Dead Boys by Richard Lange

Dead Boys

Richard Lange

These short stories are all about men in and around Los Angeles, in all their brashness, arrogance, striving and vulnerability. The writer pulls no punches but I found the stories moving, unsettling and lifelike.


I'd never been to a funeral before, but I'd seen them on TV, so I knew to wear a tie. Bill asked me to pick him up because his license had been suspended again. 'I will be high,' he said, 'but ignore it.' I did my best. The whole way there he played bongos on the dashboard and rocked back and forth in his seat. Every so often he'd unpin the fist sized rose he'd stuck to the lapel of his jacket and shove it under my nose and say, 'Smell that. Pretty huh?' ...
We only took up the first two pews; the rest stretched out behind us like some kind of tricky maze. The mourners were all men except for Nita, the Cambodian lady from the doughnut shop. It was nice that she showed up. A thing like that needed a woman's tears. I felt the pew vibrating beneath me and noticed that Bill was shaking like a car with its idle out of whack. Ray Ray was on one side of him, Dennis on the other. They each reached over and held one of his hands to calm him.

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