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Last Sunday

On Thursday, D. Bill needed to get into his eternal mound of junk which is usually piled across multiple garages, including the inward half of Don’s garage. Don’s Buick-boat occupies the other half and was there on that day. The Buick meant Don was home. So D.Bill knocked on his door and knocked again. No answer. After D.Bill’s repeated attempt to convince Don to open the door were met with silence, D.Bill entered Don’s apartment. There he found Don dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

I’m sure you know by now that I haven’t spoken highly of Don. He was the quintessential crotchety old man who went about life complaining about one thing or another. When he gave me attitude, I dished it back (and later felt that I should have exercised more constraint after finding out the guy had, at the time, recent heart surgery.) When he gave Mikey attitude, Mike just smiled back. Mikey relates that for the past two years (ever since Don’s been our neighbor, I think) every time Mikey asked him how he’s doing, Don replied, “Just waiting to die.” I think it’s sometimes hard to know whether miserable people get off on being miserable or really ARE depressed. Now I’ll err on the side of the latter.

By the time D. Bill found Don, he had been dead for a few days. The date of his death has been determined as Sunday, July 8. Plumber Brother G. says that he heard the gunshot but didn’t think anything of it. To tell you the truth, I might have heard it as well. See, in this neighborhood, there’s often crashes and bangs of one sort or the other… kids playing with fireworks, vehicles colliding, big rigs thundering down the road. It’s a sad commentary when we’re all so immersed in urbania that we don’t even know when our next door neighbor has blown his brains out.

The gun, it appears, was purchased 10 days ago by Don’s son or grandson. The only people I’ve seen ever visit Don in two years are:

  • His sometimes girlfriend
  • His nurse
  • His son or grandson

I assumed based on the visual age – about 30 – of the gentleman who from time to time stopped by Don’s condo that he was Don’s grandson but Mikey seems to think that there’s a son in the mix. Vol and I deduced that if there was a grandson, at one point there must have been either a son or a daughter but we just don’t know how all the pieces fit together.

When I first found out about Don’s demise, I felt really sad and guilty about yelling at him last year for giving me flak and not making more of an effort to smile and say hello to him. I mean, if a person’s mentally sick (or physically sick, maybe Don was in a lot of pain) then a hello probably won’t matter in the grand scheme of things but it might make the person doing the hello-ing feel better. Just look, Mikey was nice to him. In fact Don once said that we (collectively the whole building) were the nicest neighbors he ever had. I believe it.

After I felt sad and guilty, I felt angry. Even if Don was in a lot of pain and wanted to end his life, it was a pretty shitty thing to lay on D. Bill. Especially since it looks like this whole thing was planned between Don and his son/grandson. “Just let D. Bill find the body.” What the hell? Unless someone else was supposed to find him and D. Bill got to him first… but still, Don was a couple days cold. Poor Bill. Also, I don’t know what the laws in California are about telling a person if someone’s up and died in the apartment you want to rent or buy, but, damn. Don probably would’ve done better just going out into the woods and doing it where no one could find him.

I guess I don’t really feel angry anymore but just sad that someone’s life has to end on such a tragic note. My Grampy’s only a few years older than Don but he has a lot of people and family around him everyday caring for him and reading to him and singing with him and feeding him ice cream. In spite of his occasional pains and worsening disabilities, he has a pretty good attitude. “Still here!” he says. Even though Grampy has lived his life as somewhat of an agnostic, he has said that now his life is in God’s hands. So I think that even in his dementia, he’s come to terms with his ultimate end. I’m just happy to know that he’s getting happiness out of life in the meantime.

UPDATE:  Facts have been clarified here.


One Response

  1. […] Mon 16 Jul 2007 How Don Did It Posted by Baby Hatchetface under Neighborhood , This Sucks , House  Vol spoke to Bill and got an accurate timeline of events.  This is an update to my previous post about Don’s suicide: […]

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