How I Became The Porn Dealer (Part 1)

Filed under : Childhood Stories, Serial Stories

Story 80 of 365

Est. Reading Time 7 minutes

I realize that, reading through some of these stories of my younger self, it might come off like I’ve been trying absolve myself of guilt and that I just conveniently “didn’t know any better” when it came to the ability to fly, or nazi history, or semi-adult stories spit out from a vending machine, or things like that. I promise I’m just that dumb. Or, at best, I was that dumb 1I’m not fishing for compliments when I repeat for the umpteenth time that I consider myself of average intelligence but above-average in the ...continue. This story, however, is about a time that I very much intentionally hatched a series of nefarious schemes — all of which failed spectacularly.

In the early part of 5th grade, I was still sour over being labeled a “weird perv” for the Jamie debacle, along with being pissed about having to return to the home of a bully. I remember starting the 5th grade with the thought that “I will figure out a way out of this”. I had no plan for that, and I had just enough tact to not outwardly show that I fucking hated so much of practically every school day. The odd part was that I’d started out at this new school, in 4th grade, on a strong note — some kid was fucking with me during an impromptu football game we’d all play before school started, and everyone yelled “FIGHT!”. I’ve never lost a one-on-one fight in my life 2I would almost certainly lose a one-on-one fight today with just about anyone, but I was an energetic kid with psychotic anger when it happened, ...continue, and this was no exception. I didn’t hurt the kid too bad, I just had him pinned against a wall and kept wailing on him until another kid pulled us apart like it was a boxing match and held up my arm and declared me the winner. The kid I fought was named Jason, and we actually became friends after that. His loyalty — if you’d call it that — waned considerably throughout the year as multiple kids would gang up on me at once for whatever reason kids do things like that and Jason decided to err on the side of ignoring me, rather than face any such wrath himself. Jason was never involved in the beatdowns themselves, but he and I pretty much stopped hanging out about halfway through the year.

The friends I liked hanging out with on weekends were the ones from my past, so I’d often be driven to their houses, or them to mine — such as was the case with Keith in the summer prior. One kid that was always fun to hang with was this guy Andrew. He had a number of mental issues, the extent of which I still don’t quite understand. All he ever mentioned at the time was his OCD, but as an adult I’m pretty sure he was Autistic as well (or was never OCD, and just Autistic, but I’m no psychiatrist). He was weird and funny, and loved videogames and his parents kept him well-behaved by buying him the latest videogames, which made his house a pretty awesome place to hang. He also lived in my old neighborhood, so I had the nostalgia factor and would take him to some of my old haunts that were fun to play around.

In that area of Phoenix, there were a series of alleyways for garbage trucks to run through. They probably have a different name than alleyways, because they’re not like NYC alleys — which is what you picture when you think of an alley — they were these dirt roads that separated the back of houses on one street from the back of houses on another street. They were about 15-feet wide, and they ran all throughout Paradise Valley homes built around the mid-late 1970s. You could walk into one and end up winding around the backs of houses for hours at a time. We used to go in there and just check every trash bin we came across. That was another thing — these were dumpsters, not trash cans. I think every house had their own dumpster, but maybe 2-3 houses shared one. The point is, they were goldmines for young kids looking for cool shit to play with.

In a single weekend, I managed to find something like 14 lighters that still worked in varying degrees. I hung onto all of them, and stuffed them into my pockets as we went. When I got back to Andrew’s place, I stuffed them into my overnight bag (probably a backpack) so no one would take them away. When I got back home, I laid them out on my bed and stress-tested them to figure out which ones had the most reliable fire-starting abilities. I was on the verge of a plan, and I didn’t want my soldiers failing on the battlefield.

When I got to school that Monday, I brought 4-5 of the best stress-tested lighters with me. Throughout the day, I’d ask to use the bathroom and test out the lighters’ ability to light simple things like toilet paper and paper towels on fire for a few seconds, then I’d toss them into a toilet or the sink to extinguish the flame. By the end of the day, I was lighting an entire sinks’ worth of paper towels on fire at once and just waiting for the fire to devour enough of the paper towels that I could turn on the water and throw away a bundle of blackened, wet paper towels into the trash.

What I realized was that my PE teacher — some lady, let’s call her Ms. Athletic cause I’m too tired to come up with a more realistic name — had no qualms about letting people use the bathroom during class. And, since the bathroom was inside the gymnasium, and the gym was made of wood, and everyone would be too busy with whatever that day’s game was, and Ms. Athletic wouldn’t probably notice who went to the bathroom and when, I figured my best bet was to just light the whole restroom on fire and slink back into the group and no one would be the wiser. From there, I theorized, it would torch up the wooden gym walls, and spread out far enough to maybe take some of the rest of the school with it. With parts, if not the whole, school burnt up, they’d have to come up with a way to spread out the students to other schools and I’d have a chance to reinvent myself and make new friends and avoid the bullies.

Later that week, during PE, I said “I need to use the bathroom” and Ms Athletic didn’t even turn her head to look, she just said “hurry back! hustle, hustle!” (as was her way). I ran into the bathroom, and I was all alone. I busted open the paper towel dispensers and laid out paper towels all over the place — thrown over the tops of the stalls, filled every sink, lined parts of the floor, then finally ripped huge balls of paper towels and overflowed the big trash can in the bathroom. My stage was set. I took out one of my lighters, and started the fire. It worked wonderfully. Fire was chasing along little trails, going up and around the stalls, the sinks were ablaze, the trashcan had just started to light up.

And then… Jason walked in.

He said “OHHH SHIT! FIRE!”. I grabbed him, and slammed him into the wall and said “don’t say a fucking word!”, and he shoved me as hard as he could and I fell and he ran out into the gym. I ran out after him, trying to “blend in”, but it was too late. Ms Athletic only heard “Mitcz was lighting fires in the bathroom” and she said “well… did you wanna tell the principle, or should I?”. It seems weird to say this, but I thought I’d just get a timeout. I didn’t think the damn principle would be involved. I tried to plead for “can’t you just give me a timeout?”, but she’d already used her walkie-talkie to alert the principle.

As I sat in the principal’s office, I wondered why he hadn’t come in yet. When he finally returned, he said the fire department had been called and “we managed to barely avoid a fire breaking out and destroying this school” 3you might wonder why the fire sprinklers didn’t kick on and douse the fire. And that’s because, until after that day, the bathrooms in ...continue. I played dumb. I said “I was just playing with this lighter I found”. He clearly didn’t believe me, but he also didn’t think I was intentionally trying to destroy the school.

I was suspended for 7 days. He said at the time “that’s the longest suspension we’ve ever had at this school. you’re lucky you’re not being expelled. but, thankfully, no permanent damage was done”.

My plan had failed, but at least I had 11 days (7 days + 2 weekends) off from school. So, that was nice. I hadn’t intended to find a new plan so easily but, in those 11 days, a plan practically landed in my lap and setup one of those lifetime ironies you see in biopics.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. I’m not fishing for compliments when I repeat for the umpteenth time that I consider myself of average intelligence but above-average in the “fuck it, let’s try it” gumption department
2. I would almost certainly lose a one-on-one fight today with just about anyone, but I was an energetic kid with psychotic anger when it happened, fighting kids of similar size/strength, so it wasn’t at all the same ballgame
3. you might wonder why the fire sprinklers didn’t kick on and douse the fire. And that’s because, until after that day, the bathrooms in that school didn’t have fire sprinklers. They apparently didn’t think it was even possible for anything in the bathroom to light on fire. My plan was ill-fated from the start, though, cause fire sprinklers were literally everywhere else and I’m pretty sure the principal was just trying to make me feel bad with his “barely avoided a catastrophe” shit