Summer of Change

Summer of Change The first day I met Kurt we went to pick up smokes for bottle-toking hash. When we got up to the counter he pulled out two fistfuls of quarters, slapped them on the counter and asked for a large pack of Players Light (Canadians will know that brand).

No need for ID

Despite the fact that we were 15 the clerk never asked for ID. I think she was so taken aback that we planned to pay in change, everything else was forgotten. I thought it was a little odd! Throughout that week everything Kurt bought (food, magazines etc..) was paid for with a seemingly endless supply of quarters he kept in his knapsack (backpack if your American). Kurt was a pretty intense kid so I didn’t really say much since I hadn’t known him very long.

At his house all is revealed

A week or so later I went to his house for the first time and after walking into his room I noticed 4 payphones lined up in the closet.

Me: “Dude what the fuck?? Why do you have payphones in your house?”
Kurt: “Oh I found them in the woods”

Kurt was the best criminal I have ever met mainly because he would never admit to a crime even when it was blatantly obvious what he had done. You would always end of having to piece it together based on little bits of information discovered independently from all our friends.

Quiet nights in Springbank Park

Turns out one night on his way home (and while quite high) Kurt took a detour through the park. He stumbled across a payphone and figured there might be some free money in there. He went home, got a hammer and headed back to the park. He then spent a few hours busting open the payphone and taking out all the change. After seeing how time consuming the crime was he realized it would be easier the next time to just take the whole phone (after smashing it off the stand), bring it back home and then break into it at his leisure. So the next weekend he stole the 4 remaining pay phones in the park.

Making mother proud

Kurt’s poor mother had to watch her son break apart pay phones in the backyard and I am sure not be satisfied with whatever excuse he must have come up with to explain what he was doing. Like any good mother she was so loyal to Kurt that she always just went along with his schemes. Each phone netted in about $150.00 so it took quite a while for him to work through all that change. I asked him why he didn’t just roll it up and go to the bank, but I think he just liked the looks on peoples faces when he paid for all our dinner with quarters!

Mother becomes clean up expert

About three weeks later a friend of ours that lived just outside of town on a farm came to school with a crazy story. He had almost crashed his truck on the way to school because as he turned a sharp corner he was confronted with 4 pay phones laying in the middle of the road. Turns out Kurt’s mother was scared the police would come and take him off to jail so late one night she carried all the phones to her car, drove just outside of town and dumped them on the road. This would not be the first time she was forced into playing accomplice to Kurt’s endeavors.

The park becomes just a little more dangerous at night

The city’s responses to the thefts was to not replace the phones at all. This meant being in the park late at night was even more scary since you couldn’t even call for help if there was trouble. Kurt was happy since he learned a lot from the experience of busting the phones open. Knowledge that would help him, Tyler and Eddie embark on a spree of robbing vending machines and parking meters across the city. That summer became known as “The Summer of Change”.

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