At this point, Scott diverged Wayne's story from the actual events of several decades later that "morally-forced" Euliss Goff to burn up Tony Garcia's exotic sports car in the middle of a swelteringly humid Wichita, Kansas, afternoon, directly outside the front door of Garcia's bar, the Uptown Rec, to the amazement of all and sundry who witnessed the conflagration. Since all the principals of this miasmal narrative are long dead, I think I'm free to give the complete back-story
here, as a small tribute to Scott's creativity.
Euliss Goff was the 2-years' younger brother of my best friend in 7th grade, Eddie Goff, an Arkansas hillbilly whose father had come to Wichita to work as a machinist in one of the "plants" around town (Boeing, Beech, Cessna, Learjet, Swallow Aircraft, et.al.). Both Euliss and Eddie had an
inbred hatred of "the laws," as they called the police, and both were certainly destined for prison before their 30th birthdays, had Fate not intervened.
At the age of 16, Eddie dove into a water-filled rock quarry and broke his neck, almost completely severing his spinal cord. Eddie remained wheelchair-bound, with full use of only his left arm, partial use of his right, legs strapped to the wheelchair, riven by muscle-spasms, for the remainder of his fairly short life. After Eddie's accident, though, Euliss devoted himself to his brother's care and possible recovery, to the point of obtaining a Master's degree in Physical Therapy from Colorado State U. The ultimate fate of both brothers, however, was to die in Wichita from heroin overdoses before their 40th birthdays. I found out their sad ends in the mid-1990s, on a visit to Wichita where I tried to track down some of the people I'd known as a kid.
One summer night in the late 1960s, 15-year-old Euliss Goff was in the Uptown Rec, and stayed for the party after Garcia had locked the door. But that situation didn't last longer than it took Garcia to find out that one of his co-partiers was the underage Euliss, and being half-drunk and coked-up at the time, The Gar proceeded to bodily eject Euliss from his establishment, throwing him hard out onto the sidewalk. This insult to his hillbilly sensibilites prompted the next day's grand finale.
Such is the true origin of Scott Phillips' very fine short story Sokdolager, which is defined by most dictionaries I consulted as "the final, determining blow in an argument or confrontation, physical or otherwise." I believe Scott chose his title appropriately.
(Sokdolager first appeared in D'Ray's Measures of Poison edited by Dennis McMillan and later in The Best American Mysteries 2003 edited by Michael Connelly and Otto Penzler. It is available in Scott's collected short fiction Rum, Sodomy and False Eyelashes. Wayne Ogden has appeared in The Walkaway and then The Adjustment as well as the short story The Crow Killers.
your favorite local bookstore through Indie Bound or from
Subterranean Books (they'll have signed editions)
Barnes & Noble