The Apache Incident
Trip Start Jan 04, 2010
30Trip End Mar 01, 2011
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These two cool guys from the Netherlands I met whilst hiking, Rogier and Karel, had never been to or heard of Wings Night. (I mentioned it once, but for those of you just joining us, basically you go to a bar serving sauced up chicken wings for like 17c each, stock up on about 30 and eat to your heart's content.) I also thought this would be a good opportunity for them to meet at least one of my room mates, Clark. So off we headed to Kilkenny's, our favourite/closest bar. We had our feed, discussed the usual topics of good food, fine wine, and the local theatricalities and entertainment (aka deep fried chicken, beer, and MTV) before my room mate's girlfriend Diana decided to join us and then invite us to a friend’s bbq. (Oh to protect the identities of the people in question, the names in this story may have been changed.) So off we all headed on our merry way, with young hearts and innocent minds eagerly anticipating what the night had in store for us. Upon arrival we sat around a small fire, marvelled at the amount of mosquitoes, indulged in some more fine beer, before deciding it would be a jolly good idea to head down to the local park for some recreation. We played stuck in the mud, red rover, some strange Canadian game involving staying off the game while someone else has their eyes closed occasionally, after which Barry Allen motioned our attention towards the nearby public swimming pool.
Here is a select transcript of some of the conversation that occurred at this time:
“Hey check out the chopper!”
“Wonder who they’re lookin for.”
“Pass me the ball!”
“Oh my god could you imagine if they were looking for us?”
“Hahaha that’d be sick! Can you imagine? That’d almost be worth getting arrested, just to have the story. Chased and arrested via chopper for swimming Hahaha.”
Yep, that last one was me.
So on we continued with the ball. The searchlight went off, and the helicopter flew in our direction.
“Hey it’s coming this way!”
“Ahhh they found us. Hahaha”
“No I don’t think – look it’s -“
“Umm can’t they see us?”
“It’s going straight by, I’m sure they’ve got better things to do with a chopper"
About a minute passed. And then it banked, heading back at about 200 degrees.
“Hey look, it’s turning around.”
“Yeah some other direction. See?”
About another 30 seconds, everyone went back to what they were doing.
“Hey that things going around in circles.”
“Wow I wonder what they’re actually doing tonight.”
“I’m pretty sure they can see us.”
“So, they’re not going to care about some kids in a pool.”
Everyone resumed swimming, but generally now had one eye on the sky. I elected to have 2. It was then that I noticed this.
“Umm guys……. Hey. The choppers getting lower and lower.”
Everyone cranes their necks, and silently looks up. And sure enough, the chopper has completed a full circle or two, and is definitely looking bigger.
And suddenly <whoomp> the spotlight turns on, focused a couple hundred metres away. It is at this point I think I should point out that this is a pretty big park. The pool is at the edge of a road, but otherwise pretty much surrounded by empty grass. It is about 11 o clock at night. On a Monday. There is absolutely nothing else going on tonight. No one else is out, there are no criminals running around, no other main structures of interest. There is now absolutely no way that that this chopper/searchlight happy meal combo is looking for anything else but us. I know it, everyone knows it, totally impossible. But for some reason, everyone just freezes, and watches the searchlight moving. We are completely still, deer in the headlights style, as if if we stay still enough and don’t move, the people with the bird’s eye view and the billion watt light won’t notice us, 12 people, in their underwear straight underneath them, hidden only totally transparent water. Yep, that was our chosen tactic.
So the light moves straight in our direction, and everyone just stares. Closer....closer.... closer..... That is, until it finally lands right on top of us, stops, and clearly has no intention of simply passing over.
Oh, here’s the remainder of that transcript:
12 people simultaneously: “OH, SHIT!!!”
So everyone scrambles out of the pool, runs towards their respective clothing in whatever the most efficient manner they spent the previous 2 minutes planning out in the back of their heads had been. Some run for the hole in the fence, I opt for the closer and quicker vertical up and over option. After scooping up my clothes, assessing my dignity and realising running in my Bonds is totally worth any extra 30 seconds it may give me, (it’s surprising what situations instil a sense of patriotism) I climb over the fence, and land, ready to run. 10 seconds later I realise the flaw in my plan because I don’t know this neighbourhood, have no idea where I came from, and running by yourself is useless if you don’t know which direction to go in. So I wait for some others who clearly do know the area to also catch up. We round the corner of the pool and see the others who chose to go for the hole in the fence running across the road, and in the bedazzling light it becomes painstakingly obvious that everyone else has decided to take the similar avenues of a) following someone who lives here and b) deciding self-worth is overrated and running in their underwear. We all followed across the road, and ducked into an alley behind some houses. Me and Bruce Wayne see this clearly isn’t going to work; if we all run together it’s obvious where we are and no-one will get away. We simultaneously have the same idea of abandoning the pack mentality and following everyone else to their deaths, and decide to attempt our own unique and spectacular demise. i.e. running in a different direction. Sounds smart, I agree, and I know right now you’re thinking back to that last episode of Cops where the chopper was chasing some hillbilly and you were thinking “You idiot run the other way!” Well I thought back to that too, and I decided to take the guy-yelling-at-tv’s advice and run the other way. Turns out running the other way? Doesn’t actually work IF THE SPOTLIGHT THEN FOLLOWS YOU AND YOU ALONE. It was also around this time that we began hearing sirens. Oh joy. With the spotlight on us, we ducked, we weaved, we hid in the shadows, we waited for the spotlight to round the corner before jumping to the next house and I gotta say, those things are impossible to get away from. Realising our idea wasn’t working we went back to the “safety in numbers / diffusion of responsibility” mentality and met up with some of the others, ran, and got split up again. Somehow it ended up with us - me, Dick Grayson and the whatever the two Dutch incarnations of DC Comicbook Heroes are – at a fence between two houses, one cop car 10m behind us blocking that exit (although he hadn’t seen us), two cop cars out in the street ahead talking to some people, and the spotlight still royally on us, although we were sticking behind the fence, using the tactic of “if I can’t see them they can’t see me.” Then, remembering some of us took physics class in high school and learnt the above principle is in fact false, and that we weren’t 7, we figured defeat was imminent. We decided to jump the fence in front of us and go out and see what happens. We paused behind some rather large pine trees, and began reclothing ourselves – after all, if I’m gonna get a mug shot in a foreign country, I’m at least going to be wearing pants when it happens. Like I said, true patriot. The chopper sees that we’ve stopped believing we can run away, and flies off to terrorize more innocent teenagers. Or something. Anyway, as we were putting on our clothes, we realised the police were talking to our friends who hadn’t jumped in the pool – Clark, Barbara and Diana.
“Where are you from?”
“Oh, we’re from British Columbia, visiting some -”
“What are you doing out?”
“Like I said we were just going to visit our friends -
“Were you in the pool? Kids shouldn’t be swimming in the public pool. Do you know who was?!”
“Umm look at us, do we look like we’ve been swimming? We’re perfectly dry.”
Listening to this and watching the cops, it then clicked – they hadn’t seen us. We were maybe a whole 4m away, hidden by the silhouettes of the trees created by the flashing lights, and they were interrogating our friends because they hadn’t seen us! Although the first response was “yes, lucky break” it was quickly followed by a “you freaking idiot why did you jump out from the fence to put on pants you should have stayed hidden holy shit stay still don’t move they haven’t seen you!!”
I then began motioning to the others to stay here and stay still, they hadn’t seen us. The others looked at the cops, looked at me, and understood. They then looked at the cops, looked at me, realised I was most definitely the closest and that they had a better chance of getting away by most definitely not standing still waiting for the police to leave, and decided to start walking in the other direction. Over what seemed to be a lawn strewn with the loudest cracking twigs in the history of mankind. Swearing under my breath – both at them for ditching me, and myself for not thinking of doing it to them first - I used all of my ninja skills to get about 5m away, ducked behind a car that blocked and cops’ line of sight, and legged it back to the house.
The final tally was 1 chopper and 3 cop cars, which patrolled around the block for the next hour or so. Most of us somehow managed to avoid any real incident - save for one girl who was sure the spotlight paused on her only long enough for her to finish putting on her clothes - and three friends who did have a run-in. Our comrades had begun running, realised they forgot their phones, started heading back to grab the phones, and somehow gave off the appearance that they were simply giving themselves up. As a result they got their names taken down, made to sit on the sidewalk whilst getting yelled at by some cop lady who threatened to pull them out of uni somehow, but otherwise were let go without any real problems.
So, we all regrouped, sat around the fire, laughed at how crazy the night was, remarked at how bored the cops must have been (seriously what happened? “Hey Barry… so we can either work on this drug bust case, or… someone called, said there’s some kids in the public swimming - “Get the chopper.”) talked about how game we’d have to be to regroup and try the exact same thing tomorrow night, only this time with a timer to see if we could get them to have a faster response, and told the Dutch guys that this was simply a hearty “welcome to Canada.”
Shit, if that's the case, I wonder how the send-off will be.