I don’t know much about how Dave died last week, other than it was described to me via text as a “massive coronary.” Scully said he lingered for about a day in the hospital before they started talking about organ donations. I know he was 51, the same age as me. And I know that things had not been going his way of late — professionally, interpersonally and in terms of his own physical well-being. That’s what I hear, anyway. I’ll get the full story from Bice later this week, another voice from long ago.
Bice was there the day we all got arrested for truancy in Times Square — the 1984 version of Times Square and not the Disneyfied tourist trap it has since become — after ditching out of a field trip in another part of New York City. We were 14, and no one will ever believe it was not my idea to pull this caper, but it was not. I was just along for the ride.
Though I was just 14, it was not the first time I had been apprehended by the law. That had happened two years earlier, when we were 12, and it was just Dave and me and the small fire we had lit behind the nursery school where we had after-school jobs.
After that one, we learned to run.
His parents blamed me; my parents blamed him. But really it was both of us, young and brazen and stupid, pushing each other along the road to ruin. That was just the first of our terrible collaborations that lasted until high school, each one landing us in more trouble than the last, our unearned privilege sparing us from recourse.
We had no idea how lucky we were.
I don’t really know what he became; all I remember is what he was, which was trouble, any which way you sliced it. Reckless. Fearless. Wild. I was the same way.
Dave is still a kid when I picture him, 15 or so, his tangle of red, red hair and the smear of freckles everywhere the sun touched his skin, his pockets stuffed with candy from the 7-11 that he might have paid for and might have stolen, maybe a couple of crumpled Winstons, one for him and one for me.
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