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Friday, September 10, 2004

Local Hero


This story begins back during my senior year of high school. I had been struggling with a four year battle with drugs and alcohol…no, wait, that was my senior year of college. That’s another story for another day. It was the end of the football season my senior year at Riverdale High School. I was the star tailback or halfback or whatever the fuck you call the guy who throws the ball and who gets to date the head cheerleader, or president of the cheerleaders, or cheerleader captain, or whatever the hell you call her. She was beautiful—and stacked. So that was me. I was really popular, too. You can ask anyone.

I hadn’t been playing well since the accident. If you want to get totally technical, it wasn’t really an accident but that’s the story I’m sticking with. “My story” has kept me out of jail this long so I’d be an idiot to admit to anything else at this stage of the game. Anyway, where was I? The accident or whatever you choose to call it affected my play on the diamond or the gridiron; I’m losing my train of thought here.

So like I said, I was dating the cheerleading queen that year. We were out one night and we had been drinking. Not like the drinking on the epic level that I would later do in college but that’s another story—let’s just say that we had a good buzz on. There were other cheerleaders and football players with us on account of how enormously popular I was back then.

We decided to go to a drive-in movie, me and what’s-her-face the general manager of all the cheerleaders. I really, really loved her. Anyway, I locked her in the trunk of my convertible so I wouldn’t have to pay for her to get in the drive-in movie. I know that sounds mean but it’s totally standard procedure for hick kids. What I failed to remember at the time was that there was already a body in my trunk, but that’s definitely another story. The body had been there for a couple weeks because I was so busy with football practice that I didn’t have time to dump it in the quarry like I was instructed to do by that fat Russian guy I did odd jobs for back then. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not perfect. A guy screws up once and he hears about it forever.

Evidently, decomposing bodies give off a lot of methane, which isn’t exactly good for people to breathe. I think that’s how she passed away but it’s not like we had an autopsy or anything because once I realized what had happened I made a b-line for the quarry and there were two splashes instead of one, if you get my drift.

So you can imagine what losing your girlfriend and being about a half step away from an FBI investigation did to my football career. I think you will all agree that I had every right to be a little distracted. Just because I started dating her best friend the very same night of the “accident” doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt me to lose her. I’m really sensitive about losing people close to me even when it is about 99% my fault that they died in the first place. Sometimes that even makes me feel worse. And let me tell you, an FBI investigation is never fun.

We had barely made it into the state championship game against Springfield High. It came down to the last play of the game. I threw a long pass and then I ran deep into the end zone and waited for it to come down. It was like slow motion. In the movie version they actually used slow motion which made it look really real for me.

So we won State that year and my case was thrown out of court for lack of evidence. Sometimes I wish that I could go back to those simpler, care-free times.

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