There was this kid we went to school with called Donny. If you gave him five bucks, he’d set his hair on fire using a lighter and a can of Lynx Africa. We pissed ourselves laughing the first few times he did it, but the gag got old. So, we offered him a twenty to drink a coke bottle full of his own piss. He did. For thirty, he let us dangle him over the edge of the third floor of building H. Our home-ec teacher caught us, and we all got suspended, including Donny. Sometimes he did dumb shit for free, like lick the rims of rubbish bins. He once jerked off while riding the 189, even though none of us remember daring him too. Cost him his bus pass.
Shock value has a short shelf life. The third time Donny ran into the girl’s toilets, we shrugged in response. Next week, he streaked during the U16s netball final. For an extra fiver, he got on his knee and proposed to the away team’s horrified Goal Defence.
The day after finishing his two-week suspension, Donny threw a meatball sandwich at the principal’s car. One minute, we’re discussing spitting on the bonnet, the next, the windshield was covered in Subway.
Fuelled by bathtub speed, skunk weed, a goon-bag and the misguidance of his peers, Donny died while playing chicken on the Bruce Highway. A semi-trailer. It was real fucked up to see. We bolted as soon as the truck stopped and we were never linked to the scene. In the papers and on the telly, they referred to the recently deceased as a ‘larrikin’.
After the funeral, we spent the money we were going to give to Donny on a couple of cartons of beer. All night we hopped from house to house to local parks getting shitfaced and nostalgic. The stories we told became less about the Donny we knew and more about the well-loved maverick described on the news. Good old Donny. Such a top bloke. A real larrikin who’d do anything for his mates.