Recently, I was reminded of a story Chad Robuckle told me, the summer after we graduated from high school. I remember he took me out in this field and lit a fire and began to dance around it while dousing himself with whiskey. This probably wasn’t the brightest idea but as luck would have it, he never caught fire.
After doing this for about fifteen minutes, all the while chanting what I’m sure he thought was a good imitation of an authentic indian rain dance, he passed out on the ground in front of the fire, completely out of breath. I debated leaving him there but as I was sneaking off to the car, he woke up and called me back.
“Akumbo, my brother,” he said, (I’m assuming “Akumbo” was my sacred Indian name), “Akumbo, now that my soul has been cleansed, I am ready to share my deepest, most darkest secret with you.”
“Oh great, I’m going to get raped by this psychopath out in the middle of nowhere, far away from anyone who could possibly help me!” I thought to myself.
“Oh yeah?” I said.
“Akumbo,” he continued, “Let me tell you why you’ve never met my father…”
Oh god, this was gonna take a while. I pulled up a tree stump and took a swig from the remains of the whiskey bottle.
Chad started his story back in the early 80’s, I’ll leave out the parts about his alleged “abuse”. It sounds like he had things pretty easy, I don’t know, I was kinda zoning out. Anyway, the good part started when his father took Chad for a Sunday drive in his Ferrari.
His dad proceeded to tell him that their sizable fortune had been built on lies. Mr. Robuckle revealed that he wasn’t really a doctor, but had merely been posing as one in order to peddle fake flu shots to schools, hospitals and old folks homes. He would run lucrative “clinics” where he would come out and “innoculate” everyone and charge big bucks to do it.
His dad was fuzzy on what was in those syringes but needless to say, it wasn’t flu vaccine. I guess a couple people got sick, but nothing too bad. Anyway, the point was, he had been found out and was now under investigation for all sorts of things. I guess Chad started to cry as his father described all the horrible things that happen to handsome white men in prison but he reassured him that he would not suffer that fate.
“No Chad, your father’s not going to prison, he’s worked all of that out.” He said, cryptically.
Then they pulled up on the side walk in front of a bank. Without a word, Mr. Robuckle got out of the car, took a machine gun from the tiny trunk and begin firing at random, killing ten or eleven people, on the spot. Chad watched in horror as his father dropped the gun, then climbed into a different car in the parking lot and calmly drove off, never to be seen again.
You see, Chad’s father had figured, rather than go to prison for ten years and get paroled on good behavior after six, he would instead commit mass murder and then flea to Canada, knowing that since he would face the death penalty at home, Canada would not allow him to be extradited back to the United States.
“So your father killed 11 people rather than go to jail for a few years?” I asked in disbelief.
“Ummm, I think it was like 14, a couple people died from their wounds, later.” He replied.
His father had made it to Canada and was welcomed with open arms by that cursed nation of cowards. He had begun life anew, got a new Canadian wife and they soon had a son of their own whom they also named Chad.
“Wow, Chad, I don’t know what to say.” It sure as hell explained a lot, but I thought it would be insensitive of me to come out and say that at this point.
“Yeah,” he said, “I know that fourteen people are dead from this, but I can’t help but think like the real victim that day was me.”
Ah yes, there’s the Chad we all know and love.
“How do you figure that?” I asked, barely masking my incredulousness.
“Well those people are dead. I am left to suffer on. Alone. A boy without his father.” He said this without a hint of irony.
“What about all the children of the dead people your father killed?” I had to point out the obvious with Chad.
“Hmm, I don’t know. I’m not sure if any of them had kids.”
“You never looked into it?” I asked.
“Why would I? I had my own problems. I wouldn’t expect you to understand, Akumbo, you grew up with a father.”
So anyway, it went on like this for a while. Chad’s mother had quickly remarried someone equally as rich and morally bankrupt as his real father, so I don’t think he missed him that much. For some reason, Chad always referred to his step-father as “Uncle Steve”. I had always thought it was just a creepy nickname but under the stars that night, I began to wonder if it was his actual uncle.
That doesn’t really have anything to do with the story at hand, it just occured to me. I’m trying to be as faithful to my own mindset as possible, while recounting the events of that night.
When Chad was done sharing and the fire was almost out, he gave me a hug and toweled himself off. I checked my back pocket for my wallet but it was still there, so I wondered if perhaps he was being sincere this night.
I only saw Chad a few more times that summer before we went off to our seperate colleges. Over the years we’ve kept in touch as best as we could, considering I hate him and he can’t figure out a way to use me for financial gain, but it hasn’t been the same since high school.
It’s like something died along with the fire that warm summer night. Something born out of the ashes of a terrible secret. Dying only to rise again as the phoenix of my memory is rekindled by stories of flu shot fraud in the news.
Fuck you, Canada.