Mike physically resembled square-jawed actor Dana Andrews. Throughout the 40s and 50s Dana gave vivid and memorable performances in films such as The Ox-Bow Incident, Laura, The Best Years of Our Lives, and Where the Sidewalk Ends. Scores of women viewed him as a handsome, level-headed matinee idol back in the olden days.
Mentally, a Forrest Gump or a Steve Martin's Navin R. Johnson type might be a dead ringer for Mike. Tall, good-looking, and not too bright characterized him best. "I plan on going to Ha Vid Colledge," he said to a pretty girl, trying to impress her.
The doubting redhead asked, "What's your I.Q.?"
Mike proudly pushed out his chest and said, "Twenty-twenty!"
After I met Diane, a blonde head turner, Mike begged me to ask if she had a friend for him. She did, Portly Pearl, a 17 year old girl a year younger than the three of us. Mike showed no interest in Pearl. On their first date they sat on my front seat watching Diane and me make out in the back of my '65 Chevy.
After an hour of necking, I attempted to slide Diane’s dungarees down. Act two of my endeavor to get to the usually forbidden zone on a first date. No resistance except for tight Levi's and Chivalrous Mike.
“Take her home,” the self-appointed bird dog commanded as he grabbed my shoulder.
I pushed his arm aside, ordering, "Do don't disturb!" After laying the law down to him, I returned to smooching.
The blockhead wouldn't leave me alone. Every time I lowered her blue jeans an inch or two, rather than cheering me on or just booing, Mike grasped my arm. Then, way beyond a no, no warning, he roared, "Take her home!"
The butthead butting in continued even after he had to hear a peeved Diane say to me, "Where did you pick up that drifty bastard?”
My, "Ignore him," worked for awhile.
Eventually she said, "I had enough of him! Maybe ya oughta take us home."
I tried to bring her to reason, but went down pleading. Regrettably, I took her home that Sunday night and slipped-up by not contacting her during the week - a major oversight mostly due to working on the second shift.
Devious Mike arranged another date for the four of us without speaking to me until that Saturday. Reluctantly, I agreed with a scheme in mind: get Mike drunk with a pint of cheap whiskey; perhaps rendering Pearl into a sight for inebriated eyes. Chances are alcohol beefed up shafts while revising ratings: threes and fours magically turned into mind-blowing nines and tens.
It only took a dare to get the putz to down the hard stuff. My strategy might've worked if not for Pearl's uncouth attempt a humor. Only Diane laughed after Pearl pointed at Mike and farted. That's a major turn off for most teenage boys - even drunks. Quarterwit was no exception at first, but before long Mr. Wasted proposed marriage to Pearl, Diane and me.
The wooing came about at the end of a basic marital perks delusion brought out by, “I’m not gonna have sex with my wife. I’m gonna respect her!"
The guzzler, slurring his words, caught Diane's attention. Her eyes opened wide as she slipped away from my passionate French kisses and embrace. Ignoring me completely, she sat up and leaned closer to Mike. "Sex isn't dirty. It's part of a loving relationship."
"An important piece," I added, smiling. "Pun intended."
Diane turned, giving me that 'shut-the-f***-up' look, then back to Mike, lecturing him on love and marriage.
The plastered one shook his head and repeated, "I'm gonna respect her. I'm gonna respect her."
His malarkey impressed the girls - as intended. That Judas turncoat dastard wanted Diane. Too bad I didn't notice at the time. If I had, maybe I could've ended the beyond belief babbling before his marriage proposals. It might be that Mike asked me since neither girl accepted during a minute or two of complete silence; just to ease the pain of rejection.
Diane did say yes, but I don't know when.
The drive home that night took a long time. I had to drive slowly due to a drunken passenger jumping out of my window - at least twice. He wasn't hurt at all and I didn't try to run over him. If I knew he would be asking Diane out on a date while I was at work, I might have considered it. To make matters worse for me I worked the following weekend, both nights, without calling Dianne prior to going to her house on a Saturday night.
I don't recall how I ended up confronting Mike on the stairway to Diane's mom's third floor apartment - but I did. He and his cousin, Bill - my comrade, stood above me. We exchanged a few unfriendly words prior to Mike threatening me.
"How about now - outside?" I called out, extremely angry.
"I'm bigger than you," the betrayer blurted out. "Ya wanna commit Harry, Harry?"
"I'll take my chances. And it's hara-kiri, you moron."
Bill got across to him the foolishness of fighting at his girl's house. During that time I calmed down and accepted the fact that Diane had no interest in me. Hurt and depressed - I moved on - not seeing Diane until their wedding reception a few months later. Ignoring the invite came to mind but Bill persuaded me to attend. I'm glad I did.