I wrote this for a Third Coast Festival contest years ago, but it had to be under three minutes long so I never submitted it. It had to start with “To begin with, they never got along” or something like that.
I ended up really liking this piece at this length. It’s 100% true. The party was beyond epic and it’s just kind of amazing to think of the people in my life at this time, all the stuff going on. It was really fun.
A bit of the story I cut in an effort to bring it down to three minutes: Late in my junior year, I bought a pickup that looked similar to Dirk’s. Same Ford F100, about the same model year. They were different colors but we both had five orange lights above the windshield on the cab. I didn’t really think about it at first, but at night, our trucks looked a lot alike.
Back then, we basically drove around a lot. Most people had a vehicle, and if you didn’t, you made friends with someone who did. So, I’m driving around, cruising, and people are honking, waving, I got flashed by a girl outside a bar, people yelled at me. My friends and I were like, “WTF is going on?!?” It was like we were suddenly movie stars or something. Dirk actually stopped me to find out who I was, because I was confusing people. He was pretty cool at that point, but during the conversation, I thought he was actually going to force me to take the lights off or something. People eventually figured it out, mostly, but twice I had a bunch of very angry men - not boys, men - running me down to give me some heat. When they figured out I wasn’t Dirk, they moved on. I guess the life of the local Big Fish wasn’t all parties and ladies.
By the way, if you want to see kind of what Dirk was like, think Roadhouse Patrick Swayze or maybe Red Dawn Patrick Swayze. Handsome, charismatic, a bad ass, tough. I have thought to look him up, but maybe it’s best I let it go. It might be disappointing.