Perma-stoned, that was how he looked, even when sober. Eyes barely open, a goofy grin on his face, he would drawl, “Hey there.” Handshakes for friends, with the addition of a full body gaze for ladies, followed by, “Good to see you,” was his signature greeting.
One night, when all the guys were tripping during a hurricane, something bit him. It swelled to golf ball-size, and he was then christened Black Widow, which turns out to be mouthful when plastered. In the same way Brother becomes Bubba, Black Widow became Widdah.
He was the first person I ever met who snorted cocaine, and after admitting it at several parties, began a trend of it among his age group. Thin, emaciated, it kept him going, doing the robot to “Intergalactic Planetary.” He loved the Beastie Boys and rightfully so.
He had a way of vanishing and then reappearing when least expected, usually on the 4th of July. Each time, his speech slower, his eyes more glazed, his teeth yellower from switching to crack. “The Widdah loves you, man,” he would say and sling his arm around an old friend. The half-hug would morph into teasing punches. How many times did he and a compadre fall into a pool or the lake while play-fighting? He and Nervous went so far as to flip over deck railing and take a ten foot drop into some azaleas. They each broke an arm, and it took some time to find someone sober enough to drive them to the hospital for casts and stitches.
The cops tailed him from time-to-time, waiting for him to slip. He had three arrests for possession in one year, so it was only a matter of time. Rehab or jail, only two ways to go from where he was. He knew he’d never survive jail, so he chose rehab.