Sharon writes short stories about her rowdy family’s escapades. The stories are true, but the names have been changed to protect the ‘innocent’. They live out their mischievous adventures in Southern California.
The Kidnapping of Margie Frost
Dick and Margie got married in the Mormon Temple in Los Angeles and nine non-Mormon cousins were excluded from the celebration. Though the happy couple had dated for four years, his family didn’t know Margie very well. She was a quiet girl, or maybe only shy in the presence of Dick’s large family. Not that it mattered. It just teed them off that they couldn’t go to their cousin’s wedding because they weren’t members of his church. The newlyweds returned that evening to Fallbrook for a reception which included all family members at the local Mormon Chapel. But, the cousins were not to be consoled by being allowed to attend a mere reception. Something had to be done to appease their wounded vanities. They left the reception early and discovered the couple’s poorly hidden getaway car on a nearby street, parked behind the vehicle, and waited in the dark.
Dick and Margie changed into their getaway clothes and left the reception intending to pick up their luggage stashed at the home of Dick’s parents, and drive back to Davis where he was attending college. As they pulled away from the curb, two sets of headlights also turned on and a small caravan formed behind them as they drove away. So began a chase that started near the church and continued through town, up one street and down another, but they couldn’t lose their tail. In desperation, the newlyweds left the lights of town for an unlit countryside hoping their efforts to escape would be better there. It was neither a poor getaway car nor a slow and careful driver, but the persistence of the pursuers that eventually found the three-car caravan racing in the dark over the dirt roads of the town’s cemetery, giving the tombstones a fresh dusting as the newlyweds tried to ditch their pursuers. Then it was back through town again, past the high school, the bowling alley, up one hill and down another, all to no avail. Dick finally gave up and drove with the tag-alongs to his parents’ home to pick up their luggage and be on their way, secure in the knowledge that no cousins were going to bother following them all the way to Davis. The trailing caravan parked on both sides of his car in the extra wide driveway. “Wait here, Margie,” Dick said as he jumped out of the car, leaving the keys behind. “I’ll go grab our stuff and be right back.” He dashed across the front yard and disappeared into the house, while Margie got out of the car to wait with her new family members. With the fun of chasing newlyweds around the countryside over, the cousins milled around aimlessly with the ever-silent Margie. As they waited for Dick to reappear, Cheryl leaned over and whispered to Andy, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we kidnapped Margie and held her for ransom?” Buddy overheard the suggestion, grabbed Margie and hustled her off to Dick’s car, followed by seven eager co-conspirators. But, Margie spread-eagled herself onto the door frame and they couldn’t get her into the car. “Tickle her!” Cheryl yelled. “That’ll make her let go!” But Margie wasn’t ticklish. Hearing all the commotion, Dick came roaring out of the house, jumped into the driver’s seat of his car on which his bride had spread-eagled herself, and proclaimed, “It’s okay, Margie. I’m here so you can get in now.” Margie released her death grip on the door frame. “Quick! Take her to my car,” Roger ordered. In a chaotically well-coordinated effort, Margie was rushed off to Roger’s car while Robby reached in from the back seat of the car to immobilize his brother by pinning Dick’s shoulders against the driver’s seat while Buddy grabbed Dick’s ankles and held his legs up off of the ground.
Seven cousins and a captured bride crammed into Roger’s car and he drove as the gang fled back through the streets of Fallbrook, leaving an incapacitated bridegroom stranded without his bride. “What’re we gonna do now?” Jamie wondered as they drove. “How do we collect the money?” It was everyone’s question. “How much should we make him pay to get her back?” “I don’t know. What do you think?” “Let’s go to the bowling alley and figure it out.” Victim in tow, they headed to the town’s bowling alley intent on coming up with a plan for exchanging their captive for money. Just as they entered the bowling alley - Yikes! Two sheriff deputies were standing right inside the door. “We just kidnapped this bride and we’re holding her for ransom,” they chorused, as they strolled innocently past while laughing nervously. But, the deputies just laughed in return, as if participating in a joke. The posse of bride nappers located an empty booth and sat down with their captive, ordered nothing, and excitedly began to work out a plan and terms for an exchange. As they bantered ideas back and forth, Margie began to catch the spirit of their adventure. “I’m kind of curious about how much he might think I’m worth,” she ventured, wondering what amount of ransom Dick might be willing to fork over for her release.
In an excess of cousinly love, they considered the dire straits of self-supporting college students and the price was set at a measly ten dollars. The gang left the bowling alley to make the ransom call. The connection was made, the price was accepted, and it was arranged for the exchange to take place at the bottom of the avocado grove at the home of Roger’s parents. The kidnappers drove to the house and Roger descended into the grove to collect the ransom. Though it had been decided, money first, bride second, Roger failed to return with the loot. They had no way of knowing that he had been taken hostage by Dick. In the meantime, Dick’s brother, who had pinned him to the car seat, and his cousin, who had held his feet off of the ground, thus enabling the successful abduction, drove over to Roger’s house to help wait for the ransom. They waited for what seemed an eternity before realizing that Roger was also now a captive. Eventually, they became bored with endless waiting, gave up, and returned with Margie back to the house where it all began, leaving Roger as Dick’s hostage. As their second act of cousinly consideration for the night, they left Dick’s car behind in case Roger managed to escape, which he did. He hiked back through the grove and up the hill, found the car, and drove back to Dick’s house, running over a skunk on the way. It was after midnight before a halt was called to the night’s unplanned festivities and Dick got his bride back. The newlyweds headed north in a skunk pungent vehicle to begin their honeymoon, which didn’t start until after they got a speeding ticket at 2:00 the next morning. Margie was neither quiet nor shy after her successful induction into the family, but her abduction had given birth to the rise of a gang of post-wedding planners. Roger was up next, and payback was called for when he got married later that year. News of Margie’s kidnapping had circulated among Roger’s future in-laws and made them very wary of what his hooligan cousins might be up to. But, when they saw that the bride’s relatives were larger and more numerous, and word was out they were not to be trifled with, the cousins chose to stand down. The mischief this time was done by the bride’s family which mistakenly identified her new father-in-law’s car as the getaway car and flattened all four tires. When it appeared the cousins were getting the blame for the vandalism, they quietly departed the celebratory scene. But, one misadventure was not enough to deter the post-wedding planners. The only question was what form of mischief the miscreants would undertake at the next wedding. Amy, one of the original co-kidnappers, got married a few years later, and once again a bride was abducted! By then, it had come to be expected as one of the wedding traditions, and when the opportunity presented itself, they went for her. “Your turn, Amy,” Roger said as he approached the victim. “Okay,” she said and ran down the street with them to a waiting car. She was more than willing to go with them and would have been disappointed had it been otherwise. Jack wasn't too happy about it though. In fact, when it became apparent after a couple of ransom calls that he was truly angry about losing his bride on his wedding day, Amy was returned for free. Poor Jack. He never had a chance to learn how much fun it can be to kidnap a bride and hold her for ransom. His new family had run out of unmarried cousins. With no more weddings to look forward to, the post-wedding planners that had formed with the kidnaping of Margie Frost had no choice but to retire.