Billy and Danny were seven years old; only four days separated their
birthdays. They lived next door to each other and were best of friends, as
well as cousins. Their fathers were brothers; two years apart and only
tolerated each other because of their wives who were not only sisters, but
also twins and inseparable.
The fathers, by circumstance, both worked selling insurance and ended up
living close to each other because of their wives. They were very
competitive whereas their sons and wives weren't.
So when Danny got a big wheel for his birthday Billy got one also, only a
more expensive model, which he wasn¹t appreciative of. He wanted the same
model as Danny and his father was forced, once again, into retreat mode and
The kids loved their big wheels and Billy's father made a track in the back
yard where they could race them. Danny's father, not to be outdone, made an
obstacle course for the big wheels.
One Sunday, soon after both were built, the boys were out in their backyards
and the fathers on their decks ignoring each other.
Billy said to Danny, "C'mon, I'll race you around the track."
Danny said okay and yelled to his father to say go when they were set up.
Danny's father turned to his brother and said, "Five bucks on Danny."
"You're on," said Billy's father.
By the time Billy and Danny were in their teens they were no longer best
friends but competitors for the sake of their fathers' bets. Their one-on-one basketball games became vicious and their backyard wrestling matches
usually ended up with something bloody or sprained. They competed for girls,
grades and power, but mostly to please their fathers.
The sisters' mothers told their husbands that if they let the boys go through
with drag racing they would leave them, but the lure of the competition
between the brothers was too great.
At the funeral the sisters sat apart and haven't spoken since, although they
continue to live next door to each other. Neither brother wants to be the
first to move.