My First Base Jumpby Jim Twardowski
Not really a scary story but a memorable one for me….
I was living in San Diego, going to make my first BASE jump that night from atop an building to remain nameless in Los Angles.
Rode my motorcycle up to Elsinore to see some friends and get some positive energy, mid morning I headed into L.A.
I stopped for some refreshment at an establishment near LAX, you know, the kind of place that requires a lot of dollar bills…
As fortune would have it… this happened to be the day that the Rodney King Pinata team was found “ Not Guilty “.
To the sound of gunshots and the smell of burning automobiles, I ascertained that perhaps this was not the best place for a small town Midwest white boy to be cruising the streets 1/2 toasted on a motorcycle…
Back home to my beach front condo, watching the news that evening, I get the “Where the hell are ya!?!?” call.
”It’s a go man…all the cops are busy tonight!” …On The Road Again….
I find myself on a rooftop looking out over what can only be described as Armageddon…
Sirens wailing and red lights flashing, fires burning, gunshots ring out constantly in the distance. Since I was # 3 of 3 going, I had a few moments to stand alone on that tiny corner of concrete overlooking the chaos that is… “ The End Of The World as ‘I’ know it? “
The sights, the sounds, the smell… The thoughts going through my head at that moment are forever ingrained in my being.
Stepping into the abyss… for one precious second, I had never felt so alive !
I was Chuck Heston and this was Omega Man.
Then it was…Oh Shit!
Get in the game!!
Head up, knees bent, get ready to throw…….. Oh wow… look at that, ~My accelerating reflection in the windows next door…….
The plan was to open high…check canopy, left turn over the wires, middle of the near empty, dark street, flare and land as close to the awaiting ‘getaway’ van as possible.
What happened was… Opening shock…reach for the Zoo Toggles while glancing at my suddenly, remarkably beautiful 7 cell….
BAM------Impact with a HUGE ball o’ dirt !
OUCH……..Where’d that come from?!
Oh, Yeah…..A Planet.
Sitting there on my soon to be bruised ass…
Running quickly through my “ Aw Shit” checklist : 5 times 5 equals 10… no 20… no…25 …fuck it, I hate math, both eyes working, teeth intact, toes wiggle, fingers grip…. balls still situated front and center, no unexpected solids or liquids in their vicinity…
From the darkness behind me, I hear in a sultry sexy southern belle drawl, “Are you OKAY? That was Fantastic! You’re Incredible! Can ya do that AGAIN?!”
(….words I often hear from women this time of night.)
“ Need some help gettin’ up??”
(Err…Ahhh, NOT words I’ve EVER heard before….~Honest!)
Turning around I lock eyes with a 6 foot tall, cropped haired, too well muscled… ‘woman in comfortable shoes’ …as we refer to ladies of her obvious sexual orientation where I come from… in an LA County Sheriffs Department uniform!
Aw Shit checklist #2 ; I wonder if a bailbondsman will take American Express?!
As Ms. Dixie helps me gather my gear, she says~ “ Yer buddies are all over yonder waitin’ on ya, bring ‘em back I wanna meet ‘em.”
…Oh…sure…okay…I’ll be right back, I mumbled over my shoulder as I jogged to the van.
“What took you…the cops will be here any time now” my ‘buddies’ chastised…. Nah, they’re already here, I said…we gotta roll!
After celebrating back at that ‘Dollar Bill” place…green bottles on me!
I was sitting on my Super Glide at a stoplight a couple blocks from an on ramp….405 south.
I raised the visor on my helmet, looked into my eyes with the rear view… Pondering the reflection with satisfaction, a car pulled up along side me…
Several young ‘gentlemen from the neighborhood’ were looking at me ‘hard’… though admiring my bike, they seemed unimpressed with it’s paint job.
I’m sure I heard something about the ‘ Wrong Color!’…. I guess they were up early so they could assist with a neighborhood watch program, they were well enough armed.
I looked to the driver, ( hopefully the ‘alpha male’ ) and gave a quick nod.
I heard him say to his crew, “He awl rite…he cool.”
As the light changed and we both went on our way, ……I couldn’t help but agree with him!
One of the best days of my life!
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What solo jumps are all about
The Early Days of Carl Boenish
The Open Sarcophagus
Steve Morrell Stories: "Dead Steve: One Lucky Bastard!"
Steve Morrell Stories: Saudi Arabia
Rick Harrison: El Capitan Jump
Rick Harrison: My First Jump
Rick Harrison: The Train Jump