My heart was about to take its last beat when we met “Crazy Ben.” Well, it wouldn’t be correct if I said we “met” him, because I’ve only seen this guy for about a second in the darkness. But, this guy almost ended my life once and for good when we had that surprise party at Nyle’s house.
I woke up, slipped on my clothes, stuffed breakfast into my mouth, brushed my teeth, and stormed right out of the front door to go to school like I did every morning. Nothing was unusual, except for the glaring fact that this week was my last week in the U.S. What that meant was that in a week, I had to move back to Japan since my father’s job in the U.S. is done now.
So anyways, I arrived at school as always, and when I was walking down the hallway for history class, and one of my closest friends, Mitchell, said to me, “Hey, you should sleep over at my house on the day before you leave. We’re going to make it hard for you to leave. Ha ha.”
That was probably the last chance that I ever get to hang out with any of my American friends, so I said, “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. I’ll go home with you after school that day then.”
“Alright, cool. Be prepared to be surprised,” he replied. I haven’t played with my friends recently, so I was extremely excited for that day to arrive, not aware of the fact that the “surprise” was a murderous one.
On the day before I took off for Japan, I said goodbye to all the people who I knew well at school before I went to Mitchell’s house. I hopped onto the school bus and got dropped off at his house with him. We decided to play basketball, so we played 1-on-1 like we always did. Then we went inside and played video games for a while until we got tired of that. Okay… so where was the surprise part? I found out later that the surprise turned out to be bigger than I ever would’ve guessed.
At about 4:30PM, when Mitchell and I were watching TV on his couch, his dad came into the living room and said, “Hey, you guys want to go for a little drive?”
“Yeah, sure. We were bored out of our minds,” said Mitchell. So we hopped onto Mitchell’s dad’s Hummer, and started heading for what was pretended to be nowhere.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
“Oh, nowhere. Just trying to give you a little drive around Huron before you go back to Japan,” he said. “Okay that’s Nick’s house, that’s Drew’s house… hey look! that huge house is Nyle’s.”
Nyle lived in one of the biggest houses I’ve ever seen in my life. Well, it wasn’t very big when you looked at it from the outside, because it was his basement that was humongous.
“Hey Mitch, you want to go get your PlayStation 3 back from Nyle since we’re here?” his dad said.
“Oh yeah, sure. Hey Masaya, want to come with me?”
“Okay,” I replied, and hopped off of the Hummer and rang the doorbell. Nobody answered.
“Okay… I guess we’ll have to go in since he’s not hearing the doorbell,” Mitch said. So we went to into his house and went to his room.
“Nyle! We came to get my PS3!” Mitch called out, but nobody replied. Have he gone somewhere? Or is he somewhere else in the house that he can’t hear us because his house is so gigantic?
“Let’s go to the kitchen,” Mitchell said, so we did. Nobody was in sight.
“Well I guess we have to take the PS3 back home without telling him then,” he said. So we headed for the exit of the kitchen to go back up to his room. Right then, I heard a voice: “Surprise!!!!” I didn’t know what was going on for a second, but when I realized, about 20 of my friends had come out from behind the counters, couches, TVs, and other furniture. I really was surprised.
“Oh my God, are you serious!? I can’t believe it!! You guys planned all this just for me?” I said, still not clearly understanding what was going on.
“Man, we can’t just let you go without having a good time with you before you leave,” said Drew, one of my best friends. All my best friends were there: Nick, my first American friend, Danny, my closest friend, Drew, the funny friend that I enjoy talking with the most, and so on and so fourth. I knew we were going to have a great time.
The over-night surprise party was a lot more fun than I’d thought it would be. We watched movies, played a lot of games, played football, ate a lot of good food, played hide-and-go-seek and basketball at night, and many other things. While we were just chilling on the couch at about midnight, Nyle said, “Hey I wonder if that Crazy Ben guy’s still in there.”
“What ‘Crazy Ben guy’?” I asked.
“It’s this mentally-challenged person that lives in the woods behind my house. He comes out of the woods sometimes carrying some sort of a weapon, like AK47. Since he’s a homeless, he came to our house once and almost killed my dad.”
The story was too hard to believe for anyone. We were laughing and joking a second ago, but now, we were all speechless, looking like we were listening to someone’s death speech. Then Mitchell said, “Well, let’s go see it then!” I thought that he was out of his mind. However, everybody started raising their hands to show that they agree. Go to a mentally-challenged murderer’s house in the woods at midnight? They weren’t serious, were they?
“Okay, so it looks like we’re going there! Follow me, guys, and I’ll show you the way,” said Nyle, and ran across his backyard towards the woods. Everybody followed, which meant that I had to, also.
“If you make any kind of a noise or talk even a little, you’re dead meat,” explained Nyle to the tourists, and continued leading the way.
As we tip-toed through the woods, we came to a small clearing. I looked around to find a green tent that people use for camps. Who would want to camp out here?
I walked around a little while and stepped on something hard. I looked down at it and didn’t believe my eyes: a shotgun.
“Holy crap!” I unconsciously yelled. That turned out to be a big mistake.
“Dude, shut your mouth!” Drew whispered at me. Then we heard a long moan followed by a voice: “Hey, who’s there?”
Everybody froze for a second. Of course we looked at the place where the voice was coming from. It didn’t take a second to look at the face and know for sure that it was Crazy Ben, awaken in the tent.
“Run!” yelled Nyle, and we all ran for our dear lives. After I took one step away from wherever I was standing, I fell into a hidden trap hole. It was too deep to climb back out.
“Hey guys! Wait! HELP!!” I yelled at the top of my lungs, but nobody heard it, since they were all too busy saving their own lives. I was doomed. I was going to get killed.
I screamed for a while, but then quit when I learned that there was nobody around to hear my voice. I waited for a moment to see what would happen, but nothing happened. I guess Crazy Ben didn’t realize that I had fallen into a trap hole.
I tried to climb silently out from the hole, but it was impossible. I was stuck at the bottom of the hole, and it felt like there was no way I was going to make it out alive.
After waiting for about an hour, I heard footsteps heading towards my way. I knew it wasn’t Crazy Ben, because there was more than one person.
“Hello? Mr. Tatsuta, are you there? Can you hear my voice?” a deep, husky voice asked, and I knew right away that it was the police. Somebody had called them to come save me.
“Yeah I’m Mr. Tatsuta, but right now, I’m more like Mr. Needs-To-Have-His-Life-Saved,” I said, and a rope dangled from the top of the hole. I used it to climb out of the hole. There were two policemen there.
“Your friends called and they said you were lost in the woods while running away from a man named Crazy Ben,” an officer said, and they looked around for a while.
“Well, do you know where he is now?” he asked. I looked at the tent… which wasn’t there anymore. Everything was gone, from Crazy Ben’s house to the shotgun.
“What in the world? He was sleeping in the tent that was right there and he woke up and…” I was lost for words. How could this be? Every single one of my friends saw him, so I was sure he was there. How could he disappear just like that?
“Kids these days…” the other officer said, angrily. “They believe in too many rumors and stupid stories. Crazy Ben? Psh. I’ve heard stories like that a million times.”
I thought for a moment. Maybe the officer was right. Maybe there was no Crazy Ben. Maybe the whole story was just a lie that Nyle made up. Wow. I do believe in too many stupid stories.
As I brushed the leaves and the dirt off of my clothes, I heard something I’ve heard before: “Surprise!!!!” I was frozen… again. I looked around and saw my friends poking their heads out from behind the trees. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing…again.
“… You have got to be kidding me,” I said, still not smiling, frowning, or anything. Just pokerfaced.
“Ha ha!! Got you!!” Nyle said, and everyone started laughing their guts out. It took about a minute for me to be able to laugh along with them. The surprise party turned out to be a bigger surprise.
I took off for Japan that afternoon. I was depressed to see the country fade away behind. However, somewhere in the back of my head, I still believed Crazy Ben really exists because I actually thought he was going to end my life.