Scribbler's Debris

Running with random topics twenty minutes at a time.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Topic: Death of a Friend by David Grim

I was fairly lucky growing up... I didn't have any close friends die until I was in college. Mortality was far from my mind during those days. I was too concerned with inventing the person I would become in my twenties.

But I did eventually experience this inevitable tragedy. It was a few days after Easter, during my sophomore year at Pitt, when I discovered that one of my best friends had killed himself and the mother of his child with a shotgun. He dropped his kid off at grandpa's for Easter and then ended two lives. When I found out about what had happened, I gathered a couple of my new friends, slipped into a bar that didn't check IDs, and drank a wake for him. I told my friends about Eric...

Eric could somehow convey resignation and excitement at the same time. He'd not had an easy life, being abandoned by his mother at an early age. He got free rein from his father, who tried his best to raise two kids by himself. He was always planning to run around in the woods by his house, inviting his friends to join him in the cause of mayhem. We'd get all dressed up in secondhand Vietnam-era military fatigues, and shoot BB guns and fireworks at each other. Eric used to love to pretend we were tracking Vietcong, and would talk incessantly about the tortures we would unleash upon them when we found them. Our friend Corey had a house nearby, and he and Jules would show up to contribute to our growing squad. Eric wanted to build a cabin on a wooded hill, and had already completed it's skeletal structure when he included us in the project. I brought a litre of Southern Comfort and drank all of it while everyone else was on a scouting patrol. They came back to find me covered in puke and sleeping in a hammock. Eric was pissed at me for not waiting for their return. He had a healthy sense of team spirit, and he made a half-hearted effort to exclude me for a week or two.

One time when Corey's father was working the night shift, Eric and I went over to his house to join him in a sleep-over. We decided to watch all six installments of Faces of Death as part of some grotesque adolescent marathon. We all swallowed our discomfort and fear, so as not to betray our nihilistic laughter and merriment. Our pizza having been consumed, and the last tape finished and rewound... we went on a long night walk toward our woods. We came very close to throwing an m-80 in a gas tank that night. What had held us back?

When I went to college I lost touch with Eric and Corey. Somehow in my naivete, I believed that Eric and Corey would live static existences, allowing me to revisit and impress them with my newly acquired collegiate sophistication. Of course this never happened. Corey moved away and joined the Army. You already know what happened to Eric.

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