Random Thoughts and Memories: Big Trouble Under Brook Lane

Big Trouble Under Brook Lane

When I first moved to Wrightsville our development was very new and a lot of things were still left undone. For this story the thing left undone was the storm drain system. At the bottom of our hill was a small chasm that the open storm drain lead out to beckon all to explore. In the builder's defense they did try to deter kids from going into the pipes by covering the entrance with a grate. It wasn't attached in any fashion. Just propped against the opening. The Townsleys had taken the grate to add to their fort.

It was wet, dark, slimy and just plain cool! Most everyone lost interest after the first time except for, Gina Nunez, Darren Yeager, and Glen Miller and myself. We had been making daily trips until we must've started to smell. We were warned against rats, snakes, and other various dangers and told never to return to the pipes.

We would return to the pipes two more times. The first time was to save the day for a little girl that lived two houses down from me. She had lost her ball down the storm drain. As with most little children it was the end of the world for her. So doing a good deed Darren and I took to the pipes and retrieved her ball, with one casualty. My brand new flip flops the day before leaving for Ocean City.

My Mom was so angry with me. It wasn't so much that I went into the pipes again. She knew I was just trying to be nice. It was the fact that they were brand new, like only wore them a couple times brand new. My punishment? Buy a new pair down in Ocean City.

The second time surprisingly would be shortly after I returned from Ocean City. It was a chilly summer day and had been raining. We started talking about the pipes and how much water must be in there especially at the intersection of Circle Drive and Brook Lane. That was always our stopping point since it was always really nasty at that point and the ground wasn't solid there because of the run off from the stone piles that used to sit along the road.

Darren began to brag that he gotten past that point. Glen, Gina, and I couldn't believe he had gotten past that point, and if he had why did he go without us? With Darren Leading the way, we were off on another adventure.

It was a lot harder to travel the pipes on that day. The recent rains had made all the surfaces wet and slippery. We had stopped at an open storm drain halfway up the road just to rest. There was a small drainage pipe that went across the road. Glen started to say that he could get through to the other side. We just laughed at him and said that there was no way. Of the four of us, Glen was the stockiest. That pipe was small.

I tried to be the voice of reason. I tried to stop him but he went anyway. It felt like forever for him to get to he other side. When he did finally made it we all cheered him on. Unfortunately the way back wouldn't be as easy.

At about the halfway point we heard him cry, "I'm Stuck!" We tried to coach him to move in certain ways, but he said every time he moved something was stabbing him in the back. Visions of Brook Lane being ripped up to get Glen out flooded my mind. The voice of my Mom telling me I'm grounded for life sprung me into action. "I'm coming to get you!"

As an adult and after seeing a dozen confined spaces safety videos I know this was very dangerous.

Making my way down the pipe I could hear Gina getting upset and say, "I'm getting my Mom!" Getting to where Glen was stuck I could hear him breathing so heavily. He whispered between rasps, "It hurts." I reached over him to feel the pipe and found a piece of jagged metal that had snagged his jacket and was pressed against his back. I had worked his jacket free and told him to get as flat as possible. In a moment that felt like forever he was free.

We quickly made it to safety and celebrated. The celebration was short-lived. Up the street we could see Gina approaching with her mom Rosa. We all loved Rosa. And we all disliked Rosa. Even though she was the go to person on the block whenever we needed a Band-Aid or needed a comforting word. She was the one that made sure our parents knew every bad thing we did.

Consequently we were all grounded for a week and Rosa called the builders and the drain pipe was permanently closed off. Our days of drain pipe exploring had come to an end. I never did get to go past the intersection of the pipes

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