That Was Then, This Is Now is a book about 2 friends and how their relationship changes over the course of time. The two main characters are Bryon Douglas and his adopted brother Mark. At the beginning of the novel, mark and Byron are doing what they love to do most, hanging out and hustling at the local bar. They seem to live by the modo “live life like there is no tomorrow”. They never think twice before doing something and that often gets them in trouble. But this novel also shows the internal crisis that bryon has to deal with.
Bryon was a 16 year old hustler who lived in the wrong part of town. His mom was dirt poor and she had even adopted his best friend Mark even though she barely has enough money to support Bryon. Mark’s parents got in a drunken brawl and killed each other leaving Mark as an orphan. Mark was a petty thief, and he managed to always get away with his crimes. Mark was a one of the kids who thought they could rule the world, and nothing would happen to him. Mark and Bryon did everything they shouldn't be doing together, they smoked, drank, robbed kids for their money, skipped school, took drugs and got in to lots of fights.
The beginning of the end starts when Bryon is starting to think about other people and his own future. He’s getting way more serious about his relationships with women. But Mark is still just living like there is no tomorrow. Bryan Has some morals left in him but Mark feels like his past will never catch up to him, either he will be put in jail, robbed or even killed. Bryon is losing the adrenaline from being rebellious. as he starts to really notice what their mischief is doing to the people who are close him. An example of what their influence has on others is their friend M&M. M&M used to be a kid who wouldn't even bother a flie, and as a result of trusting Mark and Bryon he starts smoking weed aka “grass” and it gets so bad taking hardcore drugs such as LSD that has completely messed him up for the rest of his life. As a result of the LSD he was always suspicious and scared.
On one fateful night Mark and Bryon were playing pool with a couple Texans, but they tried to hustle the texans which didn't end well. After mark and Bryon left Charlie's bar the were pulled in to an alleyway where the Texans we waiting to murder them in cold blood but they are saved by Charlie who was then shot and killed by the Texans. After Charlie was shot the two boys had no idea what to do the Texans had ran away but were soon caught by the police when they were being charged we have to testify against them we told the police what we saw and they were both sentenced to jail but as a result of this bryon and marks friendship became more and more distant. this happened because Mark had a very different view on what happened to Charlie. he said Charlie knew what the type of people who would be in his bar and he had a shotgun for that exact reason, he had it coming for him but I could not overcome the the feeling that we were the ones who got Charlie killed. this was the beginning of the end of our friendship. They became more and more distant and it came to the point where bryon had enough guilt built up in him that he got the police to arrest mark and had even testified against him in court. As a result mark was sentenced to 5 years in a state prison.
Near the end of the novel bryon tries to visit Mark many times but Mark has been getting into scraps at the prison so it takes a while for him to finally get the chance to see him. While this is unfolding he finds out that Cathy started dating curtis (Ponyboy). When he got to visit Mark, Bryon realizes that Mark would probably kill him when he got out. Out of everything that happened bryon is still left even more confused and now lonely than he was before.