Friday, November 30, 2012

From All This Is That Eight Years Ago. 2004: Hucking eggs in Kent, Wash.

By Jack Brummet, South King County Editor

[From All This Is That eight years ago.  This is one of Jack's several dozen posts on growing up in Kent,. Washington.  This particular post was made in the first month of ATIT's life in 2004 /ed,].

For a couple of years, one of our favorite pastimes was hucking eggs at cars. Not that we were particularly destructive, but we were boys, and destruction was part of our makeup...whether it was instilled by nature, or nurture. Eggs were the perfect vehicle--a dozen cost fifty-three cents, they wouldn't kill anyone, didn't dent sheet metal, and did no real damage to the finish of those 50's and 60's behemoths with leaded, toxic, permanent paint.

Eggs were peripheral to the fun; they were the catalyst. Eggs triggered behaviors in drivers that tapped into our fight or flight response. The egged driver had one of three responses:
  • They drove on obliviously, or tapped their brakes and kept moving.
  • They stopped and maybe got out, checked the egged fender, and drove off.
  • They went completely ballistic; crazy as a sh*thouse rat; or went for their shotgun, or pistol.
We aimed for Response Number 3. It was all about the adrenaline. Ours and theirs.

Those most likely to respond were also the most likely to inflict serious damage if they actually caught you. They were big and they were dumb. The men who gave chase were brain-damaged palookas who fly off the handle, berating clerks and starting fights in taverns; the dolts who bullied anyone that bisected their arc. These knuckleheads were chronically pissed-off guys with quarter-inch fuses and were always ready for-- and, indeed, welcomed--a fight. After all, we weren't exactly innocent bystanders. This would be a righteous stomping of The Guilty.

We could have saved a lot of eggs if we had figured out a way to profile these guys. Any of the victims could be turned, or converted into a Number 3 if they departed the relative safety of their car. As they walked around the car, inspecting the egg on the windshield or fender, a second fusillade of eggs flew from the bushes. If you hucked five or six eggs at a stationary target at least a few would make the target...perhaps splattering on their coat, or hitting the car and doing peripheral damage when they splattered. If they actually stopped or slowed down, we always launched a second volley. A driver who was willing to turn the other cheek was suddenly pushed to the brink.

It was all about the chase, and the resultant adrenaline rush. When you hit the the right guy's car, he came after you. The best ones slammed on their brakes and immediately began driving around in circles, revving their V8s, screeching around corners, trying to find the perpetrators. It added an aural element to the rush.

We always had proximate hiding spots and a loose escape plan. There was always a vacant garage, a boxcar, an abandoned car, or a hedge to hide behind. Once in a while, 'though, we'd be walking along the street, and someone--usually Lonnie Edwards--would attack a house or car as we were walking around. With no plan, and no cover, there was chaos as we scrambled for shelter anywhere. It was almost more scary to hit a house, because you were out in the open, and you never knew when someone would open the door, jacking shells into a ten gauge shotgun. Back in the 60's, not a lot of people were packing heat in their cars. These days egg hucking could very well be fatal.

Some victims would comb the neighborhood relentlessly for half an hour, racing up and down the streets. Sometimes we would would end up exposed. As the car rushed up and slammed on its brakes, we played innocent. They hadn't actually seen us, after all. "We did see four, five guys were running right over there..."

The Police would frequently be called of course, and we'd give them a blast of eggs too. Answering a complaint, or after having an egg tossed at their prowl car, they would drive around the neighborood too, sometimes cruising with their lights off, hoping we would show our faces. If they'd pursued us on foot, they might have found us, but on foot just wasn't real big in 1965. After the police showed, we would, naturally, switch locations.

One night, we stumbled on a fresh delivery of eggs, sitting on the loading dock of Westland Hatchery. Each case contained a gross (a dozen dozen), or 144 eggs. We spirited away several boxes, and suddenly had 600 eggs to toss. Our first attack came as we hid to the side of the hatchery in overgrown bushes. The first hundred eggs were fired as cars passed the hatchery, as if the hatchery itself were waging war on the beer-fogged drivers. Central Avenue was littered with hundreds of eggshells before the night was over.

We lobbed all 600 eggs that night and the beast was sated. We took the sport as far as it could go. We never hucked eggs again, and retired at the top of our game, just barely unbeaten and un-arrested.

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