Life is very strange! I mean, more than usual. Another death. Last night I received an email from the sister of my ex-husband Peter Haskell. We were married at New York city hall many moons ago. I remember waiting in the queue, the fleeting, breathless ceremony and Inga, one of the women from the Baby Doll-the bar where I worked-in attendance as our witness. I have pictures, including one of us in the hallway posing with the license.
Apparently he had been shot dead! Murdered. My first thought was No! Then, maybe it’s another *Peter Haskell.* It is so unreal! Horrible. Impossible to fathom. We had exchanged emails only a few days ago regarding a mutual friend’s novel, how Peter was working for him and helping to promote it. I had sent him some leads and information and was waiting on a reply.
How do you assimilate news like this? His poor mother! Can you imagine a coroner calling you up in the middle of the night to ask which funeral home to send the body? Later I found out that the mutual friend is the one who killed him, then called 911.
Still reeling this morning, shock, grief mixed with anger, reading his emails, scanning photos of him and ones that he took. He used to carry this funky, old dinky little camera with him on all our travels and take pictures of anything and everything. He’s in my novel and he was a character. Shit. I’m referring to him in the past tense. I can’t believe he’s dead! “The victim.” Turns out “the shooter,” our mutual friend, is an ex-boyfriend. I met Bruce when my band the 45s had arrived in Los Angeles. That means my ex-husband has been murdered by my ex-boyfriend. WTF? And I met Bruce in LA before I met Peter in San Francisco. I knew he was odd. On our first date, he took me to his hot, stuffy apartment in Hollywood and introduced me to his pet cockroach, Ralph. I did not know he was capable of murder. It would never have occurred to me, he seemed mild-mannered but I do vaguely recall something about wanting a revolver for his glove box and a fixation with explosives. Was it our second date when he took me to the Veterans Administration and a re-enactment of the Civil War where he donned a Confederate uniform over his street clothes in 90 degree heat so he could blow off one of the canons? Might have been the third. I haven’t had the pleasure of reading his book but I am told that the protagonist, at the end, goes out and shoots someone. Writing on the wall or coincidences? A friend said oh, we all are capable of it, why she kept a gun in her house in LA but self-defense is different than murder and Christ, isn’t the proliferation of hand guns a big part of the problem?
Guess I better get used to it. People dying on me. Yes, me included. No one gets out of her alive but what a way to go! I had every intention of seeing Peter the next trip to LA and had thought I would *interview* him, ask what he recalled of our life together so long ago. I have forgotten so much; feel like I want to retrieve whatever I can of the past. Now of course, I’m remembering all the things we did together, the band, the zine, Rattler. We had a brief, tempestuous marriage but remained friends, kindred spirits.
This is a nightmare! I hate guns; hand guns especially have only one purpose. I am pissed! Guess I’m lucky not to have wound up in the crosshairs. Hard to function, to focus. I keep going over it in my mind, trying to fathom what has happened. What a horrible way to die! Poor Peter. What he must have gone through . . . I feel so bad. I took him for granted, took for granted we would see each other again.
I dreamed a of man in the street carrying a big batch of carpet samples. He took offense when I moved out of the way of the protruding handle, then pulled out a gun. I heard a lot of screaming. It might have been me, must have been me.