the juvenile delinquents of ypsilanti

At some point during the Severed Unicorn Head art show opening the other day, I was standing in front of the Dreamland Theater with a friend. He and I were standing there talking, watching our young daughters running up and down the street. After we’d been standing there for a few minutes, a couple of boys approached us. I’d say they were about eight years old. One had those kinds of shoes with wheels in them. The other had a mohawk. The kid with the wheels said that he could beat our daughters, who are about four years old, in a race. We agreed with him that he probably could. Then, after a few seconds of silence, he said that he could probably beat my friend. I’m not sure why he singled my friend out, but he did. And, after a little bit of coaxing, my friend agreed.

The plan was for them to run to the end of the last flower planter on Washington Street. Maybe it was 40 feet. My friend won. It was funny. I snapped a photo, but I won’t embarrass him by sharing it here… And, photos of large men wheezing probably aren’t good for the ratings anyway.

So, after the race, we were all just standing there again, and the kid with the wheels, who had just been beaten, walked over to the alley and got something. When he came back, he said, “You get this for winning.” And he handed this friend of mine a half-smoked, unlit cigarette. My friend, a smoker, considered it for a moment, and then placed the cigarette in a trashcan. The kid said, “No,” reached in, and pulled it out. Then, while we were watching, he broke it in half, and pulled what looked like a firecracker out. He looked up at us and said, “I put a bottle rocket in there.” I think he also said, “I was going to kill you,” but I wouldn’t swear to it.

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  1. dp in ypsi
    Posted June 29, 2008 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Funny and modestly dirty. Good show!

  2. Brackachetucky
    Posted June 29, 2008 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    If nobody loves that kid enough to give him a whole cigarette to hide a bottle rocket in, well, that explains it.

  3. mark
    Posted June 29, 2008 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    The plan was probably to leave it for homeless person in the alley. Hilarious, right? Nothing says comedy like an explosion in the esophagus.

  4. Brackachetucky
    Posted June 29, 2008 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Do you think you guys were the test audience? I would think if they were serious, we’d be hearing of a rash of exploding loosies by now.

    You know, due to the ease of implementation.

    Half a cig, a bottle rocket, leave on curb.

    Not like enriching uranium.

  5. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 30, 2008 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    The saddest thing seems to be the physical state of our delinquents, who, it appears, can’t even outrun a wheezing, overweight, middle aged man.

    Although, I think those of us who loosely fit into that category should take comfort in knowing that if we ever take a bottle rocket down the throat we will easily be able to nab the offenders and give them their comeuppins.

  6. mark
    Posted June 30, 2008 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    By “large,” I meant muscular, not overweight, OEC.

    This friend of mine is an Adonis.

  7. Dirtgrain
    Posted June 30, 2008 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I’ve seen several kids with mohawks lately (short, like a 1/2″ buzzcut with the sides of the head shaved clean). One of them (white kid, maybe 11-12 years old) I saw over on Huron, several blocks south of Michigan Ave. Maybe he lives around there.

    If it’s the same kid, I say we turn the tables on him. Let’s super glue cigarettes to the sidewalk and laugh at him when he tries to pick them up.

    Did you at all think about calling the cops? Or trying to figure out who he is so you can call his parents?

    Did he have mean, nasty, yellow bully eyes?

  8. Moe Hawkins
    Posted June 30, 2008 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    When I was a kid we used to buy bottles of Drano and glue old Mohawk Vodka labels on the jug and leave them on street corners for homeless folks to find.

    What a hoot! Those homeless guys were great to playmates.

  9. Posted June 30, 2008 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    I know an eight year old boy with a mohawk that lives upstairs on that block of Washington. It was probably him and his brother. If so, in my experience they’re nice kids but obviously they’re left to play unsupervised with whatever they’re finding on the street. I hope you scared the crap out of them by telling them what could have happened.

  10. Larry Moonhop
    Posted June 30, 2008 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Moe, I think I knew your brother Joe. Looked like Curley.

  11. mark
    Posted June 30, 2008 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to say that we scared the crap out of them by telling them that they could have really hurt someone, but we didn’t. We were just kind of stunned. I probably didn’t do a good job of telling the story, but the way it played out was really weird. When the kid said that he was trying to kill this friend of mine, we were just caught totally off guard. It had all been pretty good natured up until then. When he pulled the bottle rocket out, we just kind of headed inside with our daughters. I’d like to think that the kid would have told my friend, had he put it to his lips and lit it, but who knows….

  12. Mark's Adonis
    Posted June 30, 2008 at 11:13 pm | Permalink


    Thanks for the tip. I just left a Dairy Queen ice cream cake along with a couple dozen push pops and a 24 pack of Twinkies loaded with strychnine along that block of Washington.

    That outta teach those little buggers a lesson.

  13. Posted July 1, 2008 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Those darn cigarette additives!

  14. EE
    Posted October 6, 2009 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    That has got to be the DIRTIEST thong that I have EVER seen!!!!!

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