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Status Update: Richard is grieving the loss of his childhood best friend and fears he might be a latent serial killer...

By R.L.Wilkinson

My childhood best friend died Sunday of a drug overdose. I got the news via Facebook. It was written on “my wall”, “did you hear that Tommy overdosed?” to which I replied, “by overdosed, do you mean he’s in the hospital or dead?” She replied, “Dead…wake Monday night…funeral Tuesday.” This exchange began on my laptop and finished up on my Blackberry while stepping out of my Prius. FYI you don’t need to put a key in the ignition to start the Prius. Oh and the car’s built in wireless feature connects automatically as I approach. It’s the darndest thing. Anyway, I’m trying to get someone to Twitter the funeral to me, since I can’t be there. I last saw Tommy when I was 25. He was as good looking and funny as ever. My girlfriend at the time was like, “Hey, your friends really cute.” We broke up shortly thereafter and last I heard she resides somewhere in the Pacific Northwest in a small farming community where she cuckolds some other hapless fucker. Anyway, I was bummed about not being able to attend the funeral until it was brought to my attention that I could sign an online “guest book” that the funeral home provides. So, I did. It was quick. I was clever. Mourners will be moved. Now, I was a little concerned because I wasn’t quite sure if this “guestbook” would manifest itself in the actual physical funeral or if it would be solely for the virtual internment. I was concerned about this stealing my grieving thunder, but then I realized how dumb that was because by signing this “virtual” guestbook my grief wouldn’t be limited to the 50 to 100 or so folks at the actual event but that I now had the ability to grieve on a global level. My grief had the potential to go viral.

After this news was socially networked to me I continued on with my day as usual, but then I started getting these pop-ups, “Hey, Rich, why isn’t this affecting you? Shouldn’t you be emotional?” This concerned me because when I assess myself, you know, a 35 year old Caucasian male, college grad, with an affinity for handling the meat snake AND I add “void of emotion” to that list, I get concerned that I might be a latent serial killer. Well, somehow I mange to get through the day without burying a drifter or two along the highway and make it home to my wife and son. I give my baby boy a bath, put him to bed and sit down with my wife for dinner. She asks, “How was your day?” “Well, my buddy, Tommy, died of a drug overdose.” “That’s awful.” “Yeah, it’s pretty bad.” “You okay?” “Yeah, I’m just having a little trouble getting my head around it. All my memories of him are as a teenager. I have no reference for him as a man. You know? What he looked like as a man, what his life was like. I just wished I knew what hap…” And that was it. Crying and convulsing ensued and it just kept happening over and over again in that order. I think that’s why most people/families advocate not talking about things, because, boy, as soon as you start jabbering you run the risk of opening up a whole can of emotional worms which can then be used as bait to snare some very, very large emotional fish that lurk in the cold, dark depths of your soul and once you hook one of those porkers you only got two choices: 1) wrestle the fucker into the boat and take a bat to it, or 2) delivering Colonel Sanders down to Davy Jones locker. It was bat night at my house.

The next day I arrived at work feeling pretty bright eyed and bushy tailed after my cathartic serial killer negating moment. Shortly after arriving, my partner came in and took a seat at her desk and asked, as she does every morning, “How was your night?” “It was a little sad”, I said. You know my friend di…” Fuck, again with the crying and convulsing! I decided that it would be best for me to take the day off and get myself together. Knock out the grieving process, which I Googled. They break it into 5 stages: 1) Denial & Isolation. 2) Anger. 3) Bargaining. 4) Depression. 5) Acceptance. I left work at noon to get the process in motion. I needed to return to work tomorrow at 8am. That gives me 20 hours of grieving time. That’s 4 hours per stage, but you know I have the ability to get a lot of stuff done when I get really focused. So, here goes. I can’t believe there are 5 stages to this grieving process! 5 stages!! By myself!!! Are you kidding me!!!! Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!! I’d give the guy who came up with these stages five hundred bucks to knock off just one or two of ‘em! Please! Okay, five-fifty. I’m so tired, but it’s cool. Done. Now, if I could just get started on Tommy.

My mother sent me a text stating that she “awoke this morning with a heavy heart, for it is as if our families were one”. My mom is very grand and very southern. So when she texts me it’s like I’m receiving Blanche Dubois rewrites from David Mamet.

Here’s the problem, all my technological advances can’t out pace my advancing sadness. I want to hit the “esc” button on my life and disappear into the wilderness. Find a cave where I can scream and cry, claw and punch, rip off my clothes and build a massive fire. Hurl myself around the flames and through them until I collapse. Then I could wake up stronger and walk out clean. Restart the system. The only glitch in this program is that I’d still have all this memory.

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