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THE FINALE: We Drove 1,500 Miles, Avoided Arrest in Maryland, & Pushed a Stolen U-Haul Trailer into the Woods on Dover Road...

Part 21: I Was Preparing to be Violently Handcuffed by an Angry Trooper in a Hurry to Book Me Before His Shift Ended...

Epsilon. Getty Images.

After all Moose and I had been through in South Florida the past four months, and after driving 1,500 miles and narrowly escaping arrest in Maryland, there was no fucking way we were gonna get caught pushing a stolen U-Haul trailer into the woods on Dover Road…  

The car was coming fast, and we weren’t sure if it was a cop…  

When you’re at the tail end of a crime and about to celebrate getting away with it, in our case, stealing a U-Haul trailer and hitching it up to a no-tow relocate car, there comes a moment of extreme paranoia where you think you’re gonna get caught. That there's no way you're getting away with it. Something will go wrong, and for us, our final fear was that oncoming car… 

As the car approached, we ducked behind the Cutlass and peaked over the rear fender, hoping it wasn’t a curious cop making his daily pass on Dover Road. How could we explain the U-Haul in the woods behind us? "We stopped to see what happened and to help if we could," would be our first response. Maybe the cop would let us go, or maybe he'd ask for both our licenses and registration…  

As the car sped by, we saw it was just a car full of rowdy high school kids, probably joyriding and drinking on Dover Road. Moose and I exhaled and smiled. Then Moose said, "Let's get the fuck outa here…"  

We only had a few more things to do. One was to clean the Cutlass inside and out, making sure the ashtrays were empty and there were no buds or seeds on the floor. We did that at a self-serve car wash. 

We checked and topped off all the fluid levels, filled the tires to pressure, and filled the tank with regular gas. Once everything was all set, we were ready to turn in the Cutlass and get paid for driving it back to Massachusetts.  

We slept on couches that night at Moose’s younger brother’s apartment. We had to have the car back by noon the next day.  

After morning coffee, we headed to the local Acorn agency to turn in the Cutlass. Since I was underage, Moose’s name and signature were on the contract, and he went in to finalize the deal and collect the $150 payment. I waited in his brother’s car while the agent checked the Cutlass… Moose came out with a big grin. It was finally over. All we had to do was drive to a bank and cash the check… 

We went to a bank, and Moose cashed the check, but he didn't want to give me any part of it. He thought all the money was his because he signed the contract. I couldn't believe it! 

"You gotta be fucking kidding me, Moose. I drove half the time. I stole the bumper hitch, attached it, and did the wiring. And, we stored the trailer in Hialeah in my father's warehouse for four months…"

Moose wasn't about to budge. He felt entitled to the money and wanted it all to himself. 

Then I reminded him we drove down in my mother's Gran Torino and stayed at their condo in Miami. We even got jobs at my father's shop…"

He shook his head and grimaced like he couldn't care less, and that's when I lost my shit!

"You either give me half the fuckin' money, or I'll punch you in the face until you're unconscious!"

Moose's brother was nervous and intervened, "Just give him half the money, Moose!"

Moose talked a big game, but he couldn't back it up. He looked scared, and he caved quickly and gave me half the money. Later, his brother told me he was always like that as a kid, not to take it personally. I chalked it up to middle-child syndrome.

They dropped me off at Bendinelli's Variety in the center of Sharon, and although I was a long way from Needham, I was glad to get out of the car. I had to find someone to give me a ride to my Uncle's house in Needham, or I'd be forced to thumb there. My friend Mark saw me standing in front of Bendi's having a smoke, and he stopped and gave me a ride to Needham. On the way, he pitched living in a house in Plymouth with him, which I did. 

Thinking back on that time in my life, I had become a completely different person than I ever expected. I drank and drugged, took chances on my motorcycle, and made some really bad decisions, which, had we not been so lucky, might've changed my life forever.

I occasionally think about Moose, Tom, Cindy, Mary, Butch, John, Pat, Crazy Phil, and the girl selling weed at the Fotomat, and they're not all bad memories. We had a lot of fun, too. I think about Dennis and his warning, "Moose is my best friend, but I don't trust him, and you shouldn't either." He had given me the ultimate heads-up…

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I was young then and capable of doing almost anything. I had potential and many years ahead of me to reach it.

I met Susan a few months after returning to Massachusetts and fell madly in love with her. Three years later, we got married, and we've been married for 44 years. We have three children, all boys.

She urged me never to tell these stories to our kids, fearing that they'd end up like me. I told them the stories anyway, and thankfully, none of them followed in my footsteps.

I didn't keep in touch with anybody I met during the four months I spent in South Florida in 1976. I've only heard bits and pieces over the years. I was sad to hear Dennis died young, in his forties. I recently saw a picture of Mary on Facebook, and she looked great. Moose is alive and well, living in Florida with his fourth wife, a sexy mail-order Russian bride he found online when that was all the rage…

Me? I'll be 68 in a few days. I currently work for Barstool Sports, where I'm known as Vindog…                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

What a long, strange trip it's been…

That's a wrap…

You can access all 22 chapters here

*All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental…