According to what Cris had told me, Dave had a genetic disorder only two genes away from bubble-baby syndrome and was in the hospital every six months for "general maintenance". When they told him he wasn't going to live past 12, he went nuts and was hospitalized. When he turned 13 they said, "maybe you'll live as long as anyone else" so he went nuts again and was hospitalized. I can't remember what the syndrome was, but at 23, Dave was the oldest living survivor in the nation. (He was born unable to produce gamma globulin, the blood protein that activates the immune system. As a child he caught polio from a vaccine, compounding his defective immune system with lung damage similar to that caused by cystic fibrosis. -Peter Walker) I had even bought a 'lawyer free will kit" when Cris told me Dave wanted him to be the executor of the estate.
Cris came home one day and asked me where I could get some methadone. I told him I had no idea, but who did he need it for?
"Dave wants to quit heroin, but if he goes into rehab or de-tox, they'll cancel his insurance and he'll die."
Dave was injecting the stuff directly into his medicine port. Once, when Cris was over there, he was shooting up and started to puke.
"Dave, you okay?' Cris asked.
"Yeah," said Dave. "I always puke when I shoot up coke."
I guess heroin was hard to get that day.
The last time I ever saw Dave alive, he swung by the apartment asking if Cris was there. I took a message and he went home.
Cris came home and asked, "Did Dave call?"
"No," I answered. "Bu.."
"That rat-bastard!" Cris started kicking things. "He said he'd call me. No good..."
"He stopped by," I explained.
But a few weeks later, David died and everyone was thrown into turmoil. The wake consisted of wasted people passed out on couches. There was some little blonde girl there who kept annoying everyone by saying "I just want ____, to remember Dave by." Where ____ is some random object (i.e. computer, chili lights, action figures).
Dave's sister was there and attached herself to me for a while because I was the only female in the room. Dave and his sister had lived together for the past several years and she was living with him off his insurance money. The death was a real blow to her.
Everyone knew Dave wanted to be cremated. After a life of being stuck with needles and filled with fluids, he didn't want his body embalmed. Because there was no will, Dave's possessions went to his parents, his sister was in the street, and he was buried in the family lot. Dave and Cris hadn't even cracked the spine on the lawyer free will kit, so I returned it and bought a 1996 calendar.
When I came home from the party I had gone to New Year's Eve, Cris was sitting in his captain's chair--just a large black office chair with a high back. Usually, when he sat in the chair, he was master of his realm. This time, however, he looked like a rag-doll that had been chewed on by a rottwieler and spat out. Add to that, he had mud on his shoes and pants.
I asked what was going on and he explained that work that night had been a bitch (yes, Cris often worked holidays). Apparently, waiters outnumbered clients that night, and the manager had let them go early. One in particular (who we'll call T because I can't remember his real name) was a mean drunk and Cris knew this and Cris informed the bartender. The bartender didn't listen and soon T was roaring to go. The manager informed him he needed to leave, or he wouldn't have a job.
Now, the restaurant was at a very busy intersection--Greenville and Park--and anyone who's been to Dallas can tell you that Greenville on New Year's Eve is a blood bath. (It's really a bar strip more than anything else.) There had been light snow that evening and no one in Texas knows how to drive in snow unless they lived somewhere else first. Plus, the infamous "Black Ice" had formed, making any road a grown-up version of air-hockey.
Our friend T was so drunk he could barely stand. Cris didn't want him driving home in that condition and asked if he could call a taxi for him. T took a swing at Cris and Cris threw him in the mud. THEN Cris found out T was driving a bike...
This is a sore spot for some people. My husband has been in some minor bike scrapes. A year before anything happened at Wildflower, Cris was pallbearer for someone who was killed on a bike. A drunk on a bike on slick roads with other drunks in cars. No. He wouldn't let it happen. I can respect Cris for that.
They pulled the lug nut on T's front wheel and sent him home in a taxi. Cris made the walk home and collapsed in his chair.
He was telling me this story and went on to, "I saved that fucker's life and he'll never thank me. He'll never do anything with him life but get drunk on the weekend or get stoned on his way to work. I saved that little shit...
"And David was a genius. He was doing things for himself. He was getting things done. He had that computer and...
"Where was I when Dave was shooting up?"
He started bawling. I'd never seen anything like it before in my life. His entire body was convulsing and he looked like the most defeated person in the world. He crawled out of his chair and put his head in my lap. I held him. I felt like crying myself. We spent the night in his room.
Back to Wildflower.
Back to the Index