I looked down to navigate over the rail onto the deck, when I looked back up, the dude was standing at the top of the stairs.
As we moved towards him, suddenly he was at the bottom of the stairs. Neither of us saw him descend. He smiled and nodded.
After running down the stairs we threw open the door just as he was firing up his truck and roaring away. The distances this guy had traversed making his exit were impossible in the time he did it.
Talk about a buzz-kill.
Here is the best part. Nobody else saw the dude. When we asked around about the fellow and his truck, no one else knew what we were talking about.
Many years later, I was texting with Ben and asked if he remembered the dude. “I wonder who that was?”
“Mayhem” he chillingly replied. I recalled how upset he had been at the time. “I wonder what he wanted?” I asked.
“A high body count”. My brother Ben has passed since then and I wish I had asked more, since he seemed to have had a greater insight with this incident. But I feel like he was right.
I met some other creepy dudes one night in the high country of Idaho.
I went to school one semester in Rexburg, Idaho along with a couple of Texas buddies. We eventually got acquainted with some locals, went on a couple rainbow trout fishing trips. They invited us to a honky tonk one night. My Texas buddies were already committed but I went with them.
We arrived at this big snow covered pavilion with the Tetons in the background. The place was packed with high country partiers from Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
I wandered around checking the place out. There was an area with pool tables. As I walked through, I approached a group shooting pool. A guy was taking a shot and his stick extended into the walkway between the tables and the ledge.
As I waited, I glanced at the group and said “what’s up?” Cold, steely stares were the response. Ok, No problem. But as I looked away, I caught the eye of one of the dudes.
When our eyes locked, the thought immediately came into my mind that this guy wanted to stab me and throw me in the river. Quite shaken by this vivid violent vision, I immediately fled the other direction.
I could see one of the guys I came with, Allen, far across the floor. He was looking right at me and some dude was talking in his ear. When I made my way to him, the dude was gone. “Let’s go for an outdoors leak” Allen said. It seemed like a strange request, but maybe he didn’t like crowded restrooms and anyways it’s not a big deal for guys.
“Sometimes it’s just good to just take an outdoors leak” he mumbled at the side of the building while we did our business, as if trying to explain. I was still processing the troubling experience I had just had, and started to ask “do you know…”
“Them’s the Tetons boys” he said. “They’re big time dealers. They live up in the mountains.” He continued, “It’s rumored they’ve killed a couple of dudes. Cut them up and threw them in the river. One time, they didn’t find the guy til after the spring thaw. There never was any evidence to tie them to it.”
“I’m ready to leave.” I said.
I thought maybe he would protest since we had barely arrived, but he nodded in agreement. I noticed a certain air of urgency was becoming palpable. We went inside and I could see that the Teton boys in the back were packing up and looking all around.
Six of us had rode here and the place was packed. I was thinking that rounding everyone up might take too long, when our whole party appeared at the door. I noticed they were looking at me and looking around. I looked again and didn’t see the Tetons boys in the crowd.
“Let’s go” said Allen and without a single protest, everybody filed out and loaded up. As we got in the car, one of the guys asked, “What did you do to the Tetons boys?”
“I don’t know. Why do you ask?” I said.
“Some dude came up to me and said ‘they don’t like your friend’.
“Some dude told me that too!” another one said. “Me too,” said Allen.
All five of them were approached by a guy who simply said ”they don’t like your friend”. Nothing more. And somehow, they all intuitively knew the guy was referring to me and the Teton boys.
As we pulled out on the highway, I looked back and saw the Teton boys standing outside looking around. The river would have to wait.