I yawned as I walked toward my kitchen. It was a nice looking Saturday morning, but it was too early for anything except coffee. Lots of coffee. Muchas coffee. As I poured my second cup, and the cobwebs in my head began to clear away, I heard a sudden commotion outside my house. I wandered to the window, sipping coffee (mmmmcoffee) and taking my sweet time. Nothing is going to get me to move fast this early on a Saturday. Why, it must be near eleven!
I stood looking out the window in my jammies, when I realised that a huge crowd was chasing some people down my street. Was it a lynching? Considering I lived in the suburbs, I didn't think that was possible.
Upon closer inspection (really just me squinting) I realised that the crowd, which was wholly teenage girls, seemed to be chasing a group of about five guys. At this point I ran out of coffee and my brain stopped functioning, so I went back to the kitchen for a refill. As I was pouring a cup, I noticed that the coffee in the pot was shaking. Remember that scene from Jurassic park? With the dinosaur walking around? There you go. Then the shaking intensified, and I heard the screaming of the girls as they rushed past my house. Finally, though, everything settled down, and I went back to waking up.
I was in the process of getting dressed, when I heard a rustling in the yard. The neighbor's cat was often in my backyard, chasing birds, but it didn't sound so big, and it didn't usually swear as it went through the bushes.
I had a prowler!
Instantly I was wide awake. After five cups of java, and a full burst of adrenaline, I was ready to waltz out there and take the prowler on myself. But luckily, my brain caught up with me, and I decided to be more careful. Also, I decided to put on some pants.
I snuck to the hall closet and pulled on my boots. Noticing in the back of the closet a big 2x4 left over from some project that I had been working on, and I grabbed that as insurance. Why I had the wood in my closet next to my boots and my good coat, I have no idea, but I wasn't going to worry about that now. I hefted my new club, found its weight satisfactory--ie, it wasn't heavy--and crept around to the back door. I opened it a crack, to find that there were four-no five, guys in my backyard. Prowlers. Burglars. Evil people. A whole bunch of nasty thoughts ran through my mind as suddenly, they noticed me.
Then I opened the door and leapt out, screaming and waving my 2x4 in various directions. The guys all backed up against the fence. We eyed each other warily, until one of the them, a tall dark one, took a step forward and said "Um, excuse me, but we're the Backstreet Boys and we're being chased by fans. Could we hide in your house maybe?"
I considered his idea, still waving my wood, until I heard, softly, the sound of the horde returning. That makes up my mind; no one should be subjected to the company of teenage girls. The faint memory of what I used to do at that age gives me a shudder. "All right." I said. "Come on." I held the door open, holding the wood in my other hand. They murmur thanks as the file in. "We'll go to the doorstairs hall. It's the only place in the house without windows." I said. I led them down to the downstairs hall.
It's basically a hall with the TV room at one end and the door to the garage at the other. They all sit down wearily on one side of the wall, and I sit down on the other side, after closing all the doors. The curtains in the living and TV rooms were lace, so not much use to keep out prying eyes. The hallway was the best, even though it's cramped.
We sat for a while, just looking at each other, so I decided to take the initiative. "Okay, we'll need names. I'm Lily. What's yours?" I ask, waving my wood at the dark one who had talked to me before.
"My name's Kevin Richardson," he says, squishing against the wall to avoid the wood from going up his nose. You wave the wood down to the next person. "Brian Littrel." Next down the row. "Nick Carter." "A.J. McLean." and finally "Howie Dorough."
"Hmm." you say, taking this all in. The Backstreet Boys are in sorry condition, with some bruises, and cuts. Howie's shirt is ripped. They all look as if they need a nap. Outside, you can hear screams and shouts of the girls.
"I think I'll get something to drink." I said after an awkward pause. "Anybody want some lemonade?" What I'd really like is some whisky straight from the bottle, but I didn't have any. The Boys all nod in agreement, except for Howie, who asked for some tea.
"Tea." I repeated, trying to think if I have any in the house. Finally, I remember I have a couple packages stored for when my mother--english mother--comes to visit. "Sure." I say. "I guess I have some. If you don't mind Orange Pekoe."
"Fine with me," he says, grinning. He seems pretty cheerful. I nod, and get up to get the tea. On a second thought, I leave the wood behind. They seem like a nice bunch.
I searched through my cupboards, dug out the tea, got the kettle boiling, and then made the lemonade. Actually, it was Orange Punch, but it was all I had in my freezer. I write "lemonade" on my list of things to do/get. Then I went through my closet, found a shirt belonging to my brother, and that was too large for me, and put it on my tray. The kettle whistles, I make the tea, I find some bandaids, and make my way downstairs.
As I pass the front window, I realise that the girls are checking all the houses on the street. I make my way down the stairs, and Kevin holds the door open, as I set down the tray.
"Here's the orange stuff--I didn't have any lemonade," I explain. "There's also some bandaids and a shirt for you, Howie." Howie takes the shirt, grinning, and puts it on. I try to avert my eyes while he slips the other one off--but as Oscar Wilde once said: "I can avoid everything but temptation." The only problem is that I over estimated Howie's shirt size; the shirt is just as baggy on him as on me. Oh well.
"Thanks for all of this," Nick says.
"We really appreciate it," Brian chimes in. A.J. nods, trying not to spill his Orange Punch.
"No problem," I say. "But we're not out of the woods yet. Those girls are searching house to house, and I know they've seen me."
As testament to the irony of the universe, the doorbell rings. Then rings again. Then begins to ring furiously. The Boys all cringe. "I'll get it," I said cheerfully, standing up. I flash them all a quick smile, then wander up to the door.
"Hello," I say, opening the door to reveal a mob on my doorstep. "I'm sorry, I've already bought my quotient of cookies for this year." I pat my tummy appreciatively.
"What?" the girls look confused. Then one of them shrieks "We're looking for the Backstreet Boys!"
"'Cause they're dreamy!"
Suddenly the mob starts yelling out various comments, mostly on the Boys' physique.
I sigh, and wave my arms for some quiet. "Are the `Backstreet Boys' a jazz quartet? No? Are you sure? Then I don't know them," I say, putting on my best innocence face.
"Are you sure, lady?" one voice calls out. "I mean, they're the Backstreet Boys!"
"True," I say smugly. "But I'm ancient. Almost thirty." The girls gasp and murmur agreement with me, and they begin to file on to the next house. I close the door, lock it, and head back down to the basement.
"Okay, they're gone," I announce, walking down the stairs. Kevin, Howie, Nick, A.J. and Brian sigh in relief. "The only thing left is how to get you guys home. Or at least out of my house. I'm not sure how much those girls bought. My insurance doesn't cover Acts Of Teenagers."
The guys all grin, and suddenly, the telephone rings. I look over, but the light isn't flashing on my phone, so it must be somebody else's. It's Kevin's. He takes it out, and starts to talk to his manager.
"He wants to know where we are," Kevin says.
"852 Magnolia Dr. Newmarket, Ontario." I answered. Kevin repeated this back to the manager, who was obviously becoming more irate, judging from the rate, in inches, that Kevin was moving the phone away from him.
"We've got to get to Toronto," Kevin said, after hanging up the phone. "We've got to go do a show at, oh, what's it called-" "Much Music?" I ventured.
"That's it!" Howie beamed.
"Much has played nothing but ads for your appearance since forever. People have been lining up since this morning."
"Then we've got to get there!" Brian said, standing up. "We can't let them all down." The other Boys nodded in agreement.
I thought for a minute, and then had an idea.
"I can call a taxi, to take you to Toronto." I said. "Here. Let me use the phone." I take Kevin's phone, and dial up the number for the taxi company. (I know it off by heart because my car broke down for three weeks) I quickly explain what I need.
"They'll be here in fifteen minutes."
"But you didn't give them any directions," Brian points out. "I know." I smiled. They're just as familiar with me as I am with them. "I can get Fred to pull into the garage--but what will we do about pulling out?" We all think for a minute, but I've used up my ideas for the day, it seems.
"Maybe they'll be gone by then." Howie says hopefully. You feel like laughing, remembering your Teenage Crushes, and knowing that flamethrowers won't keep the girls away.
Then there's a honk outside. You go to talk to Fred, and tell him to pull into the garage. Once in, you realise that you have an even bigger problem. How are you going to fit everybody in?
"You'll have to come, we have no idea where "Much Music" is," A.J. says.
I sigh. "Then you guys will have to squish into the back seat." I say. They nod, accepting their fate.
"Hey, Lil," Fred calls. "These ain't your kids, huh?"
"What?" I go to the window, to peer out and see an ocean of teens. "Oh dear."
"What?" Howie starts to look out the window but I stop him. They girls can just as easily see in.
I sigh for the trillionth time this hour and wish for that seventh cup of coffee. Then I notice a blanket in the corner of the garage. I can almost see the lightbulb that must have appeared over my head.
"Okay. Get in, squash down, and I'll cover you in the blanket. I'm taking furniture to Toronto. Yeah, that's it." I am quite pleased with my plan. It isn't the greatest, but hey. The Boys start to get in. I wait a moment and then I open the garage door. "Excuse me, girls. You're going to need to get out way for the taxi."
"We know you have them in there!" one shrieks. I stare at her, trying to project parental authority. All I get is more screaming.
"Girls," I say firmly, "I need to back the car out. I am not going to reveal my business to the likes of you." I turn and get in the taxi. "Feel free to run 'em over, Fred."
We pull out, without any major lawsuits, and begin our drive to Toronto. The Boys shrug the blanket off.
"How long 'til we get to Toronto?" Howie asks.
"About forty-five minutes, usually, but the way Fred drives..." I trail off, clutching at the door handle as the car goes around a turn at approximately 150 miles per hour. "The way Fred drives, maybe fifteen."
"This is beginning to seem like a bad idea," Kevin admits, being the one on the door side. A.J., on the other door side, nods and groans.
"You can get your elbow out of my ribs now, Nick." he says. "That's not my elbow!"
"Well it's not mine!"
"While you're out it, stop stepping on my feet," Brian exclaims.
"I am not!" Nick yells.
"You are too!"
"SHADDDDDDUPPP!!" I scream at the top of my lungs. In the taxi the volume suddenly drops, and even Fred seems ashamed. I took a deep breath. "What were you all doing in Newmarket, anyway?" I ask, calmly. Or at least pretend-calmly.
"We just wanted to get away for a bit," Howie explained.
"Away? To Newmarket?!" I can't quite grasp the logic.
"We thought it was out of the way enough," A.J. explains. He elbows Nick, but one look from me stops it in its tracks.
"If you wanted to get away, you should go to, I don't know, camping or something. Not a town full of hyper prepubescent girls."
"Where is there to camp around here?" Brian asks, interested.
"Uh..there's Muskoka, Algonquin Provincial Park, Sandbanks Provincial Park--although that one gets crowded..."
"What would you suggest?" asks Kevin. My mind stumbles around for a bit, searching for a memory of camping. As a general rule, I don't enjoy Nature much...
"Algonquin Park," I finally say, selected on the basis of "A" is the first letter in the alphabet.
"We'll have to give it a try." Kevin says, flashing a grin. I grin back, and for a split second see why the girls are so worked up.
The rest of the ride was uneventful. I got to the Much Music building after a lot of driving around (I don't go to Toronto much any more) and we said goodbye in the parking lot. I waved as they went into the building, and they waved back. End of story.
We turned around, I got home, I paid Fred (a huge, nearly obscene amount) and sat on my sofa, waiting for my coffee to brew. I was so tired I could barely hold my head up, and had a dreadful sense of deja vu.
About a month later, I got a letter from the Backstreet Boys. They managed to track my Postal Code down (Kevin remembered my address) and sent a letter, containing the money they thought would pay for the taxi ride. Since it was a) twice as much as I paid, and b) in American, I was hesitant about accepting the cheque, but then in the letter, they said that they were going camping in Algonquin Park and did I want to join them? I said I did. I cashed the check, changed the money, and used the extra to buy a big supply of instant coffee.