"Okay, Doug. And I hear you, right? And I still think you're packed full of crap. This uncle of mine, right? His wife died, he's getting ready to go to a nursing home, and I'm helping get him set up there. Decent attitude, all things considered. Month or so ago, we're sitting in Friendly's over grilled cheeses. All-around good guy, telling me how now he looks back over his life and thinks, Hey, if only I knew then what I know now. Not regrets necessarily, just his perspective now, you know? That whole, Youth is wasted on the young thing. And I was polite and all, sucking my Fribble through a straw. But I'm looking at him, this uncle of mine, struggling to get that flat yellow sandwich into his mouth, and I'm thinking— no way. He'd do things exactly the same way he did them before, even knowing what he knows now. Drop him back into his life at twenty-one, twenty-five? He'd slip right back into the moment, make all those same mistakes. Because that's who he is." Frank G. leaned closer to the back of Doug's pew, resting his forearms on the top and lacing his fingers. "So who are you?"
"What makes Doug M. think he's different from everyone else."
"I guess— only because I am different from everyone else."
"Fine, good. We got a problem here, let's address it." Frank G.'s hands grappled with the air. "You don't seem to realize that you are your friends. That's who you are— the people you attract, who you keep around you. Now, I'm a part of you, right? Just a little taste, maybe— lucky dog, you. A bigger part is this goddamn cancer tumor part, I'm talking about your knucklehead friends. Seeing them tonight?"
"Okay. Do this for me. Take a good long look around. Because those faces you see staring back— that's you." ________ Prince of thieves Chuck Hogan