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.