Jim Herman Family WEB Site

                                         Book Excerpt





   ...I had worked as a curb-hop previously at the Dome Drive-In Restaurant when I was fourteen years old, a couple of years earlier. The Dome, as it was referred to by the local teens, was still the place to hang out, listen to rock-n-roll music blaring over the outside loud speakers, and be seen either circling the building in a car or just hanging out on the wild upper side parking lot where the teens that owned or had access to cars, parked.

   Among the favorite pranks that teens do when there is nothing else to do was to pull practical jokes. It was late September and the local watermelon patches were gone, so there were none to steal; winter had yet to arrive and there were no snow balls to throw or lob across the Dome Drive-in building to the opposite parking areas; our high school football team was experiencing yet another losing season, so Friday nights were boring. The time was ripe for action to pull off our number one hoax on some unsuspecting younger teens with raging hormones. 

   Although we had successfully completed the prank three times previously during the past twelve months, there was a chance we could recruit four or five naïve younger teen boys and pull it off one more time. It was a bit cumbersome to do the entire bit, but the reward for those of us putting it together would be a natural high of extra ordinary delight, with just the opposite for those we would select as targets. Not only was it cumbersome, but also the production required planning, timing, coordination, two automobiles and one shotgun. The other needed items were permanent fixtures that were already in place and included a long narrow dirt road leading to an old abandoned two-story farmhouse in densely wooded forest near the Catawba River.


   After deciding to pull this off one more time, three of my friends and I began to set the hook. It was easier than we anticipated as we recruited four 9th graders from our local high school that were unaware of the prank and gleefully accepted an invitation promising them an hour of lascivious pleasure. The four wore smiles of delight the entire week preceding the agreed meeting time of 10 p.m. the very next Saturday night at the Dome Drive-In Restaurant.

   The hook was set.

   Switching the ignition key and turning the headlights off as the driver gently depressed the brake pedal, one of the two automobiles needed to pull of the prank slowly came to a stop on the edge of Connelly Springs Road in front of my home. Quiet as a mouse and quick as a cat I silently exited the passenger side of the vehicle and ran noiselessly behind my home. Reaching into the crawl space opening under the rear side, I gently retrieved my 20-gage shotgun and box of ammunition that I had hidden there a few days earlier. In less than one minute we were on our way to the abandoned two story house at the end of the long narrow dirt road secluded deep in the woods near the Catawba River three miles from my home.

  Hiding the car behind the dark and dreary looking old abandoned two-story house, we loaded the pump action shotgun with three buckshot shells. The second vehicle would be arriving within minutes. It was Saturday night, 10:15 p.m. and the setup was complete.

   Fifteen minutes earlier, precisely at 10 p.m., two of my three cohorts in this elaborate scheme circled the Dome Drive-In two times after loading the four male targets in their car. Slowly inching the vehicle around the Dome the noisy crowd hanging out near or on their vehicles on the wild upper side knew exactly what was up and participated in the covert action by raising a thumbs up with their fist followed by loud yells and whoops. The four younger male targets were ecstatic with anticipation. The promised liaison with two beautiful twenty-year old female twins with amorous reputations danced through their mind. Knowing the twins would be home alone this night in their two-story farm house located near the Catawba River gave them a heightened sense of safety and comfort.

   Crouching behind the unoccupied and abandoned house deep in the darkened woods, the two of us were getting anise waiting for our other two partners to arrive with their four passengers who were are targets. It was 10:32 p.m. They were already more than five minutes late. Spending the past twenty minutes in almost complete darkness in the middle of nowhere created opportunity for our imagination to take control of our thoughts. Every single scary movie we had seen recently began to enter our whispered conversation. As each of us glanced out into the darkness around and behind us every noise the good Lord put on the earth seem to grow louder and louder. Peering around the houses’ back corner up the lonely tree covered dirt and gravel road leading out of the forest we could see nothing but the depths of black night.

   Just as we decided to hurriedly make our exit to our hidden car in the bushes fifty yards behind the house, bright car headlights burst down the dirt road illuminating the trees on each side. Scrambling behind the southeast corner of the house, the two of us held our breath as the question to the identification of the vehicle would surely be the one we had been stealthily waiting for. If not we would be in big trouble. As the car came to an abrupt stop in a cloud of red dust in front of the abandoned two story house located deep in the woods near the Catawba River, we silently and breathlessly waited for the sound of recognizable voices.

   The noise of the vehicle’s engine ceased but the headlamps remained on, pointed directly at the house. Once again an eerie silence blanketed the night. Still there were no voices to be heard.

  The screeching noise from the opening vehicle doors pierced the silence of the night. Footsteps scuffing the red dirt and gravel were numerous. The four doors of the vehicle shut with a muffed sound as if the occupants were trying to be quiet.

   My partner and I prepared for the final phase of the staged event by glancing and nodding to each other. From our crouched positions we snugly placed large straw hats on our heads and I eased the 20-gage shotgun upward, pointed toward the black moonless night sky. From the direction of the vehicle in front of the house we recognized the voices of our other two associates. It was time to conclude the prank with a bang!

   Springing out from our hiding place behind the house the silhouettes of the former occupants of the car were visible in front of the headlamps of the vehicle. Simultaneously while my partner yelled a very loud angry warning to leave his daughters alone or get shot, I placed my finger on the trigger and fired three rounds of the 20-gage buckshot shells high into the night sky. The three booms were deafening and the fire exploding from the end of the gun resembled bolts of lightning bright enough to dim the illumination coming from the headlamps of the vehicle parked in front of the house.

   Instantly following the loud blast from the gun our two partners who had just arrived screamed out in pain exclaiming that they had been hit by the gunfire and collapsed to the ground.

   The four youths dove for cover both in and behind the vehicle they had exited seconds earlier. At the same instance as all of this occurred the outline of another person was momentarily seen sprinting across the yard headed for the tree line that enveloped the north side of the Catawba River which was less than a half mile deeper in the thick woods. Wearing olive brown pants and shirt the sprinter was dressed different than all of us and from the speed he generated leaving the melee in front of the house to the tree line, he could run faster too.

   It was over in less than thirty seconds.

   Following a brief moment of complete calm and silence with only the smell of gunpowder in the air, my three cohorts and I filled the night air with genuine robust laughter—belly laughter straight from the bottom of our torso. The four terrified targets were not laughing. They were shaking and couldn’t believe what had just unfolded in front of them. They began to realize that this would not end here as they begged us not to drive them back to the Dome Drive-in Grill for show and tell.

   During the next hour we tried to find the unknown soldier who had earlier hitched a ride just as the group was leaving the Dome. The last we ever saw of him was during his mad dash to the tree line next to the abandoned two-story house deep in the woods near the Catawba River.

                   copyright 2004 - Resurrected Memories the Story of a Lifetime


Next book excerpt - Voyage to America, 1766


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