"Is everyone ok?" Zack asked a second time. He let out a huge sigh of relief when he heard his friends each reply.
Slater quickly took off his seat belt and tried to open his door. "My door must be jammed," he told everyone as he pushed hard with his shoulder into the door. He let out a slight groan.
"Are you ok?" Kelly asked him concerned.
"Yeah," Slater assured her, "I'm just a little weak from being shook up, I guess," he gave her a nervous smile.
In the front seat, Zack tried pushing on his door. "Well, I know why we can't get out our doors," he began as he peaked over his door. "We're up against the guardrail!"
"How?" Lisa exclaimed. "The guardrail was on my side!"
"I guess we spun around," Zack realized.
"What should we do, Zack?" Screech asked. "Should we call someone for help?"
"No," Zack turned toward his friends. He climbed over his door and over the guardrail. He scanned the side of the car and frowned. He walked over to Slater's window, folded his arms, and leaned in to speak. "Look, I don't think anyone saw us except for the car that passed. Even if they didn't see us wreck, they might've called the cops—"
"And we've got to get out of here before then," Slater finished.
"Right," Zack agreed.
"Can't the cops help us?" Screech asked confused.
"Screech, if the cops show up, they'll find out we were drinking," Zack explained. "Look, I'm sure I can move the car, it'll just get pretty," he paused and chained his choice of words as he looked at the damaged vehicle, "even more scratched up." He looked at Slater. "You want to give me a second opinion?"
"Sure, I guess," Slater answered. He tried to raise himself up with his left arm, but let out another small groan. Then, he reached over with his right and pulled himself up to climb out of the car.
"This is bad," Lisa admitted staring out the front windshield.
"At least no one's hurt," Screech tried to comfort her.
Kelly looked back at Slater who was walking with Zack and rubbing his left shoulder. A worried look spread across her face. "I think Slater is," she confided in her two friends.
Lisa turned around to face her two friends. Before she could say anything, Slater and Zack returned to the car. Zack climbed back in over his door, but Slater went to the other door.
"Do you mind scooting over, Screech?" Slater asked politely.
"Sure," Screech replied. Kelly scooted over to the other door and Screech slid over to the middle.
Lisa turned to Zack, "Did you guys figure it out?"
"Yeah," he turned the key in the ignition, "This is going to sound worse than it is." He pulled the car forward causing it to rub against the guardrail. A loud scratching sound caused everyone to moan in annoyance. Zack scrunched his face in displeasure. Yet, he continued to drive the car to the end of the rail on the shoulder of the road until he could free the car and began in the direction toward town. "At least we were turned in the right direction," he joked weakly.
"At least," Lisa breathed.
Realization of what had happened sunk in on Slater. "What am I going to tell my dad?" Slater sighed and leaned his head back onto his seat. "He's going to kill me!"
"Slater, calm down, we'll figure this out," Zack assured him. He needed everyone to stay calm. His head was too fuzzy to think up a plan at the moment thanks to his nerves, the wreck, and the alcohol. "I'm going to take us to Lisa's and we'll come up with something there."
"Sure," Slater leaned back in defeat. He held his left arm with his right hand.
"Slater," Kelly whispered over Screech, "Are you sure you're ok?" she asked him as she watched him rub his shoulder.
"Yeah, I'll be fine," he smiled at her. "I'm just a little sore, but I'm sure it's nothing." Kelly leaned back against her seat hoping he was right.
No one made a sound on the drive back to Lisa's. As soon as Zack pulled into the driveway, everyone opened their doors in a rush to get out of the car. Lisa led them to her doorstep. As she fumbled around in an attempt to unlock the door, Zack leaned up against the house closing his eyes. He was both tired physically and mentally, but he needed to come through for his friends. After all, he was the one who was driving. He opened his eyes and found Slater silently nursing his shoulder, while a shivering Kelly rubbed her hands on her arms to warm herself as she watched Slater's every move. Screech was the only one who broke the silence as he whistled softly.
After her shaking hands finally cooperated, Lisa pushed open the door and turned on the lights.
"So?" Slater asked Zack with agitation.
"First, we've got to do a 'mall call'," Zack explained.
"What is a 'mall call'?" Lisa asked as she sat down on the couch.
"Where we call our parents and let them know we are staying at each other's houses," Zack explained. "Like when we stayed at the mall."
"But where are we going to be staying?" Slater asked.
"Here," Zack informed them.
"No way!" Lisa argued. She threw up her hands in protest, "My parent's will kill me!"
"No, they won't," Zack corrected her calmly. "Because they won't find out. We'll be gone in plenty of time before they get home tomorrow."
"But, Zack—" Lisa began.
Zack put up his hands to silence her. "If we drive that car back to Slater's tonight—like this, " he paused a moment to let the fact that they'd been drinking and wrecked a car sink into Lisa's head, "his parent's will definitely kill him. Then, his parents will tell our parents." The look he gave her was meant to be stern, but due to the circumstances ended up looking more like begging. "This is the only way."
"Alright," Lisa exhaled shaking her head.
"So, we're safe for tonight, but sooner or later his parents will see the car," Kelly reminded.
"What'll I tell them tomorrow?" Slater asked from his seat on the sofa.
"You were sideswiped?" Lisa suggested. "They can't get mad at you if it wasn't your fault!"
"But the damages look worse than that," Slater shook his head.
"We could tell them I was driving!" Screech offered. "It'd be pretty believable!"
Slater, Zack, Lisa, and Kelly all exchanged glances. Any other time the gang would have laughed, but right now, they were desperate.
"Screech, would you really be willing to take the blame?" Kelly asked making sure he realized what he was offering.
"Sure," he shrugged.
"Wait a second, how would I make my parents believe that I let you drive my car?" Slater asked.
Before anyone could answer, Zack chimed in. "Ok, look, the only way any story will be believable is if it comes from one of our parents," he stated flatly.
The rest of them looked at him as if he had spoken another language.
He spoke the rest of his words as clearly as possible as if he had to explain this new language to his friends. "A parent calls our houses. We don't have to call Kelly's because her parents know where she is already. The parent who calls tells our parents that we've had a wreck, but we are all fine. We're shook up and the car needs looked at, but we're ok. We hit a phone pole because a car swerved at us. Since it's late and we've had a stressful night, we are all staying at that parent's house because it would be the safest thing to do. If anyone offers to come get us, that parents sweetly replies that there is no need, there is plenty of room and it is too late to make them trip tonight."
"It's scary," Slater responded.
"What is?" Zack asked.
"How well you can lie," Slater answered somberly.
Zack stopped pacing and looked at his friends who all stared at him in disbelief. He looked from Lisa to Slater to Screech then to Kelly. "I'm just trying to keep us all out of major trouble."
"That story sounds great, Zack. Except you forgot a tiny detail," Lisa reminded him, "There is no parent to call."
"Actually, there is. There is a parent who each of our parents would have no trouble believing because that person has expertise in the medical field," he looked at her with a slight grin.
"You're asking me to pretend I'm my mother? And to lie to everyone's parents?" Lisa asked in disbelief.
"Just mine, Slater's, and Screech's. Kelly's parents already know where she is," Zack tried to comfort. "Look, I'll be right beside you helping you know exactly what to say," he assured her.
She shook her head and walked over to the phone. "I can't believe I'm doing this."
She dialed the phone nervously.
"Hello, Mr. Slater?" she spoke imitating her mother. "I don't want to alarm you, but the kids had a little bit of an accident tonight."
She bit her lip and looked around at her friends who were all surrounding her. "Oh, don't worry! I've checked them all out, and they are just fine! No, no, there's no reason to come pick them up! I have plenty of space here and they're tired and need their rest—the poor things are shook up! Alright, good night!" She hung up the phone and let out a big sigh. "One down, two to go."