My family friends consisted of drug dealers, strong-arm men, and relatives. My favorite of all was Rick(Rick being a fake name in the event he’s still alive). He was a monster of a human being. About 6 foot tall and 240 pounds of steroids and anger. His presence always captured my attention. He was known as the bad boy, a fighter, a rebel. He never lost a fight and for that I idolized him. Rick was the muscles for a group I would never know. I put him in the same category as famous sports stars of the day. I was still extremely young and very impressionable.
One day, he came over for his weekly visit. After getting tuned up on cocaine (his favorite pastime along with womanizing)he wanted to take me for a ride much to my excitement! His new bike was a Kawaski Ninja, the newest and fastest at the time. He put me on the back and proceeded to take me up the street while popping a wheelie the entire time. There happened to be a moving truck with the ramp down up the street. Faster than I could blink, we were in the back of that truck. It was the most thrilling experience of my life! My mother had a fit about the ride and it ended shortly thereafter.
Later on that day, after many beers and much “snow” as they called it, my father, Rick, and I left the house. We were passing by the sandpits heading out to shoot. I grew up with guns as a way of life. At the age of five, I had a complete gunrack in my room. We shot “twenty-twos”and shotguns on a weekly basis. However, today would be different.
My father was driving when Rick noticed a man by the “tracks” who he needed to talk to. Rick and my father parked the car, told me to wait, and approached the man. I sat and watched stone faced as Rick kicked him over and over again while he was on the ground. I remember at the time thinking “wow he must have done something really bad!” This being my second memory of childhood as I was still only five.
I continued to watch as my father tried pulling Rick, filled with hate and rage, off the man. Suddenly, the man became still and didn’t struggle anymore. They ran to the car and we took off burning tires in the process. I asked Rick what had happened. He explained to me that”he was a man who didn’t pay his debts son”. I couldn’t help but notice the blood all over his face and clothes. My father had the look of fear that I had never seen before. I wanted to ask questions but everyone was quiet. Not a word was spoken the entire ride home.
I never saw Rick again after that day. My hero disappeared overnight. I was told that he had moved away.
A day had passed since the incident and I came home to my father pacing around the house with that same look as before. I overheard him talking about the newspaper and Rick. My curiousity led me to ask questions. I couldn’t get that man and all the blood out of my mind. I knew something just wasn’t right.
Later in life, I learned that this man, on that night, never lived another day. I watched him get beat to death in front of my eyes. To date, I don’t know his name, what he did, or why he was there at that moment. What I do know is I would never again see Rick, the toughest man I’ve ever known.