It was obvious Gerry felt no pain when he challenged me to a contest of fifty push ups in the lobby. After all, his tie was off and we all knew what that meant. I thought it was close while Gerry disagreed, asserting victory over me. I wondered what the shareholders would have thought if they had to wait at the door for us to finish. He celebrated with a big swig of Budweiser from his cherished Mets coffee mug. Sometimes he would tape the string of a tea bag to the inside of the mug, so the tag would dangle and throw off any suspicions as to what was actually in the cup. “It took awhile for them to pick up old Kranepool, no?”
“I guess,” I said, taking a deep breath. “I don’t know the proper protocol so I’m not sure how long it takes for that series of events to unfold in regards to a suicide.”
“A toast to Kranepool. The poor bastard.”
“To Kranepool.” We raised our disguised beers.
“You know what I can’t stand?” asked Gerry.
“Well, yes,” said Gerry. “And martyrs. I fucking hate martyrs. I’m not talking about the martyrs of yore. I’m not talking about the mighty Bobby Sands or Joan of fucking Arc. I’m specifically referring to the contemporary definition. I’m talking today, someone dies and they become this great human being meanwhile they were actually a cunt their whole lives. The worst is when some celebrity dies and out of nowhere they instantly become everyone’s favorite singer or actor. It’s fucking bullshit. There are people in this world that are not worth the tears. Not all deaths are created equal. Not every person is wonderful. So when a guy like Kranepool goes it actually means something. It should mean more.”
“I’m sure his family is destroyed by this. What do you think did it?”
“Rightfully so. He was a kind man. What did it? Who knows? It could have been anything. Work. Miss October. Life. Life is stressful, maybe not for me, maybe not all the time, but when I don’t hit four for four or pitch a shut out, yeah, I get a little depressed. Maybe he went off his meds.”
My psychoanalyst suggested medication might benefit me but I resisted her advice even though I had known deep down additional help probably wouldn’t hurt. My mind, after all, was a tempest, with winds fanning from all the heartbreaking thoughts, with the waves of disappointment crashing against my sternum. I was keelhauled under the ship named life, it’s been 22 Halloweens since I’d been content. I knew when I was bad. Bad mentally. It was meta, and had a ouroboros quality. I was undoubtedly depressed and knowing I was or knowing the fact that I needed medication only made me feel more depressed.
Some people have gods or faith, I have madness. I conversed with it, I toiled with it. It had me under its wing. Every little nuance brings me right back to the things I’m trying to forget. The neurosis won’t give any pause. I’m closed off, distant, cold as a wooden floor in winter.
“There are so many people who should die,” said Gerry. “Like fucking tonight.”
“There is a lot to dislike about the world. The bad overshadows the good every time.”
“Lots of garbage out there. Lots of insincerity. Lack of compassion. All the while there is this weird false sense of enlightenment nowadays.”
“You mean entitlement,” I interjected.
“Both. Everyone knows better than the next guy and yet they still find ways to be complete hypocrites. Smarty pants motherfuckers. The younger generation is warped. I suppose every aging generation has said the same thing about its successors but things do appear exceptionally askew. Everyone today is a quote from a book they never read, and way out of context. We need to go back to basics. Maybe Kranepool had it right. Stop the car, let me out.”
“It’s going to be a rant filled kind of night, huh.”
“No, lad, the rant like most things are over. It’s time, time, for some, time for some action,” said Gerry, rummaging through the lock box searching for a key, turning the tabs to read the number of the apartment, then he found the right key he was looking for. He showed the key to me. The tag read 8A. “I’m going to make the world a slightly better place. Take out some trash, you know. Be back in a couple minutes. Man the fort.”