Anarchy called collect and I was happy to answer
by Kate Garrett
The balm of early spring played hide and seek with the curfew I missed, tripping over an hour past the chain-link fence of the impound lot. It was Friday the 13th, but bad luck doesn’t count if you’re seventeen and all four of you read and ignored the tow zone signs, parked the cars there anyway, drunk on sunset and the promise of rabble-rousing, wandering just far enough from home. Home was twenty miles east where the darkness sheathed single-lane dirt track roads, where fear was a deer in our headlights, where the scariest thing was the hearsay gathering of devil worshippers at the covered bridge. And here we were, concert abandoned five songs in so the real adventure could begin: scrabbling round dorms for a phone, for a lift to a neighbourhood my mother told me would happily see me dead; trawling for ATMs and borrowing cash and vowing never to be so stupid again. As Friday night rolled into Saturday morning my tiptoe steps through our front door were met by her familiar rage. I cried and told her I was already afraid; my jaw unslapped, saved for another day. She said she thought I’d learned my lesson about the city, but I hadn’t. Instead as I crept into bed I knew: there was nothing left for me on the one lane roads, that I’d taken my chances on tow zones, and survived.
AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: One of my senior year photos taken in August 1997. I was a huge Chicago Bulls fan in my teens.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This piece is about Friday, 13th March 1998, when I was still 17 for three more months, and I ventured into the city (Cincinnati –- I grew up in a rural village in southern Ohio) with three friends to attend a Chumbawamba concert -– I wasn’t allowed in the city, and I was out past curfew. The dynamic between my abusive parents and me started to shift after that night, so it stands out as a turning point in what is often a year of dramatic changes for a lot of people.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kate Garrett is a writer, mother, editor, wife, history buff, horror fan and amateur folklorist. Her books include The names of things unseen (published in Caboodle, Prolebooks, 2015) and most recently The Density of Salt (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2016) which was longlisted for best pamphlet in the 2016 Saboteur Awards, and Deadly, Delicate (2016). She is the founding editor of the web journals Three Drops from a Cauldron and Picaroon Poetry. Kate lives in Sheffield, England, where she walks the rivers and dreams of living by the Irish Sea. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.