my friend Cort

My friend Cort used to be my best friend. Now I don’t like him even though I still miss him. Just like an exwife or something. I don’t know how he feels because we haven’t talked about it in 8 years. I had to write him two of that kind of letter that I wrote to CM and never talked about. When it became necessary to write a third one I didn’t bother. Oh, well.

Cort was sort of odd man out among my friends. It’s not his politics or his guitars or jokes or that stuff. He fit in that way. It’s that he’s not a badass and I think I’ve gone to great length to establish that if you want to fight me and my friends you better bring the offensive line of the Steelers circa ’75 to back you up. I’m a pretty fair shot on a dead run, left or right handed so don’t be springing up like Notorious BIG neither: …don’t come my way / ’cause it only takes one minute to reach for the AK / then Pow! / what’cha gonna do now?

Cort had a sarcastic and quick wit. That’s why I refer to us all as graduates of the Shark School. We’re all wiseasses, septic skeptics, or cruelly accurate know-it-alls. Really. More than you know. Taken all in one measure our sarcasm would be so dense it would collapse and form a black hole. Cort was right up there and he didn’t always do it at the right time. But he had CM and me to back him up. So it was cool. Everyone should have a pet badass.

One time at a high school party out in the boonies of northern New Mexico this big tough older guy got into a tongue tangle with Cort and Cort pissed him off. Neither of them saw me.

Cort was a little worried. He didn’t want to get his ass kicked. The guy said to Cort, “You just better shut the fuck up you little asshole or I’ll put my dick in your ear.”

Well, anyone with a quick wit out there will know this was a foolish thing to say because it allowed me to contribute: “It would probably fit too.”

The guy was really mad. Too bad for him. He took one short look at me then dropped his gaze and he kept on keeping on. Smart for an older guy. A lot of 25 year olds might’ve tried to fight me when I was 17. They would’ve been mistaken. Maybe just a kick in the head’s worth, maybe all the way up to the 6th inch of my knife. Whatever they picked out to try on.

I miss Cort. He was my best guy friend. It’s a damn shame. We were gonna be famous rock and roll stars together. He decided I wasn’t good enough to be famous with him so I had to leave the band we had. Now neither of us are famous rock and roll stars. I don’t like him anymore because I think I was good enough and he was too but maybe not without helping each other. That’s why I don’t ever want to talk to him again.

I owe Cort a favor, though. I won’t renege on it. If it ever comes up, I’ll go solid on it. He stopped me from killing somebody once at another party and that’s the kind of favor you shouldn’t be weak-ass about repaying no matter how far you’ve drifted apart.

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