My friend Nick Katz, one of my oldest friends in Chicago, the first working colleague I had at Pioneer, who worked on the same staff with me under the same editor for years and years - one of the funniest, most intelligent, quirkiest, most wonderful, most frustrating, most unforgettable people I've ever known - is gone.
His mother, who lives in Florida, hadn't been able to contact him for three or four days and she'd been trying to get in touch with us for the last 24 hours. I finally saw her email, and emailed her back immediately, telling her I'd email Nick, call him from here, and if I didn't hear from him, I'd go up to his place. I have keys; he has had medical problems for a number of years and I've had to help out on a number of occasions.
I tried to call her, as well, to tell her I'd do this, and there was no answer. I hung up, and Bob and I were getting ready to leave the house for some chores. I'd put Nick's keys in my bag, and I was dreading the possibility of having to go up there. I'd gone through this once before, but went up and found that he'd been able to call the paramedics and he'd gotten to hospital. That was last year.
Before I got out of the house, Dee called me. "He's gone." It's really true about how time stretches out in times like this. "Gone" is just one syllable long, but I had so much time between the first part of the word and the last part of the word to think, "You can't mean 'gone.' What do you mean, 'gone'? You mean he's dead, don't you.' 'Don't mean that.' "
So I went over; the cops were still there (in fact, the reason she hadn't answered the phone when I called her was because the cops were just then calling to tell her they'd found him), and I had to ID the body. He probably died sometime between the 8th and 9th, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been, I'm guessing. Our work friend Mike called while we were there, and came over. We were a team together for so many years, the three of us. We drove people crazy.
I'll deal with HR at work, and I've worked out with Dee how much I can let her cousins out in uberrich suburban Chicago bumfuck can handle (cremation and returning him home to her), and Bob and I will clean out his apartment. We're taking all his computers so we can go through them (thank god he hadn't shut them down. I've got to figure a way to keep them on while we transfer them, because if I have to start them up again, they may require a password, and god knows how we'd get in to deal with bills and bank account and such.) I have to contact the management company for the apartment because Dee thinks he's paid up til the end of the month, which should give us the chance to clear most of it out.
No mother should have to bury her child.
I've had more fun than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick today. It's been ... I am going to miss him so very much.
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