Sunday, March 29, 2009

My brother Jimmy, part 2

I'm not condoning any of the following behavior. It is the truth, and part of the story.

Jimmy had already had a couple of DWI's, as they were called then, when he got pulled over driving an unregistered, uninsured car, containing an unregistered, unloaded fire arm. Possibly the same unregistered, unloaded gun that he put to the head of my boyfriend

Jimmy had picked up a hitch-hiker whom he claimed he didn't know was carrying a large amount of marijuana, which the hitch-hiker stashed under the seat. Possession is 9/10ths of the law and Jimmy got busted for it. He finally lost his license and was lucky enough to be put on probation. He then got caught driving without a license, this time with possession of cocaine. He got sentenced to two one-year jail terms, back to back. In our area there are very different terms you could sit out. Jimmy got sent to what we affectionately called the
Brooklyn Country Club. It's like summer camp with dorms - but with more barbed wire, and less swimming.

When Jimmy got out of jail, serving less than six months of a two year sentence, he really seemed to have changed his law-breaking ways. He never again got behind the wheel of a car until he had his license back. However, he and alcohol were never very far apart. We thought that he had kicked his love affair with drugs, but we were wrong.

He got steady work at a lumber yard. He and my father moved together into in an apartment. Jimmy sometimes spent weekends at my mother's house, and sometimes spent them at my oldest sister, Kouf's house. He was helping Kouf's husband turn the attic into rooms that they could rent out. He seemed to be a nomad, who was welcome anywhere he went. He was always the life of any party he found himself at.

After five years, the State of Connecticut agreed to give Jimmy his license back. I took the day off of work and brought him for his driver's test. He passed with no problems. From that point on, all we talked about was getting our motorcycle licenses together. I don't know why it seemed so important to us, but it did.

Maybe it meant to me that I had finally proven myself to him that I was an equal, that I could stand up to him, and his friends that he wouldn't let me date. I so wanted to be a bad-ass bitch in his eyes, I guess. Maybe for him, it was the same in reverse. He had taught his little sister to be a bad-ass who could stand up for herself in a world that he tried to, but could not always, protect her from.

Three weeks after getting his license back, we spent a Saturday afternoon together looking at bikes. Neither of us was ready to make any decisions, but we had fun with it. I dropped him off at Kouf's house. I had plans, and Jimmy was staying with her for the weekend. He hadn't yet gotten himself a car.

Kouf and her husband also had plans that evening. Jimmy apparently walked to a nearby bar looking for cocaine. We did not know until later that he had been shooting cocaine intravenously. From what we pieced together, he couldn't find any cocaine, so he decided to try heroin for the first time as it was all that was available. He bought a bad batch that killed 17 people in the Connecticut and New York area.

The next day, I was rather a bit annoyed with my sister, Bouf, for waking me up on a Sunday morning by banging incessantly on the front door at my mother's house. I was hung over and assumed she just needed to do her laundry and had lost her key or something. I opened the door, and was already half-way back up the stairs when she said, "Wait, Fancy, I'm here for a reason - Jimmy's dead". I literally cried like a fucking baby, sitting on the stairs, telling my poor sister that she was a liar. It could not be true, we had just spent the day together. We had plans, goddammit! Why was she being so mean?

My mother had worked a 12-hour shift the night before, 7pm to 7am. Bouf and I had to wake her up and tell her that her only son was dead at the age of 26 of a heroin overdose. That was definitely one of the worst days of my life.

It has been 16 years, amazingly to the day, another Sunday. I still cannot believe that he is gone. He never met his nephew, my son. I have a hard time reconciling the fact that my kid never met his awesome and incredible uncle, for whom he was named.

I have the feeling they would have adored each other. Actually, I have the really weird feeling that my brother loves the hell out of my kid, from wherever he is.


Scope said...

You've got me thinking about an uncle that I never really got to know.

Paige said...

Wow what a rough story. I had a feeling that it had a bad ending.

I have a cousin living what sounds like the parallel life. He is supposedly clean now but it never lasts long. He was my hero when I was growing up.

Jeannie said...

Heartbreak after heartbreak - my brother did drugs too - a lot - and dealt. But we moved and he got away before the narcs finally caught him (they'd tried but he always just lucked out). I don't think he got into anything too hard though. Now, his younger son has been charged with dealing.

Angie said...

That just broke my heart. I'm giving you a hug in my head.

LegalMist said...


I'm so sorry for the loss of your beloved brother.

It's so unfair...

JoJo said...

I guess your brother had more demons than most. I'm so very sorry for your and your family's loss. He sounds like he was a hot ticket.

Aunt Becky said...

I know a lot of Jimmy's, but none were related to me. I'm sorry, Fancy. My heart breaks for your loss.

Gwen said...

Oh, Fance. I'm so sorry. But you're right - he IS still there with you, watching and protecting.

It's funny, my brother is the same guy and his name is Jimmy, too. Thankfully mine hasn't harmed himself fatally.