The short story “The Tire”, has gone through many changes. The tire in the playground is an actual tire I played in during the 5th and 6th grade. It wasn‘t a good or bad memory, just a memory. Then, about 15 years ago I was at the school for some function and there it was, after all those years. So I walked over to it and hunkered down inside and I was looking at all the graffiti written and I’ll be damned if I didn‘t spot my name that some girl had written such-and-such loves Chad Ard. And the trip down memory lane inspired the story.
I wrote the story on a typewriter. I remember it being short, about five or six pages, and the ending was much darker. I believe it involved the two main characters but there was a suicide scene.
But again, like with “Bypass”, I rewrote the entire story, the one which appears in the book now, and an alternate ending I removed right before publishing. I don’t really know if the story worked better as it is now, or with the alternate ending.
The ending where Matt meets up with the school bully, the one published, had been the ending until about 5 years ago when I wrote another 10 pages showing Matt and Will grown up. I really love both endings. So it was just a matter of which one I thought worked best. I went with the original cut.
Most of the story isn”t personal. The tire as I mentioned was a place I played but I was never bullied like Will and I don’t think of myself as the Matt character. The timeline, being in the mid too late ’80s is a time I remember well, with the Rambo and Chuck Norris movies.
It really is just a feel-good story, which started out in a less cheerful way—and that is endearing. Not every story has to lead to death or have some major crisis develop. That is what I love about “The Tire”, the bond both characters share, and how it not only affected them but their families, and the bully.