If Terry Dugan knew one thing it was that he, Terry Dugan was usually right: women, carpentry, business, it didn’t matter. Unlike his brother Sean, Terry was decisive. Others might call it impulsive, but Terry saw it as inspiration. If someone said he was a craftsman, Terry would counter with artist. If someone said businessman, Terry said entrepreneur and if a woman wanted Terry, and women wanted Terry - his rough good looks, his beach bum swagger - well Terry just thought stud. What was bothering Terry right now was working for other people - Ted Fournier in particular.
Terry and Ted went back a long way. Beginning the summer between their sophomore and junior years in high school, the two started working local construction. The hard work and hot sun gave the young men a look older than their years, an appearance validated by appropriate fake ID's. As best friends they enjoyed working the long Newport summer days, evenings over frosted glasses of beer on Bowen’s Wharf or down on Thames, pulling in a fresh catch of salted suntanned beauties to split between them. Those were the days of oysters and martinis’ the sun swelling yellow, orange, then pink as it made it’s way ever slowly into Narragansett Bay.
Back in school and flush with cash, the two shared their “how I spent my summer” experiences with envious classmates - those who’d worked in landscaping, or fast food, or one of the many sunglass stores in town. Terry bought a ’65 Mustang convertible, cherry red with a white interior and insisted on making a loud, if not grand, entrance to the student parking lot on a daily basis. Ted, and Terry’s brother Sean, usually rode in with him. A small crowd of the prettiest girls, mostly underclassman would gather round the gleaming car. The senior girls were smarter and tended to keep their distance. Sean had already met Kiera Edwards and was trying to figure out how to grab her attention - he thought his ride might help, but Kiera, more studious and sullen, was not the type to be drawn to classic cars. Ted tended to play it cool. He felt this studied aloofness made him more desirable. When years later he married homecoming queen Katie Lamont, no one was really surprised, though no one could remember them being close in high school. All this just made it easier for Terry to be the center of attention giving him plenty of room to entertain.
While Terry spent his money on a cars, girls, and the occasional gram or ounce, Ted had been saving. And, after a riotous post senior summer, he went off to college up in New Hampshire to study business. The idea of college hadn’t really occurred to Terry. His parents were long divorced. His dad was in and out of rehab and his mom was doing only slightly better. Since they couldn’t help, they both were comfortable arguing that neither of their boys needed a college education, not if they had a skill. Terry continued making good money working for a number of contractors around town. His nightlife, quiet and cooler in the winter, came to a boil in summer, one that he managed to maintain without incident. For a couple of years Terry couldn’t imagine wanting anything more than what he had.
Terry’s brother Sean often worked alongside him. Sean’s desires were more clear cut. In part, because as the younger of the two he had been witness to and caretaker of his parents during the worst of their melt downs. He also sensed a frailty in himself, maybe something inherited, and tried his best to fight against it. In his senior year he finally succeeded in grabbing the attention of Kiera Edwards. She was going to Roger Williams University in the fall to study graphic design. Sean kept his head down making furniture and taking on special projects. His slow and steady presence was something Keira liked. He’d hang with her and her college friends, quietly interjecting an opinion now and then. Keira’s friends thought Sean was sweet. Keira thought so too. After graduation she got a marketing job at a local bank and they were married the following spring.
It was at about that same time that Ted Fournier returned to the island and started his own contracting business. The first person he called was Terry Dugan. Ted thought they’d be partners, but Terry had squandered his money over the last four years. They agreed that Terry would work for Ted and buy in over time. Ted had also asked about Sean, but Terry assured him that his brother had other priorities.
Sean hated the Pennant. Like all sports bars, it didn’t matter where you looked, there was a large flat-screen TV with ESPN or some game on it. Sean didn’t understand why they couldn’t meet somewhere else - the Viking had a nice bar, quiet and small. The Atlantic Beach Club, just across the street - at least there he could look at the ocean.
Every night for the past week or so, Terry had wanted to talk business, but half the time Sean couldn’t hear him over the noise. As the night progressed pitchers and shots transformed planning and strategy into hopes and dreams. They were going to start their own business, go head-to-head with Ted Fournier. According to his brother there was enough business and money on the island for everyone to prosper. Sean checked his phone for the time. It was after six, Kiera and Jasmine would be finishing dinner. He made a mental note to call and say good-night at eight. Meanwhile, where the hell was Terry? Sean sipped at his beer and grabbed a handful of nuts. To avoid the TV’s he sat staring at a knot in the surface of the maple table.
“Sorry, I’m late,” Terry said, dropping into the seat opposite his brother. He waved to the waitress, a fresh faced freckled red head named Kathy.
“What’s it going to be Terry, as if I don’t already know.”
“Actually, bring us a pitcher of whatever - Sean, what are you drinking there buddy?”
“That’s Sam Winter.” Kathy said before Sean could reply.
“That’s fine, a pitcher of Sam and some more nuts. Did you eat?”
“No, not yet. I was waiting for you,” Sean said, although he didn’t know why he waited. Depending on how fast the drinks started coming - they might never get to ordering dinner. They’d eat peanuts, maybe some chicken wings. Sean wondered what Jasmine and Kiera were having tonight?
Kathy returned with the beer and a fresh bowl of peanuts. “Anything else for now?”
Sean had never noticed her pale green eyes or the small diamond that twinkled in her left nostril.
“Why don’t you bring us a couple of menus Kath. My brother looks particularly hungry tonight.”
“How’s your day,” Terry asked, then continuing before Sean could answer. “Fucking, Ted Fournier, he’s got me doing all this damn detail work. That’s why I was late. We’re running behind schedule and apparently it’s my fault. Well fuck him and Will Moody. If his other guys worked a little harder we wouldn’t be behind schedule. Now it’s all on me.” Terry took a long drink and stared off at one of the many TV’s.
Sean looked at his brother, his sandy blonde hair darkened by the winter. “Terry what are we doing?”
“What do you mean?”
“This business thing? Every time we talk about it, we get nowhere.”
Kathy picked this moment to return with too large menus and a pitcher of beer in hand. “Gentlemen, I’ll be back for your order,” and in a quick flash of red, she was gone.
“I’m serious,” Sean continued. “I’m tired of drinking every night and I’m tired of sleeping on your couch.”
“Then go home to your wife and I’ll find someone else to partner with…” Terry said putting a handful of nuts in his mouth and turning back to the TV.
“Jesus Christ Terry, everything’s about you? Nothings ever your fault, nothing’s ever you’re problem.”
“Who’s the cry baby now? These kind of decisions take time and planning. If you don’t want to put in the effort that’s fine.”
“Effort, what effort. The most effort you’ve put into this planning and strategy as you call it is ordering another drink and chewing on your nuts.” Sean couldn’t help laughing.
Terry started to laugh, which only angered Sean more.
“Fuck, Terry really! We need to move forward with this or forget it.”
“Ok, are you done? Terry paused, then lowering his voice. "Listen, I’ve been looking into this on the internet. I think we should form what they call a limited partnership. I’ve been thinking about a name too. What do you think of Brothers Dugan Construction?” Terry let the question linger in the air while he took a long pull on his beer. “I can picture the trucks - green maybe with a cool logo in red and gold. I was thinking that Keira could design it and maybe she’d help with our marketing?”
“I don’t know about that. Keira’s not too keen on us going into business together. Besides, where’s the money for this coming from? Trucks? Shit Terry, maybe we should start with one?” Sean had to admit to himself that he liked the idea. Maybe he could convince Keira. After all the economy was starting to pick up, and with spring and summer just around the corner there would be plenty of work on the island.
“I’ll sell the Mustang for starters - that should be enough for one truck anyway.” Terry said.
“You’d really do that?”
“Sure bro, this is going take some sacrifices on both our parts.”
Sean felt liked he’d already sacrificed something, he just wasn’t sure what.
Kathy was back. “You guy’s ready to order?”
“Look, Kath, bring us a couple of shots while we take a last look at the menu. Better bring another pitcher too.
“No, we’re done with the nuts for now.” Both men laughed, but for different reasons.
They ordered dinner. Terry a steak, medium rare, with garlic mashed potatoes, Sean, cod with green beans and rice. Sean talked about the furniture he was designing. Terry thought that could be another aspect - a division - of their new business he called it. They celebrated Brothers Dugan Construction with a cognac after their meal. Kathy brought their tab and Terry insisted on paying it, flirting as he signed the credit card slip. It was nearly ten o’clock when they got up to leave. Sean knew Jasmine would be fast asleep.
If you missed the previous installment of Success Through Failure click here: