Here we are at Labor Day. The unofficial end of summer and also, typically, the weekend of DragonCon in Atlanta. It's a time of year that's going to make me think of what might have been, be extra thankful, and bring some sadness going forward. It was this time last year that we unexpectedly lost one of our friends.
We called him Moby, not after the book, but after an Andrew Dice Clay bit. In our group of friends, there were multiple Eds, so we each had a nickname. He and another friend of mine went to DragonCon together last year. After what I imagine was a day full of fun, he didn't wake up the next morning. I can't imagine what my other friend went through that day.
I've known Moby just about half my life. Although we were in the same high school graduating class, I didn't really get to know him until a few years later when we both put in our time at McDonald's. We bonded over our mutual love of Star Wars and I can remember so many horrible shifts that were made bearable because he was there talking Star Wars while we worked.
At his...reception? Is that what you call the thing where everyone gathers? Anyway, people were invited up to say a few words about Moby and, at the time, I don't know that I could have gotten through this but this is the story I wanted to tell about my friend.
As I mentioned earlier, Moby and I got to know each other serving in the trenches under the Golden Arches. There were a number of times that we'd work the closing shift together. During one particular summer we had a rash of drive-bys. Squirt gun drive-bys. The smart ass kids would go through the drive-thru and when they got to the second window to pick up their order, they'd assault the poor person handing it to them and drive off.
We may not have exactly enjoyed where we worked but you spend enough time there and you start to develop a friendship with your co-workers and become protective of the place. Stockholm syndrome? Anyway, after a few of these drive-bys, we were determined to catch the bastards. Or at least get some form of justice.
These kids didn't know who they were messing with...
We started packing our own heat on the nights we worked. We kept this model of Super Soaker lying in wait at the second drive-thru window. The great thing about Super Soakers is that you can pump them up to maximum firepower until you need it.
One night, Moby was working the first drive-thru window, taking the orders and money. I was a shift manager at the time which means you almost always are wearing a drive-thru headset. After one particular order, he says to me on the internal channel, "It's them."
I told the girl handing out the orders to give them their drinks and tell them it would be a minute because we were waiting on fries. I started putting their order together and Moby came up to the front of the store. Bag in hand, I went to trigger the electric eye that would automatically open the drive-thru window. As I'm doing this, Moby picks up the Soaker. The window opens and just as I"m about to reach out, I turn sideways and Moby sprays down the inside of the car in a way that would make a 1920s gangster with a tommy gun proud.
That was the last time we saw the squirt gun drive-by kids.
It's a funny story, but is exemplary of the kind of guy Moby is. He's the kind of friend that had your back no matter what. He'd take a bullet for you and then put the shooter in a hospital.
He shared a favorite band with my wife: Duran Duran. He and I shared favorite movies. It's not that I would miss him any less if not for these things but it's more noticeable. We see Duran Duran every time they're in the area and Star Wars is such a huge part of my life. We had some fun chats speculating on what The Force Awakens would bring and he never got to see it. And that pisses me off more than anything.
Although I know he'd mock me for quoting part of the Jedi Code (and not something from the Sith), I will balance it out by posting a pic of him with the actor that played Darth Vader.
"There is no death, there is the Force."
I know one day we'll hang out again like Force ghosts on Endor.