Not long after hosting the post-production party for a play presented by the Pickwick Players, my mother and I were clearing my bedroom as our family prepared to move to a new location about twelve hundred miles diagonally across the nation to the northeast. We would be living on a farm there not far from the southern tip of Lake Michigan.
With everything else boxed up in the room and its closets, she decided we should turn the mattress on my bed. When we did, we both spotted an unopened can of malt liquor nestled right beneath the center of the queen-sized mattress. Mom looked at me and I looked back at her and shrugged innocently, declaring that I hadn't put it there.
Mom knew me well enough to know I wasn't lying about it, but she confiscated the can and as we turned the mattress we speculated on how it got there. I told her it was probably a friend of mine named Scott from the Pickwick Players, a well-known prankster who had orchestrated early-morning kidnapping of all cast and crew of a play we had all been working on the day before it went live on stage.
I can just see Scott shoving that can of booze beneath my mattress during the post-production party, giggling to himself and possibly with cohorts in on the prank at the time over how the can might be discovered and whether or not I would have the courage to consume it. Not a fan of alcoholic beverages of any kind in those days, drinking it would never have occurred to me. Or maybe he thought I might get into a jam trying to explain it away if my mother found it while changing the sheets on the bed. Almost, Scott, but no cigar.
I never saw or heard from him again since leaving that town, but I never have forgotten him.