The following is an excerpt from the novel I’m writing and it is a true story. Please do not confuse my brother, George, in real life with the fictional character, George, in my short story, “Family Doctor”.
True story: George
While living in Maryland, I heard through the grapevine that I was going to get arrested for possession with intent to distribute cocaine. I had to make moving plans quickly; so, I asked my mom if she would watch my sons for the summer. Without hesitation she replied, “Of course I will!” I could always depend on Mom to rescue me, and this time was no exception.
My girlfriend came by later and when I explained the situation, responded, “I understand you gotta go, but I can’t leave everything and just split like that. However, I will check on the boys occasionally. Call me when you get settled. Maybe I’ll come visit.” She helped me build a bed and storage area. Afterwards, we filled the storage area with traveling supplies and I left the next day.
I headed to California by way of Florida, when I stopped at a condominium job site on a beach in Norfolk, VA. I got a job as a framer. My plan was to earn a weeks’ wages; but that’s not what happened. My dog, Blue, and I lived in the van and on the beach for almost three weeks. I would fish for dinner and talk to the locals about the area. I decided to stay there and I sent for my sons, Jamie and Billy, a couple of months later.
Jamie, Billy, my girlfriend, Diane, and I went back to Mom’s place for a week’s visit, because my brother-in-law’s dad died during open heart surgery. We were in the living room watching television the second night, when my brother, George, came in drunk. He was drinking Schlitz, the same beer dad drank before he died of cancer. I asked, “How are ya?”
He barely garbled, “Hi!”, then went back to his bedroom.
The following morning, Mom anxiously woke me up. She had gone to George’s room to ask if he wanted breakfast. When she opened the door and saw him, she knew something was wrong. She begged, “Jim will you please check on George?”
I went back to his room and found him sitting in bed. As I approached, I saw six distinct streams of blood trailing from his eyes, nose and mouth. Steading myself, I caught my breath, and walked even closer. That’s when I saw his .357 Magnum laying in his hand by his right hip.
Mom asked, “Should I call the ambulance?”
I replied, “No mom, call the morgue.” Mom started crying uncontrollably. Because I was in shock, that’s all I could say; I realized later, that probably wasn’t the right thing to say, but there was no question he was dead.
He loaded his own shells, so he knew how to make somewhat muted bullets. We figured he probably waited for the train to roll by, before he pulled the trigger.