Wednesday, February 02, 2011

For Bella and Yolo

Russ was my Bestest Friend when I was a teen-ager in Germany.
When I was a kid, my dad was in the Army so we moved around a lot. Made a million friends, forgot a lot of friends, you know.
Russ was one of those friends that I didn't forget. I cannot begin to to tell you how much trouble we got into together. Nothing serious, just kid shit. Like when we got busted heaving boulders into a backyard swimming pool, riding dirt bikes through the officers' club during Happy Hour, and feeding the bucking bulls alcohol-soaked grain a couple of hours before the German-American Friendship Day Rodeo started.
I last talked to Russ when I was stationed in Texas, then I went back to Germany for 3 years.
A few years passed, but I never forgot Russ. When I finally joined the 20th Century and got online, my first thing was trying to find Russ, but I had no luck, none whatsoever no matter how hard I tried.
Until I checked the Social Security Death Index on a whim, looking for his folks. His name popped up and I knew it was him because how many Russell Gregory Simpsons born in El Paso on Groundhogs' Day in 1958 can  there be?
It stunned me.

I swear to God I just now made a beer run in my camo bibs and no shirt. How fucking redneck is that shit? Even the Hindu clerk at the Bellmart was laughing.

Okay. I was was stunned. I started making internet searches for his folks and siblings and finally, finally I found his nephew who luckily forwarded my letter to his dad who forwarded to his ex, Russell Simpsons' sister.
Russ Died on July 24th, 1984 from a self inflicted gunshot wound to his head due to depression over a failed marriage according to the Harris County Texas Coroners' report.
I talked to Liz, his sister, and according to her and brother Ed, the evidence didn't add up. Both are convinced that Russ was murdered by his wife and her boyfriend. Now, I know that suicide is hard to accept but given Liz and Eds' accounts and Sheriffs' reports and my recollections of Russells' happy-go-lucky-fuck-life-up-the-ass-let's-get-high-and-laugh attitude....... Russ didn't couldn't wouldn't commit suicide.
But regardless, I lost the one and only friend that I would've saved my pennies for air fare to go see. The friend that knew secrets I wouldn't even tell Yolo and Bella. The friend that I always knew was my friend.
Sorry. This is and always will be his day.

6 comments:

derek.g.hanna@conus.army.mil said...

Ken, I hear ya, I feel ya... reminds me of a friend in the Army in Germany. Story goes; Me and Fred(both SP4's at the time) got detailed by the 1SG to provide roaming wrecker support on the autobahn for units going to Graf and Hoehells. We just looked at each other and smiled, topped off the 5-ton wrecker, stopped at the shoppette and bought a rucksack full of MD2020 and headed out on our excellent adventure! For 3 days we tooled around the Germ drinkin eatin having a hoot! Never did make it to the autobahn, didn't recover shit! wouldn't ya know that old VRC-46 radio got deadlined and had no comm with the 1SG... But we endeavored to Charlie Mike... at least that's what the CO said at our award ceremony! 22+ years ago... Fred was in my wedding a couple years later. Heard from another bud Fred ate his pistol after his business failed and marriage. Fuckin damn wrecker business....

steve tompkins said...

i'm curious, ken. was russ one of the "freaks" that hung out in front of the school at ktown? would i have known him? the name is vaguely familiar.

YOLO said...

wow, kenny, big hug to you. And to have his death so 'unsettled' like that. Well, i bet he's looking over you and laughing his ass off at your adventures, just waiting for you and he to get back together to stoke up hell's fires!

wirecutter said...

Steve, he hung out at the Hole-in-the-fence in Junior High, then at the annex by the Teen Club when we were in High School.
He had a big brother named Ed and his sisters' nickname was Flick.
He had a mop of curly brown hair and always had a huge smile. Hung out with Sean Knaack and me. Ask Dan H, I'm sure he remembers him.

Bella said...

Ah, jesuz Kenny. I've had a few friends that have pulled their own pin and it's always the ones left behind that feel so damn guilty. Wishing we had done the coulda, woulda, shoulda. Either way, he'll always be in your memory as a great person. More hugs your way.

Tattoo Jim said...

As long as you've got your memories of him, Ken, you've always got him... he'll never grow old, he'll never go straight... he'll always be....

but sometimes, it still sucks....