Double Standards apply on the Backlot… Chapter 18

It is a late Saturday night. The Vets park tower just chimed 10 bells. My pal, Jimmy and I have just been cruising my hood. We stopped earlier to visit my girl, Maureen, briefly, on her front porch. I could tell that Jimmy has an attraction going on. All of us on this street are at the point now, where boys and girls can actually work together. In other words, girls are not just an object to throw fruit at!

As the clock strikes 10 pm, James and I are climbing into the MGM backlot. Dark and eerily silent, we begin creeping  around Lot 2. We know already… being a Saturday… that we won’t have any activity on the lot. Just a guard in a Jeep going round in circles, village to village, town to town and everywhere, in between.

Jimmy can’t stop talking about my girlfriend. He is older than I am, so that presents obstacles that work to his advantage. For one, he will have a permit to drive soon. For another, he is pretty cool. All my friends are, but I am the first to claim a female.

As we walk and occasionally jog our way around half the lot already, there are no signs of life in it, except some occasional owl hoots. The backlot is pitch dark and you sometimes have trouble knowing what you are looking at … from a distance anyway.

That is happening now, as Jimmy and I round a corner on a dirt road, behind what we call “The Watermill House.”. A jungle lurks just beyond this set… Tarzan’s  jungle.


The Watermill House, a must ride on this paddle. When you walk through the front door of this building, you are in the backside.


Backside of Watermill House, below. And the road that curves into the jungle…


Jungles are scary in the dark when you’re trespassing. I prefer New York City, just beyond the trees and forest. A road cuts through the center of the length of this forest. Jimmy keeps bringing up Maureen, as we move about, and I silently wish she was with me now, rather than him.

As we turn the bend behind the watermill house, we are going to make our way down that long dark road in the jungle. Slowly, we both come to a stop. We are both stupified by what we think is out of place.

There is something blocking the long straight jungle path, so we stare, as we begin to see distinguishing features. I see two oval cylinders that are equally spaced apart, and I see a white glow around their radius. It appears to be the Bronco, parked. I think I see its distinguishing headlight mounts. Yes indeed, I am sure of it!


It blends in perfectly in these surroundings, Jimmy and I  both realize at the same time, what this is… and at the exact same time, those circular cylinders light up… and this Bronco is storming towards us. Peace and serenity immediately turn to… CHAOS.

The normally quiet jungle now has the roar of an engine hauling towards us. The fence is 20 yards away and we are doing our best to get to it, ahead of this pursuer.  We run a straight line through a Greens department area. The Bronco and its occupant breathe dangerously close to our rear ends.

We hit the fence flying, as the roar of the engine churns louder. It is only then that I look back, as I am about to leap over. The guard is the imposing 6 foot 9 inch, Ron Smith. He takes up a huge portion of the windshield that is now point blank at the fence as we both jump to safety onto Arizona avenue.

We continue to run home as we hear Ron shout from atop the fence, “I’ll get you next time!”


Above the fence and behind the Watermill House where this chase concluded…

Yipes, that was as close as it gets…he could have run us over! I was not sure if he was going to crash into the fence. He could have easily shot us on top of the fence, and he packs a large side arm. This was our closest pursuit ever. An adreneline rush like none before. It takes an hour to come down.

I sit safely at home with my mom, watching The Best of Groucho, just minutes later. I feel like a secret agent with a double life, innocently eating a tuna sandwich with my dear mom, my heart still thumping from my narrow escape.

16 hours later…

Today is Sunday, the day after. I am walking with Maureen, going over last night’s chase. No need to embellish last night, as this chase was better than advertised. If we are going to be a couple long term, she has to know how to handle these situations, I think proudly.


Overland main gate … Actual chase vehicle Bronco parked below, as seen through chain link fence.


As we continue walking the sidewalks around this backlot, we find ourselves at the Overland Gate, and guess who is sitting in the Bronco at this gate?

It is Ron Smith, last night’s culprit. I make eye contact with him as he signals me to approach him on the lot. We hesitantly proceed towards him as he simply says,”I let you get away last night,”

I think, Not Quite!… you just couldn’t keep up…

At this same moment, he asks, “who is my friend?” He has a grown man crush on my girlfriend, Maureen, it appears.

I introduce them and the next thing you know, he invites us into the Bronco, for my first friendly tour, ever. It is the same vehicle that hunted me down, late last night. Today, it is our vehicle to enjoy. Like a Twilight Zone episode.

He drives crazily around this deserted lot, doing donuts as we call them, showing off.

He empties the bullets out of his pistol and hands it to Maureen who is sitting shot gun. We pass his gun back and forth, impressed. It is huge… 357 Magnum huge… This gun is as big as this guy himself. It is the first real pistol I ever had my hands on.

I’m admiring his weapon as he admires my girl, who looks so nice in her little blue jean cut offs… sitting cross legged. I spin his cylinder and blow in his gun barrel. This is one bad piece!

If only the other guards could see me now… with a pistol in the back of the Bronco. It looks like Ron is my prisoner with this big pistol and all pointing at the back of his head.. He is all about the young lady sitting alongside him and seems to have forgotten the kid in the back seat.

I’m feeling it…Maureen and I make a marvelous team, like um… Bonnie and Clyde.

He is  being so polite today… last night is rapidly becoming distant. He is becoming my pal, at least when I have this pretty blonde girl with me, named Maureen….anyhow!

I have learned a practical life lesson on this backlot; there are double standards. Pretty girls can open even the most well secured gates with just a smile and a simple wave.

Yet, for me, lace those tennis shoes tight boy… because different rules apply. Until next time Mr Ron…

All stories written and lived by Donnie Norden
Edited by DQ

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