Competition (Flash Fiction)

As a Ford pickup truck filled with a bed of drunken youth spun donuts in a fallow piece of farmland, Bob and Brian settled into their familiar places on the porch to watch a show that only copious amounts of alcohol could provide. Bob cracked open a beer and handed it to his friend. “Who’s drivin’ the truck?” he asked.

Brian sipped the foam from the can and squinted. The setting sun was piercing through the growing dust cloud, and it was difficult to see who was doing what. “Well,” he said, slowly rocking in his favorite chair, “I think it’s little Johnny drivin’ with a whole heap a fools in the back.”

“Johnny. Your cousin’s boy?”

“Yup,” Brian said.

“Sumbitch better give that thing a shift if he don’t wanna blow the engine out,” said Bob.

The motor under the hood was screaming in pain while the passengers, all nine of them, whooped and hollered with pleasure. Dirt flew in all directions, and the cloud of dust grew into the sky. As they passed in front of the sun, silhouettes of young men could be spotted holding onto the roll bar, waving hats in the air, and still shotgunning beer.

“Yup,” said Brian. “We need some damn wind to blow the dust out. Can’t see a thing.”

“Yup,” Bob said, “and some rain.”

“Yup.”

The driver of the Ford slammed on the brakes, and the truck came to a sudden stop. Bodies were flung from the back, and one poor sumbitch was given the gift of a faceplant into the rear window. Roars of laughter emanated from the cloud.

Bob chuckled. “Think he’ll remember that tomorrow?”

Brian took a long drink from his can. He swallowed, burped, and smiled. “Nah, but he’ll sure as hell feel it.” They both looked on in silence with satisfied grins wrinkling their aged faces. “What are them little fuckers up to now?” Brian asked.

Bodies shuffled away from the truck and out of the field. They crossed a dirt lane, some running, some stumbling, one riding piggy-back on another, and went toward a small corral that housed a large boar.

“Ah shit,” Bob said with a laugh. “They’re goin’ after Obama!”

“Should we stop ‘em?” asked Brian.

Bob looked at Brian and they both smiled. Bob downed his beer in one long gulp and stood to retrieve more. “’Bama can take care of himself. We’ll stop ‘em when we run out of beers,” he said as he entered the house. When he returned, his plaid shirt was undone from his pants and transformed into a small basket holding nearly a dozen cold ones. They lined them up on the worn porch floor and commenced to enjoying a fine afternoon. “Hell, we may need to find better seats if this keeps up.”

Shouts and taunts lifted into the air as the crew of young men antagonized each other into jumping into the pig pen.

“They mean to ride ‘im,” Bob said with a laugh as a husky male began to scale the fencing. “They’re gonna try to ride Obama! They’ll never catch that mean ol’ demercrat!

Brian laughed so hard that he went into a coughing fit. The two decades of smoking were long over with, but the damage was done. He slapped his knee and coughed his laughter until water squeezed from his eyes.

“Oh, Lordy Lordy,” said Bob. “I miss those days of being ‘tarded and just damn near gettin’ away with everything. Remember back when we got so drunk we invented bull riding?”

Brian smiled, knowing the old story well. “That’s the funny thing ’bout competition, ain’t it? You go off and do a bunch of stupid shit with your friends, and then the next day some poor foul takes it seriously and you’ve got a brand new sport on your hands.”

Bob nodded. “Yup. Think we’ll see pig ridin’ in the Olympics?”

They both took long drinks from their beers. A squeal came from the pen as the large hog tossed the husky boy into a fresh pile of pig shit. Howls of laughter roared up from around the fence. “Jesus-Lord, I sure hope so,” said Brian.

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