Getting Shot in the Face

So, I’m on a roll here. Sharing stories that I told in my trilogy of memoirs. The weepy memoir trilogy. Very sad. Funny, too. I’m gonna keep the streak going a little longer. Promise I’ll start blogging again soon. Here’s a story about one of the times I was almost shot in the face. I tell it in my book Shot Across the River Styx. I was fifteen in this story, so don’t hold it against me. Or do. I guess you can read it however you want. Anyway, here’s a story:


My friend Mike was the first or our group to get his driver’s license. Sweet freedom. So one Tuesday after school, I went bowling with my friends Mike, Nick, and John. We were fifteen and sixteen.

We finished bowling around four in the afternoon and Mike was going to drive us home. We got into his Cadillac and he pulled up behind a big black SUV. To take a right turn onto Highway 10. In the suburbs of the Twin Cities.

I was sitting shotgun. John and Nick were in the backseat. John was drinking a Coke.

We waited for a minute behind the SUV. There was no traffic in sight, yet the SUV was not budging. Mike’s adolescent road rage started to set it. 

“What the hell? Come on!”

We waited another minute, and the SUV remained stationary.

“Just go around it!” This was John.

“Pass the jackass!” This was Nick.

Mike threw the car into reverse in order to pull back and pass the SUV.

“Hey Sam, you should throw my pop on their hood as we pass them!” John said.

“Teach ‘em a lesson!” Nick agreed.

I decided it would be great comedy if we threw John’s pop on the car’s windshield. This was probably because I was a sophomore in high school. Sophomore boys are, in a word, dumb.

So John handed me his pop. I rolled the window down. As we drove by, I tossed the can out the window and it exploded all over the SUV’s windshield. 

We howled with laughter as we sped away.

It was at this moment that the SUV finally decided to take their right turn. It turned fast. The SUV was in hot pursuit.

Mike gunned the ancient Caddy. More a tank than a car, it rumbled as it accelerated to top speed. When it got there, it had all the gathered momentum of vintage American steel. So we watched as the SUV fell away into the distance. We were applauding each other with laughter as we came to the intersection of Highway 10 and Highway 96. It was here that we needed to take a left turn in order to get back to our neighborhood. As Mike pulled up, the left turn arrow turned from yellow to red. So we pulled to a stop.

Sure enough, the SUV exploded over the horizon behind us, glowing with anger. I remember flames of fury as it tore towards us. There were no cars next to us, and so the SUV was going to be able to pull up directly next to us. Our laughter turned to anxiety. What would we do?

Sitting shotgun, I was in the most immediate danger. So I came up with a solution. I put my hand up as a blinder to shield the SUV from my face. I started humming to myself. 


So we were staring dumbly forward as the SUV pulled up alongside us. It was then that I felt an energetic transformation in the car. I sensed that something in the car had shifted.

“Sam, roll down the window.” Mike’s voice was deathly serious.

“Roll down the window, I ain’t rolling down the window! Are you crazy? We just threw pop on their car!” I kept my hand raised.

“Sam, roll down the window. She has a gun.”

Sure enough, I looked up to see a middle-aged woman in a business suit waving a pistol back and forth. She was screaming. She was pissed off. She was a beast.

I rolled the window down. The most horrible profanity was oozing out of this woman’s mouth.

“I’m gonna kill you mother*&^&ing high-school kids, I’m going to kill you!” She continued on like this.

It seemed to me like she was working herself up to commit a homicide. She seemed intent on putting a bullet in at least one of our brains.

In fact, I remember one thing she said in particular.

“I’m gonna call the cops on you *&*^ing high-school kids.”

I remember thinking to myself, please, for the love of God, please call the cops. You are waving a pistol at four high-school kids. Get the cops out here!

This woman kept getting angrier and angrier. Finally, thinking it the safer option, Mike floored the Caddy through a red light and into oncoming traffic. We swerved our way through the intersection and traveled to safety.

What is the moral of this story? Don’t mess with people. They might shoot you in the face.

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