How Can the Plot of "The Greasy Lake" Be Summarized?

T.C. Boyle's short story "The Greasy Lake" can be summarized as the story of three young men who have a fantasy about being "bad" boys, only to have things go horribly wrong. All of them are 19 years old, and one night they head up to Greasy Lake to have a thrill at the end of the evening before going home, and they encounter a "bad greasy character."

Things begin to go wrong at the lake when the boys misplace their keys. The character whom they meet spurs them to a fight, and by the end, they have almost killed the guy and almost raped his girlfriend. The events of the evening have taken them close to their own heart of darkness. In the middle of all this, another car arrives at the lake, and the boys run off. Two of the boys head out for the woods, while a third, the narrator, jumps into the lake. While swimming, the narrator runs into a dead body, which places him in mortal fear for his own life.

Eventually, the boys meet up again on the shore of the lake and find their keys as the sun starts coming up. They head home with a new sense of respect for the darker side of life.