He phoned me to inform me that he would not be finishing a job I had given him…asked me to call his attorney Bob, and go get a few precious items out of his house for safe keeping. Why would I need to do that I asked…Because my Son and my Daughter are living with me, and I have this feeling they will hock as much of my stuff as they can while I am in Jail… I made sure his truck was no longer in Impound, and cleaned it out. Went to his house found the spare key and took the SMALL items he instructed me to gather up. I talked with his son and told him we were trying to get his father out of JAIL so he could put his affairs in order before his summary hearing and sentencing. On the court date, his attorney found a way to get him released and I scheduled to pick him up when he was released today.
I got his call at 4 PM…he was out on the street and wanted to let me know he was going to walk ten blocks to his house. At 6 he called me again…his voice shaking…When you cleaned out my truck where did you put my check book?…In with the other things we took from your truck I informed him…I CANT FIND IT….and I am afraid my son has found it and will forge checks on my account. He wouldn’t do that I tried to assure him…OH YES HE WOULD…he has already sold my roll top desk, The CD collection I bought for Jerry, My Bowflex weight machine, and has gone thru all my stuff…and Jerry’s coin collection…its all gone…and not only that, remember the stainless steel BBQ grill my co workers gave me on my 50th birthday…yeah, I replied…well they sold that too.!!! Kenny was nearly coming apart at the seams… .I’m just a few blocks away, I will come get you and we can go get something good to eat…Just relax and we’ll find your check book..
At 7 we were walking thru his house…an eviction notice sat on the table, with the threat that all would be locked up if it were not moved by Saturday. His daughter and his son dashed out the door the minute he had entered and left the scene of the crimes against their father. He rummaged thru buckets of papers and plastic shopping bags of items we had retrieved from his Pick Up…When he found the check book, he let out a sigh of relief, then took me on a tour much like the one he gave me a few months ago …but instead of pointing out his family treasures, he simply pointed to the vacant spaces where they had been… I could see there was NOTHING I could say to make him feel any better, so I just suggested we go get something to eat. I just want a BIG Coke he declared…Jail water tastes like chlorine…I have to have a Coke!…We sat and ate Chinese at his favorite restaurant and he talked to me…I think it would have been better if I had not gotten out he whispered…Maybe so I agreed, but this way you have a chance to put your affairs in order before you spend a year or so in the slammer. I guess…he nodded…
I told him that I had only THREE best friends in my entire life…he said he had four…Jerry, Bob his attorney, James, and…Me. Well I said then you are even more fortunate than I have been. I slipped him a Franklin and enough in small bills to buy some Prilosec and a liter of Coke…and took him to buy them…When we got back to his house…we planned out Saturday…moving two old cars, loading up his clothing, tools, and a kitchen machines still left or not yet stolen…painting supplies…and a few remaining pictures or remnants of other heirlooms, like his brothers 50 state quarter folder with all the coins missing…and six cable boxes he has to return so he wont be billed for them..
I suppose we are going to put everything he has acquired in his whole life…material possessions that is..into a van one trailer and a pickup…I think I will get him a new apartment where the utilities are paid, and store his stuff in one of my secure semi trailers…or a 14 foot truck box… I think after he is out of that house…out of that storage garage…and no longer dealing with family that has stolen him blind…he can prepare for his sentencing and get ready for his jail term. How would it be to have lived 52 years…and be looking at a pillaged living room…every drawer in the house ransacked…every box in storage turned inside out…no vehicle, no license, mandatory weekly testing, realizing that the Thanksgiving you had anticipated cooking… will have NO GUESTS because those intended guests have just ripped you off….
Life can be pathetic…it can be so wonderful…tonight for me it was as melancholy as it gets, watching a friend try to get his sober brain around such betrayal…such loneliness…such a BLEAK outlook for the next year or two. All I could do was to listen…and to nod my understanding and assure him he would not have to face it alone. To convey my concern for him…my willingness to help in any way I can…(which isn’t that much to be honest)…and to try in every way I could to lift his troubled soul…with words of encouragement and to convey my appreciation to him for the friend he has been to me. What does your wife think of me he asked…Like me I told him…she wants the very best for you…and hopes this turns out to be a short but important step in changing your life…It will be! he assured me…as he has so many times before….This time, with a year or more to contemplate it….just maybe…it will be.
Better get some sleep..tomorrow is going to be a very long day…I wonder what more he will discover is gone forever…I think the one thing that won’t be gone are those three friends who are left…and his most treasured memories of his brother Jerry…those that roam around in his head…