These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

high school classmate

i received an e-mail last night that one of my high school classmates was dead. my first reaction was a car accident or an illness of some kind.

i was wrong.

upon further reading, it turns outhe was shot and killed in my home town. it was both shocking and not so surprising at the same time. it was shocking because you just don't think those things will happen to someone you knew years ago. but, at the same time, my home town has more of it's fair share of crime in recent years.

i got on the phone and called another classmate to give methe skinny on jose g. she toldme some things but she was unsure of their validity. she was speculative about the circumstances behind the shooting.

she did tell me that he was home with his two kids and there was a knock at the door. a woman was there. suddenly two men popped out from the sides and shot him five times, killing him, with his kids (both under 10 years old) in the house.

i was not close to jose g. but being from a small town and school, you know everyone by face or name. and so i knew him that way.

my first membory of him goes back to fourth grade when i recall him telling us that he'd found some bird eggs and brought them home. i won't tell the rest of this story becasue it's bizarre and i'm not sure if it's real or me wanting to connect two logical things that didn't happen.

in junior high in seventh grade, he and i didn't go to some pep rally or something. i'd just been introduced to the stupid card game of pick up 52 and asked him if he wanted to play. he said yes. so i threw the cards on the floor and told him to pick them up. the next thing i know this asshole tries to get my head and bash it into his knee.i recall taht he sort of succeeded. i ran after him but didn't catch him.

in high school one of my friends who played football with him said they used to call him kazoo, after the small-faced, big-helmeted cartoon character in "the flintstones." they called him that for the description i just provided of kazoo.they even drew a picture of him.

this same friend told me that jose g. wasnt' too bright. after football practice and subsequent swimming in the pool, his eyes were red. they told him to put vick's in his eyes and that would take care of it. according to my friend, jose g. did and everyone laughed and had a good time over that.

he'd also been with the same woman he'd been with since he was in high school. i remember he going out with her. she was two years younger than him i believe.

anyway, it's really trippy to hear news like that, something you'd expect to hear happened in houston or new york, chicago, you know, big cities where shit like that does happen.

but as of late, there's been a lot of bad shit going down in my home town (this is begining to sound like a bad bruce springsteen song), but it's true. even 20 years ago when i was in high school, i don't recall stuff like this really happening. now, though, it's going on with too much frequency.

i could get into it here as to why i think bad shit's happening in san diego, but i ain't going to turn this into a preachy entry.

i hope you found what you were looking for,pepe.


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