I’m 17 years old at the time, sitting at McDonald’s late one night with two friends and my little brother, Cameron. Like a lot of kids our age on a Friday evening, we’re bored. We’ve just finished playing basketball, we’re hungry, and we’ve got nowhere to go. So we’re just sitting here kickin’ it.
We’re at a table by the window when my buddy Albie starts messing with his keys. His car is parked in the lot, maybe fifty yards from where we’re sitting. He presses the electronic lock button a couple times. The lights flash as the horn beeps. I notice a passerby a few feet away look around startled at the sound of the horn.
Being the prankster that I am, I tell Albie we should see how many people we can scare by setting off the alarm. My brother laughs and agrees. Albie won’t do it. He refuses at first. But it should be noted that my persuasive abilities are completely unrivaled. Eventually the peer pressure gets to him and he caves.
A couple walks out of the restaurant and heads for their car.
Both my brother, me, and our third friend, Anthony, tell Albie to hit the panic button. He does. The couple freaks out and runs off. We go nuts. Cheap entertainment at its finest.
Over the next few minutes, a handful of people walk past the car. We hit the panic button for each of them. The reaction is always the same. They jump/scream/yelp and scurry away. It’s awesome. No one even sees us sitting there laughing.
A sedan pulls up and parks near Albie’s car. Three dudes get out. As they’re walking towards the entrance, Albie hits the panic button. All three of them suffer near heart attacks. We keel over. This is too much by this point, life has gotten too good.
The dudes recover and continue making their way towards the dining room. We stifle our laughter as they walk in.
The dudes are Hispanic, probably in their early-thirties, all with a little badass swagger about ’em. They’ve got tats and lined-up haircuts. They don’t really look like the type of people anyone should be messing with. So naturally, we keep messing with them.
The Three Amigos (as we’ve redubbed them) grab their food and head back out to their car. They pass the Subaru. Albie hits the panic button. They flip out again. We bust up. This is priceless. Twice we’ve gotten these guys.
But then one of them stops. He looks at the car. He turns. He looks back at us. We quickly do our best to act natural. We’re not sure if they’re on to us or not.
The Amigos get in their sedan. We figure we’re in the clear. They start to drive away. But then they stop, pull the car right in front of our window table, headlights facing us, and just sit there.
“What are they doing?” someone asks.
“I don’t know,” someone else responds.
They sit like that for seconds, maybe minutes. Then a door opens. One of them emerges.
“Oh, sh*t,” I utter, at which point I notice my pop cup is empty and run off to the soda machine. It’s a complete dick move. I’ve left my friends on one side of the room out of sheer panic. There’s a small part of my brain that’s justifying this maneuver by reasoning that it will be easier to combat these dudes if we’re all standing, rather than sitting. But for the most part, I’m just getting the hell out of there.
The solo Amigo walks back into the restaurant. He heads straight for our table. The room goes silent.
By now, we’re the only people left in the place. The four of us, one or two workers behind the counter, and now this Mexican dude that wants to kill us.
“You think this is f**kin’ funny?” he shouts. “Huh? You wanna get your asses kicked?”
In later renditions of this story, I always imagine him saying “ese” at the end of every sentence, as in, “You think this is f**kin’ funny, ese?” History will show that “ese” was never uttered.
No one at the table answers his questions. But really, how are you supposed to answer questions like these? Truthfully? Yes, we think this is funny. No, we’d prefer not to have our asses kicked. Thanks.
From my vantage point at the soda machine, I survey the situation. This angry Amigo is standing there blocking the exit. His two Amigo buddies are sitting right outside the door in their sedan, blocking the path to our car. Meanwhile, I’m looking on wide-eyed sipping Coke while my two friends and my brother sit contrite as this irate Mexican guy cusses them out.
I slowly and carefully re-approach the table as the dude finishes up his threatening rant. He ends with something about finding us and beating us up if we ever do this again, that sorta thing. He must have superior tracking skills, this guy. Then he leaves the building, gets back in the sedan, and the Amigos drive off.
I sit down.
“Where the hell did you go?” asks Albie.
“I needed more Coke,” I reply. “And I didn’t wanna get my ass kicked.”
That’s the last time we mess around with the panic button. Near Mexican guys, at least.