“Privit Property. Terspasers Will Be Persecuted”

I’ve been on some weird road trips, one could say. Last night, I ended up mentioning albinos with shotguns. Yeup. Albinos with shotguns. Let me elaborate.

I live with three roommates. One of them is from Central California and the other two are from Northern California. San Jose and San Francisco, to be exact. When winter break rolled around late last year, we decided it was the ideal time to have a roommate-bonding trip. As I’ve mentioned before, I get along a lot better with this set of people than I have with any of my past roommates, so this didn’t seem like the horrendous torture it could have been. Viv suggested that we go up to NorCal so that people could visit their families, we could do the tourist thing by the bay, and would avoid having to pay for hotels by crashing at her parents’ house. Bags packed, we headed up.

Flash forward a couple of days spent doing various tacky touristy things up the coast and into San Francisco. Pause on the last night we spent there. This is when it got interesting. We’d had brunch at a dim-sum restaurant earlier and our discussion had veered towards high school hijinks. Viv told us about the local rumors concerning Marsh Road, a place of some infamy amongst her schoolmates years ago, possibly dating back much further, definitely still in circulation today.

The bay area of Northern California is a fairly lush and verdant patch of land. Rolling green hills, densely wooded seaside cliffs, islands covered in coniferous forest, ancient redwoods further inland. We don’t have anything like it down in SoCal because our weather isn’t nearly as wet or cold. A lot of it is private property, too, so it’s quite conceivable that somebody could buy a plot of wilderness and live as a hermit in such a place. This is what Viv claimed had happened along one particularly lonely stretch of greenery between San Jose and Calaveras called Marsh Road. The catch being it wasn’t your typical old hermit in a shack that was living out there… it was a colony of slightly crazed anti-social rifle-wielding albinos. It might have started out as one lone albino; it probably did. But somehow, they multiplied. Or so she said.

“An albino colony!” we exclaimed. “We must see it.” Because, well, we’re sick that way. I don’t have anything against albinos, of course. Never met one, but would be perfectly courteous to him or her if I ever did. I don’t have anything against colonies of alternative-thinking individuals, either. My good friend Sheila lives just a hop and a skip away from a family nudist colony, which we always drive by with rapt attention in case we should spy one of its denizens. So seeing an albino colony would be killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. For some reason, I think most of us were imagining these people running through the bushes naked with guns, though I’m sure it wasn’t a nudist albino militia colony. At any rate, intense curiosity was evident in our group.

But it wasn’t that simple. It rarely is. She then went on to tell us of the time she had gone down there with another group of friends, on a dare. If the place wasn’t haunted, it was damned well close to it thanks to how secretive those albinos were. You only saw them if you went at night, for one thing, because that was when they were up. And you had to turn off your headlights, because they would be alerted and start shooting at you right away if you didn’t. They hid in the greenery and woods on either side of the narrow one-lane dirt path that snaked down into the property, you see. So there was basically no turning back once you started driving forward in the pitch black rural night, because there was no room to maneuver whatsoever. Their car made it as far as the old covered bridge which separated the road from the homestead before the road widened (just barely) enough for them to make the 10-point turn that got them facing the other way. It’s said that those who go over the bridge simply don’t come back. At least, nobody had ever done it in the time Viv could remember. By then, they were quite spooked and drove back out as fast as they could. As they did, they could hear rocks and various other things pelting against their back window. It could have been the dirt and pebbles being hurled into the air by their retreating tires, or it could have been something else. They didn’t turn back to check.

We blinked after hearing her finish, and decided that this was definitely something we wanted to do. We kept on bugging her about it for the rest of the day, until she finally broke down and called her friend to ask for directions on how to get there. After a bit of wandering, we got to the supposed exit and stopped outside a gated metal fence. There was a hand-lettered sign tacked to a wooden post that, quite literally, read something to the extent of “Privit Property. Terspasers Will Be Persecuted”. Okay, we reasoned, so maybe they didn’t have much of a chance to educate themselves in their isolation. This was understandable. We stared a bit more in silence.

“You realize, of course, that they might throw things at us and possibly shoot at us,” somebody piped up in the back. “And that they’d have perfectly legal grounds to do so,” added somebody else. “Great, guys, because I’m sure my parents will love me when I bring back my brand new car pockmarked with bullet holes,” I responded. (As if, I might add, my parents didn’t already think I was always getting into trouble. And that’s without knowing about the time I spent in prison , a story I will relate in more detail one of these days.) More silence.

“Y’know, maybe we should just go get some ice cream instead.”
“Good idea.”

And that was the end of that. I would have done it, honestly, if not for the threat to my car. Mostly because I’m far more scared of my parents than anything that goes bump in the night. We’ve sworn that we’ll do it, definitely, one day, though. We might just take a renter instead.

The end. 😉


  1. When I first moved to Ohio…I was living with my gf at the time. She was finishing up a semester at Ohio University in Athens. Anyway, she was doing this project on the poverty of rural appalachians, or something like that. Basically, I got to drive her around while she took covert snapshots of people’s trailer homes and the such.

    Well, we came upon this one house that was perfect for her project. Yard was covered in debris, cars up on blocks, you name it. So, I start to drive slowly by.

    All is quiet.

    A dog begins to bark. Quite loudly at that, and all of a sudden, I hear someone shout “JUST WHATtheHELLYOUDOIN???!!!”

    Shit! We’ve been spotted! So, I floor it. Well, as much as you can floor a 1992 Geo Metro. All three cylinders were pushed to the max as we made as hasty a retreat as possible. Next thing I know, we’re involved in a highspeed chase through lots of twisty mountain roads. Me in my poor Metro, him in his rapidly deteriorating pickup truck.

    We’re doomed. I take a turn, and suddenly he pulls into the oncoming traffic lane, and passes me.

    If I’d been smart, I would’ve hit my brakes and turned around. But no.

    Thinking we were clear, I kept going, looking for the next turn so I could head back.

    We’re going around a bend in the road, and THERE HE IS. WAITING FOR US. He had pulled over to the side of the road.

    He was stepping out of his truck…

    He was reaching into his coat…

    I knew I was a dead man at this point. If he’d shot at us, I’d have been hit right in the forehead. I start to hit the brakes…

    He pulls out….


    And steps into the road, and takes our picture.

    Maybe he was doing a sociology project on insane college students and their boyfriends who get conned into driving them around.

    Only a minor heart attack, and I didn’t soil my trousers either. I did have a very large beer when I got back into town, though. 🙂

  2. You should have asked for a copy of that photo…

    Hicks. Scary. Bleah.

  3. uh….yeah. 😉

    I might have considered it if “Duelling Banjos” hadn’t been blasting out of his truck…

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