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A Warm Summer Night in the Good Old Day
by Don Drewniak

On a warm, summer Saturday night in 1960, I used my ’57 Olds-powered ’51 Mercury to go with three friends to the Somerset Drive-in Theater. Somerset is a small town located across the Taunton River from the once-upon-a-time cotton manufacturing capital of our galaxy, Fall River, Massachusetts. For the purposes of this narrative, I’ll call the friends Lenny, Jack and Mitch.

Admission was by the head. As a result, the three of them decided beforehand to flip coins to see which two would go into the trunk. Being the driver, I was exempt from the trunk lottery.

Lenny and Jack “won.” About a quarter mile from the theater, I stopped the car, opened the trunk and watched the two of them imitate sardines in a can before slamming the trunk lid shut. That evoked colorful protests from the prisoners. Mitch and I laughed as we headed back to the front seat.

Just as I rolled to a stop at the admission booth, Lenny yelled, “Hey, are we there yet?”
The ticket seller was a guy not much older than the four of us. (Three of us were seventeen, one was sixteen.) He laughed, took a dollar from each of us, waved us on and said, “You ought to leave him in there.”

Once underway, Mitch said, “We fooled him.”

“How?” I asked.

“We got two in there, not one.”

I couldn’t argue with that. However, the comment about leaving Lenny in the trunk gave me an idea. Once we found what to my way of thinking was a premium parking spot, Mitch and I headed to the trunk. I whispered to him to play along with me.

“Okay, guys, time to let you out.”

“Dammit, get us the hell out of here. We’re suffocating;” screamed Lenny.

“Here we go,” I replied. I then proceeded to tap the key and scrape it a few times against the lock. “Holy shit,” I cried out, “the key broke off in the lock.”

Picking up on my cue, Mitch yelled, “You idiot! How the hell are we going to get them out?”

A volley of swears flew out from inside the trunk along with the sound of the banging of fists against the inside of the trunk lid. After a minute or so passed, I said in a loud voice, “Hey, look, Mitch, the key isn’t broken.” With that, I popped open the trunk.

“You are a total shithead,” said Jack as he staggered out of his self-made prison.

“You owe us fifty cents each,” I replied.

UBI: Fifty cents in 1960 is the equivalant of slightly more than $5.00 today.