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Hey, You Wanna Ride?
by Don Drewniak

We journey back to 1960 and visit the old mill city of Fall River, Massachusetts. Once blessed with approximately 120 cotton mills, all were either empty or, in a few cases, small sections of them were being used for grocery stores or discount outlets.

I was about to enter my senior year at B.M.C. Durfee High School, as were two friends dating back to grammar school days.

Mitch was at the wheel of his ’51 Buick on a late August evening. Lenny was sitting on the passenger side of the front seat, while I was in back. We were cruising westbound on Bedford Street engaged in the usual futile pursuit of girls.

“There’s two who look pretty good,” announced Mitch.

“Pull over,” said Lenny.

We passed the latest objects of our desires while they were walking in the same direction as we were riding. Mitch spotted a curbside parking space within a half block and slid his beloved car into it. In our haste to make contact, we neglected to notice what building was no more than one hundred feet ahead of us.

As the girls came abreast (no pun in attended) of our car, Lenny, in a voice that was a cross between Edward G. Robinson and Count Dracula, said, “Hey, you wanna ride?”

The girls shrieked at the top of their lungs and bolted toward Fall River Police Headquarters. It was only then that we became aware of where we were.

Gówno, gówno, gówno! (Shit, shit, shit!)

Mitch threw the car in gear and left a strip of rubber. He took his second or third right and started zigzagging up-and-down side streets. All the while he kept screaming, “Any cops? Any cops?”

I yelled back, “Just get us the hell out of here.”


I blurted out the first thing that came into my near vacuum of a brain, “Get out of Fall River. Head for Somerset. And don’t speed.”

As Mitch drove, Lenny and I constantly checked for the cops. I imagined swarms of police cars coming at us from all directions, pinning us in and then storming the car with guns blazing.

As we crossed the Brightman Street Bridge, Lenny said, “Find a parking lot.”

Mitch continued straight on Route 6 before turning into a restaurant parking lot. We were engulfed in smoke and fumes as soon as the car came to a stop.

Tear gas!

We jumped out of the car. The smoke and fumes began to recede as Mitch opened the hood. “It’s not from the engine.”

I poked my head under the car. “Check your emergency brake.”


Back in the 60s, it was common practice to pull up the emergency brake no matter how flat the parking area may have been. Mitch had neglected to disengage it back at the scene of the crime.

I glared at Lenny, “Why the hell did you use that voice?”

“I was trying to sound sophisticated.”