I once had a friend called Brett
I met Brett when I was about 15 years old. We met at a place called PlayZone. An arcade game parlor that was frequented by Dandenong’s petty criminals and drug dealers mostly. I just saw it as a fun place to hang out with friends. Daytona USA and Point Blank had just come out and Brett was one of the respected ‘elite’ players of those games. We became acquaintances and then eventually became friends.
Brett was commonly known as Little Brett, on account of him being the smallest guy you’d ever met; standing probably under 5ft tall. Even when he was 30 he still looked as if he was twelve.
He was a funny little bloke, always quick with a joke. Liked, for the most part, by most who knew him most of the time.
Little Brett enjoyed cars. He loved driving them – yet he never had a license. He’d always have a new one – but that was because he’d stolen it the night before. He was the guy you call up any time of the day (he’d answer on a stolen mobile phone) if you needed to buy a stolen CD player or VCR.
In short, Little Brett did some dumb shit. But, he’d never done bad by me and together we had a lot of laughs.
Brett once ‘acquired’ a high performance go-kart. I remember going over to his house and seeing this awesome looking machine in the middle of his living room. It only lasted about a week though as Brett ended up taking it on a joy ride through the streets of Dandenong; something the local police didn’t approve too much of apparently. They ended up chasing him in their cars at high speed while he tried to outrun them in it. He couldn’t out run them for very long though.
His parents had died when he was a baby – a car accident I think – an he lived with his Grandma in a little unit in Dandenong. He doted over her in a way I never knew any friends to with their grandparents or parents for that matter. She looked after him and stood by him, no matter how much trouble he got into (which was a lot).
The TAC (traffic accident commission) had awarded Brett a massive payout due to his parents death, but he wasn’t allowed to touch any of the money until he turned 18. Eventually that day came and Brett came into a lot of cash. This cash brought with it many nights drinking and partying as well as a lot of new found friends that didn’t exist prior to the payout.
Brett was never one to turn down a good time, so he spent a significant portion of that money on partying with newfound hanger-on’s. Money tends to attract those.
It’d be a cop out to say that he started to hang out with a bad crowd, because he was part of the ‘bad crowd’, but it was around this time Brett and myself became a little more distant. We’d hang out occasionally, but by the time I was probably 24-25, we’d very rarely see each other any more.
For years after I’d hear stories about how he’d been locked up, or how he was now addicted to some pretty bad stuff, or how he’d just had a baby. But I never saw him to ask about any of it. We’d gone down different paths.
A couple of weeks ago I found out that my friend Little Brett had been killed. His stuff had been taken from him and burned and then he’d been dumped in a ditch on the side of the road out the front of a water treatment plant near Dandenong.
No one found his body for over 2 weeks.
(allegedly) He was returning a mobile phone he’d taken from a friend of a friend a couple of days earlier and they had beaten him so viciously that they caused a massive amount of damage to his little body. He died on the lounge room floor of someone he thought was a friend.
The guys who did it were caught and are awaiting trial.
His funeral was like a PlayZone reunion. It was a who’s who of the people who kept the Dandenong police busy during the 90’s and early 00’s. He had no family there with the exception for his little boy who was around 4 or 5 years old and looked just like him (almost the same height too).
That was the first time I’d had to attend the funeral of a childhood friend. Even though I hadn’t seen Brett for nearly 10 years, it was a heartbreakingly sad event.
Everyone’s life is a story. It’s rarely written down on paper, but it’s always divided up into chapters. Some characters are featured in little more than a sentence of the story, others have entire chapters about them – if you’re lucky enough you even get characters in your story that last through out the entire journey.
If you read the story of my life, Little Brett would probably be a character that would appear in a few of the earlier chapters. Not a major character, but a pivotal part of the story none the less. Given the life he led, I’d probably only be featured in a couple of paragraphs in his story at most. There would be so many minor characters and plot twists, and the reader could probably tell from early on that it wasn’t likely going to have a happy ending. But nobody would’ve seen an ending so horrible.
His would be a story that had very few pages, yet the story would be pretty incredible for anyone who hadn’t read it before.
I once had a friend called Brett, and I’m glad I did.