Danny Wilson was thinking while he drove.
"That was sure nice of her," his friend Trey said while pointing to a nice looking blonde lady getting out of a car. Danny kept on driving trying to pay no attention to his friend, but five minutes later Trey spoke again, "Look at that one. Tell me that wasn't nice of her." Danny still didn't react. Then as he turned onto Eleventh Avenue, the road that would take them most of the way back to Concord, Trey pointed toward a pretty, young woman in a bright blue dress and high heels sashaying across a crosswalk, "Now, wasn't that nice of her?"
"Would you shut the hell up with that shit? Don't even make sense. Trey. She didn't do anything for you. She's just walking across the street."
"That's what I mean. She didn't have to do that."
"Cross the street. At this moment. Did you see the legs on her? She didn't have to choose this very day and very moment as we're turning down this very street to show us them long, beautiful stems of hers. I'm just expressing my gratitude. I decided that there's just not enough gratitude and thankfulness in this grim little world of ours, and from here on out I'm going to do my best to change all that."
Danny took his right hand off the wheel and face palmed, "Damn, you're an idiot! I never knew till this moment how big an idiot you are."
His friend responded with a grin. Danny looked at him unsmiling but at the same time thinking just how much friend looked like Dennis Wilson the drummer for The Beach Boys. Sitting there with his tousled blonde hair, half-buttoned blue work shirt and faded bell bottom jeans, Trey was very close to being spitting image of the musician, only better looking.
"Trey, women don't even want that shit. These are the 1970s remember, not the Fifties. We're not cavemen anymore."
Trey guffawed loudly, "Danny, you ain't even paying attention to the times. You're like one of them damn horses where they put the things on the side of their eyes where they can't see. You drive down this road with your eyes focused on that fucking white-line and never see all the beauty this world has to offer. Also, it hurts me very much that you compare what I'm doing to being caveman."
"I didn't say I thought that. I said women nowadays think that way."
"Not the ones I know. Tell me you didn't notice that little extra side to side motion that she put into that walk when she saw us?"
"Nope. I sure didn't. I'm done treating women like all they're good for is screwing. There's a new wind blowing through the land and you better get behind it else it will blow you over."
"Well, there you go, friend. I'm not one who ever thought that way about a woman. I love 'em all. I love beautiful things, and women are beautiful things. It surprises me that you didn't know that, and that new wind metaphor, I think I threw up in the back of my mouth a little."
When they got into Concord, Danny nosed his cherried out 67 blue Impala into his driveway, and as they exited the car, a tall, lanky, well tanned brunette in short cut-offs and a yellow halter top was gliding by on a skateboard down the sidewalk on the other side of the street.
"That was so very nice..."
Danny held up his palm, stopping his friend in mid sentence.
Trey only laughed, "You know Danny, your problem is that you're an emotionally constipated human being."
The two had been best friends since the earliest days of their childhood. Danny's first memory, in fact, was of the time he attended Trey's third birthday party. Trey's mom decided it would be a good idea to turn the lights off in the room and surprise her son when he came in. The lights went off and when Trey entered, and the lights went back on, every body jumped up and yelled Happy Birthday and Trey got so scared he started crying. When anyone questioned Danny's memory about the incident, he'd tell them, "I distinctly remember thinking, "It's a birthday party dumb ass, nothing to cry about."
Danny knew his friend loved beauty, and not just women. Trey loved life in general, and Danny didn't know anyone with as near as much zest for living. Trey had been surrounded by girls all of his life. His dad had deserted his mom before Trey was even born. He had been raised by his mom, grandma and aunts. He would no more think of hurting a female than he would killing someone. Danny's other friends were not near as kind. Around them the talk was about the grisly details and conquests and the notches in your bedpost. They collected underwear, Trey collected life-long friends.
That's not to say Trey couldn't be a pain in the ass when he took the notion. Danny knew him better than anyone else and knew when that 100 watt smile was being used as a mask. Trey's Achille's heel was his hidden feelings toward his absent father. There were many times, albeit brief moments where Trey would descend into darkness and do very stupid, harmful things. Once, they had gone to a party in another town where Danny knew a girl, and Danny had gone outside with her to talk. Things were going well when suddenly the lights went out, and they heard screaming coming from inside the house. When they entered, the lights suddenly came back on, and there was Trey standing on top of a large, oak dining room table pissing in the punchbowl. Needless to say, they were both escorted from the premises. Trey was actually tossed out into the yard by a couple of very large young men.
"What the hell's got into you, asshole! Those were nice people. Who pisses into punchbowls?"
Trey was acting uncommonly serious, "You shouldn't have left me alone with them, Danny. They were seriously creeping me out, man."
"What the hell you talking about. Them were nice people. They weren't like most of our friends who drink and eat everything in sight and end up fighting and breaking all the furniture. Amy said some of them were even from her church!"
"That's what I'm talking about! The music! This tall, bald guy with glasses came out with a Peter, Paul, and Mary album. He told all them people how great it was. He was playing this one song Leaving on Jet Plane over and over. They were all nodding their head and saying how great it was, and he was about to play it for the fifth time and I had to tell him if he played that damn record again I'd shove it up his ass sideways. He did, and he made a point about looking at me as he put it on. Then all them nice people turned vicious and started snarling and started coming after me."
Danny shook his head sadly. The party had been in the country and they were driving back toward Concord. The car's low beams illuminated the road before them, and it was kind of foggy so you could only see a little bit in front of you and almost nothing to the sides. He was feeling pretty disappointed as he had really liked the girl. She was unlike most of the girls he knew and went to parties with, she didn't even cuss.
"Damn it Trey! You always do this shit. I like Amy a lot. She might have been the one to save me from myself."
"What the hell you talking about, Danny? Save you from yourself?"
Danny looked at his friend, looked back at the road for a minute, and then looked back at him again. "You know what I'm talking about. I ain't never had a real girl friend, never had a relationship last more than a month. I really liked Amy. That might have went somewhere."
"Who says you can't go back and apologize. Where's the sin in having a bi-polar friend?"
"The guy who pissed in their punch and broke that jet plane record in a thousand pieces said it. That's who said it."
And with that statement, the real Trey suddenly came roaring back. "That's where you're wrong Danny! You can go back and apologize. People in this world always act offended. I mean, they love to be offended, but deep down they love their outrage more. It wakes them from their slumber, most of them are little sleep-walking zombies who'll tear you to bits for waking 'em up while secretly loving the fact that you did. You could waltz back into that house tonight and have them folks eating out of your hand if you wanted."
"You my friend are crazy, and you are a real pain in the ass sometimes."
Trey was serious again, " Yeah, but I guarantee that you will miss me when I'm gone. You will miss me more than you ever missed anybody else."
"How you figure?"
"People can say what they want about me, but at least I ain't boring."
"That's what you're most proud of, Trey, not being boring?"
Trey stared at his friend defiantly, "Damn, right it is. That's the biggest sin there is. Don't bore God, or he'll go to sleep on you." Five minutes of silence later, Trey almost whispered, "My dad took off on a jet plane. Made my mom drive him to the airport in Freeport while she was pregnant."
Danny never did go back to the girl's house that night. The girl later married a member of her church, and they had a couple of kids. She divorced her husband because he liked to beat on her while quoting scripture. Danny met her at bar after the divorce, and she told how much she had laughed at Trey's antics when she was alone that night, "I really lived a sheltered life, I admit it. I had never saw anything quite like it. My dad was gone that night and when I told him what had happened he nearly choked to death from laughing. He hated that bald-headed neighbor"
Later that night, Danny thought about the time they had gone to a bar in Bel Vista that a lot of people avoided because it was frequented by a bunch of weight lifters called the "Facedown Crew". They liked to show off their muscles, drink, and fight, in that exact order. Danny didn't like the place for that reason, but Trey wanted to go in there because the waitresses were cute. "There's a whole wall full of cue sticks in there. Just grab one and start swinging."
They sat across the room from the weight-lifters. A very pretty, young Mexican woman with beautiful brown eyes took their drink order and Trey flirted with her. After she had brought their drinks, she went across the room to deal with the weight-lifters. It was pretty obvious, even from where Trey and Danny were sitting, that one of them, the biggest and meanest looking one was crossing the line with the waitress. She was doing her best to ignore his advances while pushing his pawing hands away. His friends were laughing and encouraging him.
All he said to Danny was follow me, and Danny had no choice but follow. Trey darted across the room and stood right in front of the huge, muscle bound dude and actually reached out and pulled the girl from his grasp. The man quickly rose up like an angry Grizzly bear. One of his friends was standing next to Trey holding a pool stick in one hand and beer in the other. Trey ripped the pool stick from his hand and in one motion drove the thick end as hard as he could into the giant's testicles. The guy beside Trey started toward him, but Trey quickly pivoted and smacked him in the head with the stick. The giant collapsed to the floor grabbing his balls with both hands, and the other guy slowly put his beer down on the table and grabbed his head with his left hand while backing away. The other three men just stood there looking stupid unwilling to drop their machismo routine but also unwilling to see what a pool stick wielded by a maniacal samurai tasted like.
Trey looked to see if the girl was okay then tossed the stick on the pool table, he spoke to the three hesitant guys "Big muscles, little dicks, you should be ashamed." Then he wheeled about and pointed at the bouncer who was just sitting down at the bar doing nothing as the waitress was being harassed, "You should ashamed the most. You're being paid to protect her. You're a lousy employee on top of things."
They were several miles down the road before Trey broke the silence in the darkened car, his face bathed in a soft white glow of the dashboard lights. "I'm glad you were standing behind me Danny. We couldn't be friends otherwise."
"Well, you didn't really give me much time to think about it, and I didn't do much of anything, but you know I got your back."
"That's not what I meant. Anyone who'll sit and watch a woman or a child being abused and not do nothing about, ain't much of a man."
Trey did some jail time over the incident, six months for disturbing the peace. He ended up marrying the waitress and they moved to San Diego. They five kids and both of them went back to school and ended up starting a home construction company. It was Danny's godson who called him about the wreck.
On his knees, Danny reached out and brushed away the red and golden leaves from the green grass before him. When he was satisfied with the job he slowly stood up and stretched his aching back. He reached down and picked up the dark green bottle of twelve year old Glenlivit that he had brought special for the occasion, took a long swig, wiped his mouth with his sleeve, capped the bottle and sat it back down beside him. Then he fished a half-finished joint out of his pocket and relit it. He choked because he wasn't used to smoking anymore. He coughed for more than two minutes before he got his breath back then snubbed the joint out and left it lying on the head stone.
Amy was waiting in the car. Danny was thinking as he walked back to the car, "That was sure nice of her."