copyright © 2003 by Jesse Blaine



Cool Jesse

Donald was the kind of kid who had a moped. And boy would he ride that moped everywhere. All over town Donald and his posse would ride their matching mopeds. I only tell you this because it’s important. And this is only important because Donald and his posse were especially fond of riding their mopeds out of town to the second bridge by way of the road behind my grandmother’s house. Almost everyday after school, the Matching Moped Gang would ride past my grandmother'’ backyard. And almost everyday after school, my cousins and I would be in said backyard watching Donald parade his posse past. And almost everyday after school, as Donald passed us he would raise his right arm, turn his head and hand toward us, and flip us off.

Jason and Dante were two of the biggest hicks in the freshman class. They were the kind of kids who were way too proud of their beat-up, hand-me-down cars. Even so, while they were busy modifying, accessorizing, and celebrating their collection of crap cars, always in the back of their heads they were dreaming of those big 4-wheel drive pick-ups and super-fast camaros they’d own one day soon. They were both champions of the Fusselman 500, which means that before school, you could always find the two of them in the back parking lot, parked next to each other, driver’s side windows down, revving their engines, and communicating by way of citizen’s band radio.

Now, it’s important for me to say here and for you to know now, that after freshman year, Jason and Dante began to drift apart. Dante, being quiet and funny was quick to endear himself to those stoners and outcasts he shared a lunch table with. Being as it was that Dante was so quiet and inoffensive, Dante slipped under everyone’s radar. And being as it was that Dante wasn’t his real name, but the one given to him by his lunch table companions, he was officially theirs. He was one of the BFE miscreants.

But this is not a story about Dante. Dante, after all, was what he was and naïve enough to believe in it. Rather, this is a story about Jason. This is a story about Jason because before the end of this story he will be dead and Dante will still be living. Like Dante, Jason was also quiet and unassuming. Unfortunately though, Jason was also angry. His new friends at HIS new lunch table only helped to foster this anger and provide him with reasons to further withdraw. I think it is best to mention now, so that you may know and be aware of the fact that the saddest part of this story is that Jason and Dante had been best friends since forever. In junior high, they’d even gotten matching red Honda Sprees, which they would ride just outside of town to smoke cigarettes by the river. After school, you could surely spot those two cool cats and a few of their other friends on those red Honda Sprees heading out of town, standing up the entire way. Never sitting down.

Jason’s new friends were not of the same stock as Dante. Every night Jason and his new posse would drive their souped-up, hot-rodded noise machines around and around and around on the circuit. Never stopping, never talking, just driving until curfew. I think it’s important to tell you now that it was okay for a person to occasionally do this on the weekends, but to do it every night meant certain ridicule. Jason had his dream car and his angry friends and the insults that he’d always wanted. He was lucky and happy and whole. Now is the time in the story when I tell you that when Jason was a junior in high school he put a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. His stepdad found him later that afternoon when he came home from work.

When Donald and his posse would ride back by my grandmother’s backyard after smoking under the second bridge, my cousins and I would be waiting. We would stand their with hands full of rock, and wait for those kids to ride by, showing off on their mopeds. And when they finally showed up, we would hurl rocks at them and yell the worst things we could without getting in trouble. We would run at them and tell them how awful they were and hit them with the biggest rocks we could find. When Donald and his posse would ride by, they would do it standing up. Never sitting down.


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