(Untitled) - December 11, 2006


When I was 13 years old, my mother and I moved from Wisconsin back home to New Hampshire to escape her violently abusive boyfriend at the time. We had to leave very quickly and didn't have enough time to save up money to move or take most of our belongings, so when we arrived here we were on welfare and relied on the kindness of her friends and the scattered family we had along the seacoast. We moved into my mom's best friends house and lived her unfinished attic, both my mom and I sleeping in the same room for the better part of five months as she chased job opportunities during the day and scraped nickels and dimes together so we could eat at night. She was a trooper.

During this time I started hanging out with my friend Seth. Seth lived in a nice little house in a nice residential neighborhood with his extremely Christian parents and his big brother, Ethan. Both Ethan and Seth were home schooled their entire lives and went to church, Sunday school and youth group regularly. I was never big on the religion that those people were a part of, but the security of the family was really comforting to me. I could hang out with Seth and escape the troubles at home. I would eat great meals at an actual dining room table with an actual family, go to the movies and have sleepovers. Being at that house I was allowed to be an innocent little kid, and when I went home I was forced to be more grown up than I wanted to.

As time went on, I spent more and more time at Seth and Ethan's house to the point where I essentially lived there. My mom couldn't really afford me and Seth's parents knew about my situation at home so they always let me stay over. Ethan became my big brother, making sure Seth and I didn't get our asses kicked for doing stupid shit like fucking with the older high school kids. He would hang out with us a lot and even drive us around which always amazed me because I knew that if I had my license that I sure as hell wouldn't be hanging out with younger kids, I would be cruising around picking up chicks. For a long time the three of us were inseparable. Life was good.

By the time I was 16, I was in public high school and starting to get into the cool shit like smoking cigarettes, drinking and trying to get laid. Seth and Ethan were still home schooled so they weren't exposed to those things. I started introducing them to the dark side here and there, sneaking out of the house to smoke stale weed and drink room temperature Natty Ice in the woods. Before you knew it we were getting fucked up every weekend, robbing the neighbor's fridge in the garage for its Coors Light and tins of Skoal. I would bring over mushrooms and acid that I picked up at school to try out. Ethan and Seth loved it; they loved the excitement and the freedom of getting fucked up. They loved the fact that it was bad, something that their parents would be mortified to know about. I became the sole hook up for good times. This was the way things were until Ethan went off to college.

Seth and I gradually lightened up on the partying as we were trying to figure out our lives and deciding what schools we would go to when we graduated. I mean, we weren't angels by any means but we knew enough not to drop a 10 strip on a Sunday night before final exams. Ethan became more and more distant, immersed in college life and new friends. Seth and I never thought anything of it. In fact, we knew that even him and I would eventually grow apart once we were away at school, it was just part of growing up and we knew there would always be holidays and summers to catch up. Nothing was permanent and we had the rest of our lives ahead of us.

Two years into college, I was at a random frat party one night and I ran into Ethan. He looked a little heavier than the last time I had seen him, but who wasn't after four years of college drinking and lethargy? We were absolutely psyched to see eachother, and we both ended up ditching the people we were with to take shots at a makeshift wet bar in one of the brother's bedrooms and reminisce about back in the day, when we used to steal hood ornaments and smoke cloves in the abandoned camper in his backyard. We stayed there until 2 in the morning and swapped phone numbers so that we could hang out later on that week.

I got the phone call on a cold and rainy April fool's day. At first I thought it was a joke, the timing for a phone call of that nature couldn't have been worse. The night before, Ethan pulled into the garage of the house he was living in, shut the door, wrote a note and let the fumes end his life.

I got a hold of Seth right after hearing the news trying to put the pieces together, trying to make sense out of all of it. As it turned out, Ethan had been involved in some heavy drugs in college and was hanging out with some notorious heroin addicts and dealers during his final year of school. In his suicide note he wrote that he was happy; that he loved his life, school was great and he loved his friends and family. He went on to say that life was so good that he didn't want it to get any worse in the future. He fucking killed himself because he thought that he would never be happier than he was right then, addicted to all kinds of shit and hanging out with scumbag shifty dealers. That's when it hit me.

I fell out of a pew during the service, uncontrollably sobbing on my hands and knees. The guilt was tearing my soul apart in front of hundreds of people. Some of my friends grabbed me and tried to console me, eventually walking me out of the church. I had introduced Ethan to that lifestyle. If it wasn't for me being a bad influence he wouldn't have died. His family showed me unnecessary kindness and gave me a home when I didn't have one, and I repaid them with the corpse of their oldest son and robbed Seth of his big brother. After that, it took me a while to leave my house or even look people in the eyes.

I still visit Ethan in the graveyard from time to time. I'll hang out for a while, clear the leaves from his tombstone and reminisce about the old times. I usually break down and cry when I visit so I try to go by myself; I don't like to subject people to that kind of shit. It's something that I'll never fully get over and I'll probably carry that cross for the rest of my life.

Posted by KungFu Mike at 7:58 PM

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Your writing is deeply moving; I can really relate to what you write. It is hard enough to move away from that life and watch someone you care about continue down the endless spiral of a user. Whether you watch it first hand, or see the effects down the line, its has the same effect. I look forward to reading your blog. Best wishes.

-J.V. Popodopolis.

Posted by: J.V. Popodopolis at December 12, 2006 03:52 AM

Nice to see a deeper side of you here, Mike. I enjoy your site. Remember this as well, as a corruptor I feel what you are saying. Some of my buddies are into bad things...and I was their initial contact.

In the end, as much as you may have started the path to his unfortunate demise, it is every man's responsibility to be accountable for their own problems. When someone starts stickin needles in their arms or smoking crack, you know its not good for you. What if he met some girl that had AIDs because you were the first guy to actively pursue women with him, would you feel as bad? He would have found drugs in college regardless. Most the time the kids from the most strict homes can be the worst about it once they finally taste some freedom.

Either way, thanks for sharing your story and sorry about writing you a novel here... just got me thinking some.

- A Different Ethan

Posted by: Anonymous at December 12, 2006 07:25 AM

Mike--I have experience with this. I dated a woman in San Francisco who committed suicide while we were going out. She left me a hate note. I know what it's like to hold the bag after a suicide, and to feel complicit in it. The way it went was, she had loupis, and was also a heroin addict and alcoholic. She tried to beat all three at once, and I would join her at AA meetings, and she would put a day or two together, then get drunk, score a bag, get sober, drink, get sober, shoot up, get sober, and so forth.

I made a date with her to go to the movies. When I went to her place to pick her up, the door was ajar. I knocked as I pushed the door open, and there she was with a four or five of what looked like tattoo-covered circus performers; red-toothed carny types, all gaunt and scummy, all of them with needles hanging out of their arms. I told them to get the fuck out or that I'd break their necks. One of them resisted briefly, a sentiment that dissipated as soon as I punched him so hard he was unconscious by the time he hit the floor. The others left, and I dragged bony maroney into the hallway. I offered to drive Donna to the hospital to detox, but she said she could crash during the movie. So off we go to the movies. On the way, she said she needed cigarettes and ducked into a bar. She disappeared for ten minutes and I knew she was scoring. When she emerged, I told her I was done with her, yelling at her on the sidewalk. I went home and the phone rang. I knew it was her but I didn't pick up.

The next morning I got a call from one of her AA connections. She had taken a bottle of seconal and a fifth of vodka and gone to the roof of her apartment building where she drank and dosed herself enough so she could convince herself to step over the side. She fell four stories to the sidewalk and died.

If I hadn't yelled at her, she might still be alive. If I hadn't broken up her heroin session, she might be alive. If I had never gotten involved with her, she might be alive. If, if, if. You can't know, Mike. People who have a predilection toward drug abuse are addicts waiting to happen. The proclivity is already there. All you need to do is add booze, add, smack, add cocaine. Addicts are addicts when they are born. If you didn't hand him the bong, someone else would have, and the trigger would have been pulled. It wasn't you Mike. It wasn't you. Beautiful writing my friend....Chris

Posted by: Chris Elliott at December 12, 2006 07:59 AM

That's some heavy shit Mike. Ultimately, though, someone's choices are their own and you can't blame yourself for the direction he chose to move his life.

Posted by: Marcus at December 12, 2006 08:40 AM

I have to say that I'm impressed by the breadth of your writing capabilities. I've been following your myspace postings and all of the old stuff that you had on this site, so, needless to say, I was a bit thrown off when I read this. I'm sorry to hear about what happened, but am truly grateful that you were able to show us this yet unknown side of you.

Congrats on finally becoming a Rudius member!

Posted by: at December 12, 2006 04:36 PM

Truly bold, open and honest.

It wasn't your fault

Also, I am from NH Seacoast...so weiiiird

Posted by: Mary at December 13, 2006 02:31 PM

must be nice to get this out, even just a little.

this is great, btw; written in the plain and flowerless voice that a story like this needs to come across as genuine and unforgiving. you don't have to get closer to the story-teller to get closer to the story.

great job putting life out on the page, bro.

Posted by: degan at December 14, 2006 01:28 PM

Jesus dude, you can write a story. I sure hope that you can forgive yourself soon. Guilt and stress are an unnecessary part of life, that we all have in varying degrees. Looking forward to the funny stuff to come.

Posted by: John L. Williams 32 at December 15, 2006 12:05 PM

And you get paid to write this shit??

Posted by: Jossie at December 17, 2006 05:40 PM

That was beautifully written. I am surprised a bit, yet pleased, that you split yourself wide open on the page, in a flavor perfectly balanced between impassivity and the maudlin. Yes, it brought a tear to my eye and made me recount my own losses. But I have to echo what someone far more eloquent than I has already stated. It was not your fault. I've seen many kids in college that had never been exposed to partying totally lose it and get out of control. He would have reached the end of that path regardless. I'm sorry, I hope you can forgive yourself.

Posted by: at December 20, 2006 10:22 AM

I love you man. takes real balls to write about that and fess up.

Posted by: at January 5, 2007 07:05 PM

You are The Best!!!

Posted by: Terabanitoss at May 9, 2007 04:02 PM

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