The Evening I Learned About My Old Friend’s Tragic Murder

Friendships, Death, and Reflections

Joe Treetop
Human Parts

--

A sad man in a parka stands over his friend’s grave against a cold winter backdrop in an inner city.
Image created by the author with DALL·E 3

I greeted my three childhood friends, a rather pungent “mixed salad” of jailbirds and ex-drug dealers, with the customary handshakes and hugs. I hadn’t seen them in years. One friend, the bearish one, embraced me with his forelimbs, squeezing me extra hard. We go way back — wading through the piss, grit, and mortar of the inner city.

It’s the kind of place that forges lifelong bonds, yet can also trap some in the bondage of despair, leaving them longing for life — sometimes, it even claims them. I left; he went to prison. Now, here we were, two grown men shooting the breeze as though we were back in the smoke cipher, and no time had passed. A lifelong bond, indeed.

I ordered a round of lagers. We clinked glasses, enjoying the typical urban nexus of nostalgia and brotherly insults. As the natter subsided, a more serious air settled in. We fell to discussing street politics, the omnipresent connector to our shared past, and an everlasting fascination of my ink-covered friend — who, despite transitioning from ill-tempered hoodlum to civilized house painter, still keeps tabs on turf wars through old friends still active in that life.

Well, at least it’s not TikTok.

--

--

Joe Treetop
Human Parts

Ex-dealer turned thought-wielder. A romantic for the wonderfully peculiar, versed in the nefarious. I dissect the self and culture with honesty and satire.