T. Coraghessan Boyle’s short story Greasy Lake is about a night in the life of three men: Digby, Jeff, and an unidentified narrator. The events the narrator recounts took place three days into summer vacation when they happened upon a car parked at Greasy Lake. The boys mistake the car for an identical one belonging to their friend Tony. To pass a boring night in a nowhere town when there’s nothing to do, they decide to play a joke on their friend, thinking he’s having sex with girlfriend inside the car. The start shining the lights and honking the horn of the station wagon they themselves drove to the lake; a station wagon that belongs to the narrator’s mom.
They quickly learn that this is not Tony’s car at all, but rather belongs to one of the town hoods. Upset at the interruption, the hood induces the boys to fight. During the struggle, the narrator hits the hood with a tire iron and it appears that he kills him. Inflamed by the almost ritualistic, passing-of-age murder of a man, the boys set their violent sights on his girlfriend, entertaining the possibility of adding rape to their crimes. Before the attack can begin, however, the boys notice the headlights of another car pulling beside the lake and run away.
The narrator chooses to escape into the lake, where he confronts a dead body and turns away in utter fear and horror.
While the narrator and his friends hide, the hood is found not to be dead at all and slowly regains consciousness. His friends in the newly arrived car join him in demolishing the station wagon. Shortly after they leave, yet another car arrives on the scene, this one containing two girls high on drugs. The girls react to the narrator and his friends as if they really are the dangerous types they fancies themselves to be at the story’s beginning, offering them to share their dope.
The narrator, overwhelmed by the events of the evening and reviled by the decadence that these girls represent turns them down, getting into the wrecked car and driving back home, seemingly toward a world now devoid of the possibility of innocence.