Doyel's dad called me last week.
Turns out Doyel is coming up for parole. He's been in prison ten years now. I'd say I wouldn't wish that on anyone, but I have. On him, even.
His dad said that he "knows that there's been some history" but asked if I would write a letter to the parole board recommending an early release.
I feel for his family, I truly do. He shit on them a hundred times worse than he did on me. And arguments could be made that they brought it on themselves. I don't believe that part, any more. Truth is, poverty and ignorance go hand in hand. And hanging around with the people I did, in the circles I did, gave me a helluva insight into generational devolution and the morass of apathy that is the lower-lower class. It spawns itself, over and over. Few of us ever get beyond it.
I didn't tell his dad that I'd write that letter. I did, however get the address. And I thought I might write it. But, it ended up that I didn't.
"knows that there's been some history". Yeah, that, there has been. I remember a lot of things about my old best friend. Things you can't un-remember, no matter how hard you try.
Ryan and I moved from the projects to the country. Mom married sideways, from the single mother with 3 jobs, kids raising ourselves lifestyle out to Bumfuck Egypt. We moved out to a three acre farm, with a step-dad who would one day become beloved to us, but at the time was just a alkie welder with a decent job. We moved out to the East side, past the ghetto, out into the ramshackle neighborhood of shacks, trailers and half-ass farms that filled an area that was surrounded by cotton fields. Our new step-brothers didn't like us none, and sure didn't like their new replacement mom- who was filling the void their real mom left when she took off and wrote them all off. At the time, they might have thought she was going to come back some day. She never did.
So, here were two city kids, moved out to nowhere, with a new built-in family who didnt really care for us a bit.
Doyel was the neighbor kid. He was two years older than me when I met him. I was 12, he was 14. The first week we met him, he had noticed how our new step-brothers were picking on us and testing us, and he decided to join in on the fun. I bloodied his nose and pushed him off his bike, which gained me some respect from my redneck step brothers, but no love from Doyel. We all rode the bus to school together the first couple of years that I knew him. I was already a little rocker. Doyel, raised up christian, listened to Stryper, a christian rock band. We had yelling matches on the bus all that time- Me proclaiming "six-six-six" and giving the devil horns, and Doyel piously yelling out "Seven-Seven-Seven, God Rules!" Hell, he didn't even cuss til he turned 16.
My older step brothers had been run off by my mom by the time Doyel turned 16. She had quit drinking, got my step-dad to quit drinking, and alcohol was "no longer allowed in This house!" So of course, my older stepbrothers left, although they would drift back in, from time to time- whenever they were down and out. My youngest brother and step-brother caught the football bug, and sports became their life. Doyel became 16 and got an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. So, Fuck the bus... we ended up hanging out more and more.
... Damn. I am starting to realize this could be a novel. No time for all that shit now.... Too much reminiscing makes Daddy pine for the fjords. (There ya go, John). I'm going to try to avoid fleshing this story out too much, and just stick to the remembrances that swam through my head all this week as I contemplated Doyel, the past, the present, and whatever future there may be.
I remember picking up Dana Gentry and Holly Smits in the mornings at Lake Ransom Canyon and taking them to school - Two dirt road longhair punks hanging out with rich girls. I remember parties in the ghetto, Doyel getting me into fights (He NEVER Fought)... I remember we would cross reference how much alchohol and gas money a girl could get her hands on with how easy she was in our decision making for who we would pick up that night. I remember his parents banning me from his house and mine banning him from mine. I remember breaking his bedroom window sneaking girls into his house late at night. I remember going out to Horseshoe bin canyon and listening to Queensryche Operation Mindcrime and Metallica Kill em all and stairway to heaven at the top of the canyon and listening to the music reverbate off the canyon walls.
I remember letting him drive everywhere, cuz he was a better driver, and it gave me more time to make out in the backseat with whichever girls we had picked up. I remember his fucked up family, and getting in fights with them cuz my Daddy was rich. I remember winning most of those fights. I remember the night he graduated high school and we partied. I remember the night I graduated high school and we partied. I remember every other night in high school (and we partied). I remember him picking up my camaro at my work, then him showing up when my shift was up, with a pair of girls and a case of beer. I remember losing a lot of sleep and living on vivarin.
I remember surfing on my t-tops and street racing everywhere we went, day or night. I remember swords, and petty theft, and gangfights and road dogs and lots and lots of weed. I remember the night I told him I was leaving Lubbock to go to college in Dallas and how we went on a crying drunk. I remember how he never forgave me for leaving to go to Dallas while he stayed stuck in god-damned Lubbock.
I remember bringing people from college back to party at his house. I remember finding out he sold my little brother dope and me threatening to kill him if I heard he ever did it again. I remember talking him into leaving the dope and the fucked up family and coming to Dallas to work at the service station I did after I dropped out of college. I remember the people at the liquor store gave him a charge account and looked at me like I was crazy when i asked for one. I remember Doyel picking up some black girls who ended up giving us enough furniture to furnish our whole apartment. I remember getting arrested with him and him signing out of jail under my name when I got bailed out because I was asleep. I had to figure out on my own that I was him, in order to get out of jail later that day by pretending I was him. I remember him leaving me with rent due and sneaking back to Lubbock when Randy Laird got out of prison. I remember him going back to the meth. I remember writing him off.
I remember getting drunk one day, years later, and going out to his house. I remember regretting that, and I remember John Welch and Angela Rash regretting it far more than me. I remember Doyel stealing my truck and my cell phone. Racing for $20 bumps all night on 82nd street the night Angela moved out, and blowing my motor later that night. I remember selling him the fucked up truck later, making him sign a contract for $1500 for it. I remember he paid me $50 down. And that was fucking it.
I remember him getting more and more dope-fucked. I remember the night he spiked a shot of tequila with a sixteenth of crank while i was damn near passed out and made me drink it. I woke instantly up, and we were headed for Relax & Tan in my fiancee's car. I only got half a block before i totalled her car. I remember how Doyel told me it was a good thing for the crank because I was able to come up with such an iron clad alibi/lie to tell the cops that night so that we wouldnt go to jail and the insurance would still cover the car.
I remember Doyel coming over with Donny Dunaghey and trying to sell me a military issue bulletproof jacket and taking turns shooting each other with a .22 pistol while wearing it in my front yard. I remember thinking just hanging out with idiots like this prevented me from ever doing hard drugs.
I remember him ripping me off. Once, twice. Three times.
I remember the last time he came over to my house, on a sunday afternoon. How he threw his waterproof crank container in my 2 year old daughters swimming pool to her, as she waded. I remember him trying to sell that crank to one of my friends, who he didnt know and had never met while I sat there watching his tweaked out ass. He asked if he could have a beer. There had been a party the night before, and I still had a fridge full. I said yes, come on in. I opened the fridge for him, and I said take all you want. I remember how he greedily held his dingy shirt out in order to load it up with about 8 bottles of beer. I remember how happy he looked at his good fortune. He gleefully loaded it up in his truck and popped one open.
I remember asking him if he could do a favor for me, in return. He smiled and said, "Sure!" And I remember telling him to get in his truck, and to leave my house and to never, EVER come over or talk to me again.
And I remember thinking, Goddamn, if I Never see him again, it'll be too soon.
And I haven't yet.